The Project Gutenberg eBook of Harper's New Monthly Magazine, No. 22, March, 1852, Volume 4

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Title: Harper's New Monthly Magazine, No. 22, March, 1852, Volume 4

Release date: June 26, 2010 [eBook #32983]

Language: English

*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK HARPER'S NEW MONTHLY MAGAZINE, NO. 22, MARCH, 1852, VOLUME 4 ***

Harper's

New Monthly Magazine

No. XXII.—March, 1852.—Vol. IV.


[pg 433]

Rodolphus.—A Franconia Story.1 By Jacob Abbott.

scene of the story.

Franconia, a village among the mountains at the North.

principal persons.

Rodolphus.

Ellen Linn: his sister, residing with her aunt up the glen.

Annie Linn, a younger sister.

Antoine Bianchinette, a French boy, at service at Mrs. Henry's, a short distance from the village. He is called generally by grown people Antonio, and by the children Beechnut.

Malleville, Mrs. Henry's niece.

Alphonzo, called commonly Phonny, her son.

Mr. Keep, a lawyer.

Chapter I.

The manner in which indulgence and caprice on the part of the parent, lead to the demoralization and ruin of the child, is illustrated by the history of Rodolphus.

I. Bad Training.

Rodolphus, whatever may have been his faults, was certainly a very ingenious boy. When he was very young he made a dove-house in the end of his father's shed, all complete, with openings for the doves to go in and out in front, and a door for himself behind. He made a ladder, also, by which he could mount up to the door. He did all this with boards, which he obtained from an old fence, for material, and an ax, and a wood saw, for his only tools. His father, when he came to see the dove-house, was much pleased with the ingenuity which Rodolphus had displayed in the construction of it—though he found fault with him for taking away the boards from the fence without permission. This, however, gave Rodolphus very little concern.

Illustration.
The Rabbit House.

When the dove house was completed, Rodolphus obtained a pair of young doves from a farmer who lived about a mile away, and put them into a nest which he made for them in a box, inside.

At another time not long after this, he formed a plan for having some rabbits, and accordingly he made a house for them in a corner of the yard where he lived, a little below the village of Franconia. He made the house out of an old barrel. He sawed a hole in one side of the barrel, near the bottom of it, as it stood up upon one end—for a door, in order that the rabbits might go in and out. He put a roof over the top of it, to keep out the rain and snow. He also placed a keg at the side of the barrel, by way of wing into the building. There was a roof over this wing, too, as well as over the main body of the house, or, rather, there was a board placed over it, like a roof, though in respect to actual use this covering was more properly a lid than roof, for the keg was intended to be used as a store-room, to keep the provisions in, which the rabbits were to eat. The board, therefore, which formed the roof of the wing of the building, was fastened at one edge, by leather hinges, and so could be lifted up and let down again at pleasure.

Rodolphus's mother was unwilling that he should have any rabbits. She thought that such animals in Rodolphus's possession would make her a great deal of trouble. But Rodolphus said that he would have some. At least, he said, he would have one.

Rodolphus was standing in the path, in front of the door of his mother's house, when he said this. His mother was upon the great flat stone which served for a step.

“But Beechnut asks a quarter of a dollar for his rabbits.” said his mother, in an expostulating tone, “and you have not got any money.”

“Ah, but I know where I can get some money,” said Rodolphus.

“Where?” said his mother.

[pg 434]

“Father will give it to me,” said Rodolphus.

“But I shall ask him not to give it to you,” said his mother.

“I don't care,” said Rodolphus. “I can get it, if you do.”

“How?” asked his mother.

Rodolphus did not answer, but began to turn summersets and cut capers on the grass, making all sorts of antic gestures and funny grimaces toward his mother. Mrs. Linn, for that was his mother's name, laughed, and then went into the house, saying, as she went, “Oh, Rolf, Rolf, what a little rogue you are!”

Rodolphus's father was a workman, and he was away from home almost all the day, though sometimes Rodolphus himself went to the place where he worked, to see him. When Mr. Linn came home at night, sometimes he played with Rodolphus, and sometimes he quarreled with him: but he never really governed him.

For example, when Rodolphus was a very little boy, he would climb up into his father's lap, and begin to feel in his father's waistcoat pockets for money. If his father directed him not to do so, Rodolphus would pay no regard to it. If he attempted to take Rodolphus's hands away by force, Rodolphus would scream, and struggle; and so his father, not wishing to make a disturbance, would desist. If Mr. Linn frowned and spoke sternly, Rodolphus would tickle him and make him laugh.

Finally, Rodolphus would succeed in getting a cent, perhaps, or some other small coin, from his father's pocket, and would then climb down and run away. The father would go after him, and try all sorts of coaxings and threatenings, to induce Rodolphus to bring the cent back—while Mrs. Linn would look on, laughing, and saying, perhaps, “Ah; let him have the cent, husband. It is not much.”

Being encouraged thus by his mother's interposition, Rodolphus would of course persevere, and the contest would end at last by his keeping the money. Then he would insist the next day, on going into the little village close by, and spending it for gingerbread. He would go, while eating his gingerbread, to where his father was at work, and hold it up to his father as in triumph—making it a sort of trophy, as it were, of victory. His father would shake his finger at him, laughing at the same time, and saying, “Ah, Rolf! Rolf! what a little rogue you are!”

Rodolphus, in fact, generally contrived to have his own way in almost every thing. His mother did not attempt to govern him; she tried to manage him; but in the end it generally proved that he managed her. In fact, whenever he was engaged in any contest with his mother, his father would usually take the boy's part, just as his mother had done in his contests with his father.

For instance, one winter evening when he was quite a small boy, he was sitting in a corner playing with some blocks. He was building a saw-mill. His mother was at work in a little kitchen which opened into the room where he was at play. His father was sitting on the settle, by the fire, reading a newspaper. The door was open which led into the kitchen, and Rodolphus, while he was at work upon his mill, watched his mother's motions, for he knew that when she had finished the work which she was doing, and had swept up the room, she would come to put him to bed. So Rodolphus went on building the mill, and the bridge, and the flume which was to convey the water to his mill, listening all the time to the sounds in the kitchen, and looking up from time to time, with a very watchful eye, at the door.

At length he heard the sound of the sweeping, and a few minutes afterward his mother appeared at the door, coming in. Rodolphus dropped his blocks, sprang to his feet, and ran round behind the table—a round table which stood out in the middle of the room.

“Now, Rodolphus,” said his mother, in a tone of remonstrance, looking at the same time very seriously at him. “It is time for you to go to bed.”

Rodolphus said nothing, but began to dance about, looking at his mother very intently all the time, and moving this way and that, as she moved, so as to keep himself exactly on the opposite side of the table from her.

“Rodolphus!” said his mother, in a very stern and commanding tone. “Come to me this minute.”

Rodolphus continued his dancing.

Rodolphus's mother was a very beautiful young woman. Her dark glossy hair hung in curls upon her neck.

When she found that it did no good to command Rodolphus, the stern expression of her face changed into a smile, and she said,

“Well, if you won't come, I shall have to catch you, that's all.”

So saying, she ran round the table to catch him. Rodolphus ran too. His mother turned first one way and then the other, but she could not get any nearer to the fugitive. Rodolphus kept always on the farthest side of the table from her. Presently Mr. Linn himself looked up and began to cheer Rodolphus, and encourage him to run; and once when Mrs. Linn nearly caught him and he yet escaped, Mr. Linn clapped his hands in token of his joy.

Mrs. Linn was now discouraged: so she stopped, and looking sternly at Rodolphus again, she said,

“Now, Rodolphus, you must come to me. Come this minute. If you don't come, I shall certainly punish you.” She spoke these words with a great deal of force and emphasis, in order to make Rodolphus think that she was really in earnest. But Rodolphus did not believe that she was in earnest, and so it was evident that he had no intention to obey.

Mrs. Linn then thought of another plan for catching the fugitive, which was to push the table along to one side of the room, or up into a corner, and get Rodolphus out from behind it in that way. So she began to push. Rodolphus [pg 435] immediately began to resist her attempt, by pushing against the table himself, on the other side. His mother was the strongest, however, and she succeeded in gradually working the table, with Rodolphus before it, over to the further side of the room, notwithstanding all the efforts that he made to prevent it. When he found at last that he was likely to be caught, he left the table and ran behind the settle where his father was reading. His mother ran after him and caught him in the corner.

She attempted to take him, but Rodolphus began to struggle and scream, and to shake his shoulders when she took hold of them, evincing his determination not to go with her. At the same time he called out, “Father! father!”

His father looked around at the end of the settle to see what was the matter.

“He won't let me put him to bed,” said Mrs. Linn, “and it was time half an hour ago.”

“Oh, let him sit up a little while longer if he likes,” said Mr. Linn. “It's of no use to make him cry.”

Mrs. Linn reluctantly left Rodolphus, murmuring to herself that he ought to go to bed. Very soon, she said, he would be asleep upon the floor. “I would make him go,” she added, “only if he cries and makes a noise, it will wake Annie.”

In fact Annie was beginning to move a little in the cradle then. The cradle in which Annie was sleeping was by the side of the fire, opposite to the settle. Mrs. Linn went to it, to rock it, so that Annie might go to sleep again, and Rodolphus returned victorious to his mill.

These are specimens of the ways in which Rodolphus used to manage his father and mother, while he was quite young. He became more and more accomplished and capable in attaining his ends as he grew older, and finally succeeded in establishing the ascendency of his own will over that of his father and mother, almost entirely.

He was about four years old when the incidents occurred which have been just described. When he was about five years old, he used to begin to go and play alone down by the water. His father's house was near the water, just below the bridge. There were some high rocks near the shore, and a large flat rock rising out of the water. Rodolphus liked very much to go down to this flat rock and play upon it. His mother was very much afraid to have him go upon this rock, for the water was deep near it, and she was afraid that he might fall in. But Rodolphus would go.

The road which led to Mr. Linn's from the village, passed round the rocks above, at some distance above the bank of the stream. There was a fence along upon the outer side of the road, with a little gate where Rodolphus used to come through. From the gate there was a path, with steps, which led down to the water. At one time, in order to prevent Rodolphus from going down there, Mr. Linn fastened up the gate. Then Rodolphus would climb over the fence. So his father, finding that it did no good to fasten up the gate, opened it again.

Not content with going down to the flat stone contrary to his mother's command, Rodolphus would sometimes threaten to go there and jump off, by way of terrifying her, when his mother would not give him what he wanted. This would frighten Mrs. Linn very much, and she would usually yield at once to his demands, in order to avert the danger. Finally she persuaded her husband to wheel several loads of stones there and fill up the deep place, after which she was less uneasy about Rodolphus's jumping in.

Rodolphus was about ten years old when he made his rabbit house. Annie, his sister, had grown up too. She was two years younger than Rodolphus, and of course was eight. She was beautiful like her mother. She had blue eyes, and her dark hair hung in curls about her neck. She was a gentle and docile girl, and was often much distressed to see how disobedient and rebellious Rodolphus was toward his father and mother.

She went out to see the rabbit house which Rodolphus had made, and she liked it very much See wished that her mother would allow them to have a rabbit to put into it, and she said so, as she stood looking at it, with her hands behind her.

“I am sorry, that mother is not willing that you should have a rabbit,” said she.

“Oh, never mind that,” said Rodolphus, “I'll have one for all that, you may depend.”


That evening when Mr. Linn came home from his work, he took a seat near the door, where he could look out upon the little garden. His mother was busy setting the table for tea.

“Father,” said Rodolphus, “I wish you would give me a quarter of a dollar.”

“What for,” said Mr. Linn.

“To buy a rabbit,” said Rodolphus.

“No,” said his mother, “I wish you would not give him any money. I have told him that I don't wish him to have any rabbits.”

“Yes,” said Rodolphus, speaking to his father. “Do, it only costs a quarter of a dollar to get one, and I have got the house all ready for him.”

“Oh, no, Rolfy,” said his father. “I would not have any rabbits. They are good for nothing but to gnaw off all the bark and buds in the garden.”

Here there followed a long argument between Rodolphus on the one side, and his father and mother on the other, they endeavoring in every possible way to persuade him that a rabbit would be a trouble and not a pleasure. Of course, Rodolphus was not to be convinced. His father however, refused to give him any money, and Rodolphus ceased to ask for it. His mother thought that he submitted to his disappointment with very extraordinary good-humor. But the fact was, he was not submitting to disappointment at all. He had formed another plan.

He began playing with Annie about the yard [pg 436] and garden, saying no more, and apparently thinking no more about his rabbit, for some time. At last he came up to his father's side and said,

“Father, will you lend me your keys?”

“What do you want my keys for?” asked his father.

“I want to whistle with them,” said Rodolphus. “Annie is my dog, and I want to whistle to her.”

“No,” said his father, “you will lose them. You must whistle with your mouth.”

“But I can't whistle with my mouth, Annie makes me laugh so much. I must have the keys.”

So saying, Rodolphus began to feel in his father's pockets for the keys. Mr. Linn resisted his efforts a little, remonstrating with him all the time, and saying that he could not let his keys go. Rodolphus, however, persevered, and finally succeeded in getting the keys, and running away with them.

His father called him to come back, but he would not come.

Rodolphus whistled in one of the keys a few minutes, playing with Annie, and then, after a little while, he said to her, in a whisper, and in a very mysterious manner,

“Annie, come with me!”

So saying, he went round the corner of the house, and there entering the house by means of a door which led into the kitchen, he passed through into the room where his father was sitting, without being seen by his father. He walked very softly as he went, too, and so the sound of his footsteps was not heard. Annie remained at the door when Rodolphus went in. She asked him as he went in what he was going to do, but Rodolphus only answered by saying in a whisper, “Hush! Wait here till I come back.”

Rodolphus crept slowly up to a bureau which stood behind a door. There was a certain drawer in this bureau where he knew that his father kept his money. He was going to open this drawer and see if he could not find a quarter of a dollar. He succeeded in putting the key into the key-hole, and in unlocking the drawer without making much noise. He made a little noise, it is true, and though his father heard it as he sat at the door looking out toward the garden, his attention was not attracted by it. He thought, perhaps, that it was Rodolphus's mother, doing something in that corner of the room.

Rodolphus pulled the drawer open as gently and noiselessly as he could. In a corner of the drawer he saw a bag. He knew that it was his father's money-bag. He pulled it open and put his hand in, looking round at the same time stealthily, to see whether his father was observing him.

Just at that instant, Mr. Linn looked round.

“Rolf, you rogue,” said he, “what are you doing'”

Rodolphus did not answer, but seized a small handful of money and ran. His father started up and pursued him. Among the coins which Rodolphus had seized there was a quarter of a dollar, and there were besides this several smaller silver coins, and two or three cents. Rodolphus took the quarter of a dollar in one hand, as he ran, and threw the other money down upon the kitchen floor. His father stopped to pick up this money, and by this means Rodolphus gained distance. He ran out from the kitchen into the yard, and from the yard into the road—his father pursuing him. Rodolphus went on at the top of his speed, filling the air with shouts of laughter.

He scrambled up a steep path which led to the top of the rocks; his father stopped below.

“Ah, Rolfy!” said his father, in an entreating sort of tone. “Give me back that money; that's a good boy.”

Rolfy did not answer, but stood upon a pinnacle of the rock, holding one of his hands behind him.

“Did you throw down all the money that you took,” said his father.

“No,” said Rodolphus.

“How much have you got now?” said his father.

“A quarter of a dollar,” said the boy.

“Come down, then, and give it to me,” said his father. “Come down this minute.”

“No,” said Rodolphus, “I want it to buy my rabbit.”

Mr. Linn paused a moment, looking perplexed, as if uncertain what to do.

At length he said,

“Yes, bring back the money, Rolfy, that's a good boy, and to-morrow I'll go and buy you a rabbit myself.”

Rodolphus knew that he could not trust to such a promise, and so he would not come. Mr. Linn seemed more perplexed than ever. He began to be seriously angry with the boy, and he resolved, that as soon as he could catch him, he would punish him severely: but he saw that it was useless to attempt to pursue him.

Rodolphus looked toward the house, and there he saw his mother standing at the kitchen-door, laughing. He held up the quarter of a dollar toward her, between his thumb and finger, and laughed too.

“If you don't come down, I shall come up there after you,” said Mr. Linn.

“You can't catch me, if you do,” said Rodolphus.

Mr. Linn began to ascend the rocks. Rodolphus, however, who was, of course, more nimble than his father, went on faster than his father could follow. He passed over the highest portion, of the hill, and then clambered down upon the other side, to the road. He crossed the road, and then began climbing down the bank, toward the shore. He had often been up and down that path before, and he accordingly descended very quick and very easily.

When he reached the shore, he went out to the flat rock, and there stopped and turned round to look at his father. Mr. Linn was standing on the brink of the cliff, preparing to come down.

“Stop,” said Rodolphus to his father. “If you come down, I will throw the quarter of a dollar into the water.”

[pg 437]

So saying, Rodolphus extended his hand as if he were about to throw the money off, into the stream.

Illustration.
The Pursuit.

Mrs. Linn and Annie had come out from the house, to see how Mr. Linn's pursuit of the fugitive would end; but instead of following Rodolphus and his father over the rocks, they had come across the road to the little gate, where they could see the flat rock on which Rodolphus was standing, and his father on the cliffs above. Mrs. Linn stood in the gateway. Annie had come forward, and was standing in the path, at the head of the steps. When she saw Rodolphus threatening to throw the money into the river, she seemed very much concerned and distressed. She called out to her brother, in a very earnest manner.

“Rodolphus! Rodolphus! That is my father's quarter of a dollar. You must not throw it away.”

“I will throw it away,” said Rodolphus, “and I'll jump into the water myself, in the deepest place that I can find, if he won't let me have it to buy my rabbit with.”

“I would let him have it, husband,” said Mrs. Linn, “if he wants it so very much. I don't care much about it, on the whole. I don't think the rabbit will be any great trouble.”

When Rodolphus heard his mother say this, he considered the case as decided, and he walked off from the flat rock to the shore, and from the shore up the path to his mother. There was some further conversation between Rodolphus and his parents in respect to the rabbit, but it was finally concluded that the rabbit should be bought, and Rodolphus was allowed to keep the quarter of a dollar accordingly.

Such was the way in which Rodolphus was brought up in his childhood. It is not surprising that he came in the end to be a very bad boy.

II. Ellen.

The next morning after Rodolphus had obtained his quarter of a dollar in the manner we have described, he proposed to Annie to go with him to buy his rabbit. It would not be very far, he said.

“I should like to go very much,” said Annie, “if my mother will let me.”

“O, she will let you,” said Rodolphus, I can get her to let you.”

Rodolphus waited till his father had gone away after breakfast, before asking his mother to let Annie go with him. He was afraid that his father might make some objection to the plan. After his father had gone, he went to ask his mother.

At first she said very decidedly that Annie could not go.

“Why not?” asked Rodolphus.

“Oh, I could not trust her with you so far,” replied his mother, “she is too little.”

There followed a long and earnest debate between Rodolphus and his mother, which ended at last in her consent that Annie should go.

Rodolphus found a basket in the shed, which he took to bring his rabbit home in. He put a cloth into the basket, and also a long piece of twine. The cloth was to spread over the top of the basket, and the twine to tie round it, in order to keep the rabbit in.

When Rodolphus was ready to go, his mother told him that she was afraid that he might lose his quarter of a dollar on the way, and in order to make it more secure, she proposed to tie it up for him in the corner of a pocket handkerchief.

“Why, that would not do any good, mother,” said Rodolphus, “for then I should only lose handkerchief and all.”

“No,” replied his mother. “You would not be so likely to lose the handkerchief. The handkerchief could not be shaken out of your pocket so easily, nor get out through any small hole. Besides, if you should by any chance lose the money, you could find it again much more readily if it was tied up in a handkerchief, that being so large and easily seen.”

So Mrs. Linn tied the money in the corner of a pocket handkerchief, and then put the handkerchief itself in Rodolphus's pocket.

The place where Rodolphus lived was in Franconia, just below the village. There was a bridge in the middle of the village with a dam across the stream just above it. There were mills near the dam. Just below the dam the water was very rapid.

Rodolphus walked along with Annie till he came to the bridge. On the way, as soon as he got out of sight of the house, he pulled the handkerchief out of his pocket, and began untying the knot.

“What are you going to do?” asked Annie.

“I am going to take the money out of this pocket handkerchief,” said Rodolphus.

So saying he untied the knot, and when he had got the money out he put the money itself in one [pg 438] pocket and the handkerchief in the other, and then walked along again.

When Rodolphus reached the bridge he turned to go over it. Annie was at first afraid to go over it. She wanted to go some other way.

“There is no other way,” said Rodolphus.

“Where is it that you are going to get the rabbit?” asked Annie.

“To Beechnut's,” said Rodolphus.

“Beechnut's,” repeated Annie, “that's a funny name.”

“Why, his real name is Antonio,” said Rodolphus. “But, come, walk along; there is no danger in going over the bridge.”

Notwithstanding her brother's assurances that there was no danger, Annie was very much afraid of the bridge. She however walked along, but she kept as near the middle of the roadway as she could. Sometimes she came to wide cracks in the floor of the bridge, through which she could see the water foaming and tumbling over the rocks far below. There was a sort of balustrade or railing each side of the bridge, but it was very open. Rodolphus went to this railing and putting his head between the bars of it, looked down.

Annie begged him to come back. But he said he wished to look and see if there were any fishes down there in the water. In the mean time Annie walked along very carefully, taking long steps over the cracks, and choosing her way with great caution. Presently she heard a noise behind her, and looking round she saw a wagon coming. This frightened her more than ever. So she began to run as fast as she could run, and very soon she got safely across the bridge. When she reached the land, she went out to the side of the road to let the wagon go by, and sat down there to wait for her brother.

Presently Rodolphus came. Annie left her seat and went back into the road to meet him, and so they walked along together.

“If his name is truly Antonio,” said Annie, “why don't you call him Antonio?”

“Oh, I don't know,” said Rodolphus, “the boys always call him Beechnut.”

I mean to call him Antonio,” said Annie, “if I see him.”

“Well, you will see him,” said Rodolphus, “for we go right where he lives.”

“Where does he live?” asked Annie.

“He lives at Phonny's,” said Rodolphus.

“And where is Phonny's?” asked Annie.

“Oh, it is a house up here by the valley. Didn't you ever go there?”

“No,” said Annie.

“It is a very pleasant house,” said Rodolphus. “There is a river in front of it, and a pier, and a boat. There is a boat-house, too. There used to be a little girl there, too—just about as big as you.”

“What was her name?” asked Annie.

“Malleville,” replied Rodolphus.

“I have heard about Malleville,” said Annie.

“How did you hear about her?” asked Rodolphus.

“My sister Ellen told me about her,” said Annie.

“We can go and see Ellen,” said Rodolphus, “after we have got the rabbit.”

“Well,” said Annie, “I should like to go and see her very much.”

Rodolphus and Annie had a sister Ellen. She was two years older than Rodolphus. Rodolphus was at this time about ten. Ellen was twelve. Antonio was fourteen. Ellen did not live at home. She lived with her aunt. She went to live with her aunt when she was about eight years old. Her aunt lived in a small farm-house among the mountains, and when Ellen was about eight years old, she was taken sick, and so Ellen went to the house to help take care of her.

Ellen was a very quiet and still, and at the same time a very diligent and capable girl. She was very useful to her aunt in her sickness. She took care of the fire, and kept the room in order; and she set a little table very neatly at the bedside, when her aunt got well enough to take food.

It was a long time before her aunt was well enough to leave her bed, and then she could not sit up much, and she could not walk about at all. She could only lie upon a sort of sofa, which her husband made for her in his shop. So Ellen remained to take care of her from week to week, until at last her aunt's house became her home altogether.

Ellen liked to live at her aunt's very much, for the house was quiet, and orderly, and well-managed, and every thing went smoothly and pleasantly there. At home, on the other hand, every thing was always in confusion, and Rodolphus made so much noise and uproar, and encroached so much on the peace and comfort of the family by his self-will and his domineering temper, that Ellen was always uneasy and unhappy when she was at her mother's. She liked to be at her aunt's, therefore, better; and as her aunt liked her, she gradually came to make that her home. Rodolphus used frequently to go and see her, and even Annie went sometimes.

Annie was very much pleased with the plan of going now to make Ellen a visit. They walked quietly along the road, talking of this plan, when Annie suddenly called out;

“Oh, Rodolphus, look there!”

Rodolphus looked, and saw a drove of cattle coming along the road. It was a very large drove, and it filled up the road almost entirely.

“Who cares for that?” said Rodolphus.

Annie seemed to care for it very much. She ran out to the side of the road.

Rodolphus walked quietly after her, saying, “Don't be afraid, Annie. You can climb up on the fence, if you like, till they get by.”

There was a large stump by the side of the fence, at the place where Rodolphus and Annie approached it, and Rodolphus, running to it, said, “Quick, Annie, quick! climb up on this stump.”

Rodolphus climbed up on the stump, and then helped Annie up after him. They had, however, but just got their footing upon it, when Rodolphus looked down at his feet and saw a hornet [pg 439] crawling out of a crevice in the side of the stump. “Ah, Annie, Annie! a hornet's nest! a hornet's nest!” exclaimed Rodolphus; “we must run.”

So saying, Rodolphus climbed down from the stump, on the side opposite to where he had seen the hornet come out, and then helped Annie down.

“We must run across to the other side of the road,” said he.

So saying, he hurried back into the road again, leading Annie by the hand. They found, however, that they were too late to gain the fence on the other side, for several of the cattle had advanced along by the green bank on that side so far that the fence was lined with them, and Rodolphus saw at a glance, that he could not get near it.

“Never mind, Annie,” said Rodolphus, “we will stay here, right in the middle of the road. Stand behind me, and I will keep the cattle off with my basket.”

So Annie took her stand behind Rodolphus, in the middle of the road, while Rodolphus, by swinging his basket to and fro, toward the cattle as they came on, made them separate to the right and left, and pass by on each side. Rodolphus, besides waving his basket at the cattle, shouted to them in a very stern and authoritative manner, saying, “Hie! Whoh! Hie-up, there! Ho!” The cattle were slow to turn out—but they did turn out, just before they came to where Rodolphus and Annie were standing—crowding and jamming each other in great confusion. The herd closed together again as soon as they had passed the children, so that for a time Rodolphus and Annie stood in a little space in the road, with the monstrous oxen all around them.

At length the herd all passed safely by, and then Rodolphus and Annie went on. After walking along a little farther, they came to the bank of a river. The road lay along the bank of this river. There was a smooth sandy beach down by the water. Rodolphus and Annie went down there a few minutes to ploy. There was an old raft there. It was floating in the water, but was fastened by a rope to a stake in the sand.

“Ah, here is a raft, Annie,” said Rodolphus. “I'll tell you what we will do. We will go the rest of the way by water, on this raft. I'm tired of walking so far.”

“Oh, no,” said Annie, “I'm afraid to go on that raft. It will sink.”

“O, no,” said Rodolphus, “it will not sink. See.” So saying, he stepped upon the raft, to show Annie how stable it was.

“I'll get a block,” he continued, “for you to sit on.”

Annie was very much afraid of the raft, though she was not quite so much afraid of it as she had been of the bridge, because the bridge was very high up above the water, and there was, consequently as she imagined, danger of a fall. Besides the water where the raft was lying, was smooth and still, while that beneath the bridge was a roaring torrent. Finally, Annie allowed herself to be persuaded to get upon the raft. Rodolphus found a block lying upon the shore, and he put that upon the raft for Annie to sit upon. When Annie was seated, Rodolphus stepped upon the raft himself, and with a long pole he pushed it out from the shore, while Annie balanced herself as well as she could upon the block.

The water was not very deep, and Rodolphus could push the raft along very easily, by setting the end of his pole against the bottom Annie sat upon her block very still. It happened, however, unfortunately, that the place where Antonio lived was up the stream, not down, and Rodolphus found that though he could move his raft very easily round and round, and even back and forth, he could not get forward much on his way, on account of the force of the current, which was strong against him. He advanced a little way, however, and then he began to be tired of so difficult a navigation.

“I don't think we shall go very far, on the raft,” said he, to Annie, “there is such a strong tide.”

Just then Rodolphus began to look very intently into the water before him. He thought he saw a pickerel. He was just going to attempt to spear him with his pole, when his attention was arrested by hearing Annie call out, “Oh, Rolfy! Rolfy! the raft is all coming to pieces”

Illustration.
The Raft.
[pg 440]

Rodolphus looked round, and saw that the boards of which the raft had been made, were separating from each other at the end of the raft where Annie was sitting, and one of the boards was shooting out entirely.

“So it is,” said Rodolphus. “Why didn't they nail it together? You sit still, and I will push in to the shore.”

Rodolphus attempted to push in to the shore, but in the strenuous efforts which he made for that purpose, he stepped about upon the raft irregularly and in such a manner, as to make the boards separate more and more. At length the water began to come up around Annie's feet, and Rodolphus alarmed at this, hurriedly directed her to stand up, on the block. Annie tried to do so, but before she effected her purpose, the raft seemed evidently about going to pieces. It had, however, by this time got very near the shore, so Rodolphus changed his orders, and called out, “Jump, Annie, jump!”

Annie jumped; but the part of the raft on which she was standing gave way under her feet, and she came down into the water. The water was not very deep. It came up, however, almost to Annie's knees. Rodolphus himself had leaped over to the shore, and so had, himself, escaped a wetting. He took Annie by the hand, and led her also out to the dry land.

Annie began to cry. Rodolphus soothed and quieted her as well as he could. He took off her stockings and shoes. He poured the water out of the shoes, and wrung out the stockings. He also wrung out Annie's dress as far as possible. He told her not to mind it; her clothes would soon get dry. It was all the fault of the boys, he said, who made the raft, for not nailing it together.

Rodolphus had had presence of mind enough to seize his basket, when he leaped ashore, so that that was safe. The raft, however, went all to pieces, and the fragments of it floated away down the stream.

Rodolphus and Annie then resumed their journey. Rodolphus talked fast to Annie, and told her a great many amusing stories, to divert her mind from the misfortune which had happened to them. He charged her not to tell her mother, when she got home, that she had been in the water, and made her promise that she would not.

At length they came to a large house which stood back from the road a little way, at the entrance to a valley. This was the house, Rodolphus said, where Beechnut lived. Rodolphus opened a great gate, and he and Annie went into the yard.

“I think that Beechnut is in some of the barns, or sheds, or somewhere,” said Rodolphus.

So he and Annie went to the barns and sheds. There was a horse standing in one of the sheds, harnessed to a wagon, but there were no signs of Beechnut.

“Perhaps he is in the yard,” said Rodolphus.

So Rodolphus led the way through a shed to a sort of back-yard, where there was a plank-walk, with lilac-bushes and other shrubbery on one side of it. Rodolphus and Annie walked along upon the planks. Presently, they came to a place where there was a ladder standing up against the house.

“Ah!” said Rodolphus, “he is upon the house. Here is the ladder. I think he is doing something on the house. I mean to go and see.”

“No,” said Annie, “you must not go up on such a high place.”

“Oh, this is not a very high ladder,” said Rodolphus. So saying he began to go up. Annie stood below, looking up to him as he ascended, and feeling great apprehension lest he should fall.

The top of the ladder reached up considerably above the top of the house, and Rodolphus told Annie that he was not going to the top of the ladder, but only high enough to see if Beechnut was on the house. He told her, too, that if she walked back toward the garden gate, perhaps she could see too. Annie accordingly walked back, and looking upward all the time, she presently saw a young man who she supposed was Beechnut, doing something to the top of one of the chimneys. By this time Rodolphus had reached the eaves of the house, in climbing up the ladder, and he came in sight of Beechnut, too.

Illustration.
Up The Ladder.

“Hie-yo! Dolphin!” said Beechnut, “is that you!”

Beechnut often called Rodolphus, Dolphin.

“May I come up where you are?” said Rodolphus.

“No,” said Beechnut.

When Rodolphus heard this answer, he remained quietly where he was upon the ladder.

“What are you doing?” said Rodolphus.

“Putting a wire netting over the chimney,” said Beechnut.

“What for!” asked Rodolphus.

[pg 441]

“To keep the chimney-swallows from getting in,” said Beechnut.

“Are you coming down pretty soon?” asked Rodolphus.

“Yes,” said Beechnut. “Go down the ladder and wait till I come.”

So Rodolphus went down the ladder again to Annie.

“What is the reason,” said Annie, “that you obey Beechnut so much better than you do my father?”

“Oh, I don't know,” said Rodolphus. “He makes me, I suppose.”

It was true that Beechnut made Rodolphus obey him—that is, in all cases where he was under any obligation to obey him. One day, when he first became acquainted with Beechnut, he went out upon the pond in Beechnut's boat. He wished to row, but Beechnut preferred that some other boy should row, and directed Rodolphus to sit down upon one of the thwarts. Rodolphus would not do this, but was determined to row, and he attempted to take away one of the oars by force. Beechnut immediately turned the head of the boat toward the shore, and when he reached the shore he directed four of the strongest boys to put Rodolphus out upon the sand, and then when they had done this he sailed away in the boat again. Rodolphus took up clubs and stones, and began to throw them at the boat. Beechnut came back again, and seizing Rodolphus, he tied his hands behind him with a strong cord. When he was thus secured Beechnut said to him,

“Now, you may have your choice of two things. You may stay here till we come back from our excursion, and then, if you seem pretty peaceable, I will untie you. Or you may go home now, as you are, with your hands tied behind you in disgrace.”

Rodolphus concluded to remain where he was; for he was well aware that if he were to go home through the village with his hands tied behind him, every body would know that the tying was one of Beechnut's punishments, and that it had not been resorted to without good reason. Some of the boys thought that after this occurrence Beechnut would not be willing to have Rodolphus go with them again in the boat, but Beechnut said “Yes; he may go with us whenever he pleases. I don't mind having a rebel on board at all. I know exactly what to do with rebels.”

“But it is a great trouble,” said one of the boys, “to have them on board.”

“Not at all,” said Beechnut, “on the other hand it is a pleasure to me to discipline them.”

Rodolphus very soon found that it was useless to resist Beechnut's will, in any case where Beechnut had the right to control; and so he soon formed the habit of obeying him. He liked Beechnut too, very much. He liked him in fact, all the better, on account of his firmness and decision.

When Beechnut came down from the housetop, Rodolphus told him he had come to get a rabbit, and at the same time held out the quarter of a dollar to view.

“Where did you get the money?” said Beechnut.

“My father gave it to me,” said Rodolphus.

“No,” said Annie, very earnestly, “my father did not give it to you. You took it away from him.”

“But he gave it to me afterward,” said Rodolphus.

Beechnut inquired what this meant, and Annie explained to him, as well as she could, the manner in which Rodolphus had obtained his money. Beechnut then said, that he would not take the quarter of a dollar. The money was not honestly come by, he said. It was not voluntarily given to Rodolphus, and therefore was not honestly his. “The money was stolen,” said he, “and I will not have any stolen money for my rabbits. I would rather give you a rabbit for nothing.”

This, Beechnut said finally, he would do. “I will give you a rabbit,” said he, “for the present, and whenever you get a quarter of a dollar, which is honestly your own, you may come and pay for it, if you please, and if not, not. But don't bring me any money which is not truly your own. And carry that quarter of a dollar back and give it to your father.”

So saying, Beechnut led the way, and Rodolphus and Annie followed him, into one of the barns. They walked along a narrow passageway, between a hay-mow on one side, and a row of stalls for cattle on the other. Then they turned and passed through an open room, and finally came to a place which Beechnut called a bay. Here there was a little pen, with a house in it, for the rabbits, and a hole at one side where the rabbits could run in under the barn. Beechnut called “Benny! Benny! Benny!” and immediately several rabbits came running out from the hole.

“There,” said Beechnut, “which one will you have?”

The children began immediately to examine the different rabbits, and to talk very fast and very eagerly about them. Finally, Rodolphus decided in favor of a gray one, though there was one which was perfectly white, that Annie seemed to prefer. Beechnut said that he would give Rodolphus the gray one.

“As to the white one,” said he, “I am going to let you take it, Annie, for Ellen. I can't give it to you. I give it to Ellen; but, perhaps, she will let you carry it home with you, and take care of it for her, and so keep it with Rodolphus's.”

Annie seemed very much pleased with this plan, and so the two rabbits were caught and put into the basket. The cloth was then tied over them, and Rodolphus and Annie prepared to go away.

“But, stop,” said Beechnut, “I am going directly by your aunt's in my wagon, and I can give you a ride.”

“Well,” said Annie, dancing about and clapping her hands. It was very seldom that Annie had an opportunity to take a ride. [pg 442] She ran to the wagon. Rodolphus followed her slowly, carrying the basket. Beechnut helped in the two children, and then got in himself, and took his seat between them. Rodolphus held the basket between his knees, peeping in under the cloth, now and then, to see if the rabbits were safe.

Illustration.
The Yard at Mr. Randon's.

The party traveled on by a winding and very pleasant road among the mountains, for about a mile, and at length they drove up to the door of a pleasant little farm-house in a sort of dell. There was a high hill behind it—overhung with forest trees. There was a spacious yard at the end of the house, with ducks, and geese, and chickens, in the back part of it. There was a large dog lying asleep on the great flat stone step when the wagon came up, but when he heard the wagon coming, awoke, opened his eyes, got up, and walked away. There was a well in the middle of the yard. Beechnut rode round the well, and drove up to the door. Ellen was sitting at the window. As soon as she saw the wagon, she got up and ran to the door.

“How do you do, Ellen!” said Beechnut.

“How do you do, Antonio!” said Ellen, “I am much obliged to you for bringing my brother and sister to see me.”

So saying, she came to the wagon and helped Annie out. Rodolphus, who was on the other side of Beechnut, then handed her his basket, saying, “Here, Ellen, take this very carefully. There are two rabbits in it, and one of them is for you.”

“For me,” said Ellen.

“Yes,” said Annie, “only I am to take care of it for you.”

“Good-by,” said Beechnut. He was just beginning, as he said this, to drive the wagon away.

“Good-by, Beechnut,” said Rodolphus.

“I am much obliged to you for my ride,” said Annie.

“Stop a minute, Antonio,” said Ellen, “I have got something for you.”

So saying, Ellen went into the house and brought out a small flat parcel, neatly put up and addressed on the outside, Antonio.

She took it out to the wagon, and handed it up to Antonio, saying that there were the last drawings that he had lent her. In fact, Ellen was one of Beechnut's pupils in drawing. He was accustomed to lend her models, which, when she had copied them, she sent back to him. Ellen was one of Antonio's favorite pupils; she was so faithful, and patient, and persevering. Besides, she was a very beautiful girl.

“I must not stop to see your copies now,” said Antonio, “but I shall come again pretty soon. Good-by.”

“Good-by,” said Ellen: and then she went back to the door where Rodolphus and Annie were standing.

Rodolphus lifted up the corner of the cloth, which covered the basket, and let Ellen see the rabbits. Ellen was very much pleased to find that one of them was hers. She said that she would put a collar on its neck, as a mark that it was hers, and she asked Rodolphus and Annie to go in with her into the house, where she said she would get the collar.

So they all went in. The room was a very pleasant room, indeed. It was large and it was in perfect order. There was a very spacious fire-place in it, but scarcely any fire. As it was summer, no fire was necessary. At one side of the room, near a window, there was a table, which Ellen said was her table. There were two drawers in this table. These drawers contained books, and papers, and various articles of apparatus for writing and drawing. In one corner of one of the drawers there was a little paint box.

There was a small bedroom adjoining the room where the children were. They all pretty soon heard a voice calling from this room, in a pleasant tone, “Ellen, bring the children in here.”

“Yes; come Rolfy,” said Ellen—“and Annie—come and see aunt.” So all the children went into their aunt's room.

They found her half-sitting and half-lying upon her sofa, by a pleasant window, which looked out upon a green yard and upon an orchard which was beyond the yard. She was sewing. She looked pale, but she seemed contented and happy—and she said that she was very glad to see Rodolphus and Annie. She talked with them some time, and then asked Ellen to get them some luncheon. Ellen accordingly went into the other room and set the table for luncheon, by her window as she called it. This window was a very pleasant one, near her table. The luncheon consisted [pg 443] of a pie, some cake, warm from the oven, and some baked apples, and cream. Ellen said that she made the cake, and the pie, and baked the apples herself.

The children ate their luncheon together very happily, and then spent some time in walking about the yards, the barns, and the garden, to see what was to be seen. Rodolphus walked about quietly and behaved well. In fact, he was always a good boy at his aunt's, and obeyed all her directions—she would not allow him to do otherwise.

At length Rodolphus and Annie set out on their return home. It was a long walk, but in due time they reached home in safety. Rodolphus determined not to give the money back to his father, and so he hid it in a crevice, which he found in a part of the fence behind his rabbit house. He put the rabbits in their house, and put a board up before the door to keep them in.

That night when Mrs. Linn took off Annie's stockings by the kitchen fire, when she was going to put her to bed, she found them very damp.

“Why, Annie,” she said, “what makes your stockings so damp? You must have got into the water somewhere to-day.”

Annie did not answer. Rodolphus had enjoined it upon her not to tell their mother of their adventure on the raft, and so she did not know what to say.

“Damp?” said Rodolphus. “Are they damp? Let me feel.” So he began to feel of Annie's stockings.

“No,” said he, “they are not damp. I can't feel that they are damp.”

“They certainly are,” said his mother. “They are very damp indeed.”

“Then,” said Rodolphus, “we must have spilled some water into them when we were getting a drink, Annie, at the well.” Annie said nothing, and Mrs. Linn hung the stockings up to dry.

III. Sickness.

Ellen's aunt was the sister of Mr. Linn, Ellen's father; and her name was Anne. Ellen used to call her Aunt Anne. Her husband's name was Randon, so that sometimes Ellen called her Aunt Randon.

Though Mr. Randon's house appeared rather small, as seen from the road by any one riding by, it was pretty spacious and very comfortable within. Mr. Randon owned several farms in different places, and he was away from home a great deal attending to his other farms and to the flocks of sheep and herds of cattle which he had upon them. During these absences Mrs. Randon of course remained at home with Ellen. There was a girl named Martha who lived at the house to do the work of the family, and also a young man named Hugh. Hugh was employed in the mornings and evenings in taking care of the barns and the cattle, and in the day-time, especially in the winter, he hauled wood—sometimes to the house for the family to burn, and sometimes to the village for sale.

The family lived thus very happily together, whether Mr. Randon was at home or away. Mrs. Randon could not walk about the house at all, but was, on the other hand, confined all day to her bed or her sofa; but she knew every thing that was done; and gave directions about every thing. Ellen was employed as messenger to carry her aunt's directions out, and to bring back intelligence and answers. Mrs. Randon knew exactly what was in every room, and where it was in the room. She knew what was in every drawer, and what was on every shelf in every closet, and what and how much was in every bin in the cellar. So that if she wanted any thing she could direct Ellen where to go to get it with a certainty that it would be exactly there. The house was very full of furniture, stores, and supplies, and all was so well arranged and in such an orderly and complete condition, that in going over it every room that the visitor entered seemed pleasanter than the one seen before.

On one occasion, Rodolphus himself had proof of this admirable order. He had cut his finger, in the shed, and when he came in, Mrs. Randon, after binding it up very nicely, turned to Ellen, and said,

“Now, Ellen, we must have a cot. Go up into the garret, and open the third trunk, counting from the west window. In the right-hand front corner of this trunk you will find a small box. In the box you will find three cots. Bring the smallest one to me.”

Ellen went and found every thing as Mrs. Randon had described it.

There was a room in the front part of the house called the Front Room, which was usually kept shut up. It was furnished as a parlor very prettily. It had very full curtains to the windows, a soft carpet on the floor, and a rug before the fire-place. There was a bookcase in this room, with a desk below. Mr. Randon kept his valuable papers in this desk, and the book-case above was filled with interesting books. There were several very pretty pictures on the walls of this room, and some curious ornaments on the mantle shelf. The blinds of the windows in this apartment were generally closed and the curtains drawn, and Ellen seldom went into it, except to get a new book to read to her aunt, out of the secretary.

The room which the family generally used, was a back room. It was quite large, and it had a very spacious fire-place in it. Being larger than any other room in the house it was generally called the Great Room. The windows of this room looked out upon a pretty green yard, with a garden and an orchard beyond. There was a door too at one end of the room opening to a porch. In this porch was an outer door, which led to a large yard at the end of the house. This was the door that Antonio had driven up to, when he brought Rodolphus and Annie to see Ellen. On the other side of the kitchen from the porch-door, was a door leading to Mrs. Randon's bed-room. The situation of these rooms, and of the other apartments of the house as well as of the principal articles of furniture hereafter [pg 444] to be described, may be perfectly understood by the means of the following plan.

Illustration.
Plan of Mrs. Randon's House. B: Bed in Mrs Randon's bed-room. W: The closed windows. B. E.: Back entry. pl: Back Platform. P: Porch. C: Mrs. Randon's couch or sofa. ff: Fire-places. H: Hugh's seat. S: Settle. L: Lutie's bed.

Mrs. Randon was accustomed to remain in her bedroom almost all the time in the summer, but in the winter she had her sofa or couch brought out and placed by the side of the fire-place in the great room, as represented in the plan. Here, in the long stormy evenings of winter, the family would live together very happily. Mrs. Randon would lie reclining upon her sofa, knitting, and talking to Martha and Ellen while they were getting supper ready. Ellen would set the table, while Martha would bake the cakes and bring up the milk out of the cellar, and make the tea; and then when all was ready, they would move the table up close to Mrs. Randon's sofa, and after lifting her up and supporting her with pillows at her back, they would themselves sit down on the other side of the table, and all eat their supper together in a very happy manner.

Illustration.
The Great Room.

Then, after supper, when the table had been put away, and a fresh fire had been made on the great stone hearth, Ellen would sit in a little rocking-chair by her aunt's side, and read aloud some interesting story, while Martha sat knitting on the settle, at the other side of the fire, and Hugh, on a bench in the corner, occupied himself with making clothes-pins, or shaping teeth for rakes, or fitting handles into tools, or some other work of that kind. Hugh found that unless he had such work to do, he always fell asleep while Ellen was reading.

Ellen found that her aunt, instead of growing better, rather grew worse. She was very pale, though very delicate and beautiful. Her fingers were very long, and white, and tapering. Ellen thought that they grew longer and more tapering every day. At last, one winter evening, just after tea, and before Hugh and Martha had come in to sit down, Ellen went up to the sofa, and kneeling down upon a little bear-skin rug which was there, and which had been put there to look warm and comfortable, although the poor invalid could never put her feet upon it, she bent down over her aunt and said,

“It seems to me Aunt Anne, that you don't get better very fast.”

The patient, putting her arm over Ellen's neck, and drawing Ellen down closely to her, kissed her, but did not answer.

“Do you think you shall ever get well, aunty?” said Ellen.

“No,” said her aunt, “I do not think that I shall. I think that before a great while I shall die.”

“Why, aunty!” said Ellen. She was much shocked to hear such a declaration. “I hope you will not die,” she continued presently, speaking in a very low and solemn manner. “What shall I do if you should die!—What makes you think that you will die?”

“There are two reasons why I think that I shall die,” said her aunt. “One is, that I feel that I am growing weaker and weaker all the time. I have grown a great deal weaker within a few days.”

“Have you?” said Ellen, in a tone of great anxiety and concern.

“Yes,” said her aunt. “The other reason that makes me think that I am going to die is greater still; and that is I begin to feel so willing to die.”

“I thought that you were always willing to die,” said Ellen. “I thought we ought to be all willing to die, always.”

“No,” said her aunt, “or yes, in [pg 445] one sense we ought. We ought always to be willing to submit to whatever God shall think best for us. But as to life and death, we ought undoubtedly, when we are strong and well, to desire to live.”

“God means,” she continued, “that we should desire to live, and that we should do all that we can to prolong life. He has given us an instinct impelling us to that feeling. But when sickness comes and death is nigh, then the instinct changes. We do not wish to live then—that is, if we feel that we are prepared to die. It is a very kind and merciful arrangement to have the instinct change, so that when we are well, we can be happy in the thought of living, and when we are sick and about to die, we can be happy in the thought of dying. Our instincts often change thus, when the circumstances change.”

“Do they?” said Ellen, thoughtfully.

“Yes,” said her aunt. “For instance, when you were an infant, your mother's instinctive love for you led her to wish to have you always near her, with your cheek upon her cheek, and your little hand in her bosom. Mothers all have such an instinct as that, while their children are very young. It is given to them so that they may love to have their children very near them while they are so young and tender that they would not be safe if they were away.

“But now,” she continued, “you have grown older, and the instinct has changed. Your mother loves you just as much as she did when you were an infant, but she loves you in a different way. She is willing to have you absent from her, if you are only well provided for and happy.”

“And is it so with death?” asked Ellen.

“Yes,” replied her aunt; “when we are well, we love life, and we ought to love it. It then seems terrible to die. God means that it should seem terrible to us then. But when sickness comes and we are about to die, then he changes the feeling. Death seems terrible no more. We become perfectly willing to die.”

Here Mrs. Randon paused, and Ellen remained still, thinking of what she had heard, but without speaking. After a few minutes her aunt continued.

“I have had a great change in my feelings within a short time, about dying,” said she, “I have always, heretofore, desired to live and to get well; and it has seemed to me a terrible thing to die;—to leave my pleasant home, and my husband, and my dear Ellen, and to see them no more. But somehow or other, lately, all this is changed. I feel now perfectly willing to die. It does not seem terrible at all. I have been a great sinner all my days, but I feel sure that my sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, and that if I die I shall be happy where I go, and that I shall see my husband and you too there some day.”

Ellen laid her head down by the side of her aunt's, with her face to the pillow and her cheek against her aunt's cheek, but said nothing.

“When I am gone,” continued her aunt, “you will go home and live with your mother again.”

“Shall I?” said Ellen, faintly.

“Yes,” replied her aunt, “it will be better that you should. You can do a great deal of good there. You can gradually get the house in order, taking one thing at a time, and so not only help your mother, but make it more pleasant and comfortable for your father. You can also teach Annie, and be a great help to her as she grows up; and you can also perhaps do a great deal of good to Rodolphus.”

“I don't know what I shall do with Rodolphus,” said Ellen. “He troubles my mother very much indeed.”

“I know he does,” said her aunt, “but then you will soon get a great influence over him, and it is possible that you will succeed in making him a good boy.”

As Mrs. Randon said this, Ellen heard the sound of a door opening in the back entry, and a stamping of feet upon the floor, as if some one were coming in out of the snow.

“There comes Hugh,” said Ellen, “and I think there is going to be a storm.”

Signs of a gathering storm had in fact been appearing all that day. For several days before, the weather had been very clear and cold, but that morning the cold had diminished, and a thin haze had gradually extended itself over the sky. At sunset the sky looked thick and murky toward the southeast, and it became dark much sooner than usual. A moment after Ellen had spoken, Hugh came in. He said that it was snowing, and that two or three inches of snow had already fallen; and that if it snowed much during the night he should not be able to go into the woods the next morning.

When Ellen rose the next morning and looked at the windows, she saw that the snow was piled up against the panes of glass on the outside, and on going to the window to look out, she found that it was snowing still, and that all the old snow and all the roads and tracks upon it, were entirely covered. Ellen went out into the great room, and there she found a blazing fire in the fireplace, and Martha before it getting breakfast ready. Pretty soon Hugh came in.

“What a great snow-storm,” said Ellen.

“No,” said Hugh, “it is not a very great snow-storm. It does not snow very fast.”

“Can you go into the woods to-day?” said Ellen.

“Yes,” said Hugh, “I am going into the woods for a load of wood to haul to the village. The snow is not very deep yet.”

Hugh went to the woods, got his load, hauled it to the village, and returned to dinner. After dinner he went again. Ellen was almost afraid to have him go away in the afternoon, for her aunt appeared to be more and more unwell. She lay upon her sofa by the side of the fire, silent and still, apparently without pain, but very faint and feeble. She spoke very seldom, and then only in a whisper. At one time about the middle of the afternoon, Ellen went and stood a moment at the window to see the snow driving by—blown by the wind along the crests of the drifts, and over the walls, down the road. When she turned round, she saw that her aunt was [pg 446] beckoning to her with her white and slender finger. Ellen went immediately to her.

“Is Hugh going to the village this afternoon?” she asked.

“Yes, aunt,” said Ellen, “I believe he is.”

“I wish you would ask him to call at my brother George's, and tell him that I am very sick, and ask him if he can not come up and see me this evening.”

“Yes, aunt,” said Ellen, “I will.”

Ellen accordingly watched for Hugh when he came down the mountain-road with the load of wood, on the way to the village. She gave him the message, standing at the stoop-door. The wind howled mournfully over the trees of the forest, and the air was thick with falling and driving snow. Hugh said that he had almost concluded not to go to the village. The snow had become so deep, and the storm was increasing so fast, that he doubted very much whether he could get back if he should go. On receiving Ellen's message, however, he decided at once to go on. He could get to the village well enough, he said, for it was a descending road all the way; but there would be more uncertainty about the return.

So he started his four oxen again, and they went wallowing on, followed by the great loaded sled, with the runners buried in the drift. Hugh's cap and shaggy coat, and the handkerchief which he had tied about the collar of his coat, after turning it up to cover his ears, were all whitened with the snow, and from among all these various mufflings his face, reddened with the cold, peeped out, though almost wholly concealed from view.

As soon as Hugh was gone, Ellen, who was by this time almost blinded by the snow which the wind blew furiously into her face and eyes, came into the house and shut the door.

Ellen watched very diligently all the afternoon for the coming of her father. She hoped that he would bring her mother with him. She went to the window again and again, and looked anxiously down the road, but nothing was to be seen but the thick and murky atmosphere, the increasing drifts, and the scudding wreaths of snow. The fences and the walls gradually disappeared from view; the great wood pile in the yard was soon completely covered and concealed; and a deep drift, of the form of a wave just curling over to break upon the shore, slowly rose directly across the entrance to the yard, until it was higher than the posts on each side of the gateway, so that Ellen began to fear that if her father and mother should come, they would not be able to get into the yard.

At length it gradually grew dark, and then, though Ellen went to the window as often as before, and attempted to shade her eyes from the reflection of the fire, by holding up her hands to the side of her face, she could watch these changes no longer. Nothing was to be seen, but the trickling of the flakes down the panes of glass on the outside, and a small expanse of white immediately below the window.

In the mean time, within the room where Ellen's aunt was reposing, all seemed, at least in appearance, very bright and cheerful. A great log was lying across the andirons, behind and beneath which there was a blazing and glowing fire. There was a tin baker before this fire, with a pan of large apples in it, which Martha was baking, to furnish the table with, for the expected company. Martha herself was busy at a side-table too, making cakes for supper. The tea-kettle was in a corner, with a column of steam rising gently from the spout, and Ellen's little gray kitten, Lutie, was in the other corner asleep. Ellen herself was busy, here and there, about the room. She went often to the window, even after it was too dark to see, and she watched her aunt continually with a countenance expressive of much affection and concern. Her aunt lay perfectly quiet and still, as if she were asleep, only she would now and then open her eyes and smile upon Ellen, if she saw Ellen looking at her, and then close them again.

The couch that she was lying upon had little wheels at the four corners of it toward the floor, so that it could be moved to and fro. Ellen had been accustomed, when the time arrived for her aunt to go to bed, to ask Martha to help her move the couch into the bedroom, by the side of the bed, and then assist her in moving the patient from one to the other. Ellen, accordingly, about an hour after it became dark, went to her aunt's couch, and asked her in a gentle tone if she would not like to go to bed. But her aunt said no. She would not be moved, she said, but would remain as she was until her brother should come. She said, too, that Martha and Ellen might eat their supper when it was ready, and leave her where she was.

Martha and Ellen finished their supper about seven o'clock. Martha then took her place upon the settle with her knitting-work as usual, and Ellen went and sat down upon the little bear-skin rug, and leaned her head toward her aunt. Her aunt put out her hand toward Ellen's cheek and pressed her head gently down upon the pillow, by the side of her own, and then very slowly and feebly moved her fingers, once or twice, down the hair on Ellen's temple, as if she were pleased to have her little niece lying near her. Ellen shut her eyes, and for a few minutes enjoyed very much the thought that she was such an object of affection to one whom she loved so much; but after a few minutes, she began to lose her consciousness, and soon fell fast asleep.

She slept more than an hour. It was in fact nearly half-past eight when she awoke. She raised her head and looked up. She found that Martha had fallen asleep too. Her knitting-work had dropped from her hand. Ellen did not wish to disturb her, so she rose softly, went to the fire, and put up a brand which had fallen down, and then crossed the room to the window, parted the curtains, and putting her face close to the glass, attempted to look out. Nothing was to be seen. She listened. Nothing was to be heard but the dreadful roaring of the wind, and [pg 447] the clicking of the snow-flakes against the windows.

Ellen came back to the couch again, and looked at her aunt as she lay with her cheek upon her pillow, apparently asleep. At first Ellen thought that she was really asleep, but when she came near, she found that her eyes were not entirely closed. She kneeled down by the side of the couch and said gently, “Aunt Anne, Aunt Anne, how do you feel now?”

Ellen saw that her aunt moved a little, and she heard a faint whispering sound, but there was no audible answer.

Ellen was now frightened. She feared that her aunt might be dying. She went to Martha and woke her. Martha started up much alarmed. Ellen told her that she was afraid that her aunt was dying. Martha went to the couch. She thought so too.

“I must go,” said she, “to some of the neighbors and get them to come.”

“But you can not get to any of the neighbors,” said Ellen.

“Perhaps I can,” said Martha, “and at any rate I must try.”

So Martha began to prepare herself, as well as she could, to go out into the storm, Ellen standing by, full of apprehension and anxiety, and helping her so far as she was able to do so. There was a neighbor who lived about a quarter of a mile from the house, by a road which lay through the woods, and which was, therefore, ordinarily not very much obstructed with the snow. It was to this house that Martha was going to attempt to make her way. When she was ready, she went forth, leaving Ellen with her aunt alone.

(To Be Continued.)

Recollections Of St. Petersburg.

“To-morr punkt at 'leven wir schiff for St. Petersburg,” was the polyglot announcement by which all of us, Swedes, Germans, English, and one solitary American, were given to understand at what hour on the ensuing day we were to commence our voyage from Stockholm for the Russian capital. With praiseworthy punctuality the steam was up at the appointed hour of eleven, and as our steamer shot out into the Baltic we took our farewell view of Stockholm, the “City of Piles.” As we steamed northward we dashed through archipelago after archipelago of islands, some with bold and rocky shores, and others sloping greenly down to the tranquil sea. Having passed the Aland Islands, one of which, not thirty miles from the coast of Sweden, has been seized and strongly fortified by her powerful and unscrupulous neighbor, we turned into a narrow inlet, and touched Russian soil at Abo, the ancient capital of Finland.

Here we made our first acquaintance with those fascinating gentry, whom his Imperial Majesty deputes to watch that nothing treasonable or contraband finds entrance into his dominions. Our intercourse here was, however, brief, our passports merely being demanded, and permission granted us to go on shore while the steamer was detained. At Cronstadt and St. Petersburg we formed a more intimate if not more agreeable acquaintance with these functionaries. Setting out again we coasted eastward up the Gulf of Finland, passing the grim fortress of Sveaborg, with its eight hundred guns, and garrison of fifteen thousand men, and shot up the beautiful bay to Helsingfors, one of the great naval stations of Russia. Touching at Revel, on the opposite shore of the Gulf of Finland, we ran due east up the Gulf, encountering the great Russian summer fleet, which was performing its annual manœuvres, and on the morning after leaving Helsingfors came in sight of the shipping and fortifications of Cronstadt. As we crept slowly up the narrow and winding channel, by which alone the harbor can be reached, and passed successively the grim lines of batteries which command every portion of it, we were forced to confess that it formed a fitting outpost to a great military power.

Cronstadt is not only the chief naval dépôt of Russia, but is properly the port of St. Petersburg, as the capital is inaccessible to vessels drawing more than eight or nine feet of water. Hence Cronstadt is included in the St. Petersburg customs-district, and vessels clear indifferently for either, and are subject to only a single customs-house examination. It forms the key to the capital, which would be entirely at the mercy of any fleet which should once pass its batteries. It has therefore been fortified so strongly as to be apparently impregnable to all the navies of the world. We came to anchor under the guns of the fortress; and were soon put under the charge of our amiable friends of the custom-house, who took complete possession of the deck, while the passengers and officers of the vessel were directed to repair to the cabin to give an account of themselves, their occupations, pursuits, and designs to these rude and filthy representatives of the Czar. It was well for us that we had been in a measure hardened to these annoyances by our previous Continental experiences. Police and custom-house functionaries are nowhere famous for civility, but the rudest and most unendurable specimens of that class whom it has ever been my fortune to encounter are the lower orders of the Russian officials. We could, however, congratulate ourselves that the infliction was light in comparison to what it would have been had we proceeded by land from Abo. There trunks, pockets, and pocket-books are liable to repeated searches at different stations along the route. We were told of travelers who had their boxes of tooth-powder carefully emptied, and their soap-balls cut in two, in quest of something treasonable or contraband.

But there is an end to all things human, even to Russian police-examinations. Our passports were luckily all in order, and as our steamer was cleared for St. Petersburg we escaped the vexations attendant upon an inspection of luggage and a change of vessel. Every thing was put under seal, even to an ancient umbrella which [pg 448] had borne the brunt of many a shower in half the countries of Europe, to say nothing of storms it had weathered previous to its transatlantic voyage.

After our seven hours' detention, we found ourselves at last steaming up the transparent Neva, and straining our eyes to get a first view of the City of Peter. After something more than an hour's paddling against the rapid current of the river, the gilt dome of the Cathedral first caught the eye, followed by the sight of dome after dome, tower upon tower, spire after spire, gilt and spangled with azure stars, long before the flat roofs and walls of the city were visible.

No sooner had our steamer touched the granite quai than it was taken possession of by a horde of custom-house and police officers, a shade or two less filthy and disgusting than their Cronstadt brethren; for it is a noticeable fact, the higher you proceed in official grade, the more endurable do the Russian officials become, till you reach the heads of the departments, who are as civil and well-behaved a body of functionaries as ever clasped fingers upon a bribe. A few copecks or rubles, as the case may require, insinuated into the expectant palms of the searching officials have a wonderful tendency to abate the rigor of the examinations, which being completed, and a silver ruble paid to the officer in attendance, the traveler is at liberty to go on shore in search of a hotel or lodgings.

The instructed traveler will resist the seductions of the Russian hotels, with their magnificent fronts, and Russian, German, and French signboards; for once past the portals he will find that the noble staircases and broad passages are filthy beyond all western imagination; and the damask curtains and velvet sofas are perfect parks for all those “small deer” who make day and night hideous. If he be wise, he will make his way to some boarding-house upon the Quai Anglais, conducted by an emigrant from some country where the primitive faith in the virtues of dusters and soap and water is cherished.

No sooner is the stranger established than he must take an interpreter, and make the best of his way to the police office, to get a permit of residence. This he obtains after an interrogation from a very civil functionary, to whom must be paid a proportionate fee. But this permit is good only for the capital and its immediate vicinity. If the Russians are slow to welcome the coming, they are none the more ready to speed the parting guest. Mr. Smith and his friend Brown must not leave the capital till they have published an advertisement announcing their intention in three successive numbers of the Gazette, an operation which consumes a space of from a week to ten days.

These preliminaries duly attended to, we were at liberty to commence our examination of St. Petersburg. The traveler who first sees the city under a summer sun is always struck with amazement. Its public places are so vast, its monuments so numerous and imposing, its quays so magnificent, and its edifices, public and private, so enormous, and constructed apparently of materials so massive and enduring, that he is ready to pronounce it the most magnificent city upon earth.

A century and a half ago the low marshy shores of the Neva, and the islands formed by the branches into which it separates just before it empties itself into the Gulf of Finland were inhabited only by a few scattered Finnish fishermen. But commanding the entrance to Lake Ladoga, it was a military position of some importance, and the Swedes had long maintained there a fortress, the possession of which had been often unavailingly contested by the Russians, up to 1703, when Peter the Great made himself master of it. He determined to found upon this desolate spot the future capital of his vast empire, and at once commenced the task, without waiting for peace to confirm the possession of the site. He assembled a vast number of the peasantry from every quarter of his empire, and pushed forward the work with the energy of an iron will armed with absolute power. The surrounding country, ravaged by long years of war, could furnish no supplies for these enormous masses, and the convoys which brought them across Lake Ladoga were frequently detained by contrary winds. Ill fed and worse lodged, laboring in the cold and wet, multitudes yielded to the hardships, and the foundations of the new metropolis were laid at the cost of a hundred thousand lives, sacrificed in less than six months.

With Peter to will was to perform; he willed that a capital city should be built and inhabited, and built and inhabited it was. In April, 1714, a ukase was issued directing that all buildings should be erected in a particular manner; another, three months later, ordered a large number of nobles and merchants to erect dwellings in the new city. In a few months more another ukase prohibited the erection of any stone mansion in any other portion of the empire, while the enterprise of the capital was in progress; and that the lack of building materials should be no obstacle, every vessel, whether large or small, and every peasant's car which came to the city, was ordered to bring a certain specified number of building stones. The work undertaken with such rigid determination, and carried on with such remorseless vigor by Peter, was continued in the same unflinching spirit by his successors; and the result was the present St. Petersburg, with its aspect more imposing than that of any other city on the globe, but bearing in its bosom the elements of its own destruction, the moment it is freed from the control of the iron will, which created and now maintains it:—a fitting type and representative of the Russian Empire.

The whole enterprise of founding and maintaining St. Petersburg was and is a struggle against nature. The soil is a marsh so deep and spongy that a solid foundation can be attained only by constructing a subterranean scaffolding of piles. Were it not for these the city would sink into the marsh like a stage ghost through the trap-door. Every building of any magnitude [pg 449] rests on piles; the granite quays which line the Neva rest on piles. The very foot-pavements can not be laid upon the ground, but must be supported by piles. A great commercial city is maintained, the harbor of which is as inaccessible to ships, for six months in the year, as the centre of the desert of Sahara. In the neighboring country no part produces any thing for human sustenance save the Neva, which furnishes ice and fish. The severity of the climate is most destructive to the erections of human hands; and St. Petersburg, notwithstanding its gay summer appearance, when it emerges from the winter frosts, resembles a superannuated belle at the close of the fashionable season; and can only be put in proper visiting order by the assiduous services of hosts of painters and plasterers. Leave the capital for a half century to the unrepaired ravages of its wintry climate, and it would need a Layard to unearth its monuments.

But sure as are the wasting inroads of time and the climate, St Petersburg is in daily peril of an overthrow whose accomplishment would require but a few hours. The Gulf of Finland forms a vast funnel pointing eastward, at the extremity of which stands the city. No portion of the city is fifteen feet above the ordinary level of the water. A strong westerly wind, blowing directly into the mouth of the funnel, piles the water up so as to lay the lower part of the city under water. Water is as much dreaded here, and as many precautions are taken against it, as in the case of fire in other cities. In other cities alarm-signals announce a conflagration; here they give notice of an inundation. The firing of an alarm-gun from the Admiralty, at intervals of an hour, denotes that the lower extremes of the islands are under water, when flags are hung out from the steeples to give warning of danger. When the water reaches the streets, alarm-guns are fired every quarter of an hour. As the water rises the alarms grow more and more frequent, until minute-guns summon boats to the assistance of the drowning population.

[pg 450]

So much for the lower jaw of the monster that lies in wait for the Russian capital; now for the upper:—Lake Ladoga, which discharges its waters through the Neva, is frozen over to an enormous thickness during the long winter. The rapid northern spring raises its waters and loosens the ice simultaneously; when the waters of the Gulf are at their usual level, the accumulated ice and water find an easy outlet down the broad and rapid Neva. But let a strong west wind heap up the waters of the Gulf just as the breaking up of Lake Ladoga takes place, and the waters from above and from below would suffice to inundate the whole city, while all its palaces, monuments, and temples would be crushed between the masses of ice, like “Captain Ahab's” boat in the ivory jaws of “Moby Dick.” Nothing is more probable than such a coincidence. It often blows from the west for days together in the spring; and it is almost a matter of certainty that the ice will break up between the middle and the end of April. Let but a westerly storm arise on the fatal day of that brief fortnight, and farewell to the City of the Czars. Any steamer that bridges the Atlantic may be freighted with the tidings that St. Petersburg has sunk deeper than plummet can sound in the Finnish marshes from which it has so magically risen.

Illustration.
The Inundation of 1824.

Nor is this merely a matter of theory and speculation. Terrible inundations, involving enormous destruction of life and property have occurred. The most destructive of these took place on the 17th of November, 1824. A strong west wind heaped the waters of the Gulf up into the narrow funnel of the Neva, and poured them, slowly at first, along the streets. As night began to close in the rise of the waters became more and more rapid. Cataracts poured into doors, windows, and cellars. The sewers spouted up columns, like whales in the death-agony. The streets were filled with abandoned equipages, and deserted horses struggling in the rising waters. The trees in the public squares were crowded with those who had climbed them for refuge. During the night the wind abated, and the waters receded. But the pecuniary damage of that one night is estimated at twenty millions of dollars, and the loss of lives at eight thousand. All through the city a painted line traced upon the walls designates the height to which the waters reached. Were ever house-painters before engaged upon a task so ghastly? But suppose that, instead of November, April had been written as the date of this inundation, when the waters from the Lake above had met those from the Gulf below; St. Petersburg would have been numbered among the things that were—Ilium fuit.

Nothing of the kind can be more imposing than the view of St. Petersburg from the tower of the Admiralty upon some bright June day, such as that on which I first beheld it from that post. Under foot, as it seemed, from the galleries, lay the Admiralty-yards, where great ships were in process of erection, destined for no nobler service than to perform their three months' summer cruise in the Baltic, and to be frozen immovably in the harbors for six months out of twelve. The will of the Czar can effect much, but it can not convert Russia into a naval power until he can secure a seacoast, and harbors which can not be shut up to him by a single hostile fortification. Russia can not be a maritime power till she is mistress of the entrance to the Baltic and the Black Sea.

To the right and the left of the Admiralty stretch the great squares upon which stand the principal public edifices and monuments of the capital; the Winter Palace, with its six thousand constant occupants; the Hotel de l'Etat Major, whence go forth orders to a million of soldiers, the Senate House, and the Palace of the Holy Synod, the centres of temporal and spiritual law for the hundred nations blended into the Russian Empire; the Church of St. Isaac, with its four porticoes, the lofty columns of which, sixty feet in height, are each of a single block of granite, and the walls of polished marble; its cupola covered with copper overlaid with gold, gleaming like another sun, surmounted by a golden cross, and forming the most conspicuous object to the approaching visitor, whether he comes up the Gulf, or across the dreary Finnish marshes; yet, high as it rises in the air, it sinks scarcely a less distance below the ground, so deep was it necessary to drive into the marsh the forest of piles upon which it rests, before a firm foundation could be secured. Here is the Statue of Peter—the finest equestrian statue in the world—reining his steed upon the brink of the precipice up which he has urged it, his hand stretched out in benediction toward the Neva, the pride of his new-founded city. Here is the triumphal column to Alexander, “the Restorer of Peace,” the whole elevation of which is 150 feet, measuring to the head of the angel who—the cross victorious over the crescent—bears the symbol of the Christian faith above the capital cast from cannon captured from the Turks. The shaft is a single block eighty-four feet in height—the largest single stone erected in modern times; and it would have been still loftier had it not been for the blind unreasoning obedience to orders, so characteristic of the Russian. When the column had been determined upon, orders were dispatched to the quarries to detach, if possible, a single block for the shaft of the length of eighty-four feet, though with scarcely a hope that the attempt would succeed. One day a dispatch was received by the Czar from the superintendent, with the tidings that a block had been detached, free from flaw, one hundred feet long; but that he was about to proceed to reduce it to the required length. The sovereign mounted in hot haste to save the block from mutilation, and to preserve a column so much exceeding his hopes. But he was too late; and arrived just in time to see the sixteen feet severed from the block, which would otherwise have been the noblest shaft in the world.

The length of these public places, open and in full view, right and left, from the Admiralty tower, is a full mile.

[pg 451]

Stretching southward from the tower lies the “Great Side” of St. Petersburg, cut into three concentric semicircular divisions, of which the Admiralty is the centre, by three canals, and intersected by the three main avenues or Prospekts (Perspectives). These three Perspectives diverge like the spokes of a wheel from the Admiralty and run straight through the city, through the sumptuous quarters of the aristocracy, the domains of commerce, and the suburbs of the poor; while the view is closed by the mists rising from the swamps of Ingermanland.

