The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 95, September 1865

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Title: The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 16, No. 95, September 1865

Author: Various

Release date: May 26, 2010 [eBook #32546]
Most recently updated: January 6, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Joshua Hutchinson and the Online Distributed
Proofreading Team at (This file was
produced from images generously made available by Cornell
University Digital Collections.)


[Pg 257]



A Magazine of Literature, Art, and Politics.


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by Ticknor and Fields, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.

Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected and footnotes moved to the end of the article. Table of contents has been created for the HTML version.





On a certain mild March evening, A. D. 1864, the Ducklow kitchen had a general air of waiting for somebody. Mrs. Ducklow sat knitting by the light of a kerosene lamp, but paused ever and anon, neglecting her stocking, and knitting her brows instead, with an aspect of anxious listening. The old gray cat, coiled up on a cushion at her side, purring in her sleep, purred and slept as if she knew perfectly well who was coming soon to occupy that chair, and meant to make the most of it. The old-fashioned clock, perched upon the high mantel-piece of the low-studded room, ticked away lonesomely, as clocks only tick when somebody is waited for who does not come. Even the tea-kettle on the stove seemed to be in the secret, for it simmered and sang after the manner of a wise old tea-kettle fully conscious of the importance of its mission. The side-table, which was simply a leaf on hinges fixed in the wall, and looked like an apron when it was down, giving to that side of the kitchen a curious resemblance to Mrs. Ducklow, and rested on one arm when it was up, in which position it reminded you more of Mr. Ducklow leaning his chin on his hand,—the side-table was set with a single plate, knife and fork, and cup and saucer, indicating that the person waited for was expected to partake of refreshments. Behind the stairway-door was a small boy kicking off a very small pair of trousers with a degree of reluctance which showed that he also wished to sit up and wait for somebody.

"Say, ma, need I go to bed now!" he exclaimed rather than inquired, starting to pull on the trousers again after he had got one leg free. "He'll want me to hold the lantern for him to take care of the hoss."

"No, no, Taddy," for that was the boy's name, (short for Thaddeus,) "you'll only be in the way, if you set up. Besides, I want to mend your pants."

"You're always wantin' to mend my pants!" complained the youngster, who seemed to think that it was by no means to do him a favor, but rather to afford herself a gloating pleasure, that Mrs. Ducklow, who had a mania for patching, required the garment to be delivered up to her. "I wish [Pg 258]there wasn't such a thing as pants in the world!"

"Don't talk that way, after all the trouble and expense we've been to to clothe ye!" said the good woman, reprovingly. "Where would you be now, if 't wasn't for me and yer Pa Ducklow?"

"I shouldn't be goin' to bed when I don't want to!" he muttered, just loud enough to be heard.

"You ungrateful child!" said Mrs. Ducklow, not without reason, for Taddy knew very well—at least he was reminded of the fact often enough—that he owed to them his home and all its comforts. "Wouldn't be going to bed when you don't want to! You wouldn't be going to bed when you want to, more likely; for ten to one you wouldn't have a bed to go to. Think of the sitewation you was in when we adopted ye, and then talk that way!"

As this was an unanswerable argument, Taddy contented himself with thrusting a hand into his trousers and recklessly increasing the area of the forthcoming patch. "If she likes to mend so well, let her!" thought he.

"Taddy, are you tearing them pants?" cried Mrs. Ducklow sharply, hearing a sound alarmingly suggestive of cracking threads.

"I was pullin' 'em off," said Taddy. "I never see such mean cloth! can't touch it, but it has to tear.—Say, ma, do ye think he'll bring me home a drum?"

"You'll know in the morning."

"I want to know to-night. He said mabby he would. Say, can't I set up?"

"I'll let ye know whether you can set up, after you've been told so many times!"

So saying, Mrs. Ducklow rose from her chair, laid down her knitting-work, and started for the stairway-door with great energy and a rattan. But Taddy, who perceived retribution approaching, did not see fit to wait for it. He darted up the stairs and crept into his bunk with the lightness and agility of a squirrel.

"I'm a-bed! Say, ma, I'm a-bed!" he cried, eager to save the excellent lady the trouble of ascending the stairs. "I'm 'most asleep a'ready!"

"It 's a good thing for you you be!" said Mrs. Ducklow, gathering up the garment he had left behind the door. "Why, Taddy, how you did tear it! I've a good notion to give ye a smart trouncing now!"

Taddy began to snore, and Mrs. Ducklow concluded that she would not wake him.

"It is mean cloth, as he says!" she exclaimed, examining it by the kerosene lamp. "For my part, I consider it a great misfortin that shoddy was ever invented. Ye can't buy any sort of a ready-made garment for boys now-days but it comes to pieces at the least wear or strain, like so much brown paper."

She was shaping the necessary patch, when the sound of wheels coming into the yard told her that the person so long waited for had arrived.

"That you?" said she, opening the kitchen-door and looking out into the darkness.

"Yes," replied a man's voice.

"Ye want the lantern?"

"No: jest set the lamp in the winder, and I guess I can git along. Whoa!" And the man jumped to the ground.

"Had good luck?" the woman inquired in a low voice.

"I'll tell ye when I come in," was the evasive answer.

"Has he bought me a drum?" bawled Taddy from the chamber-stairs.

"Do you want me to come up there and 'tend to ye?" demanded Mrs. Ducklow.

The boy was not particularly ambitious of enjoying that honor.

"You be still and go to sleep, then, or you'll git drummed!"

And she latched the stairway-door, greatly to the dismay of Master Taddy, who felt that some vast and momentous secret was being kept from him. Overhearing whispered conferences between his adopted parents in the morning, noticing also the cautious glances they cast at him, and the persistency with which they repeatedly sent him away out of sight on slight and absurd pretences, he had gathered a fact and drawn an inference, namely, that a great[Pg 259] purchase was to be made by Mr. Ducklow that day in town, and that, on his return, he (Taddy) was to be surprised by the presentation of what he had long coveted and teased for,—a new drum.

To lie quietly in bed under such circumstances was an act that required more self-control than Master Taddy possessed. Accordingly he stole down stairs and listened, feeling sure, that, if the drum should come in, Mrs. Ducklow, and perhaps Mr. Ducklow himself, would be unable to resist the temptation of thumping it softly to try its sound.

Mrs. Ducklow was busy taking her husband's supper out of the oven, where it had been keeping warm for him, pouring hot water into the teapot, and giving the last touches to the table. Then came the familiar grating noise of a boot on the scraper. Mrs. Ducklow stepped quickly to open the door for Mr. Ducklow. Taddy, well aware that he was committing an indiscretion, but inspired by the wild hope of seeing a new drum come into the kitchen, ventured to unlatch the stairway-door, open it a crack, and peep.

Mr. Ducklow entered, bringing a number of parcels containing purchases from the stores, but no drum visible to Taddy.

"Did you buy?" whispered Mrs. Ducklow, relieving him of his load.

Mr. Ducklow pointed mysteriously at the stairway-door, lifting his eyebrows interrogatively.

"Taddy?" said Mrs. Ducklow. "Oh, he's abed,—though I never in my life had such a time to git him off out of the way; for he'd somehow got possessed with the idee that you was to buy something, and he wanted to set up and see what it was."

"Strange how children will ketch things sometimes, best ye can do to prevent!" said Mr. Ducklow.

"But did ye buy?"

"You better jest take them matches and put 'em out o' the way, fust thing, 'fore ye forgit it. Matches are dangerous to have layin' around, and I never feel safe till they're safe."

And Mr. Ducklow hung up his hat, and laid his overcoat across a chair in the next room, with a carefulness and deliberation exhausting to the patience of good Mrs. Ducklow, and no less trying to that of Master Taddy, who was waiting to hear the important question answered.

"Come!" said she, after hastily disposing of the matches, "what's the use of keeping me in suspense? Did ye buy?"

"Where did ye put 'em?" asked Mr. Ducklow, taking down the bootjack.

"In the little tin pail, where we always keep 'em, of course! Where should I put 'em?"

"You needn't be cross! I asked, 'cause I didn't hear ye put the cover on. I don't believe ye did put the cover on, either; and I sha'n't be easy till ye do."

Mrs. Ducklow returned to the pantry; and her husband, pausing a moment, leaning over a chair, heard the cover go on the tin pail with a click and a clatter which betrayed, that, if ever there was an angry and impatient cover, that was.

"Anybody been here to-day?" Mr. Ducklow inquired, pressing the heel of his right boot in the jack, and steadying the toe under a round of the chair.

"No!" replied Mrs. Ducklow.

"Ye been anywhere?"


"Where?" mildly inquired Mr. Ducklow.

"No matter!" said Mrs. Ducklow, with decided ill-temper.

Mr. Ducklow drew a deep sigh, as he turned and looked upon her.

"Wal, you be about the most uncomf'table woman ever I see!" he said, with a dark and dissatisfied countenance.

"If you can't answer my question, I don't see why I need take the trouble to answer yours,"—and Mrs. Ducklow returned with compressed lips to her patching. "Yer supper is ready; ye can eat it when ye please."

"I was answerin' your question as fast as I could," said her husband, in a[Pg 260] tone of excessive mildness, full of sorrow and discouragement.

"I haven't seen any signs of your answering it!"

And the housewife's fingers stitched away energetically at the patch.

"Wal, wal! ye don't see everything!"

Mr. Ducklow, having already removed one boot, drew gently on the other. As it came off, something fell out on the floor. He picked it up, and handed it with a triumphant smile to Mrs. Ducklow.

"Oh, indeed! is this the"——

She was radiant. Her hands dropped their work, and opened the package, which consisted of a large, unsealed envelope and folded papers within. These she unfolded and examined with beaming satisfaction.

"But what made ye carry 'em in yer boot so?"

"To tell the truth," said Mr. Ducklow, in a suppressed voice, "I was afraid o' bein' robbed. I never was so afraid o' bein' robbed in my life! So, jest as I got clear o' the town, I took it out o' my pocket," (meaning, not the town, but the envelope containing the papers,) "an' tucked it down my boot-leg. Then, all the way home, I was scaret when I was ridin' alone, an' still more scaret when I heard anybody comin' after me. You see, it's jest like so much money."

And he arranged the window-curtain in a manner to prevent the sharpest-eyed burglar from peeping in and catching a glimpse of the papers.

He neglected to secure the stairway-door, however. There, in his hiding-place behind it, stood Taddy, shivering in his shirt, but peeping and listening in a fever of curiosity which nothing could chill. His position was such that he could not see Mr. Ducklow or the documents, and his mind was left free to revel in the most daring fancies regarding the wonderful purchase. He had not yet fully given up the idea of a new drum, although the image, which vaguely shaped itself in his mind, of Mr. Ducklow "tucking it down his boot-leg," presented difficulties.

"This is the bond, you see," Mr. Ducklow explained; "and all these little things that fill out the sheet are the cowpons. You have only to cut off one o' these, take it to the bank when it is due, and draw the interest on it in gold!"

"But suppose you lose the bonds?" queried Mrs. Ducklow, regarding, not without awe, the destructible paper representatives of so much property.

"That's what I've been thinkin' of; that's what's made me so narvous. I supposed 't would be like so much railroad stock, good for nothin' to nobody but the owner, and somethin' that could be replaced, if I lost it. But the man to the bank said no,—'t was like so much currency, and I must look out for it. That's what filled all the bushes with robbers as I come along the road. And I tell ye, 't was a relief to feel I'd got safe home at last; though I don't see now how we're to keep the plaguy things so we sha'n't feel uneasy about 'em."

"Nor I neither!" exclaimed Mrs. Ducklow, turning pale. "Suppose the house should take fire! or burglars should break in! I don't wonder you was so particular about the matches! Dear me! I shall be frightened to death! I'd no idee 't was to be such dangerous property! I shall be thinking of fires and burglars!—O-h-h-h!"

The terrified woman uttered a wild scream; for just then a door flew suddenly open, and there burst into the room a frightful object, making a headlong plunge at the precious papers. Mr. Ducklow sprang back against the table set for his supper with a force that made everything jar. Then he sprang forward again, instinctively reaching to grasp and save from plunder the coupon bonds. But by this time both he and his wife had become aware of the nature of the intrusion.

"Thaddeus!" ejaculated the lady. "How came you here? Get up! Give an account of yourself!"

Taddy, whose abrupt appearance in the room had been altogether involuntary, was quite innocent of any predatory[Pg 261] designs. Leaning forward farther and farther, in the ardor of discovery, he had, when too late to save himself, experienced the phenomenon of losing his balance, and pitched from the stairway into the kitchen with a violence that threw the door back against the wall with a bang, and laid him out, a sprawling figure, in scanty, ghostly apparel, on the floor.

"What ye want? What ye here for?" sternly demanded Mr. Ducklow, snatching him up by one arm, and shaking him.

"Don't know," faltered the luckless youngster, speaking the truth for once in his life. "Fell."

"Fell! How did you come to fall? What are you out o' bed for?"

"Don't know,"—snivelling and rubbing his eyes. "Didn't know I was."

"Got up without knowing it! That's a likely story! How could that happen, you Sir?" said Mrs. Ducklow.

"Don't know, 'thout 't was I got up in my sleep," said Taddy, who had on rare occasions been known to indulge in moderate somnambulism.

"In your sleep!" said Mr. Ducklow, incredulously.

"I guess so. I was dreamin' you brought me home a new drum,—tucked down yer—boot-leg," faltered Taddy.

"Strange!" said Mr. Ducklow, with a glance at his wife. "But how could I bring a drum in my boot-leg?"

"Don't know, 'thout it's a new kind, one that'll shet up."

Taddy looked eagerly round, but saw nothing new or interesting, except some curious-looking papers which Mrs. Ducklow was hastily tucking into an envelope.

"Say, did ye, pa?"

"Did I? Of course I didn't! What nonsense! But how came ye down here? Speak the truth!"

"I dreamt you was blowin' it up, and I sprung to ketch it, when, fust I knowed, I was on the floor, like a thousan' o' brick! 'Mos' broke my knee-pans!" whimpered Taddy. "Say, didn't ye bring me home nothin'? What's them things?"

"Nothin' little boys know anything about. Now run back to bed again. I forgot to buy you a drum to-day, but I'll git ye somethin' next time I go to town,—if I think on 't."

"So ye always say, but ye never think on't!" complained Taddy.

"There, there! Somebody's comin'! What a lookin' object you are, to be seen by visitors!"

There was a knock. Taddy disappeared. Mr. Ducklow turned anxiously to his wife, who was hastily hiding the bonds in her palpitating bosom.

"Who can it be this time o' night?"

"Sakes alive!" said Mrs. Ducklow, in whose mind burglars were uppermost, "I wish, whoever 't is, they'd keep away! Go to the door," she whispered, resuming her work.

Mr. Ducklow complied; and, as the visitor entered, there she sat plying her needle as industriously and demurely as though neither bonds nor burglars had ever been heard of in that remote rural district.

"Ah, Miss Beswick, walk in!" said Mr. Ducklow.

A tall, spare, somewhat prim-looking female of middle age, with a shawl over her head, entered, nodding a curt and precise good-evening, first to Mr. Ducklow, then to his wife.

"What, that you?" said Mrs. Ducklow, with curiosity and surprise. "Where on 'arth did you come from? Set her a chair, why don't ye, father?"

Mr. Ducklow, who was busy slipping his feet into a pair of old shoes, hastened to comply with the hospitable suggestion.

"I've only jest got home," said he, apologetically, as if fearful lest the fact of his being caught in his stocking-feet should create suspicions: so absurdly careful of appearances some people become, when they have anything to conceal. "Jest had time to kick my boots off, you see. Take a seat."

"Thank ye. I s'pose you'll think I'm wild, makin' calls at this hour!"

And Miss Beswick seated herself, with an angular movement, and held herself prim and erect in the chair.[Pg 262]

"Why, no, I don't," said Mrs. Ducklow, civilly; while at the same time she did think it very extraordinary and unwarrantable conduct on the part of her neighbor to be walking the streets and entering the dwellings of honest people, alone, after eight o'clock, on a dark night.

"You're jest in time to set up and take a cup o' tea with my husband": an invitation she knew would not be accepted, and which she pressed accordingly. "Ye better, Miss Beswick, if only to keep him company. Take yer things, won't ye?"

"No, I don't go a-visitin', to take off my things and drink tea, this time o' night!"

Miss Beswick condescended, however, to throw back the shawl from her head, exposing to view a long, sinewy neck, the strong lines of which ran up into her cheeks, and ramified into wrinkles, giving severity to her features. At the same time emerged from the fold of the garment, as it were, a knob, a high, bare poll, so lofty and narrow, and destitute of the usual ornament, natural or false, that you involuntarily looked twice, to assure yourself that it was really that lovely and adorable object, a female head.

"I've jest run over to tell you the news," said Miss Beswick.

"Nothing bad, I hope?" said Mrs. Ducklow. "No robbers in town? for massy sake!" And Mrs. Ducklow laid her hand on her bosom, to make sure that the bonds were still there.

"No, good news,—good for Sophrony, at any rate!"

"Ah! she has heard from Reuben?"

"No!" The severity of the features was modified by a grim smile. "No!" and the little, high knob of a head was shaken expressively.

"What then?" Ducklow inquired.

"Reuben has come home!" The words were spoken triumphantly, and the keen gray eyes of the elderly maiden twinkled.

"Come home! home!" echoed both Ducklows at once, in great astonishment.

Miss Beswick assured them of the fact.

"My! how you talk!" exclaimed Mrs. Ducklow. "I never dreamed of such a——When did he come?"

"About an hour 'n' a half ago. I happened to be in to Sophrony's. I had jest gone over to set a little while with her and keep her company,—as I've often done, she seemed so lonely, livin' there with her two children alone in the house, her husband away so. Her friends ha'n't been none too attentive to her in his absence, she thinks,—and so I think."

"I—I hope you don't mean that as a hint to us, Miss Beswick," said Mrs. Ducklow.

"You can take it as such, or not, jest as you please! I leave it to your own consciences. You know best whether you have done your duty to Sophrony and her family, whilst her husband has been off to the war; and I sha'n't set myself up for a judge. You never had any boys of your own, and so you adopted Reuben, jest as you have lately adopted Thaddeus; and I s'pose you think you've done well by him, jest as you think you will do by Thaddeus, if he's a good boy, and stays with you till he's twenty-one."

"I hope no one thinks or says the contrary, Miss Beswick!" said Mr. Ducklow, gravely, with flushed face.

"There may be two opinions on that subject!" said Miss Beswick, with a slight toss of the head, setting that small and irregular spheroid at a still loftier and more imposing altitude. "Reuben came to you when he was jest old enough to be of use about the house and on the farm; and if I recollect right, you didn't encourage idleness in him long. You didn't give his hands much chance to do 'some mischief still'! No, indeed! nobody can accuse you of that weakness!" And the skin of the wrinkled features tightened with a terrible grin.

"Nobody can say we ever overworked the boy, or ill used him in any way!" exclaimed Mrs. Ducklow, excitedly.[Pg 263]

"No! I don't say it! But this I'll say, for I've had it in my mind ever since Sophrony was left alone,—I couldn't help seein' and feelin', and, now you've set me a-talkin', I may as well speak out. Reuben was always a good boy, and a willin' boy, as you yourselves must allow; and he paid his way from the first."

"I don't know about that!" interposed Mr. Ducklow, taking up his knife and fork, and dropping them again, in no little agitation. "He was a good and willin' boy, as you say; but the expense of clothin' him and keepin' him to school"——

"He paid his way from the first!" repeated Miss Beswick, sternly. "You kept him to school winters, when he did more work 'fore and after school than any other boy in town. He worked all the time summers; and soon he was as good as a hired man to you. He never went to school a day after he was fifteen; and from that time he was better 'n any hired man, for he was faithful, and took an interest, and looked after and took care of things, as no hired man ever would or could do, as I've heard you yourself say, Mr. Ducklow!"

"Reuben was a good, faithful boy: I never denied that! I never denied that!"

"Well, he stayed with you till he was twenty-one,—did ye a man's service for the last five or six years; then you giv' him what you called a settin' out,—a new suit o' clothes, a yoke of oxen, some farmin'-tools, and a hundred dollars in money! You, with yer thousands, Mr. Ducklow, giv' him a hundred dollars in money!"

"That was only a beginnin', only a beginnin', I've always said!" declared the red-flushed farmer.

"I know it; and I s'pose you'll continner to say so till the day of yer death! Then may-be you'll remember Reuben in yer will. That's the way! Keep puttin' him off as long as you can possibly hold on to your property yourself,—then, when you see you've got to go and leave it, give him what you ought to 've gi'n him years before. There a'n't no merit in that kind o' justice, did ye know it, Mr. Ducklow! I tell ye, what belongs to Reuben belongs to him now,—not ten or twenty year hence, when you've done with it, and he most likely won't need it. A few hundred dollars now'll be more useful to him than all your thousands will be by-and-by. After he left you, he took the Moseley farm; everybody respected him, everybody trusted him; he was doin' well, everybody said; then he married Sophrony, and a good and faithful wife she's been to him; and finally he concluded to buy the farm, which you yourself said was a good idee, and encouraged him in 't."

"So it was; Reuben used judgment in that, and he'd have got along well enough, if 't hadn't been for the war," said Mr. Ducklow; while his wife sat dumb, not daring to measure tongues with their vigorous-minded and plain-speaking neighbor.

"Jest so!" said Miss Beswick. "If it hadn't been for the war! He had made his first payments, and would have met the rest as they came due, no doubt of it. But the war broke out, and he left all to sarve his country. Says he, 'I'm an able-bodied man, and I ought to go,' says he. His business was as important, and his wife and children was as dear to him, as anybody's; but he felt it his duty to go, and he went. They didn't give no such big bounties to volunteers then as they do now, and it was a sacrifice to him every way when he enlisted. But says he, 'I'll jest do my duty,' says he, 'and trust to Providence for the rest.' You didn't discourage his goin',—and you didn't incourage him, neither, the way you'd ought to."

"My! what on 'arth, Miss Beswick!—--Seems to me you're takin' it upon yourself to say things that are uncalled for, to say the least! I can't understand what should have sent you here, to tell me what's my business, and what a'n't, this fashion! As if I didn't know my own duty and intentions!" And Mr. Ducklow poured his tea into his plate, and buttered his bread with a teaspoon.[Pg 264]

"I s'pose she's been talking with Sophrony, and she has sent her to interfere."

"Mrs. Ducklow, you don't s'pose no such thing! You know Sophrony wouldn't send anybody on such an arrant; and you know I a'n't a person to do such arrants, or be made a cat's-paw of by anybody. I a'n't handsome, not partic'larly; and I a'n't wuth my thousands, like some folks I know; and I never got married, for the best reason in the world,—them that offered themselves I wouldn't have, and them I would have had didn't offer themselves; and I a'n't so good a Christian as I might be, I'm aware. I know my lacks as well as anybody; but bein' a spy and a cat's-paw a'n't one of 'em. I don't do things sly and underhand. If I've anything to say to anybody, I go right to 'em, and say it to their face,—sometimes perty blunt, I allow. But I don't wait to be sent by other folks. I've a mind o' my own, and my own way o' doin' things,—that you know as well as anybody. So, when you say you s'pose Sophrony or anybody else sent me here to interfere, I say you s'pose what a'n't true, and what you know a'n't true, Mrs. Ducklow!"

Mrs. Ducklow was annihilated; and the visitor went on.

"As for you, Mr. Ducklow, I haven't said you don't know your own duty and intentions. I've no doubt you think you do, at any rate."

"Very well! then why can't you leave me to do what I think 's my duty? Everybody ought to have that privilege."

"You think so?"

"Sartin, Miss Beswick; don't you?"

"Why, then, I ought to have the same."

"Of course; nobody in this house'll prevent your doin' what you're satisfied 's your duty."

"Thank ye! much obleeged!" said Miss Beswick, with gleaming, gristly features. "That's all I ask. Now I'm satisfied it's my duty to tell ye what I've been tellin' ye, and what I'm goin' to tell ye: that's my duty. And then it'll be your duty to do what you think 's right. That's plain, a'n't it?"

"Wal, wal!" said Mr. Ducklow, discomfited; "I can't hender yer talkin', I s'pose; though it seems a man ought to have a right to peace and quiet in his own house."

"Yes, and in his own conscience too!" said Miss Beswick. "And if you'll hearken to me now, I promise you'll have peace and quiet in your conscience, and in your house too, such as you never have had yit. I s'pose you know your great fault, don't ye? Graspin',—that's your fault, that's your besettin' sin, Mr. Ducklow. You used to give it as an excuse for not helpin' Reuben more, that you had your daughter to provide for. Well, your daughter has got married; she married a rich man,—you looked out for that,—and she's provided for, fur as property can provide for any one. Now, without a child in the world to feel anxious about, you keep layin' up and layin' up, and 'll continner to lay up, I s'pose, till ye die, and leave a great fortin' to your daughter, that already has enough, and jest a pittance to Reuben and Thaddeus."

"No, no, Miss Beswick! you're wrong, you're wrong, Miss Beswick! I mean to do the handsome thing by both on 'em."

"Mean to! ye mean to! That's the way ye flatter yer conscience, and cheat yer own soul. Why don't ye do what ye mean to do to once, and make sure on 't? That's the way to git the good of your property. I tell ye, the time's comin' when the recollection of havin' done a good action will be a greater comfort to ye than all the property in the world. Then you'll look back, and say, 'Why didn't I do this and do that with my money, when 't was in my power, 'stead of hoardin' up and hoardin' up for others to spend after me?' Now, as I was goin' to say, ye didn't discourage Reuben's enlistin', and ye didn't incourage him the way ye might. You ought to 've said to him, 'Go, Reuben, if ye see it to be yer duty; and, as fur as money goes,[Pg 265] ye sha'n't suffer for 't. I've got enough for all on us; and I'll pay yer debts, if need be, and see 't yer fam'ly 's kep' comf'table while ye're away.' But that's jest what ye didn't say, and it's jest what ye didn't do. All the time Reuben's been sarvin' his country, he's had his debts and his family expenses to worry him; and you know it's been all Sophrony could do, by puttin' forth all her energies, and strainin' every narve, to keep herself and children from goin' hungry and ragged. You've helped 'em a little, now and then, in driblets, it's true; but, dear me!" exclaimed Miss Beswick; and she smote her hands, palms downwards, upon her lap, with a look and gesture which signified that words utterly failed to express her feelings on the subject.

Mrs. Ducklow, who, since her annihilation, had scarcely ventured to look up, sat biting her lips, drawing breaths of suppressed anger and impatience, and sewing the patch to the trousers and to her own apron under them. There was an awful silence, broken only by the clock ticking, and Mr. Ducklow lifting his knife and fork, and letting them fall again. At last he forced himself to speak.

"Wal, you've read us a pretty smart lectur', Miss Beswick, I must say! I can't consaive what should make ye take such an interest in our affairs; but it's very kind in ye,—very kind, to be sure!"

"Take an interest! Haven't I seen Sophrony's struggles with them children? And haven't I seen Reuben come home this very night, a sick man, with a broken constitution, and no prospect before him but to give up his farm, lose all he has paid, and be thrown upon the charities of the world with his wife and children? And if the charities of friends are so cold, what can he expect of the charities of the world? Take an interest! I wish you took half as much! Here I've sot half an hour, and you haven't thought to ask how Reuben appeared, or anything about him!"

"May-be there's a good reason for that, Miss Beswick. 'Twas on my lips to ask half a dozen times; but you talked so fast, you wouldn't give me a chance."

"Well, I'm glad you've got some excuse, though a poor one!" said Miss Beswick.

"How is Reuben?" Mrs. Ducklow meekly inquired.

"All broken to pieces,—a mere shadder of what he was. He's had his old wound troublin' him agin; then he's had the fever, that came within one of takin' him out o' the world. He was in the hospitals, ye know, for two months or more; but finally the doctors see 't his only chance was to be sent home, weak as he was. A sergeant that was comin' on brought him all the way, and took him straight home; and that's the reason he got along so sudden and unexpected, even to Sophrony. Oh, if you could seen their meetin', as I did! then you wouldn't sneer at my takin' an interest!" And Miss Beswick, strong-minded as she was, found it necessary to make use of her handkerchief. "I didn't stop only to help put him to bed, and fix things a little; then I left 'em alone, and run over to tell ye. It's a pity you didn't know he was in town when you was there to-day, so as to bring him home with ye. But I s'pose you had your investments to look after. Come, now, Mr. Ducklow, how many thousan' dollars have you invested, since Reuben's been off to the war, and his folks have been sufferin' to home? You may have been layin' up hundreds, or even thousands, that way, this very day, for aught I know. But let me tell ye, you won't git no good of such property,—it'll only be a cuss to ye,—till you do the right thing by Reuben. Mark my word!"

There was another long silence.

"You a'n't going, be ye Miss Beswick?" said Mrs. Ducklow,—for the visitor had arisen. "What's yer hurry?"

"No hurry at all; but I've done my arrant and said my say, and may as well[Pg 266] be goin'. Good night. Good night, Mr. Ducklow."

And Miss Beswick, pulling her shawl over her head, stalked out of the house like some tall, gaunt spectre, leaving the Ducklows to recover as best they could from the consternation into which they had been thrown by her coming.

"Did you ever?" said Mrs. Ducklow, gaining courage to speak after the visitor was out of hearing.

"She's got a tongue!" said Mr. Ducklow.

"Strange she should speak of your investing money to-day! D' ye s'pose she knows?"

"I don't see how she can know." And Mr. Ducklow paced the room in deep trouble. "I've been careful not to give a hint on 't to anybody, for I knew jest what folks would say: 'If Ducklow has got so much money to dispose of, he'd better give Reuben a lift.' I know how folks talk."

"Coming here to browbeat us!" exclaimed Mrs. Ducklow. "I wonder ye didn't be a little more plain with her, father! I wouldn't have sot and been dictated to as tamely as you did!"

"You wouldn't? Then why did ye? She dictated to you as much as she did to me; and you scurce opened your head; you didn't dars' to say yer soul was your own!"

"Yes, I did, I"——.

"You ventur'd to speak once, and she shet ye up quicker 'n lightnin'! Now tell about you wouldn't have sot and been dictated to like a tame noodle, as I did!"

"I didn't say a tame noodle."

"Yes, ye did. I might have answered back sharp enough, but I was expectin' you to speak. Men don't like to dispute with women."

"That's your git-off," said Mrs. Ducklow, trembling with vexation. "You was jest as much afraid of her as I was. I never see ye so cowed in all my life."

"Cowed! I wasn't cowed, neither. How unreasonable, now, for you to cast all the blame on to me!"

And Mr. Ducklow, his features contracted into a black scowl, took his boots from the corner.

"Ye ha'n't got to go out, have ye?" said Mrs. Ducklow. "I shouldn't think you'd put on yer boots jest to step to the barn and see to the hoss."

"I'm goin' over to Reuben's."

"To Reuben's! Not to-night, father!"

"Yes, I think I better. He and Sophrony'll know we heard of his gittin' home, and they're enough inclined a'ready to feel we neglect 'em. Haven't ye got somethin' ye can send?"

"I don't know,"—curtly. "I've scurce ever been over to Sophrony's, but I've carried her a pie or cake or something; and mighty little thanks I got for it, as it turns out!"

"Why didn't ye say that to Miss Beswick, when she was runnin' us so hard about our never doin' anything for 'em?"

"'T wouldn't have done no good; I knew jest what she'd say. 'What's a pie or a cake now and then?'—that's jest the reply she'd have made.—Dear me! what have I been doing?"

Mrs. Ducklow, rising, had but just discovered that she had stitched the patch and the trousers to her apron.

"So much for Miss Beswick!" she exclaimed, untying the apron-strings, and flinging the united garments spitefully down upon a chair. "I do wish such folks would mind their own business and stay to home!"

"You've got the bonds safe?" said Mr. Ducklow, putting on his waistcoat.

"Yes; but I won't engage to keep 'em safe. They make me as narvous as can be. I'm afraid to be left alone in the house with 'em. Here, you take 'em."

"Don't be foolish. What harm can possibly happen to them or you while I'm away? You don't s'pose I want to lug them around with me wherever I go, do ye?"

"I'm sure it's no great lug. I s'pose you're afraid to go acrost the fields alone with 'em in yer pocket. What in the world we're going to do with 'em I don't see. If we go out, we can't take 'em with us, for fear of losing 'em, or of being robbed; and we sha'n't dare[Pg 267] to leave 'em to home, fear the house'll burn up or git broke into."

"We can hide 'em where no burglar can find 'em," said Mr. Ducklow.

"Yes, and where nobody else can find 'em, neither, provided the house burns and neighbors come in to save things. I don't know but it'll be about as Miss Beswick said: we sha'n't take no comfort with property we ought to make over to Reuben."

"Do you think it ought to be made over to Reuben? If you do, it's new to me!"

"No, I don't!" replied Mrs. Ducklow, decidedly. "I guess we better put 'em in the clock-case for to-night, hadn't we?"

"Jest where they'd be discovered, if the house is robbed! No: I've an idee. Slip 'em under the settin'-room carpet. Let me take 'em: I can fix a place right here by the side of the door."

With great care and secrecy the bonds were deposited between the carpet and the floor, and a chair set over them.

"What noise was that?" said the farmer, starting.

"Thaddeus," cried Mrs. Ducklow, "is that you?"

It was Thaddeus, indeed, who, awaking from a real dream of the drum this time, and, hearing conversation in the room below, had once more descended the stairs to listen. What were the old people hiding there under the carpet? It must be those curious things in the envelope. And what were those things, about which so much mystery seemed necessary? Taddy was peeping and considering, when he heard his name called. He would have glided back to bed again, but Mrs. Ducklow, who sprang to the stairway-door, was too quick for him.

"What do you want now?" she demanded.

"I—I want you to scratch my back," said Taddy.

As he had often come to her with this innocent request, after undressing for bed, he did not see why the excuse would not pass as readily as the previous one of somnambulism. But Mrs. Ducklow was in no mood to be trifled with.

"I'll scratch your back for ye!" And seizing her rattan, she laid it smartly on the troublesome part, to the terror and pain of poor Taddy, who concluded that too much of a good thing was decidedly worse than nothing. "There, you Sir, that's a scratching that 'll last ye for one while!"

And giving him two or three parting cuts, not confined to the region of the back, but falling upon the lower latitudes, which they marked like so many geographical parallels, she dismissed him with a sharp injunction not to let himself be seen or heard again that night.

Taddy obeyed, and, crying himself to sleep, dreamed that he was himself a drum, and that Mrs. Ducklow beat him.

"Father!" called Mrs. Ducklow to her husband, who was at the barn, "do you know what time it is? It's nine o'clock! I wouldn't think of going over there to-night; they'll be all locked up, and abed and asleep, like as not."

"Wal, I s'pose I must do as you say," replied Mr. Ducklow, glad of an excuse not to go,—Miss Beswick's visit having left him in extremely low spirits.

Accordingly, after bedding down the horse and fastening the barn, he returned to the kitchen; and soon the prosperous couple retired to rest.

"Why, how res'less you be!" exclaimed Mrs. Ducklow, in the middle of the night. "What's the reason ye can't sleep?"

"I don't know," groaned Mr. Ducklow. "I can't help thinkin' o' Miss Beswick. I never was so worked at any little thing."

"Well, well! forget it, father; and do go to sleep!"

"I feel I ought to have gone over to Reuben's! And I should have gone, if 't hadn't been for you!"

"Now how unreasonable to blame me!" said Mrs. Ducklow. "Ye might have gone; I only reminded ye how late it was."

Mr. Ducklow groaned, and turned over. He tried to forget Miss Beswick,[Pg 268] Reuben, and the bonds, and at last he fell asleep.

"Father!" whispered Mrs. Ducklow, awaking him.

"What's the matter?"

"I think—I'm pretty sure—hark! I heard something sounded like somebody gitting into the kitchen winder!"

"It's your narvousness." Yet Mr. Ducklow listened for further indications of burglary. "Why can't ye be quiet and go to sleep, as you said to me?"

"I'm sure I heard something! Anybody might have looked through the blinds and seen us putting—you know—under the carpet."

"Nonsense! 't a'n't at all likely."

But Mr. Ducklow was more alarmed than he was willing to confess. He succeeded in quieting his wife's apprehensions; but at the same time the burden of solicitude and wakefulness seemed to pass from her mind only to rest upon his own. She soon after fell asleep; but he lay awake, hearing burglars in all parts of the house for an hour longer.

"What now?" suddenly exclaimed Mrs. Ducklow, starting up in bed.

"I thought I might as well git up and satisfy myself," replied her husband, in a low, agitated voice.

He had risen, and was groping his way to the kitchen.

"Is there anything?" she inquired, after listening long with chilling blood, expecting at each moment to hear him knocked down or throttled.

He made no reply, but presently came gliding softly back again.

"I can't find nothin'. But I never in all my life heard the floors creak so! I could have sworn there was somebody walkin' over 'em!"

"I guess you're a little excited, a'n't ye?"

"No,—I got over that; but I did hear noises!"

Mr. Ducklow, returning to his pillow, dismissed his fears, and once more composed his mind for slumber. But the burden of which he had temporarily relieved his wife now returned with redoubled force to the bosom of that virtuous lady. It seemed as if there was only a certain amount of available sleep in the house, and that, when one had it, the other must go without; while at the same time a swarm of fears perpetually buzzed in and out of the mind, whose windows wakefulness left open.

"Father!" said Mrs. Ducklow, giving him a violent shake.

"Hey? what?"—arousing from his first sound sleep.

"Don't you smell something burning?"

Ducklow snuffed; Mrs. Ducklow snuffed; they sat up in bed, and snuffed vivaciously in concert.

"No,—I can't say I do. Did you?"

"Jest as plain as ever I smelt anything in my life! But I don't so"—snuff, snuff—"not quite so distinct now."

"Seems to me I do smell somethin'," said Mr. Ducklow, imagination coming to his aid. "It can't be the matches, can it?"

"I thought of the matches, but I certainly covered 'em up tight."

They snuffed again,—first one, then the other,—now a series of quick, short snuffs, then one long, deep snuff, then a snuff by both together, as if by uniting their energies, like two persons pulling at a rope, they might accomplish what neither was equal to singly.

"Good heavens!" exclaimed Mr. Ducklow.

"Why, what, father?"

"It's Thaddeus! He's been walkin' in his sleep. That's what we heard. And now he's got the matches and set the house afire!"

He bounded out of bed; he went stumbling over the chairs in the kitchen, and clattering among the tins in the pantry, and rushing blindly and wildly up the kitchen stairs, only to find the matches all right, Taddy fast asleep, and no indications anywhere, either to eye or nostril, of anything burning.

"'Twas all your imagination, mother!"

"My imagination! You was jest as frightened as I was. I'm sure I can't[Pg 269] tell what it was I smelt; I can't smell it now. Did you feel for the—you know what?"

Mrs. Ducklow seemed to think there were evil ones listening, and it was dangerous to mention by name what was uppermost in the minds of both.

"I wish you would jest put your hand and see if they're all right; for I've thought several times I heard somebody taking on 'em out."

Mr. Ducklow had been troubled by similar fancies; so, getting down on his knees, he felt in the dark for the bonds.

"Good gracious!" he ejaculated.

"What now?" cried Mrs. Ducklow. "They a'n't gone, be they? You don't say they're gone!"

"Sure 's the world!—No, here they be! I didn't feel in the right place."

"How you did frighten me! My heart almost hopped out of my mouth!" Indeed, the shock was sufficient to keep the good woman awake the rest of the night.

Daylight the next morning dissipated their doubts, and made both feel that they had been the victims of unnecessary and foolish alarms.

"I hope ye won't git so worked up another night," said Mr. Ducklow. "It's no use. We might live in the house a hundred years, and never hear of a robber or a fire. Ye only excite yerself, and keep me awake."

"I should like to know if you didn't git excited, and rob me of my sleep jest as much as I did you!" retorted the indignant housewife.

"You began it; you fust put it into my head. But never mind; it can't be helped now. Le' 's have breakfast as soon as ye can; then I'll run over and see Reuben."

"Why not harness up, and let me ride over with ye?"

"Very well; mabby that'll be the best way.—Come, Taddy! ye must wake up! Fly round! You'll have lots o' chores to do this mornin'!"

"What's the matter 'th my breeches?" snarled Taddy. "Some plaguy thing 's stuck to 'em!"

It was Mrs. Ducklow's apron, trailing behind him at half-mast,—at sight of which, and of Taddy turning round and round to look at it, like a kitten in pursuit of her own tail, Ducklow burst into a loud laugh.

"Wal, wal, mother! you've done it! You're dressed for meetin' now, Taddy!"

"I do declare!" said Mrs. Ducklow, mortified. "I can't, for the life of me, see what there is so very funny about it!" And she hastened to cut short Taddy's trail and her husband's laughter with a pair of scissors.

After breakfast the Ducklows set off in the one-horse wagon, leaving Taddy to take care of the house during their absence. That each felt secretly uneasy about the coupon bonds cannot be denied; but, after the experiences of the night and the recriminations of the morning, they were unwilling to acknowledge their fears even to themselves, and much less to each other; so the precious papers were left hidden under the carpet.

"Safe enough, in all conscience!" said Mr. Ducklow.

"Taddy! Taddy! now mind!" Mrs. Ducklow repeated for the twentieth time. "Don't you leave the house, and don't you touch the matches nor the fire, and don't go to ransacking the rooms neither. You won't, will ye?"

"No 'm," answered Taddy, also for the twentieth time,—secretly resolved, all the while, to take advantage of their absence, and discover, if possible, what Mr. Ducklow brought home last night in his boot-leg.

The Ducklows had intended to show their zeal and affection by making Reuben an early visit. They were somewhat chagrined, therefore, to find several neighbors already arrived to pay their respects to the returned soldier. The fact that Miss Beswick was among the number did not serve greatly to heighten their spirits.

"I've as good a notion to turn round and go straight home again as ever I had to eat!" muttered Mrs. Ducklow.

"It's too late now," said her husband, advancing with a show of confidence[Pg 270] and cordiality he did not feel. "Wal, Reuben! glad to see ye! glad to see ye! This is a joyful day I scurce ever expected to see! Why, ye don't look so sick as I thought ye would! Does he, mother?"

"Dear me!" said Mrs. Ducklow, her woman's nature, and perhaps her old motherly feelings for their adopted son, deeply moved by the sight of his changed and wasted aspect. "I'd no idee he could be so very, so very pale and thin! Had you, Sophrony?"

"I don't know what I thought," said the young wife, standing by, watching her returned volunteer with features surcharged with emotion,—deep suffering and sympathy, suffused and lighted up by love and joy. "I only know I have him now! He has come home! He shall never leave me again,—never!"

"But wasn't it terrible to see him brought home so?" whispered Mrs. Ducklow.

"Yes, it was! But, oh, I was so thankful! I felt the worst was over; and I had him again! I can nurse him now. He is no longer hundreds of miles away, among strangers, where I cannot go to him,—though I should have gone long ago, as you know, if I could have raised the means, and if it hadn't been for the children."

"I—I—Mr. Ducklow would have tried to help you to the means, and I would have taken the children, if we had thought it best for you to go," said Mrs. Ducklow. "But you see now it wasn't best, don't you?"

"Whether it was or not, I don't complain. I am too happy to-day to complain of anything. To see him home again! But I have dreamt so often that he came home, and woke up to find it was only a dream, I'm half afraid now to be as happy as I might be."

"Be as happy as you please, Sophrony!" spoke up Reuben, who had seemed to be listening to Mr. Ducklow's apologies for not coming over the night before, while he was in reality straining his ear to catch every word his wife was saying. He was dressed in his uniform and lying on a lounge, supported by pillows. "I'm just where I want to be, of all places in this world,—or the next world either, I may say; for I can't conceive of any greater heaven than I'm in now. I'm going to get well, too, spite of the doctors. Coming home is the best medicine for a fellow in my condition. Not bad to take, either! Stand here, Ruby, my boy, and let yer daddy look at ye again! To think that's my Ruby, Pa Ducklow! Why, he was a mere baby when I went away!"

"Reuben! Reuben!" entreated the young wife, leaning over him, "you are talking too much. You promised me you wouldn't, you know."

"Well, well, I won't. But when a fellow's heart is chock-full, it's hard to shut down on it sometimes. Don't look so, friends, as if ye pitied me! I a'n't to be pitied. I'll bet there isn't one of ye half as happy as I am at this minute!"

"Here's Miss Beswick, Mother Ducklow," said Sophronia. "Haven't you noticed her?"

"Oh! how do you do, Miss Beswick?" said Mrs. Ducklow, appearing surprised.

"Tryin' to keep out o' the way, and make myself useful," replied Miss Beswick, stiffly.

"I don't know what I should do without her," said Sophronia, as the tall spinster disappeared. "She took right hold and helped me last night; then she came in again the first thing this morning. 'Go to your husband,' says she to me; 'don't leave him a minute. I know he don't want ye out of his sight,—and you don't want to be out of his sight, either; so you 'tend right to him, and I'll do the work. There'll be enough folks comin' in to hender, but I've come in to help,' says she. And here she's been ever since, hard at work; for when Miss Beswick says a thing, there's no use opposing her,—that you know, Mother Ducklow."

"Yes, she likes to have her own[Pg 271] way," said Mrs. Ducklow, with a peculiar pucker.

"It seems she called at the door last night to tell you Reuben had come."

"Called at the door! Didn't she tell you she came in and made us a visit?"

"No, indeed! Did she?"

Mrs. Ducklow concluded, that, if nothing had been said on that subject, she might as well remain silent; so she merely remarked,—

"Oh, yes, a visit,—for her. She a'n't no great hand to make long stops, ye know."

"Only when she's needed," said Sophronia; "then she never thinks of going as long as she sees anything to do. Reuben! you mustn't talk, Reuben!"

"I was saying," remarked Neighbor Jepworth, "it'll be too bad now, if you have to give up this place; but he"——

Sophronia, unseen by her husband, made anxious signs to the speaker to avoid so distressing a topic in the invalid's presence.

"We are not going to worry about that'," she hastened to say. "After we have been favored by Providence so far, and in such extraordinary ways, we think we can afford to trust still further. We have all we can think of and attend to to-day; and the future will take care of itself."

"That's right; that's the way to talk!" said Mr. Ducklow. "Providence 'll take care of ye, you may be sure!"

"I should think you might get Ditson to renew the mortgage," observed Neighbor Ferring. "He can't be hard on you, under such circumstances. And he can't be so foolish as to want the money. There's no security like real estate. If I had money to invest, I wouldn't put it into anything else."

"Nor I," said Mr. Ducklow; "nothin' like real estate!"—with an expression of profound conviction.

"What do you think of Gov'ment bonds?" asked Neighbor Jepworth.

"I don't know." Mr. Ducklow scratched his cheek and wrinkled his brow with an expression of thoughtfulness and candor. "I haven't given much attention to the subject. It may be a patriotic duty to lend to Gov'ment, if one has the funds to spare."

"Yes," said Jepworth, warming. "When we consider that every dollar we lend to Government goes to carry on the war, and put down this cursed Rebellion,——"

"And to pay off the soldiers," put in Reuben, raising himself on his elbow. "Nobody knows the sufferings of soldiers and soldiers' families on account of the Government's inability to pay them off. If that subject was felt and understood as some I know feel and understand it, I'm sure every right-minded man with fifty dollars to spare would make haste to lend it to Uncle Sam. I tell ye, I got a little excited on this subject, coming on in the cars. I heard a gentleman complaining of the Government for not paying off its creditors; he did n't say so much about the soldiers, but he thought contractors ought to have their claims settled at once. At the same time he said he had had twenty thousand dollars lying idle for two months, not knowing what to do with it, but had finally concluded to invest it in railroad stock. 'Have ye any Government stock?' said his friend. 'Not a dollar's worth,' said he; 'I'm afraid of it.' Sick as I was, I couldn't lie and hear that.' And do you know the reason,' said I, 'why Government cannot pay off its creditors? I'll tell ye,' said I. 'It is because it hasn't the money. And it hasn't the money, because such men as you, who have your thousands lying idle, refuse to lend to your country, because you are afraid. That's the extent of your patriotism: you are afraid! What do you think of us who have gone into the war, and been willing to risk everything,—not only our business and our property, but life and limb? I've ruined myself personally,' said I, 'lost my property and my health, to be of service to my country. I don't regret it,—though I should never recover, I shall not regret[Pg 272] it. I'm a tolerably patient, philosophical sort of fellow; but I have n't patience nor philosophy enough to hear such men as you abuse the Government for not doing what it's your duty to assist it in doing.'"

"Good for you, Reuben!" exclaimed Mr. Ducklow, who really felt obliged to the young soldier for placing the previous day's investment in such a strong patriotic light. ("I've only done my duty to Gov'ment, let Miss Beswick say what she will," thought he.) "You wound him up, I guess. Fact, you state the case so well, Reuben, I believe, if I had any funds to spare, I shouldn't hesitate a minute, but go right off and invest in Gov'ment bonds."

"That might be well enough, if you did it from a sense of duty," said Neighbor Ferring, who was something of a croaker, and not much of a patriot "But as an investment, 't would be the wust ye could make."

"Ye think so?" said Mr. Ducklow, with quick alarm.

"Certainly," said Ferring. "Gov'ment 'll repudiate. It 'll have to repudiate. This enormous debt never can be paid. Your interest in gold is a temptation, jest now; but that won't be paid much longer, and then yer bonds won't be wuth any more 'n so much brown paper."

"I—I don't think so," said Mr. Ducklow, who nevertheless turned pale—Ferring gave his opinion in such a positive, oracular way. "I don't believe I should be frightened, even if I had Gov'ment securities in my hands. I wish I had; I really wish I had a good lot o' them bonds! Don't you, Jepworth?"

"They're mighty resky things to have in the house, that's one objection to 'em," replied Jepworth, thus adding breath to Ducklow's already kindled alarm.

"That's so!" said Ferring, emphatically. "I read in the papers almost every day about somebody's having his cowpon bonds stole."

"I should be more afraid of fires," observed Jepworth.

"But there's this to be considered in favor of fires," said Reuben: "If the bonds burn up, they won't have to be paid. So what is your loss is the country's gain."

"But isn't there any—isn't there any remedy?" inquired Ducklow, scarce able to sit in his chair.

"There's no risk at all, if a man subscribes for registered bonds," said Reuben. "They're like railroad stock. But if you have the coupons, you must look out for them."

"Why didn't I buy registered bonds?" said Ducklow to himself. His chair was becoming like a keg of gunpowder with a lighted fuse inserted. The familiar style of expression,—"Your bonds," "your loss," "you must look out,"—used by Ferring and Reuben, was not calculated to relieve his embarrassment. He fancied that he was suspected of owning Government securities, and that these careless phrases were based upon that surmise. He could keep his seat no longer.

"Wal, Reuben! I must be drivin' home, I s'pose. Left everything at loose ends. I was in such a hurry to see ye, and find out if there's anything I can do for ye."

"As for that," said Reuben, "I've got a trunk over in town which couldn't be brought last night. If you will have that sent for, I'll be obliged to ye."

"Sartin! sartin!" And Mr. Ducklow drove away, greatly to the relief of Mrs. Ducklow, who, listening to the alarming conversation, and remembering the bonds under the carpet, and the matches in the pantry, and Taddy's propensity to mischief, felt herself (as she afterwards confessed) "jest ready to fly."

[Pg 273]


It may be that I have never read to the core any one grand, representative book. How, indeed, amid the tumult and toss of our sea-sick life, is one to do so? How, again, while the presses of all literary capitals swarm with books that in one way or another demand attention, shall one do justice to books which are to be read as life is lived,—not in a minute? Only by some hardihood can one pronounce it possible. But if to any great book I have done this justice, it is to that above named.

At the first reading, "Wilhelm Meister," as a whole, was quite opaque to me, while some of the details were unpleasing, and the coolness of tone seemed to betoken coldness of heart; and it was only the observations and aphorisms, scattered like a profusion of pearls through the work, that drew me to it a second time. On a second reading, a year later, I began to see that the characters were representative of permanent classes,—that they were not only "samples to judge of," as Carlyle says, but samples by which to judge of human nature. At a third reading, after another interval, I began to get some glimpse of a total significance. And when, a year later, I took the book with me to the coast of Maine, and lived with it, in-doors and out, for a solid month, this significance came forth clearly, and made that month's reading almost equivalent to a great experience.

It is now nearly ten years, since, chiefly for my own behoof, but also not without an ultimate eye to publication, I drew up a formal statement of that which the book stood for to my mind. Time has added much to that material; for the work steadily grew upon me, and now and then extorted, as it were, notes, special dissertations, word-clutches at the meaning of the whole. And now, taking a hint from the handsome new edition, I propose to smelt this rough ore and send it forth, to fare as it may with the readers of the "Atlantic." The liberal editor allows me two papers of not far from ten pages each, in which to make this statement,—not, one sees, without some tolerant wish that a smaller space had sufficed. But even now I cast aside half my material, and double my labor in seeking brevity for the rest.

The typical history of growth in a human spirit,—"Wilhelm Meister" is that. Can you conceive of a theme more enticing? And this, too, treated by one of the master minds of the world. Why do not we shut up our shops, and leave the streets deserted, till the import of this has been exhausted? Who can afford to pass it by? Precious, indeed, must be his time, who for this has none!

The history, I said, is typical. Botanists picture for us a plant which represents the idea of all vegetable form. Goethe, who led botanists to this central treatment, here takes up growth in a human soul, and proceeds with it in a similar way. He recognizes those spiritual forces which, obscurely or visibly, work in all; he recognizes equally the conditions, inward and outward, under which growth takes place; he depicts these in their advent, their collisions, their interplay, their result.

A spiritual physiology we may name it. He gives not merely the typical form, but also the working processes, and the type of these. Nor does he merely enumerate and describe these, after the manner of science, but pictures them in their total action and final unity. Of such a work, wrought out with so much of penetration and power, one can speak coolly enough only by effort.

But the whole is not yet said. Not only does he delineate the idea of growth in man, but he assumes this as the central use and meaning of the world. "Positive philosophy" will groan. Give it the smelling-bottle, and leave it. Goethe does not deign it even a denial; without pausing to say, he sovereignly assumes, that Nature, as[Pg 274] her supreme function, is the school-mistress of man. For the results enshrined in his spirit, suns shine, worlds wheel, and systems "move in mystic dance, not without song." Through the long toil out of chaos to orderly completion and green fertility, Nature bore in her heart one constant, inspiring hope,—at last to educate a man. To this end are all times and seasons; to this end are government, property, labor, rest, pain, and peace; the world of things and the world of events alike draw meekly near to the crescent soul, and tender to it their total result, saying,—"In thee, only in thee, do we come at length to use."

This, then, is the task at which Goethe toiled for many an earnest year. He will read through world to man, and through all man's fortunes, inward and outward, to the complete constitution and perfect architectures of his spirit. Let him succeed in that, and the word of words for our century and for many centuries is spoken. "Positive philosophy," with complacent sciolism, may still coldly asseverate that the world is a dead congeries of "laws," into whose realm man is cast to take pot-luck in the universe; but we shall know better. The worldling may still find all good and all evil in the mere fortunes of man; we shall see beyond these. The fatalist may persist in regarding limits and conditions as the all in all of life; we shall see them as a foothold for growth. Once that the spirit of man appears as the final recipient and vessel of uses, the orderly emptiness of world-law is filled with a meaning, while the wild welter of man's fortunes and the rigid fixity of his conditions find alike sufficing centre around which their orbit is drawn.

Observe, however, that we have here no piece of system-making. Goethe does not attempt a final scientific theory of existence. He pictures life from this point of view. If you can feel the verity in this picture, you may then feel the same verity in that picture which Another has painted, namely, in life itself.

Observe, once more, that even here life is depicted only from one of its two poles, and that, perhaps, the lesser. The theme is Growth, and this growth is considered as proceeding from definite elements contained in man's being, and proceeding to definite results still contained in his being. "Faust" assumes the opposite pole. Its theme is Destiny. It regards man's life as sweeping down upon him from heights above his thought, and proceeding to ends beyond his imagination. His existence appears as fashioned in essence and end by predestinating power, and the Eternal "takes the responsibility."

The artist must choose his point of view. It is impossible to paint the house at once from the inside and from the outside. "Faust" is properly an epic poem; "Wilhelm Meister" is a prose epic,—and prose, not from lack of metre, but precisely from its point of view. It treats life, not as proceeding from the bosom and moving to the ends of benign Destiny, but as contained in thought, will, character, aspiration, love, and as contingent, rather than eternally predestined, in its result. Much of religious grandeur, therefore,—to the great disgust of Novalis,—it loses; much of economic value it gains. A prose picture: yet even here we read through all else to man, and through all else in man himself to the upbuilding of his spirit. As Goethe reads life, let us see if we can read his book.

We assume, then, his point of view. Growth,—our eyes are given us that we may see this as the end, all else as material and means. Prices and kingdoms may rise or fall; we are not indifferent; but the immortal architectures of man's spirit are priceless, and here the sceptres are indeed held by divine right.

What, now,—every one will hasten to question,—what are the chief forces that induce or regulate growth? What is their typical order in appearance and combination? What is the complete result? To these questions Wilhelm Meister is Goethe's answer.

The first place in the list of producing[Pg 275] forces is given by him to Imagination. He makes Wilhelm describe, with elaborate and lingering detail, a puppet-show which in childhood enchanted him, and whose mechanism he afterwards possessed and managed with enduring fascination. Mariana yawns in listening; the lounging novel-reader will yawn too. But under this tedious triviality, as the reader of stock-novels will deem it, lurks a meaning serious enough to entice all save those who are indeed trivial. It indicates the play-instinct in children as the first fountain of growth. Nature justifies Goethe. How grave and absorbed are children at their play! With what touching implicit faith do they assume this as something that pays for its costs! Crabtree scowls; Moneybags pooh-poohs; but Nature is too strong for them, and the children play on. It is significant. In truth, a child's faculty for play, that is, for imaginative engagement, is the prime measure of his capacity for growth. Follow his play, you who would know him,—follow it with studious, sympathetic eye; for in the range and depth of imaginative interest it displays you read the promise of his being. The child that is not fascinated by his fancies is of a meagre nature, and will come to nothing great.

Why is imagination so concerned in growth? That I call a delightful question, and could run with rejoicing to answer it; but here, not without effort, I must pass it by. There is more to be said upon it than we have space for now: some other day. Enough now that imagination is so concerned with growth; enough that Nature, by the being of every child born into the world, makes oath to the fact.

But there is a spice of devil in this angel. Of old, when the sons of God came together, Satan came with them; and still, when the primal powers of man's soul assemble to perform their grand act of worship, which is the complete upbuilding of a human spirit, Factitious Tendency, the father of mischief, is punctually at hand. So in young Wilhelm. He craves free play for the divine energies of his being. But the hard actual world resists him; instead of offering itself humbly as a vehicle for his fine imaginings, it tries to make a mere tool of him. So he flies from it in scorn. The cold, spacious emptiness of his father's life, the shrivelled content of old Werner's,—these show him the quality of real life. Fie upon reality, then! He will away, and find a concocted play-world, where all shall suit his purpose, and where he shall have nothing to do but picture forth in beauty his inward being.

He finds this, poor boy, in the stage. There no reality will exist but such as is made for his purposes. There his fine imaginations may have it all their own way. There, in heroic costume and by gas-light, his sole business shall be to express sublime sentiments in the most effective manner, while all the surroundings are strictly accessory. How fine to discover an heroic situation dumbly begging him to appear and be its speaking lay-figure!

Making play, instead of ennobling work till through that the soul can play,—that is child's play. Finding spiritual deliverance in a there, in a "got-up" situation,—that is romanticism. And it is the representative error of nobly imagining youth.

But lay-figure heroics are not heroism; and the made-up situation proves more straitening than that situation which God has made for all, namely, the real world. The stage is found to be wooden as its own boards. It gives Wilhelm for companions a crew of spiritual incapables, who have excellent appetites at others' cost, who higgle, bicker, sneak away from duty, are good for nothing, and pretend everything; while, but for his escape, it would make his own life a mere cul-de-sac with a slough at the end.

Yet he is boy-wise as well as boy-foolish. His imaginations fertilize, though they mislead him. His impulse to live over the world, rather than under it, is the vital impulse of the human soul.

But long before imagination has proceeded to the results named, another[Pg 276] grand fructifying force has come to its aid, namely, Love. "The ever-womanly leadeth us on." Love,—it is, we may say, a chemical change in the man, like the conversion of starch into sugar, or grape-juice into wine. Full of sweetness and sweet intoxication, it belongs to the profoundest economies of Nature; and he who with his whole soul and body has once loved is another being henceforth. Acid or even putrid fermentations may set in; but what he was before he cannot be again. Goethe, therefore, follows Nature in placing this next to imagination as a producer of growth,—next in Nature and in Goethe's pages, because its alliance with imagination is so immediate and intimate. He who does not idealize does not love.

But here also is peril. Love, while filling Wilhelm's being with those precious heats which are the blind substance of all chivalry and nobility, clothes the stage with the added enchantment of Mariana's presence, and so bewitches the poor youth with still more of that "false tendency" which is his proper Satan. Moreover, by rushing headlong toward consummation, and overleaping the bounds of prudential morality, it brings both upon Mariana and himself sore retributions. Her, poor child, it hurries to the grave; him it pushes to the grave's brink, and stores even his recovered strength with anguish and a lifelong regret.

Goethe is accused of immorality. He does, indeed, depict grave errors without exclaiming over them, without holding up his hands, or playing any pantomime of horror. Moreover, a love pure in its essence, but heedless in its procedure, he persists in naming pure, though heedless. But he indicates, with a rigor that is even appalling, the retributions which pursue levity and precipitation, not to mention things worse. I have read many books which gave more moral stimulation than "Wilhelm Meister"; I have never read any which, while frankly acknowledging that Nature's blessing goes more with noble essence than with decorous form, yet indicates with equal power the iron nerve of moral law that runs through and through the world.

And now, as third performer in this real drama of growth, comes forward a redoubtable figure, the Sense of Self. His reputation, indeed, is not of the best. All, it is true, embrace him privately; but most think it decorous to disavow him in public.

On the whole, I is a very serviceable pronoun; and equally its complement in consciousness is serviceable. Welcome, Ego, to your place! The feeling of Self is the nominative, the naming case, in the syntax of consciousness. But, as, by the rules of grammar, the nominative is to be made the subject of a verb, so in the grammar of growth this self-feeling is subjected to the grand verbum, the action and total significance of one's existence.

Bring it out, then, clearly, pronounce it with due distinctness and force, that it may be clearly and definitely subjected.

Nature attends to that. She secures the nominative in her spiritual syntax. And so there is a period in earlier life when this feeling of self is getting pronounced. Very pronounced it is sometimes, a little severe in its emphasis upon delicate ears. And, indeed, if it come without adjective, without gentle qualification, almost any hearer must confess that he has known sounds more musical.

In Wilhelm it is sweetly qualified with love and imagination. It appears in luxuriant dreams of the poet's life,—of him who is not merely a pen-poet, but a living lyric, a poet in heart and soul. "And this life of true glory," cries the heart of Wilhelm, "may be mine, mine!" A gentle and magnanimous egoism, but still an egoism. But the due subjection of this self-feeling will come duly; in the qualifications that even now make it lovely the sure promise of that is contained.

Fourth in order appears a much prettier figure, namely, Philanthropy, the loving desire to serve man. It is, indeed, at first, sufficiently sweeping and[Pg 277] ambitious. No half-way work, no boy's play here! He will regenerate the race; he will ennoble humanity, without sparing one caitiff of them all; he will establish it on some perpetual mount of transfiguration; and all by the magic of stage effect. No boy's play!

All this, too, is noble and vital. With exquisite appreciation Goethe depicts it, seeing well how vital it is in essence,—seeing, too, how vapory it is in form. Who knows better than he that to crave service, and to crave it in love, and to crave it without limit, is of the very substance of all that enriches man? To whomsoever this divine longing is foreign all the profound uses of life are foreign; he is barren as beach-sand.

Humanity, however, is not swung away from its mud-moorings so easily; probably would only go adrift and come to wreck, if it were: witness the French Revolution. Sing, bird, in the tree-tops! but when you fly, think not to make the pines fly with you! It is only by slow vital assimilations that man is ameliorated. We do our best in digging and fertilizing a little about the roots, or in bearing pollen, like bees, from flower to flower. We do our best by a little meek furtherance of Nature. And this meekness of labor is no less necessary for ourselves than for those we would serve. Ambitious world-mending is, on one side, self-flattery.

Meanwhile horrible tragedies of charlatanism, or terrible tragedies of disgust and despair await an incontinent enthusiasm for the rôle of Providence.

Wilhelm's nature has now been greatly enriched. But all that has enriched has also imperilled. Imagination, love, self-feeling, and philanthropy have stored his breast with golden wealth; but they are one and all making over that wealth to a false tendency. Long before this, however, Goethe has brought in chastening, tempering forces, by which these riches may be economized.

First, and in the person of Jarno, enters the Critical Understanding. True as steel, cold and keen as steel also, antipathetic to all sentiment, clear and decisive partly by what he has and partly by what he has not, Jarno offers with unsparing rigor to shear away Wilhelm's illusions, not seeing that in these very illusions runs an artery rich in his reddest life-blood.

Critical understanding, the disenchanter,—light without heat or color,—begins at a certain period in nobly imagining and impassioned youth to break through the cloudy glories, and shame all with its cold glare. That sudden skeptic shame! Do you know it, reader? Do you remember moments when all that had glorified life seemed suddenly to stand before you a detected impostor, a beggar playing king, and now stripped to his rags? Ah, me! and how pathetically old and wise the neophyte becomes all at once! He will be fooled no longer, he! Love, friendship, philanthropy,—he has looked under the words, and found all they covered, namely, nothing. Henceforth he will hunt sentiment out of him, as it were a wolf. Henceforth he will measure out his life by hand, and be purely—and barrenly—"reasonable."

Unhappy, could he succeed. A mere life of the understanding is just one degree better than idiocy. Sweep out imagination, and all the angels go with it. To freeze the heated geysers of the soul? It were to freeze the core of the world. Better to be nobly moonstruck than turned into a pillar of salt, even were it Attic salt. Better to be Don Quixote than a very archangel Sancho.

And yet unhappy is the nobly impassioned and imagining soul that can never discriminate, never distinguish between the central suggestions of the soul and the chance directions these may have taken. It is he of all men who needs just this, discrimination. Is there any tragedy like that of Don Quixote? A god blinded by his own light! An Olympian charging upon windmills, while a toad squats aside and grins at the spectacle! The ludicrousness is but the last sting of the tragedy. On the whole, critical understanding must have heed. The divine mania of the soul must listen even to this Sancho with his wise saws. Hard[Pg 278] it is for the higher to become pupil of the lower, to accept and use its very contempt, and yet forbear to learn contempt of itself, stooping only to conquer. Yet even this must be. Heat is divine, but cold also is necessary. The cloudy glories of rich impassioned spirits, the vapors that float, scarlet and gold, in their heavens, must strike against the icy mountain-tops of common-sense, that the cold may condense them into fruitful rain. Hence thunder, lightning, storm, and wild commotion in the soul; but hence harvest also. The first great inward struggle is this between heat and cold; and where the heats are tropical, the collision is violent. Yet these contraries must both work into the great economies of life.

Cold—cold prudence and choice—appears first in its embodiment, Jarno, who symbolizes its secret beginnings in Wilhelm. But then and there its beginnings are only symbolized. Soon, however, disappointment bitterer than death, with sickness, remorse, horror, enters and chills him to the core. Ah, and so these clouds of glory are only raw vapor and mist, after all! The rainy season has set in. "Let's into the house," says Prudence; "let's box ourselves up nicely, and get some comfort, since that is the whole of life." No, he will not do that; he will stand out, and be drenched, and realize the full extent of his illusion. Henceforth his one employment shall be to taunt his heart with its own hopes, to put all the summer blossom and beauty of his former imaginations beside this wintry death-in-life, and shame them by the contrast.

This period in Wilhelm's life is wrought out in Goethe's picture with extreme power.

But he recovers himself, slowly. And Goethe's great knowledge of human nature is shown in this, that Wilhelm does not regain his ennobling imaginations while holding fast to the cool suggestions of prudence. No, he reverts to the former, forsaking the latter. The cold season has passed over him, and seemingly left nothing behind. With health and joy, his illusions, one by one, one and all, return. I find this true. Oscillation between opposite poles,—how long it lasts! A powerful experience comes, and all seems changed in one's being; it passes, and nothing seems changed. "Is there for me," one might cry, "only this aimless see-saw? To-day Don Quixote, to-morrow Sancho, next day Don Quixote again,—is that to go on forever?" Happy is he, provided his poverty be not his exemption, who has never wrung his hands in utter despair of finding centrality, unity, at last,—a centre where the divine passion and afflatus of the heart are reconciled with the hard-eyed perceptions of common-sense.

But life is not a mere pendulum. Nature works to her ends. There is oscillation, but also growth. And so, though Wilhelm recurs to his illusions, and even embodies them by going upon the stage, the seeds of discriminating judgment are sown in his heart, and are already germinating.

Travel, with observation of men, and the attempt to work with them, sobers him further. He begins to recognize limits and conditions, and to do so without surrendering his hopes and happy dreams. He perceives, little by little, that there are some men who can give and receive help, and some who can do neither,—some with whom one can nobly coöperate, others whose hands approach his own only to obstruct and entangle. He sees that he himself is limited, and that possibly the world might not fare so much better in his hands than in those of its Maker. It dawns upon him, that, on the whole, he is not here to make worlds, but to work in a limited sphere and for limited results. And yet his hopes and imaginations are not put to shame; for he feels, that, even amid these iron limits of labor and effect, a result of unlimited, absolute worth is also getting wrought.

And now, in this harmonizing of heat and cold into one tempered economy, in this recognition of limits and conditions, without surrender of inspiring imagination and hope, he approaches[Pg 279] the term of his wandering, and nears home.

This consummation is hastened in what may seem a singular way,—by reading Shakspeare. These matchless pictures of real life give him, as life itself had never given, the feeling of real. The sentiment of Reality, for the first time, awakens in power. It is much, almost infinitely much, he perceives, to be just this, real. The smallest reality—so with some astonishment he discovers—affords more scope to imagination itself than any conceivable magnificence of make-belief. Real,—rooted in eternal Nature, with a pedigree older than the stars! Is not any pebble, if we consider its advent into existence and its cosmic relations, enough, not only to occupy, but to beggar imagination? Existence,—is not that the one inexhaustible fact? He feels it so, and in that feeling the contending opposites of his being come to sudden reconciliation.

Reality,—the hard, cold, critical understanding has done no worse than to insist upon that. But it has insisted upon that after its own cold fashion, as a mere frozen surface, giving no warm and fruitful hospitality to the divine seeds of hope, love, and imagination. On the other hand, the angels of Wilhelm's heart have fled away from reality because they accepted this representation. Suddenly they find this their true home. Now, then, they will sow in the clouds no longer. Reality, beneath its hard, limited outside, opens to them its divine bosom, and says, "Ye also are real: sow here."

And now the boards feel thin under Wilhelm's feet. Enough of these. Enough of masquerading. Enough of make-belief heroics: belief, accepting limits and conditions, that on them and out of them it may build the spiritual architectures of life, is heroism. Enough of play-acting: work is the true play. Moral imagination has found its home and its freedom in the real; and therewith the first epoch of his life rounds into completion, passes over its virtue to another, and in his life there is an ending and a beginning.

In what consists this complete beginning? In this, that he now gets his eye on himself in a wholly new way. He sees his being as a spiritual whole, a complete design in the thought of Eternal Nature, which design he is religiously bound to divine and serve. To serve Creative Reality even in the regards he bestows upon himself,—in coming to that aim and action, he, for the first time, beholds his being with a pure eye. "To say it in a word," he writes to Werner, "the cultivation of my individual self, here as I am, has, from my youth upward, been constantly, though dimly, my wish and purpose. The same intention I still cherish, but the means of realizing it are now grown somewhat clearer."[A]

"Selfish" is that? It is not the goal, but it is not selfish. Only as the sense of self is subordinated, only as it not only resigns dominion, but becomes a loyal steward in the household of the soul, happy in obedience, can one arrive at real self-culture,—that is, accept his being at the hands of Formative Nature as a design to be served. While self-feeling holds one in close grip, he can never so much as see his being in this pure, objective way, any more than he can look back into his own eyes. The very act of receiving it as the farm which he is to till,—as a spiritual whole, to which all parts, all partial acts and interests, and the sense of self among them, are to be subordinated and made serviceable,—this implies not merely a liberation from egoism, but much more, namely, utilization of it. Real self-culture consists in the happy and obedient service of uses in one's own spirit. The uses of the world, we have said, are enshrined in the spirit of man; when one can freely and faithfully serve these, his life as a whole human being has begun.

Self-culture, in the Goethean sense, is, then, a much nobler and more religious affair than the popular notion makes it. But even this, I repeat, is, in Goethe's view, simply the complete beginning.[Pg 280] True, the usual notion is different. Some, that suppose themselves his followers, rest finally in self-culture; many, who think this the goal of Goethe's own life, inveigh against him accordingly. Did men, however, always wait to understand ere condemning, much virtuous indignation would never come to use. Precious is virtuous indignation; nevertheless, here there is for it no suitable occasion. Wilhelm goes on toward spiritual ripeness; we follow his advance.

The next step is symbolized by that charming episode, "Confessions of a Fair Saint," whose relation to the whole work many critics profess themselves unable to see,—indeed, I know not whether any critic has seen clearly what, nevertheless, is clearly there to be seen. Religion is flowering in Wilhelm's soul. He rests softly in Absolute Reality, in That which eternally, infinitely is. It is a deepening to infinitude of his feeling for the Real. From superficial, he comes to divine Reality, and finds this not only sufficing, but inspiring, not only commanding obedience, but blessing, exalting, crowning, making it royal.

This is not directly shown in Wilhelm himself, but symbolized by his interest in the narrative of another. In Wilhelm it is hidden,—a-flowering, but secret. The very design is to suggest that his religion does not come out of him, and become formal, but remains in him, in vital, creative intimacy with his entire being. For it is one point of Goethe's art to hint at secret processes in the soul by some external representative,—and the appearance of principal personages in this work is always connected with some suggestion of that kind. They stand for what they are in themselves; they have also their direct influence on Wilhelm; and they also symbolize that which cannot be directly shown in his inward growth.

Wilhelm comes to his knees before Absolute Reality; kneeling, he accepts his being. Self-culture henceforth has got its baptism, freedom its law and its blessing of obedience, which leave it freedom still.

Has the reader some misgiving that I foist this interpretation upon the book? There is not, indeed, a direct syllable to this effect. What assurance, then, that this interpretation is not gratuitous?

This, first,—the "Confessions" are there; hence are related to the import of the whole. But perhaps the reader thinks, with the redoubtable Mr. Lewes, that the work is not a whole at all, but a piece of patchwork. If so, this reason will not weigh with him.

But my interpretation is conclusively affirmed in another way. The Wilhelm of the seventh book is no longer the Wilhelm of the fifth. We leave him on one side this episode, we find him on the other, and he is not the same man. He has suffered a sea-change; for his keel has been wetted in the waters of Eternity. The Abbé recognizes him with difficulty.

It is the old secret. No man can look on Absolute Reality, and live in the antecedent quality of his life. He is a new man henceforth,—consumed and created.

And now we come to the consummate act and epoch of his life. He has found himself; he is now to give himself, and, in giving, is to find himself anew. He is to lose and find himself in social uses. In this sacred act of social immersion, by which, since it can now be done sanely, he is to be, not dissipated, but divinely assured to himself, his spirit and Goethe's work at last rest.

The key-note to this part of the work is struck in the cool tones of Jarno. "It is right," he says, "that a man, when he first enters upon life, should think highly of himself, should determine to attain many high distinctions, should endeavor to make all things possible; but when his education has proceeded to a certain pitch, it is advantageous for him that he learn to lose himself among a mass of men, that he learn to live for the sake of others, and to forget himself in an activity prescribed by duty."

Wilhelm approaches this higher act by degrees.[Pg 281]

First, by an exalted and matured love of woman. It is not here a fume and sweet intoxication in the blood, but a true passion of the soul, a profound yearning to ally his spirit. By an inward necessity, he must give himself to one other, and from that other receive himself again, made sacred with Nature's baptism. The need of this reciprocation is stronger with him than even his election of a particular person with whom to establish it. So, when it becomes impossible for Theresa to accept his hand, he passes soon to Natalia, to whom, however, his attraction is subtler and older.

On this follows the deep self-devotion of fatherhood. The longing to bestow his soul pushes beyond the love of woman, and looks for another object, where the giving is more simple, because the visible return is less. But here again he does not wish to give himself officiously,—to thrust himself unbidden into the household of another life; he would do it in simple obedience to Nature. Therefore, when of those who seem to know everything he can ask one question and no more, there is just one question which his very soul asks:—"Is Felix indeed my son?"

"Hail to thee for the question!" cries the providential Abbé. "Hail to thee, my son! Thy apprenticeship is ended. Nature pronounces thee free."

Yes, when he craves of Nature, not aggrandizement, but a duty,—when he entreats her commands to bestow of all that is deepest and dearest in his spirit on another, and yet to do it so in simple response to her behest that in all he shall give only what is due,—then he is free. No self-flattery here; no feeling that he is performing some wonderful piece of self-sacrifice, which puts the universe under obligations to him. He would give all, but give where he owes all, not only in obedience, but in meek thankfulness.

This done, he can go farther. Established indestructibly in the unity of his own being, established also in these devout relationships, he is prepared to enter into ampler relations, carrying into these the same obedience to Nature, the same sense of giving only what is due. Accordingly, he passes into noble mutualities of coöperation, service, and love with his equals, with those superior to himself, and with those to whom he is superior, not defrauded of his being, but secured in its possession, by that self-surrender.

Not at a leap, indeed, does he attain to this dignity of life. Causeless suspicions infest him; again and again he snatches himself back, and retreats into spiritual isolation. Like an uncertain swimmer, who, wading into deep water, draws back in sudden alarm as his feet begin to lift themselves buoyantly from the sands, so he is smitten with jealous fear, and hastens to regain his former foothold, just when his immersion in social use and fellowship was becoming complete. But ever as he grows surer of himself, and ever as he rests more trustfully in eternal Reality, he becomes more capable of yielding trust to those who deserve it, and yielding himself to those unto whom he rightly belongs.

And so lost and found, so self-given and self-contained, so abandoned to the high uses of life, and by that very act saved, by that act secured to himself in spiritual wholeness, Goethe leaves him at the close of the Apprenticeship: for of the Travels, which is another mine of suggestion, I do not speak here.

To sum all. The whole work climbs steadily to this consummate act of self-surrender without self-dissipation, without self-flattery, without officiousness, and without reserve. But in order that one may give himself nobly, he must nobly have himself to give. To this end there are prerequisites. First, fructification, a rich development of heats and fruitful powers; and of the nature and order of these Goethe aims to give account. Secondly, a due tempering of these by the cold, faithful severities of understanding and experience. Third, as resulting, a high repose in Reality,—high, because one reposes there, not in base compromise with it or with himself, but in hope, in duty, in imagining heroism of heart.[Pg 282] Fourthly and finally, comes a relation to one's own being, at once utterly religious and utterly sane, whereby one commands himself in obedience to the total law and uses of his spirit. Having achieved this, one may go forward, through further experience and deeper life, to that act of religious and sane self-bestowal, wherein he first becomes, in the full, majestic sense, a man.


[A] The citations are from Carlyle's translation. It is of no use to do over again what is already thoroughly done.


September's slender crescent grows again
Distinct in yonder peaceful evening-red.
Clearer the stars are sparkling overhead,
And all the sky is pure, without a stain.
Cool blows the evening wind from out the west,
And bows the flowers, the last sweet flowers that bloom,—
Pale asters, many a heavy waving plume
Of golden-rod, that bends as if opprest.
The summer's songs are hushed. Up the lone shore
The weary waves wash sadly, and a grief
Sounds in the wind, like farewells fond and brief.
The cricket's chirp but makes the silence more.
Life's autumn comes; the leaves begin to fall;
The moods of spring and summer pass away;
The glory and the rapture, day by day,
Depart, and soon the quiet grave folds all.
O thoughtful sky, how many eyes in vain
Are lifted to your beauty, full of tears!
How many hearts go back through all the years,
Heavy with loss, eager with questioning pain
To read the dim Hereafter,—to obtain
One glimpse beyond the earthly curtain, where
Their dearest dwell, where they may be or e'er
September's slender crescent shines again!

[Pg 283]





It must be remembered that we were on the same street with our neighbors, the Tetchy family, and that multitudes of their customers passed our gate on their way to the old established strawberry-garden. When a company of new customers came along in search of the Tetchys, some of them would stop at our gate, and, looking through the open lattice-work, would see the strawberries, and, thinking this the right place, would often come into the house and call for a saucer of fruit. Some of these did so while I was engaged in picking, even pushing through into the garden where I was at work. This publicity was a great annoyance to me, especially as my mother increased it by insisting on supplying all the fruit thus called for. Hence the same parties made repeated visits. My mother thought it as important to cultivate customers as to cultivate strawberries. They called for cream,—as all people must have the best of everything; but having no cow, she bought milk as required, and though no doubt extensively diluted before it reached us, yet it seemed to go down with entire satisfaction.

Thus, without ever anticipating it, we fell heirs to a sprinkling of the profitable business which the Tetchys were carrying on: for, as part of the unintended legacy, my mother appropriated their high prices also. She took such interest in this mode of selling our fruit that I began to fear she would really convert our premises into another strawberry-garden. I confess the temptation was strong, because she thereby secured three times the profit that we could obtain at the market. As it was, she realized thirty dollars during the season from these unexpected customers. But not one of us would listen to the project of a strawberry-garden. Jane was, in fact, too proud to entertain the idea of waiting on the crowd of impudent, loafing young men who frequent such places as openings for getting rid of their money; while Fred declared that his sisters should never come down to the condition of waiters at any table but their own. So my mother was overruled, though she insisted that her little experience with a few customers had fully satisfied her that our ill-natured neighbors were making great profits out of the immense retail trade they were doing.

But if our little household was thus harmonious on the strawberry question, the Tetchys were very far from being on good terms with us. They had as great a run that season as ever. Indeed, we heard that their customers had so increased as to oblige them to purchase fruit in order to supply the demand. How they managed about more cream I never learned,—whether they got a new cow, or whether that with the iron tail was required to do extra duty, was a mystery which the neighbors were never permitted to penetrate. Their customers must have been equally ignorant, as we never heard of their complaining; but I have little doubt that Mrs. Tetchy could tell, to a drop, how much water a quart of milk would bear without the cheat being detected.

It may seem uncharitable to speak thus of one's neighbors, but the Tetchys showed themselves unfriendly to us just in proportion as we gave evidence of beginning to succeed. They might have aided us materially, without injuring themselves in the least. But they had[Pg 284] become possessed with the absurd fear, that we, on a single acre and a half, were about raising strawberries enough to ruin their business. Then my mother's having entertained a dozen or two of transient customers was well known to them, for they watched us with unsleeping jealousy; and they were sure we intended to set up another garden. So, although they saw they had a demand for more than their grounds produced, a demand, moreover, that was actually increasing, and this without any abatement in price, yet they preferred procuring their extra supplies from others a great way off to purchasing from us who were close at hand. Such purchases would be just so much encouragement to what they regarded as a rival establishment, which they desired to see suppressed. Hence all intercourse between the families ceased, and we heard nothing but the ill-natured remarks they made about our doings, which other neighbors were kind enough to repeat to us,—the carrying of such things to and fro being considered by some an indispensable part of true neighborly kindness. It is quite probable, however, that these were all pretty well amplified on their way, as I have noted that an ill-natured speech, like a bouncing lie, generally grows by repetition.

But vexatious as all this certainly was, these people were greatly to be pitied. As regarded intelligent horticulture they were altogether in the dark. They took no agricultural papers, and books on gardening were equally unknown upon their table,—the entire literature of the household consisting of the penny newspaper, with piles of sensation novels which the daughters had accumulated. How, from such a dearth of reading suitable to their vocation, could they be expected to be better informed than they were? or, with the peculiar caustic temper that ran through the family, to make friends who might be instructive companions? In agricultural knowledge I was really their superior, having an exhaustless fund of information in the miscellaneous collection I had picked up at the grocer's, of the diversified contents of which there had never been a more painstaking student. By reference to such a source, they would have learned how absurd was their selfish idea that it was possible for me, or even a hundred like me, to overdo the business of raising strawberries, no matter where established, but especially when the fruit was consumed on the very spot where it was produced. I know that this apprehension of producing too much fruit is a mistake of many persons about embarking in the business. But further knowledge invariably corrects it; there is never an over-supply. If, at the beginning of my inquiries, the fear crossed my own mind, it was dissipated by a single conversation with the widow in the market-house.

The horticulturist of this progressive age must not rest satisfied with what he learns on his own ground. There is a vast outside world, full of busy, intelligent minds, not content with things as they find them, but searching, investigating, experimenting, and so successfully, that the horticultural art is largely indebted to them for the amazing progress it has of late years made toward perfection. These great unfolders of some of Nature's profoundest secrets do not hide their lights under a bushel. There is a perpetual interchange among them, by pen, by tongue, and through the press, of the experiences and discoveries of each, the common repositories of all which are the agricultural journals. There collected as in a reservoir, they become fountains of instruction, not only to the pioneer in horticulture, but even to the veteran, and those who refuse to drink thereat will ever continue in the rear of a great army whose march is unceasingly onward. No petty jealousy comes in to mar the harmony of the true votaries of horticulture. There is emulation, but not contention. The heart of such a man enlarges as he pursues his labors, his tastes become refined, his sympathies embrace all others having kindred aspirations; and the successes he may have achieved, with[Pg 285] the processes by which they are to be secured, become the common property of all who are wise enough to appreciate them. Our neighbors were born with no such tastes or impulses as these. That it was so proved almost as unfortunate for us as it was for themselves.

Our first season's profits did not make us rich, as the whole income was only a hundred and sixty dollars. But it showed conclusively that we were able to accomplish something handsome in an entirely new field. The cost of plants and of preparing the ground was a little rising thirty dollars. All that remained over these two items was so much in payment of our own labor, and for this we had never before had a market, as it was the contribution of odd times, except an occasional half-day lost from the factory; but as our earnings there were small, this loss was not of much account. Here, then, was more than a hundred dollars made out of almost nothing. This was equal to the wages of both Jane and myself for a quarter of the year. If a half-acre of strawberries, not yet in full bearing, could do this, it was clear that a whole acre of well-established plants would go very far toward enabling us to abandon our factory-life entirely. This was what we were aiming at: we were willing to work, but preferred working at home. Of course it was simply a question of how much we could make on an acre. My mother was sure there could be no doubt about the matter, if she could be allowed to open a strawberry-garden. She seemed to have given up her long-cherished preference for the needle, and now began to realize that there might be something better. Not one of us, however, would hear to the garden, though we now clearly understood how extremely profitable must be that mode of bringing the producer and the consumer together.

Practice in any art is a wonderful enlightener of the understanding. It thus became quite clear to us that the Tetchy family were living handsomely on the strawberries raised on one acre of land, and cream manufactured principally at the kitchen pump. As usual on such occasions, Fred undertook to prove by his figures how much it was they were earning. I think he made it out about a thousand dollars a year; but as his previous calculations touching our own crop had proved rather deceptive, I did not trust implicitly to his conclusions. But he insisted that it must be so, as figures never lied. I suggested, that, though the figures themselves might not lie, yet that instances had been known of their leading to great lies by others,—not meaning, however, to refer to him.

These were among the new changes of the old topic that now formed the staple of our family discussions. As we had done pretty well with a half-acre, we must have more ground planted. It may appear singular that so small a profit, realized only after a whole year of waiting, should prove so powerful a stimulus to further effort. But I well knew that wealth is not suddenly acquired by agriculture of any kind. The great element of value which distinguishes this over other occupations is that of safety,—slow, but sure. If our profit should appear small to others, it was a great affair to us, and we felt reasonably certain that we could make it four times as large. It was therefore determined to have the remaining half-acre broken up and set out with strawberries that fall.

But no one must suppose that our summer occupation was ended when our crop had been marketed and the profit ascertained. All this was accomplished as July was coming in. Immediately after the vines had borne their fruit, they developed new energies in the putting out of a multitude of runners. But meantime the ground had been taken possession of by a fresh crop of weeds, all of which must be removed, and the surface forked up into mellowness, before the runners would take hold and establish themselves into strong, vigorous plants. We therefore entered on a new campaign against these troublesome interlopers, though[Pg 286] our hoes were so heavy and clumsy that their unwieldiness fatigued us more than the work itself.

"There goes ten thousand at a pull!" said I to Fred, one day, as he caught hold of a huge thistle with his rake and dragged it out by the roots.

Fred was astounded at this piece of information. He had seen weeds in abundance, but had never gone over the pages of the "Country Gentleman" and the "New England Farmer" as carefully as I had, and hence the thought had never occurred to him that in pulling up a single thistle he was really saving some one else the trouble of getting rid of thousands more.

The subject of this astonishing increase from a single plant thus became a topic for subsequent conversation and research. It being in Fred's line, he looked up several articles about weeds, undertook to extend the calculation, and arrived at results that almost frightened me. A single thistle would produce twenty-four thousand the first year, and five hundred and seventy-six millions the second! and we found that botanists had discovered in all other weeds an approximation to the same amazing power of reproduction. It must not be supposed, however, that every seed will vegetate. Animals and birds consume myriads of them, and other myriads perish under the extreme heat of summer and the equally destructive cold of winter. To some extent Nature thus confines the multiplication of weeds within limits. Botanists assert that these limits are prescribed, and that they cannot be passed. If it were not so, the seed of a single thistle would reproduce itself so rapidly as in a few years to cover with its progeny the entire surface of our planet.

Our ground was singularly troubled with the rag-weed, which we found was immensely prolific. There were numerous other kinds also that came up all over the field, and it appeared to me that those which produced the most seeds threw up the rankest growth. What was greatly to their discredit, none of them produced a flower. So far as I could discover, they performed no other office than that of perfecting a crop of seeds for the sole purpose of next year producing another that would be many thousand times larger. Their stalks and foliage were rejected by cattle, and never came to much as fertilizers. It is probable they have some medicinal virtues, however, as the herb-doctors use them pretty freely. But I could regard them in no other light than nuisances in a strawberry-bed.

So universally are weeds regarded as injurious to agriculture, that laws have been enacted to insure their destruction. In this country it has been made a finable offence to permit the Canada thistle to perfect its seeds. France imposes a heavy penalty on all who are in like manner neglectful of the common thistle. Every man in Denmark who fails to destroy the corn-marigold is severely punished. In the early history of Scotland, whoever "poisoned the king's lands with weeds, introducing thereby a host of enemies," was denounced as a traitor. Unhappily, with us there has been an abundant yield of both. As such instances show how these pests have been regarded by the agricultural world, one would think that it was now time for us to hear of their diminishing in number. But no such diminution can be asserted.

The history of the migration of seeds is full of the most curious statistics. The reviewer of a recent publication makes the following interesting statement.

"The lonely island of St. Helena, for example, at the time of its discovery in 1501, produced about sixty vegetable species. Its flora now comprises seven hundred and fifty species. The faculty of spontaneous reproduction supposes a greater power of accommodation than we find in most domesticated plants. Although every wild species affects a habitat of a particular character, it will grow under conditions extremely unlike those of its birthplace. The seven hundred new species which have found their way to St. Helena within three centuries and a half were probably not in very[Pg 287] large proportion designedly introduced there by human art. As a general rule, it may be assumed that man has intentionally transferred fewer plants than he has accidentally into countries foreign to them. Tares follow the wheat. The weeds that grow among the cereal grains, and form the pest of the kitchen-garden, are the same in America as in Europe. Some years ago, the author made a collection of weeds in the wheat-fields of Upper Egypt, and another in the gardens on the Bosphorus. Nearly all the plants were identical with those that grow under the same conditions in New England. The change from one locality to another is effected by a thousand casual circumstances. The upsetting of the wagon of an emigrant in his journey across the Western plains may scatter upon the ground the seeds he designed for his garden. The herbs which fill so important a place in the rustic materia medica of the Eastern States spring up along the prairie-paths just opened by the caravan of the settler. The hortus siccus of a botanist may accidentally sow seeds from the foot of the Himalayas on the plains that skirt the Alps. It is a fact frequently observed, that exotics transplanted to foreign climates suited to their growth escape from the flower-garden, and naturalize themselves among the spontaneous vegetation of the pastures. The straw and grass employed in packing the sculptures of Thorwaldsen were scattered in the court-yard of the museum in Copenhagen, where they are deposited, and the next season there sprang from the seeds no less than twenty-five species of plants belonging to the Roman Campagna. In the campaign of 1814, the Russian troops brought in the stuffing of their saddles seeds from the banks of the Dnieper to the valley of the Rhine, and even introduced the plants of the Steppes into the environs of Paris. The Turkish armies in their incursions into Europe brought Eastern vegetables in their train, and left the seeds of Oriental wall-plants to grow upon the ramparts of Buda and Vienna. The Canada thistle is said to have sprung up in Europe two hundred years ago from a seed which dropped out of the stuffed skin of a bird."

As I had never studied the botanical peculiarities of weeds, and, indeed, had no time for scientific study, having both needle and garden on my hands, I regarded their luxuriant growth in my strawberry-ground only in a strictly practical light. The soil was full of nutriment, as my father had left it very rich. If this nutriment were appropriated by the weeds, it would obviously be so much taken from the strawberries. The latter, moreover, when the fruit was swelling to full size, preparatory to changing color, required all the moisture they could obtain. Now weeds are powerful leeches. Whatever they might suck up would consequently be robbery of the strawberries. Thus as nutriment and moisture would fail the strawberries in exact proportion to the growth of the weeds, the fruit would be small in size and inferior in quality, with a corresponding diminution of the market price. In a dry season these effects would be particularly disastrous. These conditions of successful strawberry-culture I had learned from books, from reflection, and from actual experience. Hence my beds were made scrupulously clean and mellow when the plants were beginning to put forth runners. It was a troublesome matter, for some weeks, to keep them in complete order, requiring an hour or two of hoeing daily; but then I found the labor of weeding lasted only during August, as after that month the growth had so fallen off as to be of little consequence. Scarcely any that started subsequently would find the season long enough to mature the seeds. I frequently managed to obtain a glimpse of what our neighbors were doing, to see how my strawberry-culture compared with theirs. Though the whole family had little else to do than to look after their acre, yet I was quite satisfied with the result of my survey. They had quite as many weeds as myself, with the important difference that they did not seem to mind much about getting rid of them.[Pg 288] I presume their uniform success had made them careless and lazy. Their hopes had been fulfilled, while the consummation of mine was yet in the future.