Turning from the “Great Side,” and looking northward, the arms of the Neva diverge from near the foot of the Admiralty tower, as the Perspectives do from the southern side. The width of the Neva, its yielding bottom and shores, and the masses of ice which it sweeps down, make the erection of bridges so difficult that they are placed at very rare intervals, so that a person might be obliged to go miles before reaching one. But the stream is enlivened by boats and gondolas ready to convey passengers from one bank to the other. We were never weary of watching with a glass from the Admiralty tower, alternately, the river gay with boats and shipping, and the Perspectives thronged with their brilliant and motley crowd. With a somewhat different, but certainly no less absorbing interest, we gazed down from the same elevation into the works of the citadel, upon Petersburg Island, whose minutest details were clearly visible. This citadel is useless as a defense of the city against a hostile attack; but it furnishes a ready means of commanding the capital, and furnishes a refuge for the government in case of an insurrection. Like the fortifications of Paris, it is designed not so much to defend as to control the city.

St. Petersburg is certainly the most imposing city, and Russia is the most imposing nation in the world—at first sight. But the imposing aspect of both is to a great extent an imposition. The city tries to pass itself off for granite, when a great proportion is of wood or brick, covered with paint and stucco, which peels off in masses before the frosts of every winter, and needs a whole army of plasterers and painters every spring to put it in presentable order. You pass what appears a Grecian temple, and lo, it is only a screen of painted boards. A one-storied house assumes the airs of a loftier building, in virtue of a front of another story bolted and braced to its roof. And much even that is real is sadly out of place. Long lines of balconies and pillars and porticoes, which would be appropriate to Greece or Italy, are for the greater part of the year piled with snow-drifts. St. Petersburg and Russian civilization are both of a growth too hasty, and too much controlled from without, instead of proceeding from a law of inward development, to be enduring.

The capital to be seen to advantage must be viewed during the few weeks of early summer; or in the opening winter, when the snow forms a pavement better than art can produce, and when the cold has built a continuous bridge over the Neva, without having as yet become severe enough to drive every body from the streets.

The Neva is the main artery through which pours the life-blood of St. Petersburg. But the life-current is checked from the time when the ice is too far weakened by the returning sun to be passable, and not yet sufficiently broken up to float down to the Gulf. At that time all intercourse between portions of the city on its opposite batiks is suspended. Every body is anxious for the breaking-up of the ice. Luxuries from more genial climes are waiting in the Baltic for the river to be navigable. No sooner is the ice so far cleared as to afford a practicable passage for a boat, than the glad news is announced by the artillery of the citadel, and, no matter what the hour, the commandant and his suite hurry into a gondola and push over to the Imperial palace, directly opposite. The commandant fills a large goblet with the icy fluid, and presents it to the Emperor, informing him that his gondola, the first which has that year crossed the river, is the precursor of navigation. The Czar drains the cup to the health of the capital, and returns it, filled with ducats, to the commandant. Formerly it was observed, by some mysterious law of natural science, that this goblet grew larger and larger, year by year, so that the Czar who had swallowed Poland without flinching, and stood ready to perform the same operation upon Turkey, stood in danger of suffocation from his growing bumpers. Some wise man at last suggested that this tendency to the enlargement of the goblet might be counteracted, by limiting the number of ducats returned by way of acknowledgment. The suggestion was acted upon, and, greatly to the comfort of the Imperial purse and stomach, was found to be perfectly successful. The sum now given is two hundred ducats. This goblet of Neva water is surely the most costly draught ever quaffed since the time when brown-fronted Cleopatra dissolved the pearl in honor of mad Mark Antony.

The most striking winter spectacle of St. Petersburg, to a foreigner, is that of the ice mountains. They are in full glory during “Butter Week”—of which more anon—when Russia seems to forget her desire to be any thing but Russian. The great Place of the Admiralty is given up to the popular celebrations, and filled with refreshment-booths, swings, and slides. To form these ice mountains a narrow scaffold is raised to the height of some thirty or forty feet. This scaffold has on one side steps for the purpose of ascending it; on the other it slopes off, steeply at first, and then more gradually, until it finally terminates on a level. Upon this long slope blocks of ice are laid, over which water is poured, which by freezing unites the blocks, and furnishes a uniform surface, down which the merry crowd slide upon sledges, or more frequently upon blocks of smooth ice cut into an appropriate form.

Two of these mountains usually stand opposite and fronting each other, their tracks lying close together, side by side.

[pg 452]

Illustration.
Ice Mountain.

This is a national amusement all over Russia. Ice mountains are raised in the court-yards of all the chief residents in the capital. And an imitation of them, for summer use, covered with some polished wood, instead of ice, is often found in the halls of private dwellings. In the Imperial palace is such a slide, built of mahogany.

Street-life in St. Petersburgh presents many aspects strange to one who comes fresh from the capitals of other countries. One of the first things which will strike him is the silence and desertion of most of the streets. The thronging, eager crowd of other cities is here unknown. There is room enough, and to spare here. Broad streets, lined with rows of palaces, are as silent and lonely as deserted Tadmor, and a solitary droshka breaking the uniformity of the loneliness, heightens the effect. Leaving these broad, still streets, and mingling in the throng that presses in and through the Admiralty Place, the Nevskoi Perspective, or the Place of St. Isaac, the most noticeable feature, at first glance, is the preponderance of the military. The ordinary garrison of the capital amounts to 60,000 men. The Russian army comprises an almost infinite variety of uniforms, and specimens of these, worn by [pg 453] the élite of every corps, are constantly in the capital.

There are the Tartar guards, and the Circassian guards, Cossacks from the Don, from the Ural, and from Crimea; guards with names ending with off and ski,” unpronounceable by Western lips. The wild Circassian—enacting the double part of soldier and hostage—silver-harnessed and mail-coated, alternates with the skin-clad Cossack of the Ural, darting, lance in rest, over the parade-ground. There are regiments uniform not only in size of the men, color of the horses, and identity of equipments, but in the minutiæ of personal appearance. Of one, all the men are pug-nosed, blue-eyed, and red bearded; of another, every man has a nose like a hawk, with eyes, hair and beard as black as a raven's wing. Half the male population of St. Petersburg wear uniform; for, besides these 60,000 soldiers, it is worn by officers of every grade, by the police, and even by professors of the university, and by teachers and pupils in the public schools.

Turning from the military to the civil portion of the population, the same brilliant variety of costumes every where meets the eye. The sober-suited native of western and civilized Europe, jostles the brilliant silken robes of the Persian or Bokharian; the Chinaman flaunts his dangling pig-tail, ingeniously pieced out by artificial means, in the face of the smoothly-shorn Englishman; the white-toothed Arab meets the tobacco-stained German; Yankee sailors and adventurers, portly English merchants, canny Scotchmen, dwarfish Finlanders, stupid Lettes, diminutive Kamtschatkians, each in his own national costume, make up a lively picture; while underlying all, and more worthy of note than all, are the true Russian peasantry; the original stock out of which Peter and his successors have fashioned their mighty empire.

The Russian of the lower orders is any thing but an inviting personage, at first sight. The name by which they have been designated, in their own language, time out of mind, describes them precisely. It is tschornoi narod, “the dirty people,” or as we might more freely render it, “The Great Unwashed.” An individual of this class is called a mujik. He is usually of middle stature, with small light eyes, level cheeks, and flat nose, of which the tip is turned up so as to display the somewhat expanded nostril. His pride and glory is his beard, which he wears as long and shaggy as nature will allow. The back of the head is shaved closely; and as he wears nothing about his neck, his head stands distinctly away from his body. His ideal of the beauty of the human head, as seen from behind, seems to be to make it resemble, as nearly as may be, a turnip. He is always noisy and never clean; and when wrapped in his sheepskin mantle, or caftan of blue cloth reaching to his knees, might easily enough be taken for a bandit. As he seldom thinks of changing his inner garments more than once a week, and as his outer raiment lasts half his lifetime, and is never laid aside during the night, and never washed, he constantly affords evidence of his presence any thing but agreeable to the organs of smell. But a closer acquaintance will bring to light many traits of character which belie his rude exterior; and will show him to be at bottom a good-natured, merry, friendly fellow. His most striking characteristic is pliability and dexterity. If he does not possess the power of originating, he has a wonderful faculty of copying the ideas of others, and of yielding himself up to carry out the conceptions of any one who wishes to use him for the accomplishment of his ends. There is an old German myth which says that the Teutonic race was framed, in the depths of time, out of the hard, unyielding granite. The original material of the Russian race must have been Indian rubber, so easily are they compressed into any form, and so readily do they resume their own, when the pressure is removed. The raw, untrained mujik is drafted into the army, and in a few weeks attains a precision of movement more like an automaton than a human being. He becomes a trader, and the Jews themselves can not match him in cunning and artifice.

The mujik is a thoroughly good-tempered fellow. Address him kindly, and his face unbends at once, and you will find that he takes a sincere delight in doing you a kindness. In no capital of Europe are the temptations to crimes against the person so numerous as in St. Petersburg, with its broad lonely streets, unlighted at night, and scantily patrolled; but in no capital are such crimes of so rare occurrence.

But the mujik has two faults. He is a thorough rogue, and a great drunkard. He will cheat and guzzle from sheer love for the practices; and without the least apparent feeling that there is any thing out of the way in so doing. But in his cups he is the same good-natured fellow. The Irishman or Scotchman when drunk is quarrelsome and pugnacious; the German or the Englishman, stupid and brutal; the Spaniard or Italian, revengeful and treacherous. The first stages of drunkenness in the mujik are manifested by loquacity. The drunker he is the more gay and genial does he grow; till at last he is ready to throw himself upon the neck of his worst enemy and exchange embraces with him. When the last stage has been reached, and he starts for his home, he does not reel, but marches straight on, till some accidental obstruction trips him up into the mire, where he lies unnoticed and unmolested till a policeman takes charge of him. This misadventure is turned to public advantage, for by an old custom every person, male or female, of what grade soever, taken up drunk in the street by the police, is obliged the next day to sweep the streets for a certain number of hours. In our early rambles we often came across a woeful group thus improving the ways of others, in punishment for having taken too little heed of their own.

In vino veritas may perhaps be true of the juice of the grape; but it is not so of the bad brandy which is the favorite drink of the mujik. [pg 454] He is never too drunk to be a rogue, but yet you do not look upon his roguery as you do upon that of any other people. He never professes to be honest; and does not see any reason why he should be so. He seems so utterly unconscious of any thing reprehensible in roguery, that you unconsciously give him the benefit of his ignorance. If he victimizes you, you look upon him as upon a clever professor of legerdemain, who has cheated you in spite of your senses; but you hardly hold him morally responsible. Upon the whole, though you can not respect the mujik, you can hardly avoid having a sort of liking for him.

Illustration.
Punishment For Drunkenness.

Perhaps the most thoroughly Russian of all the tschornoi narod are the isvoshtshiks, or public drivers; at least they are the class with whom the traveler comes most immediately and necessarily into contact, and from whom he derives his idea of them. Such is the extent of St. Petersburg, that when the foreigner has sated his curiosity with the general aspect of the streets, he finds that he can not afford time to walk from one object of interest to another. Moreover, in winter—and here winter means fully six months in the year—the streets are spread with a thick covering of snow, which soon becomes beaten up into powdered crystals, through which locomotion is as difficult as through the deepest sands of Sahara; and the wind whirls these keen crystals about like the sand-clouds of the desert. Every body not to the manner born, whose pleasures or avocations call him abroad, is glad to draw his mantle over his face, and creeping into a sledge, wrap himself up as closely as he may in furs. In spring and summer, when the streets are usually either a marsh or choked with intolerable dust, pedestrianism is equally disagreeable. All this has called into requisition a host of Jehus, so that the stranger who has mastered enough Russian to call out Davai ishvoshtshik! “Here, driver!” or even lifts his hand by way of signal, has seldom need to repeat the summons.

Like his cart-borne kindred, the Tartars and Scythians, the ishvoshtshik makes his vehicle his home. In it he eats, drinks, and often sleeps, rolling himself up into a ball in the bottom, to [pg 455] present as little surface as possible to the action of the cold.—Russian-like, he always names a price for his services that will leave ample room for abatement. But once engaged, and he is for the time being your servant, and accepts any amount of abuse or beating as the natural condition of the bargain.

Illustration.
Ishvoshtshiks.

The mujik of every class seems indeed to be born ready bitted, for the use of anyone who has a hand steady enough to hold the reins. They are the best servants in the world for one who has the gift of command. It is this adaptation between the strong-willed autocrats who since Peter have swayed the destinies of Russia, and the serviceable nature of the people, that has raised the empire to its present position. A single weak ruler would change the whole destiny of Russia.

Notwithstanding the hardships of their lives, the isvoshtshiks are good-natured, merry, harmless, fellows, whether waiting for a fare or bantering a customer. But they have one thorn; and that is the pedestrian. Woe to the driver who runs against a foot-man; fine and flogging are his portion. If the pedestrian be thrown down, visions of Siberia float before the driver's eye; to say nothing of the pleasant foretaste of the policeman's cane and the confiscation of his vehicle.

Notwithstanding the general characteristic of laxity of principle, instances are by no means wanting of the most scrupulous and even romantic fidelity on the part of the Russians of the lower orders. It would be an interesting subject of investigation, how far this patent trait of national character is to be attributed to inherent constitutional defects in the race; and how far to the state of serfdom in which they have existed from generation to generation. But the investigation does not fall within the scope of our “Recollections.”

Our friends in the greasy sheepskins or woolen caftans have strong religious tendencies, though they may smack a little too much of those of the tight-fingered Smyrniote whom we detected purchasing candles to light before his patron saint, with the first-fruits of the purse of which he had not ten minutes before relieved our pocket. In all places where men congregate there are pictures of saints before which the mujik crosses himself on every occasion. In an inn or restaurant each visitor turns to the picture and crosses himself before he sits down to eat. If a mujik enters your room he crosses himself before saluting you. Every church is saluted with a sign of the cross. At frequent intervals in the streets little shrines are found, before which every body stops and makes the sacred sign, with bared head. The merchant in the gostunoi dvor or bazaar, every now and then walks up to his bog or saint, and with a devout inclination prays for success in trade.

No one has seen St. Petersburg who has not been there at Easter. The Greek Church finds great virtues in fasting; and a prolonged fast-time implies a subsequent carnival. The rigor of the Russian fasts strictly excludes every article of food containing the least particle of animal matter. Flesh and fowl are, of course, rigorously tabooed; so are milk, eggs, butter; and even sugar, on account of the animal matter used in refining it, of which a small portion might possibly remain. The fast preceding Easter, called, by way of eminence, “The Great Fast,” lasts seven full weeks, and is observed with a strictness unknown even in Catholic countries. The lower classes refrain even from fish during the first and last of these seven weeks, as well as on Wednesdays and Fridays in the remaining five. When we reflect how large a part some or all of these animal substances form of the cuisine of all northern nations, and in Russia most of all, we shall be ready to believe that this Great Fast is an important epoch in the Russian calendar, and is not to be encountered without a preparatory period of feasting, the recollection of which may serve to mitigate the enforced abstinence.

Among the upper classes in St. Petersburg balls, routs, and all carnival revelries begin to crowd thick and fast upon each other as early as the commencement of February. But the mass of the people compress these preparatory exercises into the week before the beginning of the fast. This is the famous Masslänitza or “Butter Week,” which contains the sum and substance [pg 456] of all Russian festivity. All the butter that should naturally have gone into the consumption of the succeeding seven weeks is concentrated into this. Whatever can be eaten with butter is buttered; what can not, is eschewed. The standard dish of the week is blinni, a kind of pancake, made with butter; fried in butter, and eaten with butter-sauce. For this one week the great national dish of shtshee or cabbage-soup is banished from the land.

Breakfast dispatched, then come the amusements. Formerly the swings, ice-mountains, and temporary theatres were erected upon the frozen plain of the Neva. But some years since, the ice gave way under the immense pressure, and a large number of the revelers were drowned. Since that time the great square of the Admiralty has been devoted to this purpose. For days previous, long trains of sledges are seen thronging to the spot, bearing timbers, poles, planks, huge blocks of ice, and all the materials necessary for the erection of booths, theatres, swings, and slides. These temporary structures are easily and speedily reared. A hole is dug in the frozen ground, into which the end of a post is placed. It is then filled with water, which under the influence of a Russian February binds it in its place as firmly as though it were leaded into a solid rock. The carnival commences on the first Sunday of the Butter Week, and all St. Petersburg gives itself up to sliding and swinging, or to watching the sliding and swinging of others. By a wise regulation eating and drinking shops are not allowed in the square, and the staple potable and comestibles are tea, cakes, and nuts. Few more animated and stirring sights are to be seen than the Admiralty square at noon, when the mirth is at the highest among the lower orders, and when all the higher classes make their appearance driving in regular line along a broad space, in front of the booths, reserved for the equipages. Every body in St. Petersburg of any pretensions to rank or wealth keeps a carriage of some kind; and every carriage, crowded with the family in their gayest attire, joins in the procession.

Butter Week, with its blinni and ice mountains passes away all too quickly, and is succeeded by the grim seven weeks' fast. The Admiralty square looks desolate enough, lumbered over with fragments of the late joyous paraphernalia, and strewed with nut-shells and orange-peel. Public amusements, of almost all kinds are prohibited, and time passes on with gloomy monotony, only broken by a stray saint's day, like a gleam of sunshine across a murky sky. It is worth while to be a saint, in Russia, if his day falls during the Great Fast, for it will be sure to be celebrated with most exemplary fervor.

As the fast draws near its close, preparation s on tiptoe for a change. The egg-market begins to rise, owing to the demand for “Easter-eggs,” for on that day it is customary to present an egg to every acquaintance on first greeting him. This has given rise to a very pretty custom of giving presents of artificial eggs of every variety of material, and frequently with the most elegant decorations. The Imperial glass manufactory furnishes an immense number of eggs of glass, with cut flowers and figures, designed as presents from the Czar and Czarina.

Saturday night before Easter at last comes and goes. As the midnight hour which is to usher in Easter-day approaches, the churches begin to fill. The court appears in the Imperial chapel in full dress; and the people, of all ages, ranks, and conditions, throng their respective places of worship. Not a priest, however, is to be seen until the midnight hour strikes, when the entrance to the sanctuary of the church is flung open, and the song peals forth—Christohs vosskress! Christohs vosskress ihs mortvui“Christ is risen! Christ is risen from the dead!” The priests in their richest robes press through the throng, bowing and swinging their censers before the shrine of the saints, repeating the “Christ is risen!” The congregation grasp each other's hands, those acquainted, however distantly, embracing and kissing, repeating the same words. The churches are at once in a blaze of illumination within and without; and all over the city cannons boom, rockets hiss, and bells peal in token of joy. The Great Fast is over, and the Easter festival has begun.

In the churches the ceremony of blessing the food is going on. The whole pavement, unencumbered with pews or seats, is covered with dishes ranged in long rows, with passages between for the officiating priests, who pace along, sprinkling holy water to the right and left, and pronouncing the form of benediction; the owner of each dish all the while on a keen look-out that his food does not fail of receiving some drops of the sanctifying fluid. Before daylight all this is accomplished; and then come visitings and banquets, congratulations of the season, bowings, hand-shakings, and, above all, kissing.

Illustration: Kissing.

Illustration: Kissing.

Illustration: Kissing.

Illustration: Kissing.

All Russia breaks out now into an Oriental exuberance of kisses. What arithmetic shall undertake to compute the osculatory expenditure? Every member of a family salutes every other member with a kiss. All acquaintances, [pg 457] however slight, greet with a kiss and a Christohs vosskress. Long-robed mujiks mingle beards and kisses, or brush their hirsute honors over the faces of their female acquaintances. In the public offices all the employées salute each other and their superiors. So in the army. The general embraces and kisses all the officers of the corps; the colonel of a regiment those beneath him, besides a deputation of the soldiers; and the captain salutes all the men of his company. The Czar does duty at Easter. He must of course salute his family and retinue, his court and attendants. But this is not all. On parade he goes through the ceremony with his officers, and a selected body of privates, who stand as representatives of the rest, and even with the sentinels at the palace gates. So amid smiles and handshakings, and exclamations of “Christ has arisen!” pass on the days of the Easter festival. Ample amends are made for the long abstinence of the Great Fast, by unbounded indulgence in the coveted animal food, to say nothing of the copious libations of brandy—evidences of which are visible enough in groups of amateur street-sweepers who subsequently are seen plying their brooms in the early morning hours. Such is St. Petersburg, when most Russian.

A Love Affair At Cranford.

I am tempted to relate it, as having interested me in a quiet sort of way, and as being the latest intelligence of Our Society at Cranford.

I thought, after Miss Jenkyns's death, that probably my connection with Cranford would cease; at least that it would have to be kept up by correspondence, which bears much the same relation to personal intercourse that the books of dried plants I sometimes see (“Hortus Siccus,” I think they call the thing), do to the living and fresh flowers in the lanes and meadows. I was pleasantly surprised, therefore, by receiving a letter from Miss Pole (who had always come in for a supplementary week after my annual visit to Miss Jenkyns), proposing that I should go and stay with her; and then, in a couple of days after my acceptance, came a note from Miss Matey, in which, in a rather circuitous and very humble manner, she told me how much pleasure I should confer, if I could spend a week or two with her, either before or after I had been at Miss Pole's; “for,” she said, “since my dear sister's death, I am well aware I have no attractions to offer; it is only to the kindness of my friends that I can owe their company.”

Of course, I promised to come to dear Miss Matey, as soon as I had ended my visit to Miss Pole; and the day after my arrival at Cranford, I went to see her, much wondering what the house would be like without Miss Jenkyns, and rather dreading the changed aspect of things. Miss Matey began to cry as soon as she saw me. She was evidently nervous from having anticipated my call. I comforted her as well as I could; and I found the best consolation I could give, was the honest praise that came from my heart as I spoke of the deceased. Miss Matey slowly shook her head over each virtue as it was named, and attributed to her sister; at last she could not restrain the tears which had long been silently flowing, but hid her face behind her handkerchief, and sobbed aloud.

“Dear Miss Matey!” said I, taking her hand—for indeed I did know in what way to tell her how sorry I was for her, left deserted in the world. She put down her handkerchief, and said,

“My dear, I'd rather you did not call me [pg 458] Matey. She did not like it; but I did many a thing she did not like, I'm afraid—and now she's gone! If you please, my love, will you call me Matilda?”

I promised faithfully, and began to practice the new name with Miss Pole that very day; and, by degrees, Miss Matilda's feelings on the subject were known through Cranford, and the appellation of Matey was dropped by all, except a very old woman who had been nurse in the rector's family, and had persevered through many long years, in calling the Miss Jenkynses “the girls;” she said “Matey,” to the day of her death.

My visit to Miss Pole was very quiet. Miss Jenkyns had so long taken the lead in Cranford, that, now she was gone, they hardly knew how to give a party. The Honorable Mrs. Jamieson, to whom Miss Jenkyns herself had always yielded the post of honor, was fat and inert and very much at the mercy of her old servants. If they chose her to give a party, they reminded her of the necessity for so doing; if not, she let it alone. There was all the more time for me to hear old-world stories from Miss Pole, while she sat knitting, and I making my father's shirts. I always took a quantity of plain sewing to Cranford; for, as we did not read much, or walk much, I found it a capital time to get through my work. One of Miss Pole's stories related to the love affair I am coming to; gradually, not in a hurry, for we are never in a hurry at Cranford.

Presently, the time arrived, when I was to remove to Miss Matilda's house. I found her timid and anxious about the arrangements for my comfort. Many a time, while I was unpacking, did she come backward and forward to stir the fire, which burned all the worse for being so frequently poked.

“Have you drawers enough, dear?” asked she. “I don't know exactly how my sister used to arrange them. She had capital methods. I am sure she would have trained a servant in a week to make a better fire than this, and Fanny has been with me four months.”

This subject of servants was a standing grievance, and I could not wonder much at it; for if gentlemen were scarce, and almost unheard of in the “genteel society” of Cranford, they or their counterparts—handsome young men—abounded in the lower classes. The pretty, neat servant-maids had their choice of desirable “followers;” and their mistresses, without having the sort of mysterious dread of men and matrimony that Miss Matilda had, might well feel a little anxious, lest the heads of their comely maids should be turned by the joiner, or the butcher, or the gardener; who were obliged by their callings, to come to the house; and who, as ill-luck would have it, were generally handsome and unmarried. Fanny's lovers, if she had any—and Miss Matilda suspected her of so many flirtations, that, if she had not been very pretty, I should have doubted her having one—were a constant anxiety to her mistress. She was forbidden, by the articles of her engagement, to have “followers;” and though she had answered innocently enough, doubling up the hem of her apron as she spoke, “Please, ma'am, I never had more than one at a time,” Miss Matey prohibited that one. But a vision of a man seemed to haunt the kitchen. Fanny assured me that it was all fancy; or else I should have said myself that I had seen a man's coat-tails whisk into the scullery once, when I went on an errand into the store-room at night; and another evening when, our watches having stopped, I went to look at the clock, there was a very odd appearance, singularly like a young man squeezed up between the clock and the back of the open kitchen-door; and I thought Fanny snatched up the candle very hastily, so as to throw the shadow on the clock-face, while she very positively told me the time half-an-hour too early, as we found out afterward by the church-clock. But I did not add to Miss Matey's anxieties by naming my suspicions, especially as Fanny said to me, the next day, that it was such a queer kitchen for having odd shadows about it, she really was almost afraid to stay; “for you know, Miss,” she added, “I don't see a creature from six o'clock tea, till missus rings the bell for prayers at ten.”

However, it so fell out that Fanny had to leave; and Miss Matilda begged me to stay and “settle her” with the new maid; to which I consented, after I had heard from my father that he did not want me at home. The new servant was a rough, honest-looking country-girl, who had only lived in a farm-place before; but I liked her looks when she came to be hired; and I promised Miss Matilda to put her in the ways of the house. These said ways were religiously such as Miss Matilda thought her sister would approve. Many a domestic rule and regulation had been a subject of plaintive whispered murmur, to me, during Miss Jenkyns's life; but now that she was gone, I do not think that even I, who was a favorite, durst have suggested an alteration. To give an instance: we constantly adhered to the forms which were observed, at meal times, “in my father the rector's house.” Accordingly, we had always wine and dessert; but the decanters were only filled when there was a party; and what remained was seldom touched, though we had two wine glasses apiece every day after dinner, until the next festive occasion arrived; when the state of the remainder wine was examined into, in a family council. The dregs were often given to the poor; but occasionally when a good deal had been left, at the last party (five months ago, it might be) it was added to some of a fresh bottle, brought up from the cellar. I fancy poor Captain Brown did not much like wine; for I noticed he never finished his first glass, and most military men take several. Then, as to our dessert, Miss Jenkyns used to gather currants and gooseberries for it herself, which I sometimes thought would have tasted better fresh from the trees; but then, as Miss Jenkyns observed, there would have been nothing for dessert in summer-time. As it was, we felt very genteel with our two glasses [pg 459] apiece, and a dish of gooseberries at the top, of currants and biscuits at the sides, and two decanters at the bottom. When oranges came in, a curious proceeding was gone through. Miss Jenkyns did not like to cut the fruit; for, as she observed, the juice all ran out, nobody knew where; sucking (only, I think, she used some more recondite word) was in fact the only way of enjoying oranges; but then there was the unpleasant association with a ceremony frequently gone through by little babies; and so, after dessert, in orange season, Miss Jenkyns and Miss Matey used to rise up, possess themselves each of an orange in silence, and withdraw to the privacy of their own rooms, to indulge in sucking oranges.

I had once or twice tried, on such occasions, to prevail on Miss Matey to stay; and had succeeded in her sister's life-time. I held up a screen, and did not look, and, as she said, she tried not to make the noise very offensive; but now that she was left alone, she seemed quite horrified when I begged her to remain with me in the warm dining-parlor, and enjoy her orange as she liked best. And so it was in every thing. Miss Jenkyns's rules were made more stringent than ever, because the framer of them was gone where there could be no appeal. In every thing else Miss Matilda was meek and undecided to a fault. I have heard Fanny turn her round twenty times in a morning about dinner, just as the little hussy chose; and I sometimes fancied she worked on Miss Matilda's weakness, in order to bewilder her, and to make her feel more in the power of her clever servant. I determined that I would not leave her till I had seen what sort of a person Martha was; and, if I found her trustworthy, I would tell her not to trouble her mistress with every little decision.

Martha was blunt and plain-spoken to a fault; otherwise she was a brisk, well-meaning, but very ignorant girl. She had not been with us a week before Miss Matilda and I were astounded one morning by the receipt of a letter from a cousin of hers, who had been twenty or thirty years in India, and who had lately, as we had seen by the Army List, returned to England, bringing with him an invalid wife, who had never been introduced to her English relations. Major Jenkyns wrote to propose that he and his wife should spend a night at Cranford, on his way to Scotland—at the inn, if it did not suit Miss Matilda to receive them into her house; in which case they should hope to be with her as much as possible during the day. Of course, it must suit her, as she said; for all Cranford knew that she had her sister's bedroom at liberty; but I am sure she wished the Major had stopped in India and forgotten his cousins out and out.

“Oh! how must I manage!” asked she, helplessly. “If Deborah had been alive, she would have known what to do with a gentleman-visitor. Must I put razors in his dressing-room? Dear! dear! and I've got none. Deborah would have had them. And slippers, and coat-brushes?” I suggested that probably he would bring all these things with him. “And after dinner, how am I to know when to get up, and leave him to his wine? Deborah would have done it so well; she would have been quite in her element. Will he want coffee, do you think?” I undertook the management of the coffee, and told her I would instruct Martha in the art of waiting, in which it must be owned she was terribly deficient; and that I had no doubt Major and Mrs. Jenkyns would understand the quiet mode in which a lady lived by herself in a country town. But she was sadly fluttered. I made her empty her decanters, and bring up two fresh bottles of wine. I wished I could have prevented her from being present at my instructions to Martha; for she continually cut in with some fresh direction, muddling the poor girl's mind, as she stood open-mouthed, listening to us both.

“Hand the vegetables round,” said I (foolishly, I see now—for it was aiming at more than we could accomplish with quietness and simplicity); and then, seeing her look bewildered, I added, “Take the vegetables round to people, and let them help themselves.”

“And mind you go first to the ladies,” put in Miss Matilda. “Always go to the ladies before gentlemen, when you are waiting.”

“I'll do it as you tell me, ma'am,” said Martha; “but I like lads best.”

We felt very uncomfortable and shocked at this speech of Martha's; yet I don't think she meant any harm; and, on the whole, she attended very well to our directions, except that she “nudged” the Major, when he did not help himself as soon as she expected, to the potatoes, while she was handing them round.

The Major and his wife were quiet, unpretending people enough when they did come; languid, as all East Indians are, I suppose. We were rather dismayed at their bringing two servants with them, a Hindoo body-servant for the Major, and a steady elderly maid for his wife; but they slept at the inn, and took off a good deal of the responsibility by attending carefully to their master's and mistress's comfort. Martha, to be sure, had never ended her staring at the East Indian's white turban, and brown complexion, and I saw that Miss Matilda shrunk away from him a little as he waited at dinner. Indeed, she asked me, when they were gone, if he did not remind me of Blue Beard? On the whole, the visit was most satisfactory, and is a subject of conversation even now with Miss Matilda; at the time it greatly excited Cranford, and even stirred up the apathetic and Honorable Mrs. Jamieson to some expression of interest when I went to call and thank her for the kind answers she had vouchsafed to Miss Matilda's inquiries as to the arrangement of a gentleman's dressing-room—answers which I must confess she had given in the wearied manner of the Scandinavian prophetess—

Leave me, leave me to repose.

And now I come to the love affair.

It seems that Miss Pole had a cousin, once or twice removed, who had offered to Miss Matey [pg 460] long ago. Now, this cousin lived four or five miles from Cranford on his own estate; but his property was not large enough to entitle him to rank higher than a yeoman; or rather, with something of the “pride which apes humility,” he had refused to push himself on, as so many of his class had done, into the ranks of the squires. He would not allow himself to be called Thomas Holbrook, Esq.; he even sent back letters with this address, telling the postmistress at Cranford that his name was Mr. Thomas Holbrook, yeoman. He rejected all domestic innovations; he would have the house door stand open in summer, and shut in winter, without knocker or bell to summon a servant. The closed fist or the knob of the stick did this office for him, if he found the door locked. He despised every refinement which had not its root deep down in humanity. If people were not ill, he saw no necessity for moderating his voice. He spoke the dialect of the country in perfection, and constantly used it in conversation; although Miss Pole (who gave me these particulars) added, that he read aloud more beautifully and with more feeling than any one she had ever heard, except the late Rector.

“And how came Miss Matilda not to marry him?” asked I.

“Oh, I don't know. She was willing enough, I think; but you know Cousin Thomas would not have been enough of a gentleman for the Rector, and Mrs. and Miss Jenkyns.”

“Well! but they were not to marry him,” said I, impatiently.

“No; but they did not like Miss Matey to marry below her rank. You know she was the Rector's daughter, and somehow they are related to Sir Peter Arley: Miss Jenkyns thought a deal of that.”

“Poor Miss Matey!” said I.

“Nay, now, I don't know any thing more than that he offered and was refused. Miss Matey might not like him—and Miss Jenkyns might never have said a word—it is only a guess of mine.”

“Has she never seen him since?” I inquired.

“No, I think not. You see, Woodley, Cousin Thomas's house, lies half-way between Cranford and Misselton; and I know he made Misselton his market-town very soon after he had offered to Miss Matey; and I don't think he has been into Cranford above once or twice since—once, when I was walking with Miss Matey in High-street; and suddenly she darted from me, and went up Shire-lane. A few minutes after I was startled by meeting Cousin Thomas.”

“How old is he?” I asked, after a pause of castle-building.

“He must be about seventy, I think, my dear,” said Miss Pole, blowing up my castle, as if by gunpowder, into small fragments.

Very soon after—at least during my long visit to Miss Matilda—I had the opportunity of seeing Mr. Holbrook; seeing, too, his first encounter with his former love, after thirty or forty years' separation. I was helping to decide whether any of the new assortment of colored silks which they had just received at the shop, would help to match a gray and black mousseline-de-laine that wanted a new breadth, when a tall, thin, Don Quixote-looking old man came into the shop for some woolen gloves. I had never seen the person (who was rather striking) before, and I watched him rather attentively, while Miss Matey listened to the shopman. The stranger wore a blue coat with brass buttons, drab breeches, and gaiters, and drummed with his fingers on the counter until he was attended to. When he answered the shop-boy's question, “What can I have the pleasure of showing you to-day, sir?” I saw Miss Matilda start, and then suddenly sit down; and instantly I guessed who it was. She had made some inquiry which had to be carried round to the other shopman.

“Miss Jenkyns wants the black sarcenet two-and-twopence the yard;” and Mr. Holbrook had caught the name, and was across the shop in two strides.

“Matey—Miss Matilda—Miss Jenkyns! God bless my soul! I should not have known you. How are you? how are you?” He kept shaking her hand in a way which proved the warmth of his friendship; but he repeated so often, as if to himself, “I should not have known you!” that any sentimental romance which I might be inclined to build, was quite done away with by his manner.

However, he kept talking to us all the time we were in the shop; and then waving the shopman with the unpurchased gloves on one side, with “Another time, sir! another time!” he walked home with us. I am happy to say my client, Miss Matilda, also left the shop in an equally bewildered state, not having purchased either green or red silk. Mr. Holbrook was evidently full with honest, loud-spoken joy at meeting his old love again; he touched on the changes that had taken place; he even spoke of Miss Jenkyns as “Your poor sister! Well, well! we have all our faults;” and bade us good-by with many a hope that he should soon see Miss Matey again. She went straight to her room; and never came back till our early tea-time, when I thought she looked as if she had been crying.

A few days after, a note came from Mr. Holbrook, asking us—impartially asking both of us—in a formal, old-fashioned style, to spend a day at his house—a long June day—for it was June now. He named that he had also invited his cousin, Miss Pole; so that we might join in a fly, which could be put up at his house.

I expected Miss Matey to jump at this invitation; but, no! Miss Pole and I had the greatest difficulty in persuading her to go. She thought it was improper; and was even half-annoyed when we utterly ignored the idea of any impropriety in her going with two other ladies to see her old lover. Then came a more serious difficulty. She did not think Deborah would have liked her to go. This took us half a day's good hard talking to get over; but, at the first sentence of relenting, I seized the opportunity, and wrote [pg 461] and dispatched an acceptance in her name—fixing day and hour, that all might be decided and done with.

The next morning she asked me if I would go down to the shop with her; and there, after much hesitation, we chose out three caps to be sent home and tried on, that the most becoming might be selected to take with us on Thursday.

She was in a state of silent agitation all the way to Woodley. She had evidently never been there before; and, although she little dreamt I knew any thing of her early story, I could perceive she was in a tremor at the thought of seeing the place which might have been her home, and round which it is probable that many of her innocent girlish imaginations had clustered. It was a long drive there, through paved jolting lanes. Miss Matilda sate bolt upright, and looked wistfully out of the windows, as we drew near the end of our journey. The aspect of the country was quiet and pastoral. Woodley stood among fields; and there was an old-fashioned garden, where roses and currant-bushes touched each other, and where the feathery asparagus formed a pretty back-ground to the pinks and gilly-flowers; there was no drive up to the door; we got out at a little gate, and walked up a straight box-edged path.

“My cousin might make a drive, I think,” said Miss Pole, who was afraid of ear-ache, and had only her cap on.

“I think it is very pretty,” said Miss Matey, with a soft plaintiveness in her voice, and almost in a whisper; for just then Mr. Holbrook appeared at the door, rubbing his hands in very effervescence of hospitality. He looked more like my idea of Don Quixote than ever, and yet the likeness was only external. His respectable housekeeper stood modestly at the door to bid us welcome; and, while she led the elder ladies upstairs to a bed-room, I begged to look about the garden. My request evidently pleased the old gentleman; who took me all round the place, and showed me his six-and-twenty cows, named after the different letters of the alphabet. As we went along, he surprised me occasionally by repeating apt and beautiful quotations from the poets, ranging easily from Shakspeare and George Herbert to those of our own day. He did this as naturally as if he were thinking aloud, that their true and beautiful words were the best expression he could find for what he was thinking or feeling. To be sure he called Byron “my Lord Byron,” and pronounced the name of Goethe strictly in accordance with the English sound of the letters—“As Goëthe says, 'Ye ever verdant palaces,'” &c. Altogether, I never met with a man, before or since, who had spent so long a life in a secluded and not impressive country, with ever-increasing delight in the daily and yearly change of season and beauty.

When he and I went in, we found that dinner was nearly ready in the kitchen—for so I suppose the room ought to be called, as there were oak dressers and cupboards all round, all over by the side of the fire-place, and only a small Turkey-carpet in the middle of the flag-floor. The room might have been easily made into a handsome dark-oak dining-parlor, by removing the oven, and a few other appurtenances of a kitchen, which were evidently never used; the real cooking-place being at some distance. The room in which we were expected to sit was a stiffly furnished, ugly apartment; but that in which we did sit was what Mr. Holbrook called the counting-house, where he paid his laborers their weekly wages, at a great desk near the door. The rest of the pretty sitting-room—looking into the orchard, and all covered over with dancing tree-shadows—was filled with books. They lay on the ground, they covered the walls, they strewed the table. He was evidently half ashamed and half proud of his extravagance in this respect. They were of all kinds—poetry, and wild weird tales prevailing. He evidently chose his books in accordance with his own tastes, not because such and such were classical, or established favorites.

“Ah!” he said, “we farmers ought not to have much time for reading; yet somehow one can't help it.”

“What a pretty room!” said Miss Matey, sotto voce.

“What a pleasant place!” said I, aloud, almost simultaneously.

“Nay! if you like it,” replied he; “but can you sit on these great black leather three-cornered chairs? I like it better than the best parlor; but I thought ladies would take that for the smarter place.”

It was the smarter place; but, like most smart things, not at all pretty, or pleasant, or home-like; so, while we were at dinner, the servant-girl dusted and scrubbed the counting-house chairs, and we sate there all the rest of the day.

We had pudding before meat; and I thought Mr. Holbrook was going to make some apology for his old-fashioned ways, for he began,

“I don't know whether you like newfangled ways.”

“Oh! not at all!” said Miss Matey.

“No more do I,” said he. “My housekeeper will have things in her new fashion; or else I tell her, that when I was a young man, we used to keep strictly to my father's rule, ‘No broth, no ball; no ball, no beef;’ and always began dinner with broth. Then we had suet puddings, boiled in the broth with the beef; and then the meat itself. If we did not sup our broth, we had no ball, which we liked a deal better; and the beef came last of all, and only those had it who had done justice to the broth and the ball. Now folks begin with sweet things, and turn their dinners topsy-turvy.”

When the ducks and green pease came, we looked at each other in dismay; we had only two-pronged, black-handled forks. It is true, the steel was as bright as silver; but, what were we to do? Miss Matey picked up her peas, one by one, on the point of the prongs, much as Aminé ate her grains of rice after her previous feast with the Ghoul. Miss Pole sighed over [pg 462] her delicate young peas as she left them on one side of her plate untasted; for they would drop between the prongs. I looked at my host: the peas were going wholesale into his capacious mouth, shoveled up by his large round-ended knife. I saw, I imitated, I survived! My friends, in spite of my precedent, could not muster up courage enough to do an ungenteel thing; and, if Mr. Holbrook had not been so heartily hungry, he would, probably, have seen that the good pease went away almost untouched.

After dinner, a clay-pipe was brought in, and a spittoon; and, asking us to retire to another room, where he would soon join us, if we disliked tobacco-smoke, he presented his pipe to Miss Matey, and requested her to fill the bowl. This was a compliment to a lady in his youth; but it was rather inappropriate to propose it as an honor to Miss Matey, who had been trained by her sister to hold smoking of every kind in utter abhorrence. But if it was a shock to her refinement, it was also a gratification to her feelings to be thus selected; so she daintily stuffed the strong tobacco into the pipe; and then we withdrew.

“It is very pleasant dining with a bachelor,” said Miss Matey, softly, as we settled ourselves in the counting-house. “I only hope it is not improper; so many pleasant things are!”

“What a number of books he has!” said Miss Pole, looking round the room. “And how dusty they are!”

“I think it must be like one of the great Dr. Johnson's rooms,” said Miss Matey. “What a superior man your cousin must be!”

“Yes!” said Miss Pole; “he is a great reader; but I am afraid he has got into very uncouth habits with living alone.”

“Oh! uncouth is too hard a word. I should call him eccentric; very clever people always are!” replied Miss Matey.

When Mr. Holbrook returned, he proposed a walk in the fields; but the two elder ladies were afraid of damp and dirt; and had only very unbecoming calashes to put over their caps; so they declined; and I was again his companion in a turn which he said he was obliged to take, to see after his niece. He strode along, either wholly forgetting my existence, or soothed into silence by his pipe—and yet it was not silence exactly. He walked before me, with a stooping gait, his hands clasped behind him; and, as some tree, or cloud, or glimpse of distant upland pastures struck him, he quoted poetry to himself; saying it out loud in a grand, sonorous voice, with just the emphasis that true feeling and appreciation give. We came upon an old cedar-tree, which stood at one end of the house;

More black than ash-buds in the front of March,
A cedar spread his dark-green layers of shade.

“Capital term—‘layers!’ Wonderful man!” I did not know whether he was speaking to me or not; but I put in an assenting “wonderful,” although I knew nothing about it; just because I was tired of being forgotten, and of being consequently silent.

He turned sharp round. “Ay! you may say ‘wonderful.’ Why, when I saw the review of his poems in ‘Blackwood,’ I set off within an hour, and walked seven miles to Misselton (for the horses were not in the way), and ordered them. Now, what color are ash-buds in March?”

Is the man going mad? thought I. He is very like Don Quixote.

“What color are they, I say?” repeated he, vehemently.

“I am sure I don't know, sir,” said I, with the meekness of ignorance.

“I knew you didn't. No more did I—an old fool that I am! till this young man comes and tells me. ‘Black as ash-buds in March.’ And I've lived all my life in the country; more shame for me not to know. Black; they are jet-black, madam.” And he went off again, swinging along to the music of some rhyme he had got hold of.

When he came home nothing would serve him but that he must read us the poems he had been speaking of; and Miss Pole encouraged him in his proposal, I thought, because she wished me to hear his beautiful reading, of which she had boasted; but she afterward said it was because she had got to a difficult part of her crotchet, and wanted to count her stitches without having to talk. Whatever he had proposed would have been right to Miss Matey; although she did fall sound asleep within five minutes after he began a long poem called “Locksley Hall,” and had a comfortable nap, unobserved, till he ended; when the cessation of his voice wakened her up, and she said, feeling that something was expected, and that Miss Pole was counting:

“What a pretty book!”

“Pretty! madam! it's beautiful! Pretty, indeed!”

“Oh, yes! I meant beautiful!” said she, fluttered at his disapproval of her word. “It is so like that beautiful poem of Dr. Johnson's my sister used to read—I forget the name of it; what was it, my dear?” turning to me.

“Which do you mean, ma'am? What was it about?”

“I don't remember what it was about, and I've quite forgotten what the name of it was; but it was written by Dr. Johnson, and was very beautiful, and very like what Mr. Holbrook has just been reading.”

“I don't remember it,” said he, reflectively, “but I don't know Dr. Johnson's poems well. I must read them.”

As we were getting into the fly to return, I heard Mr. Holbrook say he should call on the ladies soon, and inquire how they got home; and this evidently pleased and fluttered Miss Matey at the time he said it; but after we had lost sight of the old house among the trees, her sentiments toward the master of it were gradually absorbed into a distressing wonder as to whether Martha had broken her word, and seized on the opportunity of her mistress's absence to have a “follower.” Martha looked good, and steady, and composed enough, as she came to help us [pg 463] out; she was always careful of Miss Matey, and to-night she made use of this unlucky speech:

“Eh! dear ma'am, to think of your going out on an evening in such a thin shawl! It is no better than muslin. At your age, ma'am, you should be careful.”

“My age!” said Miss Matey, almost speaking crossly, for her; for she was usually gentle. “My age! Why, how old do you think I am, that you talk about my age?”

“Well, ma'am! I should say you were not far short of sixty; but folks' looks is often against them—and I'm sure I meant no harm.”

“Martha, I'm not yet fifty-two!” said Miss Matey, with grave emphasis; for probably the remembrance of her youth had come very vividly before her this day, and she was annoyed at finding that golden time so far away in the past.

But she never spoke of any former and more intimate acquaintance with Mr. Holbrook. She had probably met with so little sympathy in her early love, that she had shut it up close in her heart; and it was only by a sort of watching, which I could hardly avoid, since Miss Pole's confidence, that I saw how faithful her poor heart had been in its sorrow and its silence.

She gave me some good reason for wearing her best cap every day, and sate near the window, in spite of her rheumatism, in order to see, without being seen, down into the street.

He came. He put his open palms upon his knees, which were far apart, as he sate with his head bent down, whistling, after we had replied to his inquiries about our safe return. Suddenly, he jumped up.

“Well, madam! have you any commands for Paris? I'm going there in a week or two.”

“To Paris!” we both exclaimed.

“Yes, ma'am! I've never been there, and always had a wish to go; and I think if I don't go soon, I mayn't go at all; so as soon as the hay is got in I shall go, before harvest-time.”

We were so much astonished, that we had no commissions.

Just as he was going out of the room, he turned back, with his favorite exclamation:

“God bless my soul, madam! but I nearly forgot half my errand. Here are the poems for you, you admired so much the other evening at my house.” He tugged away at a parcel in his coat-pocket. “Good-by, Miss,” said he; “good-by, Matey! take care of yourself.” And he was gone. But he had given her a book, and he had called her Matey, just as he used to do thirty years ago.

“I wish he would not go to Paris,” said Miss Matilda, anxiously. “I don't believe frogs will agree with him; he used to have to be very careful what he ate, which was curious in so strong-looking a young man.”

Soon after this I took my leave, giving many an injunction to Martha to look after her mistress, and to let me know if she thought that Miss Matilda was not so well; in which case I would volunteer a visit to my old friend, without noticing Martha's intelligence to her.

Accordingly I received a line or two from Martha every now and then; and, about November, I had a note to say her mistress was “very low, and sadly off her food;” and the account made me so uneasy, that, although Martha did not decidedly summon me, I packed up my things and went.

I received a warm welcome, in spite of the little flurry produced by my impromptu visit, for I had only been able to give a day's notice. Miss Matilda looked miserably ill; and I prepared to comfort and cosset her.

I went down to have a private talk with Martha.

“How long has your mistress been so poorly?” I asked, as I stood by the kitchen fire.

“Well! I think it's better than a fortnight; it is, I know: it was one Tuesday after Miss Pole had been here that she went into this moping way. I thought she was tired, and it would go off with a night's rest; but, no! she has gone on and on ever since, till I thought it my duty to write to you, ma'am.”

“You did quite right, Martha. It is a comfort to think she has so faithful a servant about her. And I hope you find your place comfortable?”

“Well, ma'am, missus is very kind, and there's plenty to eat and drink, and no more work but what I can do easily—but—” Martha hesitated.

“But what, Martha?”

“Why, it seems so hard of missus not to let me have any followers; there's such lots of young fellows in the town; and many a one has as much as offered to keep company with me; and I may never be in such a likely place again, and it's like wasting an opportunity. Many a girl as I know would have 'em unbeknownst to missus; but I've given my word, and I'll stick to it; or else this is just the house for missus never to be the wiser if they did come: and it's such a capable kitchen—there's such good dark corners in it—I'd be bound to hide any one. I counted up last Sunday night—for I'll not deny I was crying because I had to shut the door in Jem Hearn's face; and he's a steady young man, fit for any girl; only I had given missus my word.” Martha was all but crying again; and I had little comfort to give her, for I knew, from old experience, of the horror with which both the Miss Jenkynses looked upon “followers;” and in Miss Matey's present nervous state this dread was not likely to be lessened.

I went to see Miss Pole the next day, and took her completely by surprise; for she had not been to see Miss Matilda for two days.

“And now I must go back with you, my dear, for I promised to let her know how Thomas Holbrook went on; and I'm sorry to say his housekeeper has sent me word to-day that he hasn't long to live. Poor Thomas! That journey to Paris was quite too much for him. His housekeeper says he has hardly ever been round his fields since; but just sits with his hands on his knees in the counting-house, not reading or any thing, but only saying, what a wonderful city [pg 464] Paris was! Paris has much to answer for, if it's killed my cousin Thomas, for a better man never lived.”

“Does Miss Matilda know of his illness?” asked I; a new light as to the cause of her indisposition dawning upon me.

“Dear! to be sure, yes! Has she not told you? I let her know a fortnight ago, or more, when first I heard of it. How odd, she shouldn't have told you!”

Not at all, I thought; but I did not say any thing. I felt almost guilty of having spied too curiously into that tender heart, and I was not going to speak of its secrets—hidden, Miss Matey believed, from all the world. I ushered Miss Pole into Miss Matilda's little drawing-room; and then left them alone. But I was not surprised when Martha came to my bedroom door, to ask me to go down to dinner alone, for that missus had one of her bad headaches. She came into the drawing-room at tea-time; but it was evidently an effort to her; and, as if to make up for some reproachful feeling against her late sister, Miss Jenkyns, which had been troubling her all the afternoon, and for which she now felt penitent, she kept telling me how good and how clever Deborah was in her youth; how she used to settle what gowns they were to wear at all the parties (faint, ghostly ideas of dim parties far away in the distance, when Miss Matey and Miss Pole were young!) and how Deborah and her mother had started the benefit society for the poor, and taught girls cooking and plain sewing; and how Deborah had once danced with a lord; and how she used to visit at Sir Peter Arley's, and try to remodel the quiet rectory establishment on the plans of Arley Hall, where they kept thirty servants; and how she had nursed Miss Matey through a long, long illness, of which I had never heard before, but which I now dated in my own mind as following the dismissal of the suit of Mr. Holbrook. So we talked softly and quietly of old times, through the long November evening.

The next day Miss Pole brought us word that Mr. Holbrook was dead. Miss Matey heard the news in silence; in fact, from the account on the previous day, it was only what we had to expect. Miss Pole kept calling upon us for some expression of regret, by asking if it was not sad that he was gone: and saying,

“To think of that pleasant day last June, when he seemed so well! And he might have lived this dozen years if he had not gone to that wicked Paris, where they are always having revolutions.”

She paused for some demonstration on our part. I saw Miss Matey could not speak, she was trembling so nervously; so I said what I really felt: and after a call of some duration—all the time of which I have no doubt Miss Pole thought Miss Matey received the news very calmly—our visitor took her leave. But the effort at self-control Miss Matey had made to conceal her feelings—a concealment she practiced even with me, for she has never alluded to Mr. Holbrook again, although the book he gave her lies with her Bible on the little table by her bedside; she did not think I heard her when she asked the little milliner of Cranford to make her caps something like the Honorable Mrs. Jamieson's, or that I noticed the reply,

“But she wears widows' caps, ma'am?”

“Oh! I only meant something in that style; not widows', of course, but rather like Mrs. Jamieson's.”

This effort at concealment was the beginning of the tremulous motion of head and hands which I have seen ever since in Miss Matey.

The evening of the day on which we heard of Mr. Holbrook's death, Miss Matilda was very silent and thoughtful; after prayers she called Martha back, and then she stood uncertain what to say.

“Martha!” she said at last; “you are young,” and then she made so long a pause that Martha, to remind her of her half-finished sentence, dropped a courtesy, and said:

“Yes, please, ma'am; two-and-twenty last third of October, please, ma'am.”

“And perhaps, Martha, you may some time meet with a young man you like, and who likes you. I did say you were not to have followers; but if you meet with such a young man, and tell me, and I find he is respectable, I have no objection to his coming to see you once a week. God forbid!” said she, in a low voice, “that I should grieve any young hearts.” She spoke as if she were providing for some distant contingency, and was rather startled when Martha made her ready, eager answer:

“Please, ma'am, there's Jim Hearn, and he's a joiner, making three-and-sixpence a day, and six foot one in his stocking-feet, please ma'am; and if you'll ask about him to-morrow morning, every one will give him a character for steadiness; and he'll be glad enough to come to-morrow night, I'll be bound.”

Though Miss Matey was startled, she submitted to Fate and Love.

Anecdotes Of Monkeys.

During a short stay on the Essequibo, a little monkey of the Jackowai Ris tribe, in return for some slight attention I had shown him, permitted me so far to gain his favor and confidence, that he was seldom away from my person; indeed, he treated me like one mentioned by a distinguished traveler, which every morning seized on a pig belonging to a mission on the Orinoco, and rode on its back during the whole day, while it wandered about the savannahs in search of food. Nothing pleased him better than to perch on my shoulder, when he would encircle my neck with his long hairy tail, and accompany me in all my rambles. His tail formed a no very agreeable neckcloth, with the thermometer above one hundred degrees; but he seemed so disappointed when I refused to carry him, that it was impossible to leave him behind. In appearance he was particularly engaging—squirrel-like in form—with a light brown coat slightly tinged with yellow, and arms and legs of a reddish cast—pleasingly [pg 465] contrasting with a pale face, and small black muzzle; the expressive and merry twinkle of his sparkling black eye betokened fun, roguery, and intelligence. The Jackowai Ris are a fierce race, and approach the carnivora in their habits and dispositions. One reason of our intimacy was the sameness of our pursuits—both being entomologists; but he was a far more indefatigable insect-hunter than myself. He would sit motionless for hours among the branches of a flowering shrub or tree, the resort of bees and butterflies, and suddenly seize them when they little expected danger. Timid in the presence of strangers, he would usually fly to the branches of a neighboring tree at their approach, uttering a plaintive cry, more resembling a bird than an animal. He was apt to be troublesome, even to me, unless I found him some amusement; this, fortunately, was not difficult; for his whole attention was soon engrossed by a flower, or by a leaf from my note-book, which he would industriously pull to pieces, and throw on the surface of the water, earnestly watching the fragments with his quick black eye, as they glided away.

At other times, when sitting on my shoulder, he was an incessant plague, twitching the hairs from my head by twos and threes, filling my ears with fragments of plants and other rubbish, and taking a malicious pleasure in holding on by those members when the boat lurched, and he was in danger of falling. I think it was one of the same family that Humboldt found capable of recognizing, as resemblances of their originals, even uncolored zoological drawings; and would stretch out its hand to endeavor to capture the bees and grasshoppers. I was unable to test the sagacity of my little comrade, as the only accessible work with engravings was a copy of Schomburgk's “Fishes of Guiana;” and when I showed him the plates he manifested no signs of a knowledge of any of his finny compatriots; never, perhaps, having seen them. He was dreadfully afraid of getting himself wet, particularly his hands and feet; in this respect showing a very different disposition to a large long-haired black monkey, belonging to a family settled a short distance from our residence.

This animal—an object of the greatest terror to the little Jackowinki, from his having caught him one day and ducked him in the river—was one of the most tractable and docile I ever remember having met. He was in the habit of accompanying his master in all his fishing and shooting expeditions, taking his allotted seat in the canoe, and plying his small paddle for hours together with the utmost gravity and composure; all the while keeping excellent time, and being never “out of stroke.” Like his companions, he would now and then dip the handle of his paddle in the water, to destroy the squeaking grate of the dry surface, and again would lean over the side and wash his hands. His domestic habits were perfectly human. The first thing every morning he cleansed his teeth, by taking a mouthful of water, and using his finger as a tooth-brush; like the other members of the family, whom he also imitated in their daily bath in the river. Perhaps one at least of these peculiarities was not entirely imitative, as a credible authority (Captain Stedman, in his “Narrative of an Expedition to Surinam”) assures us that he once saw a monkey at the water's edge, rinsing his mouth, and appearing to clean his teeth with his fingers.

As for my little friend, I intended to bring him home; but the day before my departure he suddenly decamped. We were taking our usual trip up the creek, and I was just thinking of returning, when, on rounding a sharp bend in the tortuous channel, I perceived two Jackowinkis sitting on a branch about twenty yards distant, as yet unaware of our vicinity, and from their chattering and grimaces seemingly engaged in some matrimonial squabble. Anxious to obtain a specimen for stuffing, I fired at one, which proved to be the male, who dropped to the ground.

When he saw his brother fall, he seemed instantly to understand that I was a murderer. He took immediate revenge. He sprang to my shoulder, tore a handful of hair from my head, and swiftly clambered away among the overhanging branches. When I recovered from surprise at this unexpected attack, he had paused in his flight; and, with his face turned toward me, was grinning, showing his sharp little teeth, and throwing down glances of fierceness and hate. In another instant he was pursuing the female, whose plaintive twitterings were distinctly audible, as she scampered away among the trees. In the course of time, he no doubt managed to console the widow; and, free from all shackles and restraints, is probably, at this moment, quietly enjoying a married life in his native woods.

The Mountain Torrent.

I.

My family, by the paternal side, was originally of Berne, in Switzerland, whence a branch of it removed to the Milanese, to improve its fortunes. The name of Reding—well-known in the Cantons—was sustained with credit by my father. He inherited a thriving mill and farm, about a quarter of a league from the straggling village and venerable Castle of St. Michael, within sight of the Tyrolese Alps. Traveling to Zurich, where he had distant connections, he returned with a companion who weaned him from the desire of wandering any more.

The Castle of St. Michael, with the estate on which our little property was situated, belonged to an Austrian noble, who managed it by deputy, and lived in courtly splendor at Vienna. Count Mansfeldt was equitably represented by his steward, Engel; and under him, our house enjoyed prosperity from the days of my grandsire.

I had but one sister; my mother was the sole superintendent of her education; she thought the feminine mind, so susceptible of impressions, should never be spontaneously consigned to foreign culture. Katherine was worthy of her preceptress. It is not for me to dilate upon her excellence—a portrait by my hand might be deemed [pg 466] the glowing creation of a brother's fondness. It is enough to mention the strength of our attachment. I was two years her senior; and when her age qualified her for sharing in childish pastimes, she was the welcome partner of all my amusements. I showered into her lap the first flowers of spring, and brought her the wild-strawberry from heights where few would venture. In her friendship, I reposed the confidence of ripening boyhood—frequently were the overflowings of a sanguine temperament repressed by her mildness. With innocent wiles she endeavored to vail my errors from parental eyes; when I did incur displeasure, her accustomed gayety was gone, and the voice that recalled her truant smile, was ever that which pardoned the offender.

II.

I was entering my twentieth year, when our situation underwent an important change. Our landlord was gathered to his ancestors, having bequeathed his Lombardy estate to his second son, Count Rainer. Engel, the good old steward, was soon after dismissed from office, and retired, with the fruits of faithful service, to his native town in Carniola.

Count Rainer was a captain in the imperial army. He was with his regiment at Pavia when informed of his father's death. Devolving his authority on an emancipated sergeant of hussars, the purveyor of his libertine pleasures, he dispatched him to St. Michael to wring money from the tenantry, and prepare for his reception.

Ludolf was a swaggering bravo, emulous, at middle age, of the vices of profligate youth. On his arrival, he circulated a pompous intimation that he came vested with full powers to treat with the vassals of the count, and renew their engagements.

My sister had gone to the village to make purchases, and I left the mill at vesper chime with the intention of meeting her. The path was abrupt, and little frequented. I was cherishing discontent at the husbandman's unvaried existence, when I was roused by the distant accents of a female in distress. They were clearly distinguishable, and I rushed to the quarter whence they proceeded. In a corner of an open spot, backed by a deep ditch, fenced with luxuriant underwood, Katherine was keeping a man, unknown to me, at bay: he was above the middle size, and in his beard and costume affected the fashion of the military. He faced me as I approached, and my sister, with disordered dress and agitated frame, flew to my side. Defenseless as I was, my first impulse was to chastise the ruffian, though he wore a sabre; but consideration for the terrified girl, who clung to me imploringly, induced me to forego my purpose. We had not receded many paces, when Katherine relinquished her hold, and uttered a warning cry: the hand of violence was already at my throat; and a harsh voice, unsteady from rage or intemperance, demanded why a contemptible slave dared to interfere with the representative of Count Rainer.

Unequal to my opponent in bulk and inert force, I was far above him in activity and the resources of a vigorous constitution. A sudden jerk freed me from his hold, and a well-applied push sent him reeling to the verge of the ditch. He drew his weapon with a rapidity on which I had not calculated; Katherine's coolness saved my life: she arrested his arm in its sweep. Ere he could disengage himself, I collected all my energy for one buffet, and laid him supine in the reservoir of mud.

III.

Count Rainer was greeted at St. Michael with the show of rustic rejoicing usual on the appearance of a new master. He was accompanied by a train of riotous associates. The roar of Bacchanalian merriment shook the dusky halls of his patrimonial fabric, which, in the blaze of unwonted festivity, seemed to have renewed its youth. Naught, from the evening of the rencounter, had we heard or seen of Ludolf. His rudeness might have originated in the coarse jocularity of a soldier, stimulated by too fervid an application to the bottle. Prudence required that I should abstain from needlessly irritating a man whose enmity might mar my father's arrangements with his lord: I therefore avoided the chance of collision.

I was strolling about the fields with my gun on my shoulder, when a pet pigeon of Katherine's whirred past me, pursued by a hawk. I fired at the bird of prey, which dropped in an adjoining meadow. Springing across the intervening hedge, I found myself in the presence of a group of mounted sportsmen and their attendants. One of the horsemen was examining the dead hawk; his attention was directed toward me by a retainer, in whose brawny proportions, husky voice, and ferocious mustaches, I recognized my adversary, Ludolf.

My gun was demanded, in the name of Count Rainer: I refused to surrender it. The party formed a circle around, pinioned me, and wrested it from me, ere I could attempt resistance. “Mr. Steward,” said the count, “you may now acquaint your friend with the consequences of destroying a nobleman's falcon.”

The ready villain and his servile followers dragged me to the earth; they profaned my person by stripes. When they left me in my abasement, the air felt pestilent with their brutal laughter.

I lay with my face to the greensward long after their departure. My brain was eddying in a hell-whirl. I could have welcomed the return of chaos, that the circumstance of my shame might be obliterated in the clash of contending elements. Had the sun been blotted from the heavens, and the summer earth turned to blackness and desolation, I should have thought them fit and natural occurrences. I raised my burning brow; but the orb of day was riding high in his glory, and the meadow-grass and wild flowers were fresh and fragrant as if they had not witnessed the act of degradation. I discovered that a stranger had been regarding me with a vigilant eye. I confronted him, and darted at him a devouring [pg 467] glance; his firm, contemplative look remained unaltered. Placing a hand on my shoulder, he said, “Albert Reding, consider me your friend.”

“I know you not,” I answered, “nor care to know you.” He smiled benevolently:

“Young man, I am no Austrian. I shall be with you to-morrow.”

IV.

The stranger kept his word: on the ensuing day he came to our dwelling. Making, he said, a tour through the north of Italy, the picturesque scenery tempted him to prolong his sojourn at St. Michael. In his excursions, he had chanced to hold random converse with my father, whom he professed to value as the worthy descendant of an independent and intelligent people.

I had forborne to grieve my family by the story of my disgrace, nor had it yet been detailed to them by the officious communicativeness of pretended friends. Our visitor made no allusion to it, but expatiated very agreeably on topics of general interest. He described the passes of the Alps with the accuracy of a mountaineer, and displayed an intimacy with the localities of the cantons that filled my parents with pleasure and surprise. In pursuit of knowledge he had traversed the most remarkable sections of the globe; and his observations, affluent in instruction, proved that his wanderings had been of a different order from the capricious migrations of sight-seeking wealth.

The warmth with which I seconded some of his sentiments appeared to please him. He complimented my father on my education; adding, that the judgment with which I developed its resources designated me for a wider sphere of action than belonged to a tiller of the soil of Lombardy. I had been vain enough to entertain the same opinion; and its confirmation by a competent authority was balm to my spirit. Gladly I acceded to his request, of guiding him to the Baron's Font, a romantic cascade, where, to use his own language, he sighed to offer allegiance to Nature.

My companion noted the peculiarities of the route, and committed to writing the information I furnished respecting the district. We rested on the summit of a steep, skirted by the foaming stream of the cascade, beyond which rose wooded grounds in bold acclivity, mellowing, with their dusky greenness, the gloomy grandeur of a mouldering tower.

The stranger abruptly adverted to the hateful humiliation of the preceding day. He descanted on the contumely I had suffered, with a vehement bitterness that chafed my young blood to flame. I denounced endless hostility against the count and his minions. He calmly commented on the futility of the threat. In the frenzy of exasperation, I insinuated the possibility of resorting to the darkest means of accomplishing revenge. He replied, that in cooler moments I would spurn the idea of Italian vengeance. Requiring a pledge of secrecy, he proceeded to point out an honorable mode of lowering the crest of the oppressor.

“My name,” he said, “is Philippon—my profession, a military engineer, in the service of the French Republic. The armies of Liberty only await the capture of Toulon to sever the chains of Italy. I am terminating a secret journey of observation through Piedmont and the Milanese. Come with me to Paris, and join the standard of Freedom. In France, no parchment barrier excludes untitled youth from fame and fortune; draw a blade in her cause, and relieve the place of your nativity from the thralldom of its petty tyrant. These brutal and stolid Austrians must be driven to their land of hereditary bondage—justice demands it. The time has gone by for insulted and injured Humanity to shed tears in secret. Five dreary years I pined in the dismal solitudes of the Bastile—I saw it fall, amid the curses of my countrymen; and never shall the spirit of a liberated nation taste repose, until every stronghold of remorseless power is patent to the winds of heaven as yon grim old fortress, where the Count Rainers of the past outraged with impunity the natural equality of man!”

The majesty of generous indignation irradiated his brow: the eloquent thunders of the Roman forum seemed to roll around me. I agreed to attend him to the capital of the young Republic.

V.

Bent on entering the field of martial adventure, I anticipated much difficulty in obtaining the concurrence of my father. A lover of tranquillity, he had sickened at the sanguinary measures that had crimsoned the cradle of the French Revolution. Yielding also to age and infirmity, he had been accustomed to the prospect of resigning to me the chief management of our affairs. The narrative of my shame, however, which led him to tremble for the consequences, determined him against opposing my departure. Of my military project, and the pursuits of my patron, I made no disclosure—I barely stated the fact, that he had promised to provide for me at Paris, and proposed, in the mean time, giving me employment as an amanuensis.

Sorrow and joy are twin daughters of affection. Notwithstanding the excitement of curiosity and ambition, reluctantly and despondingly I crossed our humble threshold. I went away at night, and this added to the melancholy character of the separation. My mother was unwell, and at her bedside I received her blessing. The features of my gentle-natured sister gave dim and pallid testimony to the fullness of her affliction. When I had parted with my parents, she escorted me to the extremity of the orchard. “Oh, Albert!” were the only words she had power to utter; and her face looked so mournful—so heart-appealing, in the moonlight—that to desert her smote me as a sin. One embrace, and I bounded off like a chamois—then paused, till weeping relieved my soul—Katherine! Katherine!

VI.

I remained about a year at Paris in the house of my patron. Toulon had fallen, and the army of Italy had commenced operations by a successful movement on the Sardinian frontier. Profiting [pg 468] by the opportunity I possessed of studying the theory of the military art, I was rewarded with a commission in a regiment of the line—one of those destined for the invasion of the Milanese. I received, with alacrity, the order to proceed to Nice. I was shocked and disgusted by the dreary spectacle of civil broil, and I thirsted for distinction. The memory of wrong also rankled in my bosom, and in my dreams I planted the revolutionary banner on the battlements of St. Michael, and heard myself hailed in the halls of the insolent Austrian with the acclamations due to a hero.

I joined my regiment; but a government weakened by vacillations in its form, and dissensions in the capital, permitted the army, with which my hopes were associated, to languish ill-appointed and inactive. Instead of running a career of glory, it was forced to contend with the most depressing privations. In my despondency, a long-delayed letter arrived from my father. Its contents were almost limited to the earnest request, that I would immediately hasten home.

Its emphatic urgency, unaccompanied by explanation, assured me that all went not well. I would fain have obeyed the summons, but it was impracticable. The Directory, established in authority, ordered the army of Italy to the field. General Bonaparte, an officer in his twenty-sixth year, marshaled the way to the Alps.

Napoleon's campaigns in 1796 are familiar to all Europe. It was my fortune to be present in the most remarkable engagements, and to escape without a wound. When Wurmser, after repeated defeats, succeeded in recruiting his forces in the Tyrol, a strong body of our troops, headed by the commander-in-chief, advanced against a division of 20,000 Austrians stationed at Roveredo. Our line of march lay through the district of my birth. A few hours before we were in motion I was summoned to the quarters of the general. It was the well-known characteristic of this extraordinary man scrupulously to ascertain the extent of his resources, even to the qualifications of an individual soldier.

Aware of my knowledge of the country he was about to penetrate, he wished to make it subservient to his purpose. He questioned me as to the correctness of some local information, which I perceived had been derived from the documents of Philippon. Satisfied on these points, he sportively inquired, if I had any dislike to act as his herald to my old neighbors. I related my obligations to our German superior, and he promised me ample powers for discharging them in full.

We were evidently unexpected. No artificial obstacle opposed our progress, and we proceeded with unexampled celerity. Our advanced posts were only separated from St. Michael by a few miles of broken ground, when I was dispatched with a detachment to surprise it. The troops halted in a chestnut grove, about half a league from the mill, while I, grappling a fowling-piece, assuming a light hunting-cap, and covering my uniform with an ordinary cloak, went forth to reconnoitre the place, and to provide for the safety of my relatives.

I skirted round the village and castle, which I found were occupied by a company of Hungarian infantry under Count Rainer. Not anticipating the irruption of an enemy into their secluded fastness, camp indulgences had relaxed order. My informer, a poor peasant, seemed afraid of confiding to a stranger his opinion of the count and his followers. I asked concerning my family, but with the name of Reding he was unacquainted.

It was the beginning of September. There had been a continuance of unusually sultry weather, and the melting of the mountain snows had swelled the stream at St. Michael to an impetuous torrent. Twilight was approaching when I reached a sheltered position opposite the castle. The waters dashed furiously against the base of the building, and the crazy supports of the antiquated bridge quivered like a harpstring.