The runner of a strawberry, when projected a certain distance, develops at its extremity a tuft of leaves, and having done so, is impatient to throw out roots immediately below the newly formed tuft. To promote the formation of these, the surface of the ground should be made perfectly loose and mellow, so that the rootlets may enter and descend with facility, thenceforward to ramble in search of nourishment and moisture. Thus cared for, and especially if sunk a little below the surface, and held there with a spoonful of earth, the runners will put forth a mass of snow-white roots with incredible rapidity. In a moist soil, or after a shower of rain, they fasten themselves immediately; and thus ceasing to be drains upon the parent plant, by living and growing from their own daily enlarging roots, they will acquire a size and vigor to insure an abundant crop the following season. The first joint being securely rooted, the runner will go on lengthening into a succession of new ones; and if each be promptly anchored like the first, they will become contemporaneous bearers. As one plant will send forth many runners, the careful cultivator can thus cover his ground with a profusion of the thriftiest vines. But when the surface is permitted to remain hard and compact, baked under the sun or trodden under foot, the delicate rootlets are unable to penetrate the unfriendly mass. They are blown about by the wind, useless exhausters of the parent plant; they change color by exposure to the sun and air, and lose their power of extension. Even under the softening influence of rain, which may enable them to secure some feeble holding-ground, they rarely become vigorous plants, while their multiplication is materially limited. If the surface be overgrown with grass or weeds, the runners can gain no hold; and hence, there being no new plants established, the succeeding crop will be smaller than it might otherwise have been. The vigor of the plant thus created from a runner is altogether dependent on the condition of the surface over which it is first projected, and the promptness with which it is enabled to throw out and fasten its roots in a congenial soil. Nature performs wonders for the strawberry; but human care and skill can multiply its capabilities to an extent which even yet is undetermined.

Acting upon these hints, for which I was again indebted to my invaluable agricultural treasury, I took care that every runner, as soon as it threw out a perfect tuft of leaves, should be let down into a little cavity scooped out by a garden-trowel, and sprinkled with earth enough to keep it down. The instinct of the plant was so nice and active, that, as soon as it came in contact with the moist ground below, it threw out roots and took a fast hold. These nourished it into an independent plant, enabling it to project a new joint, which, being similarly covered, formed another plant. Thus attending to them every day, I not only obtained more than were needed for the yet unoccupied half-acre, but secured plants of so vigorous a growth as to insure a good crop the coming season. The ground was broken up and put in nice order in October. Then, after every rainy day, but especially in damp and drizzly weather, a man who understood the business was employed to transfer the young plants to their new location. It was too great an undertaking for me, though I assisted in the operation. My new bed I made an extension of the old one, and began with those plants which had grown from the runners nearest to the parent. As these had been longest in growing, they were the most thrifty and the best. Taking them up carefully on a trowel, with a ball of earth to each, I carried them one by one to the places previously prepared for them by the gardener, being simple excavations about a foot apart, into which we slipped them directly from the trowel, and then drew the loose earth up around the ball, so[Pg 289] as to leave no portion of the roots exposed. By making holes for them, the plants were let down quite level with the surface, just as they had stood before transplanting: for strawberries must never be set on a ridge; since, when thus set, the roots, having two surfaces laid open to the action of the sun and drying winds, become parched by exposure, and the plants will frequently perish in consequence. Moisture is the vital principle of the strawberry. Practically speaking, it may be said to be the only manure it ever requires.

This job cost me some ten dollars for hired help, but the gain was worth all that. Not a single plant showed the slightest sign of wilting. Indeed, there was clear evidence that the whole collection was quite unconscious of any change of place. The first rain closed up all cavities around them, thus effectually repairing damages, and their growth having experienced no check, many of them threw out new runners, as if thinking that I wanted them.

It was not an unfeminine occupation, this setting out a strawberry-bed. Neither did I consider it hard work. We could have done it ourselves, if we could have spared the time. So any family of girls can accomplish the same feat, or even a much greater one, when the masculine portion of the labor, putting the ground in order, has been performed for them. I know it soils one's hands to set out plants in the wet ground; but if one could make choice of the kind of dirt she is to handle, I am sure that this sort is preferable to that set free in washing a pile of greasy dishes, or in standing a whole day over a wash-tub. These being established feminine employments, no one thinks of objecting to them; in fact, the sex seems born to them. But strawberry-planting by a young girl like me is a novelty that some may think requires an apology. Yet so far no one had seemed to consider any apology necessary in my case, except our neighbors, the Tetchys.

Long before we had taken up half the plants required for the new bed, I discovered that there were three or four times as many as we needed. My reading had taught me that one of the mistakes of strawberry-growing was that of crowding too many on the ground. The effect would be to make it impossible to get at the weeds and grass with a hoe. A bed in this condition could not be kept clean. In the end, the interlopers would take complete possession and smother out the strawberries, compelling the owner to plough all in together and start with a new planting. I was puzzled to know what was the best course to adopt. I thought at one time of hoeing up the greater portion of the multitude of plants we had so carefully propagated, treating them as so many weeds, so as to be sure of having a fair chance at the remainder. But they were all so vigorous and healthy that I could not bring my mind to have such extensive waste committed. Fred objected to it most strenuously. He said it was impossible for us to have too much of a good thing, and, as usual came to the rescue with his arithmetic. He made it out that we had so many thousand fine plants that I wanted grubbed up. Then he showed that these, if allowed to produce fruit, would yield us so much money, and that this money would enable us to hire a man to keep the ground in the best order. Besides, he said there was no knowing but we might be able to sell a quantity of them. Fred's figuring—always done on paper—had often disappointed us. But it continued to have some weight with me, notwithstanding. It is probable my reluctance to parting with these fine plants was the real turning-point in this dilemma. I had no hope of finding purchasers for them, though it had once been so difficult for me to find sellers. Nevertheless I followed Fred's advice, thinking this time there might be something in it, and let the plants remain.

All these little matters are the result of personal experience: not, of course, acquired in a single season; for even after the strawberry-grower has planted[Pg 290] one bed and harvested one crop, he will discover that he is still only on the threshold of this branch of horticulture. Many of them are the fruit of subsequent experience, while much of all I ever learned is the result of careful study of as many authorities as I was able to consult. Study combined with practice and close observation, together with a passionate determination to learn, and hope ever stimulating to perseverance, has been with me the secret of success. I was now at the close of my first year's experiment. My whole acre was in the best condition. The plants set out the first year were certain to produce twice the former yield, such being the universal experience with the strawberry; while now, with double the extent of ground, and the first half-acre stocked with many times the number of plants originally set, the promise was highly encouraging. I could think of no possible chance of disappointment but a pinching frost that might destroy the blossoms, or a parching drought that might blast the fruit. No work that I had been required to perform had been too hard for me. Most of it had been recreation, while all had been healthful to the body and grateful to the mind. It is true that now and then my hands had been a little roughened by wielding the heavy garden-tools; but we had already determined that our next year's profits should furnish us with new and lighter ones. Thus, satisfied with myself, and buoyant with hope, the winter came upon us; but I passed through it without impatience or anxiety, both my sister and myself continuing the while steadily at the factory.


I went out one morning to build a barn. Not that I knew exactly how to build a barn, but I knew very well how to keep up a mighty clatter, till some one should come that did know, which amounts to the same thing. There was, indeed, already a barn on our plantation. It was there many years before we were. I ought to say, a part of it; for the barn is a conglomerate, the further end stretching far back into antiquity, and the hither end coming down to a period which is within the memory of men still living. Of course its ancient history is involved in obscurity; but as we read in the rocks somewhat of the earth's otherwise unwritten story, so in our barn are many marks which point out to the curious student the different eras of its creation. The main line of demarcation comes in the centre, and consists chiefly of a kind of bulge. That part of the front which dates back to the Lower Silurian epoch ran south-southwest, but at some time during the Drift period it turned to the right about and drifted to the north-northeast. The result is a bold front, subtending an obtuse angle. People who have nothing else in the world to annoy them might afford to be annoyed by this departure from a right line; but unless one is reduced to such straits, he will do well to call it a bow-window, and be at rest,—which, indeed, it is, only the window is a little to the windward of the bow.

Viewed in certain aspects, an old barn is far superior to a new one. If you build a new barn, you have no resources. It is all finished, and you know where you are. There is a place for everything, and everything in its place. There is no use in looking for anything. If it is not where it belongs, it will not be anywhere. An old barn, on the contrary, is a mine of wealth. It has nooks and corners full of rubbish waiting to be turned to all manner of beautiful use. Do you want a shingle,[Pg 291] a board, a door, a window, a log, a screw, a wedge? There are heaps and piles of them somewhere, if you do not mind cobwebs. The old barn has a sort of sympathy with you, welcomes you to secret recesses, and never snubs you with primness when you are at a pinch: not to mention the dove-cotes, and the martins' nests, and the mouse-holes, and the lurking-places loved of laying hens.

I will tell you a very romantic story, too, about this old barn.—Once, a great many years before any of us were born, there lived on this plantation a charming young princess, beloved by all who knew her. One day the king sent word that he was coming down to sup with her. But it so happened that on the day the king was to come to supper, the princess and all her household were to be away on an excursion which was called in the somewhat homely language of that day a "clam-bake." However, the princess concluded to go to the clam-bake, and come home in season to sit with the king at supper. So they cooked mightily beforehand. For it was the fixed law of royal suppers in that day to have cream-toast, the cream flowing in rivers, cheese and jelly, pound-cake and plum-cake, and cranberry-tart, and three kinds of pie, mince, apple, and squash, or die! Whereat the people of other countries laughed; but they ate the suppers, for all that,—the starvelings,—and came again. So the pies were all made with elaborate scalloped edges, and the hoar-frost of the cake; and all was set carefully away, awaiting the eventful hour, and the princess and her household went forth and locked the door behind them, the princess taking the front-door key, and her chief steward the postern. And when the time was fully come, the princess left the clam-bake, and waited by the roadside till the king came by, and then they both went together to the princess' house. And as they went up the steps to the house, the charming young princess, who never drank tea herself, said seductively to the king, "Do you mind, if you don't have tea? It is a great trouble every way, and the self-denial will do you good." And the king, lured into a wrong story by the music of her voice, suppressed a rising sigh, and said no, it was no matter. And then the princess unlocked the door, and essayed to go in; but though the door was unlocked, it refused to open. And suddenly the unhappy princess bethought herself that she had locked the door upon the inside, and bolted it, and herself passed out through the postern-gate, of which her lord high-steward still held the key. So there they were. Then, troubled, they marched hither and thither around the house with stately and majestic step, trying every door and window, and finding every avenue of approach barricaded except the sink-nose, which Libby prisoners might try, intent on getting out, but not a constitutional monarch, however anxious to get in. As two mice, lurking near the full cheese-safe, prowl around the crevices, braving cold and darkness in the middle of the night; safe on the shelf the cheese reposes, unmindful; they, fierce and heedless with anger, rave against it out of reach and emit a squeal; a rage for eating, collected from a long fast, and throats dry from curd, urge them on: not otherwise anger inflamed the king and princess surveying the walls, and anguish burned in their bones; by what way they might obtain access; in what manner they might dislodge the rations shut up in inaccessible places. Nequicquam! They could only look at each other with a wild surmise, and then, unfriended, melancholy, slow, betake themselves to the rude shelter and frugal fare of the barn. Then the scene was suddenly changed. The westering sun came serenely in. The dreamy mist of graceful cobwebs, festooning and fantastic, and many a tiny window all adust, softened his brilliancy to a dim, religious light. The brown old rafters shone, amber-hued, in that mellow glory. The rough floors were fretted gold. A hundred summer sunsets glowed in the yellow corn that lay massed in ridged and burnished splendor. Mounds of apples,[Pg 292] ruddy and round, loaded the air with their rich fragrance. Innumerable clover-blossoms, succulent with evening dews and morning showers, impurpled in the dusky silence of June nights, and cut down with all their sweetness in them, treasured up their dense deliciousness for balm-breathed cows, but did not disdain to flood our human sphere with tides of pleasant perfume. Meeting and mingling with these dear home-scents came gales from far Spice Islands and Araby the Blest, breathing over wild Western seas, to be tangled in pungent grasses and freight with welcome burden our rustic gondolas. (I mean English hay and salt hay.) And there, soothed into exceeding peace by Nature's subtile lullaby, borne into ethereal realms on her clouds of unseen incense, all through the golden afternoon sat the king and princess, discoursing dreamily of the time

"when men
With angels may participate, and find
No inconvenient date, nor too light fare;
And from these corporal nutriments perhaps
Our bodies may at last turn all to spirit."

While ever and anon a squat old hen or an elegant young rooster would hop up the steps and tread into the rooms, looking curiously at the unwonted sight, whereat the king would rise from his throne on an old cider-cask, and make a right royal speech, "Go to! Base intruder!"—emphasizing his peroration by hurling an ear of corn at his visitors, which, as our wayward sisters were wont to say, when our generals had done them a particularly bad turn, was just what they wanted. So the afternoon sang itself peacefully away; only the princess was of an evil mind, and would mar the king's pleasure, when he was solacing himself with a remainder-biscuit brought in the princess' basket from the clam-bake, by saying, "Do you see that window? There is the closet where the cake is kept. Just behind that clapboard stands the jar of jam. Two feet to the right, I should think, reposes a cranberry-tart, the crust flaky and fantastic as a January snow-wreath, the jelly rich and red as the curve of Fantasima's lip"; and then the king would roll his eyes around at her in a fine frenzy, and gnaw his crust with a still more wrathful despair.—And that is the end of my romance of the barn.

Still, it must be confessed, an old barn is not without its disadvantages, which the impartial historian must not pass silently by. It shakes wonderfully in a high wind. You hardly dare drive a nail anywhere, for fear the whole edifice should rattle down over your head. We desired to set up in the loft one of Dr. Dio Lewis's jumping-machines; but, upon minute investigation, Halicarnassus said no,—with the first antic we should find ourselves in the barn-cellar. In short, an old barn, in an advanced stage of disintegration, must be treated as tenderly as a loveress. (There seems to be a movement nowadays towards the introduction of feminine nouns; so I venture to make my contribution.)

When the seeds were to be sown, it became necessary to shut up the hens,—necessary, but difficult. I closed the door myself every night with unwearied assiduity, but bright and early every morning came the homely hens and the stately-stepping rooster, treading and pecking as innocently as if they had never suspected they were on forbidden ground. I instituted a search one day; and no wonder they got out. We might have barricaded the door to our heart's content, and they would have tossed their crests in scorn. For there, directly under their perch, was a great hole in the side of the edifice. Hole do I say? It was many holes run into one. Hole was the rule, and barn the exception. It was vacancy bounded by a rough, serrate-dentate coast of decayed boards. It is little to say chicken,—an elephant might have contemplated imprisonment there undismayed. Of course reparation must be made, or farewell, dream of early peas! At the same time, the evil to be remedied was so overgrown, and a monster evil to be disposed of is so much greater an undertaking than a mere new measure to be carried, that I think it no exaggeration,[Pg 293] but at worst only what we classic writers call synecdoche, to say, as I did at the beginning of this paper, that I went out to build a barn.

What brilliant success would have crowned heroic effort, if knowledge had been, as the old copy-books used to say it was, power! It was clear enough what needed to be done, and there was abundance of material to do it with,—plenty of boards, a little rough, to be sure, and plenty of nails, a little rusty. But boards are so uncommonly heavy! and a ladder affords a footing at once so contracted and so uncertain! and a hammer has such a will of its own, coming down with ill-timed fervor in the most unexpected places! And when a board has been lifted and pulled and balanced by main force into position, it takes both hands to hold it there; and then how are you going to drive in the nails to make it stay, I should like to know, especially with your ladder continually threatening a change of base? I am confident, moreover, that our boards were made of mahogany, or some other impenetrable substance; for when, by dexterous manipulation, by close crowding up against them, and holding them up with my elbows, I at length proceeded to strike an effective blow, do you think the nail went in? Not in the least. It did everything else. It skewed off to one side, it doubled up, it snapped short, it plunged about frantically whenever it was touched, to say nothing of the not innumerous occasions on which the stroke aimed at its unprincipled head fell with crushing force—elsewhere. Then my strength would begin to fail, and the board would slowly, slowly slide away from me, till I let it go, and it dashed with a crash to the ground.

Then, to use the language of the poet,—

"A man I know,
But shall not discover,
Since ears are dull,
And time discloses,"

was aroused to unwonted activity by the pounding, and sauntered out into the midst of the mêlée. I do not know how long he had been watching me; for I was so absorbed in my architectural problem as to be dead to the outer world; but into the recesses of my complications penetrated a sound which seemed very much like what the world's people call a—a—a—snicker! I looked around, and there he was. Very sober, very blameless, having very much the air of being just arrived; but could my ears deceive me? Then up spake I, cheerily, "O Halicarnassus, you are just in time to hold this board steady while I hammer it on,"—as if I had that moment adjusted it for the first time. He took his stand under the ladder, and held on as I told him, with a beautiful docility. I did not hurry in selecting a nail; for he was strong, and I thought it would do him good to be in an uncomfortable position a little while, particularly as I was not quite satisfied about the—half-suppressed, broken laugh (definition of snicker given by "The Best").

Carpentering was far easier after this, yet progress was not what you could call rapid. The ladder was short, and I had to reach up painfully; but I should not mind my arms aching, I informed my companion, if it were not, that, having to look up so, all the splinters and dust and débris that my hammer struck from the old boards marched straight into my eyes.

"You might keep your eyes shut," suggested he.

"But then," I responded, "I could not see how to strike."

"Never mind," said he, tenderly; "you would hit just as well."

"Oh, that way madness lies!"

The upshot of it was, that H. bestirred himself, and turned that barn into a marvel of art. It had been a barn: it became a villa. An immense wooden sarcophagus,—only nobody had ever been deposited in it,—perhaps it was a horse-trough,—he set up "on end," and made a three-story house of it. Fresh, sweet-smelling hay he piled on each floor, and scooped out such attractive little nests that a hen of a domestic turn of mind would go[Pg 294] there and lay, just for the fun of it, you might suppose. Then the porticos, and the palisades, and the sliding-doors, and the galleries, and the hospital, and the vistas, and the inner and outer courts, every arrangement that heart of hen could wish, both for seclusion and for society,—why, those fowls might have dreamt they dwelt in marble halls every night of their lives, and not have been very far out of the way. And the summer residences that he made for them,—little Gothic cottages built for a single family, with all the modern conveniences, and a good many more improvised on the spot, and with this signal advantage over similar structures at Newport and Nahant,—that you can take them under your arm, and carry them wherever you please.

Before finally leaving my hen-coop, will a generous public pardon me for recurring to the subject of crowing hens? It may possibly be remembered that in a late number of this magazine I hazarded a doubt as to the existence of any such lusus naturæ. Since that time proof has accumulated upon me from different quarters that crowing hens do exist. But let it be noted that the gist of my remarks was the inconsistency of the tyrant man. Now let us see whether an admission of the disputed fact relieves him from the guilt charged upon him.

Observe once more the couplet,

"A whistling girl and a crowing hen
Always come to some bad end,"—

a couplet which, I affirm without fear of contradiction, endeavors to affix a stigma upon the character of crowing hens: for what sinister and ulterior purpose I scornfully refrain from designating. Fourteen crowing hens have reported themselves to me: one from Maine, two from New Hampshire, three from Massachusetts, one each from Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and North Carolina, and four from Pennsylvania. Of these fourteen,

Number One is "Bobby, an excellent Biddy. Lays nice, large eggs, and brings up her families well."

Number Two, named Queen Mab. Always crows to the music of a sweet-voiced Steinway. Is in all other respects an amiable and exemplary hen.

Number Three is a black hen, now three years old. Has laid eggs.

Number Four crowed regularly every morning, when the cock did. When she was a little over a year old, she and her seven babes were stolen from a wild cherry-tree, where they went to bed, by a fox, who came up on an old log.

Number Five crowed irregularly. Raised several broods of chicks. Lived to be four or five years old.

Number Six crowed chiefly in the fall, when the young chicks were practising (no doubt to encourage them). Lived to the remarkable age of nine years, and was then decapitated.

Number Seven raised a large brood of chickens. Their papa was killed at about the time for them to begin to crow, and one morning she flew up on the fence and crowed with all her might. Continued it until they had learned, and stopped. Was called Old Sam. Her end was the soup-pot.

Number Eight, an old speckled hen. Took to crowing after a raid on the poultry-yard had deprived it of every rooster. Crowed as well as anybody.

Number Nine lived twenty-five years ago. Witness has forgotten whether she ever did anything but crow. Had a wicked name, which I shall not give.

Number Ten laid eggs.

Number Eleven crowed repeatedly and often spunkily after the roosters had been killed, never while they were alive.

Number Twelve crows sometimes in the presence of the rooster, chiefly when alone. Most energetic in crowing.

Numbers Thirteen and Fourteen have simply the fact of their existence recorded.

Now, mere proverb-mongers, bear in mind: In the whole country only fourteen well-defined crowing hens,—at the worst, not a very crying evil.

Of the fourteen, only one is recorded as having come to a bad end, and that[Pg 295] end had no connection with the crowing, but occurred while she was engaged in the faithful discharge of her maternal duties.

Seven are reported as bearing an excellent domestic character, a blessing to the society which they adorned. Against the remaining seven not a syllable of reproach is breathed; but if there had been any evil thing in them, who believes it would not have been learned and conned by rote and cast into our teeth?

In the case of five, their crowing was not only innocent, but a preëminent virtue, a manly crown set upon every feminine excellence.

Inconsistency? It is a white and shining word for the black quality to which I applied it.

Men, the indictment is quashed. You are ruled out of court. Take your couplet and depart, giving thanks that you are not prosecuted for defamation of character.

While the architect and the hens were thus revelling in the halls of the Montezumas, I turned my attention to the more modest purpose of providing accommodations for the tomatoes. All our efforts in that line hitherto had been comparative failures. "It is a good thing to take time by the forelock," I had remarked to a subordinate, as early, I should think, as February, perhaps January, and begun planting a great many seeds in boxes, which were set in the sunshine under the kitchen windows. A great many plants came up, and then a great many flocks and herds of little green things oozed out of them and began to creep over them, evidently with the design of eating them up. This would never do. I borrowed a bound volume of the old "New England Farmer," from a young New England farmer,—the worst thing in the world to do, let me say to all amateur farmers. Use every lawful means of perfecting yourself in your profession, but on no account touch an agricultural journal. They bewilder an honest heart into despair. They show the importance and the feasibility of so many things, every one of which is full of interest, profit, and pleasure, that you know not where to begin; and instead of doing one thing, you dream of a dozen. I sent the "New England Farmer" home, and, according to advice, bought a handful of tobacco, put it on a shovel and set fire to it, and smoked the young shoots thoroughly,—as well as the house and all that therein was. The experiment succeeded perfectly. Any way, it killed the tomatoes. I am not so sure about their colonists, but I do not believe they long survived the destruction of their Arcadia. "It is just as well," I said, to encourage one whose spirits depend upon me. "It is, indeed, far better. There are many kind people in cities, who will sow the seeds, and tend the plants, and take all our trouble, and give us as many plants as we want, for fifty cents. Which, indeed, they did,—and I set the plants out mathematically, in a square. But they are delicate, and need protection from untimely summer frosts. Thriftless people set up stakes, bushes, and such hand-to-mouth contrivances, and perhaps throw an old apron or a fragment of a table-cloth over them. Practical, but prosaic people, cover them with pots and pans during their fragile infancy; all of which makes an unsightly feature in a landscape. I built a conservatory. And here let me say to all my young friends who may design to devote themselves to rural pursuits, Do not be narrowly content with the utilities, nor count the hours spent upon the beautiful as time lost. For aught we know, the fields might be just as fruitful, if they put forth only a gray and dingy sedge. Instead of which, we have their green and velvet loveliness starred all over with violet and daisy and dandelion. A hen-house is no less serviceable because built in the Gothic style with suites of rooms. A rough nomadic tent of poles and rags gives no surer protection to your tender herbs than the stately and beautiful conservatory. That is why I built a conservatory. The walls were of brick: there was a pile of bricks in a corner of the barn. The roof was[Pg 296] of glass: there was a pile of passées windows, ditto, ditto. The edifice was not quite so firm as might be desired, owing to the circumstance of there being no underpinning nor cement. Nor did its sides not sometimes deviate from strictly right lines, as they were obliged to yield to the undulations of the soil; but it was at least classical,—brick and windows. The only serious trouble with it was, that one fine morning it ceased to be conservative at all, but became revolutionary to the last degree,—utterly subversive, in fact, of the existing order of things. Why, the calves got in overnight and turned everything topsyturvy. Their hoofs crushed in the walls and roof, and the walls and roof between them crushed the tomatoes, so that architecture and horticulture were involved in a common ruin. We knew it was the calves, because their juvenile tracks were all about. Besides, there were the calves. It turned out to be of no account, for that proved to be a bad year for tomatoes, so we should have had none in any event, and were saved all the trouble of cultivating them, while the calves had a free frolic, poor things. To be sure, they have a fine court-yard for exercise, a vestibule for noon-day lounging, and snug quarters for sleep and shelter; but, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,

"Fredome is a noble thing!
Fredome mayss man to haiff liking:
Fredome all solace to man giffis:
He levys at ess, that frely levys!
A noble calf may haiff nane ess,
Na ellys nocht that may him pless,
Gyff fredome failyhe: for fre liking
Is yharnyt our all othir thing.
Na he, that ay hass levyt fre,
May nocht knaw weill the propyrte,
The angyr, na the wrechyt dome,
That is cowplyt to foule thyrldome.
Bot gyff he had assayit it,
Than all perquer he suld it wyt;
And suld think fredome mar to pryss,
Than all the gold in warld that is."

And if these wayward children of the earth could find any way of escape from their gilded fetters, and wander out under the beautiful star-sown heavens into the wilderness of night to taste the sweets of liberty, and, if you please, of license, who can find it in his heart to blame them? Farmers ought not to restrict their thoughts to human motives. We should endeavor sometimes to look at things with the eyes of a cow, an ox, a chicken, and so learn to have more consideration for and sympathy with these younger brethren of ours, these children of a common Father. The earth is theirs, as truly, if not as thoroughly, as it is ours. The good God makes grass to grow for the cattle, as well as herb for the service of man. All the beasts of the field are His. Undoubtedly He enjoys the happiness of every lamb frisking on the hill-side; and not a blue-bird flashes through the morning, not a swallow twitters on his spray, but the Creator smiles on its glistening beauty and listens lovingly to its song. "Doth God take care for oxen?" asks Paul, and looking into the Bible, as well as abroad over the fertile fields, we can but answer, yes; though Paul himself seems to incline to the negative, and to consider the command not to muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn as given altogether for our sakes. Partly for our sakes, no doubt, but partly also for the comfort of the toiling patient oxen; and so, probably, would Paul say, were the question fairly put to him from the bovine side. So, indeed, in effect he does say, when writing to Timothy with another end in view. Perhaps that "Original Greek," to whom commentators and expositors are so fond of appealing in an emergency, may yet be found to help us out of our difficulty by proving, past a cavil, that no means yes. At any rate, the Bible shows that God does take care of all dumb, uncomplaining lives, and all humble human creatures,—and shows it so conclusively, so minutely, and so practically, that we can hardly be said to need any supplementary revelation on that point, though the Reverend Edward C. Towne, evidently thinking otherwise, has written what he modestly terms "a scripture" about Timid Tom and Old Gurdy,—very tender and touching, yet he will pardon me for saying I still think Matthew rather better adapted to the rural districts.[Pg 297]

So we will remember that to the birds cherry-trees are a true Promised Land, where Nature herself invites them to enter in and take possession. We will ever bear in mind that Molly and Brindle have no forecast of full granaries to console them for present deprivation, and that the waving cornfield rustles for them, and for them the rich rye quivers, and they do but obey their highest law, when they pass through the carelessly swinging gate and feast on the fatness of the land.

In fact, our three little calves always wrought their mischief with such winsome grace as disarmed anger and amply repaid us in amusement what they cost us of trouble. They were a source of unfailing interest and wonder,—

"A phantom of delight,
When first they gleamed upon our sight,
A lovely apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament."

And every day heightened their charms.

Mr. Henry James, illustrating some false conception of the relation between God and man, somewhere says, "You simply need to recall the relation of irksome superintendence on the one hand, and of utter indifference on the other, which vivify the intercourse of a farmer and his calves."

Now to Mr. Henry James, as a general rule, it would be difficult to award too much praise. The river of his speech, rippling through summer shadows, or rushing over rocky ways, still flows, like Siloa's brook, fast by the oracles of God. And though it winds sometimes through inaccessible places, and you tell its course only by its music, and not by its sparkle, and though it channels a path sometimes through murky valleys whose every vapor is laden with pestilence, yet you know that pure and purifying, singing through its leafy solitudes and shining heavenly clear in Tophet as in Tempe, the burden of its song is peace on earth, good-will to man, while it hastens on to mingle crystal stream with the waters of the river of life.

But, Mr. Henry James, good and wise as you are, I am certain you never owned a calf. At least, you never stood in confidential relations to one. "Irksome superintendence?" You did not witness the welcome we gave our poor little favorite, torn all trembling from its mother's side by the stern demand of some greedy purse. How we stroked him, and patted him, and—begging your pardon—scratched his head, and so soothed away his sorrow ere he was aware! how we stayed his staggering limbs! and because he was too young and knew not how to drink, but only stared at the basin and at us and vacancy, in an uncertain, moonstruck way, did I not put my own fingers into the milk and draw his mouth down to them, and, deceived by the pious fraud, did not the poor little hungry innocent, like Dido of old, drink large draughts of love, in happy ignorance that it was not Nature's own arrangement for such case made and provided? No, Mr. James,—where it is a question of absolute philosophy, ordinary cosmology, noumenal force, instinctual relegation, and the fundamental antithesis of Me and Not-Me, you shall have everything your own way; but when it comes to live-stock, you must ask me first!

Such a mistake, however, is not unaccountable. Farming, it must be conceded, is in some respects a hard-hearted business, little calculated to cherish the finer feelings. Separation of families is so common a thing among farmers that the sight of sorrow ceases to sadden. Calves are taken from their mothers at a tender age, to the great trial of both mother and child; and a sufficient excuse for this trampling upon Nature is supposed to be concentrated in the one word, Veal. All last night the air reverberated with the agonized mooings of a bereaved cow in a neighboring pasture, and with the earliest dawn there she stood forlorn, pressing her aching breast against the cold, dew-damp gate, and gazing with mournful longing up the road last trodden by her darling's lingering feet. But it is all right, because—veal! A hen may be suddenly wrested from her infant brood and brought back from her private nest into the dreary[Pg 298] phalanstery, because Mr. Worldly Wiseman thinks the laying of eggs a more important thing than the cultivation of domestic virtues. To the exigencies of "profit" everything else must give way. The result can but be deleterious. The peach-bloom of sensibility is presently rubbed off by constant trituration of harsh utilities. Only yesterday I received an invitation from a gentleman of standing and character to visit a famous farm, and one of the inducements expressly held out was the pleasure of seeing a hundred sheep from Canada, with a hundred little lambs, all their respective little tails cut off short. What a request was there, my countrymen! For why were those little tails cut off, in the first place? and if they were cut off, why should any humane person be invited to see such a spectacle of man's rapacity? It must have been sheer wantonness. You sometimes prune away sundry branches of a tree, to make the rest of it grow better; but will there be any more to a leg of mutton because it had no tail? No, Sir. When I go a-sheep-gazing, I want to see the sheep walking about with dignity and comfort, and coming home, as little Bo-Peep wanted hers, bringing their tails behind them.

What we can we do to stem this dreadful tide of demoralization. We have never set our hearts upon taking the first prize at any fair for anything. We do not count upon deriving great pecuniary strength from contact with our mother Earth. But upon this one thing we have determined,—that every creature on our plantation, which is allowed to live at all, shall live as far as possible in the enjoyment of every bounty which Nature bestowed upon him. No dumb life shall be the worse for falling into our hands. We do not disdain to study the nature of our calves, nor to gratify their innocent whims. One refuses milk and chooses water: water is always provided. Another exults in apples, bread, and fried potatoes, and eats them from your hand with most winsome confidence and gratitude. They dislike the confinement of their parade-ground, yearning to roam over the grassy knolls, to snuff the scent of the clover-blossoms, to drink the dew from buttercups, to lie on the velvet turf and let the summer soak through their tough hides and penetrate their inmost hearts. How calm then are their beautiful mazarine blue eyes! What deep content relaxes every fibre of their breathing bodies! How happily the days of Thalaba go by! They seem to have attained to a premature tranquillity, the meditative mood of full-grown kine. But if sometimes the morning wine of June leaps through their veins with a strange vigor in its pulse, you shall see how bravely their latent youthfulness asserts itself. Frisking with many an ungainly gambol, they dash across the orchard, bending their backs into an angle, brandishing their tails aloft, jerking, butting, pushing, and jostling each other, in joy too intense for expression.

Driving in Natick one day, I observed, in some of the pleasant grounds which ornament that town, a very nice little contrivance;—a coil of fence you might call it, made of iron wire, capable of being rolled and unrolled, and so enabling you to make an inclosure when and where you chose. Set your fence down on one part of the lawn, turn in your lambs, and when they have cropped all the grass, remove the establishment to another place. I represented very ably and vividly to—the person mentioned before—the advantages of such a fence to our calves and to ourselves. It gives them at once the freedom of the turf, yet does not loose them beyond our control. And then it looks so picturesque!

"Yes," said he, briskly, "we must have one."

"That we must!" I responded with enthusiasm, delighted at his ready acquiescence. Not that a non-acquiescence would have made any difference in the result, but the process would have been more tedious.

The next morning he called me out, with great flourish of trumpets, to see The Iron Fence.

"It is not possible," I said, in astonishment.[Pg 299] "You have had no time to send."

"No,—I made it," he replied boldly.

"You!" I exclaimed, still more astonished. "I knew there was a tangle of iron wire in the barn, but it looked rusty."

He made no reply, only whistled me on as if I were his dog,—he often does that,—and I followed, musing. The iron fences that I had seen showed a fine tracery, delicate and graceful, seemingly, as the cobwebs on the morning grass: could they, like these, be woven in a single summer night? The sequel will show. I appeared upon the scene. A single, slender iron pole was driven into the ground: one end of a piece of rope was fastened to it; the other end encircled the neck of our little, black, woolly calf, Topsy, who was describing great circles around the pole, in her frenzy to escape.

"Sir," said I, after a somewhat prolonged silence, "it is the old crowbar."

"No," said he, confidently, "it is an Iron Fence,—such as they have in Natick. Only," he added, after a short pause, and as if the thought had just occurred to him, "perhaps theirs is the old-fashioned centripetal kind. This is the New Centrifugal Iron Fence!"(?)

Kindness to animals is, like every other good thing, its own reward. It is homage to Nature, and Nature takes you into the circle of her sympathies and refreshes you with balsam and opiate. We, too, delight in green meadows and blue sky. Resting with our pets on the southern slope, the heavens lean tenderly over us, and star-flowers whisper to us the brown earth's secrets. Ever wonderful and beautiful is it to see the frozen, dingy sod springing into slender grass-blades, purple violets, and snow-white daisies. The lover deemed it a token of extraordinary devotion, that, when his mistress came by, his

"dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead;
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red."

But no foot so humble, so little loved, so seldom listened for, that the earth will not feel its tread and blossom up a hundred-fold to meet her child. And every dainty blossom shall be so distinctly wrought, so gracefully poised, so generously endowed, that you might suppose Nature had lavished all her love on that one fair flower.

As you lie on the grass, watching the ever-shifting billows of the sheeny sea, that dash with soundless surge against the rough old tree-trunks, marking how the tall grasses bend to every breeze and darken to every cloud, only to arise and shine again when breeze and cloud are passed by, there comes through your charmed silence—which is but the perfect blending of a thousand happy voices—one cold and bitter voice,—

"Golden to-day, to-morrow gray:
So fades young love from life away!"

O cold, false voice, die back again into your outer darkness! I know the reaper will come, and the golden grain will bow before him, for this is Nature's law; but in its death lies the highest work of its circling life. All was fair; but this is fairest of all. It dies, indeed, but only to continue its beneficence; and with fresh beauty and new vigor it shall blossom for other springs.

Fainter, but distinctly still, comes the chilling voice,—

"Though every summer green the plain,
This harvest cannot bloom again."

False still! This harvest shall bloom again in perpetual and ever-increasing loveliness. It shall leap in the grace of the lithe-limbed steed, it shall foam in the milk of gentle-hearted cows, it shall shine in the splendor of light-winged birds, it shall sleep in the baby's dimple, toss in the child's fair curls, and blush in the maiden's-cheek. Nay, by some inward way, it shall spring again in the green pastures of the soul, blossoming in great thoughts, in kindly words, in Christian deeds, till the soil that cherished it shall seem to seeing eyes all consecrate, and the Earth that flowers such growths shall be Eden, the Garden of God.

[Pg 300]



Madame Arles was a mild and quiet little woman, with a singular absence of that vivacity which most people are disposed to attribute to all of French blood. Her age—so far as one could judge from outward indications—might have been anywhere from twenty-eight to forty. There were no wrinkles in that smooth, calm forehead of hers; and if there were lines of gray amid her hair, this indication of age was so contradicted by the youthfulness of her eye, that a keen observer would have been disposed to attribute it rather to some weight of past grief that had left its silvery imprint than to the mere dull burden of her years.

There are those who stolidly measure a twelve-month always by its count, and age by such token as a gray head; but who has not had experience of months so piled with life that two or three or four of them count more upon the scale of mortality than a score of other and sunny ones? Who cannot reckon such? Who, looking back, cannot summon to his thought some passage of a week in which he seemed to stride toward the end with a crazy swiftness, and under which he felt that every outward indication of age was deepening its traces with a wondrous surety? Ay, we slip, we are forged upon the anvil of Time,—God, who deals the blows, only knows how fast!

Yet in Madame Arles we have no notable character to bring forward; if past griefs have belonged to her, they have become long since a part of her character; they are in no way obtrusive. There was, indeed, a singular cast in one of her eyes, which in moments of excitement—such few as came over her—impressed the observer very strangely; as if, while she looked straight upon you and calmly with one eye, the other were bent upon some scene far remote and out of range, some past episode it might be of her own life, by over-dwelling upon which she had brought her organs of sight into this tortured condition. Nine out of ten observers, however, would never have remarked the peculiarity we have mentioned, and would only have commented upon Madame Arles—if they had commented at all—as a quiet person, in whom youth and age seemed just now to struggle for the mastery, and in whom no trace of French birth and rearing was apparent, save her speech, and a certain wonderful aptitude in the arrangement of her dress. The poor lady, moreover, who showed traces of a vanished beauty, was a sad invalid, and for this reason, perhaps, had readily accepted the relief afforded by this summer vacation with two of her city pupils. A violent palpitation of the heart, from time to time, after sudden or undue exertion or excitement, shook the poor woman's frail hold upon life. Possibly from this cause—as is the case with many who are compelled to listen to those premonitory raps of the grim visitor at the very seat of life—Madame Arles was a person of strong religious proclivities. Death is knocking at all hearts, indeed, pretty regularly, and his pace toward triumph is as formally certain as a pulse beat; but it is, after all, those disorderly summons of his,—when in a kind of splenetic rage he grips at our heart-strings, and then lets go,—which keep specially active the religious sentiment. Madame Arles had been educated in the Romish faith, and accepted all its tenets with the same unquestioning placidity with which she enjoyed the sunshine. Without any particular knowledge of the way in which this faith diverged from other Christian forms, she leaned upon it (as so many fainting spirits do and will) because the most available and accessible prop to that religious yearning in her which craved support. So instinctive and unreasoning a faith was not, however, such as to[Pg 301] provoke any proselytizing zeal or noisy demonstration. Had it been otherwise, indeed, it could hardly have disturbed her position with the Bowriggs or interrupted relations with her city patrons.

In Ashfield the case was far different.

Adèle, accompanied by her friend Rose,—who, notwithstanding the quiet remonstrances of the Doctor, had won her mother's permission for such equipment in French as she could gain from a summer's teaching,—went with early greeting to the Bowriggs. The curiosity of Adèle was intense to listen to the music of her native speech once more; and when Madame Arles slipped quietly into the room, Adèle darted toward her with warm, girlish impulse, and the poor woman, excited beyond bounds by this heartiness of greeting, and murmuring some tender words of endearment, had presently folded her to her bosom.

Adèle, blushing as much with pleasure as with a half-feeling of mortification at the wild show of feeling she had made, was stammering her apology, when she was arrested by a sudden change in the aspect of her new friend.

"My dear Madame, you are suffering?"

"A little, my child!"

It was too true, as the quick glance of her old pupils saw in an instant. Her lips were pinched and blue; that strange double look in her eyes,—one fastened upon Adèle, and the other upon vacancy; her hands clasped over her heart as if to stay its mad throbbings. While Sophie supported and conducted the sufferer to her own chamber, the younger sister explained to Adèle that such spasmodic attacks were of frequent occurrence, and their physician had assured them must, at a very early day, destroy her.

Nothing more was needed to enlist Adèle's sympathies to the full. She carried home the story of it to the Doctor, and detailed it in such an impassioned way, and with such interpretation of the kind lady's reception of herself, that the Doctor was touched, and abated no small measure of the prejudice he had been disposed to entertain against the Frenchwoman.

But her heresies in the matter of religion remained,—it being no secret that Madame Arles was thoroughly Popish; and these disturbed the good Doctor the more, as he perceived the growing and tender intimacy which was establishing itself, week by week, between Adèle and her new teacher. Indeed, he has not sanctioned this without his own private conversation with Madame, in which he has set forth his responsibility respecting Adèle and the wishes of her father, and insisted upon entire reserve of Madame's religious opinions in her intercourse with his protégée. All which the poor lady had promised with a ready zeal that surprised the minister.

"Indeed, I know too little, Doctor; I could wish she might be better than I. May God make her so!"

"I do not judge you, Madame; it is not ours to judge; but I would keep Adaly securely, if God permit, in the faith which we reverence here, and which I much fear she could never learn in her own land or her own language."

"May-be, may-be, my good Doctor; her faith shall not be disturbed by me, I promise you."

Adèle, with her quick ear and eye, has no difficulty in discovering the ground of the Doctor's uneasiness and of Miss Eliza's frequent questionings in regard to her intercourse with the new teacher.

"I am sure they think you very bad," she said to Madame Arles, one day, in a spirit of mischief.

"Bad! bad! Adèle, why? how?"—and that strange tortuous look came to her eye, with a quick flush to her cheeks.

"Ah, now, dear Madame, don't be disturbed; 'tis only your religion they think so bad, and fear you will mislead me. Tenez! this little rosary" (and she displays it to the eye of the wondering Madame Arles) "they would have taken from me."[Pg 302]

Madame pressed the beads reverently to her lips, while her manner betrayed a deep religious emotion, (as it seemed to Adèle,) which she had rarely seen in her before.

"And you claimed it, my child?"

"Not for any faith I had in it; but it was my mother's."

The good woman kissed Adèle.

"You must long to see her, my child!"

A shade of sorrow and doubt ran over the face of the girl. This did not escape the notice of Madame Arles, who, with a terribly dejected and distracted air, replaced the rosary in her hands.

"Mon ange!" (in this winsome way she was accustomed at times to address Adèle) "we cannot talk of these things. I have promised as much to the Doctor; it is better so; he is a good man."

Adèle sat toying for a moment with the rosary upon her fingers, looking down; then, seeing that woe-begone expression that had fastened upon the face of her companion, she sprang up, kissed her forehead, and, restoring thus—as she knew she could do—a cheeriness to her manner, resumed her lesson.

But from this time forth she showed an eagerness to unriddle, so far as she might, the mystery of that faith which the Doctor clothed in his ponderous discourses,—weighed down and oppressed by his prolixity, and confounded by doctrines she could not comprehend, yet recognizing, under all, his serene trust, and gratefully conscious of his tender regard and constant watchfulness. But, more than all, it was a subject of confusion to her, that the prim and austere Miss Eliza, whose pride and selfishness her keen eye could not fail to see, should be possessed of a truer faith than the poor stranger whose gentleness, and suffering so patiently borne, seemed in a measure to Christianize and dignify character. And if she dropped a hint of these doubts, as she sometimes did, in the ear of the motherly Mrs. Elderkin, that good woman took her hand tenderly,—"My dear Adèle, we are all imperfect; but God sees with other eyes than ours. Trust Him,—trust Him above all, Adèle!"

Yes, she trusts Him,—she knows she trusts Him. Why not? Whom else to trust? No tender motherly care and guidance; the father, by these years of absence, made almost a stranger. The low voice of her native land, that comes to her ear with a charming flow from the lips of her new teacher, never to speak of her doubts or questionings; the constrained love of the Doctor, her New Papa, framing itself, whenever it touches upon the deeper motives of her nature, in stark formulas of speech, that blind and confound her; the spinster sister talking kindly, but commending the tie of her hat-ribbons in the same tone with which she urges adherence to some cumbrous enunciation of doctrine. And Adèle cherishes her little friendships (most of all with Rose); not alive as yet to any tenderer and stronger passion that shall engross her, and make or mar her life; swinging her reticule, as in the days gone by, under the trees that embower the village street; loving the bloom, the verdure, the singing of the birds, but with every month now—as she begins to fathom the abyss of life with her own thought—grown more serious. It is always thus: the girl we toyed with yesterday with our inanities of speech is to-morrow, by some sudden reach of womanly thought, another creature,—out of range, and so alert, that, if we would conquer her, we must bring up our heaviest siege-trains.


In the summer of 1837, Maverick, who had continued eminently successful, determined to sail for America, and to make good his promise of a visit to the Doctor and Adèle. It may appear somewhat inexplicable that a father should have deferred to so late a day the occasion of meeting and greeting an only child. That his attachment was strong, his letters, full of expressions of affection, had abundantly shown; but the engrossments of business had[Pg 303] been unceasing, and he had met them with that American abandonment of other thought, which, while it insures special success, is too apt to make shipwreck of all besides. He was living, moreover, without experience of those tender family ties which ripen a man's domestic affections, and make the absence of a child—most of all, an only child—a daily burden.

Maverick shows no more appearance of age than when we saw him ten years since, placing his little offering of flowers upon the breakfast-table of poor Rachel,—an excellently well-preserved man,—dressed always in that close conformity to the existing mode which of itself gives a young air,—brushing his hair sedulously so as to cover the growing spot of baldness,—regulating all his table indulgences with the same precision with which he governs his business,—using all the appliances of flesh-brushes and salt-baths to baffle any insidious ailment,—a strong, hale, cheery man, who would have ranked by a score (judging from his exterior) younger than the Doctor. In our time the clerical fraternity are putting a somewhat wiser valuation upon those aids to firm muscle and good digestion which forty years ago in New England their brethren gave over contemptuously to men of the world. What fearful, pinching dyspepsias, what weak, trembling knees and aching sides have been carried into pulpits, and have been strained to the propagation of spiritual doctrine, under the absurd belief that these bodies of ours were not given us to be cherished! As if a Gabriel would not need clean limbs and a firm hand in a grapple with the ministers of misrule!

Shall we look for a moment at the French home which Maverick is leaving? A compact country-house of yellow stone upon a niche of the hills that overlook the blue Bay of Lyons; a green arbor over the walk leading to the door; clumps of pittosporum and of jessamine, with two or three straggling fig-trees, within the inclosure; a billiard-room and salle-à-manger upon the ground-floor, and au premier a salon, opening, by its long, heavily draped windows, upon a balcony shielded with striped awning. Here on many an evening, when the night wind comes in from the sea, Maverick lounges sipping at his demi-tasse, whiffing at a fragrant Havana, (imported to order,) and chatting with some friend he has driven out from the stifling streets of Marseilles about the business chances of the morrow. A tall, agile Alsatian woman, with a gilt crucifix about her neck, and a great deal of the peasant beauty still in her face, glides into the salon from time to time, acting apparently in the capacity of mistress of the establishment—respectfully courteous to Maverick and his friend, yet showing something more than the usual familiarity of a dependent housekeeper.

The friend who sits with him enjoying the night breeze and those rare Havanas is an open-faced, middle-aged companion of the city, with whom Maverick has sometimes gone to a bourgeois home near to Montauban, where a wrinkle-faced old Frenchman in velvet skull-cap—the father of his friend—has received him with profound obeisance, brought out for him his best cru of St. Peray, and bored him with long stories of the times of 1798, in which he was a participant. Yet the home-scenes there, with the wrinkled old father and the stately mamma for partners at whist or boston, have been grateful to Maverick, as reminders of other home-scenes long passed out of reach; and he has opened his heart to this son of the house.