I resolved on a nocturnal attack, and was about to seek a passing interview with the dear domestic circle, when, looking toward the castle, I saw what stayed my step. A female ran wildly to the stream, pursued by some menials, in the rear of whom, on horseback, came the count their master. The fugitive cleared the bridge just as her pursuers gained it. At that moment the centre of the infirm structure gave way to the torrent. Concealed among the trees, I perceived the female on bended knees, distractedly blessing God for her deliverance; and I knew that it was Katherine, my only—my beloved sister!

I fired a shot at him who had been foremost in the chase—the infamous Ludolf—as he clambered up a remnant of the shattered bridge. He stood unhurt amidst the group that surveyed me, while I sheltered the dove of my boyhood in my bosom. In the confusion I exposed my uniform; the alarm was given, and every instant became precious. I supported Katherine until out of sight of the foe. “Fly!” I cried; “fly to our parents, dear sister! tell them I shall bring glad tidings in the morning!”

I counseled in vain. The sense of injury had unsettled her mind—she hung helplessly upon me—her lips moved, but I could distinguish nothing of what she spoke, save the repetition of the words, “Home! I have no home!”—Oh, God! she was sadly altered!

A bugle echoed among the cliffs. I bore her to a cavern, the discovery of my youth, and wrapped her in my cloak. Hurrying, by familiar paths, with a speed I had never before exerted, I rejoined my associates.

VII.

An intricate and circuitous track brought us at midnight to the isolated church of St. Michael, commanding the village and the narrow road to the castle. We crouched in the church-yard, until every sound ceased, and the lights that had blazed in different directions were no longer visible. Leaving part of my force to intercept the communication with the village, I led the remainder to a point of the fortress which I had scaled in my youthful rambles.

[pg 469]

The pacing of the sentinels, and the noisy vigils of the count and his guests, were clearly audible as I descended the ivied wall. My party followed, one by one, and our success would have been signally complete, but for the accidental discharge of a musket. This was answered by a volley from the guard, the din of arms, and the hasty gathering of a tumultuous body of defenders. Ordering my men to keep close and follow me, we pressed forward to a private door that opened into the body of the pile.

This barrier was quickly shattered by a shower of balls, and in a second the great hall resounded with the groans of the dying and the shouts of the triumphant. In that arena of slaughter I was collected as I am now. Once had Rainer's bloated visage confronted me in the fray, but the baleful meteor vanished, and bootless to me was the issue of the conflict, until blade or bullet did its work on him and his subordinate.

The hall gave indications of a carousal. The red wine streaming from flagons overturned in struggle, mingled with the life-drops of the wassailers. Death derived a more appalling aspect from the relics of recent revelry. Some intoxicated wretches had been bayoneted with the goblets in their hands. One had fallen backward on the hearth above the burning embers; he was mortally wounded, and the blood gushed freely in the flames. I stooped to raise him from his bed of torture. The streaks of gore did not disguise the lineaments of Ludolf. The reprobate had closed his reckoning with mortality.

Victory was ours, but discipline was at an end; I could with difficulty muster sentinels for the night; the cellars were ransacked, and weariness and intemperance soon produced their effects. Sending confidential messengers to attend to my sister's safety, and convey intelligence to my father, I prepared to await the dawn of morning.

Feverish from anxiety, I felt no inclination to grant my wearied limbs repose. My brain was racked with the thought of Katherine, and apprehension for my parents. I had seen enough to convince me that Rainer had done his worst. What confederate demon had enabled him to escape me?

I paced from post to post, execrating the sluggish march of time. Leaning over an eminence near the broken bridge, I listened to the turbulent music of the waters. A subterraneous opening cut in the rocky soil below communicated with the vaults of the castle. Hearing the echo of a foot-fall, I bent cautiously over the outlet. A lamp glimmered beneath. A muffled figure raised it aloft to guide its egress, then extinguished it hastily. The light fell on the face of the count.

I grasped his cloak as he emerged, but, slipping it from his shoulders, he retreated toward a shelving wood-walk on the margin of the stream. Had he gained it, the darkness must have saved him. Both my pistols missed fire. I outstripped in the race, and bore him back to the very edge of the ravine. He made a thrust at me with his sword. I neither paused for a trial of skill, nor attempted to ward off the weapon; the butt-end of a pistol found its way to his forehead; not a sound passed his lips; down he went—down—down—passively bounding over the jagged declivity, till a heavy plash told that he was whirling with the torrent.

Vengeance was satisfied: I recoiled involuntarily from the scene of the encounter. Suddenly arose an explosion, as if a volcano had torn up the foundation of the castle: I was felled to the earth ere I could speculate upon the cause.

VIII.

My campaigns were over. Rainer had laid a train, and fired the powder magazine of his captured hold. The bravest of my men perished; and I, crushed beneath a fragment of the toppling towers, lived to curse the art that returned me mutilated and miserable, to a world in which I was henceforth to have no portion.

I left the hospital a phantom, and set forth on a pilgrimage, the performance of which was the only business that remained to me in life. The tide of battle had ebbed from St. Michael, when I crawled up its steep—the church and castle were blackened ruins—the habitations of the villagers roofless and deserted—the mill a shapeless mass of timber and stones. Our orchard was unfolding the buds of spring—I fancied that the hoary apple-trees wore the aspect of friends—the voice of singing floated on my ear, as I neared the dwelling of my infancy, and the fountain of my heart re-opened.

Close to the spot where our pretty porch once stood, a matron, in the garb of extreme penury, was bending over the trampled remains of a plot of flowers. Her features were only partially revealed, but the mountain melody she sang could not be mistaken—I fell at my mother's feet! Shading back the hair from my scarred temples, she asked me if I had come from her children!

Mercy was vouchsafed to her and to me. She soon slumbered with the clods of the valley. My father had died, ere my departure from France; and the story of our injuries from the Austrian lightened the burden of remorse for the shedding of blood. I have discovered no trace of Katherine since I quitted her at the cave.

A Masked Ball At Vienna.

It is a bitterly cold night, and the snow which has been for three days tumbling down upon the roofs and pavements of Vienna, tumbles down upon us still. The theatres, which get through their performances by half-past nine, are closed already; and there is a lull now in the muffled streets. I mean to go out as a muffled man, and use the ticket I have bought for a Masked Ball at the palace. The sale of tickets for such balls, which take place now and then during the winter, raises enormous sums, which are applied to charitable purposes, so that the luxury of the rich is made to minister, in this case, also to the comforts of the poor.

Here I stand ankle-deep in snow, and look up at the palace; all the windows on the first story are being lighted up, and cold gentlemen converging toward the door from all parts, are the members of Strauss's band. And now lights [pg 470] have begun to flash about the streets, and masks are beginning to arrive. Splendid carriages of the nobility; and positively some of the imperial family do not disdain to be among the first arrivals! The beau from the suburbs, in a light fiacre. Actresses and officers in their broughams. Sledges from the country, drawn by merry little horses, frisking through the snow, and jingling bells over their harness. A chaos of lights, a coachman, and the long poles of sedan chairs in the way of a chaos of legs, hats, shoulders, coach-tops, and every thing else, powdered with snow that tumbles silently and steadily upon the scene of riot. A crush of revelers upon the staircase. Half-past eleven; all the most important people having now entered—except myself—it is quite time for me to follow to the ball-room.

A vast room. Think of the Great Exhibition, if you want a notion of it; and take off a discount for exaggeration. Walk to the end of this room, and a door opens into another ball-room, almost twice as large. In each of these great halls, there are raised orchestras, in which the bands are stationed; and when one band ceases playing, another is prepared immediately to begin. Galleries, to which you ascend by flights of stairs at each end, run round both the rooms; and into these galleries open innumerable ice and supper-rooms, passages, and out-of-the-way cells, wherein you may lose yourself, but not your company. Masks are to be found sitting in every corner; wherever a mask is, there is mischief.

You see nothing vulgar, no rude costume, no monstrous noses, no absurd pairs of spectacles, or woolly wigs. You hear no boisterous shouts of mirth; beautiful music reigns incessantly supreme over all other sounds. Only the ladies are disguised; their faces are hidden behind elegant little black silk masks, and they vie with each other in the costliness and beauty of their costumes and dominoes. The men are all in simple evening dress; they walk about, defenseless game, and yield sport in abundance to the dames and damsels. Most of the ministers are here—grave, steady gentlemen, with bald heads or gray hair. Each of them is surrounded by a swarm of masks—princesses, perhaps—milliners, perhaps—and some of them are evidently making wry mouths at what they are obliged to hear. This is the time for home truths. The ladies at a masked ball make good use of their disguise, and scatter about their wholesome mischief abundantly.

A vision in black and gold beckons to me. I place myself at her disposal. “You are an Englishman,” the vision says; “I know you.” “How, madam?” “By your awkwardness.” “Are Britons awkward?” “Yes, and wearisome. Go, you are not amusing. Take care of your gloves; they are so large that I fear they will fall off.” The vision laughs at me and vanishes. I have a secret or two which I don't mean to print. I did think that those mysteries were locked up in my bosom. If you ever happen to be at Vienna, with some secrets in your keeping, and desire to know whether you hold them safe, go to a Masked Ball. Mocking voices, behind black silk masks, will very much surprise you with some samples of the penetration proper to a sex which seems, in Vienna, to be made of Blue Beard wives. Twenty ladies honor me with minute details of the contents of one apartment in my mind, which I had considered quite a patent safe, with a fastening like that of the box in the talisman of Oromanes.

The night wears on; at three o'clock the instrumental music ceases, but the music of the mischievous and merry tattlers still continues to be ringing in all ears, and making them to tingle. Every man is destined to go home abundantly informed and criticised upon the subject of his foibles. Until six o'clock, supping, and taking tea and coffee, will continue, and the relish for amusement will be as keen as ever. Nobody is dancing—nobody has danced; that is no part of the business. At length, the multitude has dwindled down to a few stragglers; the remainder of the cloaks, and coats, and wrappers, are brought out and scattered, as so many hints to their possessors, in the middle of the great room. We immediately dive and scramble for them. In another hour, the lights are put out; all is over, and I travel home over the snow.

The Ornithologist.

I was still young, when a sudden reverse of fortune deprived me of a kind father and affluence at the same time. A home was offered for my acceptance by Mrs. Priestly, a widow lady, whom I had never seen since my infancy, distance and circumstances having combined to effect this separation. Mrs. Priestly was not only my godmother, but she had been the earliest chosen friend of my own lamented mother, and now came forward to extend succor to the destitute orphan. In former years, I remembered to have heard that she had suffered deep sorrow, from the loss of her only child, a fine boy, who was heir to a princely fortune, independent of his mother's considerable possessions. There were rumors afloat, at the period of this bereavement, of a peculiarly distressing nature—strange, half-suppressed whispers of some fearful accident that had rendered the widow childless; but the memory of these things had passed away, and Mrs. Priestly's first despair and agony had settled down to a resigned melancholy. On her fine countenance premature age was stamped, a smile seldom visible, while her mourning garb was never cast aside; she was a lifelong mourner.

The outward aspect of Lodimer—so Mrs. Priestly's domain was called—was but little in accordance with the sad heart of its owner, for a more cheerful or animated scene I had rarely witnessed. The villa, surrounded by colonnades, stood on the side of a gently swelling hill, at the base of which flowed a broad and sparkling river, on which numerous boats and picturesque-looking barges were continually passing and repassing. Roses and thatch, light French windows and exotics, trimly-kept pleasure-grounds, slopping [pg 471] down to the water's edge, drooping willows and silver birches were accessories, doubtless, to produce an effect of combined elegance and grace, while on the opposite banks richly wooded hills were studded with white cottages, glancing in the sunshine; though even during rainy seasons Lodimer never looked gloomy, an indescribable air of joyousness and hilarity pervading it. The calamity which overshadowed Mrs. Priestly's existence had not occurred at this pleasant home, but at the distant seat of the widow's brother, Mr. Lovell, of Lovell Castle, where she and her son were on a visit at the time; and still Mrs. Priestly continued to pay an annual visit thither, never leaving Lodimer save for that purpose, but leading a life of extreme seclusion. I had the satisfaction of believing that my society tended to enhance the comfort of Mrs. Priestly; who, with the utmost delicacy and kindness, lavished a thousand nameless attentions—trifling in themselves, but keenly felt by the dependent; calling me her adopted daughter, while her candor demanded and received my grateful thanks, for I fully appreciated the excellent motives actuating Mrs. Priestly's avowal. She wished to prevent false expectations on my part, and yet to set at rest all anxiety respecting the future; informing me, that the bulk of her wealth she designed to bequeath to her nephew, Mr. Lovell's son, but that a moderate provision was secured for her dear orphan god-daughter. But my agitation gave place to surprise, when Mrs. Priestly continued, addressing me, “You have sense and discretion beyond your years, Evelin, my love, and when you came to reside here with me, I determined first to ascertain if this were the case, ere I confided my secret to your keeping—for I have a secret—which may not be mentioned at Lovell Castle, when you accompany me thither shortly. A few miles hence, an individual resides, to whom I intend shortly to introduce you. He is a most unfortunate person, and desires the strictest privacy; but Mr. Edwin is not unhappy, because he knows the 'peace within which passeth show,' while his intellectual attainments are of the highest order. But, in case you should weave a romance, Evelin, out of these details,” added Mrs. Priestly, faintly smiling, “it is but fair I warn you, that romance and Edwin may not be coupled together, for he is—alas! poor fellow—an unsightly and deformed creature; his captivations are those only of the heart and mind—in this he shines pre-eminent. Again let me remind you, my love, not to allude to Mr. Edwin in conversation; forget him altogether, except when you speak to me. I know that you are not tormented with feminine curiosity, or I would tell you to ask no questions. This is my secret, Evelin, which I fearlessly confide to your keeping.”

However, Mrs. Priestly did me more than justice, for though I certainly endeavored to indulge no idle speculations on the forbidden topic, yet I was not apathetic enough to forget it; more especially after accompanying Mrs. Priestly to see her mysterious friend, whose ménage, to say nothing of himself, might have excused a far more insensible person than I was for feeling a strong interest and sympathy. Surrounded by thick woods on all sides save one, which opened toward the same river that washed the emerald turf of Lodimer, we came to a small spot of ground resembling a “clearing,” and I fancied we were transported to those wild western lands I had so often read of—the old ivy-covered hunting-lodge in the midst adding much to the real beauty of the picture, though detracting somewhat from its savage charms. Quantities of feathered tribes were strutting about within the inclosure, or enjoying themselves in various attitudes of indolence or security; an immense aviary extended down one side of the clearing, fitted up with the view of affording as much solace and liberty of movement as possible to the inmates. The whole place seemed alive with fowls of the air, and we beheld a human form within the wire-work of the aviary, literally covered with birds, small and large, wherever they could find a resting-place—on head, arms, or back—and many more were fluttering and crowding over and around him, as Mr. Edwin—for it was he—proceeded to dispense food to his loving flock. Presently he made his escape, and approached us, with a jay perched on one shoulder and a magpie on the other, appearing to hold whispering discourse with their benefactor, who fondly caressed and chirruped to them in turn. He was of middling stature, perceptibly and painfully deformed; but his countenance was such an one as Raphael would have loved to portray—holy, placid, and spiritual, beyond any mortal face I have looked upon before or since. His voice was inexpressibly touching and melodious; it thrilled the heart of the listener, for there was an intonation of sadness in its tone, though the words were cheerful, as he cordially and warmly welcomed us. We followed him into a long, low-roofed apartment, the windows of which looked out on woodland vistas, and on all sides, from floor to ceiling, it was lined with books, and cases containing stuffed birds, for Mr. Edwin was devoted to the study of ornithology, and almost rivaled Audubon in patient watching and research. A married couple, of quiet and orderly habits, formed the domestic establishment at Ivy Lodge; and the profound stillness and solitude of this sylvan retreat was unbroken, save by the cooing of the cushat dove, the song-birds' varied notes, the sonorous hooting of the white owl up among the eaves, and the occasional screams of the splendid peacocks ringing through the greenwood glades.

Here was the paradise of the feathered creatures, here they were all fostered and protected; and Mr. Edwin had attained the mysterious art of taming the wild denizens of the woods as surely and wonderfully, if not quite as rapidly, as did that celebrated Arab horse-leech exert his skill on quadrupeds, whispering in the ear of vicious and hitherto untamable steeds, who immediately became docile and subdued. Even shy and stately swans knew this lonely clearing [pg 472] on the river banks, and frequently came to be fed by Mr. Edwin's gentle hand; the swans had a nest here among the reeds, and broods of cygnets were reared in this haven of peace. Mr. Edwin had made many beautiful copies of rare birds, which he could not otherwise preserve, the colors being brilliant and true to nature, as well as the size of each specimen; and I felt not a little delighted when he accepted my timid offer of assistance in this branch of his study, for I was afraid that my poor efforts would fall far short of his masterly productions. But Mrs. Priestly re-assured me, and she told Mr. Edwin that he had found a valuable coadjutor, for bird-painting had always been quite a passion with me—a strange taste, perhaps, for a young lady, though I know not why it should be considered more out of the way than copying flowers from nature. However, I exerted myself to the utmost, and succeeded well, for he gave my drawings unqualified approbation, and was eloquent in thanking me. I am sure the amiable recluse read my heart at once, and saw how eagerly and gratefully I availed myself of this opportunity, trifling as it was, of gratifying Mrs. Priestly, to whom I owed so much; for her affection toward Mr. Edwin rendered attentions bestowed on him personally felt and acknowledged by her. This similarity of taste, together with our mutual love and veneration for Mrs. Priestly, induced that kindly communion between Mr. Edwin and myself which afterward ripened into a lasting friendship, cemented by time. He was, indeed, wise unto salvation. Learned not only in this world's lore, but in that wisdom which maketh not ashamed, he bore his daily cross most meekly, and yet most manfully. Deeply alive to the beautiful, keenly sensitive on all points, tender-hearted and affectionate, he lived alone in the woodland solitude, not, I was convinced, from any morbid disinclination to encounter his kind on account of his personal affliction (he was too humble and good for that), but from some unknown and mysterious cause, some hidden sorrow, which rendered solitude in a retreat like this desirable. At Lodimer, I never gazed on the gay and sparkling river, without remembering that it flowed onward toward the swan's nest among the reeds. I never gazed on the thick, rich woods, or heard the wood-pigeon's cooing across the waters at the hushed evening hour, without a sensation of tranquillity and peace stealing over my spirit, as fancy pictured the lonely lodge, the soft twittering around it, and the dense shadows beyond.

I obeyed Mrs. Priestly, and never asked a question concerning Mr. Edwin, but I pondered much on this interesting subject; and whenever my thoughts turned away from the vanities of this world, they always rested with satisfaction on the ornithologist.

As the time drew nigh for our departure to Lovell Castle, I observed a degree of restlessness on Mr. Edwin which I had not hitherto noticed, and frequent gloomy abstraction, which he vainly endeavored to shake off in our presence. Mrs. Priestly often conversed alone with him, when traces of agitation were visible on her countenance, and tears on his; and when she bade him farewell, these words lingered on his lips—“Tell dear Mildred how happy I am.”

Lovell Castle was a dark, frowning pile, bearing an ancient date, while some portions were more antiquated still, and had fallen into disuse. It was a real castle of the olden time; I had often read of such with interest and delight, but now I could explore for myself. Here were dungeons and vaulted chambers, trap-doors and loop-holes, intricate passages, secret hiding-places, and curious old oaken chests, battlements and turrets, carved work and tapestry, banqueting hall and chapel—in short, all the appendages necessary for romance in feudal days.

The family consisted of Mr. Lovell, Mildred, his eldest daughter by a first wife, and Harold and Rose, the children of the second Mrs. Lovell, who had died when Rose was an infant. Mildred was tenderly beloved by Mrs. Priestly; and, as she never quitted her hypochondriacal father, it was principally to see this dear niece that the widow left her quiet home on the margin of Lodimer's blue waters. I was absolutely startled by the extraordinary and striking likeness between the ornithologist and Mildred Lovell—the same placid, sweet expression of countenance, the same gentle, winning manners, too. While in unobtrusive performance of her duties toward God and man, this good daughter and sister journeyed onward through life, ministering to the comfort and well-being of all, but without exacting a meed of praise or a single glance of admiration. Mildred was nobody at Lovell Castle; but, had she been absent, her absence would have been universally bewailed, and her value known: they were perhaps too used to the blessing to appreciate it, even as the sun shines day after day, and we do not remark it as any thing unusual.

Rose was a volatile, thoughtless girl, yet affectionate and kind-hearted withal, and dearly loved her elder sister, who had indeed filled the place of a mother to her. Rose had elastic, unvarying spirits, which were not unwelcome in that dull old place, and kept the inmates from stagnation. She and Harold were the father's darlings, though all Mr. Lovell's hope and pride centred in his son. Pre-eminently beautiful in person, active and graceful, Harold Lovell was born the same year as his deceased cousin, Jocelyn Priestly, and the youths had strongly resembled each other, not only in person but in disposition. The partial parents had not, perhaps, read those dispositions truthfully, or in both their children they might have traced evil propensities, which went far to counterbalance the good—revengeful passions, and a proneness to selfish indulgence, which not all their brilliant acquirements and feats of gallant prowess could conceal from a close observer of character. They were at the same school together, and at Lovell Castle for the vacation, when that sad catastrophe took place which plunged the family in irremediable [pg 473] affliction. Mr. Lovell, who had always been a nervous, ailing man, never recovered the shock, and latterly he had sunk into complete indolence, and left the care and management of his affairs entirely to Harold, who, however, ill-fulfilled his duties. The aversion which Mrs. Priestly entertained toward her nephew, and which she vainly strove to conceal, had once been the source of painful contention between Mr. Lovell and his sister, though now it had settled down into a silent grief never alluded to by either of them. All these particulars I had heard from Rose; and much I was amazed at Mrs. Priestly's conduct, coupled with the avowal she had made to me respecting the disposal of her property in favor of her nephew; but I knew her to be a just and strong-minded woman, and felt sure there was some mystery connected with these family details, which Rose was bursting to disclose, the first convenient opportunity. But I gave her no encouragement to do so, for I thought that, had Mrs. Priestly wished me to know the secret motives by which she was actuated, her confidence would have been already bestowed; and it seemed a breach of trust, or dishonorable, to gain the knowledge by other means. The sweet benignity of Mildred Lovell, her untiring patience and unaffected cheerfulness, as well as the strong resemblance of feature, continually reminded me of Mr. Edwin, and I pondered often on the parting words which I had heard him address to Mrs. Priestly—“Tell dear Mildred how happy I am.”

And what was Mildred to Mr. Edwin? Wherefore was he exiled and alone? What had he done that his name was forbidden to be spoken at Lovell? These ideas constantly haunted me, despite my determination to exclude such idle questionings concerning the mysterious affair. Rose sometimes communicated some portion of her own gay spirit to me: we were thrown much together, for Mildred was constantly occupied with her invalid parent, and Mrs. Priestly shared the duties of her beloved niece. But I often desired the solitude which was more congenial to my turn of mind, though it was not always easy to obtain it, as Rose, from a mistaken kindness, continually watched my movements, and accompanied me wheresoever I desired to go. It was impossible to check the affectionate girl in a direct manner; but I discovered that there was one locality particularly avoided by all the inmates of the castle, which had fallen into decay, and was seldom approached by Rose. This was the western wing or turret; and thither, accordingly, I often bent my steps, in search of quietude, and also of a magnificent prospect to be viewed from the summit. In this sumptuous home at Lovell Castle, my thoughts often wandered to Ivy Lodge on Lodimer's banks, and its lonely occupant, apart from the vanities of life, contented and cheerful under afflictions which were, I felt sure, of no common nature. I compared the pious recluse with the heir of Lovell, toward whom an inexpressible feeling of repugnance reigned in my breast. Harold was devoted to field sports and the pleasures of the table; he was, in fact, the real master, consulting only his own time and inclinations on all occasions. His bloated, though still handsome countenance, evidenced excess; while a dictatorial manner, as of one unused to reproof or contradiction, was habitual. A constant restlessness and irritability, a quick turn of the eye, a wild glance, betokened a mind ill at ease. He was a scoffer at religion, too, an unkind brother, and an undutiful son to the doating father, who yet believed and saw no faults in his offspring. Despite her brother's harshness, Rose, with devoted sisterly affection, extenuated Harold's conduct, and it was very beautiful to witness her womanly tenderness and forbearance. It might be that Mildred was the child of another mother, and that circumstances had somewhat weakened the ties of blood; but notwithstanding her general kindness of demeanor toward all, including Harold, there was a perceptible shade of coldness when addressing him. She never volunteered an embrace, to be cast off, like the persevering, warm-hearted Rose; she never clung to her brother, praying him to remain at home, when he was about to engage in any hazardous or foolish exploit. No; there was some sin or sorrow which had weaned and divided this brother and sister, until the erring one should turn and repent. And who could doubt that Mildred Lovell would open wide her arms to receive the penitent?

I had sought my favorite deserted turret, to contemplate a glorious sunset behind the distant mountains, when Rose joined me on the summit, from whence we gazed on the dizzy depth below. She was unusually serious and pale; her laugh was hushed, and she spoke in whispers.

“Why do you choose this spot, Evelin, to indulge your reveries?” she said, “for I can not bear to remain here; and Harold would not ascend this western tower for all the universe.”

“And why is it so distasteful to you, Rose?” I inquired, with some curiosity, “for the view is the most superb I ever witnessed. Is this wing of the castle haunted?” I added, with a smile, taking her arm, and making a step nearer to the edge, guarded only by a very low, broad parapet.

She convulsively drew me back, exclaiming—“Oh! Evelin, if you knew the dreadful recollections attached to this turret, you would not marvel at my being so nervous. I do not believe it is haunted, but there are folks who do. They report that white fleecy shadows hover around it by night, though perhaps the owls and birds building in the crevices may account for the supposed supernatural appearances.”

“And wherefore, Rose, is this turret in such bad repute? What are the dreadful recollections attached to it? A legend of olden times, perhaps?”

“Alas, Evelin,” responded my companion, “'tis a reality of our own. My poor cousin, Jocelin Priestly, met with his fearful end here. He fell from this dizzy height on the shaven turf beneath, and lived but a few moments afterward.”

[pg 474]

“But how did this fatal accident occur, Rose?” I inquired. “Why have you never mentioned it before?”

Paler than ever, Rose replied, with a faltering voice, “Because it was not an accident, Evelin” (she shivered, and put her lips close to my ear). “He was cast down intentionally.”

“By whom, Rose?” My heart throbbed violently; strange thoughts were rushing through my brain.

“I dare not tell you; I am forbidden to reveal more. I was very young at the time, and things were hushed up; but poor Milly has been a changed being ever since.”

“Mildred!” I exclaimed, in surprise; “what effect could this tragedy have on her, more than on other members of your family?”

“It had, it had, Evelin, because she desired to screen the guilty; but ask me no more, and let us quit this hateful place.”

My mind was bewildered and uneasy. Who could the guilty person alluded to be, and wherefore such a mystery preserved? The wildest conjectures disturbed my imagination, while redoubled love and sympathy were given to the bereaved mother. But this tangled web was soon to be unraveled—unraveled in an awful and sudden manner, for that avenging arm was outstretched which no mortal can withstand.

We were preparing to return home, and I was happy in the near prospect of seeing dear Lodimer so soon. Harold Lovell left the castle at early morn in high health and spirits, to attend a race meeting, some few miles off, with several boon companions. A quarrel arose, and Harold, deeming himself insulted, and more than half inebriated, struck a desperate gambler, who demanded satisfaction on the spot. Harold fell, mortally wounded, and was borne back to Lovell on a litter, late in the evening. The father's despair, blessedly merged in insensibility, the sister's agony, we draw a vail over.

Mrs. Priestly, Mildred, and myself, with the medical attendants, alone were calm and of use, so far, indeed, as human aid extended. The domestics were wildly running hither and thither, but to no purpose: Harold Lovell was rapidly dying. Mrs. Priestly supported the expiring sufferer; she bathed his temples, and spoke words of peace. You would have deemed him the son of her fondest love, all dislike merged in pity and the tenderest solicitude. Suddenly Harold opened his glazing eyes to their widest extent; he recognized her, while a shudder convulsively shook his whole frame. He essayed to articulate, and at length these broken sentences were heard, “Forgive me, Aunt Priestly—now forgive. 'Twas I did it! Edwin is innocent; I am the murderer. Oh! mercy! mercy!”

Mrs. Priestly had sank down beside the couch, as with clasped hands she raised her streaming eyes to heaven; then burying her face, she murmured—“I do forgive you, poor boy, and so does Edwin, freely.” The spirit passed into eternity as she spoke these words. I saw Mildred fling herself into Mrs. Priestly's arms, and I remember no more, for, unused to such scenes, my strength succumbed.

Mr. Lovell and his son were laid side by side in the family vault on the same day; the broken-hearted father surviving his beloved child but a few hours. That son's dying confession was repeated to him, although he took no notice at the time, and lived not to make restitution to the innocent; but to his daughters, as co-heiresses, the whole of his immense wealth descended; and yet Mr. Lovell left a son—a good, noble-hearted son, whom he had unjustly disinherited. When the disinherited was told that the only words his departed parent had spoken after receiving his death-blow, the only token of consciousness he had evinced was in faintly murmuring, “Bless Edwin, my son,” that son valued the world's wealth but as dross in comparison; nor would he have exchanged those precious words for all the uncounted riches of the globe! His father then had believed him innocent, and had blessed him; and Edwin, the ornithologist of Ivy Lodge, came to Lovell Castle, justly lord of all, but owning nothing save a thankful heart and a peaceful mind, to be clasped in the arms of his faithful sister Mildred, for they were twins, and linked together in heart. Then, and not till then, were the following particulars narrated to Rose and myself by Mrs. Priestly. Rose mourned deeply for her brother, but justice to the living demanded full disclosure of the truth.

Edwin had never been a favorite with his father, a fall in infancy having rendered him unsightly, and probably occasioned the delicate health which induced that love of studious repose so opposite to those qualities which Mr. Lovell admired in his younger son. A tutor was provided for Edwin at home, while Harold, with his cousin, Jocelin Priestly, was sent to a public school. With unfeeling thoughtlessness, Jocelin used often to amuse himself by joking at the expense of Edwin's personal deformity, calling him “hunchback,” and many other nick-names, all of which the amiable youth bore with unflinching patience and fortitude, ever returning good for evil. The quarrels and rivalry between Harold and Jocelin were violent and unceasing; and, previous to the last vacation, they had risen to a fiercer pitch than formerly, Jocelin Priestly having carried off a prize from Harold, which the latter declared was unfair. Jocelin's spirits were outrageous, and in reckless levity he made so unceasing a butt of the unfortunate elder brother, that Edwin determined to keep himself as much aloof as possible from the boisterous pair, whose bickerings and headstrong passion disturbed his equanimity. Mildred, whose love and veneration for her beloved brother was returned by him with a depth of affection which only the isolated can feel, vainly tried to make peace and preserve concord. Mrs. Priestly, with a mother's doating partiality for an only child, never allowed Jocelin to be in fault, though she would chide his exuberant spirits, and liked not that he should wound the gentle Edwin, whom she dearly loved. Mr. Lovell, on the other hand, laughed at the [pg 475] lads' faults; and, when he could not laugh, winked at them: “Edwin was a milk-sop, and Harold and Jocelin fine, high-spirited, handsome fellows, who would grow wiser as they grew older.” Mrs. Priestly “hoped so”—she “prayed so; and Jocelin was so clever and handsome, that a little steadiness was all he needed; there was nothing else amiss.” So argued the blind mother; and, next to Harold, his uncle Lovell's affections were lavished on this nephew.

When these two youths made their appearance at the castle, Edwin frequently retired to the western turret, where he could read and meditate alone, and enjoy the lovely landscape. Here he was resting on a projecting stone, which served as a bench, part of the edifice screening him from view, when Jocelin Priestly appeared on the summit with a telescope in hand, and, with boyish recklessness, jumped on the low parapet, balancing himself on the extreme verge, as he applied the glass to his eye. In another moment Harold came leaping up the turret-stairs, boiling with furious passion; and, darting forward, he clutched at the glass, screaming, as he did so, “How dare you take my telescope, sir, when you know I forbade you?” There was a struggle, a violent thrust, succeeded by a scream of horror and despair, and Edwin beheld his brother Harold alone on that dizzy height.

All this had passed in a moment a of time apparently. Harold looked round with a wild, terrified glance, and fled, Edwin's limbs refusing to sustain him in his efforts to reach the parapet, as he lost consciousness, and swooned. Jocelin Priestly's fall had been noticed by a gardener, who gave an instant alarm; but the ill-fated lad expired in his distracted mother's arms, after articulating, “I am murdered.”

Edwin was found on the summit of the western turret, his incoherent exclamations and agitation being considered proofs of guilt by his father and tutor. He solemnly asseverated his innocence, but refused to enter into particulars until his brother Harold returned, for Harold was absent, it was supposed, in the adjacent woodlands, where he ofttimes resorted to practice with his gun. When he did return, Harold with well-acted surprise heard the dreadful tidings, and demanded, in a careless manner, where Edwin had been at the time? When informed that he was found on the summit of the tower, and of the deceased's fearful avowal in his dying moments, Harold exclaimed, “Edwin has indeed avenged himself on poor Jocelin.” And Edwin was branded as the dastardly wretch who had taken his cousin's life thus!

Edwin denied the foul deed with indignation and horror; but, when Harold's words were repeated to him, he hung his head, and blushed scarlet. He spoke no more, save to affirm his innocence; and, when questioned as to Jocelin Priestly having been near him on the tower just before he met with his death, Edwin admitted the fact; but, when further pressed, he became confused, and painful internal struggles were evident.

Mr. Lovell discarded his son forever. He would not harbor, he said, one who had vengefully taken the life of his beloved nephew; the law, indeed, could not reach the criminal, but a father's malediction could! So the hapless Edwin was disowned and disinherited by his indignant parent, who granted him a stipend barely sufficient for subsistence, and thrust him forth as an alien. Harold had not encountered his brother's placid gaze; he shrank from being alone with him, and when Edwin begged for an audience, it was refused. Mildred protested her brother's innocence. Edwin had never swerved from truth in his life; and, strange to say, there was another who sided with Mildred, and that other, the miserable mother of the victim. She had scrutinized and watched Harold Lovell closely; and when Edwin knelt beside her, and said, with quiet, but impressive calmness, “I am innocent, aunt; I never injured a hair of my cousin's head,” he was believed by that jealous, breaking heart.

“But you were there, Edwin,” cried the poor lady; “you witnessed it: he came not to his end by fair means. Speak—your brother—was it he did this foul deed, for he envied and hated my son—the base, cowardly traitor!”

Passion choked Mrs. Priestly's utterance, and Edwin was mute. Neither prayers nor entreaties induced him to explain past circumstances connected with the direful catastrophe. He bore the burden of another's guilt; he bore in silence the contumely that should have been heaped on another, and was banished from the parental roof. But conviction found its way to Mrs. Priestly's heart; and, though Mr. Lovell was implacable, nor would listen to a suspicion implied that he might be deceived, the mother intuitively shrank from contact with the false-hearted Harold Lovell. As years progressed, the truth became more and more firmly impressed on her mind; and to him, accused by his own father of being her only child's destroyer, she left the bulk of her fortune, and established the outcast in her near vicinity, firmly trusting that the Almighty, in his own good time, would bring the real culprit to light. Her heart fixed on this culprit, but Mr. Lovell continued in error and darkness. Those precious words spoken in his last hour proved, however, that darkness was dissipated, and error abandoned, when the dying man murmured a blessing on his exiled son, who had sacrificed himself to shield an ungrateful brother from shame and opprobrium.

Within two years after her father and brother's decease, Rose rewarded the long and sincere attachment of a neighboring squire by becoming his wife. Lovell Castle was sold, and Mildred repaired to Lodimer; while, on the original site of Ivy Lodge, a more commodious dwelling was in course of preparation. There she resided with her beloved brother for the remainder of their joint lives, and Mr. Edwin found in his sweet companion not only a valuable coadjutor in his favorite pursuits, but an absolute rival in the affections of his feathered pets; while the [pg 476] swan's nest among the reeds on Lodimer's fair waters continued to be as carefully preserved and guarded as it had been during the solitary years of the now happy ornithologist.

A Child's Toy.

The afternoon was drawing in toward evening; the air was crisp and cool, and the wind near the earth, steady but gentle; while above all was as calm as sleep, and the pale clouds—just beginning in the west to be softly gilded by the declining sun—hung light and motionless. The city, although not distant, was no longer visible, being hidden by one of the many hills which give such enchantment to the aspect of our city. There was altogether something singularly soothing in the scene—something that disposed not to gravity, but to elevated thought. As we looked upward, there was some object that appeared to mingle with the clouds, to form a part of their company, to linger, mute and motionless like them, in that breathless blue, as if feeling the influence of the hour. It was not a white-winged bird that had stolen away to muse in the solitudes of air: it was nothing more than a paper kite.

On that paper kite we looked long and intently. It was the moral of the picture; it appeared to gather in to itself the sympathies of the whole beautiful world; and as it hung there, herding with the things of heaven, our spirit seemed to ascend and perch upon its pale bosom like a wearied dove. Presently we knew the nature of the influence it exercised upon our imagination; for a cord, not visible at first to the external organs, though doubtless felt by the inner sense, connected it with the earth of which we were a denizen. We knew not by what hand the cord was held so steadily. Perhaps by some silent boy, lying prone on the sward behind yonder plantation, gazing up along the delicate ladder, and seeing unconsciously angels ascending and descending. When we had looked our fill, we went slowly and thoughtfully home along the deserted road, and nestled, as usual, like a moth, among our books. A dictionary was lying near; and with a languid curiosity to know what was said of the object that had interested us so much, we turned to the word, and read the following definition: Kite—a child's toy.

What wonderful children there are in this world, to be sure! Look at that American boy, with his kite on his shoulder, walking in a field near Philadelphia. He is going to have a fly; and it is famous weather for the sport, for it is in June—June, 1752. The kite is but a rough one, for Ben has made it himself, out of a silk handkerchief stretched over two cross-sticks. Up it goes, however, bound direct for a thunder-cloud passing overhead; and when it has arrived at the object of its visit, the flier ties a key to the end of his string, and then fastens it with some silk to a post. By and by he sees some loose threads of the hempen-string bristle out and stand up, as if they had been charged with electricity. He instantly applies his knuckles to the key, and as he draws from it the electrical spark, this strange little boy is struck through the very heart with an agony of joy. His laboring chest relieves itself with a deep sigh, and he feels that he could be contented to die that moment. And indeed he was nearer death than he supposed; for as the string was sprinkled with rain, it became a better conductor, and gave out its electricity more copiously; and if it had been wholly wet, the experimenter might have been killed upon the spot. So much for this child's toy. The splendid discovery it made—of the identity of lightning and electricity—was not allowed to rest by Ben Franklin. By means of an insulated iron rod the new Prometheus drew down fire from heaven, and experimented with it at leisure in his own house. He then turned the miracle to a practical account, constructing a pointed metallic rod to protect houses from lightning. One end of this true magic wand is higher than the building, and the other end buried in the ground; and the submissive lightning, instead of destroying life and property in its gambols, darts direct along the conductor into the earth. We may add that Ben was a humorous boy, and played at various things as well as kite-flying. Hear this description of his pranks at an intended pleasure-party on the banks of the Schuylkill: “Spirits at the same time are to be fired by a spark sent from side to side through the river, without any other conductor than water—an experiment which we have some time since performed to the amazement of many. A turkey is to be killed for dinner by the electrical shock; and roasted by the electrical jack, before a fire kindled by the electrical bottle; when the healths of all the famous electricians in England, Holland, France, and Germany, are to be drunk in electrified bumpers, under the discharge of guns from the electrical battery.”

We now turn to a group of capital little fellows who did something more than fly their kite. These were English skippers, promoted somehow to the command of vessels before they had arrived at years of discretion; and chancing to meet at the port of Alexandria in Egypt, they took it into their heads—these naughty boys—that they would drink a bowl of punch on the top of Pompey's Pillar. This pillar had often served them for a signal at sea. It was composed of red granite, beautifully polished, and standing 114 feet high, overtopped the town. But how to get up? They sent for a kite, to be sure; and the men, women, and children of Alexandria, wondering what they were going to do with it, followed the toy in crowds. The kite was flown over the Pillar, and with such nicety, that when it fell on the other side the string lodged upon the beautiful Corinthian capital. By this means they were able to draw over the Pillar a two-inch rope, by which one of the youngsters “swarmed” to the top. The rope was now in a very little while converted into a sort of rude shroud, and the rest of the party followed, and actually drank their punch on a spot which, seen from the surface of the earth, did not [pg 477] appear to be capable of holding more than one man.

By means of this exploit it was ascertained that a statue had once stood upon the column—and a statue of colossal dimensions it must have been to be properly seen at such a height. But for the rest—if we except the carvings of sundry initials on the top—the result was only the knocking down of one of the volutes of the capital, for boys are always doing mischief; and this was carried to England by one of the skippers, in order to execute the commission of a lady, who, with the true iconoclasm of her country, had asked him to be so kind as to bring her a piece of Pompey's Pillar.

Little fellows, especially of the class of brick-layers, are no great readers, otherwise we might suspect that the feat of the skipper-boys had conveyed some inspiration to Steeple Jack. Who is Steeple Jack? asks some innocent reader at the Antipodes. He is a little, spare creature who flies his kite over steeples when there is any thing to do to them, and lodging a cord on the apex, contrives by its means to reach the top without the trouble of scaffolding. No fragility, no displacement of stones, no leaning from the perpendicular, frightens Steeple Jack. He is as bold as his namesake, Jack-the-Giant-Killer, and does as wonderful things. At Dunfermline, not long ago, when the top of the spire was in so crazy a state that the people in the street gave it a wide berth as they passed, he swung himself up without hesitation, and set every thing to rights. At the moment we write, his cord is seen stretched from the tall, slim, and elegant spire of the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh, which is to receive, through his agency, a lightning-conductor; and Jack only waits the subsidence of a gale of wind to glide up that filmy rope like a spider. He is altogether a strange boy, Steeple Jack. Nobody knows where he roosts upon the earth, if he roosts any where at all. The last time there was occasion for his services, this advertisement appeared in the Scotsman: “Steeple Jack is wanted at such a place immediately”—and immediately Steeple Jack became visible.

In 1827 the child's toy was put to a very remarkable use by one Master George Pocock. This clever little fellow observed that his kite sometimes gave him a very strong pull, and it occurred to him that if made large enough it might be able to pull something else. In fact, he at length yoked a pair of large kites to a carriage, and traveled in it from Bristol to London, distancing in grand style every other conveyance on the road. A twelve-foot kite, it appears, in a moderate breeze, has a one-man power of draught, and when the wind is brisker, a force equal to 200 lbs. The force in a rather high wind is as the squares of the lengths; and two kites of fifteen and twelve feet respectively, fastened one above the other will draw a carriage and four or five passengers at the rate of twenty miles an hour. But George's invention went beyond the simple idea. He had an extra line which enabled him to vary the angle of the surface of his kites with the horizon, so as to make his aerial horses go fast or slow as he chose; and side lines to vary the direction of the force, till it came almost to right angles with the direction of the wind. His kites were made of varnished linen, and might be folded up into small compass. The same principle was successfully applied by a nautical lad of the name of Dansey to the purpose of saving vessels in a gale of wind on “the dread lee shore.” His kite was of light canvas.

In India, China, and the intermediate countries, the aggregate population of which includes one-half of mankind, kites are the favorite toy of both old and young boys, from three years to threescore and ten. Sometimes they really resemble the conventional dragon, from which, among Scotch children, they derive their name, sometimes they are of a diamond shape, and sometimes they are like a great spider with a narrow waist. Our Old Indian is eloquent on kites, and the glory of their colors, which, in the days of other years, made her girlish heart leap, and her girlish eyes dazzle. The kite-shop is like a tulip-bed, full of all sorts of gay and gorgeous hues. The kites are made of Chinese paper, thin and tough, and the ribs of finely-split bamboo. A wild species of silkworm is pressed into the service, and set to spin nuck for the strings—a kind of thread which, although fine, is surprisingly strong. Its strength, however, is wanted for aggression as well as endurance; and a mixture composed of pounded glass and rice gluten is rubbed over it. Having been dried in the sun, the prepared string is now wound upon a handsome reel of split bamboo inserted in a long handle. One of these reels, if of first-rate manufacture, costs a shilling, although coarser ones are very cheap; and of the nuck, about four annas, or sixpence worth, suffices for a kite.

In a Hindoo town the kite-flying usually takes place on some common ground in the vicinity, and there may be seen the young and old boys in eager groups, and all as much interested in the sport as if their lives depended upon their success. And sometimes, indeed, their fortunes do. Many a poor little fellow bets sweetmeats upon his kite to the extent of his only anna in the world; and many a rich baboo has more rupees at stake than he can conveniently spare. But the exhilarating sport makes every body courageous; and the glowing colors of the kites enable each to identify his own when in the air, and give him in it, as it were, a more absolute property. Matches are soon made. Up go the aerial combatants, and, with straining eyes and beating hearts, their fate is watched from below. But their masters are far from passive, for this is no game of chance, depending upon the wind. Kite-flying is in these countries an art and mystery; and some there be who would not disclose their recipe for the nuck-ointment, if their own grandfathers should go upon their knees to ask it.

Sometimes an event occurs on the common. It is the ascent of a pair of kites of a distingué air, and whose grand and determined manner [pg 478] shows that the combat is to be à l'outrance, and that a large stake of money depends upon the result. The fliers are invisible. They are probably on the flat roof of some neighboring house; but the kites are not the less interesting on account of their origin being unknown. What a host of anxious faces are turned up to the sky! Some take a liking to the red at first sight, while others feel attracted by a mysterious sympathy to the green. Bets are freely offered and accepted, either in sweetmeats or money; and the crowd, condensing, move to and fro in a huge wave, from which their eager voices arise like the continuous roaring of the sea. Higher and higher go the kites. Well done, Red! he has shot above his antagonist, and seems meditating a swoop; but the Green, serenely scornful, continues to soar, and is soon uppermost. And thus they go—now up, now down, relatively to each other, but always ascending higher and higher, till the spectators almost fear that they will vanish out of sight. But at length the Green, taking advantage of a loftier position he has gained, makes a sudden circuit, and by an adroit manœuvre gets his silken string over the silken string of the other. Here a shout of triumph and a yell of terror break simultaneously from the crowd; for this is the crisis of the fight. The victor gives a fierce cut upon his adversary's line. The backers of the latter fancy they hear it grate, and in an instant their forebodings are realized; for the unfortunate Red is seen to waver like a bird struck by a shot, and then, released from the severed string, he descends in forlorn gyrations to the earth.

Now rush in the smaller boys to play their part. Their object is that of the plunderers who traverse the field after a battle, to rob the dying and the slain. Off run the little Hindoos, like a company of imps from the nether regions, tearing and fighting as they fly; and on reaching the fallen kite, the object of their contention is torn to pieces in the scuffle. Presently the victorious Green is seen descending, and the gross excitement of the common pauses to watch his majestic flight. He is of the largest size of Indian kites called ching, and of the spider shape. Before being drawn in, he hangs for an instant high up over the crowd. It is not, however, to sing Io Pæans for his victory, but apparently rather to mourn over the ruin he has made; for a wailing music breathes from his wings as he passes. This is caused by the action of the wind upon some finely-split bamboo twigs arched over the kite without touching the paper, and which thus become a true Æolian harp. Sometimes a kite of this kind is sent up at night, bearing a small lighted lantern of talc; and the sleepers awakened, called to their balconies by the unearthly music, gaze after the familiar apparition not without a poetical thrill.

Upon the whole, it must be admitted, we think, that this is a somewhat interesting child's toy. But has the kite a future? Will its powers exhibit new developments, or has it already reached its pride of place? If a twelve-feet kite has the force of a man, would it take many more feet to lift a man into the air? And supposing the man to be in a strong cage of network, with bamboo ribs, and a seat of the same material, would he have greater difficulty in governing his aerial coursers by means of the Pocock cords, than if he were flashing along the road from Bristol to London? Mind, we do not say that this is possible: we merely ask for the sake of information; and if any little boy will favor us with his opinion, we shall take it very kind. Come, and let us fancy that it is possible. The traveler feels much more comfortable than in the car of a balloon, for he knows he can go pretty nearly in what direction he chooses, and that he can hasten or check the pace of his horses, and bring them to a stand-still at pleasure. See him, therefore, boldly careering through the air at the rate of any number of miles the wind pleases. At a single bound he spans yonder broad river, and then goes bowling over the plantation beyond, just stirring the leaves as he passes; trees, water, houses, men, and animals gliding away beneath his feet like a dream. Now he stoops toward the earth, just to make the people send up their voices that there may be some sound in the desert air. Now he swings up again; now he leaps over that little green hill; now he—Hold! hold, little boy! that will do: enough, for a time, of a Child's Toy.

Rising Generation-Ism.

“Grave and reverend seniors” aver, that among the innumerable isms and pathies which inundate this strange nineteenth century, not the least curious, dangerous, and comical, are those phases of character, opinion, and aspiration embodied in the title of our sketch. Each day, week, or month, we receive an accession to the list of those speculations and practices, which, embracing every department of philosophy and art, seek to overturn hitherto accepted axioms, and erect in their stead—what? Some “baseless fabric of a vision,” which came we know not whence, and tends we know not very well whither? Or has the microscopic eye and telescopic mind of modern European civilization discovered other distorting flaws in the mirror in which we view truth—other idols in the den of treasured belief—faults which it is urgently necessary to remedy—vices which it were well speedily to extirpate? The answer of most men will be sometimes the latter, oftener the former.

What, then, is that fraternity whose members are now denominated in a peculiar sense “the rising generation,” albeit no existing dictionary conveys it? How came they to assume or receive that cognomen? “What are their doings—what their ends?” And, finally (for this is par excellence the practical, if not the golden English era), how much are all these worth? In one shape or another, we suspect that the class embraces a great mass of our youth, we will almost say, of both sexes.

Various definitions may be given of a member [pg 479] of the “rising generation.” The lowest, commonest, and most readily apprehensible to the general reader, is that of a “fast young man,” such as “Punch” has for some time spitted weekly as a laughing-stock for half of the population. A little, lean, lathy, sickly-looking youth, delighting in rough short coats, monkey jackets, regatta shirts, big cigars, funny walking-canes, the smallest of boots, the most angular of hats, the most Brobdignagian of ties—rejoicing in a thinly-sown mustache or imperial, addicted to brandy-and-water and casinos, going out with the “afternoon delivery,” and coming in with the milk. This is true so far as it goes. Ascend a step, and there is the representative of the class which has run to seed in the mediæval direction—fond of, and learned in, all the symbols of ancient priestly power and rank—steeped in black-letter and illuminated missal philosophy and theology—erudite in all the variations which spiritual dominance has assumed—in short, the resuscitator of the “good old times” ecclesiastical.

Again, we come to the type of the chief, and perhaps the finest class—many-hued and many-sided, difficult to define, more difficult to estimate. He is a chaos of misty beliefs and dubious doubtings—a striver after theories which would exercise a spell over mind and matter of almost alchemic potency—an open receiver for every new and quackish nostrum—a shallow scholar, with the pedantry and conceit of a ripe one—a denier of other men's attainments, without stopping to inquire whether he will ever be able to equal them—apt to give dogmatic advice, and slow to take any—lastly, and worst, he is sometimes a rash and unphilosophic would-be analyzer of the grounds of our most sacred belief. He may be—indeed, frequently is—of a genuine and earnest spirit, which he knows neither how to direct nor bound.

In judging of the frame of mind which generates and elaborates, or receives such impressions, it is necessary to remember and make due allowance for the rapid and real advances which we have made in the sifting of old and the ascertainment of new truth, within an almost infinitesimal portion of time. Men now think and act vehemently—with appliances at their elbow which, to those who know their power, are a true Aladdin's lamp, giving the key to thoughts and deeds, and the clew to facts, which erst had been deemed miraculous. When we now speak of the “rising generation,” it is seriously. We discard the class whose dress is apish, whose life is an inanity, whose thoughts are vapid, if not something fouler and worse. We would think of, and give credit for earnestness, to that large class whose ready reception and striving after the establishment of all things new, for novelty's sake, and the demolition of many things old and revered, has fixed upon them, half in jest, half in earnest, the sobriquet. Not only on matters of faith—on innovations on all established practice, do they take their stand. Education they understand in no limited sense. The acquisition of the circle of sciences, and nothing less, is the average of their contentment. We are to live in an age when every man, or, at least, every second, is to be an Admirable Crichton. Formerly, it was thought that the mind of man was, even in its strength, so feeble, that strict adherence to some single and well-defined line of study or path of action was necessary, if a moderate skill in its command were desired. He who loved and pursued his knowledge of ancient people, languages, customs, and laws, was not expected to be erudite except in classical lore. The philosopher and mathematician, if well acquainted in their respective spheres with the laws and processes of mind, matter, and number, were thought to have learned their part. The laborer in the field of active industry, who was skillful in the taste and knowledge of his craft and the use of its tools, was esteemed no cumberer of the ground. If, after this, he cultivated his mind by a scrutiny of the labors of others, so much the better. Under this régime, each man learned his own department, every one knew something, better than his neighbors—could follow or elucidate his special study or calling through ramifications the other could not trace, and thus knowledge progressed, and became the great power that it has grown.

But now the “rising generation” will have matters altered. Education is all wrong, and too limited. The spirit of unity, as the Germans call it—that hidden elf which haunts all knowledge, and is the same, however disguised—is not to be caught except by a search which involves the acquisition of every science, art, and philosophy. This, in addition to an insane and, we shrink not from saying, a blasphemous dallying with things sacred, is the grand error of the “rising generation”—the rock on which their bark will founder, if it has not already done so. Man can not be a “universal genius.” Let us by all means shake off the trammels under which education has groveled—under which she still groans. Let us seek by all means to make education so free, that, like the winds of heaven, and the light of the sun, no man shall want a reasonable—a full share of her benefits. Let us seek accurate and varied knowledge and scholarship, endeavoring (although it is a difficult and subtle process) to find out for what our youth are best fitted, by evoking the latent special talents with which their Maker has gifted them, and thus train them in the expert use of that weapon which will enable them to do yeoman service in the wide arena of the world. But, while we do all this, let us beware. We have before now been taunted as a nation of shopkeepers. This was no evil, if true; but who can calculate the direness of that calamity which shall turn us into a nation of smatterers. This is a looming evil of unparalleled magnitude. There can be no doubt that at the present moment there is a tendency to rest content with very superficial acquirements, if they be only heterogeneous enough. A man who can gabble the alphabet of any science or subject may, if he has sufficient [pg 480] presumption, gain credit for possessing a knowledge of its arcana—for the ability necessary to plumb its profounder depths and unravel its intricacies. The successful practice of this imposture, for it is nothing less, has led, and is still leading, many to sacrifice accuracy for variety, both in those departments which their circumstances, rightly considered, demand that they should thoroughly understand, and in those branches which tend only to add grace and finish to a liberal education.

In “those days,” the chance was that genius often passed away unnoticed or neglected. In “the good time come,” we fear that a similar injustice will be done, and in a larger measure. The modest, the sound-thinking, and really learned, will withdraw from a field where they find as companions or competitors only strutting jackdaws and noisy shallow smatterers, who have decided that they were born for other purposes than to tread in the work-a-day paths of life. A portion of the old as well as the “rising generation” would do well to look to the present state of things. There is too often a desire on the part of parents to push their children into positions for which they are totally unfitted. There is a sphere for all, which, when chosen with a due regard to ability, and not adopted through caprice or vanity, will lead to usefulness in society and comfort to the individual.

We have little fear of that audacious phase in the character of the “rising generation,” which devotes itself to a probing of those things which have to do with our eternal destiny. A well-conducted inquiry of this kind is a healthy symptom, and tends to fix good impressions: and, as for those whose temerity exceeds their judgment, the Christian knows that his bulwarks are too many and strong ever to be shaken by any blast of human breath or stroke of human hand. Still, let every stumbling-block be removed, and no safeguard neglected, which may be of service to those of feeble knees or weak and timorous mind.

The “rising generation” are those upon whom the hopes of the world will ere long rest, who are soon to have the reins of government in their own hands, and must play their part in the great drama of life, at a time when its stage affords more ample room for the development of true nobility, richer opportunities for distinguishing a life by action, and of signalizing it by discoveries almost magical—a time, in short, open to greater achievements than any that have been won since this globe was first spun into space. The greater the talent and the wealth of opportunity, so much more are the dangers increased, and the more wily the machinations of the Spirit of Evil. While the “rising generation” adopt as their motto “Excelsior,” and cultivate an inquiring spirit, let it always be an earnest and definite one, not “blown about by every wind of doctrine,” not falling into every quagmire of vain conceit, until the mental eye is so besmeared that it can no longer discern the true zenith. Yet, withal, it is not necessary to tread exclusively in the old paths, as they are somewhat contemptuously styled; there is need and verge enough for pioneering new ones. “Beat the bushes; there is still plenty of game to be raised.” But do not disdainfully discard the experience of those who have gone before. We do not insinuate by this that age and priority combined make an oracle. Yet there are comparatively few men who can not tell something that is worth hearing—communicate some bit of knowledge which may save you the disbursement of some of those high school fees which, as Thomas Carlyle keenly observes, must be paid for experience.

It has been iterated and reiterated, that there is no royal road to knowledge. This is true of knowledge, as it is true of any thing that is worth having. And this brings to our recollection a manifestation of spirit displayed by some portions of the “rising generation” to which we have not yet adverted. This is called the non-mercantile idea—a growing dislike to all manual and merely commercial pursuits, and an over-fondness for what are known as the learned, and more especially the literary professions. This desire, we fear, proceeds often from a wish to avoid labor; and, where this is the case, we can assure all such that literature is not the sphere for indolence.

We neither impugn the honesty nor ignore the talents of the “rising generation.” We would only tender them a parting advice: Think, learn, and act, reverently and cautiously, and in the spirit of that philosophy which has won for England her most enduring laurels—which taught her Newton to discard for years, until fact supported theory, what was perhaps the broadest glimpse of truth ever vouchsafed to the human mind. Do so, as they dread the realization of the outline drawn by the master-hand of Jean Paul Richter—“The new-year's night of an unhappy man.” His graphic picture we hold up to the gaze of the “rising generation.” The season is appropriate. We are all fond at this time of retrospection, and are full of resolves for the future. Perhaps we may strike some chord now in jarring dissonance, that may yet vibrate to divinest harmony.

“An old man stood on the new-year's midnight at the window, and gazed with a look of long despair, upward to the immovable, ever-blooming heaven, and down upon the still, pure, white earth, on which no one was then so joyless and sleepless as he. For his grave stood near him; it was covered over only with the snow of age, not with the green of youth; and he brought nothing with him out of the whole rich life, no thing with him, but errors, sins, and disease, a wasted body, a desolated soul, the breast full of poison, an old age full of remorse. The beautiful days of his youth turned round to-day, as spectres, and drew him back again to that bright morning on which his father first placed him at the cross-road of life, which, on the right hand, leads by the sun-path of virtue into a wide peaceful land full of light and of harvests, and full of angels, and which, on the left hand, descends [pg 481] into the mole-ways of vice, into a black cavern, full of down-dropping poison, full of aiming serpents, and of gloomy, sultry vapors.

“Ah! the serpents hung about his breast, and the drops of poison on his tongue. And he knew now where he was!

“Frantic, and with unspeakable grief, he called upward to Heaven, ‘Oh! give me back my youth again! O, father! place me once more at the cross-path of life, that I may choose otherwise than I did.’ But his father and his youth had long since passed away.

“He saw fiery exhalations dancing on the marshes, and extinguishing themselves in the church-yard, and he said, ‘These are the days of my folly!’ He saw a star fly from heaven, and, in falling, glimmer and dissolve upon the earth. ‘That am I!’ said his bleeding heart, and the serpent-teeth of remorse dug therein further in its wounds.

“His flaming fancy showed him sleepwalkers, slinking away on the house-tops; and a windmill raised up its arms threateningly to destroy him; and a mask that remained behind in the empty charnel-house assumed by degrees his own features.

“In the midst of this paroxysm, suddenly the music for the new year flowed down from the steeple, like distant church anthems. He became more gently moved. He looked round on the horizon and upon the wide world, and thought on the friends of his youth, who, better and more happy than he, were now instructors of the earth, fathers of happy children, and blest men, and he exclaimed, ‘Oh! I also might have slumbered like you, this new year's night with dry eyes, had I chosen it. Ah, I might have been happy, beloved parents! had I fulfilled your new year's wishes and instructions.’

In feverish recollection of the period of his youth, it appeared to him as if the mask with his features raised itself up in the charnel-house—at length, through the superstition which, on the new year's night, beholds spirits and futurity, it grew to a living youth in the position of the beautiful boy of the capitol, pulling out a thorn; and his former blooming figure was bitterly placed as a phantasma before him.

“He could behold it no longer, he covered his eyes. A thousand hot, draining tears streamed into the snow. He now only softly sighed, inconsolably and unconsciously, ‘Only come again, youth! come again!’

“And it came again, for he had only dreamed so fearfully on the new year's night. He was still a youth. His errors alone had been no dream; but he thanked God that, still young, he could turn round in the foul ways of vice, and fall back on the sun-path which conducts into the pure land of harvests.

“Turn with him, youthful reader, if thou standest on his path of error! This frightful dream will, in future, become thy judge; but shouldst thou one day call out, full of anguish, ‘Come again, beautiful youth!’ it would not come again.”

A Taste Of Austrian Jails.

At the “Fête de Dieu,” in Vienna religious rites are not confined to the places of worship—the whole city becomes a church. Altars rise in every street, and high mass is performed in the open air, amid clouds of incense and showers of holy water. The Emperor himself and his family swell the procession.

I am an English workman; and, having taken a cheering glass of Kronewetter with the worthy landlord of my lodgings, I sauntered forth to observe the day's proceedings. I crossed the Platz of St. Ulrick, and thence proceeded to the high street of Mariahilf—an important suburb of Vienna. I passed two stately altars on my way, and duly raised my hat, in obedience to the custom of the country. A little crowd was collected round the parish church of Mariahilf; and, anticipating that a procession would pass, I took my stand among the rest of the expectant populace. A few assistant police, in light blue-gray uniforms with green facings, kept the road.

A bustle about the church-door, and a band of priests, attendants, and—what pleased me most—a troop of pretty little girls came, two and two, down the steps, and into the road. I remember nothing of the procession but those beautiful and innocent children, adorned with wreaths and ribbons for the occasion. I was thinking of the rosy faces I had left at home, when my reflections were interrupted by a peremptory voice, exclaiming, “Take off your hat!” I should have obeyed with alacrity at any other moment; but there was something in the manner and tone of the “Polizerdiener's” address which touched my pride, and made me obstinate. I drew back a little. The order was repeated; the crowd murmured. I half turned to go; but, the next moment, my hat was struck off my head by the police-assistant.

What followed was mere confusion. I struck the “Polizerdiener;” and, in return, received several blows on the head from behind with a heavy stick. In less than ten minutes I was lodged in the police-office of the district; my hat broken and my clothes bespattered with the blood which had dropped, and was still dropping, from the wounds in my head.

I had full time to reflect upon the obstinate folly which had produced this result; nor were my reflections enlivened by the manners of the police-agents attached to the office. They threatened me with heavy pains and punishments; and the Polizerdiener whom I had struck assured me, while stanching his still-bleeding nose, that I should have at least “three months for this.”

After several hours' waiting in the dreary office, I was abruptly called into the commissioner's room. The commissioner was seated at a table with writing materials before him, and commenced immediately, in a sharp, offensive tone, a species of examination. After my name and country had been demanded, he asked:

“Of what religion are you?”

“I am a Protestant.”

[pg 482]

“So! Leave the room.”

I had made no complaint of my bruises, because I did not think this the proper place to do so; although the man who dealt them was present. He had assisted, stick in hand, in taking me to the police-office. He was in earnest conversation with the Polizerdiener, but soon left the office. From that instant I never saw him again; nor, in spite of repeated demands, could I ever obtain redress for, or even recognition of the violence I had suffered.

Another weary hour, and I was consigned to the care of a police-soldier; who, armed with sabre and stick, conducted me through the crowded city to prison. It was then two o'clock.

The prison, situated in the Spenzler Gasse, is called the “Polizer-Hampt-Direction.” We descended a narrow gut, which had no outlet, except through the prison gates. They were slowly opened at the summons of my conductor. I was beckoned into a long gloomy apartment, lighted from one side only; and having a long counter running down its centre; chains and handcuffs hung upon the walls.

An official was standing behind the counter. He asked me abruptly:

“Whence come you?”

“From England,” I answered.

“Where's that?”

“In Great Britain; close to France.”

The questioner behind the counter cast an inquiring look at my escort.

“Is it?” he asked.

The subordinate answered him, in a pleasant way, that I had spoken the truth. Happily an Englishman, it seems, is a rarity within those prison walls.

I was passed into an adjoining room, which reminded me of the back parlor of a Holywell-street clothes-shop, only that it was rather lighter. Its sides consisted entirely of sets of great pigeon-holes, each occupied by the habiliments or effects of some prisoner.

“Have you any valuables?”

“Few enough.” My purse, watch, and pin were rendered up, ticketed, and deposited in one of the compartments. I was then beckoned into a long paved passage or corridor down some twenty stone steps, into the densest gloom. Presently I discerned before me a massive door studded with bosses, and crossed with bars and bolts. A police-soldier, armed with a drawn sabre, guarded the entrance to Punishment-Room, No. 1. The bolts gave way; and, in a few moments, I was a prisoner within.

Punishment Room, No. 1, is a chamber some fifteen paces long by six broad, with a tolerably high ceiling and whitened walls. It has but two windows, and they are placed at each end of one side of the chamber. They are of good height, and look out upon an inclosed graveled space, variegated with a few patches of verdure. The room is tolerably light. On each side are shelves, as in barracks, for sleeping. In one corner, by the window, is a stone sink; in another, a good supply of water.

Such is the prison; but the prisoners! There were forty-eight—gray-haired men and puny boys—all ragged, and stalking with slippered feet from end to end with listless eyes. Some, all eagerness; some, crushed and motionless; some, scared and stupid; now singing, now swearing, now rushing about playing at some mad game; now hushed or whispering, as the loud voice of the Vater (or father of the ward) is heard above the uproar, calling out “Ruke!” (“Order!”)

On my entrance, I was instantly surrounded by a dozen of the younger jail-birds, amid a shout of “Ein Zuwachs! Ein Zuwachs!” which I was not long in understanding to be the name given to the last comer. “Was haben sie?” (“What has he done?”) was the next eager cry. “Struck a Polizerdiener!” “Ei! das ist gut!” was the hearty exclamation; and I was a favorite immediately. One dirty, villainous-looking fellow, with but one eye, and very little light in that, took to handling my clothes; then inquired if I had any money “up above?” Upon my answering in the affirmative my popularity immediately increased. They soon made me understand that I could “draw” upon the pigeon-hole bank to indulge in any such luxuries as beer or tobacco.

People breakfast early in Vienna; and, as I had tasted nothing since that meal, I was very hungry; but I was not to starve; for soon we heard the groaning of bolts and locks, and the police-soldier who guarded the door, appeared, bearing in his hand a red earthen pot, surmounted by a round flat loaf of bread “for the Englishman.” I took my portion with thanks, and found that the pipkin contained a thick porridge made of lentils, prepared with meal and fat; in the midst of which was a piece of fresh boiled beef. The cake was of a darkish color, but good wholesome bread. Altogether, the meal was not unsavory. Many a greedy eye watched me as I sat on the end of the hard couch, eating my dinner. One wretched man seeing that I did not eat all, whispered a proposal to barter his dirty neckerchief—which he took off in my presence—for half of my loaf. I satisfied his desires, but declined the recompense. My half-emptied pipkin was thankfully taken by another man, under the pretense of “cleaning it!”

One of my fellow-prisoners approached me.

“It is getting late,” said he; “do you know what you have got to do?”

“No.”

“You are the ‘Zuwachs’ ” (latest accession), “and it is your business to empty and clean out the ‘Kiefel!’ ” (the sink, &c.)

“The devil!”

“But I dare say,” he added, carelessly, “if you pay the Vater a ‘mass-bier,’ ” (something less than a quart of beer), “he will make some of the boys do it for you.”

“With all my heart.”

“Have you a rug?”

“No.”

“You must ask the corporal, at seven o'clock; but I dare say the Vater will find you one—for a ‘mass-bier’—if you ask him.”

[pg 483]

I saw that a mass-bier would do a great deal in an Austrian prison.

The Vater, who was a prisoner like the rest, was appealed to. He was a tall, burly-looking young man, with a frank countenance. He had quitted his honest calling of butcher, and had taken to smuggling tobacco into the city. This was a heavy crime; for the growth, manufacture, and sale of tobacco, is a strict Imperial monopoly. Accordingly, his punishment had been proportionately severe—two years' imprisonment. The sentence was now approaching completion; and, on account of good conduct, he had received the appointment of Vater to Punishment Room, No. 1. The benefits were enumerated to me with open eyes by one of the prisoners—“Double rations, two rugs, and a mass-bier a day!”

The result of my application to the Vater was the instant calling out of several young lads, who crouched all day in the darkest end of the room—a condemned corner, abounding in vermin; and I heard no more of the sink, and so forth. The next day a new-comer occupied my position.

At about seven o'clock the bolts were again withdrawn, the ponderous door opened, and the corporal—who seemed to fill the office of ward-inspector—marched into the chamber. He was provided with a small note-book and a pencil, and made a general inquiry into the wants and complaints of the prisoners. Several of them asked for little indulgencies. All these were duly noted down to be complied with the next day—always supposing that the prisoner possessed a small capital “up above.” I stepped forward, and humbly made my request for a rug.

“You?” exclaimed the corporal, eying me sharply. “Oh! you are the Englishman?—No!”

I heard some one near me mutter: “So; struck a policeman! No mercy for him from the other policemen—any of them.”

The Vater dared not help me; but two of his most intimate friends made me lie down between them; and swaddled in their rugs, I passed the night miserably. The hard boards, and the vermin, effectually broke my slumbers.

The morning came. The rules of the prison required that we should all rise at six, roll up the rugs, lay them at the heads of our beds, and sweep out the room. Weary and sore, I paced the prison while these things were done. Even the morning ablution was comfortless and distressing; a pocket-handkerchief serving but indifferently for a towel.

Restless activity now took full possession of the prisoners. There was not the combined shouting or singing of the previous day; but there was independent action, which broke out in various ways. Hunger had roused them; the prison allowance is one meal a day; and although, by husbanding the supply, some few might eke it out into several repasts, the majority had no such control over their appetite. Tall, gaunt lads, just starting into men, went roaming about with wild eyes, purposeless, pipkin in hand, although hours must elapse before the meal would come. Caged beasts pace their narrow prisons with the same uniform and unvarying motion.

At last eleven o'clock came. The barred door opened, and swiftly, yet with a terrible restraint—knowing that the least disorder would cost them a day's dinner—the prisoners mounted the stone steps, and passed slowly, in single file, before two enormous caldrons. A cook, provided with a long ladle, stood by the side of each; and, with a dextrous plunge and a twist, a portion of porridge and a small block of beef were fished up and dashed into the pipkin extended by each prisoner. Another official stood ready with the flat loaves. In a very short time the whole of the prisoners were served.

Hunger seasoned the mess; and I was sitting on the bedstead-end enjoying it, when the police-soldier appeared on the threshold, calling me by name.

“You must leave—instantly.”

“I am ready,” I said, starting up.

“Have you a rug?”

“No.”

I hurried out into the dark passage. I was conducted to the left; another heavy door was loosened, and I was thrust into a gloomy cell, bewildered, and almost speechless with alarm. I was not alone. Some half-dozen melancholy wretches crouching in one corner, were disturbed by my entrance, but half an hour had scarcely elapsed, when the police-soldier again appeared, and I was hurried out. We proceeded through the passage by which I had first entered. In my way past the nest of pigeon-holes “up above,” some—only a few—of my valuables were restored to me. Presently a single police-soldier led me into the open street.

The beautiful air and sunshine! how I enjoyed them as we passed through the heart of the city. Bei'm Magistrat, at the corner of the Kohlmarket, was our destination. We entered its porticoed door, ascended the stone stairs, and went into a small office, where the most repulsive-looking official I have any where seen, noted my arrival in a book. Thence we passed into another pigeon-holed chamber, where I delivered up my little property, as before, “for its security.” A few minutes more, and I was safely locked in a small chamber, having one window darkened by a wooden blind. My companions were a few boys, a courier—who, to my surprise, addressed me in English—and a man with blazing red hair.