"Monsieur Papiol," (it is the Alsatian woman who is addressing the friend of Maverick,) "ask, then, why it is Monsieur Frank is going to America."

"Ah, Lucille, do you not know, then, there is a certain Puritan belle he goes to look after?"

"Pah!" says the Alsatian, "Monsieur is not so young!"

Maverick puffs at his cigar thoughtfully,—a thoughtfulness that does not encourage the Alsatian to other speech,—and in a moment more she is gone.[Pg 304]

"Seriously, Maverick," says Papiol, when they are alone again, "what will you do with this Puritan daughter of yours?"

"Keep her from ways of wickedness," said Maverick, without losing his thoughtfulness.

"Excellent!" said the friend, laughing; "but you will hardly bring her to this home of yours, then?"

"Hardly to this country of yours, Pierre."

"Nonsense, Maverick! You will be too proud of her, mon ami. I'm sure of that. You'll never keep her cribbed yonder. We shall see you escorting her some day up and down the Prado, and all the fine young fellows hereabout paying court to the belle Americaine. My faith! I shall be wishing myself twenty years younger!"

Maverick is still very thoughtful.

"What is it, my good fellow? Is it—that the family question gives annoyance among your friends yonder?"

"On the contrary," says Maverick,—and reaching a file of letters in his cabinet, he lays before his companion that fragment of the Doctor's epistle which had spoken of the rosary, and of his discovery that it had been the gift of the mother, "so near, and he trusted dear a relative."

"Mais, comme il est innocent, your good old friend there!"

"I wish to God, Pierre, I were as innocent as he," said Maverick, and tossed his cigar over the edge of the balcony.

Upon his arrival at New York, Maverick did not communicate directly with the Doctor, enjoying the thought, very likely, of surprising his old friend by his visit, very much as he had surprised him many years before. He takes boat to a convenient point upon the shore of the Sound, and thence chooses to approach the town that holds what is most dear to him by an old, lumbering stage-coach, which still plies across the hills, as twenty years before, through the parish of Ashfield. The same patches of tasselled corn, (it is August,) the same outlying bushy pastures, the same reeling walls of mossy cobble-stones meet his eye that he remembered on his previous visit. But he looks upon all wayside views carelessly,—as one seeing, and yet not seeing them.

His daughter Adèle, she who parted from him a toy-child eight years gone, whom a new ribbon would amuse in that day, must have changed. That she has not lost her love of him, those letters have told; that she has not lost her girlish buoyancy, he knows. She must be tall now, and womanly in stature, he thinks. She promised to be graceful. That he will love her, he feels; but will he be proud of her? A fine figure, a sweet, womanly voice, an arch look, a winning smile, a pretty coquetry of glance,—will he find these? And does he not build his pride on hope of these? Will she be clever? Will there be traces, ripened in these last years, of the mother,—offensive traces possibly?

But Maverick is what the world calls a philosopher; he hums, unconsciously, a snatch of a French song, by which he rouses the attention of the spectacled old lady, (the only other occupant of the coach,) with whom he has already made some conversational ventures, and who has just finished a lunch which she has drawn from her capacious work-bag. Reviving now under the influence of Maverick's chance fragment of song, and dusting the crumbs from her lap, she says,—

"We don't have very good singin' now in the Glostenbury meetin'."

"Ah!" says Maverick.

"No: Squire Peter's darters have bin gittin' married, and the young girls ha'n't come on yit."

"You attend the Glostenbury Church, then, Madam?" says Maverick, who enjoys the provincialisms of her speech, like a whiff of the lilac perfume which he once loved.

"In gineral, Sir; but we come down odd spells to hear Dr. Johns, who preaches at the Ashfield meetin'-house. He's a real smart man."

"Ah! And this Dr. Johns has a family, I think?"[Pg 305]

"Waäl, the Doctor lost his wife, you see, quite airly; and Miss Johns—that's his sister—has bin a-keepin' house for him ever sence. I'm not acquainted with her, but I've heerd she's a very smart woman. And there's a French girl that came to live with 'em, goin' on now seven or eight year, who was a reg'lar Roman Catholic; but I kind o' guess the old folks has tamed her down afore now."

"Ah! I should think that a Roman Catholic would have but a poor chance in a New England village."

"Not much of a chance anywhere, I guess," said the old lady, wiping her spectacles, "if folks only preached the Gospil."

Even now the coach is creaking along through the outskirts of Ashfield; and presently the driver's horn wakes the echoes of the hills, while the horses plunge forward at a doubled pace. The eyes of Maverick are intent upon every house, every open window, every moving figure.

"It's a most a beautiful town," said the old lady.

"Charming, charming, Madam!"—and even as he spoke, Maverick's eye fastens upon two figures before them with a strange yearning in his gaze,—two figures of almost equal height: a little, coquettish play of ribbons about the head of one, which in the other are absent; a girlish, elastic step to one, that does not belong to the other.

Is there something in the gait, something in the poise of the head, to which the memory of Maverick so cleaves? It is, indeed, Adèle, taking her noon-day walk with Madame Arles. A lithe figure and a buoyant step, holding themselves tenderly in check for the slower pace of the companion. Maverick's gaze keeps fast upon them,—fast upon them, until the old coach is fairly abreast,—fast upon them, until by a glance back he has caught full sight of the faces.

"Mon Dieu!" he exclaims, and throws himself back in the coach.

"Häow?" says the old lady.

"Mon Dieu, it is she!" continues Maverick, speaking under intense excitement to himself, as if unconscious of any other presence.

"Häow?" urged the old lady, more persistently.

"Damn it, nothing, Madam!"

And the old lady drew the strings of her bag closely, and looked full out of the opposite window.

Within, a half-hour the stage-coach arrived at the Eagle Tavern. Maverick demanded a chamber, and asked to see the landlord. The stout, blear-eyed Boody presently made his appearance.

"How can I reach New York soonest, my friend?"

Mr. Boody consulted his watch.

"Well, by fast driving you might catch the night-boat on the river."

"Can you get me there in time?"

"Well, Sir," reflecting a moment, "I guess I can."

"Very good. Have your carriage ready as soon as possible."

And within an hour, Maverick, dejected, and with an anxious air, was on his return to the city.

Three days after, the Doctor summons Adèle into his study.

"Adaly, here is a letter from your father, which I wish you to read."

The girl takes it eagerly, and at the first line exclaims,—

"He is in New York! Why doesn't he come here?"

"My Dear Johns," (so his letter runs,) "I had counted on surprising you completely by dropping in upon you at your parsonage, (so often in my thought,) at Ashfield; but circumstances have prevented. Can I ask so large a favor of you as to bring my dear Adèle to meet me here? If your parochial duties forbid this utterly, can you not see her safely on the river-boat, and I will meet her at the wharf in New York? But, above all, I hope you will come with her. I fancy her now so accomplished a young lady, that there will be needed some ceremony of presentation at your hands; besides which, I want a long talk with you. We are both many years older since we have met; you have had your trials, and I have escaped[Pg 306] with only a few rubs. Let us talk them over. Slip away quietly, if you can; beyond Adèle and your good sister, can't you conceal your errand to the city? Your country villages are so prone to gossip, that I would wish to clasp my little Adèle before your townsfolk shall have talked the matter over. Pray ask your good sister to prepare the wardrobe of Adèle for a month or two of absence, since I mean she shall be my attendant on a little jaunt through the country. I long to greet her; and your grave face, my dear Johns, is always a welcome sight."

Adèle is in a fever of excitement. In her happy glee she would have gone out to tell all the village what pleasure was before her. Even the caution she receives from the Doctor cannot control her spirits absolutely. She makes her little adieux, for a while, under a certain control that surprises herself. But when, in her light-hearted ramble, she comes to say good-bye to Madame Arles, toward whom her sympathies seem to flow in spite of herself, she cannot forbear saying, "What harm, pray, can there be in this?"

"Such a secret, chère Madame! I am going to New York, you know, with Dr. Johns, the good man! and—such a secret! don't whisper it!—Papa has come, and has sent for me, and we are to travel together!" And she sprang at Madame Arles, and, clasping her arms around her neck, kissed her with a vehemence that might have startled even a less excitable person.

"Is it possible, my child! I wish you all joy, with all my heart."

And as if the exuberance of the wish had started her old ailment into new vigor, she has clasped her hands wildly over that bosom, to stay, if it might be, those inordinate throbbings.

But the adieux are at last all spoken. Mrs. Elderkin had said, "My child, I rejoice with you; and if I never see you again,"—(for she had her suspicions that the sudden movement had some connection with the wishes of her father,)—"if I never see you again, I hope you may keep always the simplicity and the love of truth I believe you have now."

Rose, almost bewildered by the gleeful excitement of her friend, enters eagerly into all her arrangements, trips into her chamber to assist in her packing, insists, over and over, that she must write often, and long letters.

Girls of sixteen or thereabout are prone to expectancies of this kind. Their friendships cover reams. Their promises of never-dying attachment are so full, so rich! But as the years drop these girl friends into their separate spheres, with a new world of interests, domestic buffetings, nursery clamor, growing up around them, the tender correspondence, before they know it, is gone by. And the budget of sweet and gushing school-day epistles is cut through and through with the ruthless family shears to kindle the family lamp or to light the cigar of some exacting and surly pater-familias.

"I suppose you will see Reuben in the city," Rose had said, in a chance way.

"Oh, I hope so!" said Adèle.

And of Reuben neither of them said anything more.

Then with what a great storm of embraces Adèle parted from Rose! A parting only for a month, perhaps: both knew that. But the friendship of young girls can build a week into a monstrous void. God bless their dear hearts, and, if the wish be not wicked, keep them always as fresh!

Phil, who is a sturdy and somewhat timid lover, without knowing it, affects an air of composure, and says,—

"I hope you'll have a good time, Adèle; and I suppose you'll forget us all here in Ashfield."

"No, you don't suppose any such thing, Mister Philip," says Adèle, roundly, and with a frank, full look at him that makes the color come to his face; and he laughs, but not easily.

"Well, good bye, Adèle."

She takes his hand, eagerly.

"Good bye, Phil; you 're a dear, good fellow; and you've been very kind to me."[Pg 307]

Possibly there may have been a little water gathering in her eye as she spoke. It is certain that the upper lip of Phil trembled as he strolled away. After walking a few paces out of sight and hearing, snapping his fingers nervously the while, he used some bad interjectional language, which we shall express more moderately.

"Hang it, I'm sorry, deused sorry! I didn't think I liked her so."

----Walking, with head down, snapping those fingers of his,—past his own gate a long way, (though it is full dinner hour,)—mumbling again,—

"By George! I believe I ought to have said something; but, hang it, what could a fellow say?"

He hears the coach driving off, and with a sudden thought rushes home, enters quietly, goes up the stairs, makes a feint as if he were entering his chamber, but passes on tiptoe into the garret, opens the roof-door, and from the housetop catches a last glimpse of the stage-coach rattling down the south road. A wood hides it presently.

"Confound it all!" he says, with great heartiness, and goes down to dinner.

"My son, you haven't a good appetite," says the kindly mother.

"I ate a big lunch," says Phil.

He knew it was a whopper.


It is at Jennings's old City Hotel, far down Broadway, that Maverick has taken rooms and awaits the arrival of Adèle. That glimpse of her upon the street of Ashfield (ay, he knew it must be she!) has added pride to the instinctive love of the parent. The elastic step, the graceful figure, the beaming, sunny face,—they all haunt him; they put him in a fever of expectation. He reads over again the few last letters of hers under a new light; up and down along the page, that lithe, tall figure is always coming forward, and the words of endearment are coupled with that sunny face.

He even prepares his toilette to meet her, as a lover might do to meet his affianced. And the meeting, when it comes, only deepens the pride. Graceful? Yes! That bound toward him,—can anything be fuller of grace? Natural? The look and the speech of Adèle are to Maverick a new revelation of Nature. Loving? That clinging kiss of hers was worth his voyage over the sea.

And she, too, is so beautifully proud of her father! She has loved the Doctor for his serenity, his large justice, notwithstanding his stiffness and his awkward gravity; but she regards with new eyes the manly grace of her father, his easy self-possession, his pliability of talk, his tender attention to her comfort, his wistful gaze at her, so full of a yearning affection, which, if the Doctor had ever felt, he had counted it a duty to conceal. Nay, the daughter, with a womanly eye, took pride in the aptitude and becomingness of his dress,—so different from what she had been used to see in the clumsy toilette of the Doctor, or of the good-natured Squire Elderkin. Henceforth she will have a new standard of comparison, to which her lovers, if they ever declare themselves, must submit.

Adèle, enjoying this easy familiarity with such a pattern of manhood,—as she fondly imagines her father to be,—indulges in full, hearty story of her experiences, at school, with Miss Johns, with the Elderkins, with all those whom she has learned to call friends. And Maverick listens, as he never listened to a grand opera in the theatre of Marseilles.

"And so you have stolen a march upon them all, Adèle? I suppose they haven't a hint of the person you were to meet?"

"All,—at least nearly all, dear papa; there was only good Madame Arles, to whom I could not help saying that I was coming to see you."

A shade passed over the face of Maverick, which it required all his self-possession to conceal from the quick eye of his daughter.[Pg 308]

"And who, pray, is this Madame Arles, Adèle?"

"Oh, a good creature! She has taught me French; no proper teaching, to be sure; but in my talk with her, all the old idioms have come back to me: at least, I hope so."

And she rattles on in French speech, explaining how it was,—how they walked together in those sunny noontides at Ashfield; and taking a girlish pride in the easy adaptation of her language to forms which her father must know so well, she rounds off a little torrent of swift narrative with a piquant, coquettish look, and says,—

"N'est ce pas, que j'y suis, mon père?"

"Parfaitement, ma chère," says the father, and drops an admiring kiss upon the glowing cheeks of Adèle.

But the shade of anxiety has not passed from the face of Maverick.

"This Madame Arles, Adèle,—has she been long in the country?"

"I don't know, papa; yet it must be some years; she speaks English passably well."

"And she has told you, I suppose, very much about the people among whom you were born, Adèle?"

"Not much, papa,—and never anything about herself or her history; yet I have been so curious!"

"Don't be too curious, petite; you might learn only of badness."

"Not badness, I am very, very sure, papa!"

Adèle is sitting on the arm of his chair, fondling those sparse locks of his, sprinkled with gray. It is a wholly new sensation for him; charming, doubtless; but even under the caresses of this daughter, of whom he has reason to be proud, anxious thoughts crowd upon him. Are not our deepest loves measured, after all, by the depth of the accompanying solicitude?

The Doctor is met very warmly by Maverick, and feels something like a revival of the glow of his youthful days as he takes his hand; and yet they are wider apart by far than when they met in the life-time of Rachel. Both feel it; they have travelled widely divergent roads, these last twenty years. The Doctor is satisfied by the bearing and talk of Maverick (whatever kindness may lie in it) that his worldliness is more engrossing and decided than ever. And Maverick, on his part, scrutinizing, carelessly, but unerringly, that embarrassed country manner of the parson's, that stark linen in which he is arrayed by the foresight of the spinster sister, and the constraint of his speech, is sure that his old friend more than ever bounds his thought by the duties of his sacred office.

The Doctor is, moreover, sadly out of place in that little parlor of the hotel, looking out upon Broadway; there is no adaptiveness in his nature; he comes out from the little world of his study, where Tillotson and Poole and Newton have been his companions, athwart the roar of the city street which sounds in his ear like an echo of the murmurs of Pandemonium. Under these circumstances he scarce dares to expostulate so boldly as he would wish with Maverick upon the worldliness of his career; it would seem like bearding the lion in his own den. Nor, indeed, does Maverick provoke such expostulation; he is so considerate of the Doctor's feelings, so grateful for his attentions to Adèle, so religiously disposed (it must be said) in all that concerns the daughter's education and future, and waives the Doctor's personal advices with so kind and easy a grace, that the poor parson despairs of reaching him with the point of the sword of Divine truth.

"My good friend," says Maverick, "you have been a father to my child,—a better one than I have made,—I wish I could repay you."

The Doctor bows stiffly; he has lost the familiarity which at their last interview had lingered from their boyish days at college.

"I suppose that under your teaching," continues Maverick, "she is so fixed in the New England faith of our fathers, that she might be trusted now even to my bad guidance."

"I have tried to do my duty, Maverick.[Pg 309] I could have wished to see more of self-abasement in her, and a clearer acceptance of the doctrine we are called upon to teach."

"But she has been constant in the performance of all the duties you have enjoined, hasn't she, Doctor?"

"Entirely so,—entirely; but, my friend, our poor worldly efforts at duty do not always call down the gift of Grace."

"By Jove, Doctor, but that seems hard doctrine."

"Hard to carnal minds, Maverick; but the evidences are abundant that justification"——

"Nay, nay," said Maverick, interrupting him; "you know I'm not strong in theology; I don't want to be put hors du combat by you; I know I should be. But about that little affair of the rosary,—no harm came of it, I hope?"

"None, I believe," said the Doctor, "but I must not conceal from you, Maverick, that a late teacher of hers, to whom unfortunately she seems very much attached, is strongly wedded to the iniquities of the Romish Church."

"That would seem a very awkward risk to take, Doctor," said Maverick, with more of seriousness than he had yet shown.

"A risk, certainly; but I took the precaution of warning Madame Arles, who is the party in question, against any conversation with Adaly upon religious subjects."

"And you ventured to trust her? Upon my word, Johns, you give me a lesson in faith. I should have been more severe than you. I wouldn't have admitted such intercourse; and, my good friend, if I should ask permission to reinstate Adèle in your household for a time, promise me that all intercourse with Madame Arles shall be cut off. I know Frenchwomen better than you, my friend."

The Doctor assured him that he would do as he desired, and would be glad to have the father's authority for the interruption of an intercourse which had almost the proportions of a tender friendship.

Maverick was thoughtful for a moment.

"Well, yes, Doctor, be gentle—I know you are always—with the dear girl; but if there be any demur on her part, pray give her to understand that what you will ask in this respect has my express sanction. If I know myself, Johns, there is no object I have so near at heart as the happiness of my child; not alone now; but in her future, I hope to God (I speak reverently, Doctor) that she may have immunity from suffering of whatever kind. I wish wealth could buy it; but it can't. Mind the promise, Johns; keep her away from this Frenchwoman."

The Brindlocks, of course, with whom the Doctor was quartered during his stay, took an early occasion to show civilities to Mr. Maverick and his daughter; and Mrs. Brindlock kindly offered her services to Adèle in negotiating such additions to her wardrobe as the proud father insisted upon her making; and in the necessary excursions up and down the city, Reuben, by the pleasant devices of Mrs. Brindlock, was an almost constant out-of-door attendant.

He was no longer the shy boy Adèle had at first encountered. Nay, grown bold by his city experiences, he was disposed to assume a somewhat patronizing air toward the bright-eyed country-girl who was just now equipping herself for somewhat larger contact with the world. Adèle did not openly resent the proffered patronage, but, on the contrary, accepted it with an excess of grateful expressions, whose piquant irony, for two whole days, Reuben, with his blunter perceptions, never suspected. What boy of eighteen is a match for a girl of sixteen? Patronize, indeed! But suspicion came at last, and full knowledge broke upon him under a musical little laugh of Adèle's, (half smothered in her kerchief,) when the gallant young man had blundered into some idle compliment. The instinct of girls in matters of this sort is marvellously quick.

But if the laugh of Adèle cured Reuben of his patronage, it did not cure him of thought about her. It kindled[Pg 310] a new train, indeed, of whose drift he was himself unconscious.

"Isn't she pretty?" said Mrs. Brindlock, on a certain occasion, upon their return from one of the excursions named.

"Oh, so, so!" said Reuben.

"But I think she's perfectly charming," said Mrs. Brindlock.

"Pho, Aunt Mabel! I could name ten girls as pretty."

And he could. But this did not forbid his accepting his Aunt Mabel's invitation for the next day's shopping.

He is not altogether the same lad we saw upon the deck of the Princess, under Captain Saul. He would hardly sail for China now in a tasselled cap. He never will,—this much we can say, at least, without anticipating the burden of our story.


The peacock sits perched on the roof all night,
And wakes up the farm-house before 't is light;
But his matins they suit not the delicate ear
Of the drowsy damsels that half in fear
And half in disgust his discord hear.
If the soul's migration from frame to frame
Be truth, tell me now whence the peacock's came?
Say if it had birth at the musical close
Of a dying hyena,—or if it arose
From a Puritan scold that sang psalms through her nose?
Well: a jackass there was—but you need not look
For this fable of mine in old Æsop's book—
That one complaint all his life had whined,
How Nature had been either blind or unkind
To give him an aspect so unrefined.
"'T is cruel," he groaned, "that I cannot escape
From the vile prison-house of this horrible shape:
So gentle a temper as mine to shut in
This figure uncouth and so shaggy a skin,
And then these long ears!—it's a shame and a sin."
Good-natured Jove his upbraidings heard,
And changed the vain quadruped into a bird,
And garnished his plumage with many a spot
Of ineffable hue, such as earth wears not,—
For he dipped him into the rainbow-pot.
So dainty he looked in his gold and green
That the monarch presented the bird to his queen,
Who, taken with colors as most ladies are,
Had him harnessed straight in her crystal car
Wherein she travels from star to star.
[Pg 311]
But soon as his thanks the poor dissonant thing
Began to bray forth when he strove to sing,
"Poor creature!" quoth Jove, "spite of all my pains,
Your spirit shines out in your donkey strains!
Though plumed like an angel, the ass remains."
So you see, love, that goodness is better than grace.
For the proverb fails in the peacock's case,
Which says that fine feathers make fine birds, too;
This other old adage is far more true,—
They only are handsome that handsomely do.


There was not much stirring in the Department of the South early in 1863, and the St. Mary's expedition had afforded a new sensation. Of course the few officers of colored troops, and a larger number who wished to become such, were urgent for further experiments in the same line; and the Florida tax-commissioners were urgent likewise. I well remember the morning when, after some preliminary correspondence, I steamed down from Beaufort, S. C., to Hilton Head, with General Saxton, Judge S., and one or two others, to have an interview on the matter with Major-General Hunter, then commanding the Department.

Hilton Head, in those days, seemed always like some foreign military station in the tropics. The long, low, white buildings, with piazzas and verandas on the water-side; the general impression of heat and lassitude, existence appearing to pulsate only with the sea-breeze; the sandy, almost impassable streets; and the firm, level beach, on which everybody walked who could get there: all these suggested Jamaica or the East Indies. Then the head-quarters at the end of the beach, the Zouave sentinels, the successive anterooms, the lounging aids, the good-natured and easy General,—easy by habit and energetic by impulse,—all had a certain air of Southern languor, rather picturesque, but perhaps not altogether bracing. General Hunter received us, that day, with his usual kindliness; there was a good deal of pleasant chat; Miles O'Reilly was called in to read his latest verses; and then we came to the matter in hand.

Jacksonville, on the St. John's River, in Florida, had been already twice taken and twice evacuated; having been occupied by Brigadier-General Wright, in March, 1862, and by Brigadier-General Brannan, in October of the same year. The second evacuation was by Major-General Hunter's own order, on the avowed ground that a garrison of five thousand was needed to hold the place, and that this force could not be spared. The present proposition was to take and hold it with a brigade of less than a thousand men, carrying, however, arms and uniforms for twice that number, and a month's rations. The claim was, that there were fewer Rebel troops in the Department than formerly, and that the St. Mary's expedition had shown the advantage possessed by colored troops, in local knowledge, and in the confidence of the loyal blacks. It was also urged, that it was worth while to risk something, in the effort to hold Florida, and perhaps bring it back into the Union.

My chief aim in the negotiation was to get the men into action, and that of the Florida Commissioners to get them into Florida. Thus far coinciding, we could heartily coöperate; and though General Hunter made some reasonable[Pg 312] objections, they were yielded more readily than I had feared; and finally, before half our logical ammunition was exhausted, the desired permission was given, and the thing might be considered as done.

We were now to leave, as we supposed forever, the camp which had thus far been our home. Our vast amount of surplus baggage made a heavy job in the loading, inasmuch as we had no wharf, and everything had to be put on board by means of flat-boats. It was completed by twenty-four hours of steady work; and after some of the usual uncomfortable delays which wait on military expeditions, we were at last afloat.

I had tried to keep the plan as secret as possible, and had requested to have no definite orders, until we should be on board ship. But this larger expedition was less within my own hands than was the St. Mary's affair, and the great reliance for concealment was on certain counter reports, ingeniously set afloat by some of the Florida men. These reports rapidly swelled into the most enormous tales, and by the time they reached the New York newspapers, the expedition was "a great volcano about bursting, whose lava will burn, flow, and destroy,"—"the sudden appearance in arms of no less than five thousand negroes,"—"a liberating host,"—"not the phantom, but the reality, of servile insurrection." What the undertaking actually was may be best seen in the instructions which guided it.[B]

In due time, after touching at Fernandina, we reached the difficult bar of the St. John's, and were piloted safely over. Admiral Dupont had furnished a courteous letter of introduction,[C] and we were cordially received by Commander Duncan of the Norwich, and Lieutenant Watson, commanding the Uncas. Like all officers on blockade duty, they were impatient of their enforced inaction, and gladly seized the opportunity for a different service. It was some time since they had ascended as high as Jacksonville, for their orders were strict, one vessel's coal was low, the other was in infirm condition, and there were rumors of cotton-clads and torpedoes. But they gladly agreed to escort us up the river, so soon as our own armed gunboat, the John Adams, should arrive,—she being unaccountably delayed.

We waited twenty-four hours for her, at the sultry mouth of that glassy river, watching the great pelicans which floated lazily on its tide, or sometimes shooting one, to admire the great pouch, into which one of the soldiers could insert his foot, as into a boot. "He hold one quart," said the admiring experimentalist. "Hi! boy," retorted another quickly, "neber you bring dat quart measure in my peck o' corn." The protest came very promptly, and was certainly fair; for the strange receptacle would have held nearly a gallon.

We went on shore, too, and were[Pg 313] shown a rather pathetic little garden, which the naval officers had laid out, indulging a dream of vegetables. They lingered over the little microscopic sprouts, pointing them out tenderly, as if they were cradled babies. I have often noticed this touching weakness, in gentlemen of that profession, on lonely stations.

We wandered among the bluffs, too, in the little deserted hamlet once called "Pilot Town." The ever-shifting sand had in some cases almost buried the small houses, and had swept around others a circular drift, at a few yards' distance, overtopping their eaves, and leaving each the untouched citadel of this natural redoubt. There was also a dismantled lighthouse, an object which always seems the most dreary symbol of the barbarism of war, when one considers the national beneficence which reared and kindled it. Despite the service rendered by this once brilliant light, there were many wrecks which had been strown upon the beach, victims of the most formidable of the Southern river-bars. As I stood with my foot on the half-buried ribs of one of these vessels,—so distinctly traced that one might almost fancy them human,—the old pilot, my companion, told me the story of the wreck. The vessel had formerly been in the Cuba trade; and her owner, an American merchant residing in Havana, had christened her for his young daughter. I asked the name, and was startled to recognize that of a favorite young cousin of mine, beside the bones of whose representative I was thus strangely standing, upon this lonely shore.

It was well to have something to relieve the anxiety naturally felt at the delay of the John Adams,—anxiety both for her safety and for the success of our enterprise. The Rebels had repeatedly threatened to burn the whole of Jacksonville, in case of another attack, as they had previously burned its mills and its great hotel. It seemed as if the news of our arrival must surely have travelled thirty miles by this time. All day we watched every smoke that rose among the wooded hills, and consulted the compass and the map, to see if that sign announced the doom of our expected home. At the very last moment of the tide, just in time to cross the bar that day, the missing vessel arrived; all anxieties vanished; I transferred my quarters on board, and at two the next morning we steamed up the river.

Again there was the dreamy delight of ascending an unknown stream, beneath a sinking moon, into a region where peril made fascination. Since the time of the first explorers, I suppose that those Southern waters have known no sensations so dreamy and so bewitching as those which this war has brought forth. I recall, in this case, the faintest sensations of our voyage, as Ponce de Leon may have recalled those of his wandering search, in the same soft zone, for the secret of the mystic fountain. I remember how, during that night, I looked for the first time through a powerful night-glass. It had always seemed a thing wholly inconceivable, that a mere lens could change darkness into light; and as I turned the instrument on the preceding gunboat, and actually discerned the man at the wheel and the officers standing about him,—all relapsing into vague gloom again at the withdrawal of the glass,—it gave a feeling of childish delight. Yet it seemed only in keeping with the whole enchantment of the scene; and had I been some Aladdin, convoyed by genii or giants, I could hardly have felt more wholly a denizen of some world of romance.

But the river was of difficult navigation; and we began to feel sometimes, beneath the keel, that ominous, sliding, grating, treacherous arrest of motion which makes the heart shudder, as the vessel does. There was some solicitude about torpedoes, also,—a peril which became a formidable thing, one year later, in the very channel where we found none. Soon one of our consorts grounded, then another, every vessel taking its turn, I believe, and then in turn getting off, until the Norwich lay hopelessly stranded, for that[Pg 314] tide at least, a few miles below Jacksonville, and out of sight of the city, so that she could not even add to our dignity by her visible presence from afar.

This was rather a serious matter, as the Norwich was our main naval reliance, the Uncas being a small steamer of less than two hundred tons, and in such poor condition, that Commander Duncan, on finding himself aground, at first quite declined to trust his consort any farther alone. But, having got thus far, it was plainly my duty to risk the remainder with or without naval assistance; and this being so, the courageous officer did not long object, but allowed his dashing subordinate to steam up with us to the city. This left us one naval and one army gunboat; and, fortunately, the Burnside, being a black propeller, always passed for an armed vessel among the Rebels, and we rather encouraged that pleasing illusion.

We had aimed to reach Jacksonville at daybreak; but these mishaps delayed us, and we had several hours of fresh, early sunshine, lighting up the green shores of that lovely river, wooded to the water's edge, with sometimes an emerald meadow, opening a vista to some picturesque house,—all utterly unlike anything we had yet seen in the South, and suggesting rather the Penobscot or Kennebec. Here and there we glided by the ruins of some sawmill burned by the Rebels on General Wright's approach; but nothing else spoke of war, except, perhaps, the silence. It was a delicious day, and a scene of fascination. Our Florida men were wild with delight; and when we rounded the point below the city, and saw from afar its long streets, its brick warehouses, its white cottages, and its overshadowing trees,—all peaceful and undisturbed by flames,—it seemed, in the men's favorite phrase, "too much good," and all discipline was merged, for the moment, in a buzz of ecstacy.

The city was still there for us, at any rate; though none knew what perils might be concealed behind those quiet buildings. Yet there were children playing on the wharves; careless men, here and there, lounged down to look at us, hands in pockets; a few women came to their doors, and gazed listlessly upon us, shading their eyes with their hands. We drew momentarily nearer, in silence and with breathless attention. The gunners were at their posts, and the men in line. It was eight o'clock. We were now directly opposite the town: yet no sign of danger was seen; not a rifle-shot was heard; not a shell rose hissing in the air. The Uncas rounded to, and dropped anchor in the stream; by previous agreement, I steamed to an upper pier of the town, Colonel Montgomery to a lower one; the little boat-howitzers were run out upon the wharves, and presently to the angles of the chief streets; and the pretty town was our own without a shot. In spite of our detention, the surprise had been complete, and not a soul in Jacksonville had dreamed of our coming.

The day passed quickly, in eager preparations for defence; the people could or would give us no definite information about the Rebel camp, which was, however, known to be near, and our force did not permit our going out to surprise it. The night following was the most anxious I ever spent. We were all tired out; the companies were under arms, in various parts of the town, to be ready for an attack at any moment. My temporary quarters were beneath the loveliest grove of linden-trees, and as I reclined, half-dozing, the mocking-birds sang all night like nightingales,—their notes seeming to trickle down through the sweet air from amid the blossoming boughs. Day brought relief and the sense of due possession, and we could see what we had won.

Jacksonville was now a United States post again: the only post on the mainland in the Department of the South. Before the war, it had three or four thousand inhabitants, and a rapidly growing lumber-trade, for which abundant facilities were evidently provided. The wharves were capacious, and the blocks of brick warehouses along the lower street were utterly unlike anything we[Pg 315] had yet seen in that region, as were the neatness and thrift everywhere visible. It had been built up by Northern enterprise, and much of the property was owned by loyal men. It had been a great resort for invalids, though the Rebels had burned the large hotel which once accommodated them. Mills had also been burned; but the dwelling houses were almost all in good condition. The quarters for the men were admirable; and I took official possession of the handsome brick house of Colonel Sunderland, the established head-quarters through every occupation, whose accommodating flagstaff had literally and repeatedly changed its colors. The seceded Colonel, reputed author of the State ordinance of Secession, was a New Yorker by birth, and we found his law card, issued when in practice in Easton, Washington County, New York. He certainly had good taste in planning the inside of a house, though time had impaired its condition. There was a neat office with ample bookcases and no books, a billiard table with no balls, gas fixtures without gas, and a bathing-room without water. There was a separate building for servants' quarters, and a kitchen with every convenience, even to a few jars of lingering pickles. On the whole, there was an air of substance and comfort about the town, quite alien from the picturesque decadence of Beaufort.

The town rose gradually from the river, and was bounded on the rear by a long, sluggish creek, beyond which lay a stretch of woods, affording an excellent covert for the enemy, but without great facilities for attack, as there were but two or three fords and bridges. This brook could easily be held against a small force, but could at any time and at almost any point be readily crossed by a large one. North of the town the land rose a little, between the river and the sources of the brook, and then sank to a plain, which had been partially cleared by a previous garrison. For so small a force as ours, however, this clearing must be extended nearer to the town; otherwise our lines would be too long for our numbers.

This deficiency in numbers at once became a source of serious anxiety. While planning the expedition, it had seemed so important to get the men a foothold in Florida that I was willing to risk everything for it. But this important post once in our possession, it began to show some analogies to the proverbial elephant in the lottery. To hold it permanently with nine hundred men was not perhaps impossible, with the aid of a gunboat; (I had left many of my own regiment sick and on duty in Beaufort, and Colonel Montgomery had as yet less than one hundred and fifty;) but to hold it, and also to make forays up the river, certainly required a larger number. We came in part to recruit, but had found scarcely an able-bodied negro in the city; all had been removed farther up, and we must certainly contrive to follow them. I was very unwilling to have, as yet, any white troops under my command, with the blacks. Finally, however, being informed by Judge S. of a conversation with Colonel Hawley, commanding at Fernandina, in which the latter had offered to send four companies and a light battery to swell our force,—in view of the aid given to his position by this more advanced post,—I decided to authorize the energetic Judge to go back to Fernandina and renew the negotiation, as the John Adams must go thither at any rate for coal.

Meanwhile all definite display of our force was avoided; dress parades were omitted; the companies were so distributed as to tell for the utmost; and judicious use was made, here and there, of empty tents. The gunboats and transports moved impressively up and down the river, from time to time. The disposition of pickets was varied each night to perplex the enemy, and some advantage taken of his distrust, which might be assumed as equalling our own. The citizens were duly impressed by our supply of ammunition, which was really enormous, and all these things soon took effect. A loyal woman, who came into town, said that the Rebel scouts, stopping at her house, reported that there were "sixteen hundred negroes all over[Pg 316] the woods, and the town full of them besides." "It was of no use to go in. General Finnegan had driven them into a bad place once, and should not do it again." "They had lost their captain and their best surgeon, in the first skirmish, and if the Savannah people wanted the negroes driven away, they might come and do it themselves." Unfortunately, we knew that they could easily come from Savannah at any time, as there was railroad communication nearly all the way; and every time we heard the steam-whistle, the men were convinced of their arrival. Thus we never could approach to any certainty as to their numbers, while they could observe, from the bluffs, every steamboat that ascended the river.

To render our weak force still more available, we barricaded the approaches to the chief streets by constructing barriers or felling trees. It went to my heart to sacrifice, for this purpose, several of my beautiful lindens; but it was no time for æsthetics. As the giants lay on the ground, still scenting the air with their abundant bloom, I used to rein up my horse and watch the children playing hide-and-seek among their branches, or some quiet cow grazing at the foliage. Nothing impresses the mind in war like some occasional object or association that belongs apparently to peace alone.

Among all these solicitudes, it was a great thing that one particular anxiety vanished in a day. On the former expedition the men were upon trial as to their courage; now they were to endure another test, as to their demeanor as victors. Here were five hundred citizens, nearly all white, at the mercy of their former slaves. To some of these whites it was the last crowning humiliation, and they were, or professed to be, in perpetual fear. On the other hand, the most intelligent and lady-like woman I saw, the wife of a Rebel captain, rather surprised me by saying that it seemed pleasanter to have these men stationed there, whom they had known all their lives, and who had generally borne a good character, than to be in the power of entire strangers. Certainly the men deserved the confidence, for there was scarcely an exception to their good behavior. I think they thoroughly felt that their honor and dignity were concerned in the matter, and took too much pride in their character as soldiers,—to say nothing of higher motives,—to tarnish it by any misdeeds. They watched their officers vigilantly and even suspiciously, to detect any disposition towards compromise; and so long as we pursued a just course, it was evident that they could be relied on. Yet the spot was pointed out to me where two of our leading men had seen their brothers hanged by Lynch law; many of them had private wrongs to avenge; and they all had utter disbelief in all pretended loyalty, especially on the part of the women. One man alone was brought to me in a sort of escort of honor by Corporal Prince Lambkin,—one of the color-guard, and one of our ablest men,—the same who had once made a speech in camp, reminding his hearers that they had lived under the American flag for eighteen hundred and sixty-two years, and ought to live and die under it. Corporal Lambkin now introduced his man, a German, with the highest compliment in his power: "He hab true colored-man heart." Surrounded by mean, cajoling, insinuating white men, and women who were all that and worse, I was quite ready to appreciate the quality he thus proclaimed. A colored-man heart, in the Rebel States, is a fair synonyme for a loyal heart, and it is about the only such synonyme. In this case, I found afterwards that the man in question, a small grocer, had been an object of suspicion to the whites from his readiness to lend money to the negroes, or sell to them on credit; in which, perhaps, there may have been some mixture of self-interest with benevolence.

I resort to a note-book of that period, well thumbed and pocket-worn, which sometimes received a fragment of the day's experience.

"March 16, 1863.—Of course, droll things are constantly occurring. Every[Pg 317] white man, woman, and child is flattering, seductive, and professes Union sentiment; every black ditto believes that every white ditto is a scoundrel, and ought to be shot, but for good order and military discipline. The Provost Marshal and I steer between them as blandly as we can. Such scenes as succeed each other! Rush of indignant Africans. A white man, in woman's clothes, has been seen to enter a certain house,—undoubtedly a spy. Further evidence discloses the Roman Catholic priest, a peaceful little Frenchman, in his professional apparel.—Anxious female enters. Some sentinel has shot her cow by mistake for a Rebel. The United States cannot think of paying the desired thirty dollars. Let her go to the Post-Quartermaster and select a cow from his herd. If there is none to suit her, (and, indeed, not one of them gave a drop of milk,—neither did hers,) let her wait till the next lot comes in,—that is all.—Yesterday's operations gave the following total yield:—Thirty 'contrabands,' eighteen horses, eleven cattle, ten saddles and bridles, and one new army wagon. At this rate, we shall soon be self-supporting cavalry.

"Where complaints are made of the soldiers, it almost always turns out that the women have insulted them most grossly, swearing at them, and the like. One unpleasant old Dutch woman came in, bursting with wrath, and told the whole narrative of her blameless life, diversified with sobs:—

"'Last January I ran off two of my black people from St. Mary's to Fernandina, (sob,)—'then I moved down there myself, and at Lake City I lost six women and a boy,' (sob,)—'then I stopped at Baldwin for one of the wenches to be confined,'(sob,)—'then I brought them all here to live in a Christian country' (sob, sob). 'Then the blockheads' [blockades, that is, gunboats] 'came, and they all ran off with the blockheads,' (sob, sob, sob,) 'and left me, an old lady of forty-six, obliged to work for a living.' (Chaos of sobs, without cessation.)

"But when I found what the old sinner had said to the soldiers, I rather wondered at their self-control in not throttling her."

Meanwhile skirmishing went on daily in the outskirts of the town. There was a fight on the very first day, when our men killed, as before hinted, a Rebel surgeon, which was oddly metamorphosed in the Southern newspapers into their killing one of ours, which certainly never happened. Every day, after this, they appeared in small mounted squads in the neighborhood, and exchanged shots with our pickets, to which the gunboats would contribute their louder share, their aim being rather embarrassed by the woods and hills. We made reconnoisances, too, to learn the country in different directions, and were apt to be fired upon during these. Along the farther side of what we called the "Debatable Land" there was a line of cottages, hardly superior to negro huts, and almost all empty, where the Rebel pickets resorted, and from whose windows they fired. By degrees all these nests were broken up and destroyed, though it cost some trouble to do it, and the hottest skirmishing usually took place around them.

Among these little affairs was one which we called "Company K's Skirmish," because it brought out the fact that this company, which was composed entirely of South Carolina men, and had never shone in drill or discipline, stood near the head of the regiment for coolness and courage,—the defect of discipline showing itself only in their extreme unwillingness to halt when once let loose. It was at this time that the small comedy of the Goose occurred,—an anecdote which Wendell Phillips has since made his own.

One of the advancing line of skirmishers, usually an active fellow enough, was observed to move clumsily and irregularly. It soon appeared that he had encountered a fine specimen of the domestic goose, which had surrendered at discretion. Not wishing to lose it, he could yet find no way to hold it but between his legs; and so he went on,[Pg 318] loading, firing, advancing, halting, always with the goose writhing and struggling and hissing in this natural pair of stocks. Both happily came off unwounded, and retired in good order at the signal, or some time after it; but I have hardly a cooler thing to put on record.

Meanwhile, another fellow left the field less exultingly; for, after a thoroughly courageous share in the skirmish, he came blubbering to his captain, and said,—

"Cappen, make Cæsar gib me my cane."

It seemed, that, during some interval of the fighting, he had helped himself to an armful of Rebel sugar-cane, such as they all delighted in chewing. The Roman hero, during another pause, had confiscated the treasure; whence these tears of the returning warrior. I never could accustom myself to these extraordinary interminglings of manly and childish attributes.

Our most untiring scout during this period was the chaplain of my regiment,—the most restless and daring spirit we had, and now exulting in full liberty of action. He it was who was daily permitted to stray singly where no other officer would have been allowed to go, so irresistible was his appeal,—"You know I am only a chaplain." Methinks I see our regimental saint, with pistols in belt and a Ballard rifle slung on shoulder, putting spurs to his steed, and cantering away down some questionable wood-path, or returning with some tale of Rebel haunt discovered, or store of foraging. He would track an enemy like an Indian, or exhort him, when apprehended, like an early Christian. Some of our devout soldiers shook their heads sometimes over the chaplain's little eccentricities.

"Woffor Mr. Chapman made a preacher for?" said one of them, as usual transforming his title into a patronymic. "He's de fightingest more Yankee I eber see in all my days."

And the criticism was very natural, though they could not deny, that, when the hour for Sunday service came, Mr. F. commanded the respect and attention of all. That hour never came, however, on our first Sunday in Jacksonville; we were too busy, and the men too scattered; so the chaplain made his accustomed foray beyond the lines instead.

"Is it not Sunday?" slyly asked an unregenerate lieutenant.

"Nay," quoth his Reverence, waxing fervid; "it is the Day of Judgment."

This reminds me of a raid up the river, conducted by one of our senior captains, an enthusiast whose gray beard and prophetic manner always took me back to the Fifth-Monarchy men. He was most successful, that day, bringing back horses, cattle, provisions, and prisoners; and one of the latter complained bitterly to me of being held, stating that Captain R. had promised him speedy liberty. But that doughty official spurned the imputation of such weak blandishments, in this day of triumphant retribution.

"Promise him!" said he, "I promised him nothing but the Day of Judgment and Periods of Damnation!"

Often since have I rolled beneath my tongue this savory and solemn sentence, and I do not believe that since the days of the Long Parliament there has been a more resounding anathema.

In Colonel Montgomery's hands, these up-river raids reached the dignity of a fine art. His conceptions of foraging were rather more Western and liberal than mine, and on these excursions he fully indemnified himself for any undue abstinence demanded of him when in camp. I remember being on the wharf, with some naval officers, when he came down from his first trip. The steamer seemed an animated hen-coop. Live poultry hung from the foremast shrouds, dead ones from the mainmast, geese hissed from the binnacle, a pig paced the quarter-deck, and a duck's wings were seen fluttering from a line which was wont to sustain duck-trousers. The naval heroes, mindful of their own short rations, and taking high views of one's duties in a conquered country, looked at me reproachfully, as who should say, "Shall these things be?"[Pg 319] In a moment or two the returning foragers had landed.

"Captain ——," said Montgomery, courteously, "would you allow me to send a remarkably fine turkey for your use on board ship?"

"Lieutenant ——," said Major Corwin, "may I ask your acceptance of a pair of ducks for your mess?"

Never did I behold more cordial relations between army and navy than sprang into existence at those sentences. So true it is, as Charles Lamb says, that a single present of game may diffuse kindly sentiments through a whole community.

These little trips were called "rest"; there was no other rest during those ten days. An immense amount of picket- and fatigue-duty had to be done. Two redoubts were to be built to command the Northern Valley; all the intervening grove, which now afforded lurking-ground for a daring enemy, must be cleared away; and a few houses must be reluctantly razed for the same purpose. Colonel Montgomery had the left of the defensive line, and Lieutenant-Colonel Billings, commanding my own regiment, the right. The fort under charge of the former was named Fort Higginson, and that on the right, in return, Fort Montgomery. The former was necessarily a hasty work, and is now, I believe, in ruins; the latter was far more elaborately constructed, on lines well traced by the Fourth New Hampshire during the previous occupation. It did great credit to Captain Trowbridge, of my regiment, (formerly of the New York Volunteer Engineers,) who had charge of its construction.

How like a dream seems now that period of daily skirmishes and nightly watchfulness! The fatigue was so constant that the days hurried by. I felt the need of some occasional change of ideas, and having just received from the North Mr. Brooks's beautiful translation of Jean Paul's "Titan," I used to retire to my bedroom for some ten minutes every afternoon, and read a chapter or two. It was more refreshing than a nap, and will always be to me one of the most fascinating books in the world, with this added association. After all, what concerned me was not so much the fear of an attempt to drive us out and retake the city,—for that would be against the whole policy of the Rebels in that region,—as of an effort to fulfil their threats and burn it, by some nocturnal dash. The most valuable buildings belonged to Union men, and the upper part of the town, built chiefly of resinous pine, was combustible to the last degree. In case of fire, if the wind blew towards the river, we might lose steamers and all. I remember regulating my degree of disrobing by the direction of the wind; if it blew from the river, it was safe to make one's self quite comfortable; if otherwise, it was best to conform to Suwarrow's idea of luxury, and take off one spur.

So passed our busy life for ten days. There were no tidings of reinforcements, and I hardly knew whether I wished for them,—or rather, I desired, them as a choice of evils; for our men were giving out from overwork, and the recruiting excursions, for which we had mainly come, were hardly possible. At the utmost, I had asked for the addition of four companies and a light battery. Judge of my surprise, when two infantry regiments successively arrived! I must resort to a scrap from the diary. Perhaps diaries are apt to be thought tedious; but I would rather read a page of one, whatever the events described, than any later narrative,—it gives glimpses so much more real and vivid.

"Head-Quarters, Jacksonville, March 20, 1863, Midnight.—For the last twenty-four hours we have been sending women and children out of town, in answer to a demand by flag of truce, with a threat of bombardment. [N. B. I advised them not to go, and the majority declined doing so.] It was designed, no doubt, to intimidate; and in our ignorance of the force actually outside, we have had to recognize the possibility of danger, and work hard at our[Pg 320] defences. At any time, by going into the outskirts, we can have a skirmish, which is nothing but fun; but when night closes in over a small and weary garrison, there sometimes steals into my mind, like a chill, that most sickening of all sensations, the anxiety of a commander. This was the night generally set for an attack, if any, though I am pretty well satisfied that they have not strength to dare it, and the worst they could probably do is to burn the town. But to-night, instead of enemies, appear friends,—our devoted civic ally, Judge S., and a whole Connecticut regiment, the Sixth, under Major Meeker; and though the latter are aground twelve miles below, yet they enable one to breathe more freely. I only wish they were black; but now I have to show, not only that blacks can fight, but that they and white soldiers can act in harmony together."

That evening the enemy came up for a reconnoissance, in the deepest darkness, and there were alarms all night. The next day the Sixth Connecticut got afloat, and came up the river; and two days after, to my continued amazement, arrived a part of the Eighth Maine, under Lieutenant-Colonel Twichell. This increased my command to four regiments, or parts of regiments, half white and half black. Skirmishing had almost ceased,—our defences being tolerably complete, and looking from without much more effective than they really were. We were safe from any attack by a small force, and hoped that the enemy could not spare a large one from Charleston or Savannah. All looked bright without, and gave leisure for some small anxieties within.

It was the first time in the war (so far as I know) that white and black soldiers had served together on regular duty. Jealousy was still felt towards even the officers of colored regiments; and any difficult contingency would be apt to bring it out. The white soldiers, just from shipboard, felt a natural desire to stray about the town; and no attack from an enemy would be so disastrous as the slightest collision between them and the black provost-guard. I shudder, even now, to think of the train of consequences, bearing on the whole course of subsequent national events, which one such mishap might then have produced. It is almost impossible for us now to remember in what a delicate balance then hung the whole question of negro enlistments, and consequently of Slavery. Fortunately for my own serenity, I had great faith in the intrinsic power of military discipline, and also knew that a common service would soon produce mutual respect among good soldiers; and so it proved. But the first twelve hours of this mixed command were to me a more anxious period than any outward alarms had created.

Let us resort to the note-book again.

"Jacksonville, March 22, 1863.—It is Sunday; the bell is ringing for church, and Rev. Mr. F., from Beaufort, is to preach. This afternoon our good quartermaster establishes a Sunday school for our little colony of 'contrabands,' now numbering seventy.

"Sunday Afternoon.—The bewildering report is confirmed; and in addition to the Sixth Connecticut, which came yesterday, appears part of the Eighth Maine. The remainder, with its colonel, will be here to-morrow, and, report says, Major-General Hunter. Now my hope is that we may go to some point higher up the river, which we can hold for ourselves. There are two other points, [Magnolia and Pilatka,] which, in themselves, are as favorable as this, and, for getting recruits, better. So I shall hope to be allowed to go. To take posts, and then let white troops garrison them,—that is my programme.

"What makes the thing more puzzling is, that the Eighth Maine has only brought ten days' rations, so that they evidently are not to stay here; and yet where they go, or why they come, is a puzzle. Meanwhile we can sleep sound o' nights; and if the black and white babies do not quarrel and pull hair, we shall do very well."

[Pg 321]

Colonel Rust, on arriving, said frankly that he knew nothing of the plans prevailing in the Department, but that General Hunter was certainly coming soon to act for himself; that it had been reported at the North, and even at Port Royal, that we had all been captured and shot, (and, indeed, I had afterwards the pleasure of reading my own obituary in a Northern Democratic journal,) and that we certainly needed reinforcements; that he himself had been sent with orders to carry out, so far as possible, the original plans of the expedition; that he regarded himself as only a visitor, and should remain chiefly on shipboard,—which he did. He would relieve the black provost-guard by a white one, if I approved,—which I certainly did. But he said that he felt bound to give the chief opportunities of action to the colored troops,—which I also approved, and which he carried out, not quite to the satisfaction of his own eager and daring officers.

I recall one of these enterprises, out of which we extracted a good deal of amusement; it was baptized the Battle of the Clothes-Lines. A white company was out scouting in the woods behind the town, with one of my best Florida men for a guide; and the captain sent back a message that he had discovered a Rebel camp with twenty-two tents, beyond a creek, about four miles away; the officers and men had been distinctly seen, and it would be quite possible to capture it. Colonel Rust at once sent me out with two hundred men to do the work, recalling the original scouts, and disregarding the appeals of his own eager officers. We marched through the open pine woods, on a delightful afternoon, and met the returning party. Poor fellows! I never shall forget the longing eyes they cast on us, as we marched forth to the field of glory, from which they were debarred. We went three or four miles out, sometimes halting to send forward a scout, while I made all the men lie down in the long thin grass and beside the fallen trees, till one could not imagine that there was a person there. I remember how picturesque the effect was, when, at the signal, all rose again, like Roderick Dhu's men, and the green wood appeared suddenly populous with armed life. At a certain point forces were divided, and a detachment was sent round the head of the creek to flank the unsuspecting enemy; while we of the main body, stealing with caution nearer and nearer, through ever denser woods, swooped down at last in triumph upon a solitary farm-house,—where the family-washing had been hung out to dry!

It is due to Sergeant Greene, my invaluable guide, to say that he had from the beginning discouraged any high hopes of a crossing of bayonets. He had early explained that it was not he who claimed to have seen the tents and the Rebel soldiers, but one of the officers,—and had pointed out that our undisturbed approach was hardly reconcilable with the existence of a hostile camp so near. This impression had also pressed more and more upon my own mind, but it was our business to put the thing beyond a doubt. Probably the place may have been occasionally used for a picket station, and we found fresh horse-tracks in the vicinity, and there was a quantity of iron bridle-bits in the house, of which no clear explanation could be given; so that the armed men may not have been wholly imaginary. But camp there was none. After enjoying to the utmost the fun of the thing, therefore, we borrowed the only horse on the premises, hung all the bits over his neck, and as I rode him back to camp, they clanked like broken chains. We were joined on the way by our dear and devoted surgeon, whom I had left behind as an invalid, but who had mounted his horse and ridden out alone to attend to our wounded, his green sash looking quite in harmony with the early spring verdure of those lovely woods. So came we back in triumph, enjoying the joke all the more because some one else was responsible. We mystified the little community at first, but soon let out the secret, and witticisms abounded for a day[Pg 322] or two, the mildest of which was the assertion that the author of the alarm must have been "three sheets in the wind."

Another expedition was of more exciting character. For several days before the arrival of Colonel Rust a reconnoissance had been planned in the direction of the enemy's camp, and he finally consented to its being carried out. By the energy of Major Corwin, of the Second South Carolina Volunteers, aided by Mr. Holden, then a gunner on the Paul Jones, and afterwards made captain in the same regiment, one of the ten-pound Parrott guns had been mounted on a hand-car, for use on the railway. This it was now proposed to bring into service. I took a large detail of men from the two white regiments and from my own, and had instructions to march as far as the four-mile station on the railway, if possible, examine the country, and ascertain if the Rebel camp had been removed, as was reported, beyond that distance. I was forbidden going any farther from camp, or attacking the Rebel camp, as my force comprised half our garrison, and should the town meanwhile be attacked from some other direction, it would be in great danger.

I never shall forget the delight of that march through the open pine barren, with occasional patches of uncertain swamp. The Eighth Maine, under Lieutenant-Colonel Twichell, was on the right, the Sixth Connecticut, under Major Meeker, on the left, and my own men, under Major Strong, in the centre, having in charge the cannon, to which they had been trained. Mr. Heron, from the John Adams, acted as gunner. The mounted Rebel pickets retired before us through the woods, keeping usually beyond range of the skirmishers, who in a long line—white, black, white—were deployed transversely. For the first time I saw the two colors fairly alternate on the military chessboard; it had been the object of much labor and many dreams, and I liked the pattern at last. Nothing was said about the novel fact by anybody,—it all seemed to come as matter-of-course; there appeared to be no mutual distrust among the men, and as for the officers, doubtless "each crow thought its own young the whitest,"—I certainly did, although doing full justice to the eager courage of the Northern portion of my command. Especially I watched with pleasure the fresh delight of the Maine men, who had not, like the rest, been previously in action, and who strode rapidly on with their long legs, irresistibly recalling, as their gaunt, athletic frames and sunburnt faces appeared here and there among the pines, the lumber regions of their native State, with which I was not unfamiliar.

We passed through a former camp of the Rebels, from which everything had been lately removed; but when the utmost permitted limits of our reconnoissance were reached, there were still no signs of any other camp, and the Rebel cavalry still kept provokingly before us. Their evident object was to lure us on to their own stronghold, and had we fallen into the trap, it would perhaps have resembled, on a smaller scale, the Olustee of the following year. With a good deal of reluctance, however, I caused the recall to be sounded, and, after a slight halt, we began to retrace our steps.

Straining our eyes to look along the reach of level railway which stretched away through the pine barren, we began to see certain ominous puffs of smoke, which might indeed proceed from some fire in the woods, but were at once set down by the men as coming from the mysterious locomotive battery which the Rebels were said to have constructed. Gradually the smoke grew denser, and appeared to be moving up along the track, keeping pace with our motion, and about two miles distant. I watched it steadily through a field-glass from our own slowly moving battery: it seemed to move when we moved and to halt when we halted. Sometimes in the dim smoke I caught a glimpse of something blacker, raised high in the air like the threatening head of some great gliding serpent. Suddenly there came a sharp puff of lighter smoke that seemed like a forked tongue,[Pg 323] and then a hollow report, and we could see a great black projectile hurled into the air, and falling a quarter of a mile away from us, in the woods. I did not at once learn that this first shot killed two of the Maine men and wounded two more. This was fired wide, but the numerous shots which followed were admirably aimed, and seldom failed to fall or explode close to our own smaller battery.

It was the first time that the men had been seriously exposed to artillery fire,—a danger more exciting to the ignorant mind than any other, as this very war has shown.[D] So I watched them anxiously. Fortunately there were deep trenches on each side the railway, with many stout projecting roots, forming very tolerable bomb-proofs for those who happened to be near them. The enemy's gun was a sixty-four-pound Blakely, as we afterward found, whose enormous projectiles moved very slowly and gave ample time to cover,—insomuch, that, while the fragments of shell fell all around and amongst us, not a man was hurt. This soon gave the men the most buoyant confidence, and they shouted with childish delight over every explosion.

The moment a shell had burst or fallen unburst, our little gun was invariably fired in return, and that with some precision, so far as we could judge, its range also being nearly as great. For some reason they showed no disposition to overtake us, in which attempt their locomotive would have given them an immense advantage over our heavy hand-car, and their cavalry force over our infantry. Nevertheless I rather hoped that they would attempt it, for then an effort might have been made to cut them off in the rear by taking up some rails. As it was, this was out of the question, though they moved slowly, as we moved, keeping always about two miles away. When they finally ceased firing, we took up the rails beyond us before withdrawing, and thus kept the enemy from approaching so near the city again. But I shall never forget that Dantean monster, rearing its black head amid the distant smoke, nor the solicitude with which I watched for the puff which meant danger, and looked round to see if my chickens were all under cover. The greatest peril, after all, was from the possible dismounting of our gun, in which case we should have been very apt to lose it, if the enemy had showed any dash. There may be other such tilts of railway artillery on record during the war; but if so, I have not happened to read of them, and so have dwelt the longer on this.

This was doubtless the same locomotive battery which had previously fired more than once upon the town,—running up within two miles and then withdrawing, while it was deemed inexpedient to destroy the railroad, on our part, lest it might be needed by ourselves in turn. One night, too, the Rebel threat had been fulfilled, and they had shelled the town with the same battery. They had the range well, and every shot fell near the post head-quarters. It was exciting to see the great Blakely shell, showing a light as it rose, and moving slowly towards us like a comet, then exploding and scattering its formidable fragments. Yet, strange to say, no serious harm was done to life or limb, and the most formidable casualty was that of a citizen who complained that a shell had passed through the wall of his bedroom, and carried off his mosquito curtain in its transit.

Little knew we how soon these small entertainments would be over. Colonel Montgomery had gone up the river with his two companies, perhaps to remain permanently; and I was soon to follow. On Friday, March 27th, I wrote[Pg 324] home,—"The Burnside has gone to Beaufort for rations, and the John Adams to Fernandina for coal; we expect both back by Sunday, and on Monday I hope to get the regiment off to a point farther up,—Magnolia, thirty-five miles, or Pilatka, seventy-five,—either of which would be a good post for us. General Hunter is expected every day, and it is strange he has not come." The very next day came an official order recalling the whole expedition, and for the third time evacuating Jacksonville.

A council of military and naval officers was at once called, (though there was but one thing to be done,) and the latter were even more disappointed and amazed than the former. This was especially the case with the senior naval officer, Captain Steedman, a South-Carolinian by birth, but who had proved himself as patriotic as he was courteous and able, and whose presence and advice had been of the greatest value to me. He and all of us felt keenly the wrongfulness of breaking the pledges which we had been authorized to make to these people, and of leaving them to the mercy of the Rebels once more. Most of the people themselves took the same view, and eagerly begged to accompany us on our departure. They were allowed to bring their clothing and furniture also, and at once developed that insane mania for aged and valueless trumpery which always seizes upon the human race, I believe, in moments of danger. With the greatest difficulty we selected between the essential and the non-essential, and our few transports were at length loaded to the very water's edge on the morning of March 29th,—Colonel Montgomery having by this time returned from up-river, with sixteen prisoners, and the fruits of foraging in plenty.

And upon that last morning occurred an act on the part of some of the garrison, most deeply to be regretted, and not to be excused by the natural indignation at their recall,—an act which, through the unfortunate eloquence of one newspaper correspondent, rang through the nation—the attempt to burn the town. I fortunately need not dwell much upon it, as I was not at the time in command of the post,—as the white soldiers frankly took upon themselves the whole responsibility,—and as all the fires were made in the wooden part of the city, which was occupied by them, while none were made in the brick part, where the colored soldiers were quartered. It was fortunate for our reputation that the newspaper accounts generally agreed in exculpating us from all share in the matter;[E] and the single exception, which one correspondent asserted, I could never verify, and do not believe to have existed. It was stated by Colonel Rust in his official report, that some twenty-five buildings in all were burned, and I doubt if the actual number was greater; but this was probably owing in part to a change of wind, and did not diminish the discredit of the transaction. It made our sorrow at departure no less, though it infinitely enhanced the impressiveness of the scene.

The excitement of the departure was intense. The embarkation was so laborious that it seemed as if the flames must be upon us before we could get on board, and it was also generally expected that the Rebel skirmishers would be down among the houses, wherever practicable, to annoy us to the utmost, as had been the case at the previous evacuation. They were, indeed, there, as we afterwards heard, but did not venture to molest us. The sight and roar of the flames, and the rolling clouds of smoke, brought home to the impressible minds of the black soldiers all their favorite imagery of the Judgment Day; and those who were not too much depressed by disappointment were excited by the spectacle, and sang and exhorted without ceasing.[Pg 325]

With heavy hearts their officers floated down the lovely river, which we had ascended with hopes so buoyant; and from that day to this, the reasons for our recall have never been made public. It was commonly attributed to pro-slavery advisers, acting on the rather impulsive nature of Major-General Hunter, with a view to cut short the career of the colored troops, and stop their recruiting. But it may have been simply the scarcity of troops in the Department, and the renewed conviction at head-quarters that we were too few to hold the post alone. The latter theory was strengthened by the fact, that, when General Seymour reoccupied Jacksonville, the following year, he took with him twenty thousand men instead of one thousand,—and the sanguinary battle of Olustee found him with too few.



Head-quarters, Beaufort, S.C.,
March 5, 1863.

Colonel,—You will please proceed with your command, the 1st and 2d Regts. S.C. Volunteers, which are now embarked upon the steamers John Adams, Boston, and Burnside, to Fernandina, Florida.

Relying upon your military skill and judgment, I shall give you no special directions as to your procedure after you leave Fernandina. I expect, however, that you will occupy Jacksonville, Florida, and intrench yourselves there.

The main object of your expedition are to carry the proclamation of freedom to the enslaved; to call all loyal men into the service of the United States; to occupy as much of the State of Florida as possible with the forces under your command; and to neglect no means consistent with the usages of civilized warfare to weaken, harass, and annoy those who are in rebellion against the Government of the United States.

Trusting that the blessing of our Heavenly Father will rest upon your noble enterprise,

I am yours, sincerely,
R. Saxton,
Brig-Gen., Mil. Gov. Dept. of the South.
Colonel ——, Comdg. Expeditionary Corps.


Flag Ship Wabash,
Port Royal Harbor, S.C., March 6, 1863.

Sir,—I am informed by Major-General Hunter that he is sending Colonel ---- on an important mission in the southerly part of his Department.

I have not been made acquainted with the objects of this mission, but any assistance that you can offer Colonel ——, which will not interfere with your other duties, you are authorized to give.

Respectfully your obedient servant,
S.F. Dupont,
Rear-Adm. Comdg. S. Atl. Block. Squad.

To the Senior Officer present at the different Blockading Stations on the Coast of Georgia and Florida.

[D] "The effect was electrical. The Rebels were the best men in Ford's command, being Lieutenant-Colonel Showalter's Californians, and they are brave men. They had dismounted and sent their horses to the rear, and were undoubtedly determined upon a desperate fight, and their superior numbers made them confident of success. But they never fought with artillery, and a cannon has more terror for them than ten thousand rifles and all the wild Camanches on the plains of Texas. At first glimpse of the shining brass monsters there was a visible wavering in the determined front of the enemy, and as the shells came screaming over their heads the scare was complete. They broke ranks, fled for their horses, scrambled on the first that came to hand, and skedaddled in the direction of Brownsville."—New York Evening Post, Sept 25, 1864.

[E] "The colored regiments had nothing at all to do with it; they behaved with propriety throughout."—Boston Journal Correspondence. ("Carleton.")

"The negro troops took no part whatever in the perpetration of this Vandalism."—New York Tribune Correspondence. ("N. P.")

"We know not whether we are most rejoiced or saddened to observe, by the general concurrence of accounts, that the negro soldiers had nothing to do with the barbarous act."—Boston Journal Editorial, April 10, 1863.


It has been said that our painters merely continue tendencies that have had their origin in Europe, and just as English and French painters are abandoning theories which they have exhausted, we are entertaining those theories as new discoveries, and repeating a discord that abroad has been outgrown. There is some truth in the charge, and we are not always well enough informed to anticipate the next development in the artistic world. While we are overrun by the maggots that have crawled out of the literary body of John Ruskin, the English painters, already emancipated from the bondage of that powerful sectarian, are working under new influences, and showing tendencies that, without subverting the truths so eloquently expounded by Ruskin, supplement them. Under the form of a continuation of the work begun by the great sectarian of English Art criticism, we have a literary exponent of the reaction; and the pictures of Mr. Whistler, an American almost unknown on this side of the Atlantic, have been taken by the late "London Fine Arts Quarterly Review" as examples of this reaction in practice. Mr. Whistler has been called the man of highest genius and most daring eccentricity in the new school; and Tom Taylor amiably writes that he is equally capable of exquisite things and gross impertinences. We give place to Mr. Whistler's name merely to indicate that artists anticipate critics. In the latest literature of Art we do not find positive reaction, but continuation. Mr. Philip Gilbert Hamerton, however, meets conditions and covers ground not treated by Ruskin, and more practical, but less eloquent, defines the relation of the painter to Nature and the limitations of imitation. Ruskin splendidly opened the campaign for modern Art, and he has found servile and ignorant executive officers; but Hamerton is an independent officer, who crosses the enemy's country, beats his foe in detail, and according to his own method. Ruskin is superb in his combinations; Hamerton exact in his method, and careful to protect his rear. Therefore the most useful books that could be placed in the hands of the American Art public at present are Hamerton's "Painter's Camp" and "Thoughts about Art." The latter volume is most carefully considered, and is the result of unwearied practice in the study of Art and Nature. For Mr. Hamerton has studied Nature as a man indoctrinated with the ideas of Ruskin; he has generalized about Art as one who has emancipated himself from a master in thought; and he has enlarged his views by varied reading and familiarity with ancient and modern painting. In some[Pg 326] respects Mr. Hamerton's books may be taken as the literary proof of a school which is said to include "many men of rare gifts and uncommon culture," and which, profiting by the reform introduced by Millais, Hunt, and Rossetti, yet also supplements that reform with a more catholic taste and a less ascetic manner than were shown by the immediate agents of the first great revolution in English Art. It follows that some account of Mr. Hamerton's writings is called for, and will be welcomed. He is at once able, useful, and representative of the latest tendencies of Art criticism.

Mr. Hamerton's first volume, entitled "A Painter's Camp in the Highlands," we regret to say, is not a felicitous introduction to the valuable "Thoughts about Art," which give the title to the second. It is unpleasantly inlaid with egotism and enamelled with self-consciousness. Mr. Hamerton's critics cannot withhold attention from so prominent a feature of his book. The obtrusiveness of his personality invites attention. He seems not to have learned the art of existing fully in his work, without dreaming to speak of himself. True, any account of a painter's camp necessarily solicits much consideration of its occupant; but it does not follow that we should be bored with trivial details, and anecdotes simply flattering to the personal appearance of the painter. If Mr. Hamerton proposed to write a book of gossip, if he were ambitious of the honors of a Montaigne, he might tell us how he ties his shoe-strings and how he shapes his moustache; but since we know that Mr. Hamerton is a cultivated gentleman and serious student, we regret that he exposes himself to the charge of being an English snob. Our simple American Thoreau was endowed with better taste; for, though he wrote a very detailed account of his hermit-life on the shore of Walden Pond, his book is entirely free from vulgarity. Thoreau knew how to elevate the trivial and confer dignity on the meanest. But Mr. Hamerton, hearty, healthful, self-reliant Englishman that he is, contrives to let us know that he is also a very elegant fellow even in camp. The personality revealed in Mr. Hamerton's "Painter's Camp" is very English; and when we have said this, we have said all. But let no one be deterred from making the acquaintance of Mr. Hamerton even in his "Painter's Camp"; for he is young, he is hearty, he is interesting, and he is manly.

We know of no books which are the result of more faithful study and practical consideration of the painter's function, and which, at the same time, are so free from technical jargon. Mr. Hamerton is preëminently a useful writer on Art; he is certainly accurate and comprehensive. Carefully going over the ground which he occupies with his "Thoughts about Art," we have been surprised and delighted by the seriousness and conscientiousness of his expositions. He spares no pains to make his reader understand the present condition of Art, and he fairly states and answers some of the most puzzling questions that have agitated modern painters and confused simple students. He at all times escapes cheap rhetoric and that facile enthusiasm begotten in some by the very name of Art. He leaves all that to the dilettanti, and addresses in a simple business-like style men who are not less serious and earnest than himself. Yet Mr. Hamerton does not write a bald and meagre style, nor is he insensible to the poetic and imaginative elements of his theme. He can quicken a glow and arouse an emotion, when he writes of the mighty poetry of Turner's Téméraire, or of the mysterious, the melancholy charm of a portrait opposite the great Veronese in the Louvre. Mr. Hamerton's literary skill is considerable; but he does not abound in verbal felicities, nor has he any affluence of style. He is at all times clear, he is at all times exact, and he is often a vigorous writer. Common-sense, patience, and no ordinary talent for analysis are manifest in every chapter of his "Thoughts about Art." If we were asked where the most intelligent, the most trustworthy, the most practical, and the[Pg 327] most interesting exposition of modern Art and cognate subjects is to be found, we should point to Hamerton's writings. As a critic he is not seduced by novelty, and he is free from the exaggerations of Ruskin; but he does not attain the eloquence and power of exposition of John Ruskin. Mr. Hamerton is an admirable critic, but Ruskin is a great advocate. The former is a man of talent; the latter is a man of genius. In the consideration of Art Mr. Hamerton is as fair, serious, and exact as is Matthew Arnold in his "Essays in Criticism," and, like him, faithfully represents the modern spirit. He does not show the artistic skill and nicety which distinguish Mr. Arnold; he is not witty, like Edmond About; he is not concise and masterly, like Eugène Fromentin; but he is honest, and he covers his ground. We repeat, therefore, that Mr. Hamerton's writings on Art are useful books, useful even to artists, and sure to instruct a serious public. Ruskin's writings aroused attention; they made people think. He stimulated many to profitable study; but he also created prejudices, and he has subjected quite as many minds as he has emancipated. Great men are great tyrants. We escape the great man and the great writer in Hamerton. We have in him an instructor, not a dictator. John Ruskin came, and, like John the Baptist, cried, "Repent! repent!"—but Hamerton comes to us as the apostle of a doctrine that needs exposition more than enunciation, and he speaks the words of truth and soberness. Those who did not follow Ruskin laughed and railed at him, and literary executioners hastened to lay violent hands on him. Hamerton's public was prepared by a powerful forerunner, and he is therefore neither assailed nor neglected. Mr. Hamerton's reception in England reflects the nature of his books. He enters the world of letters not as a great and daring rival, not as an irresistible iconoclast, not as an affluent and unhesitating genius,—but as a hearty, cultivated, earnest gentleman who has something worth communicating. He comes to increase knowledge; he comes to throw a light on the obscurity and bring order into the chaos of English Art. For the splendid and misty Turner, the exact and terrible photograph, the great and inconsistent Ruskin, and the vagaries of modern English painters provoked questions and excited conflicts in the world of Art; they seldom reconciled anything among painters, critics, and connoisseurs, too often incapable of a generalization, and therefore incapable of a philosophy of Art. Neither Ruskin nor Hamerton has created a philosophy of Art; they have but contributed invaluable materials. Ruskin, like Buckle, indicated a plan for which no single life is adequate.

The drift of Hamerton's Art criticism will best be appreciated in his chapter on "The Relation between Photography and Painting," and that which treats of transcendentalism in painting. We cannot forbear quoting a few paragraphs from the former chapter. The force of the following is obvious.

"Photography represents facts isolated from their natural companions, and without any hint of their relation to the human mind.

"Now it is only the unity of relation that can satisfy the artistic sense, not isolated fragments; and therefore, so long as the artistic sense remains in the human organization, the demand for pictures will certainly continue.

"I wish I could make perfectly clear what is that unity of relation which is so satisfactory to the artistic sense; but that, in these limits, is impossible. It is enough to say here that any perfect "whole" in a pictorial representation of Nature must include delicate colors and beautiful forms, all helping each other to the utmost, like a chorus of well-trained singers, and that in the arrangement of it all a great human soul must manifest itself, just as the soul of Handel does in a chorus from the 'Messiah.'

"But in the photograph we have only a fact or two clearly stated, but not in their natural connection with other facts; far less their deeper and more mysterious connection, which the genius[Pg 328] of great imaginative artists is alone able to apprehend.

"Therefore the division of labor likely to take place between photography and painting is this: photography will record isolated facts, of which an infinite number always need recording; painting will concern itself with the relations of associated truths and beauties.

"And let each keep to its own task. The photograph can never successfully encroach on the province of painting; and henceforth let us hope that painters will never again commit the rash imprudence of attempting to intrude upon the peculiar domain of the photograph.

"In the few instances where photographers have attempted to produce something resembling historical pictures, by arranging models and furniture, and photographing the tableaux vivants so obtained, the effect produced on the spectator was always the simple fact that he was looking at a photograph of dressed-up models and carefully arranged furniture. Anything farther from a true picture it would be impossible to conceive. The naïveté of the mistake on which this spurious Art was founded is really amusing. The photographers fancied that the painters merely copied their models, and so thought it easy to rival them. Why, even the very severest and most rigid pre-Raphaelites use the model as little more than a stimulus, an authority, or a suggestion. Copy the model, indeed! I should like to know where on earth Hunt could have found a woman capable of assuming and retaining that marvellous expression of beatitude that illuminates the sweet face of Mary when she finds Jesus in the temple. That expression which is the most mighty thing in the whole picture—the mightiest, I mean, over the hearts of all men and women who can really feel anything—was gotten out of the painter's own soul, not from any hired model whatever. And the other intense expression of maternal love in the 'Rescue,' by Millais,—whence came it? From the model, think you, or the mind of the painter?"—Thoughts, p. 230.

"And what a lamentable waste of labor it is, when artists forget all about the mutual relation of things, to copy unmeaning details in long months of labor, which any good photographer would obtain in infinitely greater perfection with an exposure of as many minutes! The mere fact that photography does this sort of work so unapproachably well should be enough of itself to warn our young painters from engaging it. Anybody who wants a plain fact about a piece of cliff or castle-wall can get it in a photograph for a few shillings; then why should he spend pounds for a picture which will give him nothing more? But the relation of the castle or cliff to the heaven above or the water beneath, and to the minds of men,—the significant stains of color upon it, the grandeur of its enduring strength, the deep human feelings that it ought to kindle in the spectator's heart,—these things are the exclusive domain of the painter, and he should never sacrifice the least of these to mere literal fidelity of detail."—Thoughts, p. 232.

To our purely literary readers we may say, that Mr. Hamerton is sure to interest them with his chapter on "Word-Painting and Color-Painting," and that on "The Painter in his Relation to Society." Mr. Hamerton shows himself to be an acute and manly essayist in the treatment of these subjects. His chapter on "Word-Painting and Color-Painting" is fresh and direct in treatment, and therein he breaks new ground. He presents the truths of his subject so felicitously, that, as in reading Emerson's essays, we are surprised it has not occurred to another to say the same things equally well.

But even here we are disposed to find fault with Mr. Hamerton. In mentioning the masters of the much-abused art, the much-discredited art of word-painting, he forgets Robert Browning! Can Mr. Hamerton find any poet more decisive, more exact, more rapid and effective in suggestion of Nature than Browning? In the development of this very happy essay, we have examples or characterizations of the peculiar talent[Pg 329] of Scott, of Wordsworth, of Coleridge, of Keats, of Byron, of Shelley, and of Tennyson, among poets,—of George Sand, of Lamartine, of Charlotte Bronté, of Marian Evans, and of John Ruskin, among prose-writers. In this essay, while awarding to Tennyson among poets, and to Ruskin among prose-writers, the honor of good preëminence in the art of word-painting, he at the same time subjects the latter to a criticism perhaps unexpected, certainly effective. Mr. Hamerton points out Mr. Ruskin's poetic fallacies, and forcibly demonstrates the crushing power of common-sense,—that is to say, unimpassioned sense,—when acting upon whatever has grown out of an emotion. It is somewhat cruel, if not brutal, to cry havoc over Mr. Ruskin's tender "lichens that lay quiet finger on the trembling stones, to teach them rest."

Mr. Hamerton's essay is not artistic or symmetrical, but it is the direct expression of much thought. Yet it certainly lets him escape being classed among masters of style. He tells us that Ruskin was annoyed because people paid no attention to his arguments, but were always admiring his language. Has Mr. Hamerton avoided the affluent and felicitous of written words, has he disowned arrangement and proportion, that he might secure a public to regard his thought as more than its medium of communication? Very well; we discover that he is never obscure, that he is no word-monger, that he is seldom seduced by the example of writers whose literary talent overrides their honesty. Among Art writers, among all writers, we welcome him, and we hope to see the best of his book, which is its thoughts, appropriated by the large and restless class of critics, connoisseurs, and patrons of Art, which has multiplied so rapidly in this country during the last four years. Our patrons of Art will find matter of great importance to them in the chapter entitled, "Picture Buying, Wise and Foolish." It is true that they will be taught to correct some errors, that they will be convicted of mistakes of judgment, and forced to admit that they own much worthless Art-work in pictures that have come from the easels of famed painters; but they will also be made to know certain general truths which will profit them, whenever applied. In our examination of the nature and quality of Mr. Hamerton's writings about Art we have had frequent occasion to observe an absence of taste in its most just measure, and the dominance of the conversational in the style and tone of his communications. This is so striking a characteristic, that we might almost say that he is often caught in undress. He makes us sure that he has no mental toilette and robes for great or public occasions. We do not reproach Mr. Hamerton that he is so frank; we do not regret that he is honest, and scorns literary padding and stilts and stays, when he appears in public. We simply regret that he does not care to add to his clearness and force of statement a literary artist's appreciation of the appropriate and beautiful. A more just taste would have removed much matter purely personal; and more artistic skill would have made the same more agreeable, if retained. In reading the chapter called "Transcendentalism in Painting," which is a very skilful and convincing application of the matter of Emerson's essay on that subject to Art and artists, we were impressed with the downright earnestness and force of exposition of the writer. The chapter is a sufficient explanation of the inactivity of great, and of the extravagant demand and unrest of young painters, and it contains superb tributes to Ruskin and Holman Hunt. Mr. Hamerton also shows that the transcendental tendency belongs necessarily to all men, in some stage of their career, who have reached commanding eminence. He briefly glances at the life and works of the great Leonardo, and declares that he is the prince of transcendentalists,—that, unhappily, he always remained more or less in subjection to the transcendental tendency. He mourns that Leonardo never wholly escaped that tendency, that he never attained the intelligently practical. He[Pg 330] establishes that the only salutary action of transcendentalism is an intermittent one, and by epochs; that it is always critical; that it is necessary to progress; that, abused, it is disastrous to the mind, and, like sensual excesses upon the body, produces lassitude and debility. We cordially commend this admirable chapter to the attention of thinkers and workers. In treating of the three stages of "all labors, the mechanical or imitative, the transcendental or reflective, and the intelligently practical," we are entertained with great, brilliant, and yet mournful illustrations; and the thoughtful and exact language of our own Emerson is returned to us from over the seas. And here we may remark, that Emerson is the most frequently quoted, except Ruskin. Mr. Hamerton seems to have a genuine appreciation of Mr. Emerson's contributions to a department of literature which is not occupied, and which represents a mental condition that has scarcely found expression in English literature since Wordsworth.

In the course of our remarks we have mentioned Mr. Hamerton's chapter on "The Painter in his Relation to Society." In that admirable paper Mr. Hamerton starts with the assumption that society respects nothing but power, or that which leads to power; and because the artist does not represent power in an obvious sense, therefore he is considered of little consequence. Mr. Hamerton enforces his statements by illustrations taken from the works of novelists who have treated of the artist in his social relations. He makes his chapter interesting and ingenious by quotations from, or references to, the works of Scott, Thackeray, Tennyson, Goethe, Balzac, Ponsard, and Edmond About. In the course of a masterly synopsis and partial analysis of one of Balzac's novels, he writes,—"Though Balzac shows how much he loves artists by describing the artistic nature with tenderness and kind feeling, yet he also plainly declares that people generally cannot understand a painter, and do not respect him, unless he is famous." Mr. Hamerton also gives us the saying of Thackeray about Reynolds,—"I think, of all the polite men of that age, Joshua Reynolds was the finest gentleman." Also Ruskin's remark about Rubens,—"Rubens was an honorable and entirely well-intentioned man, earnestly industrious, simple, and temperate in his habits of life, high-bred, learned, and discreet."

Taken as a whole, Mr. Hamerton's two volumes have very much the character of an autobiography, which explains at once the striking merits and faults of the writings considered as contributions to the literature of Art. The plan of his work is well understood. The first volume very truly represents Practice, and the second represents Reflection. The first concerns "the active life of a landscape-painter"; the second contains reflections that naturally occurred to that painter, or were suggested by his work. The first chapter of the second volume of his essays is a conclusive statement of the necessity "that certain artists should write about Art."

We hope our introduction of Mr. Hamerton will increase the number of serious and patient readers, and that the American Art public will make haste to profit by his thoughts. He is a landscape-painter, and one of the ablest contributors to the "London Fine Arts Quarterly Review." W. M. Rossetti has paid a tribute to his worth as a painter and critic, and even the "Saturday Review" greeted him as a writer of ability. Certainly we take his book to be the latest and best contribution to the literature of Art published since Ruskin's "Modern Painters." Mr. Hamerton's writings are the work of a man who does not decline the free expression of his opinions before accredited masters in Art or Literature. He relies upon himself, when those masters contradict the teachings of his own experience. In this we have the proof of mental manhood, which, among writers, is sufficiently rare, unknown even, to be remarked, and at all times welcomed.


[F] A Painter's Camp in the Highlands, and Thoughts about Art. By Philip Gilbert Hamerton. London: Macmillan & Co.

[Pg 331]


A few months ago I made a collecting tour for Wirt and Company through that stretch of country watered by the Ohio. Thirty years ago I had spent a summer there, and the change bewildered me: not that the rough buckeye and hemlock woods and mountain creeks had been railwayed, canalled, bored for coal, and derricked for oil; I looked for that; but the people had cropped out into a new phase of life.

They were lazy, smoky old towns,—those upper Virginia and Kentucky villages,—when I was a young man; something of the solitude of "the dark and bloody hunting-grounds" hanging about them yet; the old forts still standing which had been the terror of the Indians; the grandchildren of the pioneers holding baronial tracts of land under grant from Washington: mule-raisers, most of them, droning out their lives in great rambling stone houses, card-playing, Champagne-drinking, waited on by a few slaves, and carrying in their own tawny skins, high cheekbones, and beetling eyebrows, hints that the blood of these same pioneers had mixed too freely, perhaps, with that of their savage foes and allies.

By this time, however, the drowsy, sunshiny burghs have swelled, like the frog in the fable, and burst out into jaunty modern cities, with mills belching soot and oily smoke down into the muddy streets; the pavements are crowded with Uncle Sam's boys in their light blue coats; the shops are stocked by Northern capital; the hard-headed, taciturn Western man, with his broad common-sense, has set his solid foot down on the ground, and begins to dominate over both the sloth of the natives and the keen Yankee speculators. The women of the old-country families look out sullenly, talk a great deal of "shoddy"; are loyal, certainly, but say nothing of "Jack" or "Ned" who hold commissions under Lee or Hood.

However, this is not what I meant to tell you. While I was passing through one of the border towns, I accidentally met again the traces of a curious old character, well known through all that region, who, if fate had but placed her in the compressed action of a court, instead of the loose, inconsequent hurly-burly of a republic, would have made herself a footing in history before now. She deserves a more thorough record than this mere sketch must be.

But I must go back to my own first journey to that country. It was the fulfilment of an old, boyish plan. My father had been a land-surveyor, and had hunted and trapped, in those early days, from the fat river-bottoms of the Monongahela and Cross-Creek valleys up to the great Cheat Mountains. He was a contemporary of the pioneers Wetzel, the Leets, M'Cullochs, etc., and when I was a boy, used to fill up the winter evenings with wild stories of border Indian warfare, bear-hunting, and the like. I formed a hotter resolve, each new time of hearing, to make a pilgrimage, as soon as I was a man, to his old camping-ground, ("the Ohio" we called it then,) to hunt out and open the mounds left by the Creeks and Delawares, and to find the forts where these battles of his had been won and lost. It always pleased my father that I entered into his old stories with such zest.

"I hope I'll live to go with you, Zack," he would say, nodding his gray head. "We'd hunt out Mrs. C ——, if we came within a hundred miles of her. She could give you the history of every inch of ground from Blennerhassets Island up to Fort Du Quesne,—that is, if she were so minded. She had a sharp, suspicious eye of her own when she was a girl, and age would not sweeten her temper. But there's no better authority for old legends of that time,—none. She was a cousin of M'Culloch, who made that leap from the mountain to escape the Indian arrows, you remember? and was in the fort when Polly[Pg 332] Scott went out to the gate-house for powder, bringing it in her apron across the field, a target for hundreds of the red devils. But I doubt if the old lady's living yet; she was married when I was a stout young beau, dancing Virginia reels out yonder: Shepler was her first husband."

The older my father grew, the more the idea haunted him of going with "Zack" out to the banks of the Ohio, until, as second childhood crept on him, it became a ruling whim. But crossing the Alleghany range was no light task for even a young man in those days of wagons and stage-coaches, and he never was gratified. When he was gone, I reproached myself bitterly that it had not been accomplished: it seemed so easy and natural a thing to do, now that it was too late. My old plan grew, therefore, to have a morbid interest for me. I fancied that to go over his old hunting-paths would bring my father back to me, and that, wherever he might be now, he would choose to be so brought back.

About the time I was thirty, then, having no employment except an opening which Fordyce offered me in New York, I chose, instead of accepting it, to start alone on my voyage of discovery. One August morning, the air full of a gentle languor, the heavy clouds of bituminous smoke vanishing beyond the horizon in swells of intense purple and orange, which I never had seen in our pale sky, I took a boat at Pittsburg, and dropped lazily down the shining Ohio, through thick-wooded hills, and dotting little islands that thrust themselves out of the water to support only a clump of showery green willows, or an old rock, may-be, draped with delicate trailing mosses. Chance favored me.

"If you want the run of the Injun forts," said the Captain, as he stood beside me on the Texas, "there's Abel Steadman aboard. He knows 'em better than anybody hereabouts,—an' knows nothin' else," dropping his voice. "I'll bring him up," which he did accordingly.

Steadman was a lank, yellow-haired country-lad, habited in a suit of blue Kentucky jeans, ill-fitting, and ragged besides. He talked acutely and intelligently, however, on this subject, and gave me a clear idea of the discoveries made in Indian antiquities in that region. "The trouble was," he said, "people who had means cared nothing about the matter."

The next day we naturally came together again: he had precisely the information I needed. About noon he touched me on the elbow, as I stood by the deck-railing,—

"There is where I live," pointing to a tumble-down old shanty back in a field. "There is a small mound to be opened in the adjacent farm next week. Would it interest you to see it? If so, come ashore, and stay with me for a few days."

The invitation was given so simply, and as a matter of course, that I accepted it without further parley. The Steadmans were miserably poor; the young man, in his queer, blunt way, said as much, though by no means apologetically.

"You are afraid of encroaching? No. We live by what we shoot or fish, Matt and I. Matt's my brother. It's not much; but if you choose to throw a line with us, it will make you easy about staying as long as you please."

There was a straightforward delicacy in this that I liked. I remained with the Steadmans, therefore. We went over to see the mound in the evening, which proved to be much smaller than that at Elizabethtown, thirty miles farther down the river, in which was found the famous "mound-stone" that so puzzled French savans. Our mound was covered with a thick undergrowth, when we first saw it; was oval in shape, and about twelve feet in height. The next morning it was opened by the farm-owner, (who wanted it out of the way to plant potatoes,)—Abel and I assisting and digging with the best of them. After half a day's work we came to an incrustation of clay, baked hard, as by internal heat. After this had been penetrated and carefully removed, we discovered a stone block or altar, immediately[Pg 333] in front of which lay a skeleton, and the ornaments, tomahawk, etc., of a chief. Forming a complete half-circle with this, and in front of the altar, were thirteen other skeletons, their heads towards the chief, the bones of the arms crossed as in obeisance. The pith of our discovery lay in the fact, that about these inferior bones was heaped a lightish, oily, brown dust,—burnt human flesh, in a word,—proving that these skeletons belonged to criminals or prisoners sacrificed at the death of the chief.

Abel Steadman kicked the bent skull and folded arms of one of them aside.

"Even those savages made masters and slaves of each other," he said, pettishly. "The costliest wampum made the chief then, as nowadays, I suppose."

I remember I looked at him, thinking it an odd train of thought for a carter's son.

I loitered away several weeks with the Steadmans, having induced the old woman to take me as a boarder. The house was but a large hut, with a wide kitchen below, and two lofts over it, in one of which the boys slept, and in the other their mother and Cousin Jane, a young woman of Abel's age. I had a bunk fitted up in a closet off the kitchen. Perceiving that Abel took notes of our researches, making drawings with me of the painted rocks, etc., I wondered to find a day-laborer with a taste for such pursuits, unusual even among educated men. When our supper of flitch and molasses was over one evening, therefore, I asked him how he meant to use his papers. Abel ran his fingers through his thin, red whiskers.

"Material for future work,—material," he said, vaguely staring into the fire.

I saw that Mrs. Steadman, a thin, hollow-chested woman, looked up to hear his answer, and Matt gave a keen glance round from his work. Matt was a stout, clean-skinned lad, with a firm, decisive way of shutting his lips, and a pair of shrewd, kindly blue eyes that I liked. He was trying to be a carpenter without learning the trade: had put up a shed outside, and was up by daylight every morning hewing away with his one plane and saw. Boy-like, he had made a chum of me already. My question had curiously disquieted Abel. He rose and left the room. Matt drew his bench up.

"That hurt Abe, you see?"

"I do not see why."

"True for you. But" (in a whisper) "he can't help doin' them things; and then, seein' they don't help, he worries like a girl."


"Yes,"—then was silent, his mouth harder set. "Well," (a rush of blood dyeing his face,)—"look yonder" (jerking his head back) "at mother. Don't you think it's time somethin' was done?"

I had noticed that the woman was raw-boned and stoop-shouldered, with that etiolated yellow flesh that comes of long overwork. I might have heard her cough, but had paid no attention to it until now, when a fit came on dry and hollow.

"How long has she had that?" I asked, gravely.

"Nigh on to a year. I knew it would come some day. She's slaved night and day to keep us goin', since I could remember. It's time Abel an' me was doin' somethin', beside diggin' an' cartin. We never could raise enough to learn a trade."

He dropped his chin on his hand, and sat looking fixedly, but not gloomily, into the fire. His mother could not overhear him, but I thought Jane did,—she put so much vigor into her rubs on the washboard, and spoke more tenderly to old Mrs. Steadman. Jane was a bustling, pleasant, low-spoken girl: I think I mentioned her before.

"The truth is," said Matt, presently jerking out a nervous laugh, "we've all our lives kept draggin' on, waitin' for a great stroke of luck. My father did: he allays thought another year would bring it, and another. He's dead now: he dug an' carted to the last; and here's his sons—men without learnin', in the old rags they wore when they was boys—diggin' an' cartin' just the same.[Pg 334] See mother there? That old gown's her best. Often think there's not a lady in the land would look like mother, if she'd laces an' silks to wear; and she shall have them, by"——with a tremendous oath. "There's Jane,"—after a long silence, the color fading out of his face,——"Jane and I are like other people. We"——stopping short.

"Yes," I nodded, gravely.

"Well, could I help it? I couldn't see her, and——But we never can marry, this way of ongoin'. I mean to stand from under, and clear a way for myself. I'm tryin' to be a carpenter, and have stuck to it pretty steady these two years, gettin' a job now and then from the farmers. They like to help a fellow through," with a smile. "I'll marry Jane yet, and put mother where she ought to be."

"That's the true talk, anyhow, Matt."

He flushed again.

"Well," getting up and taking down the stable-lantern from the wall, "it's been the curse of the Steadmans, waitin' for dead men's shoes. That's so!"

An hour later Abel came in, and after lounging about awkwardly touched me on the arm.

"I'd like you to come up 'loft, Mr. Humphreys."

I scrambled up the ladder into their garret, and sat down on an old hair trunk, which he pulled up to a table. There was nothing in the room but the bed and this table, which was strewed with papers, covered closely with writing. Abel stood beside them, shuffling them with great embarrassment.

"It's a good deal to ask of a stranger," he said; "but you spoke about my sketches, and"——"Well, I have no funds."

"I think I understand," after waiting. "You have written something of which you would like my opinion."

"Yes, that's it. Not that it would make me think differently of it, but I'd like to know how the world would take it,——see? And you could give me a notion of that. Though whatten judges are they?" tossing the papers. "See how they met Keats and Robbie Burns!"

He pushed over the sheets to me one by one, gravely silent as I read. They were principally verses, as was to be expected,—one or two tales, the scene laid in Italy or France, after the manner of young authors,—and a tragedy. Not a line which did not show absurdly enough his utter lack of knowledge,—mistakes as to fact, misspelt words, deficient grammar, verses halting on all sorts of feet. Yet, with all this, there were flashes here and there of power and feeling; and the English was, strangest of all, not stilted, but the simple, homely words which he used every day. I held the last paper a long time; I had not the moral courage to tell the boy the truth. Evidently, however, he cared very little for my opinion, but sat pinching his lips, vaguely staring into space, as usual.