In this place, I passed four days, occupied by what I suppose I may designate “my trial.” The first day was enlivened by a violent attack which the jailer made upon the red-headed man for looking out of the window. He seized the fiery locks, and beat their owner's head against the wall. I had to submit that day to a degrading medical examination.

On the second day I was called to appear before the Rath or council. The process of examination is curious. It is considered necessary to the complete elucidation of a case, that the whole life and parentage of the accused should be made known; and I was thus exposed [pg 484] to a series of questions which I had never anticipated.—The names and countries of both my parents; their station; the ages, names, and birthplaces of my brothers and sisters; my own babyhood, education, subsequent behavior, and adventures; my own account, with the minutest details, of the offense I had committed. It was more like a private conference than an examination. The Rath was alone—with the exception of his secretary, who diligently recorded my answers. While being thus perseveringly catechised, the Rath sauntered up and down; putting his interminable questions in a friendly chatty way, as though he were taking a friendly interest in my history, rather than pursuing a judicial investigation. When the examination was concluded, the secretary read over every word to me, and I confirmed the report with my signature.

The Rath promised to do what he could for me; and I was then surprised and pleased by the entrance of my employer. The Rath recommended him to write to the British Embassy in my behalf, and allowed him to send me outer clothing better suited to the interior of a prison than the best clothes I had donned to spend the holiday in.

I went back to my cell with a lightened heart. I was, however, a little disconcerted on my return by the courier, who related an anecdote of a groom of his acquaintance, who had persisted in smoking a cigar while passing a sentinel; and who, in punishment therefor, had been beaten by a number of soldiers, with willow rods; and whose yells of pain had been heard far beyond the prison walls. What an anticipation! Was I to be similarly served? I thought it rather a suspicious circumstance that my new friend appeared to be thoroughly conversant with all the details (I suspect from personal experience) of the police and prison system of Vienna. He told me (but I had no means of testing the correctness of his information) that there were twenty Ratherrn, or Councillors; that each had his private chamber, and was assisted by a confidential secretary; that every offender underwent a private examination by the Rath appointed to investigate his case—the Rath having the power to call all witnesses, and to examine them, singly, or otherwise, as he thought proper; that on every Thursday the “Rathsherrn” met in conclave; that each Rath brought forward the particular cases which he had investigated, explained all its bearings, attested his report by documentary evidence prepared by his secretary, and pronounced his opinion as to the amount of punishment to be inflicted. The question was then decided by a majority.

On the third day, I was suddenly summoned before the Rath, and found myself side by side with my accuser. He was in private clothes.

“Herr Tuci,” exclaimed the Rath, trying to pronounce my name, but utterly disguising it, “you have misinformed me. The constable says he did not knock your hat off—he only pulled it off.”

I adhered to my statement. The Polizerdiener nudged my elbow, and whispered, “Don't be alarmed—it will not go hard with you.”

“Now, constable,” said the Rath; “what harm have you suffered in this affair?”

“My uniform is stained with blood.”

“From my head!” I exclaimed.

“From my nose,” interposed the Polizerdiener.

“In any case it will wash out,” said the Rath.

“And you,” he added, turning to me—“are you willing to indemnify this man for damage done?”

I assented; and was then removed.

On the following morning I was again summoned to the Rath's chamber. His secretary—who was alone—met me with smiles and congratulations: he announced to me the sentence—four days' imprisonment. I am afraid I did not evince that degree of pleasure which was expected from me; but I thanked him; was removed; and, in another hour, was reconducted to Punishment Room, No. 1.

The four days of sentence formed the lightest part of the adventure. My mind was at ease: I knew the worst. Additions to my old companions had arrived in the interval. We had an artist among us, who was allowed, in consideration of his talents, to retain a sharp cutting implement fashioned by himself from a flat piece of steel—knives and books being, as the most dangerous objects in prison, rigidly abstracted from us. He manufactured landscapes in straw, gummed upon pieces of blackened wood. Straw was obtained, in a natural state, of green, yellow, and brown; and these, when required, were converted into differently-tinted reds, by a few hours immersion in the Kiefel. He also kneaded bread in the hand, until it became as hard and as plastic as clay. This he modeled into snuff boxes (with strips of rag for hinges, and a piece of whalebone for a spring), draughts, chess-men, pipe-bowls, and other articles. When dry, they became hard and serviceable; and he sold them among the prisoners and the prison officials. He obtained thus a number of comforts not afforded by the prison regulations.

On Sunday, I attended the Catholic chapel attached to the prison—a damp, unwholesome cell. I stood among a knot of prisoners, enveloped in a nauseous vapor; whence arose musty, mouldy, rotten effluvia which gradually overpowered my senses. I felt them leaving me, and tottered toward the door. I was promptly met by a man who seemed provided for emergencies of the kind; for, he held a vessel of cold water; poured some of it into my hands, and directed me to bathe my temples. I partly recovered; and, faint and dispirited, staggered back to the prison. I had not, however, lain long upon my bed (polished and slippery from constant use), when the prison guard came to my side, holding in his hand a smoking basin of egg soup “for the Englishman.” It was sent by the mistress of the kitchen. I received the offering of a kind heart to a foreigner in trouble, with a blessing on the donor.

[pg 485]

On the following Tuesday, after an imprisonment of, in all, nine days, during which I had never slept without my clothes, I was discharged from the prison. In remembrance of the place, I brought away with me a straw landscape and a bread snuff-box, the works of the prison artist.

On reaching my lodging I looked into my box. It was empty.

“Where are my books and papers?” I asked my landlord.

The police had taken them on the day after my arrest.

“And my bank-notes?”

“Here they are!” exclaimed my landlord, triumphantly. “I expected the police; I knew you had money somewhere, so I took the liberty of searching until I found it. The police made particular inquiries about your cash, and went away disappointed, taking the other things with them.”

“Would they have appropriated it?”

“Hem! Very likely—under pretense of paying your expenses.”

On application to the police of the district, I received the whole of my effects back. One of my books was detained for about a week; a member of the police having taken it home to read, and being as I apprehend, a slow reader.

It was a matter of great astonishment, both to my friends and to the police, that I escaped with so slight a punishment.

Who Knew Best?

On the outskirts of the little town of Bernau, with a garden between it and the road, stands the house of Master Baptist Heinzelmann, a respectable citizen and cabinet-maker, or Tischlermeister, as the Germans call it, so surrounded and overshadowed by tall trees and shrubs, that it reminds you of true contentment, which is always quiet and retiring where it reigns in the heart. Nimble vine-branches climb up the walls and over the roof, so thick and shady, that birds build their nests among them, and rest every night under the sheltering leaves. Besides this there is no other garnishment or decoration to be seen about the dwelling, although Master Heinzelmann is in very comfortable circumstances. As it had come down from his father and grandfather, so stood the house at the time of our tale; one story, compact and solid. From the garden you entered the spacious outer room, the ordinary play-place of the children, and from that into the living-room, and from that into the large workshop, where Master Heinzelmann kept his ten or a dozen journeymen at work from one year's end to another, without reckoning the apprentices. His business flourished greatly, for the townsfolk preferred to go to him whenever they had orders to give or purchases to make. His workmanship was tasteful and durable, and what was more than all, he overcharged no one, which pleased people, and on that account they did not mind the walk to his house, although it was, as before said, a little off the road, and out of the way.

What the house wanted in grandeur and ornament, was made up by the contentment and the gentle and full-hearted happiness which had taken up their abode within it. Free from cares of whatever sort, Master Heinzelmann passed his days in the circle of his family. Providence had bestowed on him a good-looking, intelligent wife and three healthy and lively children, on whom his whole affections hung, and when they assembled each evening, after the labors of the day, none looked comelier and happier than they. At seven o'clock, Master Heinzelmann left off work, and dismissed his men; the noise of saws, hammers, and planes ceased, and a peaceful stillness reigned in the house; and he, having put on his comfortable in-doors jacket, filled a pipe, and looked about for his family. In summer, he found them nearly always in the garden, or in the outer room, near the open door, from whence there was a pleasant view over the sweet-scented flower-beds. His wife welcomed his coming with a friendly nod and a cheerful smile, and the children ran to meet him, clung to his hands, and strove to climb up for a kiss. Such was Baptist Heinzelmann's daily pleasure, abounding in all that makes life happy. After lifting up and embracing his children, he would sit and listen to their lively prattle, or watch their simple sports, in which he himself often took a part, while their mother made ready the evening meal. When this was over, they went and sat in the pretty summer-house, and talked about the little occurrences of the day. There was always something to relate, concerning the children, or the housekeeping, or the garden, or of other matters, nor was there any lack of simple gossip, which, however insignificant it might seem, yet had a meaning and an interest for a family bound together by the strongest ties of love. Father, mother, children, enjoyed the quiet gladness of a household into which the noise of the great world without seldom penetrated. And in what else does happiness consist, than in gladness and contentment? He who possesses them needs to ask for nothing further. Had Master Heinzelmann always remembered that, he would have saved himself from much toil and vexation.

One fine summer evening the Tischlermeister left his workshop as usual, put on his lounging-jacket, lit his pipe, and turned his steps toward the front room, from whence came the noise of merry laughter and shouts of fun. Softly he approached behind the open door which concealed him from his wife and children, leant himself at his ease on the lower half, and looked smilingly down on the frolics of his little ones. The mother, with the youngest girl on her lap, sat on the doorstep, while Fritz and Hans crawled about the floor. They were playing a hundred tricks with the kitten, which had come into the world only a few weeks before. Fritz had got a piece of colored cloth for a plaything, and flung it across the room, but with a thread cunningly fastened to it, so that he might pull it back again. The kitten, according to the manner of young cats, leaped and seized the lure with comical antics, [pg 486] but just as she fancied it was fast between her paws, came a sudden pull, and away flew the prize, while she looked after it with ludicrous astonishment. Then rose bursts of merriment and shouts of delight, and the mother, glad in her children's pleasure, laughed with them, and took care that the old cat should not disturb their sport by any sudden outbreak of ill-temper.

Master Heinzelmann looked on for a little while, and amused himself, without being seen, with his children's diversions. All at once, however, he made a grave face, and said, “Enough, little ones; let the kitten go, and come to supper. Come, dear wife, it is all ready.”

As soon as the children heard their father's voice, they thought no more about the kitten, but sprang up and ran toward him with merry faces. But he did not hug and kiss them as he was accustomed to do; he gave them only a short salute, and the same to his wife, who came toward him with her hand held out, and the youngest child on her arm.

“Baptist,” she said, “dear husband, we have had rare fun this afternoon; you should see how cleverly Fritz can spring about with the kitten! But what is the matter? You look angry. Has any thing happened to vex you?”

“Not exactly vexatious,” replied Heinzelmann, “and yet as I saw you sitting there so pleasantly, I was a little fretted to think that I had promised Master Vollbracht to go into town this evening. I would much rather stay at home with you.”

“Go to town, Baptist, to-day?” asked Frau Margaret in astonishment. “And what have you to do there?”

“Oh, it is about some town affairs,” answered Baptist; “I don't myself know rightly what they are; when Master Vollbracht told me, I did not altogether understand, but, at all events, I promised to go for a short hour, so as to be quit of him. You know well, Margaret, that to speak truly, the locksmith is no special friend of mine—he is too fond of the public-house. Still a promise is a promise, and I must keep my word; so let us have supper quickly, for the sooner there, the sooner shall I be back again.”

Frau Margaret said nothing, although it could be seen in her face, that her husband's going out in the evening was not at all agreeable to her. She went and got the supper ready, Master Heinzelmann ate a few mouthfuls hastily, and then rose up and put on his coat.

“Good-by, Margaret,” he said, “good-night, children! I expect to be at home again soon, wife.”

“Go, then,” she answered with a cheerful look, “and I will wait for you; but do not stay too long.”

Baptist promised, and went. Frau Margaret felt uneasy as she looked after him. It was the first evening since their marriage that she had been left alone in the house. When she heard the garden gate shut behind her husband, she became fearful, and pressed her hand over her eyes, out of which a few tears had forced their way. Presently, however, she said to herself—“Timid heart! what matters it if you are left alone for once? It will not happen often, for he loves me; yes, and the children too. How can I be so silly!”

So she thought, and then put on a cheerful face, and played and talked to the children, as though nothing had happened. But that pure gladness, which leaps from the care-free heart as a clear spring, was wanting. She sent the youngsters to bed earlier than usual, and placed herself at the window, and looked silently forth into the garden, which the moon, with its pale light, seemed to have covered with a vail of silver. Thus she waited for her husband's return. At ten o'clock she hoped he would come; by-and-by eleven struck, he was still absent; an other anxious half-hour passed—at last he came. She heard his footsteps still far off, heard the garden-gate creak, and flew to meet him.

“So late! you bad man,” she cried merrily, but with a slight reproach in the tone of her voice.

“I could not do otherwise, dear wife,” replied Baptist, who was visibly a little excited “You should only have been there! They paid me great honor, and when I was coming away at ten o'clock, they all cried out for me to stay, that my opinion had great weight with them, and so, really I could not leave. But you should have gone to bed, Margaret.”

“No; I was not at all tired,” answered the wife. “But, now, make haste in; you are heated, and the cool night air may do you harm.”

Lovingly she drew him into the house, and listened patiently to all that he had to tell about the matters that had been talked over in the town, and how he had settled and determined nearly every question, because of his consequence and station.

“There's only one thing vexes me,” he said lastly, “I was obliged to promise to go again. Two evenings in the week are fixed on for the meetings, and as every body was in favor, I could not well say no. However, it is but two evenings; the whole history won't last longer.”

If Frau Margaret was alarmed at the beginning of the evening, she was now doubly fearful Her quiet in-door happiness seemed to be all at once threatened by some great danger. She trembled to think that her husband could find pleasure away from home—away from his children, and she had the sense to foresee the consequences. But she remained silent, for she was too bewildered to find words to express her apprehensions, and then, she knew that when her husband had once made a promise, nothing would lead him to break it. This made her sorrow the greater, and for the first time since her marriage, her pillow was wet with tears. She, however, concealed her sadness from her husband; she hoped that the good old habits would rule again, and make him dislike passing his evenings away from home.

Although Frau Margaret was prudent and sensible, she deceived herself in this matter. Truly enough, Baptist at first went out for the evening [pg 487] unwillingly, and not without a struggle, but gradually this resistance disappeared, and at last he longed for the hour which led him among his companions. He was a man of clear judgment, knew how to deliver his words neatly, and his comfortable circumstances gave him a certain importance, so that, quite naturally, in course of time he gave the tone to the company, and his sayings were received as oracles. That flattered his vanity, which therein got full satisfaction, and before long, he wondered in secret how he could have lived so many years in the background, and had so little to do with the world. The political and religious questions of the day, about which he had never before troubled himself, began to excite his eager attention. He read newspapers, journals, pamphlets, and became a great politician—at least in the eyes of himself and his companions. The magic circle of his calm and peaceful happiness was broken. Baptist himself had done it, but without a foreboding of what he had destroyed. He fancied himself happier than ever, and could not see that all his household joys were blighted.

But Margaret saw and felt it. She mourned in secret; the evenings when she sat at home alone were sad and sorrowful for her, and at last, as Baptist left off observing any rule in his outgoing, but longed more and more to be away from home, she plucked up a heart, and begged of him to leave her no more.

“But why not!” rejoined Heinzelmann; “we do nothing wrong. We debate about matters for the good of the town and of the state. There must be great changes, Margaret, before things can be better with us. But, presto, it will come.”

“Oh, Baptist, what concern have you with the town and the state?” answered Frau Margaret. “Look at your family, that is your town and state. When you are with it, and fulfill your duty rightfully, then are you one of the best of citizens. Consider well: the skin is nearer than the fleece.”

“Yes, wife, but what do you mean by that?” said Baptist, a little angrily. “Perhaps I am not fulfilling my duty?”

“No longer the same as formerly, dear husband. Don't take it ill, Baptist, but my heart and conscience compel me—I must tell you. You neglect your business a little. Yesterday, you know, the town-clerk wanted his coffer; but you—you went out at five, and the coffer was not finished.”

“Eh, what!” cried Baptist, snappishly. “I had business in town—we were to lay a memorial before the magistrates about the pavement, and that could not be done without me; and the town-clerk can have his coffer to-day.”

“No, dear husband,” replied the wife, “he sent a little while ago to say that he had got one; and now, you see, the coffer must be kept on hand unsold.”

“The town-clerk is an old fool,” continued Baptist, fretfully. “These aristocrats!—they always want to ride on the necks of us honest traders. But patience! Our turn will come someday.”

“But, dearest husband,” said Margaret, soothingly, “the town-clerk has always been very agreeable and friendly with you, and it is certainly not his fault, that the coffer was not ready at the right time. Many go out for wool and come home shorn. Had you thought more of the skin than of the fleece, you would have saved yourself all this trouble. You understand: your business—that's the skin; the street paving—that's the fleece.”

“Yes, I understand well enough what you mean,” rejoined the Tischlermeister, “but I understand it quite otherwise! You, however, do not understand me: men were meant for general affairs, for great matters. Their mind stretches far beyond the narrow circle of housewifery. Only let me alone, and don't mix yourself up in things which don't concern you, and which you don't understand.”

Frau Margaret saw plainly that her remonstrance made no impression, and she remained silent. But her sad and downcast looks spoke more loudly to the heart of her husband than her words. Heinzelmann found that her view was not far wrong, after all, and made an attempt to withdraw from his companions, and again live a domestic life. But his attempt failed. Vanity, and the desire to appear somebody, led him back again to his crooked ways, and soon they became worse.

The insurrection at Paris broke out—the Republic was proclaimed—and the news of these events fell on the minds of the German people like a spark in a barrel of gunpowder. Blow followed blow, feelings grew hot, and almost every town had its own revolution. That was something for Master Baptist Heinzelmann. He was called to the head of the Democratic party, and made the leader of a revolutionary club, and spouted speeches full of fire and flame; the mob cried hurrah! held up their hands for him—he became drunk with triumph—was chosen town-councilor—a great man, as he thought, and leader of the people. He was near being elected Deputy to the Diet, and sent as representative to the Parliament at Berlin. Master Baptist swam in pleasures—Frau Margaret swam in tears. Her husband triumphed—she sat at home and wept. Her husband walked proudly about, and looked radiant with joy—she was full of mournfulness, and the feeling of happiness seemed to have disappeared from her heart forever.

Master Heinzelmann appeared to be totally changed. He troubled himself no longer about his business, but left every thing to his work men. Every morning early, he left home to fulfill his new vocation as leader of the people, and to labor for their happiness. He saw not that his own happiness was going to ruin in the meantime. He used to return home late, worn-out, weary, and hoarse with much speechifying and shouting, and ill-tempered into the bargain. Scarcely had he exchanged a few sulky words with his poor wife, than he betook himself to bed. He rarely saw his children: the pleasant evenings in the front-room had all vanished as a [pg 488] dream, and could not be recalled. Instead of merry laughter, and joyful cries, and glad shoutings, there was nothing to be heard but the low, sad sobs of Frau Margaret. Peace and contentment seemed to have fled from the house, as well as from the hearts of all its inmates. Yes—all! for to confess the truth, Master Baptist Heinzelmann found, little by little, that although his new life in the busy current of politics brought plenty of excitement, it by no means brought contentment; and instead of making him happy, it laid upon him rather a burden of cares, vexations, hardships, and losses of many kinds. At first it went well enough—but how went it afterward? His party, which in truth was not a small one, listened to him right willingly when he held forth and displayed his political knowledge, but they also had no objection to a cool drink now and then between the fiery speeches. So Master Baptist, from time to time, in order to keep up his popularity, was obliged to let a cask of ale go the rounds, and that was not quite so pleasant to him as to be listened to with attention, and to hear the hurrahs when he said something a little more violent than usual. Besides, there were other leaders of the people as well as he, who stood in high favor with the mob, but who had very little money, while Master Heinzelmann was well-to-do, and could afford to offer a sacrifice on the altar of his country, and—he offered it. Only, somehow or other, the sacrifice was wanted so often, and that was not much to the liking of the Tischlermeister. In the end—and that worried him the most—his journeymen became refractory all of a sudden. They wished also to have property of their own, and demanded higher wages. Baptist Heinzelmann liked revolutions very well, but not against himself, and so he told all his hands to go to Jericho, and for a time his business went to sleep. From this it happened that orders did not come in quite so numerously as before, which puzzled Baptist not a little. He began to turn it over in his mind, and all at once he bethought himself of what his good-hearted wife had said to him one day: “Remember! the skin is nearer than the fleece.” Never had the truth of this proverb come before him so strikingly and forcibly, as now that his delusions were losing their strength. A singular and irresistible longing to return once more to his former tranquil and retired, and yet happy life, overcame him. What was the selfish love of the mob, against the pure and true love of wife and children? a painted bubble in comparison with a bright and costly jewel. Baptist Heinzelmann plucked up a heart; toward evening he left the council-house and went home. No one was in the garden; it lay there in deep stillness. He stole down a by-path to his workshop, where now but three hands were employed out of the dozen that formerly worked therein, and threw off his Sunday clothes, put on his dear old comfortable jacket, his cap on his head, reached down the clay pipe which had had such a long rest, lit it, and then went softly through the inner to the outer room. Wife and children sat, as often before, on the threshold, not lively as they used to be, but particularly quiet and downcast—even merry Fritz had scarcely a word to say for himself. The sun was dropping down to his setting, and cast golden streams of light through the thick foliage of the vine which enwreathed the door and window, down upon the clean boards of the floor. Sweet odors were borne in on the air from the garden, the birds chirped and twittered their last evening notes, and peace and tranquillity reigned around, except in the hearts which once knew nothing else than joy and contentment.

Heinzelmann leant over the door, and for a time looked at his family in silence. The past came before his mind as pleasant pictures. “What a fool was I!” he said inwardly to himself; “what more blessed happiness can there be, than the happiness in the circle of one's own family! What a fool was I, not to see this long ago: that I could so long be blinded by stupid vanity and foolish pride! But there is yet time, and I will not let it escape.”

“Margaret,” he said aloud, and with friendly voice.

“Baptist—is that you? and so early!” she cried, and sprang up; “and what do I see? in the old cap and jacket! Are you not going out again?”

“Not to-day, nor to-morrow, nor afterward,” answered he, smiling. “With the old dress, I have found again my old heart. The skin is nearer than the fleece, my Margaret, my good, dear wife!”

“Oh, goodness!” she exclaimed, “what do you say? what do I hear? am I not in a dream?”

“If you are dreaming that the old contentment has come back again,” replied Baptist, “then is your dream a true one. I have grown wise at last, Margaret.”

“Thank God!” stammered the Frau; “and instead of handling the pen, you will now work with the plane—will you?”

“Yes, Margaret, stick to that which I know, and leave it to others to bungle at politics. In short, I have given up my post—I am no longer town-councilor. I am now only what I was before—Tischlermeister Baptist Heinzelmann! Am I welcome to you as such?”

With a shriek of delight, Frau Margaret fell into her husband's open arms. Long and close was their embrace, and the sense of newly-quickened joy brought sweet tears from the wife's heart. The children understood not what was going on; but they saw that their father was glad and contented, and they were glad and contented too. Until late at night, they sat together in the garden, rejoicing in their new-found happiness.

Baptist became truly the Tischlermeister of former days, and suffered himself to be no more drawn into temptation. A burnt child shuns the fire; and he knew now the difference between family joys and worldly joys. His late friends and companions came entreating him to take part once more in their proceedings, but Baptist [pg 489] put them off with a laugh, and answered, “Not so, dear friends—the skin is nearer than the fleece! In-doors there, at the work-bench, is my post. Other people understand politics and government better than I—I leave the task to them.”

The friends and companions tried again two or three times—Heinzelmann, however, remained firm; they gave up and came no more. But the old customers returned, and the old journeymen also, who had thought better of their strike—and above all, the old joy of tranquil, domestic life.

Baptist would not change with any one. And Frau Margaret?—only go by the house some day toward evening, when she is playing with the children, or sitting with them and her husband in the garden; then, when you hear her clear, silvery laugh, then, I can believe, you will no more ask if she is happy. Such a laugh can come only from a truly happy heart.

My First Place.

My father died before I can remember any thing. My mother had a hard life; and it was all that she could do to keep herself and me. We lived in Birmingham, in a house where there were many other lodgers. We had only one room of our own; and, when my mother went out to work, she locked the door and left me there by myself. Those were dreary days. When it was summer, and the bright sun shone in at the window, I thought of the green fields that I used to see sometimes on Sundays, and I longed to be sitting under a shady tree, watching the little lambs, and all young things that could play about. When it was winter, I used to sit looking at the empty grate, and wishing to see the bright blaze which never came. When mother went away in the winter mornings, she told me to run about to warm myself; and, when I was tired and began to feel cold, to get into the blankets on the bed. Many long and wearisome hours I passed in those blankets; listening and listening to every step upon the stairs, expecting to hear mother's step. At times I felt very lonely; and fancied, as it began to grow darker and darker, that I could see large, strange shapes rising before me; and, though I might know that it was only my bonnet that I looked at, or a gown of mother's hanging up behind the door, or something at the top of the old cupboard, the things seemed to grow larger and larger, and I looked and looked till I became so frightened, that I covered my head with the blanket, and went on listening for mother's return. What a joyful sound to me was the sound of the key put into the door-lock! It gave me courage in an instant: then I would throw away the blanket; and, raising my head with a feeling of defiance, would look round for the things that had frightened me, as if to say, “I don't care for you now.” Mother would light the fire, bring something from the basket, and cook our supper. She would then sit and talk to me, and I felt so happy that I soon forgot all that had gone before.

Mother could not always get work. I was glad then; for those days were the Sundays of my life; she was at home all day; and although we often had nothing to eat but bread and potatoes, she had her tea; and the potatoes always tasted to me at these times better than they did on other days. Mother was not a scholar, so she could not teach me much in that way; but she taught me how to keep our room clean and free from dust. I did not know much of other children; but I had a little cousin about my own age, who came sometimes on Sundays with my aunt, and sometimes we went to see them.

At last mother was taken ill—so very ill that she could not go out to work, and as I could not do for her all that was wanted to be done, my aunt came to be with us. Mother became worse and worse, and the doctor said he did not think she would ever get better. I heard him say this to aunt, and he said it in such a way as if he thought I could not feel; and I do think there are some people who think that children can not feel; but I did feel it very much. Aunt used to sit up at nights. I had a little bed made in a corner of the room on the floor. One night after I had cried myself to sleep, I started up from a bad dream about dear mother. At first I could not remember where I was, not being used to my strange bed; but, when I did remember, I saw that the rush-light was just burning out. All was very quiet. The quietness frightened me. The light flared for an instant, and then it was gone; but it showed me my aunt lying on the floor with her head leaning on the bed; she was fast asleep. I thought mother was asleep, too, and I did not dare to speak. Softly creeping out of bed, I groped my way as well as I could to mother's side. I listened, but I heard no sound; I got nearer to her; I could not hear her breathe; I put out my hand to feel her face; the face was clammy and almost cold. “Mother! dear mother!” I cried. The cry awoke my aunt; she got a light. Mother was dead.

I can not remember what happened for a long time afterward; for I was very ill, and was taken to my aunt's house. I was very miserable when I got better again. I felt quite alone in the world; for though aunt was kind, her kindness was not like mother's kindness. Whenever I could get to be by myself, I used to think of poor mother; and often in the long, long nights, I would lie awake thinking about her, fancying that she was near, saying things to comfort me. Poor mother!

Time passed on, and by degrees I began to feel happier; for through the interest of a kind lady—a Mrs. Jones—I was got into a school, where I was kept entirely, and taught not only reading, writing, arithmetic, and to do needlework; but was also taught how to do every branch of household work, so as to qualify me to be a servant. At the age of sixteen, suitable places were provided for the girls.

I pass over my school-days. They were very happy ones; but, when I was selected to be the servant of a lady in London, I was very miserable at parting from every body that I knew in the world, and at going among strangers who would not love me one bit.

[pg 490]

It rained heavily on the day I left; and every thing to be seen out of the window of the railway train looked dismal and dripping. When I got to the station, in London, I went into the waiting-room. I waited a long time: one after another went away, till at last I was left alone to watch the pouring rain as it fell faster and faster. I was beginning to feel very dismal indeed, when a smartly dressed young woman came into the waiting-room. At first I thought she was a lady; she came toward me, “Are you the young person from Birmingham?” she said. I was up in a moment, saying, “Yes, ma'am,” courtesying as I spoke. But the minute afterward I was sorry that I had courtesied; for I was sure she was not my mistress.

We were soon in the cab. “Well,” said my companion, whom I soon knew to be Maria Wild, the housemaid, “and so you took me to be your mistress, did you?” and she laughed in a disagreeable way; “I shan't forget your humble courtesy, and I'll try to keep you up to it.” The house at which we stopped was a pretty stone house, standing at a little distance from the road, surrounded by a nice garden. I was glad it was in the country, for the sight of trees and green fields always called to mind those happy Sundays when dear mother was alive. But the country looked very gloomy just then; every thing seemed as dull as I was.

I was chilly and shivering, and glad to creep to the fire; no one was in the kitchen. The kettle was boiling: it sounded cheerily, like the voice of friends I had often heard. The tea-things were set ready, and every thing around looked comfortable. By-and-by in came Maria and another servant—the cook. She was so smart! I looked at her timidly. “Well!” she said, “now for your courtesy.” I knew at once that Maria had been telling her about my mistake. I looked grave, and felt very uncomfortable; but I did not courtesy. “Come, come,” said she, “I'll excuse you to-night; you shall have some tea to cheer you up a bit. But don't look so down-hearted, girl; this'll never do; you must pluck up.”

Then we sat down. She asked me a great many questions, all about the place I had come from; the relations that I had; every thing about the school; what I had done there; till at last I was quite tired of answering. Then I asked some questions in my turn.

The family consisted of a master and mistress, three children (all young), and four servants. My business, I heard, was the care of the second drawing-room, to help the nurse till two o'clock, and after that time to help the cook. I wished that it had fallen to my chance to have had a place more decidedly a one place than this seemed to be; but I did not dare to say a word. I was very much tired, and cook told me that I might go to bed; for mistress (who was out) would not return till too late to speak to me that night. Very glad I was to go. I was to sleep in the room with the cook and housemaid; but had a small bed to myself. Tired as I was, I could not sleep. When they came into the room, they believed me to be asleep, and they went on talking for a long time. I wished not to hear what they said; for though I could not understand half of it, I was sure that what they talked about was very wrong. With such companions I felt that I could never be happy. I longed for morning, that I might write at once to the matron of my school and tell her so.

But what would the matron say? I knew well that she would chide me; for in the very last advice she gave me, she said that I must expect, when I went into the world, to meet with evil-speakers and with evil-doers, and that it must be my constant care to keep myself unspotted from bad example. I thought of this over and over again, and determined that, whatever might happen, I would try to do right. Besides, I had not seen the nurse yet; she might be a person that I could like; and in this hope I went to sleep.

When I awoke, the bright sunlight was shining in through the window; I was alone in the room, and I was sure that it was very late. I was dressing hurriedly when the door softly opened. It was Maria Wild. “How soundly you have slept!” she said; “I had not the heart to awake you; but you must make haste now, for mistress is down, and has asked for you, and we have finished breakfast.” I was not long in following her. The cook had kept some tea warm for me; her manner seemed kinder, and I wished that I could forget what had passed. By-and-by the parlor bell rang. It was for me; and, with a beating heart, I prepared to go into the presence of my first mistress.

What a pretty, sweet, gentle lady! and so very young that I could scarcely believe she could be my mistress. She spoke to me most gently, hoped I should prove a good girl; and, without entering into the nature of my duties, merely said that the cook and the nurse would put me in the right way. Dear lady! she was like many other ladies who marry as soon as they leave school; and who, without knowing any thing at all about the management of a house, rush into housekeeping.

I wish I could have had all my instructions from my mistress. As it was, I had three distinct mistresses; my real one knowing less about what I did, than either of the others. I was often very much tempted to peep into the beautiful books which were lying about the drawing-room I had the care of. As I dusted them with my brush, once or twice I could not resist; and, one morning I opened the prettiest, in which there were such beautiful engravings, that I turned them all over till I came to the end. One engraving seemed so very interesting that I could not resist reading a little of the story which told about it. I was standing with the book in one hand, the dusting brush in the other, forgetting every thing else, when I was startled by the sound of my own name. I turned round and saw my mistress. “Fanny!” repeated my mistress, “this is very wrong; I do not allow this.” I could not speak, but I felt myself turn very red; [pg 491] and I put the book hastily on the table. I did not try to make any excuse for what I had done. I was touched by the gentleness with which my mistress had reproved me.

Several weeks passed. I was very miserable, but I struggled hard to bear all as well as I could. I was sure that both the nurse and the cook gave me a great many things to do that they ought to have done themselves; so that I had very little rest, and was very tired when night came. I was certain that I was a restraint on what they had to say to each other: they were by no means sure of me; and, when I entered the kitchen unexpectedly, I knew by their altered tone and manners that they spoke of something different to what they had been speaking about before. I saw many signs pass between them, which they did not think I saw. Sometimes I knew they were trying to see how far they might trust me, and I had a strong wish that they would find out they never would be able to trust me.

One day I was cleaning the children's shoes in a little out-house near the kitchen, when my mistress came down to give orders for dinner. The cook did not know I was there. Most of what was said I could hear very distinctly; for the kitchen-door was open. “Oh! indeed, ma'am,” said the cook, “these young girls eat a great deal; you'd be astonished to see how she makes away with the puddings.”“Change of air has given her an appetite, I suppose,” said my mistress.—“Yes, indeed, ma'am; but if it was an appetite in moderation, I should say nothing about it; but to see her eat in the way she does—why, ma'am, yesterday, besides the pudding left from the nursery, I had made another for our dinner, and though Mary and I took only the least morsel, there was not a bit left.”“Indeed!” said my mistress, and left the kitchen.

It was hard work for me to keep quiet. Twice I went toward the kitchen-door. I felt myself burn all over with anger; but I was struck dumb by the falsehoods I had heard. There had been no pudding for dinner the day before, and having had a headache, I had eaten no meat; nor could I have been tempted even by the savory-looking veal cutlets that the cook had prepared for herself and Mary. For some time after my mistress had left the kitchen I remained quite still; indeed, I was scarcely able to move; then I made a rush toward the kitchen-door, intending to up-braid the cook with her wickedness; but again I checked myself. I waited till I could leave the out-house and pass up the back stairs without being seen; then I went into the room where I slept, threw myself upon my little bed, and cried bitterly.

I was roused by the nurse, who had been seeking the children's shoes to take the children out to walk. I washed my eyes, and went out with them. The baby was a nice chubby little thing, about seven months old, but he was what the nurse called “lumpish, and had no spring,” so that he was very heavy to carry. When we went out to walk, the nurse always carried baby till we got out of sight of the house; then she gave him to me; and when we returned she always took him again at the same place. After taking one turn on the heath “promenade,” we went down by the sand-pits, and walking on till we came to a retired place, the nurse seated herself near a heather bush, and took a book. My arms ached so very much that I should have been glad to sit down too; but she told me to go on, the other children following me. After I had walked some distance, baby awoke, and began to cry. I could not comfort him. The more I tried, the louder he screamed, and the two little children, frightened at his screams, began to cry too. I turned to go back, but we had gone further than I thought; and the road being irregular, we had picked our way round many tall bushes of heather, all looking so much alike—that I did not know which way to take. In great trouble what to do, and scarcely being able to hold the baby any longer, I shouted “Nurse! nurse!” as loud as I could shout; but so great was the noise made by the screaming of the children, that my voice could not be heard. Presently, however, to my great relief, the nurse suddenly appeared from behind the bush, near which we were sitting.

What a face of rage she had! “How dare you,” she said, “how dare you go so far?” Then snatching the child from my arms, she would not hear a word; but as soon as she had made him and the rest of the children quiet, she went on abusing me very much indeed.

We were still some way from home when the church clock chimed a quarter to two. Suddenly the nurse stopped, put her hand into her pocket, and looked very much frightened. “I've left the book,” she said, “left it on the bank; run—run directly—make haste—don't lose a moment, or it may be gone.” I stood still; for I felt angry at having been scolded so undeservedly. “Go! go this instant!” I was too late; the book was gone! I scarcely dared to go back. “Not find it!” said the nurse, when I came up to her; “it must be there; you've done this on purpose.” When we had reached home, she flung the baby hurriedly into my arms. “I'll go myself,” she said.

The book I had seen her take out of her pocket looked very much like one placed on a side-table in the room of which I had charge, and so great was my curiosity to know if it really were the same, that I could not resist going down to see; so putting the baby (who had begun to cry again) upon the bed, and telling the little ones to sit still for a minute, down I went. The book was not on the table. I was sure that I had dusted and placed it there that very morning, and I now felt certain that that book was the lost one. The nurse returned, but without the book. She seemed very much hurried, and was very cross. She could not have been more so if the book had been lost by any fault of mine. She asked me if I knew the name of it. I told her that I did not; taking care not to mention my suspicion—nay, my certainty—that it was the very book I had dusted and placed on the table that morning. [pg 492] The next day a great change seemed to have come over both the nurse and the cook; their manner was much kinder than ever it had been before. Neither of them said a cross word; yet I was almost certain that the nurse had been telling the cook that I had overheard what she had said to my mistress. The cause of this change puzzled me at first, but I soon suspected that they each wanted to coax me; the one to say nothing about “the large appetite,” the other about the lost book.

Since the loss of the book, every time the bell had rung, my heart leaped as though it would burst through my body, and I looked anxiously at Mary Wild when she came into the kitchen again; but nothing came of all this. One day, Mary, having a bad fit of toothache, I had to wait at table. That very afternoon mistress sent to speak to me; she was sitting in the inner drawing-room. Strange to say, that much as I had thought about the book, at that very moment I had forgotten all about it, and almost started when mistress said, “Fanny, I want to know if you have misplaced a book that was on that table: it is nearly a week since I missed it, but not chancing to want it till now, I forgot to make inquiry about it.” I turned very red. I could not speak. My mistress looked questioningly into my face. “Do you know where it is, Fanny?” “No—yes—no, indeed, ma'am, no.” “Fanny, Fanny! I am sure you are not speaking the truth; there is something wrong—you do know something about it.” And she looked fixedly on my face. I became redder still, but did not answer. “Where is it? what is become of it?” “Indeed, I have had nothing to do with the loss of that book.” “To do with the loss? Then you allow that you do know that it is lost? How can you know this without having something to do with it?” “Oh! pray, ma'am, pray, pray ask the nurse.” “The nurse! what can she possibly have to do with the loss of that book?” Again I was silent. The bell was rung, and the nurse ordered to come down. A glance at her face told me that she knew what was going on. “Nurse,” said my mistress, “Fanny asks me to go to you to account for the loss of a book which has been missing for some days out of this room. Do you know any thing about it?” “I, ma'am!” said the nurse, pretending to be very much surprised. “Yet I can't say that I know nothing about a book that was in this room.” Then turning to me—“Did you not put it back again? you know very well that I threatened to tell mistress about it; and I'm very sorry, now, that I did not tell her.”

The only word I could say was, “Nurse!”

“I am sure, ma'am,” said the nurse, “I should have been very sorry to say any thing against her—and if you had not found her out, I should not have told about her. She is but young, ma'am, and may improve—but, indeed, ma'am, never in my life did I see a young girl tell a lie with such a face of innocence.” I was bursting with shame and vexation. “May I speak, ma'am? Oh! pray hear me—it was not I: it was she who lost the book. Do let me speak, ma'am; pray let me tell you—” “No, you shall have no inducement to tell more falsehoods. I fear I shall be obliged to send you home again; I can not have any one with my children who tells untruths.” And she pointed to the nurse to open the door for me. As she was doing so, nurse said, “She told me, ma'am, how you had caught her reading one morning, when—” Here she shut me out and herself in.

If I had had money enough to take me to Birmingham, I believe I should not have staid in the house an hour longer; but how often have I been thankful that I had not; for, if I had gone away then, nothing could ever have cleared me in the eyes of my mistress, and I should have been disgraced forever.

Though I had been five months in my place, I had written but two letters; one to my aunt, the other to the matron. I was never allowed a light to take up-stairs, so that I had no opportunity of writing there. It was late when the servants came to bed that night; and, after having cried a great deal, I was just dropping to sleep when they came into the room. I did not sleep long. When I awoke, there was darkness in the room again, and the servants were snoring. Then all at once the thought came into my head that I would get up and write a letter to my aunt. I slipped on a few things. It was too dark for me to be able to see any thing in the room, and I did not know where the candle had been put. Very much disappointed, I was preparing to get into bed again, when I remembered the lamp standing on the centre-table in the inner drawing-room; that room of which I had the charge. I opened the door softly, and found my way into the drawing-room. I flamed up a match, which gave light long enough for me to find the lamp; then I flamed up another, and lighted it. The lamp gave but a dull light; all in the house was so quiet, and every thing looked so dusky, that I was frightened, and went on trembling more than before. There was paper in the case before me, and there were pens in the inkstand, but I never thought of using those. My own paper and pens were under the tray of my work-box, and that was in the kitchen. The lamp was not too large to be easily carried; so, taking it up with care, I went into the kitchen. The two cats on the hearth roused up when I opened the door. One rushed out and began to mew loudly. How frightened I was! I waited, hoping the cats might settle again; but they began mewing louder than ever, looking up to my face, and then rubbing themselves against the meat-screen. I was sure that they smelt something that they wanted me to give them; so I went toward the meat-screen to see what it was. There I saw a hand-basket, and something wrapped up in a cloth. Pushing the meat-screen cautiously aside, I lifted the basket out. Within I found a medley of things that would have puzzled wiser heads than mine to know how they could come together. There was a thick slice of uncooked veal, two sausages, a slice of raw salmon, some green [pg 493] pease, and seven new potatoes, half a pot of raspberry jam, a nutmeg, and half a cucumber. I did not dare to untie the bundle—which was folded up very carefully—but I could feel bits of candles, and a basin among the oddments it seemed to contain. I put the basket quickly down again. The cats had been mewing about me all this time. At length I did contrive to escape. I had reached the drawing-room, placed the lamp on the table, when I saw the two bits of burnt matches which I had forgotten to pick up, and which might have left traces of my wanderings. There was another bit somewhere. In my gladness to have remembered this, I moved the lamp quickly, and in carrying it toward the floor, I knocked the glass against the edge of the table; it fell to shivers, and the light was extinguished. What was to be done? Nothing: there was nothing to be done but to leave things just as they were, and to creep into bed again.

In the morning I hurried down, fearful lest any of the servants should chance to go into the drawing-room before I had picked up the broken glass. I opened the shutters, and soon found that the shattered glass was not all the injury that had been done. There was lamp-oil on the beautiful carpet! There seemed no end to my troubles.

“Broken the lamp-glass!” said the cook, as I passed through the kitchen with the broken bits of glass; “what ever will you do?”“I can do nothing but tell mistress.”“Then I'll tell you what to do; take my advice, and deny it.” “Deny what?”“Why, that you've broken the lamp-glass.”“What! tell my mistress a lie? how can you give me such wicked advice?”“Well; it's no business of mine,” said the cook; “if you won't tell her a lie, I'll tell her the truth.” I determined, however, to speak first. I could not go about my usual work till I had spoken to my mistress; and yet, when I heard the dining-room door open, and knew that she would be coming up, I ran out of the room, and went up-stairs; my courage failed me, and I hardly dared to go down again. From the top of the stairs I saw her go into the room, and I saw the cook following her. I expected every moment to be called. Soon the door opened, and the cook came out. I heard her say, distinctly, “Indeed, ma'am, I'm afraid she'll turn out badly; but I've done what I can to make her confess.” At the sound of the opening of the door, with a sudden determination, I had rushed down stairs, and was within a few steps of the room as the cook came out. On seeing me, she shut the door quickly, and turned quite red; then, speaking in a voice on purpose for my mistress to hear, she said, “What! have you been listening?” I made no answer; but went into the room.

There was an expression of displeasure on the face of my mistress as she looked at me. She asked, “How did you break the lamp-glass? Tell me the truth—for though I may pardon the accident, I will not pardon any falsehood about it.”

I begged that I might tell her everything, and that I might begin from the day when I came to my place. I did so. I told her all, and very much in the same way that I have just been writing it now. She listened to me with great attention, and at parts of what I told her, I could see her countenance change very much indeed. When I had done, she said, “Fanny, you have told me that which has shocked me very much. I can say nothing further to you till I have spoken to Mr. Morgan; meantime you must be silent, and go on as usual.”

Mr. Morgan was at that time from home, and not expected for some days. Meanwhile, Mrs. Morgan had missed several bottles of wine from the cellar. She had a distinct knowledge of three bottles that were not in their places.

The morning after his arrival he did not go to London as usual. He and my mistress were talking together in the study for a long time. I knew well what they were talking about, and so flurried did I feel, that I could hardly get on with my work. At length I met mistress as she was going up-stairs. She said she was coming to bid me go into the study; and her manner was so kind that I obeyed her without fear. My master, too, spoke very kindly to me. I found that my mistress had written to tell him what had been passing at home in his absence, and that he, chancing to be at Dudley, which is only a short distance from Birmingham, had gone there to make further inquiry about me; that he had been at the school, had seen the matron, and had also seen my aunt. All that he had heard about me had satisfied him, and convinced him that what I had told my mistress was nothing but the truth. “Is this your handkerchief, Fanny?” said my master, taking up one from a side table. “Yes, sir, it is,” I said, unfolding it, “and here is my name marked; it was given to me by a favorite little schoolfellow, and I feared I had lost it.”“Where do you think I found this handkerchief, Fanny?”“Indeed, sir, I can't tell; but, thank you, sir, for I am so glad it is found.” “I found it in the wine-cellar.” I must have looked very much alarmed, for my mistress said kindly, “Don't look so frightened, Fanny.” My master rang the bell: it was answered by Mary Wild. “Stay here,” he said; “and, Fanny, go and tell the nurse to come down.” When the nurse entered, he rang the bell again. No one came. Indeed, there was no one to come but the cook; and that not being her bell, she did not think of answering it. “Shall I tell her, sir?” said Mary Wild, who, as well as the nurse, now beginning to suspect something was wrong, turned very pale. “No!” said my master, angrily, “no one shall leave the room.” Just then the door opened, and the cook entered. The plausible smooth face she had put on was gone in an instant, on seeing what was the state of things. After a moment's silence, he began “This handkerchief,” he said, “though marked with Fanny's name, was not put in the wine-cellar by her.” He looked sternly at the cook—“Silence!” he said, to the cook, when she tried [pg 494] to speak. He then went on: “If the three bottles of wine stolen out of the cellar are still in the house, they shall be found—here is a search warrant, and at the door is a policeman, ready to enforce its execution. There is no escape, and in confession is the best chance of mercy.” Mary Wild looked at the cook. I shall never forget that woman's face at that moment. She seemed choking with feelings that she tried to hide, and uncertain what it would be the best for her to do; she went at last toward the door, and suddenly opening it, was rushing out of the room and up-stairs. “Stop!” cried my master, following her.—“I must go,” she said, “I am ill. This sudden shock—to think that I—that it should come to this—to be suspected.”—And then she screamed, and tried to throw herself into a fit; but the fit would not come. Mr. Morgan said, “You had better be quiet, and submit quietly to what you can not escape from.”“I will,” she screamed out; “I have nothing to fear—I am innocent; only let me go up-stairs; only let me have a few minutes to—” “Not an instant,” said my master. He then opened the window, and called to the policeman, who had been waiting in the garden. The boxes of each of the servants were examined. In the cook's box were found two of the bottles, besides many things belonging to my mistress—cambric pocket-handkerchiefs, chamber-towels, silk-stockings, and many other articles, marked with the names of visitors who had been staying in the house. Folded up in some crumpled bits of paper, and put into the sleeve of an old gown, was a silver fork, that had been lost more than a year ago, and that mistress had supposed to have been stolen by the housemaid who had lived there before Mary Wild came. In the nurse's box were several things that looked very unlikely to be her own, but they did not belong to mistress. In a corner of the nursery cupboard was the third bottle of wine; that also had been opened. In Mary Wild's box there was nothing to excite suspicion.

When the examination was over, master gave the cook in charge to the policeman. The nurse was told to leave the house within an hour. She would have had much to say, but master would not hear her.

A month's notice was given to Mary Wild. I was glad of it; for though I knew that she had entered into many of the wicked cook's deceptions, there was a something about her that made me think she would have been good, if she had not been under such evil influence. All had been so sudden, that I almost fancied it had been a dream. For a few days we went on without other servants, and I thought things had never been so comfortable as they were during this time; but Mary Wild was taken so very ill, that a doctor was sent for. She became worse and worse, and I scarcely ever left her. In her delirium she would talk about things that had passed between the cook and herself; and though she did not know what she was saying, I felt sure that what she said had been. A very long time she was ill; then a sudden change took place: and she was out of danger. Poor thing! how quiet, and patient, and sorrowful she was: and how grateful for every thing that was done for her! Mistress was so much touched by the many signs of sorrow Mary had shown, that she allowed her to remain in her place. Though I was so young, only just seventeen, my mistress, knowing that I was fond of the children, trusted them to my care. She engaged another nurse for three months to “put me in the way.” At the end of that time she sent to the school for another girl to fill the place which had been mine. Very great was my delight to find that she was the one who had been my most favorite schoolfellow; the very girl who had given me the handkerchief.

The cook was committed for trial; her sentence was six months' imprisonment. What became of the nurse I never knew.

The Point Of Honor.

One evening in the autumn of the year 1842. seven persons, including myself, were sitting and chatting in a state of hilarious gayety in front of Señor Arguellas' country-house, a mile or so out of Santiago de Cuba, in the Eastern Intendencia of the Queen of the Antilles, and once its chief capital, when an incident occurred that as effectually put an extinguisher upon the noisy mirth as if a bomb-shell had suddenly exploded at our feet. But first a brief account of those seven persons, and the cause of their being so assembled, will be necessary.

Three were American merchants—Southerners and smart traders, extensively connected with the commerce of the Colombian archipelago, and designing to sail on the morrow—wind and weather permitting, in the bark Neptune, Starkey master and part owner—for Morant Bay, Jamaica; one was a lieutenant in the Spanish artillery, and nephew of our host; another was a M. Dupont, a young and rich creole, of mingled French and Spanish parentage, and the reputed suitor for the hand of Donna Antonia—the daughter and sole heiress of Señor Arguellas, and withal a graceful and charming maiden of eighteen—a ripe age in that precocious clime; the sixth guest was Captain Starkey, of the Neptune, a gentlemanly, fine-looking English seaman of about thirty years of age; the seventh and last was myself, at that time a mere youngster, and but just recovered from a severe fit of sickness which a twelvemonth previously had necessitated my removal from Jamaica to the much more temperate and equable climate of Cuba, albeit the two islands are only distant about five degrees from each other. I was also one of Captain Starkey's passengers, and so was Señor Arguellas, who had business to wind up in Kingston. He was to be accompanied by Señora Arguellas, Antonia, the young lieutenant, and M. Dupont. The Neptune had brought a cargo of sundries, consisting of hardware, cottons, et cetera, to Cuba, and was returning about half-laden with goods. Among these, belonging to the American merchants, [pg 495] were a number of barrels of gunpowder, that had proved unsalable in Cuba, and which, it was thought, might find a satisfactory market in Jamaica. There was excellent cabin-accommodation on board Captain Starkey's vessel, and as the weather was fine, and the passage promised to be a brief as well as pleasant one—the wind having shifted to the northwest, with the intention, it seemed, of remaining there for some time—we were all, as I have stated, in exceedingly good-humor, and discussing the intended trip, Cuban, American, and European politics, the comparative merits of French and Spanish wines, and Havanna and Alabama cigars, with infinite glee and gusto.

The evening, too, was deliciously bright and clear. The breeze, pronounced by Capt. Starkey to be rising to a five or six knot one at sea, only sufficiently stirred the rich and odorous vegetation of the valleys, stretching far away beneath us, gently to fan the heated faces of the party with its grateful perfume, and slightly ripple the winding rivers, rivulets rather, which every where intersect and irrigate the island, and which were now glittering with the myriad splendors of the intensely-lustrous stars that diadem a Cuban night. Nearly all the guests had drunk very freely of wine, too much so, indeed; but the talk, in French, which all could speak tolerably, did not profane the calm glory of the scene, till some time after Señora Arguellas and her daughter had left us. The señor, I should state, was still detained in town by business which it was necessary he should dispose of previous to embarking for Jamaica.

“Do not go away,” said Señora Arguellas, addressing Captain Starkey, as she rose from her seat, “till I see you again. When you are at leisure, ring the sonnette on the table and a servant will inform me. I wish to speak further with you relative to the cabin arrangements.”

Captain Starkey bowed. I had never, I thought, seen Antonia smile so sweetly; and the two ladies left us. I do not precisely remember how it came about, or what first led to it, but it was not very long before we were all conscious that the conversation had assumed a disagreeable tone. It struck me that possibly M. Dupont did not like the expression of Antonia's face as she courtesied to Captain Starkey. This, however, would, I think, have passed off harmlessly, had it not been that the captain happened to mention, very imprudently, that he had once served as a midshipman on board the English slave-squadron. This fanned M. Dupont's smouldering ill-humor into a flame, and I gathered from his confused maledictions that he had suffered in property from the exertions of that force. The storm of angry words raged fiercely. The motives of the English for interfering with the slave-traffic were denounced with contemptuous bitterness on the one side, and as warmly and angrily defended on the other. Finally—the fact is, they were both flustered with wine and passion, and scarcely knew what they said or did—M. Dupont applied an epithet to the Queen of England, which instantly brought a glass of wine full in his face from the hand of Captain Starkey. They were all in an instant on their feet, and apparently sobered, or nearly so, by the unfortunate issue of the wordy tumult.

Captain Starkey was the first to speak. His flushed and angry features paled suddenly to an almost deathly white, and he stammered out, “I beg your pardon, M. Dupont. It was wrong—very wrong in me to do so, though not inexcusable.”

“Pardon? Mille tonnerres! shouted Dupont, who was capering about in an ecstasy of rage, and wiping his face with his handkerchief. “Yes, a bullet through your head shall pardon you—nothing less!”

Indeed, according to the then notions of Cuban society, no other alternative save the duello appeared possible. Lieutenant Arguellas hurried at once into the house, and speedily returned with a case of pistols. “Let us proceed,” he said, in a quick whisper, “to the grove yonder; we shall be there free from interruption.” He took Dupont's arm, and both turned to move off. As they did so, Mr. Desmond, the elder of the American gentlemen, stepped toward Captain Starkey, who with recovered calmness, and with his arms folded, was standing by the table, and said, “I am not entirely, my good sir, a stranger to these affairs, and if I can be of service I shall—”

“Thank you, Mr. Desmond,” replied the English captain; “but I shall not require your assistance. Lieutenant Arguellas, you may as well remain. I am no duelist, and shall not fight M. Dupont.”

“What does he say?” exclaimed the lieutenant, gazing with stupid bewilderment round the circle. “Not fight!”

The Anglo-Saxon blood, I saw, flushed as hotly in the veins of the Americans as it did in mine at this exhibition of the white feather by one of our race. “Not fight, Captain Starkey!” said Mr. Desmond, with grave earnestness, after a painful pause: “you, whose name is in the list of the British royal navy, say this! You must be jesting!”

“I am perfectly serious—I am opposed to dueling upon principle.”

“A coward upon principle!” fairly screamed Dupont, with mocking fury, and at the same time shaking his clenched fist at the Englishman.

The degrading epithet stung like a serpent. A gleam of fierce passion broke out of Captain Starkey's dark eyes, and he made a step toward Dupont, but resolutely checked himself.

“Well, it must be borne! I was wrong to offer you personal violence, although your impertinence certainly deserved rebuke. Still, I repeat I will not fight with you.”

“But you shall give my friend satisfaction!” exclaimed Lieutenant Arguellas, who was as much excited as Dupont; “or, by Heaven, I will post you as a dastard not only throughout this island but Jamaica!”

Captain Starkey for all answer to this menace [pg 496] coolly rang the sonnette, and desired the slave who answered it to inform Señora Arguellas that he was about to leave, and wished to see her.

“The brave Englishman is about to place himself under the protection of your aunt's petticoats, Alphonso!” shouted Dupont, with triumphant mockery.

“I almost doubt whether Mr. Starkey is an Englishman,” exclaimed Mr. Desmond, who, as well as his two friends, was getting pretty much incensed; “but, at all events, as my father and mother were born and raised in the old country, if you presume to insinuate that—”

Señora Arguellas at this moment approached, and the irate American with some difficulty restrained himself. The lady appeared surprised at the strange aspect of the company she had so lately left. She, however, at the request of the captain, instantly led the way into the house, leaving the rest of her visitors, as the French say, plantés là.

Ten minutes afterward we were informed that Captain Starkey had left the house, after impressing upon Señora Arguellas that the Neptune would sail the next morning precisely at nine o'clock. A renewed torrent of rage, contempt, and scorn broke forth at this announcement, and a duel at one time seemed inevitable between Lieutenant Arguellas and Mr. Desmond, the last-named gentleman manifesting great anxiety to shoot somebody or other in vindication of his Anglo-Saxon lineage. This, however, was overruled, and the party broke up in angry disorder.

We were all on board by the appointed time on the following morning. Captain Starkey received us with civil indifference, and I noticed that the elaborate sneers which sat upon the countenances of Dupont and the lieutenant did not appear in the slightest degree to ruffle or affect him; but the averted eye and scornful air of Donna Antonia as she passed with Señora Arguellas toward the cabin, drawing her mantilla tightly round her as she swept by, as if—so I perhaps wrongfully interpreted the action—it would be soiled by contact with a poltroon, visibly touched him—only, however, for a few brief moments. The expression of pain quickly vanished, and his countenance was as cold and stern as before. There was, albeit, it was soon found, a limit to this, it seemed, contemptuous forbearance. Dupont, approaching him, gave his thought audible expression, exclaiming, loud enough for several of the crew to hear, and looking steadily in the captain's face: Lâche! He would have turned away, but was arrested by a gripe of steel. Ecoutez, monsieur,” said Captain Starkey: “individually, I hold for nothing whatever you may say; but I am captain and king in this ship, and I will permit no one to beard me before the crew, and thereby lessen my authority over them. Do you presume again to do so, and I will put you in solitary confinement, perhaps in irons, till we arrive at Jamaica.” He then threw off his startled auditor, and walked forward. The passengers, colored as well as white, were all on board; the anchor, already apeak, was brought home; the bows of the ship fell slowly off, and we were in a few moments running before the wind, though but a faint one, for Point Morant.

No one could be many hours on board the Neptune without being fully satisfied that, however deficient in dueling courage her captain might be, he was a thorough seaman, and that his crew—about a dozen of as fine fellows as I have ever seen—were under the most perfect discipline and command. The service of the vessel was carried on as noiselessly and regularly as on board a ship of war; and a sense of confidence, that should a tempest or other sea-peril overtake us, every reliance might be placed in the professional skill and energy of Captain Starkey, was soon openly or tacitly acknowledged by all on board. The weather throughout happily continued fine, but the wind was light and variable, so that for several days after we had sighted the blue mountains of Jamaica, we scarcely appeared sensibly to diminish the distance between them and us. At last the breeze again blew steadily from the northwest, and we gradually neared Point Morant. We passed it, and opened up the bay at about two o'clock in the morning, when the voyage might be said to be over. This was a great relief to the cabin-passengers—far beyond the ordinary pleasure to land-folk of escaping from the tedium of confinement on shipboard. There was a constraint in the behavior of every body that was exceedingly unpleasant. The captain presided at table with freezing civility; the conversation, if such it could be called, was usually restricted to monosyllables; and we were all very heartily glad that we had eaten our last dinner in the Neptune. When we doubled Point Morant, all the passengers except myself were in bed, and a quarter of an hour afterward Captain Starkey went below, and was soon busy, I understood, with papers in his cabin. For my part I was too excited for sleep, and I continued to pace the deck fore and aft with Hawkins, the first-mate, whose watch it was, eagerly observant of the lights on the well-known shore, that I had left so many months before with but faint hopes of ever seeing it again. As I thus gazed landward, a bright gleam, as of crimson moonlight, shot across the dark sea, and turning quickly round, I saw that it was caused by a tall jet of flame shooting up from the main hatchway, which two seamen, for some purpose or other, had at the moment partially opened. In my still weak state, the terror of the sight—for the recollection of the barrels of powder on board flashed instantly across my mind—for several moments completely stunned me, and but that I caught instinctively, at the rattlings, I should have fallen prostrate on the deck. A wild outcry of “Fire! fire!”—the most fearful cry that can be heard at sea—mingled with and heightened the dizzy ringing in my brain, and I was barely sufficiently conscious to discern, amid the runnings to and fro, and the incoherent exclamations of the crew, the sinewy, athletic figure of the captain leap up, [pg 497] as it were, from the companion-ladder to the deck, and with his trumpet-voice command immediate silence, instantly followed by the order again to batten down the blazing hatchway. This, with his own assistance, was promptly effected, and then he disappeared down the forecastle. The two or three minutes he was gone—it could scarcely have been more than that—seemed interminable; and so completely did it appear to be recognized that our fate must depend upon his judgment and vigor, that not a word was spoken, nor a finger, I think, moved, till he reappeared, already scorched and blackened with the fire, and dragging up what seemed a dead body in his arms. He threw his burden on the deck, and passing swiftly to where Hawkins stood, said in a low, hurried whisper, but audible to me; “Run down and rouse the passengers, and bring my pistols from the cabin-locker. Quick! Eternity hangs on the loss of a moment.” Then turning to the startled but attentive seamen, he said in a rapid but firm voice: “You well know, men, that I would not on any occasion or for any motive deceive you. Listen, then, attentively. Yon drunken brute—he is Lieutenant Arguellas' servant—has fired with his candle the spirits he was stealing, and the hold is a mass of fire which it is useless to waste one precious moment in attempting to extinguish.”

A cry of rage and terror burst from the crew, and they sprang impulsively toward the boats, but the captain's authoritative voice at once arrested their steps. “Hear me out, will you? Hurry and confusion will destroy us all, but with courage and steadiness every soul on board may be saved before the flames can reach the powder. And remember,” he added, as he took his pistols from Hawkins and cocked one of them, “that I will send a bullet after any man who disobeys me, and I seldom miss my aim. Now, then, to your work—steadily, and with a will!”

It was marvelous to observe the influence his bold, confident, and commanding bearing and words had upon the men. The panic-terror that had seized them gave place to energetic resolution, and in an incredibly short space of time the boats were in the water. “Well done, my fine fellows! There is plenty of time, I again repeat. Four of you”—and he named them—“remain with me. Three others jump into each of the large boats, two into the small one, and bring them round to the landward side of the ship. A rush would swamp the boats, and we shall be able to keep only one gangway clear.”

The passengers were by this time rushing upon deck half-clad, and in a state of the wildest terror, for they all knew there was a large quantity of gunpowder on board. The instant the boats touched the starboard side of the bark, the men, white as well as colored, forced their way with frenzied eagerness before the women and children—careless, apparently, whom they sacrificed so that they might themselves leap to the shelter of the boats from the fiery volcano raging beneath their feet. Captain Starkey, aided by the four athletic seamen he had selected for the duty, hurled them fiercely back. “Back, back!” he shouted. “We must have funeral order here—first the women and children, next the old men. Hand Señora Arguellas along; next the young lady her daughter: quick!”

As Donna Antonia, more dead than alive, was about to be lifted into the boat, a gush of flame burst up through the main hatchway with the roar of an explosion; a tumultuous cry burst from the frenzied passengers, and they jostled each other with frightful violence in their efforts to reach the gangway. Dupont forced his way through the lane of seamen with the energy of a madman, and pressed so suddenly upon Antonia that, but for the utmost exertion of the captain's Herculean strength, she must have been precipitated into the water.

“Back, unmanly dastard! back, dog!” roared Captain Starkey, terribly excited by the lady's danger; and a moment after, seizing Dupont fiercely by the collar, he added: “or if you will, look there but for a moment,” and he pointed with his pistol-hand to the fins of several sharks plainly visible in the glaring light at but a few yards' distance from the ship. “Men,” he added, “let whoever presses forward out of his turn fall into the water.”

“Ay, ay, sir!” was the prompt mechanical response.

This terrible menace instantly restored order; the colored women and children were next embarked, and the boat appeared full.

“Pull off,” was the order: “you are deep enough for safety.”

A cry, faint as the wail of a child, arose in the boat. It was heard and understood.

“Stay one moment; pass along Señor Arguellas. Now, then, off with you, and be smart!”

The next boat was quickly loaded; the colored lads and men, all but one, and the three Americans, went in her.

“You are a noble fellow,” said Mr. Desmond, pausing an instant, and catching at the captain's hand; “and I was but a fool to—”

“Pass on,” was the reply: “there is no time to bandy compliments.”

The order to shove off had passed the captain's lips when his glance chanced to light upon me, as I leaned, dumb with terror, just behind him against the vessel's bulwarks.

“Hold on a moment!” he cried. “Here is a youngster whose weight will not hurt you;” and he fairly lifted me over, and dropped me gently into the boat, whispering as he did so: “Remember me, Ned, to thy father and mother should I not see them again.”

There was now only the small boat, capable of safely containing but eight persons, and how, it was whispered among us—how, in addition to the two seamen already in her, can she take off Lieutenant Arguellas, M. Dupont, the remaining colored man, the four seamen, and Captain Starkey? They were, however, all speedily embarked except the captain.

[pg 498]

“Can she bear another?” he asked, and although his voice was firm as ever, his countenance, I noticed, was ashy pale, yet full as ever of unswerving resolution.

“We must, and will, sir, since it's you; but we are dangerously overcrowded now, especially with yon ugly customers swimming round us.”

“Stay one moment; I can not quit the ship while there's a living soul on board.” He stepped hastily forward, and presently reappeared at the gangway with the still senseless body of the lieutenant's servant in his arms, and dropped it over the side into the boat. There was a cry of indignation, but it was of no avail. The boat's rope the next instant was cast into the water. “Now pull for your lives!” The oars, from the instinct of self-preservation, instantly fell into the water, and the boat sprang off. Captain Starkey, now that all except himself were clear of the burning ship, gazed eagerly with eyes shaded with his hand in the direction of the shore. Presently he hailed the headmost boat. “We must have been seen from the shore long ago, and pilot-boats ought to be coming out, though I don't see any. If you meet one, bid him be smart: there may be a chance yet.” All this scene, this long agony, which has taken me so many words to depict very imperfectly from my own recollection, and those of others, only lasted, I was afterward assured by Mr. Desmond, eight minutes from the embarkation of Señora Arguellas till the last boat left the ill-fated Neptune.

Never shall I forget the frightful sublimity of the spectacle presented by that flaming ship, the sole object, save ourselves, discernible amidst the vast and heaving darkness, if I may use the term, of the night and ocean, coupled as it was with the dreadful thought that the heroic man to whose firmness and presence of mind we all owed our safety was inevitably doomed to perish. We had not rowed more than a couple of hundred yards when the flames, leaping up every where through the deck, reached the rigging and the few sails set, presenting a complete outline of the bark and her tracery of masts and yards drawn in lines of fire! Captain Starkey, not to throw away the chance he spoke of, had gone out to the end of the bowsprit, having first let the jib and foresail go by the run, and was for a brief space safe from the flames; but what was this but a prolongation of the bitterness of death?

The boats continued to increase the distance between them and the blazing ship, amidst a dead silence broken only by the measured dip of the oars; and many an eye was turned with intense anxiety shoreward with the hope of descrying the expected pilot. At length a distinct hail—and I felt my heart stop heating at the sound—was heard ahead, lustily responded to by the seamen's throats, and presently afterward a swiftly-propelled pilot-boat shot out of the thick darkness ahead, almost immediately followed by another.

“What ship is that?” cried a man standing in the bows of the first boat.

“The Neptune, and that is Captain Starkey on the bowsprit!”

I sprang eagerly to my feet, and with all the force I could exert, shouted: “A hundred pounds for the first boat that reaches the ship!”

“That's young Mr. Mainwaring's face and voice!” exclaimed the foremost pilot. “Hurra, then, for the prize!” and away both sped with eager vigor, but unaware certainly of the peril of the task. In a minute or so another shore-boat came up, but after asking a few questions, and seeing how matters stood, remained, and lightened us of a portion of our living cargoes. We were all three too deep in the water, the small boat perilously so.

Great God! the terrible suspense we all felt while this was going forward. I can scarcely bear, even now, to think about it. I shut my eyes, and listened with breathless, palpitating excitement for the explosion that should end all. It came!—at least I thought it did, and I sprang convulsively to my feet. So sensitive was my brain, partly no doubt from recent sickness as well as fright, that I had mistaken the sudden shout of the boats' crews, for the dreaded catastrophe. The bowsprit, from the end of which a rope was dangling, was empty! and both pilots, made aware doubtless of the danger, were pulling with the eagerness of fear from the ship. The cheering among us was renewed again and again, during which I continued to gaze with arrested breath and fascinated stare at the flaming vessel and fleeing pilot-boats. Suddenly a pyramid of flame shot up from the hold of the ship, followed by a deafening roar. I fell, or was knocked down, I know not which; the boat rocked as if caught in a fierce eddy; next came the hiss and splash of numerous heavy bodies falling from a great height into the water; and then the blinding glare and stunning uproar were succeeded by a soundless silence and a thick darkness, in which no man could discern his neighbor. The stillness was broken by a loud, cheerful hail from one of the pilot-boats: we recognized the voice, and the simultaneous and ringing shout which burst from us assured the gallant seaman of our own safety, and how exultingly we all rejoiced in his. Half an hour afterward we were safely landed; and as the ship and cargo had been specially insured, the only ultimate evil result of this fearful passage in the lives of the passengers and crew of the Neptune was a heavy loss to the underwriters.

A piece of plate, at the suggestion of Mr. Desmond and his friends, was subscribed for and presented to Captain Starkey at a public dinner given at Kingston in his honor—a circumstance that many there will remember. In his speech on returning thanks for the compliment paid him, he explained his motive for resolutely declining to fight a duel with M. Dupont, half-a-dozen versions of which had got into the newspapers. “I was very early left an orphan,” he said, “and was very tenderly reared by a maternal aunt, Mrs. ——.” (He mentioned a name with which hundreds of newspaper readers in England must [pg 499] be still familiar). “Her husband—as many here may be aware—fell in a duel in the second month of wedlock. My aunt continued to live dejectedly on till I had passed my nineteenth year; and so vivid an impression did the patient sorrow of her life make on me—so thoroughly did I learn to loathe and detest the barbarous practice that consigned her to a premature grave, that it scarcely required the solemn promise she obtained from me, as the last sigh trembled on her lips, to make me resolve never, under any circumstances, to fight a duel. As to my behavior during the unfortunate conflagration of the Neptune, which my friend Mr. Desmond has spoken of so flatteringly, I can only say that I did no more than my simple duty in the matter. Both he and I belong to a maritime race, one of whose most peremptory maxims it is that the captain must be the last man to quit or give up his ship. Besides, I must have been the veriest dastard alive to have quailed in the presence of—of—that is, in the presence of—circumstances which—in point of fact—that is—” Here Captain Starkey blushed and boggled sadly: he was evidently no orator; but whether it was the sly significance of Señor Arguellas' countenance, which just then happened to be turned toward him, or the glance he threw at the gallery where Señora Arguellas' grave placidity and Donna Antonia's bright eyes and blushing cheeks encountered him, that so completely put him out, I can not say; but he continued to stammer painfully, although the company cheered and laughed with great vehemence and uncommon good-humor, in order to give him time. He could not recover himself; and after floundering about through a few more unintelligible sentences sat down, evidently very hot and uncomfortable, though amidst a little hurricane of hearty cheers and hilarious laughter.

I have but a few more words to say. Captain Starkey has been long settled at the Havanna; and Donna Antonia has been just as long Mrs. Starkey. Three little Starkeys have to my knowledge already come to town, and the captain is altogether a rich and prosperous man; but though apparently permanently domiciled in a foreign country, he is, I am quite satisfied, as true an Englishman, and as loyal a subject of Queen Victoria, as when he threw the glass of wine in the Cuban Creole's face. I don't know what has become of Dupont; and, to tell the truth, I don't much care. Lieutenant Arguellas has attained the rank of major: at least I suppose he must be the Major Arguellas officially reported to be slightly wounded in the late Lopez buccaneering affair. And I also am pretty well now, thank you!