"You do not think any publisher would take them, I see. Well, it's likely. Did you see these lines?"——picking up a page. "This passage, now?"——reading it. "I think no one could have said that more finely."

He had chosen the best stanza; but the speech made me dumb.

"You need training, Steadman," I said, at last. "It is only right to be honest with you. Two or three years of hard study would fit you to make some mark in the world. But you need that; and my advice to you is, to put your papers resolutely away, and go to work. Make enough money to give yourself schooling, and you will be the more fit to hold the pen when the time comes. The world's a big workshop, in which a man can shape what fate he pleases; but it is a workshop still."

His eyes had wandered off before I had finished,—a faint, dreamy smile on his face.

"Yes, education. Oh, of course that will be included. I mean to be a profound scholar, when the time comes. I thought of making the law my profession. It will be a very short time now."

I asked no explanation, and he offered none, folded his papers and put them away, then tried, in his simple, unobtrusive way, to play the host.[Pg 335] Whatever castle in the air these poor Steadmans had inherited, the mere delusion had given a certain dignity, and an almost grace of bearing to them, not to be hidden by their laborers' habits and speech. Abel talked of different parts of the States with a hungry curiosity; he never had been out of —— County, I found.

"Nothing enlarges a man's mind like knocking about a bit," I said. "You could easily make a trip down to the Gulf. Most of these lads hereabouts that I meet have been down to New Orleans as raftsmen."

"Oh, they! Raftsmen? To be sure, to be sure. What would one see of society in that way? Who would recognize you as other than a common river-dog? Some day I mean to travel as a gentleman should."

Then stopped abruptly, and turned the conversation to the capital, questioning me with regard to the District of Columbia, growing rapid and eager as he found that I was familiar with the localities, and showing a singular accuracy of information himself about them. About one range of country, especially, he was curious,—the plantations in the neighborhood of Washington, particularly certain belonging to a family named Shepler, which were the finest, by the way, in the District. Finding that I knew them, he made me describe the homestead, negro-quarters, woods, and water-courses. I was puzzled at his curiosity; but the lad was full of vagaries, I saw, and indulged him.

"The heirs are minors," I said, in conclusion. "I happen to know the property; for my brother had a claim to prosecute against it, and sent me to see the face of the country."

He grew suddenly reserved at that, drawing within his shell, and dropped the subject instantly. Soon after, he took up an old violin.

"Shall I play for you?" he asked.

My ears shivered in anticipation, but I assented. He held the bow firmly, playing a simple air or two with much genuine pathos, but in ignorance of the art, of course. I said as much, adding,—

"Training, Steadman! training! You must have it to achieve anything permanently good."

"Of course; I never doubted that. But I know what is in me. Some day the world will understand."

The vanity was so unconscious and childish that it ceased to be offensive.

I began to feel an interest in these boys, but most in the poor overworked mother. I had picked up, in my scrambling life, enough knowledge of medicine to judge of her case. The next morning, after consulting Matthew, I made a thorough examination into the cause of her disease. Matt waited outside. When I came out to him, his face was pale, and he bit and moistened his dry lips unceasingly.

"Well, Mr. Humphreys?"

"Your mother must leave this place. The work and the fogs from these swamps are killing her. Dry air and rest would effect a cure, I believe."

He stood paler than before, but not speaking a word.

"You think it impossible, Matthew?" I said, gently.

"Nothing is impossible."

It troubled me to see the grave, stern look on the merry face, which never had been there before. I fully explained my reasons for judging as I did, knowing him to be reasonable and acute beyond his years. I offered to do what I could, in my poor way.

"It is only due from one man to another, Matthew."

"No, this is for mother, Mr. Humphreys; I must take care of mother myself,"—standing with his hands in his pockets, his eyes fixed on the ground.

Abel had come up, and listened like a frightened woman, the muscles of his face working, tears in his light-blue eyes.

"Cheer up, Abe," said the younger boy, heartily; "I've thought of a plan."

"There's one way, Matthew," said Abel, eagerly. "If only"——

"No, none of that!"—sternly. "We've had enough of waitin' for an 'if.' We'll help ourselves now."

An hour after, I saw him lock up his[Pg 336] shed as if he had done with it, and presently come out of the house with his face washed and his shoes on, and take his way across the fields.

That afternoon, at the mound, Doctor Peters, the owner of the farm, began a conversation with me about the Steadmans.

"It was the ruin of the old man," he said, "waiting for his rights. It kept him a loafer all his life. What little he made was by digging, just enough to hold body and soul together, hoping Mrs. C—— would not hold out another year. But there's no die in her."

"C——!" I exclaimed.

"Yes, yon's her place. The way of it was this. She was a Fawcett,—Betty Fawcett: I've heard my grandfather talk of her. Her first husband was a Colonel Shepler."

"Of the District?"

"Yes,—Alexandria. They had no children; but the Colonel, he leaves her all for her life, and after she was gone it was to come back to the Sheplers. Afterwards she married C——; but she holds on to every dollar of the old Colonel's money. Now old Steadman was the only one of that family living."

"Do you mean to say that there is but one life between these boys and the Shepler properties?"

"Just so; but the 'life' is a tough one. She's been ailing these twenty years. It will come to them soon, surely."

"Where did you say was her place?"

He pointed it out, on the other side of the creek. After a few moments' consideration, I sauntered towards the ford. From his first mention of this Mrs. C—— I recognized my father's heroine, and determined to see her, at first from curiosity; but another reason was now added. If what the man stated was true, this woman surely could not be aware of the condition of almost pauperism to which these people were reduced whose property she held. If the case were plainly set before her, she would at least furnish means to save the poor woman's life whom I had just left, etc., etc. Reasoning thus, I came to the creek, and picked my way over on the stones raised about a foot above the water. The ground stretched from the bank up to the house in a grassy slope set with one or two alders and willows. It was a grazing farm. Rich meadows rolled away on every side, except where a sugar-loaf-shaped hill rose abruptly in front of me. The old Shepler mansion stood at its base. It was large, and, with its out-houses, built of stone, solid, clean, and jail-like. The absence of all look of comfort was curious,—not a curl of smoke from the wide kitchen, no sleepy dog sunning himself, no flower in garden or unshuttered window, the grass cleared away even from the well, and the yellow clay left. Two or three stalwart negroes were gossiping over a pile of half-sawed wood near where I stood. I had stopped but a moment, when a shrill, rasping voice came across the creek, making the men jump to their work with a will.

"No! I'll make my own way! I have crossed my own water-course for half a century, and what is come to me to stop me now? I must see what this fellow is staring about."

I turned and saw a man on the opposite bank, close to the water's edge, remonstrating with a short, thin old woman about something. She made use of violent gestures; her tones were acidulated into the essence of all that was dogmatic and shrewish.

"Don't talk to me, Parker! If you want to know how I will cross the ford, here!"

So saying, she squatted down on the ground, and removed her shoes and stockings in a twinkling,—then, tucking them under her arm, made her way over the stones with a chuckle as she touched the shore.

"Parker's a fool! Don't tire yourselves, I beg, Pike and Jerry! Now, young Sir, what is your errand?" facing me, sharply.

"To make myself known to a friend of my father's."

"So, so! I've heard that story before. Young people nowadays make[Pg 337] a show of Mrs. C——, and ferret her out with some story of old times and their fathers. Your name's Humphreys? Pike told me of you. I keep a sharp eye on all the country round. I think I did know a Humphreys in Colonel Shepler's time. Get you before me into the house."

During this harangue, she had been composedly putting on her stockings, and fastening a pair of low shoes with the old-fashioned buckles of brilliants on the instep. I preceded her into the house, entering the low-raftered kitchen, as she directed.

"There's a fire there. It's chilly."

She perched herself on a high chair, her toes on the rung, while she subjected me to a rigid cross-examination about my father. I observed her as closely. A small, withered old woman, as if Nature had at first begrudged her the sap and genial juices of life, and dried them out of her as speedily as might be; only her eyes blazed, fresh, keen, vindictive. She sat bolt upright in her chair, her skinny hands crossed over her coarse blue dress, the fingers loaded with rings, many of them jewels of great value. Her white hair was drawn back in a thick puff under a cap of cheap lace, and fastened there with a diamond pin. A great turnip-shaped gold watch was fastened on her left shoulder, her hollow chest garlanded with massive chains, a bunch of steel keys ending them, among which those of the pantry and cellar were conspicuous.

She pronounced my verdict at last.

"I believe you are not lying. Come Marquise into my house. I am glad to see Philip Humphreys's son. A shiftless dog, but good blood, good blood,"—leading me into a spacious dining-room, uncarpeted and dreary, the plaster falling from the walls, but a magnificent buffet filling up one entire side and laden with massive plate, among which I noticed several cups, prizes at Southern race-courses.

Her keen eye caught my passing glance at them.

"Yes, yes! I had a good eye for the the turf once! Keep clear of it, young Humphreys! It has gone down into a money-making jobbery. Gentlemen cannot keep even their vices intact—in—the—Republic," with a delicate, fine smile of satire.

Once within this inner court of hospitality, her manner had changed instantly. The change was so unnatural as to be almost appalling: it was like a corpse putting on a gracious, gay life again. Evening found me still charmed to my seat, a willing listener. I do not think even now that it was because I was an inexperienced, uncritical youth, that I was so readily puzzled and interested. I have written this paper mainly for the purpose of sketching a real character, thinking her now, as I did then, a curious study for the dilettante in anomalies of human nature, as well as one of the most noteworthy women of her time from extraneous circumstances. Once having taken up her rôle as hostess, the roughness and vulgarity slid from her as by a magic touch,—as coarse armor with which she kept her neighbors at bay. She had the keen insight, the delicate instinct, dainty in expression of manner and speech, of a woman habituée du monde for many crowded and watchful years. From the time of her first marriage she spent her winters in Washington, at first notes as a beauty and bel esprit, then an object of interest from her eccentricities, her cool skill, and long familiarity with the private political life of the capital. Her manner had the quaint archness, over-lying intense pride, of an old French Marquise, to whom Bonaparte is "plebeian," and the fruitful, vulgar present worthy only of being dismissed with a shrug of the shoulders.

I went day after day to see her,—of course, at her own request: with the same odd, half-rebuked feeling with which I opened the Indian mound,—only that which was to be unearthed from this grave was of far more interest to a man of the world, and much less holy, than the poor savages' cache with their dead in it. I did not broach the subject of the Steadmans, hoping to obtain some clew to a weak point[Pg 338] in her nature which could be touched and roused to sympathy. I never found it. I think she enjoyed my visits. I was fresh from the world from which she had long been shut out, brought its breath with me, was eager and appreciative. As a reward, she poured out an exhaustless store of anecdote. Her times had covered a broad field, and one of glaring contrasts; not an Indian war back to the Colonial era with which she was not familiar; she remembered the first proclamation of the Declaration of Independence; had known Paine, Lafayette, and Lee; sat on the side of the court-room devoted to Burr's adherents during his trial at Richmond, a young and brilliant beauty, while her husband faced her on the other; talked of Benton, Clay, Webster, then political leaders, as "those young men,—promising, but crude, Sir! crude!" I afterwards learned the estimation these men had for her.

"I never passed her house," said Mr. C——, "without stopping to pay my respects to her. She had a powerful intellect in her younger days.—power enough to make men overlook her coarseness. Many of our caucuses were held in her drawing-rooms; she could keep a secret better than most men; but she was too fond of petty sarcasm and intrigue to be effective in any cause. We respected her, too, for her mental strength only; in her most brilliant days, she was selfish and a miser."

The manner in which this latter trait of avarice showed itself, and its struggle with her finer taste, were ludicrous enough,—for instance, in her cheap servant's gown and old jewelry. One day she took me up to a large chamber, filled with chests of drawers, in which were stowed away the dresses she had worn for half a century.

"Every year I put away two, made in the current mode. I like to turn them over, as you do to look at pictures, perhaps?"—unfolding heavy velvets, brocades, and then, out of spicy red boxes, lifting fold after fold of yellow old lace, daintily as a mother would caress a baby's limbs.

But this woman never had children.

"It will be a precious legacy for some young beauty," I said, thoughtlessly. "A warning one, too."

"Legacy? You look far ahead, young Sir!" her bony old hands shaking, as she shut the boxes and locked them wickedly.

Yet in one of these upper rooms she had her tombstone,—a shaft of Carrara marble, with a base containing niches, which she filled in her younger and more generous days with finely wrought figures, but lately with plaster groups purchased from itinerant image-vendors.

It was with little hope of success, therefore, that I broached the subject of the Steadmans on the last day of my stay. I did it, however, resolutely, affecting not to see that the old woman's face grew set at the first mention of their names. She sat stiffly erect, and permitted me to finish without a word of interruption. I did what I could,—showed how a little present help would enable the brothers to start in life utterly different men from their present selves,—stated in plain terms the peril in which the woman stood, and the immediate necessity for aid.

"But little, Madam," I said,——"not more than the value of that least ring on your finger, but immediate. It will save her life, in all probability."

"Have you finished?" taking snuff from her jewelled box, nervously.

I bowed.

"Then may I ask what are these canaille to me? Why, old Steadman was not a cousin within the first degree of Colonel Shepler,—a carter, Sir,—a hodman! Colonel Shepler was a gentleman; there was ducal blood in his veins."

"All of which did not render Steadman's sons less the heirs-at-law of the Shepler properties," I replied, coolly.

"Which they will never inherit, Mr. Humphreys! I have seen them; I know what the physique of that race is worth; I will walk over their graves yet!"

And upon my soul, she looked diabolical[Pg 339] enough to live forever, and walk over all of our graves. I began to speak, but she waved her hand imperiously.

"I have had enough of this. The old carter and his sons have prowled, jackal-like, at my gate for years, waiting to prey on my dead body. If they are needy, let them work. I thought better of your instincts than to suppose you would hear the country gossip, and, worse still, regale my ears with it."

"I spoke simply in the cause of humanity. If the country people judge your conduct as I do, Madam, they are more just than I hoped."

She was silent a moment; but I think in her secret soul she liked the coarse, rough blow.

"The matter is an old story to me," tapping her box impatiently. "I find it wearisome. For this ring to which you allude, have you remarked it? It is a Nubian antique,—rare, I fancy."

And so on, and on, sketching the history of the rings she wore, with a curious felicity in throwing an interest about trifles. I dined with her that day for the first time: a meagre repast, served on the family plate. But her wines were exquisite, and dealt with an unsparing hand. I left her that evening, as I supposed forever,—looking back at the bent figure in the massive doorway, and thinking her the loneliest human being I had ever seen. One of her morbid fancies was to intensify that very solitude,—the negro-quarters being at some distance from the house, and after she was undressed at night everything living was banished thence out of her sight. Out of that long life she had not brought the love of even a dog to bear her company in the last hour.

When I parted with Matthew Steadman, I said nothing to him of what I had tried to do. I saw his eye grew brighter, and he laughed and joked as at first.

"I told you I had a plan, and I find it will answer."

"Well, Matt?"

"Joe Carver is an old friend of ours,—Captain of the Belle Louise, you know, runnin' to Orleans. He begun by pilotin', an' has gone up as they do on these boats. He'll take me on as fireman, and for pay give mother her passage down. Once there, I'll turn an honest penny."

"By carpentering?"

"Yes, I find one always clears the ground faster by keepin' in the same road. Abe won't go with us. He thinks luck's comin' soon, and he'll wait for it. That Luck has been a ghost in the house. I for one will breathe freer to be clear of it."

"And Jane?"

His face showed that I had touched a sore chord.

"Jane will go out as seamstress somewhere. If ever the good day dawns, I'll come back for her. But my first care is mother."

I left them the next day, with a real reluctance. I had few friends, and these boys had come near to me in many ways. But years passed, and I never heard from them again. Mails were uncertain in those days. I wrote often, but they never received my letters.

But when I returned to the West, after thirty years' absence, this last spring, one of my chief aims was to find some traces of them. I took passage for W——, therefore, the largest town in their old county, finding that a railroad had invaded that region,—passing, by the way, through the very spot where we opened the mound. Business detained me in W—— for several days, and at the close of the week, one close, sultry evening, I was strolling about the dingy streets with the lonesome feeling which always besets one in a strange place, when I came to a little foot-bridge over the creek, from which opened a view of the river below, and the foundries glaring red on either side. It was a lonely place, though in the midst of a busy town. I stopped, leaning over the little hand-rail, looking down into the muddy water, and at the silent, melancholy lights burning dully in its depths and in the air above. There was a solitary figure on the bridge, which strangely entered into the quiet and dreariness of the scene, depressing it, giving to its[Pg 340] dingy and unclean shadows a human significance of loss and discomfort. It was an old man, in a filthy suit of black, who stood smoking a coarse cigar and looking vacantly down into the creek. His head was bald, a fringe of uncombed red hair straggling about the pinched and pimpled face; it shook weakly when he tried to look at me; the light eyes blinked blindly in the dim light. A weak, tipsy bit of old human flesh, which once might have made a man; yet you fancied he had become a drunkard as a cowardly escape from pain,—that he had been disappointed before he had begun life. Nearly an hour I stood quietly watching him,—then, having known him for some time, I touched his arm.

"Abel," I said,—"Abel Steadman?"

He started, reddened in his old womanish fashion, and, when he recognized me at last, stood cringing, holding his frowzy hat in both hands with a subservient humility pitiful to see. His manhood had slipped from him so utterly, that his harmless vanity had left but the dregs of self-disgust.

"Come, man," I said, "be cheery at seeing an old friend. Give an account of yourself."

I forced him with me to the hotel, and ordered wine, seeing that he needed a stimulant. He had come unwillingly, almost angrily, and now sat on the edge of a chair, his hat held in both hands between his knees.

"That's no good,"—pushing the wine feebly away. "I only take it when I cannot breathe without."

After a long time, however, the poor creature seemed to waken into a faint likeness of his old self, and told me his story in a forlorn, disjointed way. After I heard it, I thought, cruelly enough, that he had had sufficient of his poor portion of life, and all that remained for him was to die as weakly as he had lived. I tried to rouse him by asking for his poems and essays.

"No good came of any of them yet. When I get my rights, I'll publish. It won't be long to wait now."

"You mean"——

"That she's living yet? Yes, I do,—ninety-eight last spring."

The wreck before me was so miserable that I could not laugh.

"And meanwhile, Abel?"

"I've tried to shift as I could,—sometimes as day-laborer, or running on railroads as brakeman; and I got once into a photographist's wagon to help prepare the plates. Was no use going into anything regularly, you know, when my luck might come any day. I kept my eye on that Shepler land, though,"—something like life coming into his lack-lustre eye. "She's mismanaging the bottom fields terribly these late years. All in oats. But they'll bring in good returns some day, when they're properly worked. There's surface indications of oil along the creek, too."

"About your studies, Steadman?"

"I've read a bit here and there. I mean to go in training when I get my rights. Good God! the man I ought to be!"—suddenly putting his hand to his head.

This feeble outcry was the only sign of manhood that he gave. It was gone in a moment, and he droned down into the old speculations as to her "holding out another winter."

"Did you ever meet her?" I asked, with perhaps idle curiosity.

"Only once,—last winter. I was creeping out one cold evening to the——well, my boarding-house, and I met her face to face, in her pony chaise, near her own gate. She's withered into something like wrinkled leather now, with heavy opal ear-drops at each side of her skinny face. She makes the black fellow pull up. 'So! you're prowling round still, Steadman, hyena-like? Stand, and let me look at you.' With that her eyes went all over, gloating like a beast of prey, I thought, but I said nothing. Then she laughed. 'I'll walk over your grave yet!' she said. 'Drive on, Joe.' Nobody goes near her now but her blacks; her sharp tongue keeps them off."

"And Matt?" I asked.

"Matt's in St. Louis. You'll see[Pg 341] him, as you're going there. But you'll not mention me, Mr. Humphreys? Matt often wanted me to join them. Matt's kind; but I'll wait for my rights. It's long since he heard from me, and I'd rather you would not mention me."

I gave the promise, and he rose to go. My face burned as I offered him money, not knowing what the effect would be on him; but he took it eagerly,—not for the first time, I saw.

"Are you comfortably quartered, Steadman?" I asked, when we reached the door.

His lank jaws did redden at this.

"Yes, very comfortably, very; I have a——friends."

Graves, the landlord, laughed as he hurried down the street, and told me that the poor wretch had been for two years in the county almshouse, at times helpless from imbecility.

"He has days of sense," said Graves. "To-night was the best I've knowed. Seeing you revived him like."

In St. Louis I found Matt Steadman head of a machine-foundry. His house, a pretty, tasteful home, was back in the French quarter. I found Jane there, pink-cheeked, bustling, cheery as ever,—and old Mrs. Steadman, a placid old lady, in the corner, watching jealously over her grandchildren.

"I told you no lady in the land would look like mother, when her turn came to wear silks and laces," said Matt. "None does—to me,"—patting her cheek tenderly.

Matt was the firm, tight-built, alert fellow of old, looking out of the same shrewd, kindly eyes; but he talked pure English now, and put broad, liberal views and true creeds into his vigorous Saxon, and, better still, into his life. It was a good, wholesome home, even to look into as I did; and I carried out of it a stronger breath and a warmer feeling for my fellow-men. They talked of their brother often, but thought him dead. I did not enlighten them; I kept my promise: and besides, I would not raise in their house the evil spirit of the Luck of Abel Steadman.


Pleasant it is to lie amid the grass
Under these shady locusts, half the day,
Watching the ships reflected on the Bay,
Topmast and shroud, as in a wizard's glass;
To see the happy-hearted martins pass,
Brushing the dew-drops from the lilac-spray:
Or else to hang enamored o'er some lay
Of faëry regions; or to muse, alas!
On Dante, exiled, journeying outworn;
On patient Milton's sorrowfullest eyes,
Shut from the splendors of the Night and Morn;
To think that now, beneath the Italian skies,
In such clear air as this, by Tiber's wave,
Daisies are trembling over Keats's grave.

[Pg 342]



It is laid down in our Cavalry Tactics, that, "to perfect the troopers in conducting their horses, and in the use of their arms, they are exercised at the running at the heads,"—of the Rebellion nowadays, be it added. This is high and exciting drill, especially when the scene is the pine woods of Georgia, and the "heads," not of canvas stuffed with hay and planted on posts in the riding-ground, but of the flesh and bone of the President and chief men of the Confederacy in flight.

As there are many curious accounts of the capture of Jefferson Davis going the rounds of the press, it seems proper that one should appear that is literally true, to the minutest detail; and such a one will here be given.

The Colonel of the Fourth Michigan Horse Cavalry is Robert H. G. Minty, an officer who has not his superior in the service, and the only one of whom the question is urged, in and out of the army, "Why is he not among the Generals?"—but he being in command of the Second Cavalry Division, the command of the regiment devolved upon the Lieutenant-Colonel, B. D. Pritchard. We had heard of the capture of Lee and the surrender of Johnson, and knew that the fugitive "head" of the Confederacy was being piloted across the State of Georgia. It was certain that he was in the country south of Macon, but it was not known that he had crossed the Ocmulgee River. General Wilson had already sent a force to scour the left bank of that stream, and deeming it important that cavalry should ride the right bank also, to pick up, if not Jeff himself, information that would determine more definitely his whereabouts, ordered Colonel Minty to furnish a regiment for that purpose, and he selected the Fourth Michigan Cavalry. Lieutenant-Colonel Pritchard was sent for, and received his orders with the map spread out before him, noting carefully the fords and ferries of the river, with the roads leading to and from them, and being enjoined to put all under the strictest watch, unless he got information of Davis having crossed the river, in which case he was to exercise his own judgment in pursuing him. How happily that energetic officer carried out his orders the sequel shows.

All cavalry movements commence with the "Bugle Call"; and on the seventh of May, at eight o'clock, p. m., the "General" sounded in our camp. Tents were thereupon struck, saddles packed, and full preparations made to march. A half-hour later "Boots and Saddles" rang out, and speedily followed, "To Horse"; then there was mounting with deliberate haste "the steed" or mule, and the "mustering squadrons" went pouring forward in the moonlight, on their night's march. Our course was to Hawkinsville, a village on the bank of the Ocmulgee River. The air was warm, the roads very dusty, and towards morning there were gathering signs of rain. The country passed over was nearly a pine barren, thinly inhabited, but showing some, though very few, good plantations.

A little after daylight we halted to rest the men and horses, and feed. Corn was got from a plantation-crib near; and while the horses fed, the men busied themselves with their own breakfasts or stretched themselves out to sleep. At eight o'clock it began to rain, a warm, welcome rain, that laid the dust that was so suffocating even under the night-air. After noon we set out again, and, passing through Hawkinsville, we bivouacked for the night about three miles beyond, having travelled since we left Macon fifty odd miles. The rain fell in torrents, accompanied by thunder[Pg 343] and lightning, which, by the way, gave rise to an occurrence that illustrates to what little accidents oftentimes men may owe the preservation of their lives. Lieutenant Fisk had thought to pitch his tent at the foot of a proud pine, but observing the ground dished at that point, he chose a spot a few feet distant, which was a little higher, and hitched his horse to the tree. In the night a thunderbolt rived the pine, killing the horse, but the Lieutenant escaped without injury.

At five o'clock, a. m., on the 9th, we resumed our march on the road to Abbeville, passing through the like stretch of pine country, and reached that delectable town about three o'clock, P. M. Here we fortunately struck the trail of the fugitive "Head." Lieutenant-Colonel Harnden, commanding the First Wisconsin Cavalry, had left Macon on the 6th of May, the day before ourselves, moving south, to the left of the Ocmulgee, and having got on the track of a train of wagons and ambulances that was proceeding westward, he diligently followed it, making forced marches to Brown's Ferry on the Ocmulgee, and crossing the river got into Abbeville a few hours before us, where he waited to meet Pritchard, and inform him of his pursuit of the train. He said, however, that he did not think Davis was with it, as it was reported that he travelled by himself,—which, as we learned after the capture, was the fact,—but that he thought Mrs. Davis was, as the people told him there was a lady-like woman with the wagons. Harnden had but seventy-five men with him, and Pritchard tendered him an additional force, if he thought himself unable to cope with the train, in case he overtook it; but the proffered aid was declined, and the officers then parted, Harnden expressing his purpose to pursue the direct road to Irwinville, as the train had taken that route, and would make that point that night,—and it did in fact camp within four miles of Irwinville, and within two of Jeff Davis.

Pritchard, after parting with Harnden, sent a strong picket to the ferry, and then resumed his march on the river-road. About three miles from Abbeville he found a negro watching his master's broken-down wagon. From him he learned some interesting particulars concerning the train which Harnden was pursuing, and which had crossed the ferry the night before,—among them this: that, when the party with the train came to pay the ferryman, the latter went to strike a light, which the former forbade, saying that they could pay well enough without a light, and in fact did pay him a ten-dollar gold-piece and a ten-dollar Confederate note,—a circumstance, which, with other things, made Pritchard believe that Davis crossed the river with the train. He also learned that the river-road was intersected at Wilcox's Mills by a cross-road leading to Irwinville; and as Davis appeared to be in the habit of travelling away from the train, it seemed not improbable that he might be found on a road parallel to the one the train was following. Accordingly, that nothing on his part should be left undone to effect the capture of the fugitive, he selected thirteen of the best-mounted men from each company of his command, and determined with them to follow the road to Irwinville, at which point, if Davis should not be fallen in with on the way, he could communicate again with Harnden. Captain Hathaway, in command of the remainder of the force, was left at Abbeville, with orders to patrol and picket the river.

All things being arranged, we pushed rapidly for Irwinville. This was also a beautiful moonlight night. The dust having been laid by the rain, and the air bracing, the horses stepped out at a free and steady pace, that brought us to our destination about two o'clock, a. m., of the 10th, but neither finding Davis on the road, nor, to our surprise, the Wisconsin regiment in the town. Without any unnecessary disturbance, we halted to gather information,—the men, meanwhile, sliding from their horses, to catch, for the moment, a bit of sleep. In the midst of this quiet a woman began to scream, and an officer near went to[Pg 344] learn the cause. She complained that some of the men, "Burners," had got into her smoke-house and were appropriating her hams. This was speedily rectified, but not her disposition to talk and scream. She said, "There's a camp of our men out there, two hundred of them, and they will pay you'ns for pestering me!" And she screamed as if she would alarm the camp. About this time, a negro boy belonging to the woman was pulled out of bed, and having "allowed" that he knew of this camp, and had been to it, he was promptly taken to the head of the column to serve as a guide. Pritchard, convinced that he had found Davis's camp, and determined to make sure of his capture, sent Lieutenant Purinton with twenty-five dismounted men to gain the other side of it, in order to prevent escape in that direction when he should charge in from this side; he also moved his command forward about a mile, and then quietly waited for day to break. The realization that we were near to, and probably would seize, the head of the Confederacy, and thus destroy at once the political organization and rallying-point of the thing, made us all tremble with anxiety. To put the finishing stroke to the Rebellion was our high duty, and would be a crowning proof and act of patriotism. At this time we knew nothing of the reward for the apprehension of Davis; we knew only that he was the chief man of our country's enemies, and we were resolved that none should blame us if we failed to capture or kill him.

At daybreak the order was passed in a whisper to make ready to enter the camp. The men were alive to the work. Mounting their horses, the column moved at a walk until the tents came in sight, and then at the word dashed in. The camp was found pitched on both sides of the road. On the left hand, as we entered, were wagons, horses, tents, and men; on the right were two wall-tents, fronting from the road. All was quiet in the camp. We encountered no guards: if there were any out, they must have been asleep. The order of the force entering the camp should perhaps be given. Captain Hudson commanded the advance guard; Lieutenant Stauber followed, with a detachment of the First Battalion; next, Lieutenant Boutell, with one of the Second Battalion; and Lieutenant Bennett brought up the rear guard. The force in advance of Lieutenant Boutell, immediately on entering the camp, dispersed among the tents on the left of the road. Some of his men rode to the tents on the right of the road, among them private James H. Lynch, of Company C,—it is well, for good reasons, to mention the names of the enlisted men,—who, seeing a horse saddled and bridled, with holsters and travelling-bag, held by a black man in front of one of the tents, at once clapped the muzzle of his Spencer to the head of the "boy," and secured the animal. This was Davis's well-trained and fleetest saddle-horse, which Lynch, who was in Richmond when the war broke out, and came and joined us at Murfreesborough after the Battle of Stone River, claims to have recognized.

Scarcely had this horse been secured, when firing was heard down the road, in the direction of Purinton. Pritchard instantly gave the order to advance, and Lieutenant Boutell, who had continued on horseback in the road, holding his men mainly in hand for any emergency that might arise, promptly obeyed, and, crossing a slough of mud and water, swept towards the firing, and was greeted with a volley that killed two of his men and severely wounded himself in the left arm. He had been previously wounded in the right arm in the Atlanta campaign. He, however, quickly formed his men for fight, uniting them with those under Purinton, and for a few minutes a decidedly earnest conflict was waged, when a man by the name of Wright, Sergeant of Company A, discovering that our opponents wore the blue uniform, and divining that they must be the Wisconsin regiment, ran, swinging his hat, over to them, and stopped the firing,—an act of cool bravery, that saved, without[Pg 345] doubt, many lives. The fight originated from the party of Lieutenant Purinton coming in contact with the advance of the Wisconsin force, which was in motion towards the Davis camp. It was in charge of a Sergeant, who was halted by Purinton, and answered, "Friends."—"Advance," returned Purinton.—But the Sergeant, believing that he had met an enemy, wheeled his men and fled, but soon returned with the rest of Harnden's force. As he wheeled, Purinton's men fired. The Lieutenant, when he halted the Sergeant, stood out in the road; but the distance between the parties and the darkness prevented a recognition. And here let it be observed, in answer to who may complain of Lieutenant-Colonel Pritchard's action in this matter that, while he could not foresee all the contingencies that might arise, he certainly took all reasonable precaution to avoid any accidental conflict between the two commands, both for safety and the success of the enterprise. His orders to Lieutenant Purinton were, to be certain of the character of any party he might meet before firing,—telling him, what was generally understood throughout the command, that Lieutenant-Colonel Harnden was probably on that road,—which orders the Lieutenant did his best to carry out.

But however Pritchard's arrangements may be cavilled at, they certainly secured the capture of Davis. For the Wisconsin force, coming in the direction it did, could hardly have crossed the body of mud and water that lay between it and Davis without alarming him, and affording him time to mount his horse, kept, as we found, ready saddled and bridled for flight, and to escape into the woods surrounding the camp. But by Pritchard's movement, Davis was not alarmed in season; and when he discovered his horse out of his power, he sought to escape by stratagem. That he had relied upon his horse for safety is evident from the fact that his arms and money (gold) were on the saddle.

Andrew Bee, a private of Company L, went to the entrance of Davis's tent, and was met by Mrs. Davis, "bareheaded and barefoot," as he describes her, who, putting her hand on his arm, said,—

"Please, don't go in there, till my daughter gets herself dressed!"

Andrew thereupon drew back, and in a few minutes a young lady (Miss Howell) and another person, bent over as with age, wearing a lady's "water-proof," gathered at the waist, with a shawl drawn over the head, and carrying a tin pail, appear and ask to go to "the run" for water. Mrs. Davis also appears and says,—

"For God's sake, let my old mother go to get some water!"

No objections being made, they passed out. But sharp eyes were upon the singular-looking "old mother." Suddenly, Corporal Munyer, of Company C, and others at the same instant, discovered that the "old mother" was wearing very heavy boots for an aged female, and the Corporal exclaimed,—

"That is not a woman! Don't you see the boots?"—and, spurring his horse forward and cocking his carbine, compelled the withdrawal of the shawl, and disclosed Jeff Davis.

As if stung by this discovery of his unmanliness, Jeff struck an attitude, and cried out,—

"Is there a man among you? If there is, let me see him!"

"Yes," said the Corporal, "I am one; and if you stir, I will blow your brains out!"

"I know my fate," said Davis, "and might as well die here."

But his wife threw her arms around his neck, and kept herself between him and the threatening Corporal.

No harm, however, was done him, and he was generally kindly spoken to: he was only stripped of his female attire.

As a man, he was dressed in a complete suit of gray, a light felt hat, and high cavalry boots, with a gray beard of about six weeks' growth covering his face.

He said he thought that our Government was too magnanimous to hunt women and children that way.[Pg 346]

When Colonel Pritchard told him that he would do the best he could for his comfort, he answered,—

"I ask no favors of you."

To which surly reply the Colonel courteously responded by assuring him of kind treatment.

Arrangements were forthwith made to return to Macon. The dead and wounded were gathered up with far different feelings from those with which we were wont to perform such sad duties, as the conviction that we had been fighting our brothers struck a chill into the hearts alike of officers and men. The dead were borne to Abbeville, and there tenderly buried; the wounded were carried through with every attention to Macon, full rations being allotted to them from Jeff's wines and other "amenities" captured.

The prisoners having finished the breakfast which their servants were allowed to prepare for them, we, joyful at our success, though saddened by the price so cruelly exacted, took up the line of march for Macon. Lieutenant-Colonel Harnden and his tired 'boys,' sharing in the general feeling, led the way.

Mrs. Davis was very watchful lest some disrespect should be shown her husband. She assumed the responsibility of the disguise, saying she put the clothing on the "President." She complained that the guard kept their guns cocked; but when it was explained to her that the Spencer carbine was for safety carried at half-cock, she seemed content. In personal appearance she is nearly the opposite of her husband, who is a man wearing an ill expression of countenance, slim, spare, and under six feet, while she is quite fair and of good size. On the road both Mr. and Mrs. Davis were at times seen in tears. She read the Bible to him, and he regularly asked a blessing over their meals. We "Vandals," as he so often proclaimed us to be, did not disturb him. There were men among his captors who had been prisoners at Andersonville, but they spoke of him without malice; they only asked for justice, as they recalled their fearful experience. Davis recognized and claimed the horse Private Lynch had seized, and when he pleased, was permitted to ride him.

The members of Davis's staff submitted with better grace than he to the capture and march, and were generally quite communicative; but when speaking to Jeff, they removed their hats, and addressed him as "President Davis." The most interesting individual of the captured party was James H. Brooks, a little mulatto boy, about the size of Davis's son, who was his playmate. The little fellow readily affiliated with the Yankees, and became quite a pet.

About dusk of this day, the 10th of May, we reached Abbeville, where Captain Hathaway's detachment joined us.

The news of Davis's capture spread like wildfire. The country people came in great crowds to see him;—he did not show himself, however, usually avoiding the sight of those who flocked to him. We did not understand that the people had come to sympathize with him, or to do him honor, but only that they were simply seeking to gratify their curiosity. To us they expressed exultation at his capture and the prospect of peace.

The day we reached Hawkinsville we met a reinforcement coming out from Macon to join us. The brigade band accompanied it, and was drawn up beside the road to play "Yankee Doodle" as we passed; but so eager were the performers to see Davis, that they forgot their music, and the tune came to a laughable break-down. Immediately after, they struck up "Old John Brown," the boys putting in the words,

"And we'll hang Jeff Davis on a sour-apple-tree,"

with gusto,—which so affected him that he pulled down the curtain of his ambulance. This force also brought out President Johnson's proclamation of a reward for the capture we had already made. Reagan was the first of the prisoners to read it, and he then handed it to Davis. After this the party seemed to be more cast down.

It should be mentioned, that, in addition[Pg 347] to the detachments under Lieutenant-Colonels Harnden and Pritchard, there was a force sent out under Colonel Rowland to patrol the left bank of the Flint River, so as to make certain of Davis's capture, if he should conclude the forces on the banks of the Ocmulgee. It will be observed that he was captured in the country between the two rivers, not far from the Ocmulgee.

Without any mishap, from the time of the capture to the end of the journey, save the breaking down of the ambulance, the loss of which was supplied by the pressing of a carriage for Davis's convenience, we arrived at Macon on the evening of the 13th, in triumph; and the bugle thereupon sounding the "Recall," the great drill of "Running at the Heads" ended, and the troopers were dispersed to their quarters.




At length I am arrived at my seventh fox,—the last of the domestic quadrupeds against which I have vowed a crusade,—and here opens the chase of him. I call him


And having done this, I drop the metaphor, for fear of chasing it beyond the rules of graceful rhetoric, and shall proceed to define the trait.

All the other domestic faults of which I have treated have relation to the manner in which the ends of life are pursued; but this one is an underlying, false, and diseased state of conception as to the very ends and purposes of life itself.

If a piano is tuned to exact concert pitch, the majority of voices must fall below it; for which reason, most people indulgently allow their pianos to be tuned a little below this point, in accommodation to the average power of the human voice. Persons of only ordinary powers of voice would be considered absolute monomaniacs, who should insist on having their pianos tuned to accord with any abstract notion of propriety or perfection,—rendering themselves wretched by persistently singing all their pieces miserably out of tune in consequence.

Yet there are persons who keep the requirements of life strained up always at concert pitch, and are thus worn out and made miserable all their days by the grating of a perpetual discord.

There is a faculty of the human mind to which phrenologists have given the name of Ideality, which is at the foundation of this exactingness. Ideality is the faculty by which we conceive of and long for perfection; and at a glance it will be seen, that, so far from being an evil ingredient of human nature, it is the one element of progress that distinguishes man's nature from that of the brute. While animals go on from generation to generation, learning nothing and forgetting nothing, practising their small circle of the arts of life no better and no worse from year to year, man is driven by ideality to constant invention and alteration, whence come arts, sciences, and the whole progress of society. Ideality induces discontent with present attainments, possessions, and performances, and hence come better[Pg 348] and better ones. So in morals, ideality constantly incites to higher and nobler modes of living and thinking, and is the faculty to which the most effective teachings of the great Master of Christianity are addressed. To be dissatisfied with present attainments, with earthly things and scenes, to aspire and press on to something forever fair, yet forever receding before our steps,—this is the teaching of Christianity, and the work of the Christian.

But every faculty has its own instinctive, wild growth, which, like the spontaneous produce of the earth, is crude and weedy.

Revenge, says Lord Bacon, is a sort of wild justice, obstinacy is untutored firmness,—and so exactingness is untrained ideality; and a vast deal of misery, social and domestic, comes, not of the faculty, but of its untrained exercise.

The faculty which is ever conceiving and desiring something better and more perfect must be modified in its action by good sense, patience, and conscience, or it induces a morbid, discontented spirit, which courses through the veins of individual and family life like a subtle poison.

In a certain neighborhood are two families whose social and domestic animus illustrates the difference between ideality and the want of it.

The Daytons are a large, easy-natured, joyous race, hospitable, kindly, and friendly.

Nothing about their establishment is much above mediocrity. The grounds are tolerably kept, the table is tolerably fair, the servants moderately good, and the family character and attainments of the same average level.

Mrs. Dayton is a decent housekeeper, and so her bread be not sour, her butter not frowy, the food abundant, and the table-cloth and dishes clean, she troubles her head little with the niceties and refinements of the ménage.

She accepts her children as they come from the hand of Nature, simply opening her eyes to discern what they are, never raising the query what she would have had them,—forming no very high expectations concerning them, and well content with whatever develops.

A visitor in the family can easily see a thousand defects in the conduct of affairs, in the management of the children, and in this, that, and the other portion of the household arrangements; but he can see and feel, also, a perfect comfortableness in the domestic atmosphere that almost atones for any defects. He can see that in a thousand respects things might be better done, if the family were not perfectly content to have them as they are, and that each individual member might make higher attainments in various directions, were there not such entire satisfaction with what is already attained.

Trying each other by very moderate standards and measurements, there is great mutual complacency. The oldest boy does not get an appointment in college,—they never expected he would; but he was a respectable scholar, and they receive him with acclamations such as another family would bestow on a valedictorian. The daughters do not profess, as we are told, to draw like artists, but some very moderate performances in the line of the fine arts are dwelt on with much innocent pleasure. They thrum a few tunes on the piano, and the whole family listen and approve. All unite in singing in a somewhat discordant and uncultured manner a few psalm-tunes or songs, and take more comfort in them than many amateurs do in their well-drilled performances.

So goes the world with the Daytons; and when you visit them, if you often feel that you could ask more and suggest much improvement, yet you cannot help enjoying the quiet satisfaction which breathes around you.

Now right across the way from the Daytons live the Mores; and the Mores are the very opposites of the Daytons.

Everything about their establishment is brought to the highest point of culture. The carriage-drive never shows[Pg 349] a weed, the lawn is velvet, the flower-beds ever-blooming, the fruit-trees and vines grow exactly like the patterns in the best pomological treatises. Within doors the housekeeping is faultless,—all seems to be moving in time and tune,—the table is more than good, it is superlative,—every article is in its way a model,—the children appear to you to be growing up after the most patent-right method, duly trained, snipped, and cultured, like the pear-trees and grape-vines. Nothing is left to accident, or done without much laborious consideration of the best manner of doing it; and the consequences, in the eyes of their simple, unsophisticated neighbors, are very wonderful.

Nevertheless this is not a happy family. All their perfections do not begin to afford them one tithe of the satisfaction that the Daytons derive from their ragged and scrambling performances.

The two daughters, Jane and Maria, had naturally very sweet voices, and when they were little, trilled tunes in a very pleasant and bird-like manner. But now, having been instructed by the best masters, and heard the very first artists, they never sing or play; the piano is shut, and their voices are dumb. If you request a song, they tell you that they never sing now; papa has such an exquisite taste, he takes no interest in any common music; in short, having heard Jenny Lind, Grisi, Alboni, Mario, and others of the tuneful shell, this family have concluded to abide in silence. As to any music that they could make, it isn't to be thought of.

For the same reason, the daughters, after attending a quarter or two on the drawing-exercises of a celebrated teacher, threw up their pencils in disgust, and tore up very pretty and agreeable sketches which were the marvel of their good-natured admiring neighbors. If they could draw like Signor Scratchalini, if they could hope to become perfect artists, they tell you, they would have persevered; but they have taken lessons enough to learn that drawing is the labor of a life-time, and, not having a life-time to give to it, they resolve to do nothing at all.

They have also, for a similar reason, given up letter-writing. If their chirography were as elegant as Charlotte Cushman's,—if they were perfect mistresses of polite English,—if they were gifted with wit, humor, and fancy, like the first masters of style,—they would take pleasure in epistolary composition, and be good correspondents; but anything short of that is so intolerable, that, except in cases of life and death or urgent business, you cannot get a line out of them. Yet they write very fair, agreeable, womanly letters, and would write much better ones, if they allowed themselves a little more practice.

Mrs. More is devoured by care. She sits with a clouded brow in her elegant, well-regulated house; and when you talk with her, you are surprised to learn that everything in it is in the most dreadful disorder from one end to the other. You ask for particulars, and find that the disorder has relation to exquisite standards of the ways of doing things, derived from observation of life in the most subdivided state of European service,—to all of which she has not as yet been able to raise her domestics. You compliment her on her cook, and she responds, in plaintive accents, "She can do a few things decently, but she is nothing of a cook." You refer with enthusiasm to her bread, her coffee, her muffins and hot rolls, and she listens and sighs. "Yes," she admits, "these are eatable,—not bad; but you should have seen the rolls at a certain café in Paris, and the bread at a certain nobleman's in England, where they had a bakery in the castle, and a French baker, who did nothing all the while but to refine and perfect the idea of bread. When she thinks of these things, everything in comparison is so coarse and rough!—but then she has learned to be comfortable." Thus, in every department of housekeeping, to this too well-instructed person,

"Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise."

Not a thing in her wide and apparently[Pg 350] beautifully kept establishment is ever done well enough to elicit from her more than a sigh of toleration. "I suppose it must do," she faintly breathes, when poor human nature, having tried and tried again, evidently has got to the boundaries of its capabilities; "you may let it go, Jane; I never expect to be suited."

The poor woman, in the midst of possessions and attainments which excite the envy of her neighbors, is utterly restless and wretched, and feels herself always baffled and unsuccessful. Her exacting nature makes her dissatisfied with herself in everything that she undertakes, and equally dissatisfied with others. In the whole family there is little of that pleasure which comes from the consciousness of mutual admiration and esteem, because each one is pitched to so exquisite a tone that each is afraid to touch another for fear of making discord. They are afraid of each other everywhere. They cannot sing to each other, play to each other, write to each other; they cannot even converse together with any freedom, because each knows that the others are so dismally well informed and critically instructed.

Though all agree in a secret contempt for their neighbors over the way, as living in a most heathenish state of ignorant contentment, yet it is a fact that the elegant brother John will often, on the sly, slip into the Daytons' to spend an evening, and join them in singing glees and catches to their old rattling piano, and have a jolly time of it which he remembers in contrast with the dull, silent hours at home. Kate Dayton has an uncultivated voice, which often falls from pitch; but she has a perfectly infectious gayety of good-nature, and when she is once at the piano, and all join in some merry troll, he begins to think that there may be something better even than good singing; and then they have dances and charades and games, all in such contented, jolly, impromptu ignorance of the unities of time, place, and circumstance, that he sometimes doubts, where ignorance is such bliss, whether it isn't in truth folly to be wise.

Jane and Maria laugh at John for his partiality to the Daytons, and yet they themselves feel the same attraction. At the Daytons' they somehow find themselves heroines; their drawings are so admired, their singing is so charming to these uncultured ears, that they are often beguiled into giving pleasure with their own despised acquirements; and Jane, somehow, is very tolerant of the devoted attention of Will Dayton, a joyous, honest-hearted fellow, whom, in her heart of hearts, she likes none the worse for being unexacting and simple enough to think her a wonder of taste and accomplishments. Will, of course, is the farthest possible from the Admirable Crichtons and exquisite Sir Philip Sidneys whom Mrs. More and the young ladies talk up at their leisure, and adorn with feathers from every royal and celestial bird, when they are discussing theoretic possible husbands. He is not in any way distinguished, except for a kind heart, strong native good sense, and a manly energy that has carried him straight into the very heart of many a citadel of life, before which the superior and more refined Mr. John had set himself down to deliberate upon the best and most elegant way of taking it. Will's plain, homely intelligence has often in five minutes disentangled some ethereal snarl in which these exquisite Mores had spun themselves up, and brought them to his own way of thinking by that sort of disenchanting process which honest, practical sense sometimes exerts over ideality.