Christmas In Germany.

Christmas-day came—presents were to be exchanged. My friend Albert B—— and I were deputed to go to Bremen to make purchases, the choice thereof being left to our discretion. This, be it understood, was for the behoof of some of our gentlemen friends; the ladies had long been prepared with their offerings, which almost, in every case, were the work of their own hands.

We started on foot; it was genial frosty weather. At Oslebshausen, which is half-way, we rested, and took a glass of wine. Then we continued our march, and at last caught sight of the windmill, which marks the entrance to the town. Breakfast was the first thing to be thought of, so we went and breakfasted in a house situated in a street called the “Bishop's Needle.” Then we hunted about in various shops, and finally arrived, not a little laden, at the office of the Lesmona omnibus. Here we deposited our goods, and secured our places; after which, as we had a couple of hours before us, we repaired to Stehely and Jansen's, the chief café of Bremen, to pass the time and read the papers.

Toward dusk we reached Lesmona, and our constituents immediately selected, each according to his taste, the articles we had brought them. For my part, as I was that evening a guest at the house of my friend the pastor, I betook myself thither with the trifling gifts I had bought for his children. I was destined to receive in return presents from them and other members of his family. How they were exchanged, I shall presently relate. I begin at the beginning of the ceremony; for the celebration of Christmas-day is, indeed, a ceremony in most parts of Germany.

The pastor's house is, when you look at it in front, a long, low building, with a prodigiously high thatched roof. If you go to the gable, however, you will find that there are actually three stories in it, two being in the said roof. The middle of the ground floor is occupied by a large hall, which gives access to all the chambers, and has a branch leading to one end of the edifice. At this end there is a door, on passing by which, you find yourself in the place where the cows, pigs, and other animals are kept. When I speak of the other animals, I should except the storks, who, on their arrival in spring, from Egypt or elsewhere, find their usual basket-work habitations about the chimneys all ready to receive them. One would imagine, by the way, that they brought from their winter quarters something like the superstition of the old inhabitants of the Nile valley, so great is the worship of the Germans for these birds, and so enthusiastically is their arrival hailed. No one would ever dare to murder a stork. A similar protection is extended to nightingales. The consequense is, that, being unmolested, the “solemn bird of night” becomes very tame. In the suburbs of Hamburg are numerous villas, and there, in a friend's garden, I have passed and repassed under the bough where, within the reach of my arm, a nightingale was singing. He not only showed no fear, but, being of a vain character, as nightingales naturally are, he strained his little throat the more that he saw I listened to him.

But to return to the pastor's house. In the corner of the hall of which I have spoken, was the “Christmas Tree.” Some of those who [pg 500] read these sketches may have seen an engraving of Luther on a Christmas evening, his wife and children beside him. The tree represented in that engraving was the exact prototype of the one I now saw. It was of a species of fir, and on all its branches were fixed small wax-tapers. These, at the given hour, were lighted. Immediately, a procession of the village-school children entered, and placed themselves in order. Then the pastor appeared, and after a short prayer gave out a psalm. He conducted the music himself, and, as he had for some time been teaching the young people a little singing, it was much better than usual, more especially as there were no braying men to spoil it. The air was that brave old composition of the great reformer, Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott (“A strong tower is our God”). Nothing nobler in psalmody exists.

After another short prayer, and a few words by way of speech, sundry rewards and prizes were distributed. The greater part of these were the handiwork of the pastor's family. I refer, of course, to the useful articles of dress and other things, which domestic female hands know how to sew, and knit, and embroider. Many tracts were distributed. A blessing was pronounced, and the children withdrew.

It was now our turn. The family assembled in the saloon—a fine apartment, about thirty feet in length. A long table, covered with a white cloth, extended down the centre. At this every one had his place—I among the rest. But it was not for a repast. Each had previously entered and deposited his or her Christmas boxes at the part of the table assigned to those to whom they were offered. We all had thus a little heap. As the greatest secresy is preserved up to the moment of the general entry, we had all the pleasure of a surprise. The curiosity of the children, and also of those who were not children, as they examined their gifts was most amusing. I, for my part, received among other things the following:—Sundry articles got up by the family fingers; a little box, covered with beads, for holding lucifer-matches; a German toy, meant to be instructive; a long chain in beads, intended for the decoration of a pipe. This pipe was in sugar, and was accompanied by a note in verse. The note I still have, but the pipe melted away in the damp of winter. I never could ascertain to whom I was indebted for this gift.

A little later, evening worship was celebrated, and then we supped. Long that night, after I had laid my head on my pillow, was I kept awake by the thoughts raised by the kind, hearty, and genial character of those with whom I had passed the evening, and of the good, old-fashioned, hearty ceremony in which I had participated.

Many a merry Christmas to these my friends!

The Miracle Of Life.

Of all Miracles, the most wonderful is that of Life—the common, daily life which we carry about with us, and which every where surrounds us. The sun and stars, the blue firmament, day and night, the tides and seasons, are as nothing compared with it. Life—the soul of the world, but for which creation were not!

It is our daily familiarity with Life, which obscures its wonders from us. We live, yet remember it not. Other wonders attract our attention, and excite our surprise; but this, the great wonder of the world, which includes all others, is little regarded. We have grown up alongside of Life, with Life within us and about us; and there is never any point in our existence, at which its phenomena arrest our curiosity and attention. The miracle is hid from us by familiarity, and we see it not.

Fancy the earth without Life!—its skeleton ribs of rock and mountain unclothed by verdure, without soil, without flesh! What a naked, desolate spectacle,—and how unlike the beautiful aspect of external nature in all lands! Nature, ever-varied and ever-changing—coming with the spring, and going to sleep with the winter—in constant rotation. The flower springs up, blooms, withers, and falls, returning to the earth from whence it sprung, leaving behind it the germs of future being; for nothing dies; not even Life, which only gives up one form to assume another. Organization is traveling in an unending circle.

The trees in summer put on their verdure; they blossom; their fruit ripens—falls; what the roots gathered up out of the earth returns to earth again; the leaves drop one by one, and decay, resolving themselves into new forms, to enter into other organizations; the sap flows back to the trunk; and the forest, wood, field, and brake compose themselves to their annual winter's sleep. In spring and summer the birds sang in the boughs, and tended their young brood; the whole animal kingdom rejoiced in their full bounding life; the sun shone warm, and nature rejoiced in greenness. Winter lays its cold chill upon this scene; but the same scene comes round again, and another spring recommences the same “never-ending, still beginning” succession of vital changes. We learn to expect all this, and become so familiar with it, that it seldom occurs to us to reflect how much harmony and adaptation there is in the arrangement—how much of beauty and glory there is every where, above, around, and beneath us.

But were it possible to conceive an intelligent being, abstracted from our humanity, endowed with the full possession of mind and reason, all at once set down on the earth's surface—how many objects of surpassing interest and wonder would at once force themselves on his attention. The verdant earth, covered with its endless profusion of forms of vegetable life, from the delicate moss to the oak which survives the revolutions of centuries; the insect and animal kingdom, from the gnat which dances in the summer's sunbeams, up to the higher forms of sentient being; birds, beasts of endless diversity of form, instinct, and color; and, above all, Man—“Lord of the lion heart and eagle eye;”—these would, to such an intelligence, be a source of almost endless interest.

It is life which is the grand glory of the world [pg 501] it was the consummation of creative power, at which the morning stars sang together for joy. Is not the sun glorious because there are living eyes to be gladdened by his beams? is not the fresh air delicious because there are living creatures to inhale and enjoy it? are not odors fragrant, and sounds sweet, and colors gorgeous, because there is the living sensation to appreciate them? Without Life, what were they all? What were a Creator himself, without life, intelligence, understanding, to know and adore Him, and to trace His finger in the works that He hath made?

Boundless variety and perpetual change are exhibited in the living beings around us. Take the class of insects alone: of these, not fewer than 100,000 distinct species are already known and described; and every day is adding to the catalogue. Wherever you penetrate, that life can be sustained, you find living beings to exist; in the depths of ocean, in the arid desert, or at the icy polar regions. The air teems with life. The soil which clothes the earth all round, is swarming with life, vegetable and animal. Take a drop of water, and examine it with a microscope: lo! it is swarming with living creatures. Within Life, exists other life, until it recedes before the powers of human vision. The parasitic animalcule, which preys upon or within the body of a larger animal, is itself preyed upon by parasites peculiar to itself. So minute are living animalcules, that Ehrenberg has computed that not fewer than five hundred millions can subsist in a single drop of water, and each of these monads is endowed with its appropriate organs, possesses spontaneous power of motion, and enjoys an independent vitality.

In the very ocean deeps, insects, by the labor of ages, are enabled to construct islands, and lay the foundations of future continents. The coral insect is the great architect of the southern ocean. First a reef is formed; seeds are wafted to it, vegetation springs up, a verdant island exists; then man takes possession, and a colony is formed.

Dig down into the earth, and from a hundred yards deep, throw up a portion of soil—cover it so that no communication can take place between that earth and the surrounding air. Soon you will observe vegetation springing up—perhaps new plants, altogether unlike any thing heretofore grown in that neighborhood. During how many thousands of years has the vitality of these seeds been preserved deep in the earth's bosom! Not less wonderful is the fact stated by Lord Lindsay, who took from the hand of an Egyptian mummy a tuber, which must have been wrapped up there more than 2000 years before. It was planted, was rained and dewed upon, the sun shone on it again, and the root grew, bursting forth and blooming into a beauteous Dahlia!

At the North Pole, where you would expect life to become extinct, the snow is sometimes found of a bright red color. Examine it by the microscope, and, lo! it is covered with mushrooms, growing on the surface of the snow as their natural abode.

A philosopher distills a portion of pure water, secludes it from the air, and then places it under the influence of a powerful electric current. Living beings are stimulated into existence, the acari Crossii appear in numbers! Here we touch on the borders of a great mystery; but it is not at all more mysterious than the fact of Life itself. Philosophers know nothing about it, further than it is. The attempt to discover its cause, inevitably throws them back upon the Great First Cause. Philosophy takes refuge in religion.

Yet man is never at rest in his speculations as to causes; and he contrives all manner of theories to satisfy his demands for them. A favorite theory nowadays is what is called the Development theory, which proceeds on the assumption, that one germ of being was originally planted on the earth, and that from this germ, by the wondrous power of Life, all forms of vegetable and animal life have progressively been developed. Unquestionably, all living beings are organized on one grand plan, and the higher forms of living beings, in the process of their growth, successively pass through the lower organized forms. Thus, the human being is successively a monad, an a-vertebrated animal, an osseous fish, a turtle, a bird, a ruminant, a mammal, and lastly an infant Man. Through all these types of organization, Tiedemann has shown that the brain of man passes.

This theory, however, does nothing to explain the causes of life, or the strikingly diversified, and yet determinate characters of living beings; why some so far transcend others in the stages of development to which they ascend, and how it is that they stop there—how it is that animals succeed each other in right lines, the offspring inheriting the physical structure and the moral disposition of their parents, and never, by any chance, stopping short at any other stage of being—man, for instance, never issuing in a lion, a fish, or a polypus. We can scarcely conceive it possible that, had merely the Germ of Being been planted on the earth, and “set a-going,” any thing like the beautiful harmony and extra ordinary adaptation which is every where observable throughout the animated kingdoms of Nature, would have been secured. That there has been a grand plan of organization, on which all living beings have been formed, seems obvious enough; but to account for the diversity of being, by the theory that plants and animals have gradually advanced from lower to higher stages of being by an inherent power of self-development, is at variance with known facts, and is only an attempt to get rid of one difficulty by creating another far greater.

Chemists are equally at fault, in endeavoring to unvail the mysterious processes of Life. Before its power they stand abashed. For Life controls matter, and to a great extent overrules its combinations. An organized being is not held together by ordinary chemical affinity; nor can chemistry do any thing toward compounding organized tissues. The principles which enter into the composition of the organized being are few, the chief being charcoal and water, but into what wondrous forms does Life mould these common [pg 502] elements! The chemist can tell you what these elements are, and how they are combined, when dead; but when living, they resist all his power of analysis. Rudolphi confesses that chemistry is able to investigate only the lifeless remains of organized beings.

There are some remarkable facts connected with Animal Chemistry—if we may employ the term—which show how superior is the principle of Life to all known methods of synthesis and analysis. For example, much more carbon or charcoal is regularly voided from the respiratory organs alone, of all living beings—not to speak of its ejection in many other ways—than can be accounted for, as having in any way entered the system. They also produce and eject much more nitrogen than they inhale. The mushroom and mustard plant, though nourished by pure water containing no nitrogen, give it off abundantly; the same is the case with zoophytes attached to rocks at the bottom of the sea; and reptiles and fishes contain it in abundance, though living and growing in pure water only. Again, plants which grow on sand containing not a particle of lime, are found to contain as much of this mineral as those which grow in a calcareous soil; and the bones of animals in New South Wales, and other districts where not an atom of lime is to be found in the soil, or in the plants from which they gather their food, contain the usual proportion of lime, though it remains an entire mystery to the chemist where they can have obtained it. The same fact is observable in the egg-shells of hens, where lime is produced in quantities for which the kind of food taken is altogether inadequate to account: as well as in the enormous deposits of coral-rock, consisting of almost pure lime, without any manifest supply of that ingredient. Chemistry fails to unravel these mysterious facts; nor can it account for the abundant production of soda, by plants growing on a soil containing not an atom of soda in any form: nor of gold in bezoards; nor of copper in some descriptions of shell-fish. These extraordinary facts seem to point to this—that many, if not most, of the elements which chemists have set down as simple, because they have failed to reduce them further, are in reality compound; and that what we regard as Elements, do not signify matters that are undecompoundable, but which are merely undecompounded by chemical processes. Life, however, which is superior to human powers of analysis, resolves and composes the ultimate atoms of things after methods of its own, but which to chemists will probably ever remain involved in mystery.

The last mystery of Life is Death. Such is the economy of living beings, that the very actions which are subservient to their preservation, tend to exhaust and destroy them. Each being has its definite term of life, and on attaining its acme of perfection, it begins to decay, and at length ceases to exist. This is alike true of the insect which perishes within the hour, and of the octogenarian who falls in a ripe old age. Love provides for the perpetuation of the species. “We love,” says Virey, “because we do not live forever: we purchase love at the expense of our life.” To die, is as characteristic of organized beings as to live. The one condition is necessary to the other. Death is the last of life's functions. And no sooner has the mysterious principle of vitality departed, than the laws of matter assert their power over the organized frame.

“Universal experience teaches us,” says Liebig, “that all organized beings, after death, suffer a change, in consequence of which their bodies gradually vanish from the surface of the earth. The mightiest tree, after it is cut down, disappears, with the exception, perhaps of the bark, when exposed to the action of the air for thirty or forty years. Leaves, young twigs, the straw which is added to the soil as manure, juicy fruits, &c., disappear much more quickly. In a still shorter time, animal matters lose their cohesion; they are dissipated into the air, leaving only the mineral elements which they had derived from the soil.

“This grand natural process of the dissolution of all compounds formed in living organizations, begins immediately after death, when the manifold causes no longer act under the influence of which they were produced. The compounds formed in the bodies of animals and of plants, undergo, in the air, and with the aid of moisture, a series of changes, the last of which are, the conversion of their carbon into carbonic acid, of their hydrogen into water, of their nitrogen into ammonia, of their sulphur into sulphuric acid. Thus their elements resume the forms in which they can again serve as food to a new generation of plants and animals. Those elements which had been derived from the atmosphere take the gaseous form and return to the air; those which the earth had yielded, return to the soil. Death, followed by the dissolution of the dead generation, is the source of life for a new one. The same atom of carbon which, as a constituent of a muscular fibre in the heart of a man, assists to propel the blood through his frame, was perhaps a constituent of the heart of one of his ancestors; and any atom of nitrogen in our brain has perhaps been a part of the brain of an Egyptian or of a negro. As the intellect of the men of this generation draws the food required for its development and cultivation from the products of the intellectual activity of former times, so may the constituents or elements of the bodies of a former generation pass into, and become parts of our own frames.”

The greatest mystery of all remains. What of the Spirit—the Soul? The vital principle which bound the frame together has been dissolved; what of the Man, the being of high aspirations, “looking before and after,” and whose “thoughts wandered through eternity?” The material elements have not died, but merely assumed new forms. Does not the spirit of man, which is ever at enmity with nothingness and dissolution, live too? Religion in all ages has dealt with this great mystery, and here we leave it with confidence in the solution which it offers.

[pg 503]

Personal Sketches And Reminiscences. By Mary Russell Mitford.2

Recollections Of Childhood.

Most undoubtedly I was a spoilt child. When I recollect certain passages of my thrice happy early life, I can not have the slightest doubt about the matter, although it contradicts all foregone conclusions, all nursery and school-room morality, to say so. But facts are stubborn things. Spoilt I was. Every body spoilt me, most of all the person whose power in that way was greatest, the dear papa himself. Not content with spoiling me in-doors, he spoilt me out. How well I remember his carrying me round the orchard on his shoulder, holding fast my little three-year-old feet, while the little hands hung on to his pig-tail, which I called my bridle (those were days of pig-tails), hung so fast, and tugged so heartily, that sometimes the ribbon would come off between my fingers, and send his hair floating, and the powder flying down his back. That climax of mischief was the crowning joy of all. I can hear our shouts of laughter now.

Nor were these my only rides. This dear papa of mine, whose gay and careless temper all the professional etiquette of the world could never tame into the staid gravity proper to a doctor of medicine, happened to be a capital horseman; and abandoning the close carriage, which, at that time, was the regulation conveyance of a physician, almost wholly to my mother, used to pay his country visits on a favorite blood-mare, whose extreme docility and gentleness tempted him, after certain short trials round our old course, the orchard, into having a pad constructed, perched upon which I might occasionally accompany him, when the weather was favorable, and the distance not too great. A groom, who had been bred up in my grandfather's family, always attended us; and I do think that both Brown Bess and George liked to have me with them almost as well as my father did. The old servant proud, as grooms always are, of a fleet and beautiful horse, was almost as proud of my horsemanship; for I, cowardly enough, Heaven knows, in after-years, was then too young and too ignorant for fear—if it could have been possible to have had any sense of danger when strapped so tightly to my father's saddle, and inclosed so fondly by his strong and loving arm. Very delightful were those rides across the breezy Hampshire downs on a sunny summer morning; and grieved was I when a change of residence from a small town to a large one, and going among strange people who did not know our ways, put an end to this perfectly harmless, if somewhat unusual pleasure.

But the dear papa was not my only spoiler. His example was followed, as bad examples are pretty sure to be, by the rest of the household. My maid Nancy, for instance, before we left Hampshire, married a young farmer; and nothing would serve her but I must be bridesmaid. And so it was settled.

She was married from her own home, about four miles from our house, and was to go to her husband's after the ceremony. I remember the whole scene as if it were yesterday! How my father took me himself to the church-yard gate, where the procession was formed, and how I walked next to the young couple hand-in-hand with the bridegroom's man, no other than the village blacksmith, a giant of six-feet-three, who might have served as a model for Hercules. Much trouble had he to stoop low enough to reach down to my hand; and many were the rustic jokes passed upon the disproportioned pair, who might fitly have represented Brobdignag and Liliput. My tall colleague proved, however, as well-natured as giants commonly are every where but in fairy tales, and took as good care of his little partner as if she had been a proper match for him in age and size.

In this order, followed by the parents on both sides, and a due number of uncles, aunts, and cousins, we entered the church, where I held the glove with all the gravity and importance proper to my office; and so contagious is emotion, and so accustomed was I to sympathize with Nancy, that when the bride cried, I could not help crying for company. But it was a love-match, and between smiles and blushes Nancy's tears soon disappeared, and so by the same contagion did mine. The happy husband helped his pretty wife into her own chaise-cart, my friend the blacksmith lifted me in after her, and we drove gayly to the large, comfortable farm-house where her future life was to be spent.

It was a bright morning in May, and I still remember when we drove up to the low wall which parted the front garden from the winding village road, the mixture of affection and honest pride which lighted up the face of the owner. The square, substantial brick house, covered with a vine, the brick porch garlanded with honey-suckles and sweet-brier, the espalier apple-trees on either side the path in full flower, the double row of thrift with its dull pink bloom, the stocks and wall-flowers under the window, the huge barns full of corn, the stacks of all shapes and sizes in the rick-yard, cows and sheep and pigs and poultry told a pleasant tale of rural comfort and rural affluence.

The bride was taken to survey her new dominions by her proud bridegroom, and the blacksmith finding me, I suppose, easier to carry than lead, followed close upon their steps with me in his arms.

Nothing could exceed the good-nature of my country beau; he pointed out bantams and peafowls, and took me to see a tame lamb, and a tall, staggering calf, born that morning; but for all that, I do not think I should have submitted so quietly to the indignity of being carried, I, who had ridden thither on Brown Bess, and was at that instant filling the ostensible place of bridesmaid, if it had not been for the chastening influence of a little touch of fear. Entering the [pg 504] poultry-yard I had caught sight of a certain turkey-cock, who erected that circular tail of his, and swelled out his deep-red comb and gills after a fashion familiar to that truculent bird, but which up to the present hour I am far from admiring. A turkey at Christmas well roasted with bread sauce, may have his merits; but if I meet him alive in his feathers, especially when he swells them out and sticks up his tail, I commonly get out of his way even now, much more sixty years ago. So I let the blacksmith carry me.

Then we went to the dairy, so fresh and cool and clean—glittering with cleanliness! overflowing with creamy riches! and there I had the greatest enjoyment of my whole day, the printing with my own hands a pat of butter, and putting it up in a little basket covered with a vine leaf, to take home for the dear mamma's tea. Then we should have gone to the kitchen, the back kitchen, the brew-house, the wash-house, and the rest of the bride's new territories, but this part of the domicil was literally too hot to hold us; the cooking of the great wedding dinner was in full activity, and the bridegroom himself was forced to retreat before his notable mother, who had come to superintend all things for the day.

So back we drew to the hall, a large square brick apartment, with a beam across the ceiling, a wide yawning chimney, and wooden settles with backs to them; where many young people being assembled, and one of them producing a fiddle, it was agreed to have a country dance until dinner should be ready, the bride and bridegroom leading off, and I following with the bridegroom's man.

Oh, the blunders, the confusion, the merriment of that country dance! No two people attempted the same figure; few aimed at any figure at all; each went his own way; many stumbled; some fell, and every body capered, laughed, and shouted at once. My partner prudently caught me up in his arms again, for fear of my being knocked down and danced over, which, considering some of the exploits of some of the performers, seemed by no means impossible, and would have been a worse catastrophe than an onslaught of the turkey-cock.

A summons to dinner put an end to the glee. Such a dinner! The plenty of Camacho's wedding was but a type of my Nancy's. Fish from the great pond, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, boiled fowls and a gammon of bacon, a green goose and a sucking pig, plum puddings, apple pies, cheese-cakes and custards, formed a part of the bill of fare, followed by home-brewed beer and home-made wine, by syllabub, and by wedding cake. Every body ate enough for four, and there was four times more than could by any possibility be eaten. I have always thought it one of the strongest proofs of sense and kindness in my pretty maid, that she rescued me from the terrible hospitality of her mother-in-law, and gave me back unscathed into my father's hands, when, about three o'clock, he arrived to reclaim me.

The affluence and abundance of that gala day—the great gala of a life-time—in that Hampshire farm-house, I have never seen surpassed.

This was my first appearance as a bridesmaid. My next, which took place about a twelvemonth after, was of a very different description.

A first cousin of my father, the daughter of his uncle and guardian, had, by the death of her mother's brother, become a wealthy heiress; and leaving her picturesque old mansion in Northumberland, Little Harle Tower, a true border keep overhanging the Warsbeck, for a journey to what the Northumbrians of that day emphatically call “the South,” came after a season in London to pass some months with us. At our house she became acquainted with the brother of a Scotch duke, an Oxford student, who, passing the long vacation with his mother, had nothing better to do than to fall in love. Each had what the other wanted—the lady money, the gentleman rank; and as his family were charmed with the match, and hers had neither the power nor the wish to oppose it, every thing was arranged with as little delay as lawyers, jewelers, coach-makers, and mantua-makers would permit.

How the first step in the business, the inevitable and awful ceremonial of a declaration of love and a proposal of marriage, was ever brought about, has always been to me one of the most unsolvable of mysteries—an enigma without the word.

Lord Charles, as fine a young man as one should see in a summer's day, tall, well-made, with handsome features, fair capacity, excellent education, and charming temper, had an infirmity which went nigh to render all these good gifts of no avail: a shyness, a bashfulness, a timidity most painful to himself, and distressing to all about him. It is not uncommon to hear a quiet, silent man of rank unjustly suspected of pride and haughtiness; but there could be no such mistake here—his shamefacedness was patent to all men. I myself, a child not five years old, one day threw him into an agony of blushing, by running up to his chair in mistake for my papa. Now I was a shy child, a very shy child, and as soon as I arrived in front of his lordship, and found that I had been misled by a resemblance of dress, by the blue coat and buff waistcoat, I first of all crept under the table, and then flew to hide my face in my mother's lap; my poor fellow-sufferer, too big for one place of refuge, too old for the other, had nothing for it but to run away, which, the door being luckily open, he happily accomplished.

That a man with such a temperament, who could hardly summon courage enough to say, “How d'ye do?” should ever have wrought himself up to the point of putting the great question, was wonderful enough; that he should have submitted himself to undergo the ordeal of what was called in those days a public wedding, was more wonderful still.

Perhaps the very different temper of the lady may offer some solution to the last of these riddles; perhaps (I say it in all honor, for there is [pg 505] no shame in offering some encouragement to a bashful suitor) it may assist us in expounding them both.

Of a certainty, my fair cousin was pre-eminently gifted with those very qualities in which her lover was deficient. Every thing about her was prompt and bright, cheerful and self-possessed. Nearly as tall as himself, and quite as handsome, it was of the beauty that is called showy—a showy face, a showy figure, a showy complexion. We felt at a glance that those radiant, well-opened, hazel eyes, had never quailed before mortal glance, and that that clear, round cheek, red and white like a daisy, had never been guilty of a blush in its whole life. Handsome as she was, it was a figure that looked best in a riding-habit, and a face that of all head-dresses, best became a beaver hat; just a face and figure for a procession; she would not have minded a coronation: on the contrary, she would have been enchanted to have been a queen-regent; but, as a coronation was out of the question, she had no objection, taking the publicity as a part of the happiness, to a wedding as grand as the resources of a country town could make it.

So a wedding procession was organized, after the fashion of Sir Charles Grandison, comprising the chief members of each family, especially of the ducal one; an infinite number of brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, cousins and clansfolk, friends and acquaintances, all arranged in different carriages, according to their rank; ladies, gentlemen, servants, and horses, decorated with white and silver favors, in so long a line, that it extended from Coley Avenue to St. Mary's Church. The first carriage, a low phaeton, drawn by ponies led by grooms, containing three children, two of five and six years old, niece and nephew of the bridegroom, who, with myself (already a lady of experience in that line), were to officiate as bride-maidens and bridegroom's man; the last, also an open carriage, with only the bride and my dear papa, who gave her away.

How well I recollect the crowd of the street, the crowd of the church-yard, the crowd of the church! There was no crying at this wedding though; no crying, and far fewer smiles.

The young couple proceeded to Bath and Clifton from the church door; and the rest of the procession returned to our house to eat bridecake, drink to the health of the new-married pair, and be merry at their leisure; after which many dispersed, but the members of the two families and the more intimate friends remained to dinner; and in the confusion of preparing to entertain so large a party, the servants, even those belonging to the nursery, were engaged in different ways, and we children, left to our own devices, and finding nearly the whole house free to our incursions, betook ourselves to a game at hide-and-seek.

Now in honor of the day, and of the grand part we had filled in the grand ceremony of the morning, we small people had been arrayed in white from top to toe, Master Martin in a new suit of jean, richly braided, his sister and myself in clear muslin frocks, edged with lace, and long Persian sashes, the whole width of the silk, fringed with silver, while all parties, little boy and little girls, had white beaver hats and heavy ostrich plumes. We young ladies had, as matter of course, that instinctive respect for our own finery which seems an innate principle in womankind; moreover, we were very good children, quiet, orderly, and obedient. Master Martin, on the other hand, our elder by a year, had some way or other imbibed the contempt at once for fine clothes and for the authorities of the nursery, which is not uncommon among his rebellious sex: so the first time it fell to his lot to hide, he ensconced himself in the very innermost recesses of the coal-hole, from which delightful retirement he was dragged, after a long search, by his own maid, who had at last awakened from the joys of gossiping and making believe to help in the housekeeper's room, to the recollection that Lady Mary might possibly inquire after her children. The state of his apparel and of her temper may be more easily imagined than described. He, duke's grandson though he were, looked like nothing better or worse than a chimney-sweeper. She stormed like a fury. But as all the storming in the world would not restore the young gentleman or his bridal suit to their pristine state of cleanliness, she took wit in her anger and put him to bed, as a measure partly of punishment, partly of concealment; the result of which was, that he, the culprit, thoroughly tired with excitement and exercise, with play and display, and well stuffed with dainties to keep him quiet, was consigned to his comfortable bed, while we, pattern little girls, had to undergo the penalty of making our appearance and our courtesies in the drawing-room, among all the fine folks of our Camacho's wedding, and to stay there, weariest of the many weary, two or three hours beyond our accustomed time. With so little justice are the rewards and punishments of this world distributed—even in the nursery!

Married Poets.—Elizabeth Barrett Browning—Robert Browning.

Married poets! Charming words are these, significant of congenial gifts, congenial labor, congenial tastes;—quick and sweet resources of mind and of heart, a long future of happiness, live in those two words. And the reality is as rare as it is charming. Married authors we have had of all ages and of all countries; from the Daciers, standing stiff and stately under their learning, as if it were a load, down to the Guizots, whose story is so pretty, that it would sound like a romance to all who did not know how often romance looks pale beside reality; from the ducal pair of Newcastle, walking stately and stiff under their strawberry-leafed coronets, to William and Mary Howitt, ornaments of a sect to whom coronets are an abomination. Married authors have been plentiful as blackberries, but married poets have been rare indeed! The last instance, too, was rather a warning than an example. When Caroline Bowles changed her own loved and honored name to become the wife of the [pg 506] great and good man Robert Southey, all seemed to promise fairly, but a slow and fatal disease had seized him even before the wedding-day, and darkened around him to the hour of his death. In the pair of whom I am now to speak, the very reverse of this sad destiny has happily befallen, and the health of the bride, which seemed gone forever, has revived under the influence of the climate of Italy, of new scenes, new duties, a new and untried felicity.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is too dear to me as a friend to be spoken of merely as a poetess. Indeed such is the influence of her manners, her conversation, her temper, her thousand sweet and attaching qualities, that they who know her best are apt to lose sight altogether of her learning and of her genius, and to think of her only as the most charming person that they have ever met. But she is known to so few, and the peculiar characteristics of her writings, their purity, their tenderness, their piety, and their intense feeling of humanity and of womanhood, have won for her the love of so many, that it will gratify them without, I trust, infringing on the sacredness of private intercourse to speak of her not wholly as a poetess, but a little as a woman. When in listening to the nightingale, we try to catch a glimpse of the shy songster, we are moved by a deeper feeling than curiosity.

My first acquaintance with Elizabeth Barrett commenced about fifteen years ago. She was certainly one of the most interesting persons that I had ever seen. Every body who then saw her said the same; so that it is not merely the impression of my partiality, or my enthusiasm. Of a slight, delicate figure, with a shower of dark curls falling on either side of a most expressive face, large tender eyes richly fringed by dark eye-lashes, a smile like a sun-beam, and such a look of youthfulness, that I had some difficulty in persuading a friend, in whose carriage we went together to Chiswick, that the translatress of the “Prometheus” of Æschylus, the authoress of the “Essay on Mind,” was old enough to be introduced into company, in technical language, was out. Through the kindness of another invaluable friend, to whom I owe many obligations, but none so great as this, I saw much of her during my stay in town. We met so constantly and so familiarly that, in spite of the difference of age, intimacy ripened into friendship, and after my return into the country, we corresponded freely and frequently, her letters being just what letters ought to be—her own talk put upon paper.

The next year was a painful one to herself and to all who loved her. She broke a blood-vessel upon the lungs, which did not heal. If there had been consumption in the family that disease would have intervened. There were no seeds of the fatal English malady in her constitution, and she escaped. Still, however, the vessel did not heal, and after attending her for above a twelvemonth at her father's house in Wimpole-street, Dr. Chambers, on the approach of winter, ordered her to a milder climate. Her eldest brother, a brother in heart and in talent worthy of such a sister, together with other devoted relatives, accompanied her to Torquay, and there occurred the fatal event which saddened her bloom of youth, and gave a deeper hue of thought and feeling, especially of devotional feeling, to her poetry. I have so often been asked what could be the shadow that had passed over that young heart, that now that time has softened the first agony it seems to me right that the world should hear the story of an accident in which there was much sorrow, but no blame.

Nearly a twelvemonth had passed, and the invalid, still attended by her affectionate companions, had derived much benefit from the mild sea breezes of Devonshire. One fine summer morning her favorite brother, together with two other fine young men, his friends, embarked on board a small sailing-vessel, for a trip of a few hours. Excellent sailors all, and familiar with the coast, they sent back the boatmen, and undertook themselves the management of the little craft. Danger was not dreamt of by any one; after the catastrophe, no one could divine the cause, but in a few minutes after their embarkation, and in sight of their very windows, just as they were crossing the bar, the boat went down, and all who were in her perished. Even the bodies were never found. I was told by a party who was traveling that year in Devonshire and Cornwall, that it was most affecting to see on the corner houses of every village street, on every church-door, and almost on every cliff for miles and miles along the coast, handbills, offering large rewards for linens cast ashore marked with the initials of the beloved dead; for it so chanced that all the three were of the dearest and the best; one, I believe, an only son, the other the son of a widow.

This tragedy nearly killed Elizabeth Barrett. She was utterly prostrated by the horror and the grief, and by a natural but a most unjust feeling, that she had been in some sort the cause of this great misery. It was not until the following year that she could be removed in an invalid carriage, and by journeys of twenty miles a day, to her afflicted family and her London home. The house that she occupied at Torquay had been chosen as one of the most sheltered in the place. It stood at the bottom of the cliffs, almost close to the sea; and she told me herself, that during that whole winter the sound of the waves rang in her ears like the moans of one dying. Still she clung to literature and to Greek; in all probability she would have died without that wholesome diversion to her thoughts. Her medical attendant did not always understand this. To prevent the remonstrances of her friendly physician, Dr. Barry, she caused a small edition of Plato to be so bound as to resemble a novel. He did not know, skillful and kind though he were, that to her such books were not an arduous and painful study, but a consolation and a delight.

Returned to London, she began the life which she continued for so many years, confined to one large and commodious but darkened chamber admitting only her own affectionate family and a few devoted friends (I, myself, have often joyfully [pg 507] traveled five-and-forty miles to see her, and returned the same evening, without entering another house); reading almost every book worth reading in almost every language, and giving herself, heart and soul, to that poetry of which she seemed born to be the priestess.

Gradually her health improved. About four years ago she married Mr. Browning, and immediately accompanied him to Pisa. They then settled at Florence; and this summer I have had the exquisite pleasure of seeing her once more in London, with a lovely boy at her knee, almost as well as ever, and telling tales of Italian rambles, of losing herself in chestnut forests, and scrambling on mule-back up the sources of extinct volcanoes. May Heaven continue to her such health and such happiness!

The same visit to London that brought me acquainted with my beloved friend, Elizabeth Barrett, first gave me a sight of Mr. Browning. It was at a period that forms an epoch in the annals of the modern drama—the first representation of “Ion.”

I had the honor and pleasure of being the inmate of Mr. and Mrs. Serjeant Talfourd (my accomplished friend has since worthily changed his professional title—but his higher title of poet is indelible), having been, I believe, among the first who had seen that fine play in manuscript. The dinner party consisted merely of Mr. Wordsworth, Mr. Landor, and I think Mr. Forster. By a singular coincidence it was our host's birthday, and no one present can forget the triumph of the evening—a triumph of no common order as regarded the number, the quality, or the enthusiasm of the audience; the boxes being crammed to the ceiling, and the pit filled, as in an elder day, with critics and gentlemen.

A large party followed the poet home to supper, a party comprising distinguished persons of almost every class; lawyers, authors, actors, artists, all were mingled around that splendid board; healths were drunk and speeches spoken, and it fell to the lot of the young author of “Paracelsus” to respond to the toast of “The Poets of England.” That he performed this task with grace and modesty, and that he looked still younger than he was, I well remember; but we were not introduced, and I knew him only by those successive works which redeemed the pledge that “Paracelsus” had given, until this very summer, when going to London purposely to meet my beloved friend, I was by her presented to her husband. Ah! I hope it will not be fifteen years before we look each other in the face again!

Incidents Of A Visit At The House Of William Cobbett.

The name of Blamire has always a certain interest for me, in consequence of a circumstance, which, as it took place somewhere about five-and-forty years ago, and has reference to a flirtation of twenty years previous, there can not now be much harm in relating.

Being with my father and mother on a visit about six miles from Southampton, we were invited by a gentleman of the neighborhood to meet the wife and daughters of a certain Dr. Blamire. “An old friend of yours and mine,” quoth our inviter to my father. “Don't you remember how you used to flirt with the fair lady when you and Babington were at Haslar? Faith, if Blamire had not taken pity on her, it would have gone hard with the poor damsel! However, he made up to the disconsolate maiden, and she got over it. Nothing like a new love for chasing away an old one. You must dine with us to-morrow. I shall like to see the meeting.”

My father did not attempt to deny the matter. Men never do. He laughed, as all that wicked sex do laugh at such sins twenty years after, and professed that he should be very glad to shake hands with his old acquaintance. So the next day we met.

I was a little curious to see how my own dear mother, my mamma that was, and the stranger lady, my mamma that might have been, would bear themselves on the occasion. At first, my dear mother, an exceedingly ladylike, quiet person, had considerably the advantage, being prepared for the recontre and perfectly calm and composed; while Mrs. Blamire, taken, I suspect, by surprise, was a good deal startled and flustered. This state of things, however, did not last. Mrs. Blamire having got over the first shock, comported herself like what she evidently was, a practiced woman of the world—would talk to no one but ourselves—and seemed resolved not only to make friends with her successful rival, but to strike up an intimacy. This by no means entered into my mother's calculations. As the one advanced the other receded, and, keeping always within the limits of civility, I never heard so much easy chat put aside with so many cool and stately monosyllables in my life.

The most diverting part of this scene, very amusing to a stander-by, was, that my father, the only real culprit, was the only person who throughout maintained the appearance and demeanor of the most unconscious innocence. He complimented Mrs. Blamire on her daughters (two very fine girls)—inquired after his old friend, the Doctor, who was attending his patients in a distant town—and laughed and talked over bygone stories with the one lady, just as if he had not jilted her—and played the kind and attentive husband to the other, just as if he had never made love to any body except his own dear wife.

It was one of the strange domestic comedies which are happening around us every day, if we were but aware of them, and might probably have ended in a renewal of acquaintance between the two families but for a dispute that occurred toward the end of the evening between Mrs. Blamire and the friend in whose house we were staying, which made the lady resolve against accepting his hospitable invitations, and I half suspect hurried her off a day or two before her time.

This host of ours was a very celebrated person—no other than William Cobbett. Sporting, [pg 508] not politics, had brought about our present visit and subsequent intimacy. We had become acquainted with Mr. Cobbett two or three years before, at this very house, where we were now dining to meet Mrs. Blamire. Then my father, a great sportsman, had met him while on a coursing expedition near Alton—had given him a grayhound that he had fallen in love with—had invited him to attend another coursing meeting near our own house in Berkshire—and finally, we were now, in the early autumn, with all manner of pointers, and setters, and grayhounds, and spaniels, shooting ponies, and gun-cases, paying the return visit to him.

He had at that time a large house at Botley, with a lawn and gardens sweeping down to the Bursledon River, which divided his (Mr. Cobbett's) territories from the beautiful grounds of the old friend where we had been originally staying, the great squire of the place. His own house—large, high, massive, red, and square, and perched on a considerable eminence—always struck me as not being unlike its proprietor. It was filled at that time almost to overflowing. Lord Cochrane was there, then in the very height of his warlike fame, and as unlike the common notion of a warrior as could be. A gentle, quiet, mild young man, was this burner of French fleets and cutter-out of Spanish vessels, as one should see in a summer day. He lay about under the trees reading Selden on the Dominion of the Seas, and letting the children (and children always know with whom they may take liberties) play all sorts of tricks with him at their pleasure. His ship's surgeon was also a visitor, and a young midshipman, and sometimes an elderly lieutenant, and a Newfoundland dog; fine sailor-like creatures all. Then there was a very learned clergyman, a great friend of Mr. Gifford, of the “Quarterly,” with his wife and daughter—exceedingly clever persons. Two literary gentlemen from London and ourselves completed the actual party; but there was a large fluctuating series of guests for the hour, or guests for the day, of almost all ranks and descriptions, from the earl and his countess to the farmer and his dame. The house had room for all, and the hearts of the owners would have had room for three times the number

I never saw hospitality more genuine, more simple, or more thoroughly successful in the great end of hospitality, the putting every body completely at ease. There was not the slightest attempt at finery, or display, or gentility. They called it a farm-house, and every thing was in accordance with the largest idea of a great English yeoman of the old time. Every thing was excellent—every thing abundant—all served with the greatest nicety by trim waiting damsels; and every thing went on with such quiet regularity that of the large circle of guests not one could find himself in the way. I need not say a word more in praise of the good wife, very lately dead, to whom this admirable order was mainly due. She was a sweet, motherly woman, realizing our notion of one of Scott's most charming characters, Ailie Dinmont, in her simplicity, her kindness, and her devotion to her husband and her children.

At this time William Cobbett was at the height of his political reputation; but of politics we heard little, and should, I think, have heard nothing, but for an occasional red-hot patriot, who would introduce the subject, which our host would fain put aside, and get rid of as speedily as possible. There was something of Dandie Dinmont about him, with his unfailing good-humor and good spirits—his heartiness—his love of field sports, and his liking for a foray. He was a tall, stout man, fair, and sun-burnt, with a bright smile, and an air compounded of the soldier and the farmer, to which his habit of wearing an eternal red waistcoat contributed not a little. He was, I think, the most athletic and vigorous person that I have ever known. Nothing could tire him. At home in the morning he would begin his active day by mowing his own lawn, beating his gardener, Robinson, the best mower, except himself, in the parish, at that fatiguing work.

For early rising, indeed, he had an absolute passion, and some of the poetry that we trace in his writings, whenever he speaks of scenery or of rural objects, broke out in his method of training his children into his own matutinal habits. The boy who was first down stairs was called the lark for the day, and had, among other indulgences, the pretty privilege of making his mother's nosegay, and that of any lady visitors. Nor was this the only trace of poetical feeling that he displayed. Whenever he described a place, were it only to say where such a covey lay, or such a hare was found sitting, you could see it, so graphic—so vivid—so true was the picture. He showed the same taste in the purchase of his beautiful farm at Botley, Fairthorn; even in the pretty name. To be sure, he did not give the name, but I always thought that it unconsciously influenced his choice in the purchase. The beauty of the situation certainly did. The fields lay along the Bursledon River, and might have been shown to a foreigner as a specimen of the richest and loveliest English scenery. In the cultivation of his garden, too, he displayed the same taste. Few persons excelled him in the management of vegetables, fruit, and flowers. His green Indian corn—his Carolina beans—his water-melons, could hardly have been exceeded at New York. His wall-fruit was equally splendid, and much as flowers have been studied since that day, I never saw a more glowing or a more fragrant autumn garden than that at Botley, with its pyramids of hollyhocks, and its masses of china-asters, of cloves, of mignonnette, and of variegated geranium. The chances of life soon parted us, as, without grave faults on either side, people do lose sight of one another; but I shall always look back with pleasure and regret to that visit.

While we were there, a grand display of English games, especially of single-stick and wrestling, took place under Mr. Cobbett's auspices. [pg 509] Players came from all parts of the country—the south, the west, and the north—to contend for fame and glory, and also, I believe, for a well-filled purse; and this exhibition which—quite forgetting the precedent set by a certain princess, de jure, called Rosalind, and another princess, de facto, called Celia—she termed barbarous, was the cause of his quarrel with my mamma that might have been, Mrs. Blamire.

In my life I never saw two people in a greater passion. Each was thoroughly persuaded of being in the right, either would have gone to the stake upon it, and of course the longer they argued the more determined became their conviction. They said all manner of uncivil things; they called each other very unpretty names; she got very near to saying, “Sir, you're a savage;” he did say, “Ma'am, you're a fine lady;” they talked, both at once, until they could talk no longer, and I have always considered it as one of the greatest pieces of Christian forgiveness that I ever met with, when Mr. Cobbett, after they had both rather cooled down a little, invited Mrs. Blamire to dine at his house the next day. She, less charitable, declined the invitation, and we parted.

As I have said, my father and he had too much of the hearty English character in common not to be great friends; I myself was somewhat of a favorite (I think because of my love for poetry, though he always said not), and I shall never forget the earnestness with which he congratulated us both on our escape from such a wife and such a mother. “She'd have been the death of you!” quoth he, and he believed it. Doubtless, she, when we were gone, spoke quite as ill of him, and believed it also. Nevertheless, excellent persons were they both; only they had quarreled about the propriety or the impropriety of a bout at single-stick! Such a thing is anger!

A Reminiscence Of The French Emigration.

In my childhood I knew many of the numerous colony which took refuge in London from the horrors of the First French Revolution. The lady at whose school I was educated, and he was so much the more efficient partner that it was his school rather than hers, had married a Frenchman, who had been secretary to the Comte de Moustiers, one of the last embassadors, if not the very last, from Louis Seize to the Court of St. James's. Of course he knew many emigrants of the highest rank, and indeed of all ranks; and being a lively, kind-hearted man, with a liberal hand, and a social temper, it was his delight to assemble as many as he could of his poor countrymen and countrywomen around his hospitable supper-table.

Something wonderful and admirable it was to see how these dukes and duchesses, marshals and marquises, chevaliers and bishops, bore up under their unparalleled reverses! How they laughed and talked, and squabbled, and flirted, constant to their high heels, their rouge, and their furbelows, to their old liaisons, their polished sarcasms, their cherished rivalries! They clung even to their marriages de convenance, and the very habits which would most have offended our English notions, if we had seen them in their splendid hôtels of the Faubourg St. Germain, won tolerance and pardon when mixed up with such unaffected constancy, and such cheerful resignation.

For the most part these noble exiles had a trifling pecuniary dependency; some had brought with them jewels enough to sustain them in their simple lodgings in Knightsbridge or Pentonville, to some a faithful steward contrived to forward the produce of some estate too small to have been seized by the early plunderers; to others a rich English friend would claim the privilege of returning the kindness and hospitality of by-gone years. But very many lived literally on the produce of their own industry, the gentlemen teaching languages, music, fencing, dancing, while their wives and daughters went out as teachers or governesses, or supplied the shops with those objects of taste in millinery or artificial flowers for which their country is unrivaled. No one was ashamed of these exertions; no one was proud of them. So perfect and so honest was the simplicity with which they entered upon this new course of life, that they did not even seem conscious of its merit. The hope of better days carried them gayly along, and the present evil was lost in the sunshiny future.

Here and there, however, the distress was too real, too pressing to be forgotten; in such cases our good schoolmaster used to contrive all possible measures to assist and to relieve. One venerable couple I remember well. They bore one of the highest names of Brittany, and had possessed large estates, had lost their two sons, and were now in their old age, their sickness, and their helplessness, almost entirely dependent upon the labor of Mdlle. Rose, their grand-daughter. Rose—what a name for that pallid, drooping creature, whose dark eyes looked too large for her face, whose bones seemed starting through her skin, and whose black hair contrasted even fearfully with the wan complexion from which every tinge of healthful color had long flown!

For some time these interesting persons regularly attended our worthy governess's supper-parties, the objects of universal affection and respect. Each seemed to come for the sake of the other; Mademoiselle, always bringing with her some ingenious straw-plaiting to make into the fancy bonnets which were then in vogue, rarely raised her head from her work, or allowed herself time to make a hasty meal. It was sad to think how ceaseless must be the industry by which that fair and fragile creature could support the helpless couple who were cast upon her duty and her affection! At last they ceased to appear at the Wednesday parties, and very soon after (Oh! it is the poor that help the poor!) we heard that the good Abbé Calonne (brother to the well-known minister) had undertaken for a moderate stipend the charge of the venerable count and countess, while Mdlle. Rose, [pg 510] with her straw-plaiting, took up her abode in our school-room, working as indefatigably through our verbs and over our exercises as she had before done through the rattle of the tric-trac table and the ceaseless clatter of French talk.

Now this school of ours was no worse than other schools; indeed it was reckoned among the best conducted, but some way or other the foul weed called exclusiveness had sprung up among the half dozen great girls who, fifty years ago, “gave our little senate laws,” to a point that threatened to choke and destroy every plant of a more wholesome influence. Doubtless, long, long ago the world and the world's trials, prosperity with the weariness and the bitterness it brings, adversity with the joys it takes away, have tamed those proud hearts! But, at the time of which I speak, no committee of countesses deciding upon petitions for vouchers for a subscription ball; no chapter of noble canonesses examining into the sixteen quarters required for their candidate; could by possibility inquire more seriously into the nice questions of station, position, and alliance than the unfledged younglings who constituted our first class. They were merely gentlemen's daughters, and had no earthly right to give themselves airs; but I suspect that we may sometimes see in elder gentlewomen the same disproportion, and that those who might, from birth, fortune, and position assume such a right, will be the very last to exert their privilege. Luckily for me I was a little girl, protected by my youth and insignificance from the danger of a contagion which it requires a good deal of moral courage to resist. I remember wondering how Mdlle. Rose, with her incessant industry, her open desire to sell her bonnets, and her shabby cotton gown, would escape from our censors. Happily she was spared, avowedly because her birth was noble—perhaps because, with all their vulgar denunciations of vulgarity, their fineries, and their vanities, the young girls were better than they knew, and respected in their hearts the very humility which they denounced.

If, however, there was something about the fair Frenchwoman that held in awe the spirit of girlish impertinence, chance soon bestowed upon them, in the shape of a new pupil, an object which called forth all their worst qualities, without stint and without impediment.

The poor child who was destined to become their victim, was a short, squat figure, somewhere about nine or ten years of age; awkward in her carriage, plain in her features, ill-dressed and over-dressed. She happened to arrive at the same time with the French dancing-master, a marquis of the ancien régime, of whom I am sorry to say, that he seemed so at home in his Terpsichorean vocation, that no one could hardly fancy him fit for any other. (Were not les marquis of the old French comedy very much like dancing-masters? I am sure Molière thought so.) At the same time with the French dancing-master did our new fellow-pupil arrive, led into the room by her father; he did not stay five minutes, but that time was long enough to strike Monsieur with a horror evinced by a series of shrugs which soon rendered the dislike reciprocal. I never saw such a contrast between two men. The Frenchman was slim, and long, and pale; and allowing always for the dancing-master air, which in my secret soul I thought never could be allowed for, he might be called elegant. The Englishman was the beau ideal of a John Bull, portentous in size, broad, and red of visage; loud of tongue, and heavy in step; he shook the room as he strode, and made the walls echo when he spoke. I rather liked the man, there was so much character about him, and in spite of the coarseness, so much that was bold and hearty. Monsieur shrugged to be sure, but he seemed likely to run away, especially when the stranger's first words conveyed an injunction to the lady of the house “to take care that no grinning Frenchman had the ordering of his Betsy's feet. If she must learn to dance, let her be taught by an honest Englishman.” After which declaration, kissing the little girl very tenderly, the astounding papa took his departure.

Poor Betsy! there she sat, the tears trickling down her cheeks, little comforted by the kind notice of the governess and the English teacher, and apparently insensible to the silent scorn of her new companions. For my own part, I entertained toward her much of that pity which results from recent experience of the same sort of distress—

A fellow feeling makes us wondrous kind.

I was a little girl myself, abundantly shy and awkward, and I had not forgotten the heart-tug of leaving home, and the terrible loneliness of the first day at school. Moreover, I suspected that in one respect, she was much more an object of compassion than myself; I believed her to be motherless; so when I thought nobody was looking or listening, I made some girlish advances toward acquaintanceship, which she was still too shy or too miserable to return, so that, easily repelled myself, as a bashful child is, our intercourse came to nothing. With my elders and betters, the cancan, who ruled the school, Betsy stood if possible lower than ever. They had had the satisfaction to discover not only that he lived in the Borough, but that her father (horror of horrors!) was an eminent cheese-factor!—a seller of Stilton! That he was very rich, and had a brother an alderman, rather made matters worse. Poor Betsy only escaped being sent to Coventry by the lucky circumstance of her going that metaphorical journey of her own accord, and never under any temptation speaking to any body one unnecessary word.

As far as her lessons went she was, from the false indulgence with which she had been treated, very backward for her age. Our school was, however, really excellent as a place of instruction: so no studies were forced upon her, and she was left to get acquainted with the house and its ways, and to fall into the ranks as she could.

For the present she seemed to have attached [pg 511] herself to Mdlle. Rose, attracted probably by the sweetness of her countenance, her sadness, and her silence. Her speech could not have attracted Betsy, for in common with many of her exiled country-folk, she had not in nearly ten years' residence in England learned to speak five English words. But something had won her affection. She had on first being called by the governess, from the dark corner in which she had ensconced herself, crept to the side of the young Frenchwoman, had watched her as she wove her straw plaits, had attempted the simple art with some discarded straws that lay scattered upon the floor; and when Mademoiselle so far roused herself as to show her the proper way, and to furnish her with the material, she soon became a most efficient assistant in this branch of industry.

No intercourse took place between them. Indeed, as I have said, none was possible, since neither knew a word of the other's language. Betsy was silence personified; and poor Mdlle. Rose, always pensive and reserved, was now more than ever dejected and oppressed. An opportunity of returning to France had opened to her, and was passing away. She herself was too young to be included in the list of emigrants, and interest had been made with the French Consul for the re-admission of her venerable parents, and perhaps for the ultimate recovery of some property still unsold. But her grandfather was so aged, and her grandmother so sickly, that the expenses of a voyage and a journey, then very formidable to the old and the infirm, were beyond her means, beyond even her hopes. So she sighed over her straw-plaiting, and submitted.

In the mean time the second Saturday arrived, and with it a summons home to Betsy, who, for the first time gathering courage to address our good governess, asked “if she might be trusted with the bonnet Mdlle. Rose had just finished, to show her aunt—she knew she would like to buy that bonnet, because Mademoiselle had been so good as to let her assist in plaiting it.” How she came to know that they were for sale nobody could tell; but our kind governess ordered the bonnet to be put into the carriage, told her the price—(no extravagant one!)—called her a good child, and took leave of her till Monday.

Two hours after Betsy and her father re-appeared in the school-room. “Ma'amselle,” said he, bawling as loud as he could, with the view, as we afterward conjectured, of making her understand him. “Ma'amselle, I've no great love for the French, whom I take to be our natural enemies. But you're a good young woman; you've been kind to my Betsy, and have taught her how to make your fallals; and moreover you're a good daughter: and so's my Betsy. She says that she thinks you're fretting, because you can't manage to take your grandfather and grandmother back to France again;—so as you let her help you in that other handy-work, why you must let her help you in this.” Then throwing a heavy purse into her lap, catching his little daughter up in his arms, and hugging her to the honest breast where she hid her tears and her blushes, he departed, leaving poor Mdlle. Rose too much bewildered to speak or to comprehend the happiness that had fallen upon her, and the whole school the better for the lesson.

The Dream Of The Weary Heart.

The Weary Heart lay restlessly on his bed, distracted with the strife of the day. Wearied indeed was he in heart, and wavering in the simple faith which had blessed his childhood. The world was no more beautiful to him, his fellow-man was no more trustworthy, and heaven was no longer regarded as his distant, though native home. One thing only seemed, to his changed heart, the same; it was the ever-varying, ever-constant moon, which shed her broad, fair light as serenely on his aching brow as when he nestled, a happy child, upon his mother's breast.

Soothed by this pure light, the Weary Heart slept at length; and in his sleep, his troubled and toil-worn mind went back—back to the early hours of life—back to the lone old house, so loved in childhood, so seldom thought of now. In this old home all seemed yet unchanged, and he would fain have busied himself in tracing out memories of the past; but a low sweet voice bade him gaze steadfastly on the lozenge panes of the long lattice window, where the sun of the early spring-tide was shining gayly through the mazy branches of the old elm-tree, and bordering its traceries with glimpses of purple and golden light. But gradually, and even as he looked, the sun became brighter and hotter, and as his heat momentarily strengthened, Weary Heart saw the green leaves creep out, one by one, and place themselves daily between the window and the sun, so as to intercept his fiercest rays; until at length, when the sun had attained his greatest power, these leaves were all arranged so as to shade the window, as a bird overshadows her young; and the room was as much refreshed by the cool green light, as it had formerly been gladdened by the spring-tide beams. Then Weary Heart was softened; yet he feared to breathe, lest the dread winter-time should come, when the cool leaves which brought balm to his heart, should fall away from him and die.

Gradually, however, the sun became lower in the heavens, and his heat was less fervid upon the earth. Then the leaves went noiselessly away, in the same order in which they had come. One by one, they crept silently out of sight, like earnest hearts whose mission is fulfilled; and yet so glad were they for the consciousness of the good which they had been given power to do, that when the Weary Heart observed them more closely, he could see how bright a glow of joy decked even their dying moments, and in how frolicsome a dance many of them delighted ere they lay down on the cold earth to die.

The dark winter had now come on, and anxiously poor Weary Heart watched the lozenged [pg 512] panes. He saw the branches stand up bare and desolate against the gray and chilly sky; but soon he saw beautiful things come and sport upon them. The snow piled itself in fairy ridgeways along the boughs, and even on the slenderest twigs; then the sun would shine brightly out for an hour at mid-day, and melt the quiet snow, and the laughing drops would chase each other along the branches, sometimes losing all identity, each in the bosom of its fellow—sometimes falling in glittering showers to the ground. [And he saw that it was from these glittering showers that the snowdrops sprang]. Then, when the sun was gone down, the frost would come; and in the morning the silver drops would be found, spell-bound in their mirth; some hanging in long, clear pendants, full of bright lights and beautiful thoughts, far above the rest—and others, shorter and less brilliant, with one part transparent, and another part looking more like the snow of which they were born. But these last always hung hand-in-hand. And when the sun came out again by day, these were always the last to disappear; for they also were like faithful and kindly hearts. They were partly raised far above their original nature, and yet they still bore many traces of the source from whence they sprang. And when the beautiful crystals faded away like the brilliant yet chilly mind, which has no sympathy or trust for its fellows, the others would still remain, hand-in-hand, to cheer and deck the naked tree.

Sometimes, too, in the early days of February, the sun would shine fiercely out ere the green leaves had come to shade the room at noon-day; but then came a winged messenger to sit on the dry branches, and to tell the Weary Heart, in a sweet song, that the real spring was not yet upon the earth; but that at the right time the leaves would most surely reappear, and “fail not.” And when he had repeated his message, he would add another stanza, and tell how he needed the shady foliage even more than man himself, but that he pined not for it, because he knew that to all things there was an appointed season; and that when his nesting-time came, so would the green leaves come also to shelter and encircle the frail home of his young ones.

The pale moon went down, and the day broke upon the earth, and Weary Heart went forth to his daily toil. But he bore not with him the fevered mind and the throbbing pulse which had been his companions for long and dreary months. His vision had faded, but the green leaves were ever before his eyes. The song of his dream-bird rang not in his ears, but his faith and trust were restored to him; and he once more took his place in creation as an elevated, yet dependent child of Heaven—one in the mighty brotherhood of human hearts—one in the band of willing students of the teachings of the glorious sun and stars, of the opening flowers and the sparkling streams, of the singing birds and the ever-varying clouds, of every form of beauty in which God has written his message of love, and of mercy, and of truth, for man's behoof.

New Discoveries In Ghosts.

Eclipses have been ascribed sometimes to the hunger of a great dragon, who eats the sun, and leaves us in the dark until the blazing orb has been mended. Numerous instances are ready to the memory of any one of us, in illustration of the tendency existing among men to ascribe to supernatural, fantastic causes, events wonderful only by their rarity. All that we daily see differs from these things no more than inasmuch as it is at the same time marvelous and common. We know very well that the moon, seen once by all, would be regarded as an awful spectre: open only to the occasional vision of a few men, no doubt she would be scouted by a large party as a creation of their fancy altogether.

The list of facts that have been scouted in this way, corresponds pretty exactly to the list of human discoveries, down to the recent improvements in street-lighting and steam locomotion. The knowledge of the best of us is but a little light which shines in a great deal of darkness. We are all of us more ignorant than wise. The proportion of knowledge yet lying beyond the confines of our explorations, is as a continent against a cabbage garden. Yet many thousands are contented to believe, that in this little bit of garden lies our all, and to laugh at every report made to the world by people who have ventured just to peep over the paling. It is urged against inquiries into matters yet mysterious—mysterious as all things look under the light of the first dawn of knowledge—Why should we pry into them, until we know that we shall be benefited by the information we desire? All information is a benefit. All knowledge is good. Is it for man to say, “What is the use of seeing?”

We are in the present day upon the trace of a great many important facts relating to the imponderable agencies employed in nature. Light, heat, and electricity are no longer the simple matters, or effects of matter, that they have aforetime seemed to be. New wonders point to more beyond. In magnetism, the researches of Faraday and others, are beginning to open in our own day, the Book of Nature, at a page of the very first importance to the naturalist; but the contents of which until this time have been wholly unsuspected. Behind a cloudy mass of fraud and folly, while the clouds shift, we perceive a few dim stars, to guide us toward the discovery of wondrous truths. There are such truths which will hereafter illustrate the connection, in many ways still mysterious, between the body of man and the surrounding world. Wonderful things have yet to be revealed, on subjects of a delicate and subtle texture. It behooves us in the present day, therefore, to learn how we may keep our tempers free from prejudice, and not discredit statements simply because they are new and strange, nor, on the other hand, accept them hastily without sufficient proof.

On questionable points, which are decided by research and weight of evidence, it would be well [pg 513] if it were widely understood that it is by no means requisite for every man to form an Ay or Nay opinion. Let those who have no leisure for a fair inquiry play a neutral part. There are hundreds of subjects which we have never examined, nor ever could or can examine, upon which we are all, nevertheless, expressing every day stubborn opinions. We all have to acquire some measure of the philosophic mind, and be content to retain a large army of thoughts, equipped each thought with its crooked bayonet, a note of interrogation. In reasoning, also, when we do reason, we have to remember fairly that “not proven” does not always mean untrue. And in accepting matters on testimony, we must rigidly preserve in view the fact, that, except upon gross objects of sense, very few of us are qualified by training as observers. In drawing delicate conclusions from the complex and most dimly comprehended operations of the human frame observed in men and women, the sources of fallacy are very numerous. To detect and acknowledge these, to get rid of them experimentally, is very difficult, even to the most candid and enlightened mind.

I have no faith in ghosts, according to the old sense of the word, and I could grope with comfort through any amount of dark old rooms, or midnight aisles, or over church-yards, between sunset and cock-crow. I can face a spectre. Being at one time troubled with illusions, I have myself crushed a hobgoblin by sitting on its lap. Nevertheless, I do believe that the great mass of “ghost stories,” of which the world is full, has not been built entirely upon the inventions of the ignorant and superstitious. In plain words, while I, of course, throw aside a million of idle fictions, or exaggerated facts, I do believe in ghosts—or, rather, spectres—only I do not believe them to be supernatural.

That, in certain states of the body, many of us in our waking hours picture as vividly as we habitually do in dreams, and seem to see or hear in fair reality that which is in our minds, is an old fact, and requires no confirmation. An ignorant or superstitious man fallen into this state, may find good reason to tell ghost stories to his neighbors. Disease, and the debility preceding death, make people on their death-beds very liable to plays of this kind on their failing faculties; and one solemnity, or cause of dread, thus being added to another, seems to give the strength of reason to a superstitious feeling.

Concerning my own experience, which comes under the class of natural ghost-seeing, above mentioned, I may mention in good faith that, if such phantoms were worth recalling, I could fill up an hour with the narration of those spectral sights and sounds which were most prominent among the illusions of my childhood. Sights and sounds were equally distinct and life-like. I have run up-stairs obedient to a spectral call. Every successive night for a fortnight, my childish breath was stilled by the proceedings of a spectral rat, audible, never visible. It nightly, at the same hour, burst open a cupboard door, scampered across the floor, and shook the chair by my bedside. Wide awake and alone in the broad daylight, I have heard the voices of two nobodies gravely conversing, after the absurd dream fashion, in my room. Then as for spectral sights: During the cholera of 1832, I, then a boy, walking in Holborn, saw in the sky, the veritable flaming sword which I had learned by heart out of a picture in an old folio of “Paradise Lost.” And round the fiery sword there was a regular oval of blue sky to be seen through parted clouds. It was a fact not unimportant, that this phantom sword did not move with my eye, but remained for some time, apparently, only in one part of the heavens. I looked aside and lost it. When I looked back there was the image still. There are hallucinations which arise from a disordered condition of the nervous system; they are the seeing or the hearing of what is not, and they are not by any means uncommon. Out of these there must, undoubtedly, arise a large number of well-attested stories of ghosts, seen by one person only. Such ghosts ought to excite no more terror than a twinge of rheumatism, or a nervous headache.

There can be no doubt, however, that, in our minds or bodies, there are powers latent, or nearly latent, in the ordinary healthy man, which, in some peculiar constitutions, or under the influence of certain agents, or certain classes of disease, become active, and develop themselves in an extraordinary way. It is not very uncommon to find people who have acquired intuitive perception of each other's current thoughts, beyond what can be ascribed to community of interests, or comprehension of character.

Zschokke, the German writer and teacher, is a peculiarly honorable and unimpeachable witness. What he affirms, as of his own knowledge, we have no right to disbelieve. Many of us have read the marvelous account given by him of his sudden discovery, that he possessed the power in regard to a few people—by no means in regard to all—of knowing, when he came near to them, not only their present thoughts, but much of what was in their memories. The details will be found in his Autobiography, which, being translated, has become a common book among us. When, for the first time, while conversing with some person, he acquired a sense of power over the secrets of that person's past life, he gave, of course, little heed to his sensation. Afterward, as from time to time the sense recurred, he tested the accuracy of his impressions, and was alarmed to find that, at certain times, and in regard to certain persons, the mysterious knowledge was undoubtedly acquired. Once when a young man at the table with him was dismissing very flippantly all manner of unexplained phenomena as the gross food of ignorance and credulity, Zschokke requested to know what he would say if he, a stranger, by aid of an unexplained power, should be able to tell him secrets out of his past life. Zschokke was defied to do that; but he did it. Among other things he described a certain upper room, in which [pg 514] there was a certain strong box, and from which certain moneys, the property of his master, had been abstracted by that young man; who, overwhelmed with astonishment, confessed the theft.

Many glimmerings of intuition, which at certain times occur in the experience of all of us, and seem to be something more than shrewd or lucky guesses, may be referred to the same power which we find, in the case just quoted, more perfectly developed. Nothing supernatural, but a natural gift, imperceptible to us in its familiar, moderate, and healthy exercise, brought first under our notice when some deranged adjustment of the mind has suffered it to grow into excess—to be, if we may call it so, a mental tumor.

We may now come to a new class of mysteries—which are receiving, for the first time in our own day, a rational solution.

The blind poet, Pfeffel, had engaged, as amanuensis, a young Protestant clergyman, named Billing. When the blind poet walked abroad, Billing also acted as his guide. One day, as they were walking in the garden, which was situated at a distance from the town, Pfeffel observed a trembling of his guide's arm whenever they passed over a certain spot. He asked the cause of this, and extracted from his companion the unwilling confession, that over that spot he was attacked by certain uncontrollable sensations, which he always felt where human bodies had been buried. At night, he added, over such spots, he saw uncanny things. “This is great folly,” Pfeffel thought, “and I will cure him of it.” The poet went, therefore, that very night into the garden. When they approached the place of dread, Billing perceived a feeble light, which hovered over it. When they came nearer, he saw the delicate appearance of a fiery, ghost-like form. He described it as the figure of a female with one arm across her body, and the other hanging down, hovering upright and motionless over the spot, her feet being a few hand-breadths above the soil. The young man would not approach the vision, but the poet beat about it with his stick, walked through it, and seemed to the eyes of Billing like a man who beats about a light flame, which always returns to its old shape. For months, experiments were continued, company was brought to the spot, the spectre remained visible always in the dark, but to the young man only, who adhered firmly to his statement, and to his conviction that a body lay beneath. Pfeffel at last had the place dug up, and, at a considerable depth, covered with lime, there was a skeleton discovered. The bones and the lime were dispersed, the hole was filled up, Billing was again brought to the spot by night, but never again saw the spectre.

This ghost story, being well attested, created a great sensation. In the curious book, by Baron Reichenbach, translated by Dr. Gregory, it is quoted as an example of a large class of ghost stories which admit of explanation upon principles developed by his own experiments.

The experiments of Baron Reichenbach do not, indeed, establish a new science, though it is quite certain that they go far to point out a new line of investigation, which promises to yield valuable results. So much of them as concerns our subject may be very briefly stated. It would appear that certain persons, with disordered nervous systems, liable to catalepsy, or to such affections, and also some healthy persons who are of a peculiar nervous temperament, are more sensitive to magnetism than their neighbors. They are peculiarly acted upon by the magnet, and are, moreover, very much under the influence of the great magnetic currents of the earth. Such people sleep tranquilly when they are reposing with their bodies in the earth's magnetic line, and are restless, in some cases seriously affected, if they lie across that line, on beds with the head and foot turned east and west, matters of complete indifference to the healthy animal. These “sensitives” are not only affected by the magnet, but they are able to detect, by their sharpened sense, what we may reasonably suppose to exist, a faint magnetic light: they see it streaming from the poles of a magnet shown to them, in a room absolutely dark; and if the sensibility be great, and the darkness perfect, they see it streaming also from the points of fingers, and bathing in a faint halo the whole magnet or the whole hand. Furthermore, it would appear that the affection by the magnet of these sensitives does not depend upon that quality by which iron filings are attracted; that, perfectly independent of the attractive force, there streams from magnets, from the poles of crystals, from the sun and moon, another influence to which the discoverer assigns the name of Odyle. The manifestation of Odyle is accompanied by a light too faint for healthy vision, but perceptible at night by “sensitives.” Odyle is generated among other things by heat, and by chemical action. It is generated, therefore, in the decomposition of the human body. I may now quote from Reichenbach, who, having given a scientific explanation upon his own principles, of the phenomena perceived by Billing, thus continues:

“The desire to inflict a mortal wound on the monster, Superstition, which, from a similar origin, a few centuries ago, inflicted on European society so vast an amount of misery, and by whose influence not hundreds, but thousands of innocent persons died in tortures, on the rack and at the stake; this desire made me wish to make the experiment, if possible, of bringing a highly sensitive person, by night, to a churchyard. I thought it possible that they might see, over graves where mouldering bodies lay, something like that which Billing had seen. Mademoiselle Reichal had the courage, unusual in her sex, to agree to my request. She allowed me, on two very dark nights, to take her from the Castle of Reisenberg, where she was residing with my family, to the cemetery of the neighboring village of Grünzing.

“The result justified my expectations in the fullest measure. She saw, very soon, a light, and perceived, on one of the grave mounds, along its whole extent, a delicate, fiery, as it [pg 515] were a breathing flame. The same thing was seen on another grave, in a less degree. But she met neither witches nor ghosts. She described the flame as playing over the graves in the form of a luminous vapor, from one to two spans in height.