The fact is, however, that in each of these families there is a natural defect which requires something from the other for completeness. Taking happiness as the standard, the Daytons have it as against the Mores. Taking attainment as the standard, the Mores have it as against the Daytons. A portion of the discontented ideality of the Mores would stimulate the Daytons to refine and perfect many things which might easily be made better, did they care enough to have them so; and a portion of the Daytons'[Pg 351] self-satisfied contentment would make the attainments and refinements of the Mores of some practical use in advancing their own happiness.

But between these two classes of natures lies another, to which has been given an equal share of ideality,—in which the conception and the desire of excellence are equally strong, but in which a discriminating common-sense acts like a balance-wheel in machinery. What is the reason that the most exacting idealists never make themselves unhappy about not being able to fly like a bird or swim like a fish? Because common-sense teaches them that these accomplishments are so utterly out of the question that they never arise to the mind as objects of desire. In these well-balanced minds we speak of, common-sense runs an instinctive line all through life between the attainable and the unattainable, and sets the key of desire accordingly.

Common-sense teaches that there is no one branch of human art or science in which perfection is not a point forever receding. A botanist gravely assures us, that to become perfect in the knowledge of one branch of sea-weeds would take all the time and strength of a man for a life-time. There is no limit to music, to the fine arts. There is never a time when the gardener can rest, saying that his garden is perfect. House-keeping, cooking, sewing, knitting, may all, for aught we know, be pushed on forever, without exhausting the capabilities for better doing.

But while attainment in everything is endless, circumstances forbid the greater part of human beings from attaining in any direction the half of what they see would be desirable; and the difference between the miserable idealist and the contented realist often is not that both do not see what needs to be done for perfection, but that, seeing it, one is satisfied with the attainable, and the other forever frets and wears himself out on the unattainable.

The principal of a large and complicated public institution was complimented on maintaining such uniformity of cheerfulness amid such a diversity of cares. "I've made up my mind to be satisfied, when things are done half as well as I would have them," was his answer; and the same philosophy would apply with cheering results to the domestic sphere.

There is a saying which one often hears among common people, that such and such a one are persons who never could be happy, unless everything went "just so"—that is, in accordance with their highest conceptions.

When these persons are women, and undertake the sway of a home empire, they are sure to be miserable, and to make others so; for home is a place where by no kind of magic possible to woman can everything be always made to go "just so."

We may read treatises on education,—and very excellent ones there are. We may read very nice stories illustrating home management, in which book-children and book-servants all work into the author's plan with obliging unanimity; but every real child and real servant is an uncompromising fact, whose working into our ideal of life cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty. A husband is another absolute fact, of whose conformity to any ideal conceptions no positive account can be given. So, when a person has the most charming theories of education, the most complete ideals of life, it is often his lot to sit bound hand and foot and see them all trampled under the heel of opposing circumstances.

Nothing is easier than to make an ideal garden. We lay out our grounds, dig, plant, transplant, manure. We read catalogues of roses till we are bewildered with their lustrous glories. We set out plum, pear, and peach, we luxuriate in advance on bushels of choicest grapes, and our theoretic garden is Paradise Regained. But in the actual garden there are cut-worms for every cabbage, squash-bugs for all the melons, slugs and rose-bugs for the roses, curculios for the plums, fire-blight for pears, yellows for peaches, mildew for grapes, and late and early frosts, droughts,[Pg 352] winds, and hail-storms here and there for all.

The garden and the family are fair pictures of each other. Both are capable of the most ravishing representations on paper; and the rules and directions for creating beauty and perfection in both can be made so apparently plain that he who runneth may read, and it would seem that a fool need not err therein; and yet the actual results are always halting miles away behind expectation and desire.

It would be an incalculable gain to domestic happiness, if people would begin the concert of life with their instruments tuned to a very low pitch: they who receive the most happiness are generally they who demand and expect the least.

Ideality often becomes an insidious mental and moral disease, acting all the more subtly from its alliances with what is highest and noblest within us. Shall we not aspire to be perfect? Shall we be content with low measures and low standards in anything? To these inquiries there seems of course to be but one answer; yet the individual driven forward in blind, unreasoning aspiration becomes wearied, bewildered, discontented, restless, fretful, and miserable.

An unhappy person can never make others happy. The creators and governors of a home, who are themselves restless and inharmonious, cannot make harmony and peace. This is the secret reason why many a pure, good, conscientious person is only a source of uneasiness in family life. They are exacting, discontented, unhappy; and spread the discontent and unhappiness about them. They are, to begin with, on poor terms with themselves; they do not like themselves; they do not like their own appearance, manners, education, accomplishments; on all these points they try themselves by ideal standards, and find themselves wanting. In morals, in religion, too, the same introverted scrutiny detects only errors and evils, till all life seems to them a miserable, hopeless failure, and they wish they had never been born. They are angry and disgusted with themselves; there is no self-toleration or self-endurance. And persons in a chronic quarrel with themselves are very apt to quarrel with others. That exacting nature which has no patience with one's own inevitable frailties and errors has none for those of others; and thus the great motive by which Christianity enforces tolerance of the faults of others loses its hold. There are people who make no allowances either for themselves or anybody else, but are equally angry and disgusted with both.

Now it is important that those finely strung natures in which ideality largely predominates should begin life by a religious care and restraint of this faculty. As the case often stands, however, religion only intensifies the difficulty, by adding stringency to exaction and censoriousness, driving the subject up with an unremitting strain till the very cords of reason sometimes snap. Yet, properly understood and used, religion is the only cure for the evil of diseased ideality. The Christian religion is the only one that ever proposed to give to all human beings, however various the range of their nature and desires, the great underlying gift of rest. Its Author, with a strength of assurance which only supreme Divinity can justify, promises rest to all persons, under all circumstances, with all sorts of natures, all sorts of wants, and all sorts of defects. The invitation is as wide as the human race: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

Now this is the more remarkable, as this gracious promise is accompanied by the presentation of a standard of perfection which is more ideal and exacting than any other that has ever been placed before mankind,—which, in so many words, sets up absolute perfection as the only true goal of aspiration.

The problem which Jesus proposes to human nature is endless aspiration steadied by endless peace,—a perfectly restful, yet unceasing effort after a good which is never to be attained till we attain[Pg 353] a higher and more perfect form of existence. It is because this problem is insolvable by any human wisdom, that He says that they who take His yoke upon them must learn of Him, for He alone can make the perfect yoke easy and its burden light.

The first lesson in this benignant school must lie like a strong, broad foundation under every structure on which we wish to rear a happy life,—and that is, that the full gratification of the faculty of ideality is never to be expected in this present stage of existence, but is to be transferred to a future life. Ideality, with its incessant, restless longings and yearnings, is snubbed and turned out of doors by human philosophy, when philosophy becomes middle-aged and sulky with repeated disappointments,—it is berated as a cheat and a liar,—told to hold its tongue and take itself elsewhere; but Christianity bids it be of good cheer, still to aspire and hope and prophesy, and points to a future where all its dreams shall be outdone by reality.

A full faith in such a perfect future—a perfect faith that God has planted in man no desire which he cannot train to complete enjoyment in that future—gives the mind rest and contentment to postpone for a while gratifications that will certainly come at last.

Such a faith is better even than that native philosophical good sense which restrains the ideal calculations and hopes of some; for it has a wider scope and a deeper power.

We have seen in our time a woman gifted with all those faculties which rejoice in the refinements of society, dispensing the elegant hospitalities of a bountiful home, joyful and giving joy. A sudden reverse has swept all this away, the wealth on which it was based has melted like a fog-bank in a warm morning, and we have seen her with her little family beginning life again in the log cabin of a Western settlement. We have seen her sitting in the door of the one room that took the place of parlor, bed-room, nursery, and cheerfully making her children's morning toilette by the help of the one tin wash-bowl that takes the place of her well-arranged bathing- and dressing-rooms; and yet, as she twined their curls over her fingers, she had a laugh and a jest and cheerful word for all The few morning-glories that she was training over her rude porch seemed as much a source of delight to her as her former green-house and garden; and the adjustment of the one or two shelves whereon were the half-dozen books left of the library, her husband's private papers, and her own and her children's wardrobe, was entered into daily with a zealous interest as if she had never known a wider sphere.

Such facility of accommodation to life's reverses is sometimes supposed to be merely the result of a hopeful and cheerful temperament; in this case it was purely the work of religion. In early life, this same woman had been the discontented slave of ideality, had sighed with vain longings in the midst of real and substantial comfort, had felt even the creasing of the rose-leaves of her pillow an intolerable annoyance. Now she has resigned herself to the work and toil of life as the soldier does to the duties of the camp, satisfied to do and to bear, enjoying with a free heart the small daily pleasures which spring up like wild-flowers amid daily toils and annoyances, and looking to the end of the campaign for rest and congenial scenes.

This woman has within her the powers and gifts of an artist; but her pencils and her colors are resolutely laid away, and she sits hour after hour darning her children's stockings and turning and arranging a scanty wardrobe which no ingenuity can make more than decent. She was a beautiful musician; but a musical instrument is now a thing of the past; she only lulls her baby to sleep with snatches of the songs which used to form the attraction of brilliant salons. She feels that a world of tastes and talents are lying dormant in her while she is doing the daily work of a nurse, cook, and seamstress; but she remembers Who took upon Him the form of a servant before her, and she[Pg 354] has full faith that her beautiful gifts, like bulbs sleeping under ground, shall come up and blossom again in that fair future which He has promised. Therefore it is that she has no sighs for the present or the past,—no quarrel with her life, or her lot in it; she is in harmony with herself and with all around her; her husband looks upon her as a fair daily miracle, and her children rise up and call her blessed.

But, having laid the broad foundation of faith in a better life, as the basis on which to ground our present happiness, we who are of the ideal nature must proceed to build thereon wisely.

In the first place, we must cultivate the duty of self-patience and self-toleration. Of all the religionists and moralists who ever taught, Fénelon is the only one who has distinctly formulated the duty which a self-educator owes to himself. Have patience with yourself is a direction often occurring in his writings, and a most important one it is,—because patience with ourselves is essential, if we would have patience with others. Let us look through the world. Who are the people easiest to be pleased, most sunny, most urbane, most tolerant? Are they not persons from constitution and temperament on good terms with themselves,—people who do not ask much of themselves or try themselves severely, and who therefore are in a good humor for looking upon others? But how is a person who is conscious of a hundred daily faults and errors to have patience with himself? The question may be answered by asking, What would you say to a child who fretted, scolded, dashed down his slate, and threw his book on the floor, because he made mistakes in his arithmetic? You would say, of course, "You are but a learner; it is not to be expected that you will not make mistakes; all children do. Have patience." Just as you would talk to that child, talk to yourself. Be reconciled to a lot of inevitable imperfection; be content to try continually, and often to fail. It is the inevitable condition of human existence, and is to be accepted as such. A patient acceptance of mortifications and of defeats of our life's labor is often more efficacious for our moral advancement than even our victories.

In the next place, we must school ourselves not to look with restless desire to degrees of excellence in any department of life which circumstances evidently forbid our attaining. For a woman with plenty of money and plenty of well-trained servants to be content to have fly-specked windows, or littered rooms, or a slovenly-ordered table, is a sin. But in a woman in feeble health, incumbered with a flock of restless little ones, and whose circumstances allow her to keep but one servant, it may be a piece of moral heroism to shut her eyes on many such things, while securing mere essentials to life and health. It may be a virtue in her not to push neatness to such lengths as to wear herself out, or to break down her only servant, and to be resigned to have her tastes and preferences for order, cleanliness, and beauty crossed, as she would resign herself to any other affliction. No purgatory can be more severe to people of a thorough and exact nature than to be so situated that they can only half do everything they undertake; yet such is the fiery trial to which many a one is subjected. Life seems to drive them along without giving them time for anything; everything is ragged, hasty performance, of which the mind most keenly sees and feels the raggedness and hastiness. Even one thing done as it really ought to be done would be a rest and refreshment to the soul; but nowhere, in any department of its undertakings, is there any such thing to be perceived.

But there are cases where a great deal of wear and tear can be saved to the nerves by a considerate making up of one's mind as to how much in certain circumstances had better be undertaken at all. Let the circumstances of life be surveyed, the objects we are pursuing arranged and counted, and see if there are not things here and there that may be thrown out of our plans entirely, that others may be better done.[Pg 355]

What if the whole care of expensive table luxuries, like cake and preserves, be thrown out of a housekeeper's budget, in order that the essential articles of cookery may be better prepared? What if ruffling, embroidery, and the entire department of kindred fine arts, be thrown out of her calculations, in providing for the clothing of a family? Many a feeble woman has died of too much ruffling, as she patiently sat up night after night sewing the thread of a precious, invaluable life into elaborate articles which her children were none the healthier or more virtuous for wearing.

Ideality is constantly ramifying and extending the department of the toilette and the needle into a world of work and worry, wherein distracted women wander up and down, seeing no end anywhere. The sewing-machine was announced as a relief to these toils; but has it proved so? We trow not. It only amounts to this,—that now there can be seventy-two tucks on each little petticoat, instead of fifteen, as before, and that twice as many garments are made up and held to be necessary as formerly. The women still sew to the limit of human endurance; and still the old proverb holds good, that woman's work is never done.

In the matter of dress, much wear and tear of spirit and nerves may be saved by not beginning to go in certain directions, well knowing that they will take us beyond our resources of time, strength, and money.

There is one word of fear in the vocabulary of the women of our time which must be pondered advisedly,—trimming. In old times a good garment was enough; nowadays a garment is nothing without trimming. Everything, from the first article that the baby wears up to the elaborate dress of the bride, must be trimmed at a rate that makes the trimming more than the original article. A dress can be made in a day, but it cannot be trimmed under two or three days. Let a faithful, conscientious woman make up her mind how much of all this burden of life she will assume, remembering wisely that there is no end to ideality in anything, and that the only way to deal with many perplexing parts of life is to leave them out altogether.

Mrs. Kirkland, in her very amusing account of her log-cabin experiences, tells us of the great disquiet and inconvenience she had in attempting to arrange in her lowly abode a most convenient clothes-press, which was manifestly too large for the establishment. Having labored with the cumbersome convenience for a great length of time, and with much discomfort, she at last resigned the ordering of it to a brawny-armed damsel of the forest, who began by pitching it out of doors, with the comprehensive remark, that, "where there wasn't room for a thing, there wasn't."

The wisdom which inspired the remark of this rustic maiden might have saved the lives of many matrons who have worn themselves out in vain attempts to make comforts and conveniences out of things which they had better have thrown out of doors altogether.

True, it requires some judgment to know what, among objects commonly pursued in any department, we really ought to reject; and it requires independence and steadiness to say, "I will not begin to try to do certain things that others are doing, and that, perhaps, they expect of me"; but there comes great leisure and quietness of spirit from the gaps thus made. When the unwieldy clothes-press was once cast out, everything in the log cabin could have room.

A mother, who is anxiously trying to reconcile the watchful care and training of her little ones with the maintenance of fashionable calls and parties, may lose her life in the effort to do both, and do both in so imperfect a manner as never to give her a moment's peace. But on the morrow after she comes to the serious and Christian resolve, "The training of my children is all that I can do well, and henceforth it shall be my sole object," there falls into her tumultuous life a Sabbath pause of peace and leisure.[Pg 356] It is true that she is still doing a work in which absolute perfection ever recedes; but she can make relative attainments far nearer the standard than before.

Lastly, under the head of ideality let us resolve to be satisfied with our own past doings, when at the time of doing we used all the light God gave us and did all in our power.

The backward action of ideality is often full as tormenting as its forward and prospective movements. The moment a thing is done and over, one would think that good sense would lead us to drop it like a stone in the ocean; but the morbid idealist cannot cut loose from the past.

"Was that, after all, the best thing? Would it not have been better so or so?" And the self-tormented individual lies wakeful, during weary night-hours, revolving a thousand possibilities, and conjuring up a thousand vague perhapses. "If I had only done so now, perhaps this result would have followed, or that would not"; and as there is never any saying but that so it might have turned out, the labyrinth and the discontent are alike endless.

Now there is grand good sense in the Apostle's direction, "Forgetting the things that are behind, press forward." The idealist should charge himself, as with an oath of God, to let the past alone as an accomplished fact, solely concerning himself with the inquiry, "Did I not do the best I then knew how?"

The maxim of the Quietists is, that, when we have acted according to the best light we have, we have expressed the will of God under those circumstances,—since, had it been otherwise, more and different light would have been given us; and with the will of God done by ourselves as by Himself, it is our duty to be content.

Having written thus far in my article, and finding nothing more at hand to add to it, I went into the parlor to read it to Jennie and Mrs. Crowfield. I found the former engaged in the task of binding sixty yards of quilling, (so I think she called it,) which were absolutely necessary for perfecting a dress; and the latter was braiding one of seven little petticoats, stamped with elaborate patterns, which she had taken from Marianne, because that virtuous matron was ruining her eyes and health in a blind push to get them done before October.

Both approved and admired my piece, and I thought of Saint Anthony's preaching to the fishes:—

"The sermon once ended,
The good man descended,
And the pikes went on stealing,
The eels went on eeling,
The crabs were backsliders,
The stockfish thick-siders:
Much delighted were they,
But went on their own way."


Journeying in Ireland, with my husband and a young friend, some thirty years ago, on arriving in Dublin, having a letter of introduction to Miss Edgeworth, we sent it, with a note from myself proposing to spend a day with her, if convenient and agreeable, and shortly received the following very gracious reply:—

"Edgeworthtown, September 3, 1836.

"Dear Madam,—I hasten to assure you and Professor F—— that we feel highly honored and gratified by your kind intention of paying us a visit. Mrs. Edgeworth desires me to say, that we shall be at home all next week, and we shall be most happy to receive you, and your young friend, Mr. W——, any[Pg 357] day after the 5th which may be most convenient to you. We say after the 5th, because on the 5th my sister, (Harriet,) Mrs. Butler, and her husband, the Rev. Mr. Butler, will come to us, and independently of the pleasure they will have, I am sure, in your society, I own I wish that you should become acquainted with them, especially as we are unlucky at this moment in not having any of my brothers at home. My brother-in-law, Mr. Butler, is, as you will find, a man of literature and learning, besides being all that you will like in other respects, from the truth and rectitude and simplicity of his character.

"I am much obliged to you for the letters you were so good as to enclose to me. Of all our friends in Boston and Cambridge, we shall, I hope, have time to inquire further and to converse.

"There was only one thing in your letter which did not give us pleasure; and we trust that after your arrival, and after you have had some hours to reflect, and a night quietly to sleep upon it, you will repent and recant, and give up your cruel purpose of giving us only one day. Mrs. Edgeworth will remonstrate with you, I think, more effectually than I can; and in the mean time I promise to allow you till the morning after your arrival to become sufficiently acquainted with the ways of the house and family, before I turn to you, as I shall (I warn you) at breakfast, for your ultimatum.

"I am, dear Madam, (for the present,)

"Your much obliged and grateful

"Maria Edgeworth.

"P.S. It must increase my interest in making your acquaintance, my dear Mrs. F., to know that you are sister to Mr. Benjamin R., whose talents I with great reason admire, and for whose kindness and agreeable letters I have equally great reason to be grateful."

The cordiality and frankness of this letter made us all desirous of visiting the writer. We were much struck with the manner in which Mrs. Edgeworth was mentioned and made of importance as the lady of the house, when the whole place was the property of Miss Edgeworth, and she was at least thirty years older than her step-mother. Mr. Edgeworth had been dead several years, and his son had become so embarrassed in his affairs as to be obliged to sell his patrimonial estate; and to prevent its passing into the hands of strangers, Miss Edgeworth had bought it, and made her step-mother mistress of the establishment, whilst she lived with her as a daughter. They were on the very best terms, each admiring and loving the other.

Another member of the family was Mrs. Mary Sneyd, a very aged lady of the old school, and sister to Honora Sneyd, who refused the hand of Major André, and became the wife of Richard Lovell Edgeworth. The unhappy fate of the gallant Major is well known; but few persons now living ever read the monody written on his death by Miss Seward, in which she makes her hero say,—

"Honora lost, I woo a sterner bride;
The armed Bellona calls me lo her side."

It was a great pleasure to me to see the sister of two of Mr. Edgeworth's wives,—one belonging to the same period, and dressed in the same style, as the lovely Honora. She did not appear till lunch-time, when we found her seated at the table, in a wheelchair, on account of her lameness. She reminded me of the pictures of the court beauties of the time of Louis XIV. Her dress was truly elegant and very elaborate. Her white hair had the effect of powder, and the structure on it defies description. A very white throat was set off to advantage by a narrow black velvet ribbon, fastened by a jewel. The finest lace ruffles about her neck and elbows, with a long-waisted silk dress of rich texture and delicate color, produced an effect that was quite bewitching. She was wonderfully well preserved for a lady of over eighty years of age, and it was pleasant to see the great attention paid[Pg 358] to her by all the family. She was rather deaf; so I was seated by her side, and requested to address my conversation to her. When lunch was over, she was wheeled into the library, and occupied herself making a cotton net to put over the wall fruit, to keep it from the birds. It was worth a journey to Edgeworthtown only to see this elegant specimen of old age.

I had heard that Mr. Edgeworth's house was full of his inventions and contrivances, and when shown to our bed-room, we found such an extraordinary lock on the door, that we dared not shut it for fear of not being able to open it again. That room, too, was unlike any other I ever saw. It was very large, with three huge windows, two of them heavily curtained, and the third converted into a small wardrobe, with doors of pink cotton on a wooden frame. It had two very large four-posted bedsteads, with full suits of curtains, and an immense folding-screen that divided the room in two, making each occupant as private as if in a separate room, with a dressing-table and ample washing conveniences on each side. A large grate, filled with turf, and all ready for lighting, with a great basket lined with tin, and also filled with the same fuel, reminded us strongly that we were in Ireland. Large wax candles were on the mantel-piece, and every convenience necessary to our comfort; at the same time the furniture was so very old-fashioned and dilapidated, that no one in this country would think it possible to use it.

We were shown other contrivances of the former owner, such as a door in the entrance hall, (through which the servants were continually passing,) the motion of which wound up a clock, the face being over the sideboard, in the dining-room. Several doors in the house were made double, in a way that I could not see the use of. Two doors were fastened together at the hinge side, making a right angle with each other, so that in opening one door you shut the other, and had to open that before you could enter, and when that opened, the one behind you shut. Miss Edgeworth said it was for safety in times of danger. She always mentioned her father with great respect, and even reverence, in her manner; but nothing that I saw or heard there raised my opinion of him. I think his never allowing his gifted daughter any retirement, but insisting on her writing all her books in that great library, where he was teaching the children their lessons, and everyone occupied in various ways, was a real act of tyranny; but she did not so regard it.

In building his house, Mr. Edgeworth would have no drawing-room, no sitting-room, but the one large library, with numerous windows on one side, some made into alcoves by projecting book-shelves. There were a great many books, some fine engravings, beautiful drawings, and very good oil paintings by Mrs. Edgeworth. It was a very pleasant family-room, fully furnished with tables, sofas, and lounges, a curious clock, and various models. A little old-fashioned work-table, with a small desk on it, was used by Miss Edgeworth for writing all her books.

The fourth wife of Mr. Edgeworth was our hostess, and performed her part charmingly. She must have been very pretty, for, though short, fat, and forty, her appearance was very agreeable. Miss Edgeworth was shorter still, and carried herself very upright, with a dapper figure and quick movements. She was the remains of a blonde, with light eyes and hair; she was now gray, but wore a dark frisette, whilst the gray hair showed through her cap behind. She was so plain that she was never willing to sit for her portrait, and that is the reason why the public has never been made acquainted with her personal appearance.

In conversation we found her delightful. She was full of anecdotes about remarkable people, and often spoke from her personal knowledge of them. Her memory, too, was stored with valuable information, and her manner of narrating was so animated that it was difficult to realize her age. In telling an anecdote[Pg 359] of Mirabeau, she stepped out before us, and, extending her arm, spoke a sentence of his in the impassioned manner of a French orator, and did it so admirably that it was quite thrilling.

She told us two speeches of Madame de Staël which are worth remembering. Madame Necker was a harsh mother, and always found a great deal of fault with her daughter; but her husband knew his child's merits, and liked her to have her own way. One day a gentleman entered the room, just as Madame Necker flourished out of it, after reprimanding her daughter, who stood abashed in the middle of the room, with tears on her face. He endeavored to console her by saying that she must not mind her mother's reproofs, as long as her father was satisfied with her, and he told her how much M. Necker admired her. To this the girl replied, "Mon père pense à mon bonheur présent, ma mère songe à mon avenir." I talked with Miss Edgeworth of a work on Progressive Education by Madame Necker de Saussure; she thought it dull and tedious, and said that Madame de Staël had a great admiration of that cousin, and said of her, "Elle a tous les talens qu' on me suppose, et toutes les vertus qui me manquent."

Miss Edgeworth and all her family took the part of the English Government in their treatment of the Irish, and had no sympathy for the wrongs and sufferings of their countrymen. Bigoted Episcopalians, they would grant no rights to the Roman Catholics, and this made them very unpopular in their own neighborhood.

They had been instrumental in establishing a free school for the sons of poor Protestant clergymen in the town which bordered on their grounds, and they took us to see it. It was market-day, so the main street was full of the lower order of Irish, with their horses and carts, asses and panniers, tables and stands full of eatables and articles of clothing. Sometimes the cart or car served as a counter on which to display their goods. The women in bright-colored cotton gowns and white caps with full double borders, made a very gay appearance. As we all passed through the crowd to the school-house, the enmity of the Papists to Protestant landholders was but too evident.

Though Mrs. Edgeworth had been the Lady Bountiful of the village for many years, there were no bows or smirks for her and her friends, no making way before her, no touching of hats or pleasant looks. A sullen expression and a dogged immovability were on every side of us. Mr. Butler, who had but just arrived in Edgeworthtown, was as much struck with it as we were, and it quite excited him. He remarked upon it as a want of manners in the people, and called them uncivilized; but there was more in it than that. It spoke to us Americans of the long train of oppressive measures under which the Irish had groaned for years; of the Protestant clergy paid by rates levied on the Roman Catholics, and of the tyranny exercised by Protestant landholders. Twenty-nine years have passed since I stood in that Irish crowd, and much has been done to improve their condition; all the political disabilities then complained of by the Papists have been removed, oppressive laws have been done away with, emigration has relieved the land of its surplus population; and were it not for the designs of the Romish Church to wrest the island from the dominion of a Protestant power, that country might now be prosperous and happy.

When we visited Miss Edgeworth, she had published her last work, "Helen," and was writing another to be called "Taking for Granted," but I never heard of its being published. She told me that she meant to show the mischief of taking things for granted, and acting upon them as if they were known facts; and she begged me to send her any instances of the evil consequences of "taking for granted" which fell under my observation.

[Pg 360]


What a vulgar subject?—By no means, my dear Madam! On the contrary, a most delightful, free and easy, suggestive topic. When the old philosopher enumerated the best old things to burn, drink, etc., he should have specially mentioned old shoes to wear,—John, take away these heavy boots, and bring me my slippers,—my old, loose, easy, comfortable slippers.—There! They are not handsome, I grant you, Madam. But beauty is only skin-deep, you know; and when we talk of tanned skin, I assure you its beauty often conceals unloveliness beneath. They are broad and large;—yes, this foot of mine, which is not particularly handsome in any case, does not look attractive in the old slippers, I acknowledge. Ball would never ask me to sit for a model, nor would Hunt ever wish to paint my pedal proportions, should either see me thus. But—think of the luxury!—My dear Madam, please to put out that elegant little foot of yours,—only the foot,—just as it looks, when you take your afternoon promenade, and all the world admires its beauty. Thank you! What a bewitching little thing it is! How that snug little boot fits it like a glove! Why do you shrink so? I scarcely touched it. Oh, it pinches! I should never dream it; it looks faultless. Is it possible, that, as you sail along with flowing skirts, the very object which the world admires is the source of exquisite pain? When Frank used to greet you with an elaborate bow, could it be that the charming smile you returned was half grimace, as you leaned somewhat carelessly on that narrow sole? I can't tell where it pinches; but were I permitted to see the soft, tender flesh—You would never permit it? And so you go along, gracefully holding up those snowy skirts, and showing to the world the lovely outside, while you inwardly wince and groan over every pebble. Don't you go home, Madam, and hasten to get off that instrument of torture, and luxuriate in the freedom you obtain thereby? Now Ball and Hunt, when they see those charming little booted beauties, would be enraptured to reproduce them in marble and oils. Yet, after all, are not my old splayfooted slippers much more desirable affairs?—No?—You are willing to endure the pain, because of the looks. Thank your stars, my dear Madam, that you have the choice, and that, when you get into that nice little boudoir, you can exchange the suffering of show for the comfort of privacy. Did Frank ever know how they pinched? Didn't he think, that, when you unlaced them, there came out a tiny, comely foot, as plump and fair as a baby's? Frank never knew—till after the wedding—what a squeezing and pinching and doubling and twisting they had undergone, when they were peeping out under the flounces for his special eye. Do you ever wish that you had worn something which had disgusted Frank at the outset? If so, my dear Madam, I wouldn't exchange my old splay slippers for those No. Twos of yours.

Ah, we bear many sorts of coverings over the long and weary road of life! I know of a pair of tiny shoes which you have got carefully treasured up in secret. I know how you sometimes take them out and wistfully gaze on the faded, worn, unlovely little things,—worthless to everybody else, but, oh, so dear to you! I see the trembling tear which you do not care to wipe away, as the image of the little darling who wore them comes up in all its by-gone beauty before you. They will never again be borne toddling to your side. The little feet, once encased therein, will never tread the stony walks of men. They long ago rested on their early march, never to be resumed.—Ah, how many of us would be glad to have buckled on no other than the first sandals of infancy! How many have fallen into the crevasses of the icy paths they trod![Pg 361] How many have trusted to their bold footing, and fallen, when the step seemed surest, down the treacherous steep!

There is Mademoiselle Joliejambe;—would one suppose that the pink slippers, which terminate those silk-shod mollets, could be dangerous chaussures? My dear Madam, they are worse than the torturing boots of the old Spanish Inquisition. Better for her that she stood in a postilion's jack-boots.—She could never dance in such things?—No! and therefore were they the better; for no Swiss glacier is so slippery as that gas-lighted stage. She is slipping, Madam, into a terrible abyss, while you and I are gazing, delighted, at her entrechats and pirouettes. She is gliding into a crevasse to which Mont Blanc can furnish none so dread.—What do I mean?—Ah, my dear Madam, better, a thousand times, that her young mother had stored away the soft little shoes of her infancy to mourn over, as you do over your treasures, than have lived to see her tie on those satin things, which have borne her into the gaze of men for a brief, brilliant while, and are bearing her on into the flower-brinked snare of ruin!

There is Vanitas over the way;—he once wore just such pigmy affairs. See him walking down the street, treading with a dignified stride, as though he moved a foot above the vulgar pavement. See that poor, tattered wretch approaching. Down goes his coarse heel, crunch, upon the aristocratic toes of our friend; and observe how Vanitas writhes and limps, as the sudden contact with the lower animal has crushed all his pride and dignity out of him. How gladly would he exchange his costly models of modern skill for the sabots of the meanest peasant! Doesn't he carry those twinges around with him all day, and moralize—if Vanitas is capable of moralizing—upon the danger of fashionable, private corns being trodden on by low, vulgar cowhide? Now if Vanitas had not cultivated those excrescent sensibilities by assiduous compression, if he had thought more of big brains than little feet, his tattered, cowhided friend might have trodden harmlessly on his pedal phalanges. My dear Madam, see to it that Frank groweth not such poor grain. Cowhide is a most useful material, and does much for the world. It treads in the mire, that you and I may walk in cleanliness. It stands in the sodden highway and builds up the dry pathway. It kicks aside the rolling stone, that we may not strike our satined step thereon and fall thereby. Those No. Twos of yours would present but a sorry sight, and the tender charms they cover would be sadly torn and bruised, were it not for the path that it treads out before them. While I sit comfortably in my old slippers, and while you trip gracefully along in those laced beauties, poor, vulgar, soiled cowhide is wearily plodding over the rough, unbroken earth, and knows neither my rest nor your pleasure. I will never look angrily, should I chance to feel its weight. And, Madam, do you look kindly and smilingly—and that costs you nothing, I am sure, without you are a Vanitas in petticoats—on its plain and homely worth.

Yes, we progressively advance through many pedal changes. Master Tommy—with more fortunate parents than you, Madam, for he has worn out many a pair of infantine soles (a bushel, I should think, by the frequency with which Mrs. Asmodeus has insisted on the necessity of a new pair, each one more costly)—now sports his first boots. Even as I now write comes the noisy stamp of those pegged soles in the passage-way, to which I have banished the over-proud urchin. It sounds like a man, he says. Why, Grant, when he entered Vicksburg,—and I can imagine no more glowing pride than that hero might have felt on that occasion,—never felt so proud as that same Master Tommy does at this moment, tramping up and down outside my door.—Mrs. A., do take off those glories forthwith, or your first-born will fall before his time by the same sin that the angels did in early days; and I know you think him above all the angels of heaven. By-and-by Mercury will drop his fluttering[Pg 362] pinions, and, when bereft of their buoyant aid, his step will be heavy and slow. Those winged messengers of delight will be leaden weights on his weary way. When youth and hope, which have borne him so lightly over the rugged earth, shall have lost their plumage, he will stumble at every pebble, and welcome the decline of life's hill-side, which assists his tardy steps.—Who is Mercury?—Dear Mrs. A., 't is only a name for our Tommy, not bestowed by the clergyman who officiated at his baptism.

You thought my subject a very vulgar one. Why, Madam, as it opens upon me, I see all the hopes, dreams, fears, cares, and joys of life passing before me. Do you remember those wedding-slippers of yours? They were quite unlike these slip-shod things I have perched on the chair before me. When you fitted them on so joyously, and prepared for the journey for which they were put on,—so short, (from your chamber to your parlor,) and yet so long, (from your blooming youth to your wrinkled age,)—did you think they would last the distance through? They were long ago thrown by. You may have them yet. Some people love to garner up and cherish mementos of the dead; and dead enough are the tremulous flutterings they then upbore. Long ago buried were the gay-tinted visions of those first days of the journey. Bring them out now, and let us look at them.—Is it possible that you ever thought those old-fashioned things pretty? Can it be that those dingy, shapeless affairs could have borne you up to the empyrean? My dear Madam, they went with you to the upper circle of joy. Dante must have described just such in some unpublished canto; and Milton has certainly some account of them in "Paradise Lost." Frank thought them the loveliest things he ever beheld, and would kiss them as religiously as ever ardent Catholic did the Papal toe; and now!—Well, put them away. It doesn't do to examine too closely the relics of departed joys. They have a sad, old-time, faded, shrunken look. They belong to the past, when they had a reality and meaning. Now they are strange and quaint, and the young folks laugh at them. What do they know of the sweet faces, the warm hearts, the dear eyes, that they have outlived, but of which they yet serve as tender memorials? Put them away. Perhaps we have ourselves outlived the wild emotions, the throbbing joys, the rosy dreams they served to cherish. Perhaps they darken the gloom that has settled over the days since the time when they had a part in the changing scene.—We are talking about your wedding-shoes, among other things, Madam. Is it worth while to put them back again?—Well, give them to Bridget. They have yet a value to her; and I don't believe Frank will care.

For Heaven's sake, Mrs. A., what is the matter? I will not be disturbed by such outcries, even from your first-born angel.—His boots hurt him?—Come here, little Tommy, and show me the wound that the naughty peg has made. Ah, my dear boy, have you found out so soon that every new delight hides somewhere a new pain? Where is the peg?—There! I have smoothed it away. The parental hand can, as yet, remove from your steps the sharp points which would tear your tender flesh. By-and-by it will be powerless for your protection, and the pegs that prick and tear must be crushed out by your own unaided exertions. See to it, my boy, that you do not drive them in yourself, so firmly, so rootedly, that all your efforts to dull them, to break them, to destroy them, are in vain. Do you think that the cobbler alone puts trenchant points in your sole? Ah, my boy, we oftener plant ourselves the thorns we tread upon! He can readily remove the pain he has carelessly caused; but rasp and file can never dull those self-driven points which rankle in our tortured flesh, each onward step forcing them deeper and deeper in. There are roses in our path,—sweet, blushing roses,—and we stride over them, intoxicated with their beauty and odor;[Pg 363] we crush out their fragrance with our heedless tread; we drink in the exciting aroma that rises around our bewildered senses; and when we have passed on, and awaken from the inebriation, we find that their thorns have pierced through and through, and we limp along on our journey, which permits of no tarrying nor rest. Who has not some peg pricking in his sole? How many times has Crispin rubbed and rasped over it, and yet there it is, as sharp as though it were just driven in! Confound the cursed thing! Bring me another pair; and now I will step off manfully and free. Hang the fellow, what does he mean? Here it is again, in the same place, and sharp as ever. Ah, Crispin's hammer will never flatten out! Crispin's hand never drove it there. Satin and velvet you may wear, and line with softest down; yet every step you tread will be on that remorseless point; and the lacerated nerves must quiver to the last.—You don't know what I am talking about, Tommy?—Pray God, my darling, that you may ever wonder what your father meant, when you were pricked with the peg in your first boots!

My dear Madam, did you ever see Blondin disport himself on a tight-rope? I once saw him poised over the Niagara rapids; and I wondered how he could stand there, with the boiling abyss below him, as safe as I stood on the Suspension-Bridge. Well, it was chalk, Madam. Before he commenced his perilous journey, he chalked well his pliant sole. I can assure you that many a fall may be saved us in this world, if we look to it that our soles be well chalked. I should not, of course, allude to any sudden slips that you or I may have made on our treacherous road; we have, of course, recovered our equilibrium. But some soles are very apt to give way. They used to scratch them, in my infancy, to insure uprightness in the wearer. But the maternal scissor-points are not always at hand. The basket has long been put religiously by, and the busy fingers that once used it have ceased to be plied for our comfort and convenience. Still we must cross the dangerous way, and with untried steps. What is Blondin's rope to the narrow, uncertain bridge which ever and anon appears before us in the road of life? What are the yeasty waters of that green river to the deep and dark tide which awaits our fall from the single strand that spans it? The audience of the world is looking on at our passage, and few among them care for our danger or are interested in our success. Yet there are some. Some hearts are beating high; some tearful eyes are strained to watch our progress; some breaths come quickly as we move on; and some fervent prayers are passionately offered up for our safety. We cannot broaden the bridge; it hangs poised by the hand of Destiny from shore to shore; alone and unsupported must we cross, and the shades of night gather around before we reach the friendly foothold beyond. We dare not look back, we cannot turn back; we must go on, and never tarry an instant. Let us chalk our soles well, then, Madam, and show to others more timid, more thoughtless, that the frail pathway may be securely trod. Nay, more, let us hew out the pure, white, friendly rock we know of, and make surer the unworn, unfamiliar, unexperienced soles of our brethren with it, that they may travel on, erect and fearless. Let us throw the old shoe after them, that good luck may attend their way.

Ah, we are multifariously shod for the journey of life! The soft step on the nursery-floor, the joyous bound of the youth's play-ground, the proud step of self-supporting manhood, the careful tread of timid age,—all have their fitting support. Some glide with slippered lightness through the boudoirs of beauty; while others press the spurred boot in furious battle. Some saunter along the flowery walks of rural ease; while others climb, with iron-shod foot, the bold, bare, icy precipice. Some tread, forever, the beaten paths of home; while others print their feet upon the untrodden wilds of distant lands.

What a journey my old slippers have[Pg 364] taken me; though they have never been off their perch on the chair before me! Ah, Madam, let us hope, that, when we have left them, with all our earthly garb, behind, and they lie in corners, never to be worn by us again, we may soar above the dark, devious ways of mortal life, may sweep on angel-wings through the sun-lit ether, roam stainless and free through the eternal halls of light, and tread with unclad feet the purple clouds of heaven!


JULY 21, 1865.

Weak-winged is song,
Nor aims at that clear-ethered height
Whither the brave deed climbs for light:
We seem to do them wrong,
Bringing our robin's-leaf to deck their hearse
Who in warm life-blood wrote their nobler verse,
Our trivial song to honor those who come
With ears attuned to strenuous trump and drum,
And shaped in squadron-strophes their desire,
Live battle-odes whose lines were steel and fire:
Yet sometimes feathered words are strong,
A gracious memory to buoy up and save
From Lethe's dreamless ooze, the common grave
Of the unventurous throng.
To-day our Reverend Mother welcomes back
Her wisest Scholars, those who understood
The deeper teaching of her mystic tome,
And offered their fresh lives to make it good;
No lore of Greece or Rome,
No science peddling with the names of things,
Or reading stars to find inglorious fates,
Can lift our life with wings
Far from Death's idle gulf that for the many waits,
And lengthen out our dates
With that clear fame whose memory sings
In manly hearts to come, and nerves them and dilates:
Nor such thy teaching, Mother of us all!
Not such the trumpet-call
Of thy diviner mood,
That could thy sons entice
From happy homes and toils, the fruitful nest
Of those half-virtues which the world calls best,
[Pg 365] Into War's tumult rude;
But rather far that stern device
The sponsors chose that round thy cradle stood
In the dim, unventured wood,
The Veritas that lurks beneath
The letter's unprolific sheath,
Life of whate'er makes life worth living,
Seed-grain of high emprise, immortal food,
One heavenly thing whereof earth hath the giving.
Many loved Truth, and lavished life's best oil
Amid the dust of books to find her,
Content at last, for guerdon of their toil,
With the cast mantle she hath left behind her.
Many in sad faith sought for her,
Many with crossed hands sighed for her;
But these, our brothers, fought for her,
At life's dear peril wrought for her,
So loved her that they died for her,
Tasting the raptured fleetness
Of her divine completeness:
Their higher instinct knew
Those love her best who to themselves are true,
And what they dare to dream of dare to do;
They followed her and found her
Where all may hope to find,
Not in the ashes of the burnt-out mind,
But beautiful, with danger's sweetness round her;
Where faith made whole with deed
Breathes its awakening breath
Into the lifeless creed,
They saw her plumed and mailed,
With sweet, stern face unveiled,
And all-repaying eyes, look proud on them in death.
Our slender life runs rippling by, and glides
Into the silent hollow of the past;
What is there that abides
To make the next age better for the last?
Is earth too poor to give us
Something to live for here that shall outlive us,—
Some more substantial boon
Than such as flows and ebbs with Fortune's fickle moon?
The little that we see
From doubt is never free;
The little that we do
Is but half-nobly true;
With our laborious hiving
[Pg 366] What men call treasure, and the gods call dross,
Life seems a jest of Fate's contriving,
Only secure in every one's conniving,
A long account of nothings paid with loss,
Where we poor puppets, jerked by unseen wires,
After our little hour of strut and rave,
With all our pasteboard passions and desires,
Loves, hates, ambitions, and immortal fires,
Are tossed pell-mell together in the grave.
Ah, there is something; here
Unfathomed by the cynic's sneer,
Something that gives our feeble light
A high immunity from Night,
Something that leaps life's narrow bars
To claim its birthright with the hosts of heaven;
A seed of sunshine that doth leaven
Our earthly dulness with the beams of stars,
And glorify our clay
With light from fountains elder than the Day;
A conscience more divine than we,
A gladness fed with secret tears,
A vexing, forward-reaching sense
Of some more noble permanence;
A light across the sea,
Which haunts the soul and will not let it be,
Still glimmering from the heights of undegenerate years.
Whither leads the path
To ampler fates that leads?
Not down through flowery meads,
To reap an aftermath
Of youth's vainglorious weeds,
But up the steep, amid the wrath
And shock of deadly-hostile creeds,
Where the world's best hope and stay
By battle's flashes gropes a desperate way,
And every turf the fierce foot clings to bleeds.
Peace hath her not ignoble wreath,
Ere yet the sharp, decisive word
Lights the black lips of cannon, and the sword
Dreams in its easeful sheath:
But some day the live coal behind the thought,
Whether from Baäl's stone obscene,
Or from the shrine serene
Of God's pure altar brought,
Bursts up in flame; the war of tongue and pen
Learns with what deadly purpose it was fraught,
And, helpless in the fiery passion caught,
Shakes all the pillared state with shock of men:
Some day the soft Ideal that we wooed
[Pg 367] Confronts us fiercely, foe-beset, pursued,
And cries reproachful, "Was it, then, my praise,
And not myself was loved? Prove now thy truth;
I claim of thee the promise of thy youth;
Give me thy life, or cower in empty phrase,
The victim of thy genius, not its mate!"
Life may be given in many ways,
And loyalty to Truth be sealed
As bravely in the closet as the field,
So generous is Fate;
But then to stand beside her,
When craven churls deride her,
To front a lie in arms and not to yield,—
This shows, methinks, God's plan
And measure of a stalwart man,
Limbed like the old heroic breeds,
Who stands self-poised on manhood's solid earth,
Not forced to frame excuses for his birth,
Fed from within with all the strength he needs.
Such was he, our Martyr-Chief,
Whom late the Nation he had led,
With ashes on her head,
Wept with the passion of an angry grief:
Forgive me, if from present things I turn
To speak what in my heart will beat and burn,
And hang my wreath on his world-honored urn.
Nature, they say, doth dote,
And cannot make a man
Save on some worn-out plan,
Repeating us by rote:
For him her Old-World mould aside she threw,
And, choosing sweet clay from the breast
Of the unexhausted West,
With stuff untainted shaped a hero new,
Wise, steadfast in the strength of God, and true.
How beautiful to see
Once more a shepherd of mankind indeed,
Who loved his charge, but never loved to lead;
One whose meek flock the people joyed to be,
Not lured by any cheat of birth,
But by his clear-grained human worth,
And brave old wisdom of sincerity!
They knew that outward grace is dust;
They could not choose but trust
In that sure-footed mind's unfaltering skill,
And supple-tempered will
That bent like perfect steel to spring again and thrust.
Nothing of Europe here,
Or, then, of Europe fronting mornward still,
[Pg 368] Ere any names of Serf and Peer
Could Nature's equal scheme deface;
Here was a type of the true elder race,
And one of Plutarch's men talked with us face to face.
I praise him not; it were too late;
And some innative weakness there must be
In him who condescends to victory
Such as the Present gives, and cannot wait,
Safe in himself as in a fate.
So always firmly he:
He knew to bide his time,
And can his fame abide,
Still patient in his simple faith sublime,
Till the wise years decide.
Great captains, with their guns and drums,
Disturb our judgment for the hour,
But at last silence comes;
These all are gone, and, standing like a tower,
Our children shall behold his fame,
The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man,
Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame,
New birth of our new soil, the first American.
Long as man's hope insatiate can discern
Or only guess some more inspiring goal
Outside of Self, enduring as the pole,
Along whose course the flying axles burn
Of spirits bravely pitched, earth's manlier brood;
Long as below we cannot find
The meed that stills the inexorable mind;
So long this faith to some ideal Good,
Under whatever mortal names it masks,
Freedom, Law, Country, this ethereal mood
That thanks the Fates for their severer tasks,
Feeling its challenged pulses leap,
While others skulk in subterfuges cheap,
And, set in Danger's van, has all the boon it asks,
Shall win man's praise and woman's love,
Shall be a wisdom that we set above
All other skills and gifts to culture dear,
A virtue round whose forehead we enwreathe
Laurels that with a living passion breathe
When other crowns are cold and soon grow sere.
What brings us thronging these high rites to pay,
And seal these hours the noblest of our year,
Save that our brothers found this better way?
We sit here in the Promised Land
That flows with Freedom's honey and milk;
[Pg 369] But 't was they won it, sword in hand,
Making the nettle danger soft for us as silk.
We welcome back our bravest and our best;—
Ah, me! not all! some come not with the rest,
Who went forth brave and bright as any here!
I strive to mix some gladness with my strain,
But the sad strings complain,
And will not please the ear;
I sweep them for a pæan, but they wane
Again and yet again
Into a dirge, and die away in pain.
In these brave ranks I only see the gaps,
Thinking of dear ones whom the dumb turf wraps,
Dark to the triumph which they died to gain:
Fitlier may others greet the living,
For me the past is unforgiving;
I with uncovered head
Salute the sacred dead,
Who went, and who return not.—Say not so!
'T is not the grapes of Canaan that repay,
But the high faith that failed not by the way;
Virtue treads paths that end not in the grave;
No ban of endless night exiles the brave;
And to the saner mind
We rather seem the dead that stayed behind.
Blow, trumpets, all your exultations blow!
For never shall their aureoled presence lack:
I see them muster in a gleaming row,
With ever-youthful brows that nobler show;
We find in our dull road their shining track;
In every nobler mood
We feel the orient of their spirit glow,
Part of our life's unalterable good,
Of all our saintlier aspiration;
They come transfigured back,
Secure from change in their high-hearted ways,
Beautiful evermore, and with the rays
Of morn on their white Shields of Expectation!
Who now shall sneer?
Who dare again to say we trace
Our lines to a plebeian race?
Roundhead and Cavalier!
Dreams are those names erewhile in battle loud;
Forceless as is the shadow of a cloud,
They live but in the ear:
That is best blood that hath most iron in 't
To edge resolve with, pouring without stint
For what makes manhood dear.
Tell us not of Plantagenets,
[Pg 370] Hapsburgs, and Guelfs, whose thin bloods crawl
Down from some victor in a border-brawl!
How poor their outworn coronets,
Matched with one leaf of that plain civic wreath
Our brave for honor's blazon shall bequeath,
Through whose desert a rescued Nation sets
Her heel on treason, and the trumpet hears
Shout victory, tingling Europe's sullen ears
With vain resentments and more vain regrets!
Not in anger, not in pride,
Pure from passion's mixture rude
Ever to base earth allied,
But with far-heard gratitude,
Still with heart and voice renewed,
To heroes living and dear martyrs dead,
The strain should close that consecrates our brave,
Lift the heart and lift the head!
Lofty be its mood and grave,
Not without a martial ring,
Not without a prouder tread
And a peal of exultation:
Little right has he to sing
Through whose heart in such an hour
Beats no march of conscious power,
Sweeps no tumult of elation!
'T is no Man we celebrate,
By his country's victories great,
A hero half, and half the whim of Fate,
But the pith and marrow of a Nation
Drawing force from all her men,
Highest, humblest, weakest, all,—
Pulsing it again through them,
Till the basest can no longer cower,
Feeling his soul spring up divinely tall,
Come back, then, noble pride, for 't is her dower!
How could poet ever tower,
If his passions, hopes, and fears,
If his triumphs and his tears,
Kept not measure with his people?
Boom, cannon, boom to all the winds and waves!
Clash out, glad bells, from every rocking steeple!
Banners, advance with triumph, bend your staves!
And from every mountain-peak
Let beacon-fire to answering beacon speak,
Katahdin tell Monadnock, Whiteface he,
And so leap on in light from sea to sea,
Till the glad news be sent
Across a kindling continent,
[Pg 371] Making earth feel more firm and air breathe braver:—
"Be proud! for she is saved, and all have helped to save her!
She that lifts up the manhood of the poor,
She of the open soul and open door,
With room about her hearth for all mankind!
The helm from her bold front she doth unbind,
Sends all her handmaid armies back to spin,
And bids her navies hold their thunders in:
No challenge sends she to the elder world,
That looked askance and hated; a light scorn
Plays on her mouth, as round her mighty knees
She calls her children back, and waits the morn
Of nobler day, enthroned between her subject seas."
Bow down, dear Land, for thou hast found release!
Thy God, in these distempered days,
Hath taught thee the sure wisdom of His ways,
And through thine enemies hath wrought thy peace!
Bow down in prayer and praise!
O Beautiful! my Country! ours once more!
Smoothing thy gold of war-dishevelled hair
O'er such sweet brows as never other wore,
And letting thy set lips,
Freed from wrath's pale eclipse,
The rosy edges of their smile lay bare,
What words divine of lover or of poet
Could tell our love and make thee know it,
Among the Nations bright beyond compare?
What were our lives without thee?
What all our lives to save thee?
We reck not what we gave thee;
We will not dare to doubt thee,
But ask whatever else, and we will dare!