“Some time afterward I took her to two great cemeteries, near Vienna, where several interments occur daily, and the grave mounds lie all about in thousands. Here she saw numerous graves, which exhibited the lights above described. Wherever she looked, she saw masses of fire lying about; but it was chiefly seen over all new graves, while there was no appearance of it over very old ones. She described it less as a clear flame than as a dense, vaporous mass of fire, holding a middle place between mist and flame. On many graves this light was about four feet high, so that when she stood on the grave, it reached to her neck. When she thrust her hand into it, it was as if putting it into a dense fiery cloud. She betrayed not the slightest uneasiness, as she was, from her childhood, accustomed to such emanations, and had seen, in my experiments, similar lights produced by natural means, and made to assume endless varieties of form. I am convinced that all who are, to a certain degree, sensitive, will see the same phenomena in cemeteries, and very abundantly in the crowded cemeteries of large cities; and that my observations may be easily repeated and confirmed.” These experiments were tried in 1844. A postscript was added in 1847. Reichenbach had taken five other sensitive persons, in the dark, to cemeteries. Of these, two were sickly, three quite healthy. All of them confirmed the statements of Mademoiselle Reichel, and saw the lights over all new graves more or less distinctly; “so that,” says the philosopher, “the fact can no longer admit of the slightest doubt, and may be every where controlled.”

“Thousands of ghost stories,” he continues, “will now receive a natural explanation, and will thus cease to be marvelous. We shall even see that it was not so erroneous or absurd as has been supposed, when our old women asserted, as every one knows they did, that not every one was privileged to see the spirits of the departed wandering over their graves. In fact, it was at all times only the sensitive who could see the imponderable emanations from the chemical change going on in corpses, luminous in the dark. And thus I have, I trust, succeeded in tearing down one of the densest vails of darkened ignorance and human error.”

So far speaks Reichenbach; and for myself, reverting to the few comments with which we set out, I would suggest, that Reichenbach's book, though it is very likely to push things too far—to fancy the tree by looking at the seed—is yet not such a book as men of sense are justified in scouting. The repetition of his experiments is very easy if they be correct. There are plenty of “sensitives” to be found in our London hospitals and streets and lanes. Unluckily, however, though we live in an age which produces, every day, new marvels, the old spirit of bigotry, which used to make inquiry dangerous in science and religion, still prevails in the minds of too many scientific men. To be incredulous of what is new and strange, until it has been rigidly examined and proved true, is one essential element of a mind seeking enlightenment. But, to test and try new things is equally essential. Because of doubting, to refuse inquiry, is because of hunger to refuse our food. For my own part, I put these matters into the livery of that large body of thoughts already mentioned, which walk about the human mind, armed each with a note of interrogation. This only I see, that, in addition to the well-known explanations of phenomena which produce some among the many stories of ghosts and of mysterious forebodings, new explanations are at hand which will reduce into a natural and credible position many other tales by which we have till recently been puzzled.

Keep Him Out!

“What noise is that?” said a judge disturbed in the hearing of a case. “It's a man, my lord,” was the answer of the doorkeeper. “What does he want?” “He wants to get in, my lord.” “Well, keep him out!”

The audience is comfortably seated; the case is going forward; to make room for the newcomer, some must shift their seats, and perhaps be jostled about a little; so they are all perfectly satisfied with the judge's dictum of “Keep him out.”

You have yourself been in an omnibus when a stout passenger has presented himself to the conductor, and petitioned for a place. You are all snugly seated—why should you be disturbed? “The seats are full!” “Keep him out!” But the intruder is in, he presses forward to the inner corner, perhaps treading on some testy gentleman's toes. How you hate that new-comer, until you get fairly “shook down” and settled again in your places! The door opens again—another passenger! “Keep him out!” cry the company, and strange to say, the loudest vociferator of the whole, is the very passenger who last came in. He in his turn becomes conservative, after having fairly got a place inside.

It is the same through life. There is a knocking from time to time at the door of the constitution. “What's that noise?” ask the men in power. “It's a lot of men, my lords and gentlemen.” “What do they want?” “They want to come in.” “Well, keep them out!” And those who are comfortably seated within the pale, re-echo the cry of “Keep them out.” Why should they be disturbed in their seats, and made uncomfortable?

But somehow, by dint of loud knocking, the men, or a rush of them, at length do contrive to get in; and after sundry shovings and jostlings, they get seated, and begin to feel comfortable, when there is another knocking louder than before. Would you believe it? the last accommodated are now the most eager of all to keep the [pg 516] door closed against the new-comers; and “Keep them out!” is their vociferous cry.

Here is a batch of learned men debating the good of their order. They are considering how their profession may be advanced. What is the gist of their decisions?—the enactment of laws against all intruders upon their comfort and quiet. They make their calling a snug monopoly, and contrive matters so that as few as possible are admitted to share the good things of their class. “Keep them out!” is the cry of all the learned professions.

“Keep them out!” cry the barristers, when the attorneys claim to be admitted to plead before certain courts. “Keep them out!” cry the attorneys, when ordinary illegal men claim to argue a case before the county court. “Keep her out!” cry both barristers and attorneys, when Mrs. Cobbett claims to be heard in her imprisoned husband's cause. “What! a woman plead in the courts? If such a thing be allowed, who knows where such license is to end?” And she is kept out accordingly.

“Keep them out!” cry the apothecaries, when a surgeon from beyond the Tweed or the Irish Channel claims to prescribe and dispense medicine to English subjects. “Keep them out!” cry the doctors, when the Homœopathists offer the public their millionth-grain doses. “Keep them out!” cry physicians and surgeons and apothecaries of all ranks, when it is proposed to throw open the profession to the female sex.

But you find the same cry among the working classes of every grade. Mechanics and tradesmen insist on all applicants for admission to their calling serving long apprenticeships. If the apprenticeships are not served, then “Keep them out!” is the word. Shoulder to shoulder they exclude the applicants for leave to toil. “Knobsticks” are pelted. They must join the union—must be free of the craft—must conform to the rules—subscribe to the funds—pay the footings, and so on; otherwise they are kept out with a vengeance.

In the circles of fashion the same cry is frequent. A new man appears in society. “Who is he?” “Only So-and-so!” He is a retired grocer, or as Cobbett called Sadler, “a linen-draper;” and the exclusive class immediately club together for the purpose of “Keeping him out.” He is “cut.” Even the new man of high-sounding title is accounted as nothing among the old families who boast of their “blue blood.” Wealth goes a great way, but still that does not compensate for the accident of birth and connections among these classes.

Every class has its own standard. The money classes have theirs too. Even tradesmen and their wives go in sets, and there is always some class outside their own set, which they contrive to “keep out.” The aristocratic contagion thus extends from the highest to the verge of the lowest class of society in England. Is not monopoly the rule among us, whenever we can find an opportunity of establishing it? Monopoly or exclusivism in art, in theology, in trade, in literature, in sociology. Look at the forty Royal Academicians setting their backs up against every new-comer in art, and combining with one accord to “Keep him out.” That is the monopoly of art; and people at large call it a humbug; but they are not more tolerant or wise when their own craft comes to be dealt with. Each in his turn is found ready to combine with somebody else, to “keep out” all intruders on their special preserves. The “Flaming Tinman,” in Lavengro, pummels and puts to flight the poor tinker who intrudes upon his beat; the costers combine to keep out freshmen from theirs; English navvies band together to drive Irish navvies off their contracts; and Irish tenants pick off, from behind a hedge, the intruders upon their holdings. Even the searchers of the sewers maintain a kind of monopoly of their unholy calling, and will recognize no man as a brother who has not been duly initiated in the mysteries of the search. The sewer-searcher is as exclusive in his way as the leader of fashion at Almacks. “Keep him out!” is, in short, the watchword of all classes, of all ranks, of all callings, of all crafts, of all interests. We used to “keep out” the foreign corn-grower, but though he may now come in, there is exclusiveness and monopoly in ten thousand other forms, which no legislation can ever touch.

Story Of Rembrandt.

At a short distance from Leyden may still be seen a flour-mill with a quaint old dwelling-house attached, which bears, on a brick in a corner of the wide chimney, the date of 1550. Here, in 1606, was born Paul Rembrandt. At an early age, he manifested a stubborn, independent will, which his father tried in vain to subdue. He caused his son to work in the mill, intending that he should succeed him in its management; but the boy showed so decided a distaste for the employment, that his father resolved to make him a priest, and sent him to study at Leyden. Every one knows, however, that few lads of fifteen, endowed with great muscular vigor and abundance of animal spirits, will take naturally and without compulsion to the study of Latin grammar. Rembrandt certainly did not; and his obstinacy proving an overmatch for his teacher's patience, he was sent back to the mill, when his father beat him so severely, that next morning he ran off to Leyden, without in the least knowing how he should live there. Fortunately he sought refuge in the house of an honest artist, Van Zwaanenberg, who was acquainted with his father.

“Tell me, Paul,” asked his friend, “what do you mean to do with yourself, if you will not be either a priest or a miller? They are both honorable professions: one gives food to the soul, the other prepares it for the body.”

“Very likely,” replied the boy; “but I don't fancy either; for in order to be a priest, one must learn Latin; and to be a miller, one must bear to be beaten. How do you earn your bread?”

“You know very well I am a painter.”

[pg 517]

“Then I will be one, too, Herr Zwaanenberg; and if you will go to-morrow and tell my father so, you will do me a great service.”

The good-natured artist willingly undertook the mission, and acquainted the old miller with his son's resolution.

“I want to know one thing,” said Master Rembrandt, “will he be able to gain a livelihood by painting?”

“Certainly, and perhaps make a fortune.”

“Then if you will teach him, I consent.”

Thus Paul became the pupil of Van Zwaanenberg, and made rapid progress in the elementary parts of his profession. Impatient to produce some finished work, he did not give himself time to acquire purity of style, but astonished his master by his precocious skill in grouping figures, and producing marvelous effects of light and shade. The first lessons which he took in perspective having wearied him, he thought of a shorter method, and invented perspective for himself.

One of his first rude sketches happened to fall into the hands of a citizen of Leyden who understood painting. Despite of its evident defects, the germs of rare talent which it evinced struck the burgomaster; and sending for the young artist, he offered to give him a recommendation to a celebrated painter living at Amsterdam, under whom he would have far more opportunity of improvement than with his present instructor.

Rembrandt accepted the offer, and during the following year toiled incessantly. Meantime his finances were dreadfully straitened; for his father, finding that the expected profits were very tardy, refused to give money to support his son, as he said, in idleness. Paul, however, was not discouraged. Although far from possessing an amiable or estimable disposition, he held a firm and just opinion of his own powers, and resolved to make these subservient first to fortune and then to fame. Thus while some of his companions, having finished their preliminary studies, repaired to Florence, to Bologna, or to Rome, Paul, determined, as he said, not to lose his own style by becoming an imitator of even the mightiest masters, betook himself to his paternal mill. At first his return resembled that of the Prodigal Son. His father believed that he had come to resume his miller's work; and bitter was his disappointment at finding his son resolved not to renounce painting.

With a very bad grace he allowed Paul to displace the flour-sacks in an upper loft, in order to make a sort of studio, lighted by only one narrow window in the roof. There Paul painted his first finished picture. It was a portrait of the mill. There, on the canvas, was seen the old miller, lighted by a lantern which he carried in his hand, giving directions to his men, occupied in ranging sacks in the dark recesses of the granary. One ray falls on the fresh, comely countenance of his mother, who has her foot on the last step of a wooden staircase.3 Rembrandt took this painting to the Hague, and sold it for 100 florins. In order to return with more speed, he took his place in the public coach. When the passengers stopped to dine, Rembrandt, fearing to lose his treasure, remained in the carriage. The careless stable-boy who brought the horses their corn forgot to unharness them, and as soon as they had finished eating, excited probably by Rembrandt, who cared not for his fellow-passengers, the animals started off for Leyden, and quietly halted at their accustomed inn. Our painter then got out and repaired with his money to the mill.

Great was his father's joy. At length these silly daubs, which had so often excited his angry contempt, seemed likely to be transmuted into gold, and the old man's imagination took a rapturous flight. “Neither he nor his old horse,” he said, “need now work any longer; they might both enjoy quiet during the remainder of their lives. Paul would paint pictures, and support the whole household in affluence.”

Such was the old man's castle in the air; his clever, selfish son soon demolished it. “This sum of money,” he said, “is only a lucky windfall. If you indeed wish it to become the foundation of my fortune, give me one hundred florins besides, and let me return to Amsterdam: there I must work and study hard.”

It would be difficult to describe old Rembrandt's disappointment. Slowly, reluctantly, and one by one, he drew forth the 100 florins from his strong-box. Paul took them, and with small show of gratitude, returned to Amsterdam. In a short time his fame became established as the greatest and most original of living artists. He had a host of imitators, but all failed miserably in their attempts at reproducing his marvelous effects of light and shade. Yet Rembrandt prized the gold which flowed in to him far more than the glory. While mingling the colors which were to flash out on his canvas in real living light, he thought but of his dingy coffers.

When in possession of a yearly income equal to £2000 sterling, he would not permit the agent who collected his rents to bring them in from the country to Amsterdam, lest he should be obliged to invite him to dinner. He preferred setting out on a fine day, and going himself to the agent's house. In this way he saved two dinners—the one which he got, and the one he avoided giving. “So that's well managed!” he used to say.

This sordid disposition often exposed him to practical jokes from his pupils; but he possessed a quiet temper, and was not easily annoyed. One day a rich citizen came in, and asked him the price of a certain picture.

“Two hundred florins,” said Rembrandt.

“Agreed,” said his visitor. “I will pay you to-morrow, when I send for the picture.”

About an hour afterward a letter was handed to the painter. Its contents were as follows:

Master Rembrandt—During your absence a few days since, I saw in your studio a picture representing an old woman churning butter. I was enchanted with it; and if you will let me [pg 518] purchase it for 300 florins, I pray you to bring it to my house, and be my guest for the day.”

The letter was signed with some fictitious name, and bore the address of a village several leagues distant from Amsterdam.

Tempted by the additional 100 florins, and caring little for breaking his engagement, Rembrandt set out early next morning with his picture. He walked for four hours without finding his obliging correspondent, and at length, worn out with fatigue, he returned home. He found the citizen in his studio, waiting for the picture. As Rembrandt, however, did not despair of finding the man of the 300 florins, and as a falsehood troubled but little his blunted conscience, he said, “Alas! an accident has happened to the picture; the canvas was injured, and I felt so vexed that I threw it into the fire. Two hundred florins gone! However, it will be my loss, not yours, for I will paint another precisely similar, and it shall be ready for you by this time to-morrow.”

“I am sorry,” replied the amateur, “but it was the picture you have burned which I wished to have; and as that is gone, I shall not trouble you to paint another.”

So he departed, and Rembrandt shortly afterward received a second letter to the following effect: Master Rembrandt—You have broken your engagement, told a falsehood, wearied yourself to death, and lost the sale of your picture—all by listening to the dictates of avarice. Let this lesson be a warning to you in future.”

“So,” said the painter, looking round at his pupils, “one of you must have played me this pretty trick. Well, well, I forgive it. You young varlets do not know the value of a florin as I know it.”

Sometimes the students nailed small copper coins on the floor, for the mischievous pleasure of seeing their master, who suffered much from rheumatism in the back, stoop with pain and difficulty, and try in vain to pick them up.

Rembrandt married an ignorant peasant who had served him as cook, thinking this a more economical alliance than one with a person of refined mind and habits. He and his wife usually dined on brown-bread, salt herrings, and small-beer. He occasionally took portraits at a high price, and in this way became acquainted with the Burgomaster Six, a man of enlarged mind and unblemished character, who yet continued faithfully attached to the avaricious painter. His friendship was sometimes put to a severe test by such occurrences as the following:

Rembrandt remarked one day that the price of his engravings had fallen.

“You are insatiable,” said the burgomaster.

“Perhaps so. I can not help thirsting for gold.”

“You are a miser.”

“True; and I shall be one all my life.”

“'Tis really a pity,” remarked his friend, “that you will not be able after death to act as your own treasurer, for whenever that event occurs, all your works will rise to treble their present value.”

A bright idea struck Rembrandt. He returned home, went to bed, desired his wife and his son Titus to scatter straw before the door, and give out, first, that he was dangerously ill, and then dead—while the simulated fever was to be of so dreadfully infectious a nature that none of the neighbors were to be admitted near the sick-room. These instructions were followed to the letter; and the disconsolate widow proclaimed that, in order to procure money for her husband's interment, she must sell all his works, any property that he left not being available on so short a notice.

The unworthy trick succeeded. The sale, including every trivial scrap of painting or engraving, realized an enormous sum, and Rembrandt was in ecstasy. The honest burgomaster, however, was nearly frightened into a fit of apoplexy at seeing the man whose death he had sincerely mourned standing alive and well at the door of his studio. Meinherr Six obliged him to promise that he would in future abstain from such abominable deceptions. One day he was employed in painting in a group the likenesses of the whole family of a rich citizen. He had nearly finished it, when intelligence was brought him of the death of a tame ape which he greatly loved. The creature had fallen off the roof of the house into the street. Without interrupting his work, Rembrandt burst into loud lamentations, and after some time announced that the piece was finished. The whole family advanced to look at it, and what was their horror to see introduced between the heads of the eldest son and daughter an exact likeness of the dear departed ape. With one voice they all exclaimed against this singular relative which it had pleased the painter to introduce among them, and insisted on his effacing it.

“What!” exclaimed Rembrandt, “efface the finest figure in the picture? No, indeed; I prefer keeping the piece for myself.” Which he did, and carried off the painting.

Of Rembrandt's style it may be said that he painted with light, for frequently an object was indicated merely by the projection of a shadow on a wall. Often a luminous spot suggested, rather than defined, a hand or a head. Yet there is nothing vague in his paintings: the mind seizes the design immediately. His studio was a circular room, lighted by several narrow slits, so contrived that rays of sunshine entered through only one at a time, and thus produced strange effects of light and shade. The room was filled with old-world furniture, which made it resemble an antiquary's museum. There were heaped up in the most picturesque confusion curious old furniture, antique armor, gorgeously-tinted stuffs; and these Rembrandt arranged in different forms and positions, so as to vary the effects of light and color. This he called “making his models sit to him.” And in this close adherence to reality consisted the great secret of his art. It is strange that his favorite among all his pupils was the one whose style least resembled his own—Gerard Douw—he who aimed at the most excessive minuteness of delineation, who stopped keyholes [pg 519] lest a particle of dust should fall on his pallet, who gloried in representing the effects of fresh scouring on the side of a kettle.

Rembrandt died in 1674, at the age of sixty-eight. He passed all his life at Amsterdam. Some of his biographers have told erroneously that he once visited Italy: they were deceived by the word Venetiis placed at the bottom of several of his engravings. He wrote it there with the intention of deluding his countrymen into the belief that he was absent, and about to settle in Italy—an impression which would materially raise the price of his productions. Strange and sad it is to see so much genius united with so much meanness—the head of fine gold with the feet of clay.

The Viper.

At a recent monthly meeting of the Kendal Natural History Society, a letter was read from Mr. W. Pearson, on the natural history of Crossthwaite, from which we give the following extract:—“On the afternoon of 23d July last,” says Mr. Pearson, “the servant girl called me into the pantry in a great flurry. She said a hagworm was trying to get in at the window. And there it was, sure enough, raising itself straight up from the window-sill; first trying one pane, and then another; strangely puzzled, no doubt, that what seemed so clear an opening should offer any obstruction. The glass manufacture was evidently a mystery to it. The window being low, it had crawled over a heap of sand lying before it. It had probably smelt something tempting in the pantry, with which it wished to make nearer acquaintance. It was a beautiful creature. Its small head, prominent dark eyes, and pretty mottled skin, might have pleaded strongly for mercy; but, notwithstanding my general habit of sparing these reptiles when I meet with them in my walks, it was approaching too much in the guise of a housebreaker to be pardoned, so I gave orders for its instant execution. Moreover, there is little doubt that it was the same individual who had, in times past, come rather too near us to be pleasant. The year before, I had noticed a viper within a yard or two of our kitchen-door, with his head and about half a foot of his body thrust out from a hole in the wall right behind the kitchen grate. The genial climate had most likely attracted him. Be this as it may, before I could procure a switch to chastise him for his impudence, he very prudently withdrew into his hole, only protruding a part of his head and eyes, with which to make observations. For some days after this, I never entered the house by the back-door without thinking of our new neighbor; and once or twice I had a glimpse of him in his old quarters, but he very warily never exposed more of his precious person than his head and eyes, so that, if it had not been for his unfortunate expedition to the pantry, he might still have been a living hagworm. You are aware that this species of snake has at least three names in England—the viper, adder, and hagworm. The last is our own local term. Some authors class it with the amphibia. An extraordinary narrative appeared lately in the ‘Kendal Mercury,’ of a snake crossing Connistone Lake, which is at least half a mile wide. It was not the sea-serpent, but our poor little hagworm, that was engaged in this bold navigation. It was, however, unfortunately fallen in with by a piratical boatman, and put to death. Without disputing the truth of the narration, or settling the question how far the viper is amphibious, the remark is obvious, that the poor snake was taken at a disadvantage; for, if it had been equally at home on the water as on land, why did it not save itself by diving as an eel or a frog would have done under like circumstances? Again, why is not the name of the boatman given? Why should he be defrauded of his fair fame? It is to be wished that newspaper editors, in general, were more careful to authenticate their many marvelous tales in natural history. It would be a great satisfaction to the skeptical naturalist. One may easily credit that a viper will occasionally take the water, without going the length of a full belief in the Connistone voyage.

“One day last spring, when angling, I met with one of these snakes, coiled up, within a few feet of the Winster stream, and when disturbed he fled toward the water, though I did not see him enter it. It is curious the variety of situations in which they are to be met with; in the lowest parts of the valleys, and on the tops of our highest hills; sometimes close to our houses, as I have mentioned; in the plain field, and in the roughest wood—hence their name, hagworm; on the roadside, or on the ling moor, where they sometimes bite the sportsman's dog, though I never heard of any fatal consequences. In crossing a turnpike road on a sunny day, they are often tempted to linger, such is their love of warmth, and bask on the heated stones and dust, where they are sure to be killed by the first passenger. They are never spared. Their sinuous tracks across the dusty roads in dry weather may be often observed. On riding out one day this summer, a hagworm crossed the road just before me. It exhibited a beautiful specimen of serpentine motion, and wriggled along with surprising celerity. It was a warm day; and the movements of all these reptiles are wonderfully quickened by a genial atmosphere.

“The ringed, or harmless common snake, if found at all in our district, is, I think, very scarce, for I have never seen one. It is said by Latreille and other naturalists to be fond of milk, and that it will sometimes enter farmers' dairies to enjoy its favorite beverage. Does our viper, or hagworm, also possess this refined propensity? It seems probable enough, if one may judge from our pantry adventure. I am here reminded of a pretty little story which I heard in my youth, and which is well known to our rural population.

“A cottage child had been in the habit for some time of taking its porridge every morning into the orchard, to eat there, instead of in the house. Its mother was curious to know why it did this. At length it was watched, and found seated under [pg 520] an apple-tree in company with a huge serpent, its head dipt in the porringer sharing the child's breakfast. But taking up a greater part of the dish than was consistent with fair play, or quite agreeable to good manners, the child was beating its head with the spoon, saying—‘Take at thy own side, Grayface; take at thy own side, Grayface’—the snake submitting to this rather uncourteous treatment with the most praiseworthy patience. Indeed, this reverence for innocence, felt by savage beast or venomous reptile, is a beautiful feature of many of those old romantic tales, from the most simple to be found in rustic life, to the grand allegorical fiction of Spenser's ‘Fairy Queen,’ of

Heavenly Una with her milk-white lamb,
And the brave Lion slain in her defense.

“But may there not be some truth, after all, in this tale of the serpent and child? Remember the fact—that serpents have a strange propensity to come near our houses, and are not unfrequently found there, as was exemplified this last summer in our own locality by two instances: the one, that of the pantry burglar; the other, by a large hagworm being caught lying in wait, and killed close to the farm-house below. Then their acknowledged predilection for a milk diet: it is said that, when tamed, they eat it greedily. Giving due weight, therefore, to these two circumstances, is it not probable enough that there is a substratum of truth in this story, and that it is not a mere invention trumped up to please the nursery?”

Esther Hammond's Wedding-Day.

A few years ago, having made known to those whom it might concern that I wanted a footman, there came, among others, to offer himself for the situation, a young man, named George Hammond. He had a slight figure, and a pale, thin, handsome face, but a remarkably sad expression. Although he inspired me with interest, I felt, before I began to question him, that I should hardly like to have that melancholy countenance always under my eye.

“Where have you lived?” I asked.

“I have never been exactly in a situation,” he answered.

“Then,” said I, interrupting him, “I fear you will not suit me.”

“I meant to say,” he continued, turning paler than before, as if pained by my ready denial—“I meant to say that although I have never been in a situation, yet I know the duties of a servant, for I have been for several months under Lord Gorton's house-steward, Mr. Grindlay, and he has taught me every thing.”

“Did Lord Gorton pay you wages?”

“No; but he allowed me to wait at table, and I acted just as if I had been paid wages.”

“Mr. Grindlay is a friend of yours, then?”

“Yes; he has been very kind, and has taken a great deal of pains with me.”

“And you think you are fit to undertake such a place as mine?”

“I think I am, and I should try to give satisfaction; for I am very anxious indeed to earn my own living.”

“And who is to give you a character?”

“Mr. Grindlay will; he has known me all my life.”

During the conversation of which the above is an abridgement, I found that my feelings were veering round to a more favorable quarter for the candidate. Young as he was, I thought I could discern that he had suffered, and that he was anxious to diminish, or repair, his ill fortunes by industry and good conduct. There was a moment, too, in which I fancied I saw the clew to his sorrows. It was when I said, “You are not married, I presume?”

“No,” said he.

“Because,” I added, “my house is not large, and visitors below are inconvenient.”

“I have nobody in the world belonging to me but one sister. And the only friend I have is Mr. Grindlay,” he replied, with some eagerness, as if to put a period to further inquiries in that direction, while he visibly changed color. Feeling sure there was some painful family history behind, I said no more, but that I would see Mr. Grindlay, if he would call on the following day.

“By-the-by,” I rejoined, as the young man was leaving, the room, “we said nothing about wages; what do you expect?”

“Whatever you are accustomed to give,” he answered.

“Very well; I'll speak to Mr. Grindlay about it.”

It was the situation he was anxious about, clearly; not wages.

On the following morning Mr. Grindlay came.

“You are well acquainted with this young man?” I said.

“I have known him since he was that high,” he answered, placing his hand on the table; “and you can't have a better lad; that I'll engage.”

“He is honest and sober?”

“You may trust him with untold gold; and as for wine or spirits, such a thing never passes his lips.”

“But he has been under your guidance, Mr. Grindlay,” I answered; “he is young; do you think he will be able to stand alone?”

“I've no fear of him; none whatever,” he replied. “To say the truth, he had an awful lesson before his eyes in regard to excessive drinking. Such a lesson as he'll never forget.”

“Indeed!” said I; “his father?”

Mr. Grindlay shook his head. I made no further inquiry then; but agreed to engage George Hammond.

At first, he was so anxious to please, and so nervous lest he should not please, that he tumbled up-stairs in his hurry to answer the bell, and very nearly broke my best decanters. His hand so shook with agitation when I had friends to dinner, lest he should be found deficient, that I momentarily expected to see him drop the plates and glasses on the floor. However, he got through this ordeal without any serious accident; and by [pg 521] degrees I discovered that I had found a treasure of fidelity and good service. He lived with me for six years, and then, to my regret, we parted; my only consolation being that our separation was consequent on a plan formed for his advantage.

During the first years, I knew nothing more of George's history than I had gathered from Mr. Grindlay's significant hint at our only interview. I concluded that in that hint the whole mystery was revealed. George's father had been a drunkard, and his vice had probably ruined a decent family. The appearance of George's only visitor, his sister, Esther, confirmed this view; she looked so respectable and so dejected! She never came but on Sunday, and then I was always glad if I could spare George to take a walk with her. After I had learnt his value, I gave him leave to invite her to dine, and to remain the evening with him, whenever he pleased. He told me she worked with a milliner in Pall Mall; and I observed that she always wore black, which I concluded she did from an economical motive. She seemed very shy; and I never troubled her with questions.

George had been with us upward of five years, when we were visited by an old friend whose home was on the opposite side of the earth. He had returned to England, partly to see his relatives, and partly to transact some business respecting a small property he had lately inherited. During his sojourn he frequently dined with us; and, while at table, we did not fail to ply him with questions regarding his experiences in the colony he inhabited. “The great difficulty of getting along, as we call it,” he answered, one day, “lies in the impossibility of gathering people about us, upon whom we can rely. I have made money,” he said, “and have no right to complain; but I should have made twice as much if I had employed honest and intelligent men.”

“You should take some abroad with you,” I replied.

“I purpose to do something of the kind,” he answered; “and, by-the-by, if you should hear of any honest, intelligent young man, who can write good plain English in a legible hand, and who would not object to seek his fortune across the water, let me know.”

George was in the room when this was said, and I involuntarily raised my eyes to his face. When I read its expression, a twinge of selfishness brought the color to my cheeks. “Now we shall lose him,” I said; and we did lose him. A few days afterward, Mr. Jameson, our colonial friend, told us that he was afraid his conversation had been the means of seducing our melancholy footman. He had found an extremely well-written letter on his table, signed “George Hammond,” expressing a wish to accompany him abroad, and dated from our house, which he had at first imagined was a jest of mine. “But I find it is from your servant,” he continued, “and I have told him that I can say nothing until I have consulted you on the subject.”

“I am afraid I can allege nothing against it,”

I answered, “if he suits you, and wishes to go. A more trustworthy, excellent person you never can meet with.”

“And what are his connections?” inquired Mr. Jameson; “for I would not be accessory to taking any young man out of the country without being sure that he was not doing wrong in leaving it.”

For this information I referred him to Mr. Grindlay; with whom an interview was arranged. Mr. Grindlay entered so warmly into the plan, that he declared himself willing to make some pecuniary advances to promote it.

“It is not necessary,” said Mr. Jameson. “I shall be very willing to undertake all the expenses of outfit and voyage.”

“You are very good, indeed, sir. But,” added Mr. Grindlay, “George has a sister, who would break her heart if he left her. She is a good, clever girl, and understands dress-making and millinery well. She works for Madame Roland. I suppose she would easily make a living in the parts you are going to?”

Mr. Jameson was quite agreeable that Esther should be of the party; and Mr. Grindlay under took the charge of her outfit. “But,” said our friend, “before we proceed farther, I must know who these young people are; and that their friends have no reasonable objection to our plan.”

“They have no friends!” answered Mr. Grindlay, shaking his gray head; “nobody to make any objection, reasonable or otherwise; but, as you are willing to undertake the charge of them, sir, I think it would be only right that you should know the exact truth.”

This was the train of circumstances which led to my acquaintance with the present story.

The parents of George and Esther Hammond kept a small but respectable inn, in one of the southern counties of England. The house was not situated in a town, nor yet very far from one, but it was a pretty rural spot, with a bowling green and garden; and it was a common thing for the inhabitants of the neighboring city to make parties there on Sundays and holidays, to dine and drink cider, for which the house was famous. It was, indeed, an extremely well-kept, clean, comfortable, little inn, the merit of which good keeping was chiefly referred by the public voice to Mrs. Hammond: an industrious, hard-working, thrifty woman. She was generally reputed to be more than thrifty. It was often remarked that when Hammond himself was absent from home, the tables were less liberally served, and the charge higher, than when he was there to moderate her besetting sin—the love of gain. Still, she was an excellent wife, and a good hostess; and she was devoted to her husband and her two children, George and Esther. In short, she was a woman who took every thing in earnest, and she loved her family, as she worked for them, with all her energies. She loved her children wisely, too: for she was extremely anxious to give them the best education she could afford; and, although, as was consistent with her character, [pg 522] she kept them somewhat rigidly, she was essentially a kind mother.

Hammond's character was different. He was by nature an easy, liberal, good-natured fellow, with a considerable dash of cleverness and a very well-looking person. In youth he had gone by the name of “Handsome George;” and was still a universal favorite with his friends and customers. The only disputes that ever occurred between Hammond and his wife, arose out of those agreeable qualities. The guests were apt to invite the host into the parlor to drink with them; and when Handsome George once had his legs under his own or any body else's mahogany, he was not disposed to draw them out for some time. If this happened on a Sunday—when there were more parties than one to attend—his wife would get angry, and accuse him of neglecting his business. The husband's imperturbable good-humor, however, soon allayed the irritation.

At length the time arrived when the two children were to leave this pleasant home, to learn something beyond reading and writing, to which their acquirements had yet been limited. They were accordingly sent away to school.

As the business of Hammond's Inn was not sufficient to keep it always lively, the absence of the children was very much felt. The mother was perhaps not less sensible of the privation than the father; as many an involuntary sigh testified. He lamented loudly; and, when there was no business to engage his attention, went listlessly about with his hands in his pockets, or sat gloomily at the door, puffing at his pipe, and spreading the fumes of his tobacco over the jessamine and wild roses that overran the porch. When company came, however, he was merrier; and, when he was invited to “make one,” he was apt to drink more freely than formerly.

In process of time, however, a circumstance occurred that diverted Hammond's attention into another channel. A few convivial fellows residing at Tutton, proposed to get up a club, to meet every Saturday night; the winter meetings to be held at an inn called the King's Arms, in the town, and the summer meetings at Hammond's Inn; the members to be elected by ballot. To this last rule, however, there was one exception, and that was in favor of Hammond himself.

“It was no use balloting him they said; “nobody would give him a black ball.” He was pleased with this testimony to his popularity; and, in spite of some misgivings on the part of his wife, he addressed his mind heartily to the new project, and fitted up a room, to be held sacred every Saturday night for six months in the year to these convivial meetings.

The chief originator of this scheme was the host of the King's Arms, whose name was Jackson. He was what is called a jolly fellow; extremely fond of company, and able to sing a good song. The other members consisted of tradesmen residing in the town, and some of the upper servants of the neighboring nobility and gentry. Among these last was Mr. Grindlay.

Every body concerned was delighted with the new club; except, perhaps, the wives of the clubbists, who did not look forward to the Saturday nights with the same affection as their husbands. More than one of them was heard to say that it was a good thing Saturday came but once a week, and that if it came oftener, she, for one, wouldn't bear it. Hannah Hammond, although not a woman to express her feelings publicly, did not like this club, in spite of the profits derived from it. She saw that Hammond began to feel that the dull evenings at home contrasted very unpleasantly with the jolly nights at the club. As he and the host of the King's Arms grew more intimate, they were apt to console themselves with a few extra meetings. Sometimes Hammond made an excuse to go into the town, and sometimes Jackson came to him; but in the latter case Hannah gave her husband's visitor an indifferent welcome. Jackson seems to have kept his wife in better order; she had already discovered that drink is stronger than love. At first, Hammond yielded occasionally, either to frowns or persuasion; but as one ascendency grew, the other declined; and when he was not strong enough to brave his wife's wrath or entreaties, he eluded them, by slipping out when she was off her guard. Once away, he seldom reappeared until the next morning; and, as time advanced, two or three days would elapse before his return. Then, when he came, she scolded, and wept; but men get used to women's tears; and, like petrifying waters, they only harden their hearts as they fall.

So passed a few years; and the girl and boy were no longer children. Esther was a fine young woman of seventeen, and her brother eighteen months older. They had been some time away from the school, and George had been taken home to be instructed to follow his father's business, which had been the parents' original intention, when Hannah's mind was altered. She thought it was a calling that exposed a weak will to temptation, and she dreaded lest her son should get too familiar with his father's habits and associates; so, with Hammond's consent, she procured him a situation in a merchant's counting house; where, being steady and intelligent, he had every prospect of doing well.

She kept Esther at home to be her own assistant and consolation; for she needed both. She attributed all her troubles to Jackson, who had first enticed her husband to drink, and had never since allowed him time to be acted on by better influences. In proportion, therefore, as she loved her husband, she hated Jackson; and, in spite of all, she did love George dearly still. It was true, he was no longer Handsome George: his features were bloated, his figure swollen, his hair thin and grizzled, and his dress neglected and dirty; but he was the chosen husband of her youth; and, with Hannah, to love once was to love always.

Jackson had a son, an excellent lad, possessing all his father's good qualities, and none of his bad ones. He and young George had been at school together, and a friendship had arisen between [pg 523] them that promised to be enduring; the more so, that Esther Hammond and Henry Jackson were lovers—a secret, the discovery of which was at first very ill received by Hannah. That her Esther should marry the son of Jackson whom she hated, was not to be thought of.

“There's little reason to fear that Harry will take after his father, mother,” George would say. “Besides, you'd think it hard if any body made me suffer for father; and, for my part, I think it's enough to cure any body of a love of liquor, to see how it disguises people who would be so different if they could leave it alone.”

It was some time before this kind of argument prevailed with Hannah; but it had its effect at length, sustained as it was by the genuine merits of the candidate, by his evident abhorrence of his father's vice, and by his dutiful attentions to his mother. So, by-and-by, he became a welcome visitor to Mrs. Hammond and her daughter; and, all things concurring, it was tacitly understood among them, that some day or other, when they were both old enough, and when Henry should be in a situation to maintain a family, Esther was to be his wife.

This arrangement—now that she was satisfied of Harry Jackson's good character—shed a gleam of comfort on Hannah's dark path; for her path lay dark before her now. The host of the King's Arms was never happy out of Hammond's company; the truth being, that the unfortunate man had grown really fond of George. Hannah's frowns and coldness could not keep him away; and if she, by persuasion or stratagem, contrived to detain her husband at home, Jackson invariably came in search of him. Then, besides all the other griefs and discomforts attending such a state of things, the business of the house began to decline. The respectable townspeople did not like to frequent an inn where the host was always intoxicated; and, to many who had known them in happier days, George Hammond's bloated face, and Hannah's pinched features were not pleasant to behold. If matters went on at this rate, pecuniary embarrassments were not unlikely to be added to her other afflictions; and her dread of this was materially increased by finding that Hammond was beginning to tamper with a small sum of money they had placed in the Tutton Bank, under a mutual agreement that it should remain there, untouched, until Esther's marriage. All this misery she owed to Jackson, even to the last item in her troubles; for she discovered that the money had been drawn out to lend to him.

Matters went on in this way from bad to worse. Mrs. Hammond was miserable, and Mrs. Jackson was breaking her heart, and the business of both houses was going to the dogs, when Hannah resolved on a last effort to avert the impending ruin.

Had she thought her husband utterly corrupted, her scheme would have been vain; but he had moments of remorse still, in which his good heart got the ascendant: and, persuaded by her unshaken love, she believed that if she could but wean him from Jackson's company, he might, by her attachment and vigilance, be reclaimed. It so happened that she had a cousin married to a farmer in a distant part of England; and, one day, taking George in a moment of sobriety and repentance, she made a strong appeal to his feelings and affections. “I know,” she said, “that it is Jackson who tempts you to drink, when of yourself you might resist; and I do believe that if the habit were once broken, and your acquaintance with him ceased, we might all be saved yet. Go to my cousin's; she has often invited us, and I'll write to her and say you are ordered change of air for your health. You'll see no drinking there; her husband's a very sober man. You like farming—go into the fields and the gardens, and work with the spade and plough. It will make another man of you, George. When you return, we'll break with Jackson entirely.”

The appeal prevailed. George sobbed, threw his arms round his wife's neck, and vowed that he would never touch liquor again. Eventually, with his wardrobe brushed up, he was dispatched on this hopeful expedition.

Such a course of life as this, however, could not be carried on without some evil consequences to himself as well as others; and in spite of the efforts of his miserable wife to keep things together, the house was ill-conducted; custom forsook it; and although, unknown to Hannah, Jackson had by degrees extracted from Hammond every penny of the savings deposited in the bank, he was distressed for money, and could not keep his creditors quiet. Added to this, he fell ill with a severe attack of delirium tremens, and, when matters were at the worst with him, and they thought he would die, Hannah's energetic mind began to form plans for the future. Henry and Esther should be married; the money in the Bank should pay off the most pressing liabilities; the care and industry of the young people should restore the house to its former flourishing condition; Mrs. Jackson, the mother, could live with her son, and they should all be once more happy—for, the tempter gone, George would be sober. Was he not sober now at the pleasant farm-house, where he was living with her friends? Did not every letter of her cousin's praise him, and assure her that he never expressed a desire to drink; and that even although they had been to a christening in the neighborhood, where there was a vast deal of conviviality, George had been so abstemious and cautious, as to delight them all?

But, alas! Jackson recovered, and with his recovery Hannah's plans were frustrated; but she had a fertile brain; and, where the welfare of those she loved was concerned, her energies never slept. She learnt from Harry, that Jackson's creditors were more pressing than ever, and that he did not know which way to turn for money. It was quite certain that if nothing were done, his property would be seized, and his wife turned into the street. Might she not take advantage of these embarrassments, and execute her original plan on condition of his abandoning the neighborhood altogether? Next to his death, his removal would be the best thing. Harry and [pg 524] Esther would keep the House; the creditors would be indulgent; and, among the family, they would make an allowance for the support of Mr. and Mrs. Jackson in some distant spot; any sacrifice being preferable to the certain ruin that impended. Mrs. Jackson was afraid that her husband would not consent to the scheme; but she was mistaken; people who are the victims of intemperance are easily won to acquiesce in any measures that are proposed for their advantage; their adherence to them is another affair. But Hannah set to work; and as there was a general sympathy with her laudable endeavor, she met with full success. Such portions of the debt as they could not pay, Harry and Hammond were to become answerable for; and as the business of the King's Arms had once been a profitable one, there was every reason to hope that the young man might lure back the customers, in process of time release his father-in-law from his bond, and find himself a free and prosperous man.

Thus much done, there was no time to be lost. Jackson, well and drunk, might refuse to do what Jackson, sick and sober, had consented to do; so a place was found for himself and his wife, in a part of the country inhabited by her relations, in order that, as she said, if Jackson kept on drinking, she might not be quite alone in the world. Arrangements were then made for the marriage of the young people.

And what said Hammond to all this? He wrote home that he would consent to any thing his wife proposed, and he hoped it might answer as well as she expected. Hannah was sure it would; but, in order to avoid the possibility of mischief, she arranged that her husband should not return until the eve of the wedding; while she had made it a condition that Jackson should depart immediately after it; thus excluding all possibility of a renewal of intercourse.

On a fine evening in June, the mother and daughter sat under the porch, hand-in-hand, watching for the coach that was to drop George at the door. How happy they were! Harry had just left them, in order to spend the last evening with his poor mother, and, as he said, to have an eye to his father's proceedings. Young George was still at his country house; but he was to have a holiday the next day, and to be present at the wedding.

At length there was a sound of wheels, and “Here's the coach!” cried both the women, as the well-loaded vehicle turned round a corner of the road, and appeared in sight. But, to their disappointment, instead of pulling up, the driver only flung down the old portmanteau, and pointed with his thumb toward the town, intimating that he had dropt the owner of it, there, as he passed.

Hannah turned pale. Why had he not come on with the coach? Had he fallen in with Jackson? Her heart sunk within her.

Esther hoped better things; she doubted not that her father had business in the town; but he must know how anxious they would be to see him, and he would surely come soon. Yet, hour after hour slipped by, and he came not. One went to the door, then the other, then the first again, and so on; but no George Hammond appeared. At length, when it was getting quite dusk, they did discern somebody coming toward them with an unsteady step—they saw the figure reel as it approached, before they could distinguish the features, and they turned sick at heart. Hannah groaned, and Esther, grasping her arm, said, “Oh mother! mother!”

But when the person drew near, they perceived that it was not Hammond, but Jackson; and, for a moment, the sight of him, unwelcome object as he was, almost gave them pleasure; it was a relief to find it was not George. But he would come, no doubt, and presently; was probably not far off; and there was the tempter waiting for him.

Angry and disgusted, the two women went into the house, and shut the door. After an irrepressible burst of tears, Hannah bethought herself of sending a lad they kept as hostler, along the road, to try and meet Hammond, and to smuggle him into the house by the back way. The boy went; but, after walking until he was tired, returned, saying he had been to the town, but could see nothing of master. He had, however, met Mr. Harry, who had promised to go in search of him, and bring him home. Finding Jackson sound asleep, and not likely to move, Hannah sent her daughter, and the maid, and the boy to bed, resolving to sit up herself, that she might be ready to admit George when he came. Alas! in what state would he arrive?

To-morrow was his daughter's wedding-day, and as Hannah thought of all they had suffered, the love—that had been flooding from her woman's heart toward her husband returning to her, as she had fondly hoped, to live purely and virtuously the rest of their days—was turned into bitterness and wrath.

It was a weary night as she sat listening to the ticking of the clock, and the slow hours as they struck, until the dawn broke, and then she peeped out to see if Jackson were still at the door. Yes, there he was fast asleep. A pretty condition he would be in to go to church with his son! However, he would be sober when he awoke; and sick at heart, and sad, she went upstairs and stretched herself on the bed beside her daughter.

But she could not sleep; her mind was anxious, and her ears were on the stretch for her profligate; and by-and-by the sparrows on the house-top began to chirp, and the market-carts rolled by on their way to the town, and the laborers' heavy shoes tramped along to the fields where their work lay; and still there was no George! No George! and so, at length, she fell asleep.

She had slept about a couple of hours when she was awakened by Esther's voice. “Mother!” cried the girl, “there's father at the door. You'd better go yourself and let him in!” “I will!” said Hannah, hastily getting out of bed and throwing [pg 525] on some clothes—“I will;” and she folded her lips with an expression of bitterness.

“Don't be too hard upon him, mother,” said Esther—“it's the last time, for Jackson will be gone to-morrow;” and while her mother descended the stairs, the young girl arose, with her heart full of love and happiness—for how could she be sad when that very day was to make her Harry's wife? Her wedding finery was all laid out ready to put on, and she was inspecting it with the innocent vanity of eighteen, when she was startled by a scream—another and another—and it was her mother's voice! Pale and transfixed with terror, she stood with her hands pressed upon her bosom, to still her heart's beating. What could have happened? Then she heard other voices below—men's voices; and with trembling hands, she tried to dress herself, that she might go down and inquire. Suddenly, one cried out, “Where's Esther? Where's my sister?” There was a hasty foot upon the stairs, and George, her brother, pale as death, haggard, disheveled, rushed into the room.

Then there was the tramp of many feet below, and Esther rushed to the door; but George caught her in his arms.

“Wait!” he said, “and I'll tell you all. Jackson got hold of my father last night and made him drink—”

“We know it; but Harry! Oh, where's Harry?”

“Harry heard of it, and told me; and we went to seek him, he one way, I another. It was not till about two hours ago, I heard that father had not long left the Plough, in James-street, and that Harry had been there directly afterward, and gone in pursuit of him; so, being very anxious, I thought I would come on here to see if he was arrived.” And here the poor boy's sobs choked his utterance.

“And has any thing happened to my father!” said Esther.

“When I got near the Mill-dam,” continued George, “I saw two or three of the millers looking into the water—”

“My poor father! He's drowned!” said Esther, clasping her hands.

“Yes,” said George, hesitating; “whether he was seized with delirium, or whether remorse got the better of him, and he was ashamed to come home, there's no telling—”

“But where's Harry?” cried the girl; for George hesitated again.

“He must have overtaken my father, and seen the accident—or must have been trying to prevent his throwing himself in the water—for poor Harry—!” And then there was the tramp of more feet below, and another weight was carried through the passage. “I had him brought here, Esther. I knew you'd wish it—and he would have wished it too!”

This was Esther Hammond's wedding-day! Was not this sorrow enough for one poor house?

Violent in her feelings and affections, Hannah never recovered. Her reason became impaired, and she was released from her sufferings by a death that none could venture to lament. Jackson's creditors having laid claim to the whole of the property, in consequence of Hammond's bond, the young people, eager to fly the scene of so much woe, took the advice of their friend, Mr. Grindlay, and came to seek a maintenance in London.

So ends my tragic little story. I have only to add, that the proposed plan of emigration was carried out, to the infinite advantage of the two young people, and very much to the satisfaction of Mr. Jameson.

My Novel; Or, Varieties In English Life.4

Book IV.—Continued.—Chapter IX.

With a slow step and an abstracted air, Harley L'Estrange bent his way toward Egerton's house, after his eventful interview with Helen. He had just entered one of the streets leading into Grosvenor-square, when a young man, walking quickly from the opposite direction, came full against him, and drawing back with a brief apology, recognized him, and exclaimed, “What! you in England, Lord L'Estrange! Accept my congratulations on your return. But you seem scarcely to remember me.”

“I beg your pardon, Mr. Leslie. I remember you now by your smile; but you are of an age in which it is permitted me to say that you look older than when I saw you last.”

“And yet, Lord L'Estrange, it seems to me that you look younger.”

Indeed, this reply was so far true that there appeared less difference of years than before between Leslie and L'Estrange; for the wrinkles in the schemer's mind were visible in his visage, while Harley's dreamy worship of Truth and Beauty seemed to have preserved to the votary the enduring youth of the divinities.

Harley received the compliment with a supreme indifference, which might have been suitable to a Stoic, but which seemed scarcely natural to a gentleman who had just proposed to a lady many years younger than himself.

Leslie resumed—“Perhaps you are on your way to Mr. Egerton's. If so, you will not find him at home; he is at his office.”

“Thank you. Then to his office I must redirect my steps.”

“I am going to him myself,” said Randal, hesitatingly.

L'Estrange had no prepossessions in favor of Leslie, from the little he had seen of that young gentleman; but Randal's remark was an appeal to his habitual urbanity, and he replied with well-bred readiness, “Let us be companions so far.”

Randal accepted the arm proffered to him; and Lord L'Estrange, as is usual with one long absent from his native land, bore part as a questioner in the dialogue that ensued.

“Egerton is always the same man, I suppose—too busy for illness, and too firm for sorrow?”

“If he ever feel either he will never stoop to [pg 526] complain. But indeed, my dear Lord, I should like much to know what you think of his health.”

“How? You alarm me!”

“Nay, I did not mean to do that; and, pray, do not let him know that I went so far. But I have fancied that he looks a little worn and suffering.”

“Poor Audley!” said L'Estrange, in a tone of deep affection. “I will sound him, and, be assured, without naming you; for I know well how little he likes to be supposed capable of human infirmity. I am obliged to you for your hint—obliged to you for your interest in one so dear to me.”

And Harley's voice was more cordial to Randal than it had ever been before. He then began to inquire what Randal thought of the rumors that had reached himself as to the probable defeat of the government, and how far Audley's spirits were affected by such risks. But Randal here, seeing that Harley could communicate nothing, was reserved and guarded.

“Loss of office could not, I think, affect a man like Audley,” observed Lord L'Estrange. “He would be as great in opposition—perhaps greater; and as to emoluments—”

“The emoluments are good,” interposed Randal, with, a half sigh.

“Good enough, I suppose, to pay him back about a tenth of what his place costs our magnificent friend—no, I will say one thing for English statesmen, no man among them ever yet was the richer for place.”

“And Mr. Egerton's private fortune must be large, I take for granted,” said Randal, carelessly.

“It ought to be, if he has time look to it.”

Here they passed by the hotel in which lodged the Count di Peschiera.

Randal stopped. “Will you excuse me for an instant? As we are passing this hotel, I will just leave my card here.” So saying, he gave his card to a waiter lounging by the door. “For the Count di Peschiera,” said he, aloud.

L'Estrange started; and as Randal again took his arm, said,

“So that Italian lodges here? and you know him?”

“I know him but slightly, as one knows any foreigner who makes a sensation.”

“He makes a sensation?”

“Naturally; for he is handsome, witty, and said to be very rich—that is, as long as he receives the revenues of his exiled kinsman.”

“I see you are well informed, Mr. Leslie. And what is supposed to bring hither the Count di Peschiera?”

“I did hear something, which I did not quite understand, about a bet of his that he would marry his kinsman's daughter; and so, I conclude, secure to himself all the inheritance; and that he is therefore here to discover the kinsman and win the heiress. But probably you know the rights of the story, and can tell me what credit to give to such gossip.”

“I know this, at least, that if he did lay such a wager, I would advise you to take any odds against him that his backers may give,” said L'Estrange, drily; and while his lip quivered with anger, his eye gleamed with arch, ironical humor.

“You think, then, that this poor kinsman will not need such an alliance in order to regain his estates?”

“Yes; for I never yet knew a rogue whom I would not bet against, when he backed his own luck as a rogue against Justice and Providence.”

Randal winced, and felt as if an arrow had grazed his heart; but he soon recovered.

“And, indeed, there is another vague rumor that the young lady in question is married already—to some Englishman.”

This time it was Harley who winced. “Good Heavens! that can not be true—that would undo all! An Englishman just at this moment! But some Englishman of correspondent rank, I trust, or, at least, one known for opinions opposed to what an Austrian would call revolutionary doctrines?”

“I know nothing. But it was supposed, merely a private gentleman of good family. Would not that suffice? Can the Austrian Court dictate a marriage to the daughter as a condition for grace to the father?”

“No—not that!” said Harley, greatly disturbed. “But put yourself in the position of any minister to one of the great European monarchies. Suppose a political insurgent, formidable for station and wealth, had been proscribed, much interest made on his behalf, a powerful party striving against it, and just when the minister is disposed to relent, he hears that the heiress to this wealth and this station is married to the native of a country in which sentiments friendly to the very opinions for which the insurgent was proscribed are popularly entertained, and thus that the fortune to be restored may be so employed as to disturb the national security—the existing order of things; this, too, at the very time when a popular revolution has just occurred in France,5 and its effects are felt most in the very land of the exile:—suppose all this, and then say if any thing could be more untoward for the hopes of the banished man, or furnish his adversaries with stronger arguments against the restoration of his fortune? But, pshaw—this must be a chimera! If true, I should have known of it.”

“I quite agree with your lordship—there can be no truth in such a rumor. Some Englishman hearing, perhaps, of the probable pardon of the exile, may have counted on an heiress, and spread the report in order to keep off other candidates. By your account, if successful in his suit, he might fail to find an heiress in the bride?”

“No doubt of that. Whatever might be arranged, I can't conceive that he would be allowed [pg 527] to get at the fortune, though it might be held in suspense for his children. But, indeed, it so rarely happens that an Italian girl of high name marries a foreigner, that we must dismiss this notion with a smile at the long face of the hypothetical fortune-hunter. Heaven help him, if he exist!”

“Amen!” echoed Randal, devoutly.

“I hear that Peschiera's sister is returned to England. Do you know her too?”

“A little.”

“My dear Mr. Leslie, pardon me if I take a liberty not warranted by our acquaintance. Against the lady I say nothing. Indeed, I have heard some things which appear to entitle her to compassion and respect. But as to Peschiera, all who prize honor, suspect him to be a knave—I know him to be one. Now, I think that the longer we preserve that abhorrence for knavery which is the generous instinct of youth, why, the fairer will be our manhood, and the more reverend our age. You agree with me?” And Harley suddenly turning, his eyes fell like a flood of light upon Randal's pale and secret countenance.

“To be sure,” murmured the schemer.

Harley surveying him, mechanically recoiled, and withdrew his arm.

Fortunately for Randal, who somehow or other felt himself slipped into a false position, he scarce knew how or why, he was here seized by the arm; and a clear, open, manly voice cried, “My dear fellow, how are you? I see you are engaged now; but look into my rooms when you can, in the course of the day.”

And with a bow of excuse for his interruption, to Lord L'Estrange, the speaker was then turning away, when Harley said:

“No, don't let me take you from your friend, Mr. Leslie. And you need not be in a hurry to see Egerton; for I shall claim the privilege of older friendship for the first interview.”

“It is Mr. Egerton's nephew, Frank Hazeldean.”

“Pray, call him back, and present me to him. He has a face that would have gone far to reconcile Timon to Athens.”

Randal obeyed; and after a few kindly words to Frank, Harley insisted on leaving the two young men together, and walked on to Downing-street with a brisker step.

Chapter X.

“That Lord L'Estrange seems a very good fellow.”

“So-so; an effeminate humorist; says the most absurd things, and fancies them wise. Never mind him. You wanted to speak to me, Frank?”

“Yes; I am so obliged to you for introducing me to Levy. I must tell you how handsomely he has behaved.”

“Stop; allow me to remind you that I did not introduce you to Levy; you had met him before at Borrowell's, if I recollect right, and he dined with us at the Clarendon—that is all I had to do with bringing you together. Indeed, I rather cautioned you against him than not. Pray, don't think I introduced you to a man who, however pleasant, and perhaps honest, is still a moneylender. Your father would be justly angry with me if I had done so.”

“Oh, pooh! you are prejudiced against poor Levy. But, just hear: I was sitting very ruefully, thinking over those cursed bills, and how the deuce I should renew them, when Levy walked into my rooms; and after telling me of his long friendship for my uncle Egerton, and his admiration for yourself, and (give me your hand, Randal) saying how touched he felt by your kind sympathy in my troubles, he opened his pocket-book, and showed me the bills safe and sound in his own possession.”

“How?”

“He had bought them up. ‘It must be so disagreeable to me,’ he said, ‘to have them flying about the London money-market, and these Jews would be sure sooner or later to apply to my father. And now,’ added Levy, ‘I am in no immediate hurry for the money, and we must put the interest upon fairer terms.’ In short, nothing could be more liberal than his tone. And he says, ‘he is thinking of a way to relieve me altogether, and will call about it in a few days, when his plan is matured.’ After all, I must owe this to you, Randal. I dare swear you put it into his head.”

“O no, indeed! On the contrary, I still say, 'Be cautious in all your dealings with Levy.' I don't know, I'm sure, what he means to propose. Have you heard from the Hall lately?”

“Yes—to-day. Only think—the Riccaboccas have disappeared. My mother writes me word of it—a very odd letter. She seems to suspect that I know where they are, and reproaches me for ‘mystery’—quite enigmatical. But there is one sentence in her letter—see, here it is in the postscript—which seems to refer to Beatrice: ‘I don't ask you to tell me your secrets, Frank, but Randal will no doubt have assured you that my first consideration will be for your own happiness, in any matter in which your heart is really engaged.’ ”

“Yes,” said Randal, slowly: “no doubt, this refers to Beatrice; but, as I told you, your mother will not interfere one way or the other—such interference would weaken her influence with the Squire. Besides, as she said, she can't wish you to marry a foreigner; though once married, she would—But how do you stand now with the Marchesa? Has she consented to accept you?”

“Not quite: indeed, I have not actually proposed. Her manner, though much softened, has not so far emboldened me; and, besides, before a positive declaration, I certainly must go down to the Hall, and speak at least to my mother.”

“You must judge for yourself, but don't do any thing rash: talk first to me. Here we are at my office. Good-by; and—and pray believe [pg 528] that, in whatever you do with Levy, I have no hand in it.”

Chapter XI.

Toward the evening, Randal was riding fast on the road to Norwood. The arrival of Harley, and the conversation that had passed between that nobleman and Randal, made the latter anxious to ascertain how far Riccabocca was likely to learn L'Estrange's return to England, and to meet with him. For he felt that, should the latter come to know that Riccabocca, in his movements, had gone by Randal's advice, Harley would find that Randal had spoken to him disingenuously; and, on the other hand, Riccabocca, placed under the friendly protection of Lord L'Estrange, would no longer need Randal Leslie to defend him from the machinations of Peschiera. To a reader happily unaccustomed to dive into the deep and mazy recesses of a schemer's mind, it might seem that Randal's interest, in retaining a hold over the exile's confidence, would terminate with the assurances that had reached him, from more than one quarter, that Violante might cease to be an heiress if she married himself. “But, perhaps,” suggests some candid and youthful conjecturer—“perhaps Randal Leslie is in love with this fair creature?” Randal in love! no! He was too absorbed by harder passions for that blissful folly. Nor, if he could have fallen in love, was Violante the one to attract that sullen, secret heart; her instinctive nobleness, the very stateliness of her beauty, womanlike though it was, awed him. Men of that kind may love some soft slave—they can not lift their eyes to a queen. They may look down—they can not look up. But, on the one hand, Randal could not resign altogether the chance of securing a fortune that would realize his most dazzling dreams, upon the mere assurance, however probable, which had so dismayed him; and, on the other hand, should he be compelled to relinquish all idea of such alliance, though he did not contemplate the base perfidy of actually assisting Peschiera's avowed designs, still, if Frank's marriage with Beatrice should absolutely depend upon her brother's obtaining the knowledge of Violante's retreat, and that marriage should be as conducive to his interests as he thought he could make it, why—he did not then push his deductions farther, even to himself—they seemed too black; but he sighed heavily, and that sigh foreboded how weak would be honor and virtue against avarice and ambition. Therefore, on all accounts, Riccabocca was one of those cards in a sequence, which so calculating a player would not throw out of his hand: it might serve for repique at the worst—it might score well in the game. Intimacy with the Italian was still part and parcel in that knowledge which was the synonym of power.

While the young man was thus meditating, on his road to Norwood, Riccabocca and his Jemima were close conferring in their drawing-room. And if you could have there seen them, reader, you would have been seized with equal surprise and curiosity; for some extraordinary communication had certainly passed between them. Riccabocca was evidently much agitated, and with emotions not familiar to him. The tears stood in his eyes at the same time that a smile, the reverse of cynical or sardonic, curved his lips; while his wife was leaning her head on his shoulder, her hand clasped in his, and, by the expression of her face, you might guess that he had paid her some very gratifying compliment, of a nature more genuine and sincere than those which characterized his habitual hollow and dissimulating gallantry. But just at this moment Giacomo entered, and Jemima, with her native English modesty, withdrew in haste from Riccabocca's sheltering side.

“Padrone,” said Giacomo, who, whatever his astonishment at the connubial position he had disturbed, was much too discreet to betray it—“Padrone, I see the young Englishman riding toward the house, and I hope, when he arrives, you will not forget the alarming information I gave to you this morning.”

“Ah—ah!” said Riccabocca, his face falling.

“If the Signorina were but married!”

“My very thought—my constant thought!” exclaimed Riccabocca. “And you really believe the young Englishman loves her?”

“Why else should he come, Excellency?” asked Giacomo, with great naïveté.

“Very true; why, indeed?” said Riccabocca. “Jemima, I can not endure the terrors I suffer on that poor child's account. I will open myself frankly to Randal Leslie. And now, too, that which might have been a serious consideration, in case I return to Italy, will no longer stand in our way, Jemima.”

Jemima smiled faintly, and whispered something to Riccabocca, to which he replied—

“Nonsense, anima mia. I know it will be—have not a doubt of it. I tell you it is as nine to four, according to the nicest calculations. I will speak at once to Randal. He is too young—too timid to speak himself.”

“Certainly,” interposed Giacomo; “how could he dare to speak, let him love ever so well?”

Jemima shook her head.

“O, never fear,” said Riccabocca, observing this gesture; “I will give him the trial. If he entertain but mercenary views, I shall soon detect them. I know human nature pretty well, I think, my love; and, Giacomo—just get me my Machiavel—that's right. Now, leave me, my dear; I must reflect and prepare myself.”

When Randal entered the house, Giacomo, with a smile of peculiar suavity, ushered him into the drawing-room. He found Riccabocca alone, and seated before the fire-place, leaning his face on his hand, with the great folio of Machiavel lying open on the table.

The Italian received him as courteously as usual; but there was in his manner a certain serious and thoughtful dignity, which was, perhaps, [pg 529] the more imposing, because but rarely assumed. After a few preliminary observations, Randal remarked that Frank Hazeldean had informed him of the curiosity which the disappearance of the Riccaboccas had excited at the Hall, and inquired carelessly if the Doctor had left instructions as to the forwarding of any letters that might be directed to him at the Casino.

“Letters,” said Riccabocca, simply—“I never receive any; or, at least, so rarely, that it was not worth while to take an event so little to be expected into consideration. No; if any letters do reach the Casino, there they will wait.”

“Then I can see no possibility of indiscretion; no chance of a clew to your address.”

“No I either.”

Satisfied so far, and knowing that it was not in Riccabocca's habits to read the newspapers, by which he might otherwise have learnt of L'Estrange's arrival in London, Randal then proceeded to inquire, with much seeming interest, into the health of Violante—hoped it did not suffer by confinement, &c. Riccabocca eyed him gravely while he spoke, and then suddenly rising, that air of dignity to which I have before referred, became yet more striking.

“My young friend,” said he, “hear me attentively, and answer me frankly. I know human nature.”—Here a slight smile of proud complacency passed the sage's lips, and his eye glanced toward his Machiavel.

“I know human nature—at least I have studied it,” he renewed, more earnestly, and with less evident self-conceit, “and I believe that when a perfect stranger to me exhibits an interest in my affairs, which occasions him no small trouble—an interest (continued the wise man, laying his hand upon Randal's shoulder) which scarcely a son could exceed, he must be under the influence of some strong personal motive.”

“Oh, sir!” cried Randal, turning a shade more pale, and with a faltering tone. Riccabocca surveyed him with the tenderness of a superior being, and pursued his deductive theories.

“In your case, what is that motive? Not political; for I conclude you share the opinions of your government, and those opinions have not favored mine. Not that of pecuniary or ambitious calculations; for how can such calculations enlist you on behalf of a ruined exile? What remains? Why the motive which at your age is ever the most natural, and the strongest. I don't blame you. Machiavel himself allows that such a motive has swayed the wisest minds, and overturned the most solid states. In a word, young man, you are in love, and with my daughter Violante.”

Randal was so startled by this direct and unexpected charge upon his own masked batteries, that he did not even attempt his defense. His head drooped on his breast, and he remained speechless.

“I do not doubt,” resumed the penetrating judge of human nature, “that you would have been withheld by the laudable and generous scruples which characterize your happy age, from voluntarily disclosing to me the state of your heart. You might suppose that, proud of the position I once held, or sanguine in the hope of regaining my inheritance, I might be over-ambitious in my matrimonial views for Violante; or that you, anticipating my restoration to honors and fortune, might seem actuated by the last motives which influence love and youth; and therefore, my dear young friend, I have departed from the ordinary custom in England, and adopted a very common one in my own country. With us, a suitor seldom presents himself till he is assured of the consent of a father. I have only to say this—If I am right, and you love my daughter, my first object in life is to see her safe and secure; and, in a word—you understand me.”

Now, mightily may it comfort and console us ordinary mortals, who advance no pretense to superior wisdom and ability, to see the huge mistakes made by both these very sagacious personages—Dr. Riccabocca, valuing himself on his profound acquaintance with character, and Randal Leslie, accustomed to grope into every hole and corner of thought and action, wherefrom to extract that knowledge which is power! For whereas the sage, judging not only by his own heart in youth, but by the general influence of the master-passion of the young, had ascribed to Randal sentiments wholly foreign to that able diplomatist's nature, so no sooner had Riccabocca brought his speech to a close, than Randal, judging also by his own heart, and by the general laws which influence men of the mature age and boasted worldly wisdom of the pupil of Machiavel, instantly decided that Riccabocca presumed upon his youth and inexperience, and meant most nefariously to take him in.

“The poor youth!” thought Riccabocca, “how unprepared he is for the happiness I give him!”

“The cunning old Jesuit!” thought Randal; “he has certainly learned, since we met last, that he has no chance of regaining his patrimony, and so he wants to impose on me the hand of a girl without a shilling. What other motive can he possibly have? Had his daughter the remotest probability of becoming the greatest heiress in Italy, would he dream of bestowing her on me in this off-hand way? The thing stands to reason.”

Actuated by his resentment at the trap thus laid for him, Randal was about to disclaim altogether the disinterested and absurd affection laid to his charge, when it occurred to him that, by so doing, he might mortally offend the Italian—since the cunning never forgive those who refuse to be duped by them—and it might still be conducive to his interest to preserve intimate and familiar terms with Riccabocca; therefore, subduing his first impulse, he exclaimed,

“O, too generous man; pardon me if I have so long been unable to express my amaze, my gratitude; but I can not—no, I can not, while your prospects remain thus uncertain, avail myself [pg 530] of your—of your inconsiderate magnanimity. Your rare conduct can only redouble my own scruples, if you, as I firmly hope and believe, are restored to your great possessions—you would naturally look so much higher than me. Should those hopes fail, then, indeed, it may be different; yet, even then, what position, what fortune, have I to offer to your daughter worthy of her?”

“You are well born: all gentlemen are equals,” said Riccabocca, with a sort of easy nobleness. “You have youth, information, talent—sources of certain wealth in this happy country—powerful connections; and, in fine, if you are satisfied with marrying for love, I shall be contented;—if not, speak openly. As to the restoration to my possessions, I can scarcely think that probable while my enemy lives. And even in that case, since I saw you last, something has occurred (added Riccabocca with a strange smile, which seemed to Randal singularly sinister and malignant) “that may remove all difficulties. Meanwhile, do not think me so extravagantly magnanimous—do not underrate the satisfaction I must feel at knowing Violante safe from the designs of Peschiera—safe, and for ever, under a husband's roof. I will tell you an Italian proverb—it contains a truth full of wisdom and terror:”

“ Hai cinquanta Amici?—non basta—hai un Nemico?—è troppo.6 ”

“Something has occurred!” echoed Randal, not heeding the conclusion of this speech, and scarcely hearing the proverb which the sage delivered in his most emphatic and tragic tone. “Something has occurred! My dear friend, be plainer. What has occurred?” Riccabocca remained silent. “Something that induces you to bestow your daughter on me?”

Riccabocca nodded, and emitted a low chuckle.

“The very laugh of a fiend,” muttered Randal. “Something that makes her not worth bestowing. He betrays himself. Cunning people always do.”

“Pardon me,” said the Italian at last, “if I do not answer your question; you will know later; but, at present, this is a family secret. And now I must turn to another and more alarming cause for my frankness to you.” Here Riccabocca's face changed, and assumed an expression of mingled rage and fear. “You must know,” he added, sinking his voice, “that Giacomo has seen a strange person loitering about the house, and looking up at the windows; and he has no doubt—nor have I—that this is some spy or emissary of Peschiera's.”

“Impossible; how could he discover you?”

“I know not; but no one else has any interest in doing so. The man kept at a distance, and Giacomo could not see his face.”

“It may be but a mere idler. Is this all?”

“No; the old woman who serves us said that she was asked at a shop ‘if we were not Italians?’ ”

“And she answered?”

“ ‘No;’ but owned that ‘we had a foreign servant, Giacomo.’ ”

“I will see to this. Rely on it that if Peschiera has discovered you, I will learn it. Nay, I will hasten from you in order to commence inquiry.”

“I can not detain you. May I think that we have now an interest in common?”

“O, indeed yes; but—but—your daughter! how can I dream that one so beautiful, so peerless, will confirm the hope you have extended to me?”

“The daughter of an Italian is brought up to consider that it is a father's right to dispose of her hand?”

“But the heart?”

Cospetto! said the Italian, true to his infamous notions as to the sex, “the heart of a girl is like a convent—the holier the cloister, the more charitable the door.”

Chapter XII.

Randal had scarcely left the house, before Mrs. Riccabocca, who was affectionately anxious in all that concerned Violante, rejoined her husband.

“I like the young man very well,” said the sage—“very well indeed. I find him just what I expected from my general knowledge of human nature; for as love ordinarily goes with youth, so modesty usually accompanies talent. He is young, ergo he is in love; he has talent, ergo he is modest—modest and ingenuous.”

“And you think not in any way swayed by interest in his affections?”

“Quite the contrary; and to prove him the more, I have not said a word as to the worldly advantages which, in any case, would accrue to him from an alliance with my daughter. In any case; for if I regain my country, her fortune is assured; and if not, I trust” (said the poor exile, lifting his brow with stately and becoming pride) “that I am too well aware of my child's dignity as well as my own, to ask any one to marry her to his own worldly injury.”

“Eh! I don't quite understand you, Alphonso. To be sure, your dear life is insured for her marriage portion; but—”

Pazzie—stuff!” said Riccabocca, petulantly; “her marriage portion would be as nothing to a young man of Randal's birth and prospects. I think not of that. But listen; I have never consented to profit by Harley L'Estrange's friendship for me; my scruples would not extend to my son-in-law. This noble friend has not only high rank, but considerable influence—influence with the government—influence with Randal's patron—who, between ourselves, does not seem to push the young man as he might do; I judge by what Randal says. I should write, therefore, before any thing was settled, to L'Estrange, and I should say to him simply, ‘I never asked you to save me from penury, but I do ask you to save a daughter of my house from humiliation. [pg 531] I can give to her no dowry; can her husband owe to my friend that advance in an honorable career—that opening to energy and talent—which is more than a dowry to generous ambition?’ ”

“Oh, it is in vain you would disguise your rank!” cried Jemima, with enthusiasm; “it speaks in all you utter, when your passions are moved.”

The Italian did not seem flattered by that eulogy. “Pish!” said he, “there you are! rank again!”