During the first few days of the war, in that strange epoch of thrill and shudder,—when there was mounting in hot haste, and warlike citizens looked to their revolvers, and peaceful citizens looked up eligible diseases for the family physician, ere examining surgeons yet were,—in the midst of that general sense of untried powers and uncertain destinies, who does not remember the sudden sense of relief which diffused itself over any given community, on the announcement that Brigadier-General Blank, of the Blank Division of State Militia, had arrived in town? Here was one at last who could speak with some authority. This man had slept three nights upon "the tented field," on occasion of a muster. He had once formed[Pg 372] a battalion in line, or at least been present at that mystic process. He had been heard to quote from the first volume of Scott, and had been known to nod significantly, on an allusion to Hardee. Here was a man for opinions. Now we should know what the Rebels meant to do, and precisely how many were killed by the firing from Fort Sumter. We should ascertain the measures already taken for defence, and the actual number of military overcoats in possession of the State authorities.

Of course the local authorities waited upon him without delay. They found him at the head-quarters of Rifle Company X. An imperfectly developed rifleman, with coat unbuttoned and gun held anxiously, stood sentinel in the entry,—taking no notice of any one, and looking as if he would be profoundly grateful if no one would take notice of him. Presently the great man appeared. He wore around his martial breast a blue cloth cape, with a festive lining of white silk. His usually good-natured countenance was attuned to an aspect of profounder thought. Near him stood his only luggage, a large epaulet-box, of shape inexplicable to the unwarlike. Behind him appeared the members of his staff, wearing white cotton gloves, and maintaining attitudes of unwonted stiffness, as if, though conscious of not carrying a great many guns, they would at least contribute to their country's cause the needful quota of ramrods. The whole scene was enough to awe the stoutest heart, and the humbler and shorter among the selectmen or aldermen were observed to whisper inaudibly to each other, in the background, and to cough behind their hands solemnly, as at funerals.

At that day no one had yet dared to suggest that Brigadier-General Blank should accept any military rank lower than that to which his previous services had entitled him. Anything higher than that—a Major-Generalship, for instance—he would prefer to waive for the present, in order not to excite foolish jealousy among the West-Point men. But it was an act of unexpected condescension, when he finally consented to take command of a regiment; and it was doubtless this lowliness of spirit which created some slight embarrassments in his discharge of the duties of even that command. A man of larger attainments should not be remanded to duties so small. He it was, therefore, who, while drilling his battalion, and having given the preliminary order, "Right about," omitted the final order, "March," until most of the men were perched, Zouave-like, upon the high board-fence which bounded the camp. He it was who, in his school of instruction, being questioned by the juniors as to the proper "position of the soldier without arms," responded sternly, that a true soldier should always have his arms with him; and on being further asked in regard to the best way to "dress" a line of soldiers, answered with dignity, that others might prefer fancy colors, but give him the good old army-blue.

Mr. Pitt was of the opinion, that no man could be really useful to his country in a position below his powers. It was doubtless a similar conviction, combined with a sudden illness, so severe that he could not even admit his surgeon, which led our hero to send in a reluctant resignation, just before his regiment reached the seat of hostilities. He enlisted for the war, but he has never yet got to it. He has since, however, served his country as sutler of a camp of instruction,—where there is said to be no question as to his profits, though there may be as to his prices.

Remote as the "Old French War" seems now that epoch of conceited ignorance. The brilliant career of many militia-trained officers has more than atoned for the decline and fall of Blank; while the utter defencelessness of any community, under such military leadership, is a lesson thoroughly learned by the present generation. Yet that educational process has been too costly to be repeated. We must use it while it is fresh, or pay a yet higher price for its repetition. Every State in this Union, which does not adopt some effective[Pg 373] militia-system within the next two years, will probably slide back into the old indifference, to last until another war brings its terrible arousing.

For it is to be observed, that the very effect of a recent war is to make any such system appear for the time superfluous. A hundred returned veterans in every village, with an arsenal full of rifles in every State, might seem to supersede the necessity of all further preparation for many years to come. Why give the time and money to create an ineffective military force, when these heroes can at any time, within two days, improvise a good one? No doubt, after the close of the Revolution, the same thing was said. Yet even the Revolutionary veterans were not immortal,—though no doubt there were moments when they seemed so, to the Pension Agent; and ours will find their lease of life to be but little longer. What is to occur then? Twenty-five years hence, our whole present army will be beyond the age of active military service, and will have left to their children only their example, unless we establish, by their aid, some system of warlike training that shall be available for the future. It is one thing to have a military generation, and quite another thing to have a military people. Accidental experience has given us the one, but only permanent methods can guaranty the other.

In another way, also, the war will prove a drawback upon forming an effective militia system. We shall have, for some years to come, no class disposed to take a very hearty part in it. For a returned soldier to find pleasure in drilling is as if a wood-sawyer, at the close of his week's work, should bring his tools into his sitting-room, and saw for fun. On the other hand, those who have not served in the army will feel some natural sensitiveness about playing soldier in presence of veterans, and being satirized, perhaps, as a mere home-guard. Thus experience and inexperience will equally tend to deplete the classes available for this form of service.

These obstacles will be increased by the fact, that such duties, under any conceivable arrangement, must involve a sacrifice both in time and money. Reduce the period of annual service to its minimum, and it may still occur at such a time as to cost an employer his contract, or an employé his place. Our young men are to meet the problem of increased taxes, crowded occupations, and great competition. Who shall make the needful sacrifice? The returned soldiers? But they have given precious years of time already. The inexperienced? But they will naturally reason, that they have already borne the immediate financial burden of the war, and that the drilling should be done by those to whom it will cost no additional time to learn it. Thus all will regard their days as being too valuable to be used in preparing for a contingency which may never arise: one half standing aloof because they have been soldiers, and the other half because they have not.

A difficult problem seems, then, to lie before us: To find a class available for purposes of military training,—a class which shall claim exemption on grounds neither of experience nor of inexperience,—which shall be discouraged neither by the ennui of knowing too much, nor by the awkwardness of knowing too little,—and which, withal, can spare the time, without financial detriment to the community. Fortunately, the solution of the problem suggests itself, in part at least, almost as soon as the problem itself is stated. Train the school-boys.

Every person who has taken any interest in athletic exercises knows the enormous advantage in their acquisition which the mere fact of youth confers. In gymnastics, swimming, skating, base-ball, cricket, it is the same thing. As a mere matter of economy, one half the time at least is saved in teaching children as compared with full-grown men. But more than this, it is for them not only no loss in time, but, if it can be taken out of their regular school-hours, it is a positive advantage. There is probably but one conceivable position in which all the physiologists agree, and that is, that the average time[Pg 374] now given to study in our schools is at least one hour too long. Take this hour and devote it to military drill, and you benefit the whole rising generation doubly,—by what you take away, and by what you give.

We fortunately have the experience of Switzerland and England, to which we may appeal, in respect to this method of military instruction. Charles L. Flint, Esq., Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Agriculture, in his report of an official visit to Europe in 1862, gives the following brief summary of the Swiss method.

"The amount and thoroughness of military instruction in the schools vary somewhat in the different cantons, though in all the cantonal schools military instruction is given. In Berne, for example, the cantonal schools rank somewhat like the grammar and higher-grade public schools in Boston or the large towns generally in Massachusetts. They are open to all boys upon examination. All the boys in these schools are organized with military corps, and officered from their own class, but provided by Government with special military instructors, and furnished with small muskets, rifles, or carbines, suitable to the strength and age of the boys; or, if organized into artillery corps, they are supplied with small side-arms and field-pieces, which they can wield without difficulty.

"For these arms arsenals are provided by the Government, and custodians are appointed to keep them safely and in good condition when not in actual use. The military instructors are officers of the federal military organization, educated men, who have seen service, and who are au fait in the theory and art of war. The time devoted to military studies and training in the manual exercises varies with the season and in the various cantons. During the summer about three half-days in the week is the average time. There is also an occasional general muster, when all turn out together and occupy a spacious parade-ground. Then the whole population of parents and friends, as well as the cantonal authorities, turn out for a holiday, to witness the nascent valor and heroism of the republic.

"It should be added, that all these cantonal cadets wear a simple and modest stripe for a uniform, and one or two bright buttons, which, cost almost nothing, but give the wearers a soldierly pride and love for this branch of their studies."

In England the experiment of military drill has thus far been limited to a few schools, but the result in those has been officially described as being admirable. The well-known sanitary reformer, Edwin Chadwick, in his "Report on Military Drill," addressed to the Royal Educational Commission, states the following propositions as proved.

"1st. That the military and naval drill is more effectively and permanently taught in the infantile and juvenile stages than in the adolescent or adult stages.

"2d. That at school it may be taught most economically, as not interfering with productive labor, and that thirty or forty boys may be taught the naval and military drill, at one penny farthing per week per head, as cheaply as one man, and the whole juvenile population may be drilled completely, in the juvenile stage, as economically as the small part of it now taught imperfectly on recruiting or in the adult stage; and that, for teaching the drill, the services of retired drill-sergeants and naval as well as military officers and pensioners may be had economically in every part of the country."

It seems that in these English schools the military training is not confined to the boys. "The girls go through the same exercises, with the exception that they do not use the musket, but supply its place with a cane." As to the age required, the "infantile and juvenile stages" appear to be dated back tolerably near the cradle. Mr. William Baker, drill-master at St. Olave's Grammar School, testifies as follows:—"From his own experience in drilling children, he would say that they might be taught to work and practise motions at from[Pg 375] five to six years of age; that they may be taught the sword drill at eight years of age; that they may be taught the rifle drill at about ten years of age. He finds that they can handle a light rifle very well at that age. He expects that a prize, given for the best rifle drill, will be gained by a boy of that age against older boys. If there were a proper place, with space, he could practise them in firing at from thirteen to fourteen years of age."

The most favorable results are stated to follow, in regard to school discipline, among these English boys. Such, for instance, is the testimony of Mr. William Smith, Superintendent of the Surrey District School.

"'You have had experience of the effect of the military drill on the mental and bodily training of young children in this establishment?'

"'Yes; but the effect of the military drill was most shown by the effect of its discontinuance.'

"'In what way was it shown?'

"'In 1857, the drill-master was dismissed by the guardians, with a view of reducing the expenditure. The immediate effect of the discontinuance of the drill was to make the school quite another place. I am sure that within six months we lost about two hundred pounds, in the extra wear and tear of clothing, torn and damaged in mischievous acts and wild plays, in the breakage of utensils from mischief, and damage done to the different buildings, the breakage of windows, the pulling up of gratings, and the spoiling of walls. A spirit of insubordination prevailed amongst the boys during the whole of the time of the cessation of the drill. In the workshop they were insubordinate, and I was constantly called upon by the industrial teachers, the master shoemaker, and the master tailor, to coerce boys who were quite impudent, and who would not obey readily. The moral tone of the school seemed to have fled from the boys, and their whole behavior was altered, as displayed in the dormitories as well as in the yards.'

"'During this time were the religious services and exercises and the internal discipline of the school maintained as before?'

"'They were maintained as before; the business of the school was kept up as before, but the order was by no means as good. I was not only called in to correct the boys in the workshop, but in the school; and I was under the disagreeable necessity of reverting to corporal punishment, and of dismissing one incorrigible boy entirely. The chaplain joined with me and the schoolmasters in urging the restoration of the drill.'

"'The drill having been restored, has order been restored?'

"'Yes, excellent order.'

"The present chaplain of the school, the Rev. Charles G. Vignoles, who was present, expressed his entire concurrence in the description given of the disorganization produced by the discontinuance of the military drill, which was illustrated by entries in his own reports."

It is no exaggeration to say, that, by introducing such a system of drill into our schools, we can obtain for the whole boy population some of the most important advantages of the West-Point training,—the early habit of obedience and of command, together with the alphabet of military science.[G] The experiment has frequently been tried in private[Pg 376] schools, always with certain favorable results. It has had, however, this drawback,—that, as the drill has been thus far a special trait of certain particular seminaries, and hence a marketable quality, there has been rather a temptation to neglect other things for its sake,—an evil which will vanish when the practice becomes general. In public schools, no satisfactory experiment seems to have been made public, except in Brookline, Massachusetts,—always one of the foremost towns in the State as to all educational improvements. It appears that the local School Committee, in 1863, decided upon offering to all boys above ten years of age the opportunity to learn military drill. There was already a drill-master in the employ of the town, and a hall appropriated for the purpose. The greater part of the school-boys reported themselves for instruction. Three classes were formed, consisting respectively of large boys who knew something of drill, of large boys who knew nothing of it, and of small boys who were presumed ignorant. The first and third classes proved entirely successful. The second class proved a failure, apparently because it was chiefly made up of pupils from an adult evening school, which was itself not very successful. The total result of the experiment was so wholly satisfactory that the chairman of the town Military Committee urges its universal adoption. He considers it proved, that "a perfect knowledge of the duties of a soldier can be taught to the boys during their time of attendance at the public schools; thus obviating the necessity of this acquisition after the time of the pupil has become more valuable." He adds: "A proper system of military instruction in the schools of our Commonwealth would furnish us with the most perfect militia in the world; and I have very little doubt that the good sense of the people will soon arrange such a system in all the schools of the Commonwealth."

The general adoption of this method of instruction was officially recommended, in January, 1864, by a special committee of the Massachusetts Board of Education,—this committee consisting of Governor Andrew, Ex-Governor Washburn, and the Hon. Joseph White, Secretary of the Board. It was afterwards urged by the Rev. James F. Clarke, another member of the Board, in an elaborate report, giving many valuable facts from European authorities. It is not known, however, that any legislative action has yet been taken on the subject in any part of the country.

We do not need more military colleges. One is enough for the nation, and all public expenditure should be concentrated on that. But it is as easy for children to learn the drill as to learn swimming; and the knowledge should be as universal. For this purpose it should be made a required part of grammar-school training. Of course the instruction cannot ordinarily proceed from the teacher of the school. But it is the growing practice of our towns to employ instructors in special branches, who go from school to school, teaching music, penmanship, or calisthenics. It is only carrying this method one step farther, to employ some returned soldier to teach infantry drill. Let this be prescribed by legislative action, in each State, and it will soon become universal. A uniform ought not to be required; a little effort would at least secure buttoned jackets, which are quite needful for a good alignement, and hence for good drill. This being attained, anything further is matter of taste, not of necessity. As to guns and equipments, they should of course be provided by the State or national authorities, probably by the former. There should be a State superintendent of drill, and a thorough application of his authority.

This is not the place to work out the details of the system; it is sufficient to indicate its general principles. Supposing all obstacles conquered, and this introduction of military drill into grammar-schools to be successful, it may be still objected that this does not give us a militia. Certainly not; but it gives us the materials for a militia, needing only to be put together. Given a hundred young men, of whom seventy-five[Pg 377] have already been taught a uniform drill, and the saving of time in their final training will be prodigious. Any officer, with such recruits, can do in a week what could not be done in a month with men utterly untrained. Here also the English observations come in, to corroborate those often repeated, but less accurately, in our own army.

Mr. William Baker, drill-master at St. Olave's Grammar School, stated, that, "Whilst he was in the army, and having to drill recruits, he has occasionally met with individuals to each of whom, from his bearing and action, he has said at once, 'In what regiment have you been?' The answer was, 'In none; I was taught the drill at school.' He found the individuals almost ready drilled; they would be more complete for service in a quarter of the time of the previously undrilled.

"The first infantry drill-master [in the Richmond Military College] said he had had experience of boys from the Duke of York's and the Royal Hibernian Schools, and that they made excellent soldiers, and required little or no additional drill, and that they were promoted to be non-commissioned officers in large proportion.

"Mr. S. B. Orchard, drill-master, has been sergeant in the 3d Light Dragoons. Whilst in the army, has had to drill, as recruits, boys who had been in the Duke of York's School, at Chelsea, and at the Royal Hibernian School, where they had been taught the drill. He found that they took the drill in one third the time that it was usually taken by other recruits who had been previously undrilled, and took it better,—that is to say, the horse as well as the foot-drill,—although these boys from the Duke of York's and the Hibernian Schools had had no previous horse-drill."

It is obvious that boys thus trained will not look upon an occasional period of militia service with the bashfulness of raw recruits, nor yet with the ennui of veteran soldiers. The revival of their boyish pursuits will create some fresh interest; they will take pride in exhibiting the training of their respective schools, and will be pleased at finding the public utility of this part of their preparation. Instead of being a Primary School for military duty, the musters and encampments will have the dignity of a High School. Young men will find themselves forming a part of larger battalions than ever before,—placed under abler officers,—engaged in more complex evolutions. They will also have an opportunity to practise camp and garrison duty, which they have before learned in theory alone. Three or four consecutive days of such instruction will be of substantial service to those already well grounded in the rudiments, though they avail almost nothing to the ignorant.

Further than this the present essay hardly aspires to go, in treating of our future militia. It is enough to have indicated its proper material. The proper employment of that material involves separate questions. These have lately been discussed, with abundant citations and statistics, in a valuable pamphlet, entitled, "The Militia of the United States; What it is; What it should be," attributed to Colonel Henry Lee, Jr., of Boston, whose position on the staff of the Governor of Massachusetts, during the whole war, has enabled him to understand the strength and the weakness of the existing systems. His pamphlet also includes the whole of Mr. Clarke's report, above mentioned, and I am indebted for valuable information to both.

As to the form which future militia laws should take, the following appear among the points of most prominent importance, and may be briefly stated.

1. There should be no exemption from personal service, except on the ground of age or physical infirmity. The necessary limitation of number should be obtained by varying the prescribed ages in the different States, according to the proportion of young men in the population.[Pg 378][H]

2. Whether the appointment of officers be elective or gubernatorial, they should equally undergo a strict examination.[I]

3. The strictest military law should be enforced during the musters or encampments.[J]

4. There should be a national Inspector-General of Militia, appointed by the War Department, with Assistant-Inspectors-General for the different States,—all to be Regular-Army officers, if possible, thus securing uniformity of drill and discipline.[K]

The recent transformation of our array is almost as startling as the changes which followed the Revolution and the War of 1812. After the Revolution, there were retained in service "twenty-five privates to guard the stores at Fort Pitt, and fifty-five to guard the stores at West Point and other magazines, with an appropriate number of officers." After the War of 1812, the army was cut down from thirty-five thousand to six thousand. It behooves us, who have just seen a far grander host melt away almost as rapidly, to turn our eyes forward to the next national peril, and be prepared. The coming session of Congress should give us, partly by edict, partly by recommendation, a system that will put the mass of our young men inside instead of outside the class of trained militia; exchanging our town-meetings-in-uniform for an effective force, and all our Blanks for prizes.


[G] "Much has been said of the advantages of a West Point education. If it is supposed to include any extensive reading of military works, the mistake is great. Four years, commencing commonly at sixteen, a large part of which is devoted to mathematics and their kindred sciences, gives little time for such reading. The possession of a thorough knowledge of elementary mathematics is common also to many civilians. The two real advantages are: first, habits acquired in early life, which give an appreciation of discipline as to its essentials, the importance of its minutiae, a faith in its effects, and an acquaintance with the word must; second, the study of those parts of the science of arms which constitute its ABC a like early period. This study resembles the ABC of the primer. A revolting drudgery to many minds, it is best gone through with before life is fairly entered upon. When begun later, it will likely be more or less shirked, and the want of a thorough basis will give a superficial character to after-practice. Were the cadets to enter at twenty-five, their military education would lose one half its value."—Essay on "The Discipline and Care of Troops," from "Army and Navy Journal," Oct. 22, 1864.

[H] "If a militia is indispensable, service should be required from a sufficient number of citizens, and should not be accepted from volunteers, with the exception only of corps of cavalry and light artillery,—branches of the service entailing greater expense, and involving greater sacrifice of time."—Colonel Henry Lee, Jr.

"To make it [the militia] efficient, only two things are wanting; first, there must be no exempts for any cause other than moral imbecility, as lunacy and idiotism; for all physical defects should only excuse the person from personal service by paying a fixed equivalent: second, those who did not come under either of the above causes should personally do duty."—Adjutant-General Dearborn of Massachusetts.

"The full age of twenty-one years has been assumed by the Board as the best period for the commencement of service in the ranks of the militia. It will be perceived that the scheme of enrolment proposed rendered any other limitation as to age, than that just stated, unnecessary; it being probable that the minimum quota would be obtained in any State, without going higher than the ages of thirty or twenty-nine, and in some of the States not higher than twenty-six or twenty-five, even with the present population."—Major-General Winfield Scott, U. S. A., Report of Board of Officers, 1826.

"In general, the military laws of the Cantons ... do not permit substitutes."—General Dufour, Commander-in-chief of the Swiss Army.

[I] "The militia, as it is now organized, is a mere school of titles, where honors are conferred more from a sense of the qualification of the individuals,"—Governor Cole of Illinois.

"The first measure to be adopted by the State governments against incompetency is the appointment of a board of officers of character and experience, such as may be found in every State at the present time, to examine rigidly every officer elect, and pronounce upon his fitness for the position: their decision to be final."—Colonel Henry Lee, Jr.

[J] "Without discipline firmly administered, and regulations founded on a just appreciation of the difficulties and ends of a soldier's life, a militia organization only tends to give a false idea of the duties of a soldier, and is totally useless for the purposes of war or police.... During the periods of drill, the English militia man is placed on almost the same footing as the regular soldier; and insubordination and disorder, mutiny and desertion, are repressed and chastised by penalties and punishments, not only of extreme severity, but involving the deepest disgrace."—Brigadier-General De Peyster, Report to the Governor of New York on Municipal Military Systems of Europe, 1851.

[K] "The Board, in the plan of organization, proposes an Adjutant-General, without rank, for the whole militia of the United States. The importance of such an officer, attached to the War Department, it is believed, could not be too highly estimated."—Major-General Winfield Scott.

[Pg 379]


What I saw on the West Coast of South and North America, and at the Hawaiian Islands. By H. Willis Baxley, M. D. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

Charles Lamb describes his old friend, George Dyer, as purchasing a bulky volume of blank verse solely on the ground that there must be some good things in an epic of six thousand lines. On the same principle, there may be assumed to be some good sentences in this octavo of six hundred pages,—although, if so, they must lurk in some paragraph which we have unluckily missed in the reading. In the spirit of the book, however, there is a certain frankness which is a frequent merit in that class of ex-Secessionists to which this Baltimore physician apparently belongs. And as their graceful little improprieties in Virginia and elsewhere are daily making new converts to negro suffrage, so this book, by its guileless exhibition of the whole inner man of one of Mr. Buchanan's office-holders, may help to avert the resurrection of the class whom he represents.

Dr. Baxley claims to have been sent in the year 1860 to the west coast of America, as Special Commissioner of the United States. What he ought to have done in that capacity is not stated; what he did is plain. He sailed along the continent upon a bubble of pro-slavery prejudice, and brought home his aërial ship intact, while all similar bubbles had burst during his absence. The book, therefore, takes us back to the good old times. Every allusion to Slavery reminds our Commissioner of joys now departed. Every glimpse of a black man in the melancholy misery of freedom recalls to him those happy scientific reveries contributed to anthropological lore by Messrs. Nott and Gliddon. He admires each dusky figure in the direct ratio of its nudity, and every added rag of civilized clothing seems to him so much subtracted from the proprieties of life. Of course a colored soldier is the climax of aggravation to his grief; and it does not even relieve his feelings, if the uniform-coat has no buttons.

The author mentions the war only towards the close of the book, and of course attributes it solely to Northern fanaticism. This fanaticism he evidently supposes to have been led on by the fierce, ungovernable Muse of Professor Longfellow; for, in quoting from the "Arsenal at Springfield," that poem is described as "sung by one whose harp was then attuned to melodious measures, but whose now 'discordant noises jarrest [sic] the celestial harmonies' of his younger days." (Page 618.) This rather bewildering introduction of the second person singular places our voyager at disadvantage, by irresistibly suggesting that far more entertaining traveller, Artemas Ward.

The book might at least give some novel facts about the working of the missionary system in the South Sea Islands,—inasmuch as a wrathful and foolish observer will often spy out single facts which a more moderate partisan would omit,—but that he unfortunately takes the whole thing for granted and observes nothing. It has been more than suspected that there is a little bigotry mingled with our missionary system; but Dr. Baxley adds nothing to our knowledge on this point, preferring to rest his case on the general proposition, that there was also some degree of bigotry among the Puritan ancestors of these same missionaries two centuries ago. This fact will hardly be questioned, but it is a poor substitute for a little information as to contemporary matters.

In favorable moments, the style of this book has the glow, the affluence, and the fine vein of poetical quotation, that may be found in our most eloquent real-estate advertisements. At other times there is a tendency to ponderous and polysyllabic phrases, tempting the unwary critic to characterize them in words as long. Thus, on the voyage: "The more pretentious passengers, the upper-ten of the cabin, are wonderfully characterized by quantitative propensity, while the omnivorous nature of man is illustrated by them still more strikingly.... The art of gastronomy is clearly in the ascendant.... Vegetables in season and out of season, the hebdomadal occupants of the ship's hold, some, doubtless, the forestallers' residuum, withered, wilted, and decaying;... pickles, pastry, puddings, and pecan, duly decorated with those dernier resorts of the dinner-table, almonds, raisins, and filberts, which generally prove alike first in the order of morbid causation, and first in that of retroversive result." (p. 20.)[Pg 380]

For sea-sickness the author advises "resort to the ship's surgeon," which seems a sort of pill at second hand; but he further counsels that "a person's customary dose of laudanum, morphine, chlorodine, or prussic acid may be resorted to." This is really unsafe, considering the suicidal propensities usually found among sea-sick people; and it would be safer, perhaps, to recommend to those in extremis the perusal of this book, as a milder narcotic.

Life and Times of Marcus Tullius Cicero. By William Forsyth, M. A., Q. C., Author of "History of Trial by Jury," etc. New York: Charles Scribner & Co.

Mr. Forsyth was induced to write this work by the belief that the time had come when another Life of Cicero than Middleton's famous work might be acceptable to the public. We are glad that such is his belief; for we cannot have too many books on the last days of the Roman Republic, if they are written by competent men,—and there can be no doubt as to Mr. Forsyth's competency to write on those memorable times. But we do not think that his work, pleasing and useful as it is, will exclude that of Middleton from libraries that are collected for use rather than show. Middleton's book may be, as it has been called, "a lying legend in honor of St. Tully"; but it is an able work for all that, and does honor to the eighteenth century. It has many faults, yet it shows an amount of ability that we do not often find in the historical works of our time. It was written when Roman history was but little understood, when men gravely spoke of the Rumelian legend, and ranked it as an historical fact with the crossing of the Rubicon by Cæsar. The dullest graduate of to-day knows much about Rome that would have astonished Conyers Middleton, precisely as the dullest of our soldiers knows much about war that would have astonished Napoleon; but the graduate is as much beneath Middleton as the soldier is beneath Napoleon. We must test Middleton's Cicero by the literary standard of Middleton's age; and thus tested, no one qualified to give an opinion on the subject can hesitate to say that it is a production of great excellence. Were Middleton now living, he would have written a far better work on Cicero and his Times than Mr. Forsyth has written; but we cannot say, much as we admire Mr. Forsyth's work, that we believe that he, had he lived a hundred and twenty years ago, would have written a better work than Middleton's. To the man who can afford time for the reading of but one of those Lives, we should say, "Read Mr. Forsyth's,"—for it is by far the more accurate, and therefore the more useful, life of the great Roman orator. But Mr. Forsyth excels Dr. Middleton in accuracy for pretty much the same reason that he can make the journey to Rome in less than half the time it required Middleton to make it. The labors of others have cleared the way for historians as well as for travellers; and to praise historians for their superior accuracy would be about as sagacious as it would be to praise travellers for their superior speed. We feel grateful to the writers of former times, and we hold it to be the duty of all to do those writers justice, even if their books should cease to be authorities. Who would think contemptuously of Newton because he never saw a steamship?

Mr. Forsyth aims to give his readers some account of Cicero's private and domestic life, and in this respect his book has a positive superiority to Middleton's. It is agreeable to read of the vie privée of great men, and it is especially so in the case of such a man as Cicero, who belonged to a people long since extinct, and who was himself "the bright, consummate flower" of a civilization which exists only in books, or in monuments, or in ruins,—a civilization of which it has wisely been said, that it is the better for the world that it can never know it again, "for it was rotten at the core, though most glorious in the complexion." But, when all has been said of Cicero's private life that can be said of it, we find ourselves going back to Cicero the statesman, the orator, and the actor in some of the mightiest movements that ever have shaken the world, and which continue to color our own private lives at the end of almost two thousand years. If you would write a book on Roman life and society, as such things were in the last century of the Republic, Catulus, or any other member of the class of optimates, would serve your purpose as well as Cicero. Men of the same station live very much alike as to essentials. But no Roman can be named who matches Cicero in some most important respects as a public man,—as consul, as proconsul, as orator, as philosopher, as statesman, and as mere politician. His history, therefore, is the history of Rome through many eventful years;[Pg 381] and when he is murdered, we feel that the curtain really has dropped because the great Republican drama is at an end. That sad scene is the last scene of the fifth act of a tragedy that had been in course of performance through five centuries. We cannot separate such a man from his times. His private life is as nothing in comparison with his public life. Private life belongs to comedy, and Cicero's history is a tragedy, from first to last; and in reading any biography of him that is prepared, we feel that we are reading Roman history,—and that is written only in blood.

The part that Cicero had in the Roman Revolution, in that long procession of events which terminated in the establishment of the Empire, if not a lofty one, was nevertheless such as to render his history painfully interesting. We see a man who was far above his his contemporaries in moral excellence, and who sought to live well, tried by circumstances beyond human strength. Cicero lived a century too early, or a century too late. He would have been at his ease as the contemporary and friend of Paulus Æmilius, but it was not in his nature to be on fair terms with such men as Cæsar and Pompeius, much less with Antonius. Had he lived a century later, he might have been a calm philosopher and scholar under the Imperial system. He was, of all men that ever lived, of equal eminence for ability, the least adapted for a revolutionary age; and yet it was his fortune to live in the time of the greatest of all revolutions, and in its very focus, and to be a prominent actor therein. It was as if Fortune had had a spite against his house, and had concentrated all her vengeance on his head, by way of rendering vain the most various and splendid talents that ever were bestowed upon mortal man. Had Cicero's sense borne any proportion to his intellectual powers, had he been endowed with a just portion of that tact which is a more useful thing than genius in a world where they win sixpences, he would have retired from public life on his return from exile. But something very like vanity forbade that. He had been too great to be able to imitate the sensible course of his friend, "the voluptuous, but august Lucullus." He would keep the field which he had won, and in which his part had been so brilliant; and the result was, that he never knew a happy hour. But his miseries made him immortal. Who would have cared for him, had he passed the last dozen years of his life at his Formian villa? The remark of Montesquieu, that that people are happy whose annals are tiresome, is strictly true; but we do not care to read those annals, while those periods in which men were unhappy concentrate the attention of both writers and readers. In Rome's revolutionary age men were as happy as they are in times of pestilence; and Cicero was the greatest sufferer of them all, because he was possessed of a sensitiveness that no other Roman ever knew. It is his history, quite as much as that of either Pompeius or Cæsar, that gives a biographical character to the history of the Republic's closing days, and renders its study so fascinating, and this without reference to his private life, some passages of which have a rather ludicrous air,—his marrying a young wife, for example, after divorcing an old one.

Mr. Forsyth tells Cicero's public life, without neglecting his promise in other respects. He, like other English writers on Rome, possesses a great advantage over Germans, his superiors in mere learning, perhaps, inasmuch as he is familiar with affairs, and English political life is a constant commentary on Roman political life. Without subscribing to all his conclusions, we can commend his volumes to those who would be assisted to an understanding of that splendid struggle in which the Roman aristocracy went down, but not without inflicting such wounds on their foes as rendered despotism an absolute necessity.

Social Statics; or the Conditions Essential to Human Happiness specified, and the First of them developed. By Herbert Spencer. With a Notice of the Author, and a Steel Portrait New York: D. Appleton & Co.

The American publication of the miscellaneous works of Mr. Spencer terminates with this volume. We learn from the preface that it is not in all respects a literal expression of the author's present views. While he adheres to the leading principles set forth fourteen years ago, he is not prepared to abide by all the detailed applications of them. We are heartily glad to chronicle this acknowledgment. Full of immediate and practical value beyond any other work of Mr. Spencer, "Social Statics" contains passages which seem shot by a mutinous logic-power towards some dark aphelion, whither the best instruments at our command fail to follow them. We hazard[Pg 382] the conjecture, that the remarks about the rights of children and the wrong of property in land must receive essential modification in order to convey to the average reader a distinct conception of the mature thought of Mr. Spencer upon these complex themes. But of the general worth of this book, and of its special application to the needs of great masses of our countrymen, we emphasize our conviction. The calm deductions of reason are brought to enforce the distinctive American doctrines in which the loyal citizen has sentimental belief. Few characters will not feel strengthened by the study of this very acute investigation of duty in social relations. The task is not prematurely undertaken. The means of exact observation have marvellously increased. There is everywhere apparent a demand for the clear and wealthy mind that shall absorb the seemingly conflicting phenomena and express the unity of law which connects them. The leading idea upon which Mr. Spencer's system is based is that of the systematic character of the Divine rule. He sees throughout the worlds of mind and matter continual proofs of the progressive development which has lately come to be expressed by the single word "evolution." Man is not the degenerate descendant of demigods and heroes, but a promising child subjected to a system of education of exhaustive excellence. The circumstances about him are cruel only to be kind. He gradually yields to their pressure, and is fashioned to higher power and a sweeter life. More than any other merely philosophical writer, it seems to us that Mr. Spencer assists the important work of the religionist. He demands faith sufficient to follow out a principle with unflinching perseverance. He creates an absorbing interest in human welfare, showing how all real personal advantage is united with the advantage of all.

There have been various attempts to give Mr. Spencer's writings a doubtful fame with the American people. Some of these have been very ingenious; others have had the first merit of sincerity, and nothing else. No grand doctrine can be so expressed as to render impossible an ad captandum contradiction from some point or side. A sturdy catechizing in the interest of some popular dogma will generally give the casuist an apparent advantage over the seeker of knowledge for itself alone. It is likewise in the power of a tolerable metaphysician to set traps and dig pitfalls all over the ultimate grounds of any man's belief. There are apparently crushing arguments against the assertor of any conceivable religious creed, as well as against him who would base his faith where the shifting currents of theological opinion cannot prevail against it. The being of God Mr. Spencer holds to be a truth forever vindicated in the consciousness of man: His nature is to finite beings inscrutable. The latter clause of this statement may be sustained by a very curious syllogistic scaffolding, and it may be assailed by reasoning which is to us wholly satisfactory. Cui bono? Let the philosopher dream out his logical ladder to the Infinite, and never fear but the heart of humanity will supply the angels ascending and descending thereupon. We certainly do not accept Mr. Spencer as an exhaustive expounder of the physics or metaphysics of creation. But the great body of his doctrines are not affected by our private fancies about a priori truths or the conditions of thought. He shows the transcendent reality of the moral claim upon man. He emphasizes the great truth, not always apparent in the prescriptions of soul-saving orthodoxy, that disinterestedness is the primary condition of human virtue. It is not pretended that a fervid religious organization can find satisfaction in Mr. Spencer. It must work by other methods. It must conquer problems which science is unable to solve. But, in these doubting, inquiring days upon which we have fallen, no truly good man can afford to contemn a scientist who shows how securely the foundations of religion are laid, and reverently stops at secondary causes without attempting to deify them. And at this present day such a work is clearly demanded. It is, indeed, possible that the old Giants Pope and Pagan may not have rallied since the Bedford tinker bore witness to their depressed estate. Their successor, Giant Transcendentalist, whom Hawthorne encountered in his railroad ride to the Celestial City, may have been delivered over to Mr. Frothingham to be tormented according to his deserts. But a lusty member of the terrible brotherhood is still at large. His name is Giant Indifference. Excerpts (perhaps perverted) from Bentham and Comte, chapters (perchance misinterpreted) from Thackeray's novels, are his sacred canons. He reports himself to have been created by subtle questions touching the historical evidence of the Scriptures, by various intellectual perplexities which the philosophers have brought to light, and by[Pg 383] all the tares and brambles of society upon which the cynic has directed his microscope. While muttering formularies in which he has no vital belief, he contrives to make audible a ghastly whisper, that money, popular reputation, political power, and the sensual gratifications which these may command, are alone worth getting off the sofa to realize. Against this monstrous foe to all faithful pilgrimages Mr. Herbert Spencer is a very able combatant. In "Social Statics," especially, he meets the adversary on his own ground. The moral sense is triumphantly rescued from the assaults of Paley and Bentham, and is declared capable of generating a fundamental intuition which may be expanded into a scientific morality. If any are pale at the discovery that "our little systems have their day and cease to be," let them know that an honest seeking will ever furnish material for their renewal with life adapted to man's changing wants. It is not difficult to criticize various portions of Mr. Spencer's belief, or to offer weighty objections to certain applications of his principles; but we doubt if any living man, accepting the limitations of the natural philosopher, has the balance of mind to write more intelligently upon the highest subjects,—to furnish more that is true and elevating, and less that is questionable. We believe that most readers of "Social Statics" will feel an increased sense of personal responsibility, and a new realization of what is well enough expressed in ecclesiastical phrase as "the exceeding sinfulness of sin." And so believing, we do not hesitate to commend it to the American public.

Reason in Religion. By Frederic Henry Hedge. Boston: Walker, Fuller, & Co.

The various essays which are brought together under this title discuss questions of theology, and the opinions which mankind hold upon the most interesting philosophical and spiritual themes. The author's aim is, to state as fairly as he can conflicting views, and to propound his own solution. In this labor Dr. Hedge appears to represent that condition of Unitarian thinking which prefers a rational to a traditional ground of authority in matters pertaining to the spiritual life, and strives to interpret and accommodate the sacred history without forsaking it.

It would not be possible, within the limits of a book notice, to treat fitly all the questions which are raised by these highly suggestive essays. Dr. Hedge's clear and chiselled statements cut all the jesses of our thoughts, and they rise unhooded into his still air. Providence, Prayer, Free-Will, and Retribution, Evil, Immortality, and Faith,—such themes stock this volume, and they are all treated in a way to command the attention of the reader, to bid him ponder, to contribute glad assent, or to pay the equally flattering tribute of awakened criticism. The style is simple, and comprehensible at a glance: the pen has gathered no superfluities upon its journeys into these remote domains, no scholastic terms cling to it, no ambitious rhetoric. It is never heated, but it is never dull: the cool and equable flow brings down thought enough from scholarly and well-spent years to exhilarate and satisfy. The temper is perfect in which opinions, most discordant to the writer's fine intelligence are set forth; all his hostility to them appears in the justness of his comprehension. So that it would be difficult to find a volume that contains a greater number of impartial and exhaustive statements of creeds, dogmas, and tendencies of thinking. And where they cannot win agreement, they extort respect.

The essay upon "The Regent God" is a fine specimen of intellectual defining the combination with a gentle, tender self-forgetfulness, as if Dr. Hedge would fain feel all the gifts of the mind and heart absorbed in the Infinite Presence. Perhaps the essay upon "The Cause of Reason the Cause of Faith" contains the most vigor; it is a favorite subject, set forth with great freedom of movement, and with more illustration than Dr. Hedge usually indulges. How refreshing is the boldness with which he claims the word Rationalism for the service of Religion! Elsewhere there are rich sentences in respect of illustration. What a finished metaphor on page 371! where, in allusion to the belief of the earliest Christians that some might fall asleep in Christ, but only to be caught up with him at his coming, he says,—"Their sun of life might decline, but only as the sun of the Arctic midsummer skirts an horizon where evening and morning club their splendors to furnish an unbroken day. In their horizon there was no dissolution of the continuity of life."

But we have as little space to devote to admiration as to dissent. We might show cause for our opinion that Religion appears, in this volume, to be too closely confined to[Pg 384] aspiration, to just thinking, and a sense of human dependence; in vindicating Reason against Tradition, through all the judicious and thorough discussion of various doctrines, the author waives, or perhaps only postpones, his opportunity to identify Religion with the divineness of all knowable and appreciable things. The most enlightened worship is only one spiritual act or gesture. The broadest and most limpid thinking is but the morning freshness to a day full of God's necessities, who works at our morals, our politics, our society, our science, and our art. Religion is the recognition and acceptance of all knowable phenomena of human life; in these man finds his God, God reveals himself to man. We hope to find that the last essay, upon the "Moral Ideal," is prelusive to another effort in this direction.


A Treatise on Ordnance and Armor: embracing Descriptions, Discussions, and Professional Opinions concerning the Material, Fabrication, Requirements, Capabilities, and Endurance of European and American Guns, for Naval, Sea-Coast, and Iron-Clad Warfare, and their Rifling, Projectiles, and Breech-Loading. Also, Results of Experiments against Armor, from Official Records. With an Appendix, referring to Gun-Cotton, Hooped Guns, etc. By Alexander L. Holley, B.P. With Four Hundred and Ninety-Three Illustrations. New York. D. Van Nostrand. 8vo. pp. xlviii., 900. $10.00.

A View of the Evidences of Christianity. In Three Parts. By William Paley, M.A., Archdeacon of Carlisle. With Annotations by William Whately, D.D., Archbishop of Dublin. New York. James Miller. 8vo. pp. viii., 407. $3.00.

Comparative Geography. By Carl Ritter, late Professor of Geography in the University of Berlin. Translated for the Use of Schools and Colleges, by William L. Gage. Philadelphia. J.B. Lippincott & Co. 16mo. pp. 220. $1.25.

History of the Romans under the Empire. By Charles Merivale, B.D., late Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. From the Fourth London Edition. With a Copious Analytical Index, Vol. VII. New York. D. Appleton & Co. 12mo. pp. 569. $2.50.

Religious Duty. By Frances Power Cobbe. Boston. William V. Spencer. 12mo. pp. viii., 326. $1.75.

The Watchmaker. By Beatrice Reynolds. Philadelphia. T. B. Peterson & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 300. $2.00.

Life of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. From the German of W. A. Lampadius. With Supplementary Sketches, by Julius Benedict, Henry F. Chorley, Ludwig Rellstab, Bayard Taylor, R. S. Willis, and J. S. Dwight. Edited and translated by William Leonhard Gage. New York. Frederick Leypoldt. 16mo. pp. 271. $1.75.

Woodward's Country Homes. By George E. and F. W. Woodward, Architects. New York. G. E. & F. W. Woodward. 16mo. pp. 166. $1.50.

Lorrimer Littlegood. By Frank E. Smedley, Author of "Frank Fairlegh," &c. Philadelphia. T. B. Peterson & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 322. $2.00.

The Thinking Bayonet. By James K. Hosmer, Author of "The Color Guard." Boston. Walker, Fuller, & Co. 12mo. pp. 326. $1.75.

Virginia, and other Poems. By John Henry Vosburg. New York. James Miller. 18mo. pp. 180. $1.00.

Silent Struggles. By Mrs. Ann S. Stephens. Philadelphia. T. B. Peterson & Brothers. 12mo. pp. 460. $2.00.

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Frank, the Young Naturalist. By H. C. Castlemon. Cincinnati. R. W. Carroll & Co. 16mo. pp. 252. $1.25.

Frank on a Gun-Boat. By H. C. Castlemon. Cincinnati. R. W. Carroll & Co. 16mo, pp. 205. $1.25.

Life and Military Career of Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman. By Rev. P.C. Headley. New York. W. H. Appleton. 16mo. pp. 368. $1.50.