But Jemima was right. There was something about her husband that was grandiose and princely, whenever he escaped from his accursed Machiavel, and gave fair play to his heart.

And he spent the next hour or so in thinking over all that he could do for Randal, and devising for his intended son-in-law the agreeable surprises, which Randal was at that very time racking his yet cleverer brains to disappoint.

These plans conned sufficiently, Riccabocca shut up his Machiavel, and hunted out of his scanty collection of books Buffon on Man, and various other psychological volumes, in which he soon became deeply absorbed. Why were these works the object of the sage's study? Perhaps he will let us know soon, for it is clearly a secret known to his wife; and though she has hitherto kept one secret, that is precisely the reason why Riccabocca would not wish long to overburden her discretion with another.

Chapter XIII.

Randal reached home in time to dress for a late dinner at Baron Levy's.

The Baron's style of living was of that character especially affected both by the most acknowledged exquisites of that day, and, it must be owned, also, by the most egregious parvenus. For it is noticeable that it is your parvenu who always comes nearest in fashion (so far as externals are concerned) to your genuine exquisite. It is your parvenu who is most particular as to the cut of his coat, and the precision of his equipage, and the minutiæ of his ménage. Those between the parvenu and the exquisite who know their own consequence, and have something solid to rest upon, are slow in following all the caprices of fashion, and obtuse in observation as to those niceties which neither give them another ancestor, nor add another thousand to the account at their banker's;—as to the last, rather indeed the contrary! There was a decided elegance about the Baron's house and his dinner. If he had been one of the lawful kings of the dandies, you would have cried, “What perfect taste!”—but such is human nature, that the dandies who dined with him said to each other, “He pretend to imitate D——! vulgar dog!” There was little affectation of your more showy opulence. The furniture in the room was apparently simple, but, in truth, costly, from its luxurious comfort—the ornaments and china scattered about the commodes were of curious rarity and great value; and the pictures on the walls were gems. At dinner, no plate was admitted on the table. The Russian fashion, then uncommon, now more prevalent, was adopted—fruits and flowers in old Sèvres dishes of priceless vertu, and in sparkling glass of Bohemian fabric. No lively servant was permitted to wait; behind each guest stood a gentleman dressed so like the guest himself, in fine linen and simple black, that guest and lackey seemed stereotypes from one plate.

The viands were exquisite; the wine came from the cellars of deceased archbishops and embassadors. The company was select; the party did not exceed eight. Four were the eldest sons of peers (from a baron to a duke); one was a professed wit, never to be got without a month's notice, and, where a parvenu was host, a certainty of green-pease and peaches—out of season; the sixth, to Randal's astonishment, was Mr. Richard Avenel; himself and the Baron made up the complement.

The eldest sons recognized each other with a meaning smile; the most juvenile of them, indeed (it was his first year in London), had the grace to blush and look sheepish. The others were more hardened; but they all united in regarding with surprise both Randal and Dick Avenel. The former was known to most of them personally; and to all, by repute, as a grave, clever, promising young man, rather prudent than lavish, and never suspected to have got into a scrape. What the deuce did he do there? Mr. Avenel puzzled them yet more. A middle-aged man, said to be in business, whom they had observed “about town” (for he had a noticeable face and figure)—that is, seen riding in the park, or lounging in the pit at the opera, but never set eyes on at a recognized club, or in the coteries of their “set;”—a man whose wife gave horrid third-rate parties, that took up half-a-column in the Morning Post with a list of “The Company Present”—in which a sprinkling of dowagers out of fashion, and a foreign title or two, made the darkness of the obscurer names doubly dark. Why this man should be asked to meet them, by Baron Levy, too—a decided tuft-hunter and would-be exclusive—called all their faculties into exercise. The wit, who, being the son of a small tradesman, but in the very best society, gave himself far greater airs than the young lords, impertinently solved the mystery. “Depend on it,” whispered he to Spendquick—“depend on it the man is the X. Y. of the Times, who offers to lend any sums of money from £10 to half-a-million. He's the man who has all your bills: Levy is only his jackall.”

“'Pon my soul,” said Spendquick, rather alarmed, “if that's the case, one may as well be civil to him.”

You, certainly,” said the wit. “But I never yet found an X. Y. who would advance me the L. s.; and, therefore, I shall not be more respectful [pg 532] to X. Y. than to any other unknown quantity.”

By degrees, as the wine circulated, the party grew gay and sociable. Levy was really an entertaining fellow: had all the gossip of the town at his fingers'-ends; and possessed, moreover, that pleasant art of saying ill-natured things of the absent, which those present always enjoy. By degrees, too, Mr. Richard Avenel came out; and as the whisper had circulated round the table that he was X. Y., he was listened to with a profound respect, which greatly elevated his spirits. Nay, when the wit tried once to show him up, or mystify him, Dick answered with a bluff spirit, that, though very coarse, was found so humorous by Lord Spendquick and other gentlemen similarly situated in the money-market, that they turned the laugh against the wit, and silenced him for the rest of the night—a circumstance which made the party go off much more pleasantly. After dinner, the conversation, quite that of single men, easy and débonnair, glanced from the turf, and the ballet, and the last scandal, toward politics; for the times were such that politics were discussed every where, and three of the young lords were county members.

Randal said little, but, as was his wont, listened attentively; and he was aghast to find how general was the belief that the government was doomed. Out of regard to him, and with that delicacy of breeding which belongs to a certain society, nothing personal to Egerton was said, except by Avenel, who, however, on blurting out some rude expressions respecting that minister, was instantly checked by the Baron.

“Spare my friend, and Mr. Leslie's near connection,” said he, with a polite but grave smile.

“Oh,” said Avenel, “public men, whom we pay, are public property—aren't they, my lord?” appealing to Spendquick.

“Certainly,” said Spendquick, with great spirit—“public property, or why should we pay them? There must be a very strong motive to induce us to do that! I hate paying people. In fact,” he subjoined, in an aside, “I never do!”

“However,” resumed Mr. Avenel. graciously, “I don't want to hurt your feelings, Mr. Leslie. As to the feelings of our host, the Baron, I calculate that they have got tolerably tough by the exercise they have gone through.”

“Nevertheless,” said the Baron, joining in the laugh which any lively saying by the supposed X. Y. was sure to excite—“nevertheless, 'love me, love my dog,' love me, love my Egerton.”

Randal started, for his quick ear and subtle intelligence caught something sinister and hostile in the tone with which Levy uttered this equivocal comparison, and his eye darted toward the Baron. But the Baron had bent down his face, and was regaling himself upon an olive.

By-and-by the party rose from table. The four young noblemen had their engagements elsewhere, and proposed to separate without re-entering the drawing-room. As, in Goethe's theory, monads which have affinities with each other are irresistibly drawn together, so these gay children of pleasure had, by a common impulse, on rising from table, moved each to each, and formed a group round the fire-place. Randal stood a little apart, musing; the wit examined the pictures through his eye-glass; and Mr. Avenel drew the Baron toward the sideboard, and there held him in whispered conference. This colloquy did not escape the young gentlemen round the fire-place: they glanced toward each other.

“Settling the per centage on renewal,” said one, sotto voce.

“X. Y. does not seem such a very bad fellow,” said another.

“He looks rich, and talks rich,” said a third.

“A decided independent way of expressing his sentiments; those moneyed men generally have.”

“Good heavens!” ejaculated Spendquick, who had been keeping his eye anxiously fixed on the pair. “do look; X. Y. is actually taking out his pocket-book; he is coming this way. Depend on it he has got our bills—mine is due tomorrow.”

“And mine too,” said another, edging off. “Why, it is a perfect guet à pens.”

Meanwhile, breaking away from the Baron, who appeared anxious to detain him, and failing in that attempt, turned aside, as if not to see Dick's movements—a circumstance which did did not escape the notice of the group, and confirmed all their suspicions, Mr. Avenel, with a serious, thoughtful air, and a slow step, approached the group. Nor did the great Roman general more nervously “flutter the dove-cotes in Corioli,” than did the advance of the supposed X. Y. agitate the bosoms of Lord Spendquick and his sympathizing friends. Pocket-book in hand, and apparently feeling for something formidable within its mystic recesses, step by step came Dick Avenel toward the fire-place. The group stood still, fascinated by horror.

“Hum,” said Mr. Avenel, clearing his throat.

“I don't like that hum at all,” muttered Spendquick.

“Proud to have made your acquaintance, gentlemen,” said Dick, bowing.

The gentlemen, thus addressed, bowed low in return.

“My friend the Baron thought this not exactly the time to—” Dick stopped a moment; you might have knocked down those four young gentlemen, though four finer specimens of humanity no aristocracy in Europe could produce—you might have knocked them down with a feather! “But,” renewed Avenel, not finishing his sentence, “I have made it a rule in life never to lose securing a good opportunity: in short, to make the most of the present moment. And,” added he, with a smile, which froze the blood in Lord Spendquick's veins, “the rule has made me a very warm man! Therefore, gentlemen, allow me to present you each with one of these”—every [pg 533] hand retreated behind the back of its well-born owner—when, to the inexpressible relief of all, Dick concluded with—“a little soirée dansante,” and extended four cards of invitation.

“Most happy!” exclaimed Spendquick. “I don't dance in general; but to oblige X—— I mean to have a better acquaintance, sir, with you—I would dance on the tight-rope.”

There was a good-humored pleasant laugh at Spendquick's enthusiasm, and a general shaking of hands and pocketing of the invitation cards.

“You don't look like a dancing-man,” said Avenel, turning to the wit, who was plump and somewhat gouty—as wits who dine out five days in the week generally are; “but we shall have supper at one o'clock.”

Infinitely offended and disgusted, the wit replied dryly, “that every hour of his time was engaged for the rest of the season,” and, with a stiff salutation to the Baron, took his departure. The rest, in good spirits, hurried away to their respective cabriolets; and Leslie was following them into the hall, when the Baron, catching hold of him, said, “Stay, I want to talk to you.”

Chapter XIV.

The Baron turned into his drawing-room, and Leslie followed.

“Pleasant young men, those,” said Levy, with a slight sneer, as he threw himself into an easy chair and stirred the fire. “And not at all proud; but, to be sure, they are—under great obligations to me. Yes; they owe me a great deal. Apropos, I have had a long talk with Frank Hazeldean—fine young man—remarkable capacities for business. I can arrange his affairs for him. I find, on reference to the Will Office, that you were quite right; the Casino property is entailed on Frank. He will have the fee simple. He can dispose of the reversion entirely. So that there will be no difficulty in our arrangements.”

“But I told you also that Frank had scruples about borrowing on the event of his father's death.”

“Ay, you did so. Filial affection! I never take that into account in matters of business. Such little scruples, though they are highly honorable to human nature, soon vanish before the prospect of the King's Bench. And, too, as you so judiciously remarked, our clever young friend is in love with Madame di Negra.”

“Did he tell you that?”

“No; but Madame di Negra did.”

“You know her?”

“I know most people in good society, who now and then require a friend in the management of their affairs. And having made sure of the fact you stated, as to Hazeldean's contingent property (excuse my prudence), I have accommodated Madame di Negra, and bought up her debts.”

“You have—you surprise me!”

“The surprise will vanish on reflection. But you are very new to the world yet, my dear Leslie. By the way, I have had an interview with Peschiera—”

“About his sister's debts?”

“Partly. A man of the nicest honor is Peschiera.”

Aware of Levy's habit of praising people for the qualities in which, according to the judgment of less penetrating mortals, they were most deficient, Randal only smiled at this eulogy, and waited for Levy to resume. But the Baron sat silent and thoughtful for a minute or two, and then wholly changed the subject.

“I think your father has some property in ——shire, and you probably can give me a little information as to certain estates of a Mr. Thornhill—estates which, on examination of the title-deeds, I find once, indeed, belonged to your family.” The Baron glanced at a very elegant memorandum book—“The manors of Rood and Dulmonsberry, with sundry farms thereon. Mr. Thornhill wants to sell them as soon as his son is of age—an old client of mine, Thornhill. He has applied to me on the matter. Do you think it an improvable property?”

Randal listened with a livid cheek and a throbbing heart. We have seen that, if there was one ambitious scheme in his calculation which, though not absolutely generous and heroic, still might win its way to a certain sympathy in the undebased human mind, it was the hope to restore the fallen fortunes of his ancient house, and repossess himself of the long alienated lands that surrounded the dismal wastes of the mouldering Hall. And now to hear that those lands were getting into the inexorable gripe of Levy—tears of bitterness stood in his eyes.

“Thornhill,” continued Levy, who watched the young man's countenance—“Thornhill tells me that that part of his property—the old Leslie lands—produces £2000 a year, and that the rental could be raised. He would take £50,000 for it—£20,000 down, and suffer the remaining £30,000 to lie on mortgage at four per cent. It seems a very good purchase. What do you say?”

“Don't ask me,” said Randal, stung into rare honesty; “for I had hoped I might live to repossess myself of that property.”

“Ah! indeed. It would be a very great addition to your consequence in the world—not from the mere size of the estate, but from its hereditary associations. And if you have any idea of the purchase—believe me, I'll not stand in your way.”

“How can I have any idea of it?”

“But I thought you said you had.”

“I understood that these lands could not be sold till Mr. Thornhill's son came of age, and joined in getting rid of the entail.”

“Yes, so Thornhill himself supposed, till, on examining the title-deeds, I found he was under a mistake. These lands are not comprised in the settlement made by old Jasper Thornhill, which ties up the rest of the property. The title will be perfect. Thornhill wants to settle the matter at once—losses on the turf, you understand; [pg 534] an immediate purchaser would get still better terms. A Sir John Spratt would give the money; but the addition of these lands would make the Spratt property of more consequence in the county than the Thornhill. So my client would rather take a few thousands less from a man who don't set up to be his rival. Balance of power in counties as well as nations.”

Randal was silent.

“Well,” said Levy, with great kindness of manner, “I see I pain you; and though I am what my very pleasant guests will call a parvenu, I comprehend your natural feelings as a gentleman of ancient birth. Parvenu! Ah! is it not strange, Leslie, that no wealth, no fashion, no fame can wipe out that blot? They call me a parvenu, and borrow my money. They call our friend, the wit, a parvenu, and submit to all his insolence—if they condescend to regard his birth at all—provided they can but get him to dinner. They call the best debater in the Parliament of England a parvenu, and will entreat him, some day or other, to be prime minister, and ask him for stars and garters. A droll world, and no wonder the parvenus want to upset it!”

Randal had hitherto supposed that this notorious tuft-hunter—this dandy capitalist—this money-lender, whose whole fortune had been wrung from the wants and follies of an aristocracy, was naturally a firm supporter of things as they are—how could things be better for men like Baron Levy? But the usurer's burst of democratic spleen did not surprise his precocious and acute faculty of observation. He had before remarked, that it is the persons who fawn most upon an aristocracy, and profit the most by the fawning, who are ever at heart its bitterest disparagers. Why is this? Because one full half of democratic opinion is made up of envy; and we can only envy what is brought before our eyes, and what, while very near to us, is still unattainable. No man envies an archangel.

“But,” said Levy, throwing himself back in his chair, “a new order of things is commencing; we shall see. Leslie, it is lucky for you that you did not enter Parliament under the government; it would be your political ruin for life.”

“You think that the ministry can not last?”

“Of course I do; and what is more, I think that a ministry of the same principles can not be restored. You are a young man of talent and spirit; your birth is nothing compared to the rank of the reigning party; it would tell, to a certain degree, in a democratic one. I say, you should be more civil to Avenel; he could return you to Parliament at the next election.”

“The next election! In six years! We have just had a general election.”

“There will be another before this year, or half of it, or perhaps a quarter of it, is out.”

“What makes you think so?”

“Leslie, let there be confidence between us; we can help each other. Shall we be friends?”

“With all my heart. But, though you may help me, how can I help you?”

“You have helped me already to Frank Hazeldean—and the Casino estate. All clever men can help me. Come then, we are friends; and what I say is secret. You ask me why I think there will be a general election so soon? I will answer you frankly. Of all the public men I ever met with, there is no one who has so clear a vision of things immediately before him as Audley Egerton.”

“He has that character. Not far-seeing, but clear-sighted to a certain limit.”

“Exactly so. No one better, therefore, knows public opinion, and its immediate ebb and flow.”

“Granted.”

“Egerton, then, counts on a general election within three months; and I have lent him the money for it.”

“Lent him the money! Egerton borrow money of you—the rich Audley Egerton!”

“Rich!” repeated Levy in a tone impossible to describe, and accompanying the word with that movement of the middle finger and thumb, commonly called a “snap,” which indicates profound contempt.

He said no more. Randal sate stupefied. At length, the latter muttered, “But if Egerton is really not rich—if he lose office, and without the hope of return to it—”

“If so, he is ruined!” said Levy coldly; “and therefore, from regard to you, and feeling interest in your future fate, I say—Rest no hopes of fortune or career upon Audley Egerton. Keep your place for the present, but be prepared at the next election to stand upon popular principles. Avenel shall return you to parliament; and the rest is with luck and energy. And now, I'll not detain you longer,” said Levy rising and ringing the bell. The servant entered.

“Is my carriage here?”

“Yes, Baron.”

“Can I set you down any where?”

“No, thank you; I prefer walking.”

“Adieu, then. And mind you remember the soirée dansante at Mrs. Avenel's.” Randal mechanically shook the hand extended to him, and went down the stairs.

The fresh frosty air roused his intellectual faculties, which Levy's ominous words had almost paralyzed.

And the first thing that the clever schemer said to himself was this:

“But what can be the man's motive in what he said to me?”

The next was:

“Egerton ruined? What am I, then?”

And the third was:

“And that fair remnant of the old Leslie property! £20,000 down—how to get the sum? Why should Levy have spoken to me of this?”

And lastly, the soliloquy rounded back:—“The man's motives! His motives?”

Meanwhile, the Baron threw himself into his chariot—the most comfortable easy chariot you can possibly conceive—single man's chariot—perfect taste—no married man ever has such a [pg 535] chariot; and in a few minutes he was at ——'s hotel, and in the presence of Giulio Franzini, Count di Peschiera.

Mon cher,” said the Baron in very good French, and in a tone of the most familiar equality with the descendant of the princes and heroes of grand mediæval Italy—Mon cher, give me one of your excellent cigars. I think I have put all matters in train.”

“You have found out—”

“No; not so fast yet,” said the Baron, lighting the cigar extended to him. “But you said that you should be perfectly contented if it only cost you £20,000 to marry off your sister (to whom that sum is legally due), and to marry yourself to the heiress.”

“I did, indeed.”

“Then I have no doubt I shall manage both objects for that sum, if Randal Leslie really knows where the young lady is, and can assist you. Most promising, able man is Randal Leslie—but innocent as a babe just born.”

“Ha, ha! Innocent? Que diable!

“Innocent as this cigar, mon cher—strong, certainly, but smoked very easily. Soyez tranquille!

Chapter XV.

Who has not seen—who not admired, that noble picture by Daniel Maclise, which refreshes the immortal name of my ancestor Caxton! For myself, while with national pride I heard the admiring murmurs of the foreigners who grouped around it (nothing, indeed, of which our nation may be more proud had they seen in the Crystal Palace)—heard with no less a pride in the generous nature of fellow-artists, the warm applause of living and deathless masters, sanctioning the enthusiasm of the popular crowd; what struck me more than the precision of drawing, for which the artist has been always renowned, and the just though gorgeous affluence of color which he has more recently acquired, was the profound depth of conception, out of which this great work had so elaborately arisen. That monk, with his scowl toward the printer and his back on the Bible, over which his form casts a shadow—the whole transition between the mediæval Christianity of cell and cloister, and the modern Christianity that rejoices in the daylight, is depicted there, in the shadow that obscures the Book—in the scowl that is fixed upon the Book-diffuser; that sombre, musing face of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, with the beauty of Napoleon, darkened to the expression of a Fiend, looking far and anxiously into futurity, as if foreseeing there what antagonism was about to be created to the schemes of secret crime and unrelenting force; the chivalrous head of the accomplished Rivers, seen but in profile, under his helmet, as if the age when Chivalry must defend its noble attributes, in steel, was already half passed away: and, not least grand of all, the rude thews and sinews of the artisan forced into service on the type, and the ray of intellect, fierce, and menacing revolutions yet to be, struggling through his rugged features, and across his low knitted brow; all this, which showed how deeply the idea of the discovery in its good and its evil, its saving light and its perilous storms, had sunk into the artist's soul, charmed me as effecting the exact union between sentiment and execution, which is the true and rare consummation of the Ideal in Art. But observe, while in these personages of the group are depicted the deeper and graver agencies implicated in the bright but terrible invention—observe how little the light epicures of the hour heed the scowl of the monk, or the restless gesture of Richard, or the troubled gleam in the eyes of the artisan—King Edward, handsome poco curante, delighted, in the surprise of a child, with a new toy; and Clarence, with his curious yet careless glance—all the while Caxton himself, calm, serene, untroubled, intent solely upon the manifestation of his discovery, and no doubt supremely indifferent whether the first proofs of it shall be dedicated to a Rivers or an Edward, a Richard or a Henry, Plantagenet or Tudor—'tis all the same to that comely, gentle-looking man. So is it ever with your Abstract Science! not a jot cares its passionless logic for the woe or weal of a generation or two. The stream, once emerged from its source, passes on into the Great Intellectual Sea, smiling over the wretch that it drowns, or under the keel of the ship which it serves as a slave.

Now, when about to commence the present chapter on the Varieties of Life, this masterpiece of thoughtful art forced itself on my recollection, and illustrated what I designed to say. In the surface of every age, it is often that which but amuses, for the moment, the ordinary children of pleasant existence, the Edwards and the Clarences (be they kings and dukes, or simplest of simple subjects), which afterward towers out as the great serious epoch of the time. When we look back upon human records, how the eye settles upon Writers as the main landmarks of the past! We talk of the age of Augustus, of Elizabeth, of Louis XIV., of Anne, as the notable eras of the world. Why? Because it is their writers who have made them so. Intervals between one age of authors and another lie unnoticed, as the flats and common lands of uncultured history. And yet, strange to say, when these authors are living among us, they occupy a very small portion of our thoughts, and fill up but desultory interstices in the bitumen and tufa wherefrom we build up the Babylon of our lives! So it is, and perhaps so it should be, whether it pleases the conceit of penmen or not. Life is meant to be active; and books, though they give the action to future generations, administer but to the holiday of the present.

And so, with this long preface, I turn suddenly from the Randals and the Egertons, and the Levys, Avenels, and Peschieras—from the plots and passions of practical life, and drop the reader suddenly into one of those obscure retreats wherein Thought weaves, from unnoticed moments, a new link to the chain that unites the ages.

[pg 536]

Within a small room, the single window of which opened on a fanciful and fairy-like garden, that has been before described, sate a young man alone. He had been writing: the ink was not dry on his manuscript, but his thoughts had been suddenly interrupted from his work, and his eyes, now lifted from the letter which had occasioned that interruption, sparkled with delight. “He will come,” exclaimed the young man; “come here—to the home which I owe to him. I have not been unworthy of his friendship. And she”—his breast heaved, but the joy faded from his face. “Oh, strange, strange, that I feel sad at the thought to see her again. See her—Ah no!—my own comforting Helen—my own Child-angel! Her I can never see again! The grown woman—that is not my Helen. And yet—and yet,” he resumed, after a pause, “if ever she read the pages, in which thought flowed and trembled under her distant starry light—if ever she see how her image has rested with me, and feel that, while others believe that I invent, I have but remembered—will she not, for a moment, be my own Helen again! Again, in heart and in fancy, stand by my side on the desolate bridge—hand in hand—orphans both, as we stood in the days so sorrowful, yet, as I recall them, so sweet.—Helen in England, it is a dream!”

He rose, half consciously, and went to the window. The fountain played merrily before his eyes, and the birds in the aviary caroled loud to his ear. “And in this house,” he murmured, “I saw her last! And there, where the fountain now throws its stream on high—there her benefactor and mine told me that I was to lose her, and that I might win—fame. Alas!”

At this time, a woman, whose dress was somewhat above her mien and air, which, though not without a certain respectability, were very homey, entered the room; and, seeing the young man standing thus thoughtful by the window, paused. She was used to his habits; and since his success in life, had learned to respect them. So she did not disturb his reverie, but began softly to arrange the room—dusting, with the corner of her apron, the various articles of furniture, putting a stray chair or two in its right place, but not touching a single paper. Virtuous woman, and rare as virtuous!

The young man turned at last, with a deep, yet not altogether painful sigh—

“My dear mother, good-day to you. Ah, you do well to make the room look its best. Happy news! I expect a visitor!”

“Dear me, Leonard, will he want? lunch—or what?”

“Nay, I think not, mother. It is he to whom we owe all—Hæc otia fecit.’ Pardon my Latin; it is Lord L'Estrange.”

The face of Mrs. Fairfield (the reader has long since divined the name) changed instantly, and betrayed a nervous twitch of all the muscles, which gave her a family likeness to old Mrs. Avenel.

“Do not be alarmed, mother. He is the kindest—”

“Don't talk so; I can't bear it!” cried Mrs. Fairfield.

“No wonder you are affected by the recollection of all his benefits. But when once you have seen him, you will find yourself ever after at your ease. And so, pray, smile and look as good as you are; for I am proud of your open, honest look when you are pleased, mother. And he must see your heart in your face as I do.”

With this, Leonard put his arm round the widow's neck and kissed her. She clung to him fondly for a moment, and he felt her tremble from head to foot. Then she broke from his embrace, and hurried out of the room. Leonard thought perhaps she had gone to improve her dress, or to carry her housewife energies to the decoration of the other rooms; for “the house” was Mrs. Fairfield's hobby and passion; and now that she worked no more, save for her amusement, it was her main occupation. The hours she contrived to spend daily in bustling about those little rooms, and leaving every thing therein to all appearance precisely the same, were among the marvels in life which the genius of Leonard had never comprehended. But she was always so delighted when Mr. Norreys or some rare visitor came, and said (Mr. Norreys never failed to do so), “How neatly all is kept here. What could Leonard do without you, Mrs. Fairfield?”

And, to Norreys's infinite amusement, Mrs. Fairfield always returned the same answer. “'Deed, sir, and thank you kindly, but 'tis my belief that the drawin'-room would be awful dusty.”

Once more left alone, Leonard's mind returned to the state of reverie, and his face assumed the expression that had now become to it habitual. Thus seen, he was changed much since we last beheld him. His cheek was more pale and thin, his lips more firmly compressed, his eye more fixed and abstract. You could detect, if I may borrow a touching French expression, that “sorrow had passed by there.” But the melancholy on his countenance was ineffably sweet and serene, and on his ample forehead there was that power, so rarely seen in early youth—the power that has conquered, and betrays its conquests but in calm. The period of doubt, of struggle, of defiance, was gone forever; genius and soul were reconciled to human life. It was a face most lovable; so gentle and peaceful in its character. No want of fire; on the contrary, the fire was so clear and so steadfast, that it conveyed but the impression of light. The candor of boyhood, the simplicity of the villager were still there—refined by intelligence, but intelligence that seemed to have traversed through knowledge—not with the footstep, but the wing—unsullied by the mire—tending toward the star—seeking through the various grades of Being but the lovelier forms of truth and goodness; at home as should be the Art that consummates the Beautiful—

In den heitern Regionen
Wo die reinen Formen wohnen.7
[pg 537]

From this reverie Leonard did not seek to rouse himself, till the bell at the garden gate rang loud and shrill; and then starting up and hurrying into the hall, his hand was grasped in Harley's.

Chapter XVI.

A full and happy hour passed away in Harley's questions and Leonard's answers; the dialogue that naturally ensued between the two, on the first interview after an absence of years so eventful to the younger man.

The history of Leonard during this interval was almost solely internal, the struggle of intellect with its own difficulties, the wanderings of imagination through its own adventurous worlds.

The first aim of Norreys in preparing the mind of his pupil for its vocation, had been to establish the equilibrium of its powers, to calm into harmony the elements rudely shaken by the trials and passions of the old hard outer life.

The theory of Norreys was briefly this. The education of a superior human being is but the development of ideas in one for the benefit of others. To this end, attention should be directed—1st, To the value of the ideas collected; 2dly, To their discipline; 3dly, To their expression. For the first, acquirement is necessary; for the second, discipline; for the third, art. The first comprehends knowledge, purely intellectual, whether derived from observation, memory, reflection, books, or men, Aristotle, or Fleet-street. The second demands training, not only intellectual, but moral; the purifying and exaltation of motives; the formation of habits; in which method is but a part of a divine and harmonious symmetry—a union of intellect and conscience. Ideas of value, stored by the first process; marshaled into force, and placed under guidance, by the second; it is the result of the third, to place them before the world in the most attractive or commanding form. This may be done by actions no less than words; but the adaptation of means to end, the passage of ideas from the brain of one man into the lives and souls of all, no less in action than in books, requires study. Action has its art as well as literature. Here Norreys had but to deal with the calling of the scholar, the formation of the writer, and so to guide the perceptions toward those varieties in the sublime and beautiful, the just combination of which is at once creation. Man himself is but a combination of elements. He who combines in nature, creates in art.

Such, very succinctly and inadequately expressed, was the system upon which Norreys proceeded to regulate and perfect the great native powers of his pupil; and though the reader may perhaps say that no system laid down by another can either form genius or dictate to its results, yet probably nine-tenths at least of those in whom we recognize the luminaries of our race, have passed, unconsciously to themselves (for self-education is rarely conscious of its phases), through each of these processes. And no one who pauses to reflect will deny, that according to this theory, illustrated by a man of vast experience, profound knowledge, and exquisite taste, the struggles of genius would be infinitely lessened; its vision cleared and strengthened, and the distance between effort and success notably abridged.

Norreys, however, was far too deep a reasoner to fall into the error of modern teachers, who suppose that education can dispense with labor. No mind becomes muscular without rude and early exercise. Labor should be strenuous, but in right directions. All that we can do for it is to save the waste of time in blundering into needless toils.

The master had thus first employed his neophyte in arranging and compiling materials for a great critical work in which Norreys himself was engaged. In this stage of scholastic preparation, Leonard was necessarily led to the acquisition of languages, for which he had great aptitude—the foundations of a large and comprehensive erudition were solidly constructed. He traced by the plowshare the walls of the destined city. Habits of accuracy and of generalization became formed insensibly; and that precious faculty which seizes, amidst accumulated materials, those that serve the object for which they are explored—(that faculty which quadruples all force, by concentrating it on one point)—once roused into action, gave purpose to every toil and quickness to each perception. But Norreys did not confine his pupil solely to the mute world of a library; he introduced him to some of the first minds in arts, science, and letters—and active life. “These,” said he, “are the living ideas of the present, out of which books for the future will be written: study them; and here, as in the volumes of the past, diligently amass and deliberately compile.”

By degrees Norreys led on that young ardent mind from the selection of ideas to their æsthetic analysis—from compilation to criticism; but criticism severe, close, and logical—a reason for each word of praise or of blame. Led in this stage of his career to examine into the laws of beauty, a new light broke upon his mind; from amidst the masses of marble he had piled around him, rose the vision of the statue.

And so, suddenly one day Norreys said to him, “I need a compiler no longer—maintain yourself by your own creations.” And Leonard wrote, and a work flowered up from the seed deep buried, and the soil well cleared to the rays of the sun and the healthful influence of expanded air.

That first work did not penetrate to a very wide circle of readers, not from any perceptible fault of its own—there is luck in these things, the first anonymous work of an original genius is rarely at once eminently successful. But the more experienced recognized the promise of the book. Publishers, who have an instinct in the discovery of available talent, which often forestalls the appreciation of the public, volunteered liberal offers. “Be fully successful this time,” said Norreys; “think not of models nor [pg 538] of style. Strike at once at the common human heart—throw away the corks—swim out boldly. One word more—never write a page till you have walked from your room to Temple Bar, and, mingling with men, and reading the human face, learn why great poets have mostly passed their lives in cities.”

Thus Leonard wrote again, and woke one morning to find himself famous. So far as the chances of all professions dependent on health will permit, present independence, and, with foresight and economy, the prospects of future competence were secured.

“And, indeed,” said Leonard, concluding a longer but a simpler narrative than is here told—“indeed, there is some chance that I may obtain at once a sum that will leave me free for the rest of my life to select my own subjects and write without care for renumeration. This is what I call the true (and, perhaps, alas! the rare) independence of him who devotes himself to letters. Norreys, having seen my boyish plan for the improvement of certain machinery in the steam-engine, insisted on my giving much time to mechanics. The study that once pleased me so greatly, now seemed dull; but I went into it with good heart; and the result is, that I have improved so far on my original idea, that my scheme has met the approbation of one of our most scientific engineers; and I am assured that the patent for it will be purchased of me upon terms which I am ashamed to name to you, so disproportioned do they seem to the value of so simple a discovery. Meanwhile, I am already rich enough to have realized the two dreams of my heart—to make a home in the cottage where I had last seen you and Helen—I mean Miss Digby; and to invite to that home her who had sheltered my infancy.”

“Your mother, where is she? Let me see her.”

Leonard ran out to call the widow, but, to his surprise and vexation, learned that she had quitted the house before L'Estrange arrived.

He came back perplexed how to explain what seemed ungracious and ungrateful, and spoke with hesitating lip and flushed cheek of the widow's natural timidity and sense of her own homely station. “And so overpowered is she,” added Leonard, “by the recollection of all that we owe to you, that she never hears your name without agitation or tears, and trembled like a leaf at the thought of seeing you.”

“Ha!” said Harley, with visible emotion. “Is it so?” And he bent down, shading his face with his hand. “And,” he renewed, after a pause, but not looking up—“and you ascribe this fear of seeing me, this agitation at my name, solely to an exaggerated sense of—of the circumstances attending my acquaintance with yourself?”

“And, perhaps, to a sort of shame that the mother of one you have made her proud of is but a peasant.”

“That is all,” said Harley, earnestly, now looking up and fixing eyes in which stood tears, upon Leonard's ingenuous brow.

“Oh, my dear lord, what else can it be? Do not judge her harshly.”

L'Estrange rose abruptly, pressed Leonard's hand, muttered something not audible, and then drawing his young friend's arm in his, led him into the garden, and turned the conversation back to its former topics.

Leonard's heart yearned to ask after Helen, and yet something withheld him from doing so, till, seeing Harley did not volunteer to speak of her, he could not resist his impulse. “And Helen—Miss Digby—is she much changed?”

“Changed, no—yes; very much.”

“Very much!” Leonard sighed.

“I shall see her again?”

“Certainly,” said Harley, in a tone of surprise. “How can you doubt it? And I reserve to you the pleasure of saying that you are renowned. You blush; well, I will say that for you. But you shall give her your books.”

“She has not yet read them, then?—not the last? The first was not worthy of her attention,” said Leonard, disappointed.

“She has only just arrived in England; and, though your books reached me in Germany, she was not then with me. When I have settled some business that will take me from town, I shall present you to her and my mother.” There was a certain embarrassment in Harley's voice as he spoke; and, turning round abruptly, he exclaimed, “But you have shown poetry even here. I could not have conceived that so much beauty could be drawn from what appeared to me the most commonplace of all suburban gardens. Why, surely where that charming fountain now plays, stood the rude bench in which I read your verses.”

“It is true; I wished to unite all together my happiest associations. I think I told you, my lord, in one of my letters, that I had owed a very happy, yet very struggling time in my boyhood to the singular kindness and generous instructions of a foreigner whom I served. This fountain is copied from one that I made in his garden, and by the margin of which many a summer day I have sat and dreamt of fame and knowledge.”

“True, you told me of that; and your foreigner will be pleased to hear of your success, and no less so of your graceful recollections. By the way, you did not mention his name.”

“Riccabocca.”

“Riccabocca! My own dear and noble friend!—is it possible? One of my reasons for returning to England is connected with him. You shall go down with me and see him. I meant to start this evening.”

“My dear lord,” said Leonard, “I think that you may spare yourself so long a journey. I have reason to suspect that Signor Riccabocca is my nearest neighbor. Two days ago I was in the garden, when suddenly lifting my eyes to yon hillock I perceived the form of a man seated [pg 539] among the bushwood; and, though I could not see his features, there was something in the very outline of his figure and his peculiar position, that irresistibly reminded me of Riccabocca. I hastened out of the garden and ascended the hill, but he was gone. My suspicions were so strong that I caused inquiry to be made at the different shops scattered about, and learned that a family consisting of a gentleman, his wife, and daughter, had lately come to live in a house that you must have passed in your way hither, standing a little back from the road, surrounded by high walls; and though they were said to be English, yet from the description given to me of the gentleman's person by one who had noticed it, by the fact of a foreign servant in their employ, and by the very name ‘Richmouth,’ assigned the new comers, I can scarcely doubt that it is the family you seek.”

“And you have not called to ascertain?”

“Pardon me, but the family so evidently shunning observation (no one but the master himself ever seen without the walls), the adoption of another name, too, lead me to infer that Signor Riccabocca has some strong motive for concealment; and now, with my improved knowledge of life, I can not, recalling all the past, but suppose that Riccabocca was not what he appeared. Hence, I have hesitated on formally obtruding myself upon his secrets, whatever they be, and have rather watched for some chance occasion to meet him in his walks.”

“You did right, my dear Leonard; but my reasons for seeing my old friend forbid all scruples of delicacy, and I will go at once to his house.”

“You will tell me, my lord, if I am right.”

“I hope to be allowed to do so. Pray, stay at home till I return. And now, ere I go, one question more. You indulge conjectures as to Riccabocca, because he has changed his name—why have you dropped your own?”

“I wished to have no name,” said Leonard, coloring deeply, “but that which I could make myself.”

“Proud poet, this I can comprehend. But from what reason did you assume the strange and fantastic name of Oran?”

The flush on Leonard's face became deeper. “My lord,” said he, in a low voice, “it is a childish fancy of mine; it is an anagram.”

“Ah!”

“At a time when my cravings after knowledge were likely much to mislead, and perhaps undo me, I chanced on some poems that suddenly affected my whole mind, and led me up into purer air; and I was told that these poems were written in youth, by one who had beauty and genius—one who was in her grave—a relation of my own, and her familiar name was Nora—”

“Ah!” again ejaculated Lord L'Estrange, and his arm pressed heavily upon Leonard's.

“So, somehow or other,” continued the young author, falteringly, “I wished that if ever I won to a poet's fame, it might be to my own heart, at least, associated with this name of Nora—with her whom death had robbed of the fame that she might otherwise have won—with her who—”

He paused, greatly agitated.

Harley was no less so. But as if by a sudden impulse, the soldier bent down his manly head and kissed the poet's brow; then he hastened to the gate, flung himself on his horse, and rode away.

Chapter XVII.

Lord L'Estrange did not proceed at once to Riccabocca's house. He was under the influence of a remembrance too deep and too strong to yield easily to the lukewarm claim of friendship. He rode fast and far; and impossible it would be to define the feelings that passed through a mind so acutely sensitive, and so rootedly tenacious of all affections. When he once more, recalling his duty to the Italian, retraced his road to Norwood, the slow pace of his horse was significant of his own exhausted spirits; a deep dejection had succeeded to feverish excitement. “Vain task,” he murmured, “to wean myself from the dead! Yet I am now betrothed to another; and she, with all her virtues is not the one to—” He stopped short in generous self-rebuke. “Too late to think of that! Now, all that should remain to me is to insure the happiness of the life to which I have pledged my own. But—” He sighed as he so murmured. On reaching the vicinity of Riccabocca's house, he put up his horse at a little inn, and proceeded on foot across the heath-land toward the dull square building, which Leonard's description had sufficed to indicate as the exile's new home. It was long before any one answered his summons at the gate. Not till he had thrice rung did he hear a heavy step on the gravel walk within; then the wicket within the gate was partially drawn aside, a dark eye gleamed out, and a voice in imperfect English asked who was there.

“Lord L'Estrange; and if I am right as to the person I seek, that name will at once admit me.”

The door flew open as did that of the mystic cavern at the sound of “Open Sesame;” and Giacomo, almost weeping with joyous emotion, exclaimed in Italian, “The good Lord! Holy San Giacomo! thou hast heard me at last! We are safe now.” And dropping the blunderbuss with which he had taken the precaution to arm himself, he lifted Harley's hand to his lips, in the affectionate greeting familiar to his countrymen.

“And the Padrone?” asked Harley, as he entered the jealous precincts.

“Oh, he is just gone out: but he will not be long. You will wait for him?”

“Certainly. What lady is that I see at the far end of the garden?”

“Bless her, it is our Signorina. I will run and tell her that you are come.”

“That I am come; but she can not know me even by name.”

“Ah, Excellency, can you think so? Many and many a time has she talked to me of you, and I have heard her pray to the holy Madonna to bless you, and in a voice so sweet—”

[pg 540]

“Stay, I will present myself to her. Go into the house, and we will wait without for the Padrone. Nay, I need the air, my friend.” Harley, as he said this, broke from Giacomo, and approached Violante.

The poor child, in her solitary walk in the obscurer parts of the dull garden, had escaped the eye of Giacomo when he had gone forth to answer the bell; and she, unconscious of the fears of which she was the object, had felt something of youthful curiosity at the summons at the gate, and the sight of a stranger in close and friendly conference with the unsocial Giacomo.

As Harley now neared her with that singular grace of movement which belonged to him, a thrill shot through her heart—she knew not why. She did not recognize his likeness to the sketch taken by her father, from his recollections of Harley's early youth. She did not guess who he was; and yet she felt herself color, and, naturally fearless though she was, turned away with a vague alarm.

“Pardon my want of ceremony, Signorina,” said Harley, in Italian; “but I am so old a friend of your father's that I can not feel as a stranger to yourself.”

Then Violante lifted to him her dark eyes, so intelligent and so innocent—eyes full of surprise, but not displeased surprise. And Harley himself stood amazed, and almost abashed, by the rich and marvelous beauty that beamed upon him. “My father's friend,” she said hesitatingly, “and I never to have seen you!”

“Ah, Signorina,” said Harley (and something of his native humor, half arch, half sad, played round his lip), “you are mistaken there; you have seen me before, and you received me much more kindly then—”

“Signor!” said Violante, more and more surprised, and with a yet richer color on her cheeks.

Harley, who had now recovered from the first effect of her beauty, and who regarded her as men of his years and character are apt to regard ladies in their teens, as more child than woman, suffered himself to be amused by her perplexity; for it was in his nature, that the graver and more mournful he felt at heart, the more he sought to give play and whim to his spirits.

“Indeed, Signorina,” said he demurely, “you insisted then on placing one of those fair hands in mine; the other (forgive me the fidelity of my recollections) was affectionately thrown around my neck.”

“Signor!” again exclaimed Violante; but this time there was anger in her voice as well as surprise, and nothing could be more charming than her look of pride and resentment.

Harley smiled again, but with so much kindly sweetness, that the anger vanished at once, or rather Violante felt angry with herself that she was no longer angry with him. But she had looked so beautiful in her anger, that Harley wished, perhaps, to see her angry again. So, composing his lips from their propitiatory smile he resumed, gravely—

(To Be Continued.)

A Brace Of Blunders By A Roving Englishman.

I arrived at Bayonne from Paris, by the Malle-Poste, one glorious morning. How well I remember it! The courier, who used to play an important part in the economy of the old French Malle-Poste, was the most irritable man I ever saw. He quarreled with every one and every thing on the road. I fancy that he was liable to some slight penalty in case of reaching Bayonne later than a given hour; but had the penalty been breaking on the wheel, he could not have been more anxious to drive at full speed. Here let me note, by the way, that the pace of a French courier, in the good old times, was the most tremendous pace at which I have ever traveled behind horses. It surpassed the helter-skelter of an Irish mail. The whole economy of the Malle-Poste was curious. No postillion ever drove more than one stage: mortal arms could not have continued flogging any farther. The number of the horses was indefinite—now there were four; presently, five, or six, or seven; four again, or eight; all harnessed with broken bits of rope and wonders of fragmentary tackle. The coach-box, on which the postillion used to sit, was the minutest iron perch to which the body of a man could hook itself. The coach itself was britzka-shaped, with room for two. It was in this conveyance that I traveled over the frightful hills between Bordeaux and Bayonne. When we neared any descent a mile or two long, the postillion regularly tied the reins loosely to some part of the frail box, seized the whip, and flogged, and shouted, until down we went with a great rush, dashing and rocking from side to side while my irate friend, the courier, plied a sort of iron drag or rudder, with the enthusiastic gestures of a madman. Watching my time, when, after one of these frantic bouts, my friend sank back exhausted, and quite hoarse with all his roaring, I quietly offered him a bunch of grapes, which I had bought at Tours. Their grateful coolness made the man my friend eternally, but had I offered him a captain's biscuit at that moment I could not have answered for the consequences. So much depends on judgment in the timing of a gift!

On arriving at Bayonne, the first notable thing I saw was a gendarme, who asked me for my passport. I had none. He looked grave, but I, young in travel, pushed him aside cavalierly, and bade my servant, who had arrived the day before, see to my luggage. The cocked hat followed me into the inn, but bidding it be off, I walked into a private sitting-room, in which a bed was a prominent article of furniture. I ordered for my breakfast some broiled ham and eggs, and was informed that I could not have ham, though in Bayonne. I should be served with chocolate and sugar-sticks, pump-water, and milk-bread. While breakfast was preparing, the cocked hat arrested me, and marched me off to the police-office.

“Your passport?” said the Inspector.

“My breakfast,” said I.

[pg 541]

“You are under arrest,” said the Inspector.

Then I referred to the consul, with whom I had a sort of second-hand acquaintance, and who offered to provide me with a passport; but his offer was declined. I was conducted to the prefêt. The prefêt transferred me to the Procureur du Roi, whom I unhappily disturbed when he was sitting down to breakfast. I apologized for my unavoidable intrusion.

“Pray don't mention it,” said he; “I take cold fish for breakfast, and iced coffee;” so he sat down and listened to my tale, and said that I must be detained.

“Impossible!” I cried. “I have sent on my money and baggage to Madrid.”

“Many political agitators have slipped through Bayonne,” replied the procureur. “Write to Lord Hervey. When a passport comes for you from Paris you can pass the frontier; not before.”

Of course he said he was “desolated,” as he bowed me out. I was at liberty to reside at the hôtel, under the lackeyship of two gendarmes, who waited on me night and day. A crowd had gathered to witness my return from the house of the procureur, and ladies thronged the balconies. Rumor had, in fact, created me Conde de Montemolin!

Henceforth, until my passport came, I was peeped at through all manner of doors by all manner of men, and encountered accidentally in passages by all manner of women; one band hindered me from sleeping in my bed, another played to me at dinner, and both expected payment for their services, until the passport came, and brought me so much degradation as enabled me to step, uncared for, into the common diligence, and travel on.

It has occurred to many other people to be mistaken in some such way, and more than once it has occurred to people to make, on their own account, a certain blunder, which Goldsmith has immortalized. This blunder, I, when I ought to have known better, was incautious enough one day to commit....

In the year one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight, I was engaged in a tour through the by-ways of Germany, on horseback. During this tour I found myself, one summer morning, drawing near to the small town of Maikommen, in the Palatinate. Though the dawn had been cloudless, the noon threatened a storm, and already the big drops struck on the ground. Respect for my baggage, which consisted of two shirts, three books, and a pair of stockings, made me look for shelter.

The heavy drops fell faster as I cantered on at a brisk pace, and just at the entrance of the little town rode through a pair of broad gates into what I took for the inn-yard. Having stabled my horse in a remarkably clean stall, I ran into the house, and got under cover, just as the first peal of thunder rattled among the distant hills, and the rain had begun plashing down in earnest. A pretty child sucked its thumbs in the passage. “Quick, little puss,” said I, shaking the raindrops from my hat, “tell somebody to come to me!” “Mamma,” the child cried, running in, “here is a strange gentleman.”

A pleasant-looking woman, with a homely German face, came out of an adjoining room with the child clinging to her dress, and asked me what I wanted?

“Some dinner,” I answered “and a bottle of your best wine.”

“Go and tell father to come,” said the woman, looking at me curiously. A tall, good-humored man, of about fifty, made his appearance, and I repeated my desire in a tone somewhat more authoritative. He laughed, and the wife laughed, and the child shrieked with laughter. But I had met with many curiosities among the German innkeepers in remote country places, and, being willing to let these people, see that, though an Englishman, I was also good-humored, I joined their laugh, and then asked, with a grave face, when the table-d'hôte would be served?

“We keep no table-d'hôte,” replied the husband.

“Well,” I said, “but notwithstanding, you will let me have some dinner, I suppose? I have come a long way, and it is far to the next town. Besides, it rains!”

“Certainly, it rains!” replied the man, with a phlegmatic look over the puddles in the court-yard.

At this moment a clattering of plates, a steam of soup, and a sweet odor of fresh cucumber, attracted my attention. I said immediately that I was quite willing to dine at their table. By this time the child had got over its fear, and was at play with my riding-whip; a few caressing words of mine toward the little one, had reassured its mother. She spoke for a moment in patois with her husband; and then bade the servant lay another knife and fork.

I rather liked my landlord's eccentricity; so, tapping him upon the shoulder in a friendly way, I desired that he would let me have a bottle of his very best wine; and by way of propitiating him still more, I feigned to have heard a good deal of his cellar, and requested to see it. “O, very well,” he said; “follow me if you please.'”

He took me down into a cellar capitally stocked, and there we tasted a good many wines. My landlord seemed to be in the best temper.

“And what,” I asked, “is the price of that white wine in the thin long-necked bottles?”

I despair of getting its colossal name down upon paper, or I would try it; he gave it a great many syllables, and said it was the choicest and most expensive wine he had.

“Then,” said I, “that is what we will drink to-day. I will take a bottle to myself, and you another; you shall drink it with me.”

“You are very kind,” he said; “but let me recommend some other bin; this wine you will find is—is very heady.”

I thought that, like a thrifty host, he had some qualm about my means of paying for it; so I seized, manfully, a bottle in each hand, and crying “Come along!” accompanied the host into the dining-room.

The wine deserved its praise; opening our hearts, it soon made us famous friends. I had [pg 542] been pleased with the scenery about this quiet nook, and, being master of my time, and very comfortable, I made up my mind and said,

“I tell you what, my friend. I shall send for my things from Heidelberg, and stay here for a week or two.”

The laughter again pealed out; but my host, who probably had seen quite enough of a guest who insisted upon drinking his best wine, put on a grave face. It looked like an innkeeper's face, when he is buckling himself up to strike a bargain. To save him trouble, I at once said that I would pay three florins a day for myself, and one for the accommodation of my horse.

“He thinks we keep an inn!” the little child screamed through her laughter. I instantly collapsed.

Public Executions In England.

One Saturday morning toward the close of November or beginning of December, I have forgotten the precise date, a letter was put into my hand at the office. It was from my quondam friend and employer the cutler editor, as whose agent I occasionally acted, and who charged me with a commission to procure him certain “sorts” from the foundry and transmit them by coach, in time for his next impression. Not choosing to disappoint my wife and lose my dinner, I deferred the visit to the foundry until after work in the evening; when, upon arriving at Chiswell-street, I found the men in the act of leaving, but was informed I could have the materials I wanted as early as I chose on Monday. On Monday morning, accordingly, having risen rather earlier than usual and breakfasted by candle-light, I set forth to execute my commission before proceeding to work. Crossing Blackfriars-bridge, and barely noticing that there was an unusual concourse of foot-passengers of the laboring and lower sorts, I turned up Ludgate-hill, where I found the crowd still greater, less equivocally disrespectable, and all hurrying forward at a rapid walking-pace. Intent upon the object I had in view, I pushed forward as rapidly as the rest, and turning sharp round into the Old Bailey, came suddenly upon a spectacle which, of all others, was the farthest from my thoughts. It was the morning of an execution. A thick damp haze filled the air, not amounting to an actual fog, but sufficiently dense to confine the limits of vision to a few hundred yards. The beams of the level sun threw an almost supernatural light of a dim but fiery hue into the mist which they yet had not force enough to penetrate; and there, darkly looming with grim and shadow-like outline against a background of lurid vapor, rose the gallows upon which a wretched fellow-creature was about to be death-strangled and dangled in expiation of the crime of murder. In a moment the commission I had in hand vanished from my thoughts, and, impelled by a fearful and morbid curiosity, I suffered myself to be borne by the pressure behind, every moment aggravated by the arrival of trampling multitudes to the spot, toward the object of the general gaze. One minute afterward, I saw that the attempt to retrace my steps would be not only vain but dangerous; and, compelled to make the best of what I could not now avoid, I was pressed onward as far as the outlet of Fleet-lane, when, contriving by main force to get my back against the end of a stout tressle upon which seven or eight fellows were mounted, I managed to maintain my position until the horrible ceremony was concluded. It wanted yet full twenty minutes to eight o'clock, when I stood fast-wedged within a few fathoms' length of the scaffold. As far as the eye could pierce through the misty glare, was one unbroken sea of human heads and faces; the outer masses reeling, staggering and driving in fitful currents against the firm, compact and solid centre, fixed and immovable as though charmed to stone by the horrible fascination of the gibbet. Far beyond and above all the tower of St. Sepulchre's, magnified by the morning haze, showed like a tall, transparent cloud, from which was soon to burst the thunder-peal of doom upon the miserable man who had shed his brother's blood. The subdued murmur of the immense mob rose and swelled like the hollow roar of a distant but angry sea. Here and there a tall and burly ruffian, pre-eminent above the crowd, signaled his fellow in the distance, or bellowed a ghastly witticism upon the coming horror across the heads of the throng. Women—if women they are to be called, who, like vultures to the carcass, flock to the spectacle of dying agonies—of all ages but of one indescribably vicious and repulsive class, had pushed, and struggled, and fought their way to an eligible point of view, where they awaited with masculine impatience the close of the fearful drama of which they formed so revolting a part. Children of tender age, who must have taken up their position ere the day had dawned, and before the arrival of the masses, made an unsightly addition to the scene. A boy of nine, borne aloft on the shoulders of a man of sixty, who stood by my side, expressed his uncontrollable delight at the tragedy he was about to witness. At every window in the houses opposite, the debtors' door, and indeed wherever a view of the gallows could be obtained, parties of pleasure were assembled for the recreation of the morning. The roofs, the parapets, the protruding eaves of the shops, all were populous with life; the very lamp-posts and projecting sign-boards were clung and clustered over with eager beings impatient to assist in the funeral obsequies of the victim of the law. And now a violent surging and commotion in the centre of the living mass gives token of a fierce quarrel which has ripened to a fight. Shrieks, yells, and cheers of encouragement issue from a hundred throats, while a crew of tall and powerful blackguards elbow and trample their way to the scene of action, and the glazed hats of the police are seen converging unerringly to the disturbed spot. Then there is the flourishing of gilded staves, the sound of sturdy blows followed by a roar of execration, and a gory-visaged culprit is dragged forth, defrauded of his expected banquet, and consigned to a cell in the nearest [pg 543] station. The tumult has hardly subsided when another claims attention. A brace of pickpockets, taking advantage of the fight, are caught in the too confident exercise of their profession; and these, much easier captives than the fighting Irishman, are led off in their turn to the same vile durance.

By this time, weary and actually sore with the repeated violent collisions I had undergone in sustaining my post, I was glad to make a bargain with the man perched above me, who, for a bribe of a few pence, allowed me to effect a footing in his front. I had scarcely accomplished this when the church-clock in the distance rung out the quarters. The crowd, listening for this, had been comparatively silent for the last few minutes, and the note of the bell was acknowledged by a kind of shuddering deprecation for silence, by the instant uncovering of innumerable heads, and the involuntary direction of every eye toward the debtors' door. As the fatal hour at length pealed forth the door was slowly opened, and there came out upon the scaffold, not the mournful death-procession which all were awaiting with such intense interest, but its grim herald and precursor, the crime-honored aristarch of kill-craft, the great stage-manager of the law's last scene, whose performances are so much relished by the mob—the hangman, bearing the odious strand of new rope coiled upon his arm. He was received with a low but universal hum of recognition from the vast multitude now breathless with the exciting anticipation of what was so soon to follow. With an apparent perfect unconsciousness of the presence of a single spectator, he proceeded to mount to the cross-piece of the gibbet, to which, with an air of professional dexterity, he deliberately attached the loathsome cord, occasionally pausing and measuring with his eye the distance to the level of the platform. During this operation he was favored with a running fire of comments and counsels, garnished with infernal jokes and sallies of insane humor, from the mob who stood nearest. Having made the necessary preparations he withdrew for a few minutes, amidst the mock cheers and congratulations of some kindred spirits below. The awful pause which ensued was but of brief duration. Too soon a group of dark figures slowly emerged from the open door-way, among which I could discern the chaplain reading the burial-service, and then the quivering criminal, his hands clasped in prayer, yet bound together in front of his breast: he was supported by two assistants, and was already, to all appearance, more than half dead with mortal terror. These demonstrations of insupportable anguish on the part of the principal performer were received with evident and audible dissatisfaction by a large portion of the spectators of the drama. Derisive sneers on the want of “pluck” manifested by the poor, horror-stricken wretch were expressed in language which can not be repeated; and in many a female but unfeminine face, hardened by embruting vice and callous to every feeling of humanity, I read a contemptuous scorn of the timorous sufferer and a proud and fiend-like consciousness that they themselves would have dared the dark ordeal with less shrinking. The very boy mounted on the old man's shoulders at my side called his “grand-dad” to witness that “the cove as was to be hanged wasn't game;” a declaration which was received with a hoarse chuckle and a corroborative verdict by the standers-by, while the repulsive ceremony went on with fearful rapidity. In less than a minute the light of day was shut forever from his eyes, the last prayerful accents from human lips were dumb to his ears, and the body of the malefactor, sinking with a sudden fall until half concealed by the level platform, struggled in the final throes of agony for a few moments—mercifully abbreviated, as some well-experienced amateurs at my side plainly pointed out, by the coadjutors of the hangman pulling heavily at the feet in the inclosure below—and then swung senseless, veering slowly round upon the now deserted stage.

The very instant the “drop” fell, and while the short gasping cry from a thousand lips which hailed the close of the tragedy yet rung in the air, the scene assumed a new character: the elements of business were borne into the arena of pleasure. Three or four nondescript specimens of the street-orator, who were standing just beneath me, drew suddenly forth from the depths of their long-tailed greasy coats of serge each a bundle of damp paper, which they flourished into flags in a twinkling; and while the death-struggle was acting before their eyes, eager to turn it to account and to realize an honest penny, filled the air with their roaring intonations of “the last dying speech, confession, and behavior” of the murderer of the season. Their example was imitated by fifty others on different parts of the ground, and the chorus of their united voices formed but a beggarly requiem to the departing spirit. The tragedy ended, the farce, as a matter of course, came next. The body had to remain suspended for an hour, and during that hour amusement must be provided, at least for that portion of the spectators who can never have enough unless they have the whole of an entertainment. To swing a live cat from a side avenue into the middle of the crowd; to whirl a heavy truncheon from one broken head on a mission to another; to kick, maul, and worry some unfortunate stray cur that has unhappily wandered from his master; to get up a quarrel or a fight, if between women so much the better—such are some of the time-honored diversions chosen to recreate the hour which a sagacious legislature presumes to be spent in moral reflections upon the enormity of crime and the certainty of its bitter punishment, in the presence of the law-strangled dead.

I had never before seen a public execution in England, but I knew perfectly well—as who does not know?—the feeling with which such exhibitions are regarded by the lower orders, and I had often revolved in my mind the probable cause of that feeling. In now witnessing thus accidentally the whole ceremony, I thought I [pg 544] perceived one source of it, and that not a trifling one, in the ceremony itself. It struck me, and I have no doubt but others have received the same impression, that with all the actual horrors of the dismal process, in addition to a great deal that is disgusting, there is a great deal more that is essentially though horribly ridiculous in our national legal method of public killing. The idea of tying a man's hands, of drawing over his face a white night-cap, through which his features yet remain dimly legible, and then hanging him up in the air is manifestly a ridiculous idea—and connect it with what dreadful realities we may, the sense of the comic or absurd will predominate in the minds of the populace, ever alive to the appreciation of the preposterous or the discrepant, and never willingly disposed to serious reflection. The vagabond kennel-raker, the nomadic coster, the houseless thief, the man of the lowest order of intellect or of morals, sees the majesty of the law descending to the punch-and-judy level, and getting rid of its criminals by the same process as the hunch-backed worthy adopts to get rid of his tormentor—and being accustomed from his infancy to laugh heartily at the latter exhibition, he is not likely to retain for any length of time a grave demeanor in presence of the former one. A flogging in the army is allowed by all unfortunate enough to have witnessed it to be a far more impressive spectacle than a hanging at the Old Bailey. Strong men are known to faint at the sight of the one, while boys and women find amusement in the other. If the object of either exhibition be to deter the spectators from offending against the laws, why is the discrepancy between the effects of the two all on the wrong side? unless it be that the one exhibits the semblance at least of Justice vindicating her violated authority with a deserved though terrible measure of severity, while the other comes into view as a mere hasty and bungling business of killing, the vulgar and beggarly details of which it is impossible to connect in imagination with her divine attributes.

Some years before, I had witnessed in Paris the execution of two men for assassination. The crowd on that occasion, in the Place de Grève, was as great as now in the Old Bailey; but their decorum, I am bound to state, was infinitely greater. I can only account for this difference in favor of a population among whom human life is at a far greater discount than it is with us, from the fact that among the French a public execution is a much more impressive spectacle than it can be made to be in England. The guillotine bears a higher character, perhaps, because it wears a more serious and terrible aspect than the gallows; and the functionary who controls its avenging blade does not, as with us, bear a name the synonym of all that is loathsome and repulsive. It is the same class of men and the same order of minds that flock together to gaze at public executions wherever they take place; but I question whether, in any other country than England, a class of traders could be found corresponding with our hawkers and bawlers of last dying speeches, who congregate with their lying wares around the foot of the gallows, watchfully waiting for the commencement of the death-struggle, to them the signal of commerce, and then at the precise moment of horror, unanimously exploding from their hoarse throats “a full, true, and particular account, for the small charge of one half-penny.” The meanest mud-lark in all Gaul, the infamous and mal-odorous chiffonier of Paris, would recoil with disgust from such a species of traffic, the prevalence and prosperity of which at such a time among the lowest orders of London, testify perhaps more than any other single fact to the degraded state of the popular feeling in reference to death-punishment by the hands of the hangman.

Second, to the influence of the hangman, and the scene in which he figures in the production of a degrading and disgraceful estimate of the terrible solemnities of justice, is that of the press. What the Old Bailey or the Horsemonger-lane exhibition is to the uneducated spectator, the broad-sheet is to the uneducated reader; and it requires no great discrimination to recognize in the publication of every minute particular of deeds of violence and bloodshed, looking to the avidity with which such details are seized upon by the public, one of the most fruitful sources of demoralization and crime. The wretched criminal whose language, looks, and deportment are chronicled as matters of general importance, becomes first an object of interest, then an idol to those of his own class. If, as we know to be the case, men are led by the force of example to the commission of suicide, why not of any other species of crime? If a fashion may spring up, and prevail for a time, of leaping headlong from the top of a monument or the parapet of a bridge through the publicity given to such acts by means of the press, how shall the exploits of the felon or the assassin escape imitation when made the subjects of a far more extensive and pertinacious publicity, and paraded as they are before the world with all the importance they can be made to assume? There can be no question but that this practice of pandering to a morbid taste for a detestable species of excitement results largely in engendering the very crimes which certain public writers find it so profitable to detail at such length. The performer on the Old Bailey stage becomes a veritable hero in the eyes of the mob of readers for whose especial delectation his history is periodically dished up, and they gloat over the recital of his acts with a relish and a gusto which no other species of literature can awaken. So great, indeed, of late years, has grown the appetite for violence and villainy of all kinds, that our romance-writers have generously stepped forward to supplement the exertions of the last-dying-speech patterer, as a pendant to whose flimsy damp sheets they supply a still more “full, true, and particular account” in the form of three volumes post octavo. Thus, besides the certainty of being hanged in the presence of ten or twenty thousand admiring spectators, the daring and darling desperado who “dies [pg 545] game” stands the enviable chance of becoming a literary property in the hands of one of those gentlemen, and of running a second course, in half-calf and lettered, to interest and instruct that very community whom it was his life-long occupation to rob, to plunder, or to slay.

Pondering such discursive philosophy as this in my mind, I stood still on my three-penny eminence until the crowd had sufficiently cleared away to allow me to retrace my steps as far as Ludgate-hill without inconvenience. Then, having no great relish for the cadaverous jocularity which generally characterizes the scene of an execution during the removal of the body of the malefactor, I descended and turned my back upon the ignominious spectacle, with a feeling of disgust for the multitude of my fellows who could find recreation in the elements of cruelty and horror, and with anger and vexation at myself for having added one to their number.

What To Do In The Mean Time?

It has been frequently remarked by a philosopher of our acquaintance, whose only fault is impracticability, that in life there is but one real difficulty: this is simply—what to do in the mean time? The thesis requires no demonstration. It comes home to the experience of every man who hears it uttered. From the chimney-pots to the cellars of society, great and small, scholars and clowns, all classes of struggling humanity are painfully alive to its truth.

The men to whom the question is pre-eminently embarrassing are those who have either pecuniary expectancies, or possess talents of some particular kind, on whose recognition by others their material prosperity depends. It may be laid down as a general axiom in such cases, that the worst thing a man can do is to wait, and the best thing he can do is to work; that is to say, that in nine cases out of ten, doing something has a great advantage over doing nothing. Such an assertion would appear a mere obvious truism, and one requiring neither proof nor illustration, were it not grievously palpable to the student of the great book of life—the unwritten biographical dictionary—of the world—that an opposite system is too often preferred and adopted by the unfortunate victims of this “condition-of-every-body question,” so clearly proposed, and in countless instances so inefficiently and indefinitely answered.

To multiply dismal examples of such sad cases of people ruined, starved, and in a variety of ways fearfully embarrassed and tormented during the process of expectation, by the policy of cowardly sloth or feeble hesitation, might, indeed, “point a moral,” but would scarcely “adorn a tale.” It is doubtless an advantage to know how to avoid errors, but it is decidedly a much greater advantage to learn practical truth. We shall therefore leave the dark side of the argument with full confidence to the memories, experience, and imaginations of our readers, and dwell rather—as both a more salutary and interesting consideration—on the brighter side, in cases of successful repartee to the grand query, which our limited personal observation has enabled us to collect. Besides, there is nothing attractive or exciting about intellectual inertia. The contrast between active resistance and passive endurance is that between a machine at rest and a machine in motion. Who that has visited the Great Exhibition can have failed to remark the difference of interest aroused in the two cases? What else causes the perambulating dealers in artificial spiders suspended from threads to command so great a patronage from the juvenile population of Paris and London? What else constitutes the superiority of an advertising-van over a stationary poster? What sells Alexandre Dumas's novels, and makes a balloon ascent such a favorite spectacle? “Work, man!” said the philosopher: “hast thou not all eternity to rest in?” And to work, according to Mill's “Political Economy,” is to move; therefore perpetual motion is the great ideal problem of mechanicians.

The first case in our museum is that of a German officer. He was sent to the coast of Africa on an exploring expedition, through the agency of the parti prêtre, or Jesuit party in France, with whose machinations against Louis Philippe's government he had become accidentally acquainted. The Jesuits, finding him opposed to their plans, determined to remove him from the scene of action. In consequence of this determination, it so happened that the captain of the vessel in which he went out, set sail one fine morning, leaving our friend on shore to the society and care of the native negro population. His black acquaintances for some time treated him with marked civility; but as the return of the ship became more and more problematical, familiarity began to breed its usual progeny, and the unhappy German found himself in a most painful position. Hitherto he had not been treated with actual disrespect; but when King Bocca-Bocca one day cut him in the most unequivocal manner, he found himself so utterly neglected, that the sensation of being a nobody—a nobody, too, among niggers!—for the moment completely overcame him. A feeble ray of hope was excited shortly afterward in his despondent heart by a hint gathered from the signs made by the negro in whose hut he lived, that a project was entertained in high quarters of giving him a coat of lamp-black, and selling him as a slave; but this idea was abandoned by its originators, possibly for want of opportunity to carry it out. Now our adventurer had observed that so long as he had a charge of gunpowder left to give away, the black men had almost worshiped him as an incarnation of the Mumbo-Jumbo adored by their fathers. Reflecting on this, it occurred to him that if, by any possibility, he could contrive to manufacture a fresh supply of the valued commodity, his fortunes would be comparatively secure.

No sooner had this idea arisen in his brain, than, with prodigious perseverance, he proceeded to work toward its realization. The worst of it was, that he knew the native names neither of [pg 546] charcoal, sulphur, nor nitre. No matter; his stern volition was proof against all difficulties. Having once conveyed his design to the negroes, he found them eager to assist him, though, as difficulty after difficulty arose, it required all the confidence of courage and hopeful energy to control their savage impatience. The first batch was a failure, and it was only by pretending that it was yet unfinished he was enabled to try a second, in which he triumphed over all obstacles. When the negroes had really loaded their muskets with his powder, and fired them off in celebration of the event, they indeed revered the stranger as a superior and marvelous being. For nearly eighteen months the German remained on the coast. It was a port rarely visited, and the negroes would not allow him to make any attempt to travel to a more frequented place. Thus he continued to make gunpowder for his barbarous friends, and to live, according to their notions, “like a prince;” for to do King Bocca-Bocca justice, when he learned our friend's value, he treated him like a man and a brother. What might have been his fate had he awaited in idle despondency the arrival of a vessel? As it was, the negroes crowded the beach, and fired off repeated salvos at his departure. Doubtless his name will descend through many a dusky generation as the teacher of that art which they still practice, carrying on a lucrative commerce in gunpowder with the neighboring tribes. A small square chest of gold-dust, which the escaped victim of Jesuit fraud brought back to Europe, was no inappropriate proof of the policy of doing something “in the mean time,” while waiting, however anxiously, to do something else.

We knew another case in point, also connected with the late king of the French. M. de G—— was, on the downfall of that monarch, in possession of a very handsome pension for past services. The revolution came, and his pension was suspended. His wife was a woman of energy: she saw that the pension might be recovered by making proper representations in the right quarters; but she, also, saw that ruinous embarrassment and debt might accrue in the interim. Her house was handsomely furnished—she had been brought up in the lap of wealth and luxury. She did not hesitate; she turned her house into a lodging-house, sank the pride of rank, attended to all the duties of such a station, and—what was the result? When, at the end of three years, M. de G—— recovered his pension, he owed nobody a farthing, and the arrears sufficed to dower one of his daughters about to marry a gentleman of large fortune, who had become acquainted with her by lodging in their house. Madame de G——'s fashionable friends thought her conduct very shocking. But what might have become of the family in three years of petitioning?

Again: one of our most intimate acquaintance was an English gentleman, who, having left the army at the instance of a rich father-in-law, had the misfortune subsequently to offend the irascible old gentleman so utterly, that the latter suddenly withdrew his allowance of £1000 per annum, and left our friend to shift for himself. His own means, never very great, were entirely exhausted. He knew too well the impracticable temper of his father-in-law to waste time in attempting to soften him. He also knew that by his wife's settlement he should be rich at the death of the old man, who had already passed his seventieth year. He could not borrow money, for he had been severely wounded in Syria, and the insurance-offices refused him: but he felt a spring of life and youth within him that mocked their calculations. He took things cheerfully, and resolved to work for his living. He answered unnumbered advertisements, and made incessant applications for all sorts of situations. At length matters came to a crisis: his money was nearly gone; time pressed; his wife and child must be supported. A seat—not in parliament, but on the box of an omnibus, was offered him. He accepted it. The pay was equivalent to three guineas a week. It was hard work, but he stuck to it manfully. Not unfrequently it was his lot to drive gentlemen who had dined at his table, and drunk his wine in former days. He never blushed at their recognition; he thought working easier than begging. For nearly ten years he endured all the ups and downs of omnibus life. At last, the tough old father-in-law, who during the whole interval had never relented, died; and our hero came into the possession of some £1500 a year, which he enjoys at this present moment. Suppose he had borrowed and drawn bills instead of working during those ten years, as many have done who had expectancies before them, where would he have been on his exit from the Queen's Bench at the expiration of the period? In the hands of the Philistines, or of the Jews?

Our next specimen is that of a now successful author, who, owing to the peculiarity of his style, fell, notwithstanding a rather dashing début, into great difficulty and distress. His family withdrew all support, because he abandoned the more regular prospects of the legal profession for the more ambitious but less certain career of literature. He felt that he had the stuff in him to make a popular writer; but he was also compelled to admit that popularity was not in his case to be the work of a day. The res angustæ domi grew closer and closer; and though not objecting to dispense with the supposed necessity of dining, he felt that bread and cheese, in the literal acceptation of the term, were really indispensable to existence. Hence, one day, he invested his solitary half-crown in the printing of a hundred cards, announcing that at the “Classical and Commercial Day-school of Mr. ——, &c., Young Gentlemen were instructed in all the Branches, &c., for the moderate sum of Two Shillings weekly.” These cards he distributed by the agency of the milkman in the suburban and somewhat poor neighborhood, in which he occupied a couple of rooms at the moderate rent of 7s. weekly. It was not long before a few pupils made, one by one, their appearance at the [pg 547] would-be pedagogue's. As they were mostly the sons of petty tradesmen round about, he raised no objection to taking out their schooling in kind, and by this means earned at least a subsistence till more prosperous times arrived, and publishers discovered his latent merits. But for this device, he might not improbably have shared the fate of Chatterton and others, less unscrupulous as to a resource for the “mean time”—that rock on which so many an embryo genius founders.

The misfortune of our next case was, not that he abandoned the law, but that the law abandoned him. He was a solicitor in a country town, where the people were either so little inclined to litigation, or so happy in not finding cause for it, that he failed from sheer want of clients, and, as a natural consequence, betook himself to the metropolis—that Mecca cum Medina of all desperate pilgrims in search of fickle Fortune. There his only available friend was a pastry-cook in a large way of business. It so happened that the man of tarts and jellies was precisely at that epoch in want of a foreman and book-keeper, his last prime-minister having emigrated to America with a view to a more independent career. Our ex-lawyer, feeling the consumption of tarts to be more immediately certain than the demand for writs, proposed, to his friend's amazement, for the vacant post; and so well did he fill it, that in a few years he had saved enough of money to start again in his old profession. The pastry-cook and his friends became clients, and he is at present a thriving attorney in Lincoln's Inn, none the worse a lawyer for a practical knowledge of the pâtés filled by those oysters whose shells are the proverbial heritage of his patrons.

A still more singular resource was that of a young gentleman, of no particular profession, who, having disposed somehow or other in nonprofitable speculations, of a very moderate inheritance, found himself what is technically termed “on his beam-ends;” so much so, indeed, that his condition gradually came to verge on positive destitution; and he sat disconsolately in a little garret one morning, quite at his wits' end for the means of contriving what Goethe facetiously called “the delightful habit of existing.” Turning over his scanty remains of clothes and other possessions, in the vain hope of lighting upon something of a marketable character, he suddenly took up a sheet of card-board which in happier days he had destined for the sketches at which he was an indifferent adept. He had evidently formed a plan, however absurd: that was plain from the odd smile which irradiated his features. He descended the stairs to borrow of his landlady—what? A shilling?—By no means. A needle and thread, and a pair of scissors. Then he took out his box of water-colors and set to work. To design a picture?—Not a bit of it; to make dancing-dolls!—Yes, the man without a profession had found a trade. By the time it was dusk he had made several figures with movable legs and arms: one bore a rude resemblance to Napoleon; another, with scarcely excusable license, represented the Pope; a third held the very devil up to ridicule; and a fourth bore a hideous resemblance to the grim King of Terrors himself! They were but rude productions as works of art; but there was a spirit and expression about them that toyshops rarely exhibit. The ingenious manufacturer then sallied forth with his merchandise. Within an hour afterward he might have been seen driving a bargain with a vagrant dealer in “odd notions,” as the Yankees would call them. It is unnecessary to pursue our artist through all his industrial progress. Enough that he is now one of the most successful theatrical machinists, and in the possession of a wife, a house, and a comfortable income. He, too, had prospects, and he still has them—as far off as ever. Fortunately for him, he “prospected” on his own account, and found a “diggin'.”

“There is always something to be done, if people will only set about finding it out, and the chances are ever in favor of activity. Whatever brings a man in contact with his fellows may lead to fortune. Every day brings new opportunities to the social worker; and no man, if he has once seriously considered the subject, need ever be at a loss as to what to do in the mean time. Volition is primitive motion, and where there is a will there is a way.”

The Lost Ages.

My friends, have you read Elia? If so, follow me, walking in the shadow of his mild presence, while I recount to you my vision of the Lost Ages. I am neither single nor unblessed with offspring, yet, like Charles Lamb, I have had my “dream children.” Years have flown over me since I stood a bride at the altar. My eyes are dim and failing, and my hairs are silver-white. My real children of flesh and blood have become substantial men and women, carving their own fortunes, and catering for their own tastes in the matter of wives and husbands, leaving their old mother, as nature ordereth, to the stillness and repose fitted for her years. Understand, this is not meant to imply that the fosterer of their babyhood, the instructor of their childhood, the guide of their youth is forsaken or neglected by those who have sprang up to maturity beneath her eye. No; I am blessed in my children. Living apart, I yet see them often; their joys, their cares are mine. Not a Sabbath dawns but it finds me in the midst of them; not a holiday or a festival of any kind is noted in the calendar of their lives, but grand-mamma is the first to be sent for. Still, of necessity, I pass much of my time alone; and old age is given to reverie quite as much as youth. I can remember a time—long, long ago—when in the twilight of a summer evening it was a luxury to sit apart, with closed eyes; and, heedless of the talk that went on in the social circle from which I was withdrawn, indulge in all sorts of fanciful visions. Then my dream-people were all full-grown men and women. I do not recollect that I ever thought about children until I possessed some of my own. Those waking visions [pg 548] were very sweet—sweeter than the realities of life that followed; but they were neither half so curious nor half so wonderful as the dreams that sometimes haunt me now. The imagination of the old is not less lively than that of the young: it is only less original. A youthful fancy will create more new images; the mind of age requires materials to build with: these supplied, the combinations it is capable of forming are endless. And so were born my dream-children.

Has it never occurred to you, mothers and fathers, to wonder what has become of your children's lost ages? Look at your little boy of five years old. Is he at all, in any respect, the same breathing creature that you beheld three years back? I think not. Whither, then, has the sprite vanished? In some hidden fairy nook, in some mysterious cloud-land he must exist still. Again, in your slim-formed girl of eight years, you look in vain for the sturdy elf of five. Gone? No; that can not be—“a thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Close your eyes: you have her there! A breeze-like, sportive buoyant thing; a thing of breathing, laughing, unmistakable life; she is mirrored on your retina as plainly as ever was dancing sunbeam on a brook. The very trick of her lip—of her eye; the mischief-smile, the sidelong saucy glance,

That seems to say,
I know you love me, Mr. Grey: ”

is it not traced there—all, every line, as clear as when it brightened the atmosphere about you in the days that are no more? To be sure it is; and being so, the thing must exist—somewhere.

I never was more fully possessed with this conviction than once during the winter of last year. It was Christmas-eve. I was sitting alone, in my old arm-chair, and had been looking forward to the fast-coming festival day with many mingled thoughts—some tender, but regretful; others hopeful yet sad; some serious, and even solemn. As I laid my head back and sat thus with closed eyes, listening to the church-clock as it struck the hour, I could not but feel that I was passing—very slowly and gently it is true—toward a time when the closing of the grave would shut out even that sound so familiar to my ear; and when other and more precious sounds of life—human voices, dearer than all else, would cease to have any meanings for me—and even their very echoes be hushed in the silence of the one long sleep. Following the train of association, it was natural that I should recur to the hour when that same church's bells had chimed my wedding-peal. I seemed to hear their music once again; and other music sweeter still—the music of young vows that “that kept the word of promise to the ear, and broke it” not “to the hope.” Next in succession came the recollection of my children. I seemed to lose sight of their present identity, and to be carried away in thought to times and scenes far back in my long-departed youth, when they were growing up around my knees—beautiful forms of all ages, from the tender nursling of a single year springing with outstretched arms into my bosom, to the somewhat rough but ingenuous boy of ten. As my inner eye traced their different outlines, and followed them in their graceful growth from year to year, my heart was seized with a sudden and irresistible longing to hold fast those beloved but passing images of the brain. What joy, I thought, would it be, to transfix the matchless beauty which had wrought itself thus into the visions of my old age! to preserve, forever, unchanging, every varied phase of that material but marvelous structure, which the glorious human soul had animated and informed through all its progressive stages from the child to the man.

Scarcely was the thought framed when a dull, heavy weight seemed to press upon my closed eyelids. I now saw more clearly even than before my children's images in the different stages of their being. But I saw these, and these alone, as they stood rooted to the ground, with a stony fixedness in their eyes: every other object grew dim before me. The living faces and full-grown forms which until now had mingled with and played their part among my younger phantoms altogether disappeared. I had no longer any eyes, any soul, but for this my new spectre-world. Life, and the things of life, had lost their interest; and I knew of nothing, conceived of nothing, but those still, inanimate forms from which the informing soul had long since passed away.

And now that the longing of my heart was answered, was I satisfied? For a time I gazed, and drew a deep delight from the gratification of my vain and impious craving. But at length the still, cold presence of forms no longer of this earth began to oppress me. I grew cold and numb beneath their moveless aspect; and constant gazing upon eyes lighted up by no varying expression, pressed upon my tired senses with a more than nightmare weight. I felt a sort of dull stagnation through every limb, which held me bound where I sat, pulseless and moveless as the phantoms on which I gazed.

As I wrestled with the feeling that oppressed me, striving in vain to break the bonds of that strange fascination, under the pressure of which I surely felt that I must perish—a soft voice, proceeding from whence I knew not, broke upon my ear. “You have your desire,” it said gently; “why, then, struggle thus? Why writhe under the magic of that joy you have yourself called up? Are they not here before you, the Lost Ages whose beauty and whose grace you would perpetuate? What would you more? O mortal!”

“But these forms have no life,” I gasped; “no pulsating, breathing soul!”

“No,” replied the same still, soft voice; “these forms belong to the things of the past. In God's good time they breathed the breath of life; they had then a being and a purpose on this earth. Their day has departed—their work is done.”

So saying, the voice grew still: the leaden weight which had pressed upon my eyelids was lifted off: I awoke.

[pg 549]

Filled with reveries of the past—my eyes closed to every thing without—sleep had indeed overtaken me as I sat listening to the old church-clock. But my vision was not all a vision: my dream-children came not without their teaching. If they had been called up in folly, yet in their going did they leave behind a lesson of wisdom.

The morning dawned—the blessed Christmas-morning! With it came my good and dutiful, my real life-children. When they were all assembled round me, and when, subdued and thoughtful beneath the tender and gracious associations of the day, each in turn ministered, reverently and lovingly, to the old mother's need of body and of soul, my heart was melted within me. Blessed, indeed, was I in a lot full to overflowing of all the good gifts which a wise and merciful Maker could lavish upon his erring and craving creature. I stood reproved. I felt humbled to think that I should ever for a moment have indulged one idle or restless longing for the restoration of that past which had done its appointed work, and out of which so gracious a present had arisen. One idea impressed me strongly: I could not but feel that had the craving of my soul been answered in reality, as my dream had foreshadowed; and had the wise and beneficent order of nature been disturbed and distorted from its just relations, how fearful would have been the result! Here, in my green old age, I stood among a new generation, honored for what I was, beloved for what I had been. What if, at some mortal wish in some freak of nature, the form which I now bore were forever to remain before the eyes of my children! Were such a thing to befall, how would their souls ever be lifted upward to the contemplation of that higher state of being into which it is my hope soon to pass when the hand which guided me hither shall beckon me hence? At the thought my heart was chastened. Never since that night have I indulged in any one wish framed in opposition to nature's laws. Now I find my dream-children in the present; and to the past I yield willingly all things which are its own—among the rest, the Lost Ages.

Blighted Flowers.

The facts of the following brief narrative, which are very few, and of but melancholy interest, became known to me in the precise order in which they are laid before the reader. They were forced upon my observation rather than sought out by me; and they present, to my mind at least, a touching picture of the bitter conflict industrious poverty is sometimes called upon to wage with “the thousand natural shocks which flesh is heir to.”

It must be now eight or nine years since, in traversing a certain street, which runs for nearly half a mile in direct line southward, I first encountered Ellen ——. She was then a fair young girl of seventeen, rather above the middle size, and with a queen-like air and gait, which made her appear taller than she really was. Her countenance, pale but healthy and of a perfectly regular and classic mould, was charming to look upon from its undefinable expression of lovableness and sweet temper. Her tiny feet tripped noiselessly along the pavement, and a glance from her black eye sometimes met mine like a ray of light, as, punctually at twenty minutes to nine, we passed each other near —— House, each of us on our way to the theatre of our daily operations. She was an embroideress, as I soon discovered from a small stretching-frame, containing some unfinished work, which she occasionally carried in her hand. She set me a worthy example of punctuality, and I could any day have told the time to a minute without looking at my watch, by marking the spot where we passed each other. I learned to look for her regularly, and before I knew her name, had given her that of “Minerva,” in acknowledgment of her efficiency as a mentor.

A year after the commencement of our acquaintance, which never ripened into speech, happening to set out from home one morning a quarter of an hour before my usual time, I made the pleasing discovery that my juvenile Minerva had a younger sister, if possible still more beautiful than herself. The pair were taking an affectionate leave of each other at the crossing of the New Road, and the silver accents of the younger as kissing her sister, she laughed out, “Good-by, Ellen,” gave me the first information of the real name of my pretty mentor. The little Mary—for so was the younger called, who could not be more than eleven years of age—was a slender, frolicsome sylph, with a skin of the purest carnation, and a face like that of Sir Joshua's seraph in the National Gallery, but with larger orbs and longer lashes shading them. As she danced and leaped before me on her way home again, I could not but admire the natural ease and grace of every motion, nor fail to comprehend and sympathize with the anxious looks of the sisters' only parent, their widowed mother, who stood watching the return of the younger darling at the door of a very humble two-storied dwelling, in the vicinity of the New River Head.

Nearly two years passed away, during which, with the exception of Sundays and holidays, every recurring morning brought me the grateful though momentary vision of one or both of the charming sisters. Then came an additional pleasure—I met them both together every day. The younger had commenced practicing the same delicate and ingenious craft of embroidery, and the two pursued their industry in company under the same employer. It was amusing to mark the demure assumption of womanhood darkening the brows of the aerial little sprite, as, with all the new-born consequence of responsibility, she walked soberly by her sister's side, frame in hand, and occasionally revealed to passers-by a brief glimpse of her many-colored handiwork. They were the very picture of beauty and happiness, and happy beyond question must their innocent lives have been for many pleasant months. But soon the shadows of care began to steal over their hitherto joyous faces, and [pg 550] traces of anxiety, perhaps of tears, to be too plainly visible on their paling cheeks. All at once I missed them in my morning's walk, and for several days—it might be weeks—saw nothing of them. I was at length startled from my forgetfulness of their very existence by the sudden apparition of both, one Monday morning, clad in the deepest mourning. I saw the truth at once: the mother, who, I had remarked, was prematurely old and feeble, was gone, and the two orphan children were left to battle it with the world. My conjecture was the truth, as a neighbor of whom I made some inquiries on the subject was not slow to inform me. “ Ah, sir,” said the good woman, “poor Mrs. D—— have had a hard time of it, and she born an' bred a gentleooman.”

I asked her if the daughters were provided for.

“Indeed, sir,” continued my informant, “I'm afeard not. 'Twas the most unfortunatest thing in the world, sir, poor Mr. D——'s dying jest as a' did. You see, sir, he war a soldier, a-fightin' out in Indy, and his poor wife lef at home wi' them two blossoms o' gals. He warn't what you call a common soldier, sir, but some kind o' officer like; an' in some great battle fought seven year agone he done fine service I've heerd, and promotion was sent out to un', but didn't get there till the poor man was dead of his wounds. The news of he's death cut up his poor wife complete, and she ban't been herself since. I've know'd she wasn't long for here ever since it come. Wust of all, it seems that because the poor man was dead the very day the promotion reached 'un, a' didn't die a captain after all, and so the poor widder didn't get no pension. How they've managed to live is more than I can tell. The oldest gal is very clever, they say; but Lor' bless 'ee! 'taint much to s'port three as is to be got out o' broiderin'.”

Thus enlightened on the subject of their private history, it was with very different feelings I afterward regarded these unfortunate children. Bereft of both parents, and cast upon a world with the ways of which they were utterly unacquainted, and in which they might be doomed to the most painful struggles even to procure a bare subsistence, one treasure was yet left them—it was the treasure of each other's love. So far as the depth of this feeling could be estimated from the looks and actions of both, it was all in all to each. But the sacred bond that bound them was destined to be rudely rent asunder. The cold winds of autumn began to visit too roughly the fair pale face of the younger girl, and the unmistakable indications of consumption made their appearance: the harassing cough, the hectic cheek, the deep-settled pain in the side, the failing breath. Against these dread forerunners it was vain long to contend; and the poor child had to remain at home in her solitary sick chamber, while the loving sister toiled—harder than ever to provide, if possible, the means of comfort and restoration to health. All the world knows the ending of such a hopeless strife as this. It is sometimes the will of Heaven, that the path of virtue, like that of glory, leads but to the grave. So it was in the present instance: the blossom of this fair young life withered away, and the grass-fringed lips of the child's early tomb closed over the lifeless relics ere spring had dawned upon the year.

Sorrow had graven legible traces upon the brow of my hapless mentor when I saw her again. How different now was the vision that greeted my daily sight from that of former years! The want that admits not of idle wailing compelled her still to pursue her daily course of labor, and she pursued it with the same constancy and punctuality as she had ever done. But the exquisitely chiseled face, the majestic gait, the elastic step—the beauty and glory of youth, unshaken because unassaulted by death and sorrow—where were they? Alas! all the bewitching charms of her former being had gone down into the grave of her mother and sister; and she, their support and idol, seemed no more now than she really was—a wayworn, solitary, and isolated struggler for daily bread.

Were this a fiction that I am writing, it would be an easy matter to deal out a measure of poetical justice, and to recompense poor Ellen for all her industry, self-denial, and suffering in the arms of a husband, who should possess as many and great virtues as herself, and an ample fortune to boot. I wish with all my heart that it were a fiction, and that Providence had never furnished me with such a seeming anomaly to add to the list of my desultory chronicles. But I am telling a true story of a life. Ellen found no mate. No mate, did I say? Yes, one: the same grim yoke-fellow, whose delight it is “to gather roses in the spring,” paid ghastly court to her faded charms, and won her—who shall say an unwilling bride? I could see his gradual but deadly advances in my daily walks: the same indications that gave warning of the sister's fate admonished me that she also was on her way to the tomb, and that the place that had known her would soon know her no more. She grew day by day more feeble; and one morning I found her seated on the step of a door, unable to proceed. After that she disappeared from my view; and though I never saw her again at the old spot, I have seldom passed that spot since, though for many years following the same route, without recognizing again in my mind's eye the graceful form and angel aspect of Ellen D——.

“And is this the end of your mournful history?” some querulous reader demands. Not quite. There is a soul of good in things evil. Compassion dwells with the depths of misery; and in the valley of the shadow of death dove-eyed Charity walks with shining wings.... It was nearly two months after I had lost sight of poor Ellen, that during one of my dinner-hour perambulations about town, I looked in, almost accidentally, upon my old friend and chum, Jack W——. Jack keeps a perfumer's shop not a hundred miles from Gray's Inn, where, ensconced up to his eyes in delicate odors, he passes his leisure hours—the hours when commerce flags, [pg 551] and people have more pressing affairs to attend to than the delectation of their nostrils—in the enthusiastic study of art and virtu. His shop is hardly more crammed with bottles and attar, soap, scents, and all the et ceteras of the toilet, than the rest of his house with prints, pictures, carvings, and curiosities of every sort. Jack and I went to school together, and sowed our slender crop of wild-oats together; and, indeed, in some sort, have been together ever since. We both have our own collections of rarities; such as they are, and each criticises the other's new purchases. On the present occasion, there was a new Van Somebody's old painting awaiting my judgment; and no sooner did my shadow darken his door, than, starting from his lair, and bidding the boy ring the bell, should he be wanted, he bustled me up-stairs calling by the way to his housekeeper, Mrs. Jones—Jack is a bachelor—to bring up coffee for two. I was prepared to pronounce my dictum on his newly-acquired treasure, and was going to bounce unceremoniously into the old lumber-room over the lobby to regale my sight with the delightful confusion of his unarranged accumulations, when he pulled me forcibly back by the coat-tail. “Not there,” said Jack; “you can't go there. Go into my snuggery.”

“And why not there?” said I, jealous of some new purchase which I was not to see.

“Because there's some body ill there; it is a bed-room now; a poor girl; she wanted a place to die in, poor thing, and I put her in there.”

“Who is she?—a relative?”

“No; I never saw her till Monday last. Sit down, I'll tell you how it was. Set down the coffee, Mrs. Jones, and just look in upon the patient, will you? Sugar and cream? You know my weakness for the dead-wall in Lincoln's-Inn-Fields.” (Jack never refuses a beggar backed by that wall, for the love of Ben Jonson, who, he devoutly believes, had a hand in building it.) “Well, I met with her there on Monday last. She asked for nothing, but held out her hand, and as she did so the tears streamed from her eyes on the pavement. The poor creature, it was plain enough, was then dying; and I told her so. She said she knew it, but had no place to die in but the parish workhouse, and hoped that I would not send her there. What's the use of talking? I brought her here, and put her to sleep on the sofa while Jones cleared out the lumber-room and got up a bed. I sent for Dr. H—— to look at her; he gave her a week or ten days at the farthest: I don't think she'll last so long. The curate of St. —— comes every day to see her, and I like to talk to her myself sometimes. Well, Mrs. Jones, how goes she on?”

“She's asleep,” said the housekeeper. “Would you like to look at her, gentlemen?”

We entered the room together. It was as if some unaccountable presentiment had forewarned me: there, upon a snow-white sheet, and pillowed by my friend's favorite eider-down squab, lay the wasted form of Ellen D——. She slept soundly and breathed loudly; and Dr. H——, who entered while we stood at the bedside, informed us that in all probability she would awake only to die, or if to sleep again, then to wake no more. The latter was the true prophecy. She awoke an hour or two after my departure, and passed away that same night in a quiet slumber without a pang.

I never learned by what chain of circumstances she was driven to seek alms in the public streets. I might have done so, perhaps, by inquiry, but to what purpose? She died in peace, with friendly hands and friendly hearts near her, and Jack buried her in his own grave in Highgate Cemetery, at his own expense; and declares he is none the worse for it. I am of his opinion.

Monthly Record of Current Events.

United States.

The past month has not been marked by any domestic event of interest or importance. The principal topic of public discussion has been the character of Kossuth and of the cause he represents. Public opinion is divided as to the propriety of acceding to his request that this country should take an active part in the struggles of Europe; and somewhat, also, as to the rightfulness of his claim to be regarded as still the Governor of Hungary. But there is no difference of opinion as to the wonderful ability which his speeches display. Kossuth has continued his progress Westward, and at the time of closing this Record is at Cincinnati. He visited Pittsburgh, Harrisburgh, Cleveland and Columbus, on his way, and was received at each place with marked demonstrations of respect and confidence. Large sums of money have also been contributed in each, in aid of his cause. He has publicly declined to receive any more public entertainments of any sort, on the ground that they involve a wasteful expenditure of money and lead to no good result

Whatever funds any town, or any individuals may be inclined to devote to him, he desires should be contributed to the cause and not expended in any demonstrations of which he may be the object. His speeches have been devoted to an exposition of his wishes and sentiments, and all bear marks of that fertility of thought and expression which has excited such general admiration.

A very warm discussion, meantime, has sprung up among the exiled Hungarian leaders, of the merits of the cause and of Kossuth. Prince Esterhazy, at one time a member of the Hungarian ministry, a nobleman possessed of large domains in Hungary, first published a letter, dated Vienna, November 13, in which he threw upon the movement of 1848 the reproach of having been not only injurious to the country, but unjust and revolutionary. He vindicated the cause of the Austrian government throughout, and reproached Kossuth and those associated with him in the Hungarian contest with having sacrificed one of Kossuth's Ministers, and a refugee with him the interests of their country to personal purposes [pg 552] and unworthy ends. Count Casimir Batthyani, also in Turkey, now resident in Paris, soon published a reply to this letter of the Prince, in which he refuted his positions in regard to the Austrian government, proving that dynasty to have provoked the war by a series of unendurable treacheries, and to have sought, systematically, the destruction of the independence and constitution of Hungary. He reproached Esterhazy with an interested desertion of his country's cause, and with gross inconsistency of personal and public conduct. He closed his letter with a very bitter denunciation of Kossuth, charging upon his weakness and vacillation the unfortunate results of the contest, denying his right to the title of Governor, and censuring his course of agitation as springing simply from personal vanity, and likely to lead to no good result. To this letter Count Pulszky, now with Kossuth, published a brief reply, which was mainly an appeal to the Hungarian leaders not to destroy their cause by divisions among themselves. He also alleged that Count Batthyani did not express the same opinion of the character and conduct of Kossuth during the Hungarian contest, but made himself, to some extent, responsible for both by being associated in the government with him and giving his countenance and support to all his acts. Still more recently two letters have been published from Mr. Szemere, who was also intimately and responsibly connected with Kossuth and his government, and who brought forward in the Diet, immediately after the Declaration of Independence, on behalf of the Ministry of which he was the President, a programme declaring that the future form of government in Hungary would be republican. In one of his letters, dated at Paris, January 4th, he censures Kossuth very severely for his misconduct of the war, and of his subsequent course. Referring especially to Kossuth's abdication of office and to his transfer of power to the hands of Görgey, he alleges that although it was done in the name of the Ministry, of which he was a member, he never either subscribed or even saw it. He says that Kossuth having repeatedly denounced Görgey as a traitor, ought not to have put supreme power in his hands. He charges him also with having fled to Turkey and deserted the cause of his country, while there were still left four fortresses and over a hundred thousand men to fight for her liberties; and says that the rest of the army surrendered only because Kossuth had fled. He denies Kossuth's right to the title and office of Governor, because he voluntarily resigned that position, and transferred its powers to another. Much as he might rejoice in the success of Kossuth's efforts to excite the sympathy of the world on behalf of Hungary, Mr. Szemere says that “to recognize him as Governor, or as he earnestly claims to be acknowledged, the absolute Dictator, would be equivalent to devoting the cause of Hungary, for a second time, to a severe downfall. We welcome, him, therefore, in our ranks only as a single gifted patriot, perhaps even the first among his equals, but as Governor we can not acknowledge him, we who know his past career, and who value divine liberty, and our beloved fatherland above every personal consideration.” But while conceding fully the justice of the censures bestowed upon Kossuth himself, he claims that the cause of Hungary was at least as pure and holy as the war of the American Revolution—that they were the defenders of right and law against the efforts of faithlessness and anarchy—that they were the heroes, the apostles, the martyrs of freedom under the persecutions of tyranny.—In another letter, dated at Paris, December 9, Mr. Szemere addresses Prince Esterhazy directly, and in a tone of great severity. He denounces him for ignorance of the history of his country, and for guilty indifference to her rights, and proceeds, in an argument of great strength, to vindicate the cause in which they were both engaged, from the calumnies of false friends. He gives a clear and condensed historical sketch of the contest, and shows that Hungary never swerved from her rightful allegiance until driven by the faithlessness and relentless hostility of the Austrian dynasty to take up arms in self-defense. Being himself a republican, Mr. Szemere thinks that although it was honorable and loyal, it was not prudent or politic for the nation to cling so long to legitimacy: still “the heroism of remaining so long in the path of constitutional legality redounds to its glory; the short-sightedness of entering so late on the path of revolution is its shame.” He closes by expressing the trust and firm conviction of every Hungarian that the harms his country now suffers will be repaired.—Count Teleki, who represented Hungary at Paris, during the existence of the provisional government, and who now resides at Zurich, has also published a letter in reply to that of Prince Esterhazy, in which he vindicates Count Louis Batthyani from the unjust reproaches of the Prince, and pursues substantially the same line of argument as that of the letter of Mr. Szemere.—Mr. Vakovies, who was one of the Cabinet, also publishes a letter vindicating Kossuth from the accusation of Batthyani.

These conflicting representations from persons who were prominently and responsibly connected with the Hungarian government, of course create difficulties in the way of forming clear opinions upon the subject in the United States. The points of difference, however, relate mainly to persons and particular events, upon the main question, the rightfulness of the Hungarian struggle, little room is left for doubt.

The proceedings of Congress have been unimportant. The sum of $15,000 has been appropriated to the refitting that part of the Congressional library which was destroyed by fire. The subject of printing the census returns has engaged a good deal of attention, but no result has yet been attained. Resolutions were introduced into the Senate some time since by Mr. Cass, asking the friendly interposition of our government with that of Great Britain, for the release of the Irish State prisoners. Several Senators have made speeches upon the subject, nearly all in their favor, but with more or less qualifications. The Compromise resolutions, originally offered by Senator Foote, were discussed for several days, without reaching a vote, and they have since been informally dropped. The resolutions offered by Senators Clarke, Seward, and Cass, on the subject of protesting against intervention, came up for consideration on the 2d of February, when Senator Stockton made an extended speech upon the subject—favoring the Hungarian cause, but expressing an unwillingness to join Great Britain in any such policy, and saying Russia has always evinced friendly dispositions toward the United States. Senator Clarke on the 9th, made a speech upon the same subject, against any action on the part of our government. On the 11th, Senator Cass made an elaborate speech in support of his resolution, in which he vindicated the right, and asserted the duty of the United States to pronounce its opinion upon the interference of despotic states against the efforts of nations to free themselves from oppression. He opposed the idea of armed intervention on our part, but insisted upon the propriety of our exercising a decided moral influence. On the 13th Senator Clemens spoke in reply, insisting [pg 553] that movements in Europe had neither interest nor importance for the United States, denying the justice of the Hungarian struggle, and assailing the character of Kossuth.

The correspondence between the governments of England and the United States in regard to the insult offered to the steamer Prometheus by the English brig-of-war Express, at Greytown, has been published. The first letter is from Mr. Webster to Mr. Lawrence, instructing him to inquire whether the English government sanctioned the act of the officer. The last is from Earl Granville, dated January 10th, in which he states that an official statement of the case had been received. The Vice Admiral on the West Indian Station had already disavowed the act, and denied the right of any British vessel to enforce the fiscal regulations of Mosquito, and had forbidden the Commander of the Express from again employing force in any similar case. Earl Granville states that these representations were fully ratified by the English government; and that they entirely disavowed the act of violence, and had no hesitation in offering an ample apology for that which they consider to have been an infraction of treaty engagements.

Official intelligence has been received of the appointment of John S. Crompton, Esq., who has been for some years connected with the British legation at Washington, as Minister Plenipotentiary in place of Sir Henry Bulwer.—It is understood that Mr. John S. Thrasher, who was convicted of sundry offenses against the Spanish authority in Cuba, and sentenced to imprisonment for seven years on the African coast, has been pardoned by the Queen of Spain, as have also all the Cuban prisoners.

The political parties are beginning to take measures concerning the approaching Presidential election. The Whigs in the Legislature of Maine held a meeting on the 27th of January, at which they adopted a series of resolutions, in favor of a National Convention to be held at Philadelphia on the 17th of June, and nominating General Scott for President, and Governor Jones of Tennessee, for Vice-President, subject to the decision of that Convention. A Democratic State Convention was held at Austin, Texas, January 8th, at which resolutions were adopted, setting forth the party creed, and nominating General Houston for the Presidency.—In Alabama a Democratic State Convention has nominated William R. King for the Presidency.

The Legislature of Wisconsin met on the 15th of January. Governor Farwell's Message states that owing to the want of funds, the appropriations of last year were not paid within the sum of $38,283. He recommends the passage of a general banking law, and amendments of the school law, and opposes granting public lands in aid of works of internal improvement. He advises that Congress be memorialized upon sundry topics of general interest, among which are the establishment of an Agricultural bureau, the improvement of rivers and harbors, and a modification of the present tariff.—The Legislature of Louisiana met on the 26th ult. The Governor's Message is mainly devoted to local topics. He advises the appropriation of money for a monument to General Jackson.—The Legislature of Texas has been discussing a proposition to appropriate a million of dollars, of the five millions to be received from the United States, together with other funds, to the establishment of a system of Common Schools. The bill had passed the House.—A bill has been passed ratifying the classification of the public debt submitted by the Governor and Comptroller.

A letter from Honorable James Buchanan has been published, addressed to a Mississippi Democratic Convention, urging the necessity of a strict limitation of the powers of the Federal Government, and attributing to a growing spirit of centralization the evils we now experience.—Colonel Benton has also written a letter to the Democracy of St. Louis County, urging them to blot from the records of the Legislature, the resolutions in favor of nullification, adopted some time since.

From California we have news to Jan. 20th. It is not, however, of much importance. The country had been visited by a succession of very heavy rain storms, which had swollen the rivers, and in some cases cut off land communication between the towns. The location of the seat of government is still undecided. The Indian difficulties had been quelled for the present at least, but fears were entertained of new outbreaks. Fresh discoveries of gold were still made.

One-third of the city of San Juan de Nicaragua, the most valuable portion, was destroyed by fire on the 4th of February.

Later advices from New Mexico represent the condition of the southern part of the country as most unhappy, in consequence of the violent and deadly hostility of the Apache Indians. They have been provoked by the Mexicans, and wreak their vengeance indiscriminately on the whole country. The provisions of the U. S. Government for keeping the Indians in check have been wholly unavailing, mainly from a wrong disposition of the troops. Steps are now taken to establish posts at various points throughout the Indian Country, as this has been found the most effectual means for preventing their depredations.—The silver mine discovered at Taos proves to be exceedingly rich; and the gold diggings on the Gila are as productive as ever.

Mexico.

We have intelligence from the City of Mexico to the 28th of December. Congress was again in session, but had not completed its organization. On the 20th, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Señor Ramirez, received the representatives of Foreign Powers, and listened to extended remarks from them in favor of modifications in the Mexican tariff. The whole subject will probably soon be brought before Congress. The Indians in the State of Durango continue their ravages; the inefficiency of the measures taken against them by the government is loudly condemned. A riot, directed against the government, occurred on the 18th, in the State of Puebla, but it was speedily suppressed. In Tehuantepec a more serious movement had occurred under the lead of Ex-Governor Ortis; it was defeated after a contest of over four hours. At Cerro Gerdo also, on the 12th, there was a revolt of most of the forces of the Uragua Colony against their chiefs, but it was soon put down.—It is stated on authority that seems entitled to respect, that Santa Anna is planning a new revolutionary movement, and that he designs to make his descent at Acapulco on the Pacific coast. A house has been built there for him, and many of the utensils of a camp and munitions for a campaign are arriving there. It is said that all the officials of that department are friendly to him, and would readily co-operate in his designs.—The Mexican government seems to be satisfied that the revolutionary movement in Northern Mexico has been completely quelled; but our advices from that quarter scarcely justify that confidence. At the latest date, Jan. 23d, Caravajal was on the Rio Grande, with a force of 700 men and several pieces of artillery, and was constantly receiving reinforcements. Several persons connected with the [pg 554] movement were in New Orleans engaged in procuring and shipping supplies for the revolutionists. Gen. Uraga had been relieved from the command at Matamoras, and succeeded by Gen. Avalos. Upon his departure Col. Harney, in command of the U. S. troops on the frontier, addressed him in a letter, thanking him for the facilities he had received from him in the discharge of his duties, and expressing the warmest admiration of his character and services. The Mexican force defending Matamoros is stated at about twelve hundred men.—The official report of the battle of Ceralvo states the number of killed at six, and of wounded twenty-one,

Great Britain.

The burning of the steamer Amazon, with a dreadful loss of life, is the event of most interest which has occurred in England during the past month. She belonged to the West India Company's line of steam-packets, and sailed on her first voyage from Southampton on Friday the 2d of January. At a quarter before one o'clock on Sunday morning, a fire broke out suddenly, forward on the starboard side, between the steam-chest and the under part of the galley, and the flames instantly rushed up the gangway in front of the foremost funnel. The alarm was at once given, the officers and crew rushed upon deck, and steps were taken to extinguish the fire. But the ship was built of fir, and was very dry, and the flames seized it like tinder. The whole vessel was speedily enveloped in fire. The mail-boat was lowered, but was instantly swamped, and twenty-five people in her were drowned. The other boats were lowered with a good deal of difficulty. Only two, however, succeeded in saving life. The life-boat got loose from the ship with twenty-one persons, and after being at sea thirty hours, was picked up by an English brig, and landed at Plymouth. Another boat, with twenty-five persons on board, succeeded in reaching the French coast. There were 161 persons on board, of whom 115 are supposed to have perished. Among the latter was the well-known author, Eliot Warburton, who was on his way to the Isthmus of Darien, whither he had been sent by the Pacific Junction Company to negotiate a friendly understanding with the Indians. The Amazon was commanded by Captain William Symons, a gentleman of known ability, who also perished. Among those saved were two ladies. The English papers are filled with details and incidents of this sad catastrophe, which, of course, we have not space to copy. An investigation into the origin of the fire, and the circumstances of the disaster, has been made, but no satisfactory result has been reached. The machinery was new, and its working was attended with very great heat, which facilitated the progress of the fire after it had broken out. A great deal of confusion seems to have prevailed on board, but it does not appear that any thing practicable was left undone. The two ladies saved were a Mrs. MacLennan, who got into the life-boat in her night dress with her child, eighteen months old, in her arms, and a Miss Smith, who escaped in the other boat. The value of the Amazon was £100,000, and she was not insured.

The English press continues to discuss French affairs with great eagerness. The whole of Louis Napoleon's proceeding is denounced with unanimous bitterness, as one of the most high-handed and inexcusable acts of violence and outrage ever perpetrated; and a general fear is felt that he can not maintain himself in a state of peace, but will be impelled to seek a war with England. The condition of the national defenses is, therefore, the chief topic of discussion, and upon this point all the leading journals express serious apprehensions.

The difficulty between the master engineers and their men continues unadjusted. Meetings are held and public statements made by both sides, and the dissension is much more likely to increase than to diminish. The employers will not concede the right of their men to fix the terms on which they shall be hired, and the men will not yield what they consider their just rights. The latter are taking steps to set up workshops of their own by co-operation, and they have already made some progress in the accomplishment of their object.

The Reformers in the principal towns are taking measures to influence the measure which Lord John Russell intends to introduce into Parliament. Meetings have been held at various places, and resolutions adopted, specifying the provisions they desire, and pledging support to the Cabinet, if its measures shall conform to their principles. The friends of the voluntary system of education are also active. They proposed to send a deputation to wait upon the Prime Minister, but he declined to meet them, on the ground that it was not the intention of the Ministry to introduce any bill on that subject during the present session of Parliament, and that a deputation, therefore, could do no good.—New discoveries of gold in Australia have excited great interest and attention in England. It is said that deposits have been met with near Port Philip, much richer than any known hitherto, either there or in California.—Later advices from the Cape of Good Hope represent colonial affairs in an unpromising light. The expedition of the British troops against the Caffres in their mountain fastnesses had proved to be of little use, and to have been attended with serious losses of British officers and men. The Caffres are excellent marksmen, and prove to be very formidable enemies. Col. Cathcart, who was one of Wellington's aids at Waterloo, has been sent out as Governor of the Cape.—The British cruisers on the African coast recently sought to make a treaty for the suppression of the slave trade, with the King of Lagos who had, previously, forbidden their ascending the river to the town where he lived. A force of twenty-three boats, however, was fitted out with 260 officers and men, and attempted to ascend the river by force. It was at once attacked, and it was only with considerable difficulty and loss of life that the men regained their ships. The king had always received deputations from the squadron with every demonstration of respect; and this fact shows the extreme folly and injustice of such an armed expedition. It has been indirectly sanctioned, however, by the English government which has ordered a strict blockade of that part of the African coast.

France.

Political affairs in France continue to present features of extraordinary interest. The election, of which we gave the general result in our last Number, seems to have fortified Louis Napoleon, for the present, on his Presidential throne, and he has gone on without obstacle in the accomplishment of his plans. The official returns show 7,439,219 votes in his favor, and 640,737 against him. On New Year's day the issue of the election was celebrated with more than royal magnificence. Cannon were fired at the Invalides at ten in the morning—seventy discharges in all, ten for each million of votes recorded in his favor; and at noon the President went to Notre Dame, where Te Deum was performed amid gorgeous and dazzling pomp. The scene was theatrical and imposing. All Paris was covered with [pg 555] troops, and the day was one of universal observance. From Notre Dame Louis Napoleon returned to the Tuileries, where the reception of the authorities took place, and a banquet was given at which four hundred persons sat down. The day before he had received the formal announcement by the Consultative Commission of the result of the election. M. Baroche, the President of the Commission, in announcing it, said that “France confided in his courage, his elevated good-sense, and his love: no government ever rested on a basis more extensive, or had an origin more legitimate and worthy of the respect of nations.” In reply Louis Napoleon said that France had comprehended that he departed from legality only to return to right: that she had absolved him, by justifying an act which had no other object than to save France, and perhaps Europe, from years of trouble and anarchy: that he felt all the grandeur of his new mission, and did not deceive himself as to its difficulties. He hoped to secure the destinies of France, by founding institutions which respond at the same time to the democratic instincts of the nation, and to the desire to have henceforth a strong and respected government. He soon issued a decree re-establishing the French eagle on the national colors and on the Cross of the Legion of Honor, saying that the Republic might now adopt without umbrage the souvenirs of the Empire. On the 28th of December, the Municipal Council of the Department of the Seine was dissolved and re-constructed by a decree—thirteen of the old members, most distinguished by intellect, experience, and character, being superseded because they would not make themselves subservient to Louis Napoleon's views.—The Chamber of Commerce at Havre was ordered to be dissolved, and that portion of its journal which recorded its protest against the usurpation was erased.—An ordinance was issued, directing all political inscriptions, and particularly the words “liberty, equality, and fraternity,” to be erased, because they are “for the people a perpetual excitement to revolt,” and for the same reason all the trees of liberty were ordered to be rooted up, in the departments as well as in Paris.—The military organization of France was remodeled also by decree, the nine military divisions being re-arranged into twenty-one principal divisions, with as many principal commands, all subordinate to the Prince, Commander-in-chief.—By a decree dated Jan. 9, the President expelled from the territory of France, Algeria, and the Colonies sixty-six members of the late Legislative Assembly, without trial, preamble, or cause stated. Should any of them put foot on French soil again without obtaining express permission, they run the risk of deportation. Among them is Victor Hugo. By another decree of the same date, eighteen ex-representatives are condemned to temporary banishment. Among them are all the generals in prison at Ham, except Cavaignac, who is allowed to go to Italy. At his own request, he has also been placed upon the retired list. Thiers, Girardin, and Sue are also among the proscribed. About twenty-five hundred political prisoners have been ordered to be deported to Cayenne, a place on the coast of Africa, where the chances are that not one in ten of them can live five years. These measures of high-handed severity have created deep feeling and disapprobation, to which, however, no one dares give expression, either in print or in public conversation. The press is subjected to a most rigorous censorship, and spies lurk about every café and public place to report “disaffected” remarks.—A decree was issued on the 11th of January, dissolving the National Guard, and organizing a new corps under that name. The officers are all to be appointed by the President, and privates are to be admitted only upon examination by Government officers.

On the 14th of January the new Constitution was decreed. In the proclamation accompanying it, the President says that, not having the vanity to substitute a personal theory for the experience of centuries, he sought in the past for examples that might best be followed; and he said to himself, “Since France makes progress during the last fifty years, in virtue alone of the administrative, military, judicial, religious, and financial organization of the Consulate and the Empire, why should not we also adopt the political institutions of that epoch?” After sketching the condition of the various interests of France, for the purpose of showing that it has been created by the administration of the Emperor, Louis Napoleon says that the principal bases of the Constitution of the year VIII. have been adopted as the foundation of that which he submits. The Constitution consists of seven sections. The government is intrusted to Louis Napoleon, actual President of the Republic, for ten years: he governs by means of the Ministers, the Council of State, the Senate, and the Legislative body. He is responsible to the French people, to whom he has the right always to appeal. He is Chief of the State, commands the land and sea forces, declares war, concludes treaties, and makes rules and decrees for the execution of the laws. He alone has the initiative of the laws, and the right to pardon. He has the right to declare the state of siege in one or several departments, referring to the Senate with the least possible delay. The Ministers depend solely on him, and each is responsible only so far as the acts of the Government regard him. All the officers of the Government, military and civil, high and low, swear obedience to the Constitution and fidelity to the President. Should the President die before the expiration of his office, the Senate convokes the nation to make a new election—the President having the right, by secret will, to designate the citizen whom he recommends. Until the election of a new President, the President of the Senate will govern.—The number of Senators is fixed at 80 for the first year, and can not exceed 150. The Senate is composed of Cardinals, Marshals, Admirals, and of the citizens whom the President may name. The Senators are not removable, and are for life. Their services are gratuitous, but the President may give them 30,000 francs annually, if he sees fit. The officers of the Senate are to be elected on nomination of the President of the Republic, and are to hold for one year. The Senate is to be convoked and prorogued by the President, and its sittings are to be secret. It is the guardian of the fundamental pact and of the public liberties: no law can be published without being submitted to it. It regulates the Constitution of the Colonies, and all that has not been provided for by the Constitution, and decides upon its interpretation—but its decisions are invalid without the sanction of the President. It maintains or annuls all acts complained of as unconstitutional by the Government or by petition. It can fix the bases of projects of laws of national interest—in reports to the President; and can also propose modifications of the Constitution; but all modifications of the fundamental bases of the Constitution must be submitted to the people.—In the Legislative body there is to be one representative for every 35,000 electors—elected by universal suffrage, without scrutin de liste. The deputies receive no salary, and hold office for six years. The Legislative body discusses and votes the projects of law and the imposts. Every [pg 556] amendment adopted by the committee charged with the examination of a project of law, shall be sent without discussion to the Council of State, and if not adopted by that body, it can not be submitted to Legislative deliberation. The sittings are to be public, but may be secret on the demand of five members. Public reports of the proceedings shall be confined to the journals and votes—and shall be prepared under direction of the President of the Legislative body. The officers are to be named by the President of the Republic. Ministers can not be members of the Legislature. No petition can be addressed to the Legislative body. The President of the Republic convokes, adjourns, prorogues, and dissolves the Legislative body: in case of dissolution he shall convoke a new one within six months.—The number of Councilors of State is from 40 to 50. They are to be named by the President and are removable by him. He presides over their meetings. They are to draw up projects of law and regulations of the public administration, and to resolve difficulties that may arise, under the direction of the President. Members are to be appointed from its number by the President to maintain, in the name of the Government, the discussion of the projects of law before the Senate and the Legislative corps. The salary of each Councilor is 25,000 francs. The Ministers have ranks, right of sitting, and a deliberative voice in the Council of State.—A High Court of Justice judges without appeal all persons sent before it accused of crimes, attempts or plots against the President of the Republic, and against the internal and external safety of the State. It can not be convened except by decree from the President. Its organization is to be regulated by the Senate.—Existing provisions of law not opposed to the present Constitution shall remain in force until legally abrogated. The Executive shall name the Mayor. The Constitution shall take effect from the day when the great powers named by it shall be constituted.—Such are the provisions of the new Constitution of France.

The Minister of the Interior has issued a circular calling upon the Government officers to promote the election of none but discreet and well-disposed men, not orators or politicians, to the Legislative body, and saying that if they will send to the Ministry the names of proper persons, the influence of the Government will be used to aid their election.—The disarming of the National Guard has been effected without the slightest difficulty.—On the 23d of January a decree was published instituting a Ministry of Police and one of State, and appointing M. Casabianca Minister of State, M. Maupas Minister of General Police, M. Abbatucci Minister of Justice, M. de Persigny Minister of the Interior, M. Bineau Minister of Finance; General de Saint-Arnaud, Minister of War; Ducos, of Marine; Furgot, of Foreign Affairs, and Fortone, of Public Instruction and Worship.—On the 26th of January a decree was issued organizing the Council of State, and appointing 34 Councillors, 40 Masters of Requests, and 31 Auditors. The Council contains the names of most of the leaders in the Assembly, who took sides with the President in the debates of that body. On the 27th, the list of Senators was announced. It contains the names of many who were formerly Peers of France and members of the Legislative Assembly.—On the 23d a decree was issued declaring that the members of the Orleans family, their husbands, wives, and descendants can not possess any real or personal property in France, and ordering the whole of their present possessions to be sold within one year: and on the same day another decree declared that all the property possessed by Louis Philippe, and by him given to his children, on the 7th of August, 1830, should be confiscated and given to the state; and that of this amount ten millions should be allowed to the mutual assistance societies, authorized by law of July 15, 1850; ten millions to be employed in improving the dwellings of workmen in the large manufacturing towns; ten millions to be devoted to the establishment of institutions for making loans on mortgage; five millions to establish a retiring pension fund for the poorest assistant clergy; and the remainder to be distributed among the Legion of Honor and other military functionaries.—The promulgation of these decrees excited great dissatisfaction, and led to the resignation of several members of the Councils. M. Dupin, President of the late Assembly, resigned his office as Procureur-general, in an indignant letter to the President; and Montalembert also resigned his office as member of the Consultative Commission.—The first great ball at the Tuileries on the 24th was very numerously and brilliantly attended.—A decree has been issued abrogating that of 1848 which abolished titles of nobility.—The President fills column after column daily in the Moniteur with announcements of promotions in the army.—Measures of the utmost stringency have been adopted to prevent public discussion in any form. The manufacturers of printing presses, lithographic presses, copying machines, &c., have been forbidden to sell them without sending the buyers' names to the Police department.—It is rumored that two attempts have been made to assassinate the President, but they are not sufficiently authentic to be deemed reliable.

Austria And Hungary.

The Austrian Emperor issued on New Year's day three decrees, formally annulling the Constitution of March 4, 1849, and promulgating certain fundamental principles of the future organic institutions of the Austrian Empire. The first decree declares that, after thorough examination, the Constitution has been found neither to agree with the situation of the empire, nor to be capable of full execution. It is therefore annulled, but the equality of all subjects before the law, and the abolition of peasant service and bondage are expressly confirmed. The second decree annuls the specific political rights conferred upon the various provinces. The third decree abolishes open courts, and trials by jury, requires all town elections to be confirmed by the Government, forbids publication of governmental proceedings, and destroys every vestige of the Parliamentary system. These measures make the despotism of Austria much more absolute and severe than it was before 1848.—Proposals are in active preparation for a new Austrian loan. In consequence of this, Baron Krauss, the Minister of Finance, resigned, and is succeeded by M. von Baumgartner.—The members of the London Missionary and Bible Society, who have for many years resided at Pesth and other Hungarian towns, have been ordered out of the Austrian states.—In Prussia strenuous efforts are made by the reactionary party to secure the abolition of the Chambers and the restoration of absolutism.—It is said that the Austrian Government has received from Earl Granville, in reply to its demand for the suppression of revolutionary intrigues carried on in England against the Continental Governments, assurances that every thing should be done to meet its wishes so far as they were not incompatible with the laws and customs of England.—The Austrian Minister of the Interior has directed a committee to make a draft of new laws for Hungary on the basis of the decrees of the 1st of January.

[pg 557]

Editor's Table.

The seventh enumeration of the inhabitants of the United States, taken on the 1st of June, 1850, exhibits results which every citizen of the country may contemplate with gratification and pride. The Report of the Superintendent of the Census-office to the Secretary of the Interior, laid before Congress, in December, 1851, gives a full abstract of the returns, from which we select the most interesting portions; adding other statements showing the progress of this country in population and resources.

Since the census of 1840, there have been added to the territory of the Republic, by annexation, conquest, and purchase, 824,969 square miles; and our title to a region covering 341,463 square miles, which before properly belonged to us, but was claimed and partially occupied by a foreign power, has been established by negotiation, and has been brought within our acknowledged boundaries. By these means the area of the United States has been extended during the past ten years, from 2,055,163 to 3,221,595 square miles, without including the great lakes which lie upon our northern border, or the bays which indent our Atlantic and Pacific shores; all which territory has come within the scope of the Seventh Census.

In endeavoring to ascertain the progress of our population since 1840, it will be proper to deduct from the aggregate number of inhabitants shown by the present census, the population of Texas in 1840, and the number embraced within the limits of California and the new territories, at the time of their acquisition. From the best information which has been obtained at the Census-office, it is believed that Texas contained, in 1840, 75,000 inhabitants; and that when California, New Mexico, and Oregon came into our possession, in 1846, they had a total population of 97,000. It thus appears that we have received by accessions of territory, since 1840, an addition of 172,000 to the number of our people. The increase which has taken place in those extended regions since they came under the authority of our Government, should obviously be reckoned as a part of the development and progress of our population, nor is it necessary to complicate the comparison by taking into account the probable natural increase of this acquired population, because we have not the means of determining its rate of advancement, nor the law which governed its progress, while yet beyond the influence of our political system.

The total number of inhabitants in the United States, according to the returns of the census, was on the 1st of June, 1850, 23,258,760. The absolute increase from the 1st of June, 1840, has been 6,189,307, and the actual increase per cent. is slightly over 36 per cent. But it has been shown that the probable amount of population acquired by additions of territory should be deducted in making a comparison between the results of the present and the last census. These reductions diminish the total population of the country, as a basis of comparison, and also the increase. The relative increase, after this allowance, is found to be 35.17 per cent.

The aggregate number of whites in 1850 was 19,631,799, exhibiting a gain upon the number of the same class in 1840, of 5,436,004, and a relative increase of 38.20 per cent. But, excluding the 153,000 free population supposed to have been acquired by the addition of territory since 1840, the gain is 5,283,004, and the increase per cent. is 37.14.

The number of slaves, by the present census, is 3,198,324, which shows an increase of 711,111, equal to 28.58 per cent. If we deduct 19,000 for the probable slave population of Texas in 1840, the result of the comparison will be slightly different. The absolute increase will be 692,111, and the rate per cent. 27.83.

The number of free colored persons in 1850 was 428,637; in 1840, 386,345. The increase of this class has been 42,292 or 10.95 per cent.

From 1830 to 1840, the increase of the whole population was at the rate of 32.67 per cent. At the same rate of advancement, the absolute gain for the ten years last past, would have been 5,578,333, or 426,515 less than it has been, without including the increase consequent upon additions of territory.

The aggregate increase of population, from all sources, shows a relative advance greater than that of any other decennial term, except that from the second to the third census, during which time the country received an accession of inhabitants by the purchase of Louisiana, considerably greater than one per cent. of the whole number.

The decennial increase of the most favored portions of Europe is less than one and a half per cent. per annum, while with the United States it is at the rate of three and a half per cent. According to our past progress, viewed in connection with that of European nations, the population of the United States in forty years will exceed that of England, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland combined.

In 1845, Mr. William Darby, the Geographer, who has paid much attention to the subject of population, and the progress of the country; having found that the increase of population in the United States for a series of years, had exceeded three per cent. per annum, adopted that ratio as a basis for calculation for future increase. He estimated the population of 1850 at 23,138,004, which it will be observed is considerably exceeded by the actual result. The following are Mr. Darby's calculations of the probable population of the Union for each five years up to 1885:

185023,138,004 187040,617,708
185526,823,385 187547,087,052
186031,095,535 188054,686,795
186535,035,231 188563,291,353

If the ratio of increase be taken at three per cent. per annum, the population duplicates, in about twenty-four years. Therefore, if no serious disturbing influence should interfere with the natural order of things, the aggregate population of the United States at the close of this century must be over one hundred millions.

The relative progress of the white and colored population in past years, is shown by the following tabular statement, giving the increase per cent. of each class of inhabitants in the United States for sixty years.

Classes.1790 to 18001800 to 1810 1810 to 18201820 to 18301830 to 1840 1840 to 1850
Whites35.736.234.19 33.9534.7 38.28
Free col.88.272.225.25 36.8520.9 10.9
Slaves27.933.429.1 30.6123.828.58
Total col.32.237.628.58 31.4423.426.22
Total pop.35.0136.4533.12 33.4832.636.25
[pg 558]

The census had been taken previously to 1830 on the 1st of August; the enumeration began that year on the 1st of June, two months earlier, so that the interval between the fourth and fifth censuses was two months less than ten years, which time allowed for would bring the total increase up to the rate of 34.36 per cent.

The table given below shows the increase for the sixty years, 1790 to 1850, without reference to intervening periods:

Number.1790.1850. Absolute Increase.Incr. per cent.
Whites3,172,36419,631,799 16,459,335527.97
Free col.59,466428,637369,171 617.44
Slaves697,8973,198,3242,500,427 350.13
Total free col. and slaves757,3633,626,961 2,869,598377.00
Total pop.3,929,82723,258,760 19,328,883491.52

Sixty years since, the proportion between the whites and blacks, bond and free, was 4.2 to one. In 1850, it was 5.26 to 1, and the ratio in favor of the former race is increasing. Had the blacks increased as fast as the whites during these sixty years, their number, on the first of June, would have been 4,657,239; so that, in comparison with the whites, they have lost, in this period, 1,035,340.

This disparity is much more than accounted for by European emigration to the United States. Dr. Chickering, in an essay upon emigration, published at Boston in 1848—distinguished for great elaborateness of research—estimates the gain of the white population, from this source, at 3,922,152. No reliable record was kept of the number of immigrants into the United States until 1820, when, by the law of March, 1819, the collectors were required to make quarterly returns of foreign passengers arriving in their districts. For the first ten years, the returns under the law afford materials for only an approximation to a true state of the facts involved in this inquiry.

Dr. Chickering assumes, as a result of his investigations, that of the 6,431,088 inhabitants of the United States in 1820, 1,430,906 were foreigners, arriving subsequent to 1790, or the descendants of such. According to Dr. Seybert, an earlier writer upon statistics, the number of foreign passengers, from 1790 to 1810, was, as nearly as could be ascertained, 120,000; and from the estimates of Dr. Seybert, and other evidence, Hon. George Tucker, author of a valuable work on the census of 1840, supposes the number, from 1810 to 1820, to have been 114,000. These estimates make, for the thirty years preceding 1820, 234,000.

If we reckon the increase of these emigrants at the average rate of the whole body of white population during these three decades, they and their descendants in 1820, would amount to about 360,000. From 1820 to 1830 there arrived, according to the returns of the Custom-houses, 135,986 foreign passengers, and from 1830 to 1840, 579,370, making for the twenty years 715,356. During this period a large number of emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, came into the United States through Canada. These were estimated at 67,903 from 1820 to 1830, and from 1830 to 1840, at 199,130. From 1840 to 1850 the arrivals of foreign passengers amounted to 1,542,850, equal to an annual average of 154,285.

From the above returns and estimates the following statement has been made up, to show the accessions to our population from immigration, from 1790 to 1850—a period of sixty years:

Number of foreigners arriving from 1790 to 1810: 120,000
Natural increase, reckoned in periods of ten years: 47,560
Number of foreigners arriving from 1810 to 1820: 114,000
Increase of the above to 1820: 19,000
Increase from 1810 to 1820 of those arriving previous to 1810: 58,450
Total number of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in 1820: 359,010
Number of immigrants from 1820 to 1830: 203,979
Increase of the above: 35,728
Increase from 1820 to 1830 of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in the country in 1820: 134,130
Total number of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in the United States in 1830: 732,847
Number of immigrants arriving from 1830 to 1840: 778,500
Increase of the: 135,150
Increase from 1830 to 1840 of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in the United States in 1830: 254,445
Total number of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in the United States in 1840: 1,900,942
Number of immigrants arriving from 1840 to 18508: 1,542,850
Increase of the above at twelve per cent: 185,142
Increase from 1840 to 1850 of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in the United States in 1840: 722,000
Total number of immigrants in the United States since 1790, and their descendants in 1850: 4,350,934

The following, we think, may be considered an approximate estimate of the population of the United States, in 1850, classed according to their descent from the European colonists, previous to the American Revolution, also from immigration since 1790, from the people who inhabited the territories acquired by the United States (Louisiana, Texas, &c.), and from Africans:

Descendants of the European colonists, previous to 1776: 14,280,885
Ditto of people of Louisiana, Texas, and other acquired territories: 1,000,000
Immigrants since 1790, and their descendants: 4,350,934
Descendants of Africans: 3,626,961
Total population: 23,258,760

It will be seen from the above, that the total number of immigrants arriving in the United States from 1790 to 1850, a period of 60 years, is estimated to have been 2,759,329—or an average of 45,988 annually for the whole period. It will be observed also that the estimated increase of these emigrants has been 1,590,405, making the total number added to the population of the United States since 1790, by foreign immigrants and their descendants, 4,350,934. Of these immigrants and their descendants, those from Ireland bear the largest proportion, probably more than one half of the whole, or say two and a half millions. Next to these the Germans are the most numerous. From the time that the first German settlers came to this country, in 1682, under the auspices of William Penn, there has been a steady influx of immigrants from Germany, principally to the Middle States; and of late years to the West.

The density of population is a branch of the subject which naturally attracts the attention of the inquirer. Taking the thirty-one States together, their area is 1,485,870 square miles, and the average number of their inhabitants is 15.48 to the square mile. The total area of the United States is 3,280,000 square miles, and the average density of population is 7.22 to the square mile.

[pg 559]

From the location, climate, and productions, and the habits and pursuits of their inhabitants, the States of the Union may be properly arranged into the following groups:

Divisions.Area in sq. miles. Population.Inhab. to sq. m.
New Engl'd States (6)63,2262,727,597 43.07
Middle States, including Maryland, Delaware and Ohio (6) 151,7608,653,71357.02
Coast Planting States, including South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana (6)286,0773,537,089 12.36
Central Slave States: Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas(6)308,2105,168,000 16.75
Northwestern States: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa (5) 250,0002,735,00010.92
Texas237,321212,000.89
California188,982165,000.87

Table of the area, and the number of inhabitants to the square mile, in each State and Territory in the Union.

Free States.Area in sq. miles Population in 1850.Inhab. to sq. m.
Maine30,000583,18819.44
New Hampshire9,280317,964 34.26
Vermont10,212314,12030.07
Massachusetts7,800994,499 126.11
Rhode Island1,306147,544 108.05
Connecticut4,674370,791 79.83
New York46,0003,097,394 67.66
New Jersey6,320489,333 60.04
Pennsylvania46,0002,311,786 50.25
Ohio39,9641,980,40849.55
Indiana33,809988,41629.23
Illinois55,405851,47015.37
Iowa50,914192,2143.77
Wisconsin53,924305,1915.45
Michigan56,243397,6547.07
California188,982165,000.87
Minnesota Terr.83,0006,077 .07
Oregon ditto341,46313,293 .04
Mew Mexico ditto219,77461,547 .28
Utah ditto187,92311,380.06
Total1,474,99313,419,190
Slaveholding States.
Delaware2,12091,53543.64
Maryland9,356583,03562.31
Dis. of Columbia6051,687 861.45
Virginia61,3521,421,661 23.17
North Carolina45,000868,903 19.30
South Carolina24,500668,507 27.28
Georgia58,000905,99915.68
Florida59,26887,4011.47
Alabama50,723771,67115.21
Mississippi47,126606,555 12.86
Louisiana46,431511,97411.02
Texas237,321212,592.89
Arkansas52,198209,6394.01
Tennessee45,6001,002,625 21.98
Kentucky37,680982,40526.07
Missouri67,380682,04310.12
Total844,1159,638,223

It will be observed that a large proportion of the area of the Free States and Territories is comprised in the unsettled country west of the Mississippi. The following Territories, inhabited by Indians, also lie west of the Mississippi.

Nebraska Territory: 136,700 square miles.
Indian Territory: 187,171 square miles.
Northwest Territory: 587,564 square miles.

The following is a comparative table of the population of each State and Territory in 1850, and 1840:

Free States.Pop. 1850.Pop. 1840.
Maine583,188501,793
New Hampshire317,964284,574
Vermont313,611291,948
Massachusetts994,499737,699
Rhode Island147,544108,830
Connecticut370,791309,978
New York3,097,3942,428,921
New Jersey489,555373,306
Pennsylvania2,311,7861,724,033
Ohio1,980,4081,519,467
Indiana988,416685,866
Illinois851,470476,183
Iowa192,21443,112
Wisconsin305,19130,945
Michigan397,654212,367
California165,000
Minnesota Territory6,077
Oregon Territory13,293
New Mexico Territory61,505
Utah Territory11,380
Total13,419,1909,978,922

Increase of population, 3,440,268, or exclusive of California and Territories, 3,183,013—equal to 31.8 per cent.

Slaveholding States.Pop. 1850. Pop. 1840
Delaware91,53678,085
Maryland583,035470,019
District of Columbia951,68743,712
Virginia1,421,6611,239,797
North Carolina868,903753,419
South Carolina668,507594,398
Georgia905,990691,392
Florida87,40154,477
Alabama771,671590,756
Mississippi606,555375,651
Louisiana511,974352,411
Texas212,592(est. 75,000)
Arkansas209,63997,574
Tennessee1,002,625829,210
Kentucky982,405779,828
Missouri682,043383,702
Total9,658,2247,409,431

Total increase of population 2,248,793, equal to 30.3 per cent.

Comparative population of the United States, from 1790 to 1850.

Census ofTotal.Whites.Free col. Slaves.
17903,929,8273,172,46459,446 687,897
18005,345,9254,304,489108,395 893,041
18107,239,8145,862,004186,446 1,191,364
18209,654,5967,872,711238,197 1,543,688
183012,866,02010,537,378319,599 2,009,043
184017,063,35514,189,705386,295 2,487,355
185023,258,76019,631,799428,637 3,198,324

Table showing the number of the different classes of population in each State and Territory.

Free States.Whites.Free col. Slaves.
Maine581,8631,325
New Hampshire317,385475
Vermont313,411709
Massachusetts985,7048,795
Rhode Island144,0003,544
Connecticut363,3057,486
New York3,049,45747,937
New Jersey466,24023,093222
Pennsylvania2,258,46353,323
Ohio1,956,10824,300
Indiana977,62810,788
Illinois846,1045,366
Iowa191,879335
Wisconsin304,965626
Michigan395,0972,537
California163,2001,800
Minnesota Territory6,03839
Oregon Territory13,089206
New Mexico Territory61,53017
Utah Territory11,3302426
Total13,406,394192,745248
[pg 560]
Slaveholding StatesWhites.Free col. Slaves.
Delaware71,28919,9572,289
Maryland418,59074,07790,368
District of Columbia38,0279,973 3,687
Virginia895,30453,829 472,528
North Carolina533,29527,196 283,412
South Carolina274,6238,900 384,984
Georgia521,4382,880381,681
Florida47,16792539,309
Alabama426,5072,272342,892
Mississippi205,758899 309,898
Louisiana255,41617,537 239,021
Texas154,10033158,161
Arkansas162,06858946,982
Tennessee756,8936,271 239,461
Kentucky761,6889,736210,981
Missouri592,0772,54487,422
Total6,224,240235,916 3,198,076

The following table shows the population west of the Mississippi River.

Western Louisiana207,787
Texas212,592
Arkansas209,639
Missouri682,043
Iowa192,214
Minnesota Territory6,077
New Mexico Territory61,505
Utah Territory11,293
Oregon Territory13,293
California165,000
Total1,761,530

The population of the Valley of the Mississippi, comprising Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, is 9,090,688, of whom the free population is 7,614,031, and 1,476,657 are slaves.

The Ratio of Representation, as determined by the recent census, and a late Act of Congress, will be about 93,716, and the relative representation of the States in Congress for the next ten years, will be as follows:

New York33
Pennsylvania25
Ohio21
Virginia13
Massachusetts11
Indiana11
Tennessee10
Kentucky10
Illinois9
North Carolina8
Georgia8
Alabama7
Missouri7
Maine6
Maryland6
New Jersey5
South Carolina5
Mississippi5
Connecticut4
Michigan4
Louisiana4
Vermont3
New Hampshire3
Wisconsin3
Rhode Island2
Iowa2
Arkansas2
Texas2
California2
Florida1
Delaware1
Total233

Agriculture.—The following is a summary of the returns of the Census for a portion of the statistics obtained respecting agriculture:

Number of acres of land improved: 112,042,000
Value of farming implements and machinery: $151,820,273
Value of live stock: $552,705,238
Bushels of wheat raised, 1849: 104,799,230
In 1839: 84,823,272
Increased production: 19,975,958
Bushels of Indian corn raised, 1849: 591,586,053
In 1839: 377,531,875
Increased production: 214,054,178
Pounds of Tobacco raised, 1849: 199,522,494
In 1839: 219,163,319
Decreased production: 19,640,825
Bales of cotton of 400 lb. each—1849: 2,472,214
In 1839: 1,976,199
Increased production: 495,016
Pounds of sheep's wool raised, 1849: 52,422,797
In 1839: 35,802,114
Increased production: 16,620,683
Tons of hay raised, 1849: 13,605,384
In 1839: 10,248,108
Increased production: 3,357,276
Pounds of butter made, 1849: 312,202,286
Pounds of cheese made, 1849: 103,184,585
Pounds of maple sugar, 1849: 32,759,263
Cane sugar—hhds. of 1000 lbs: 318,644
Value of household manufactures, 1849: $27,525,545
In 1839: 29,023,380
Decrease: 1,497,735

Manufactures.

The entire capital invested in the various manufactures in the United States, on the 1st of June, 1850, not to include any establishments producing less than the annual value of $500, amounted, in round numbers, to: $530,000,000
Value of raw materials used: 550,000,000
Amount paid for labor: 240,000,000
Value of manufactured articles: $1,020,300,000
Number of persons employed: 1,050,000

The following are the number of establishments in operation, and capital employed in cotton, woolens, and iron:

No. of Estab.Capital invested.
Cotton1094$74,501,031
Woolens155928,118,650
Pig Iron37717,356,425
Castings139117,416,360
Wrought iron42214,495,220

The value of articles manufactured in 1849 was as follows, compared with 1839.

1849.1839.
Cottons$61,869,184$46,350,453
Woolens43,207,55520,696,999
Pig Iron12,748,777
Castings25,108,155286,903
Wrought Iron16,747,074197,233

The period which has elapsed since the receipt of the returns at Washington, has been too short to enable the Census-office to make more than a general report of the facts relating to a few of the most important manufactures. The complete statistical returns, when published, will present a very full view of the varied interests and extent of the industrial pursuits of the people.

The Press.—The statistics of the newspaper press form an interesting feature in the returns of the Seventh Census. It appears that the whole number of newspapers and periodicals in the United States, on the first day of June, 1850, amounted to 2800. Of these, 2494 were fully returned, 234 had all the facts excepting circulation given, and 72 are estimated for California, the Territories, and for those that may have been omitted by the assistant marshals. From calculations made on the statistics returned, and estimated circulations where they have been omitted, it appears that the aggregate circulation of these 2800 papers and periodicals is about 5,000,000, and that the entire number of copies printed annually in the United States, amounts to 422,600,000. The following table will show the number of daily, weekly, monthly, and other issues, with the aggregate circulation of each class:

Published.No.Circulation. Copies annually.
Daily 350750,000235,000,000
Tri-weekly15075,000 11,700,000
Semi-weekly12580,000 8,320,000
Weekly2,0002,875,000 149,500,000
Semi-monthly50300,000 7,200,000
Monthly100900,00010,800,000
Quarterly2529,00080,000
Total2,8005,000,000 422,600,000

Of these papers 424 are issued in the New England States, 876 in the Middle States, 716 in the Southern States, and 784 in the Western States. The average circulation of papers in the United States, is 1785. There is one publication for every 7161 free inhabitants in the United States and Territories.

Mortality.—The statistics of mortality for the [pg 561] census year, represent the number of deaths occurring within the year as 320,194, the ratio being as one to 72.6 of the living population, or as ten to each 726 of the population. The rate of mortality in this statement, taken as a whole, seems so much less than that of any portion of Europe, that it must, at present, be received with some degree of allowance.

Indians.—The Indian tribes within the boundaries of the United States are not, as is well known, included in the census, but an enumeration of these tribes was authorized by an act of Congress, passed in March, 1847; and the census of the tribes east of the Rocky Mountains has been taken by Henry R. Schoolcraft, Esq., under the direction of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. These returns have been published, with estimates for the Indian tribes in Oregon, California, Utah, &c., and the result shows the total Indian population to be 388,229, to which may be added from 25,000 to 35,000 Indians within the area of the unexplored territories of the United States. The Indian population of Oregon is estimated at 22,733; of California 32,231; of New Mexico 92,130; of Utah 11,500; of Texas 24,100. In round numbers, the total number of Indians within our boundaries may be stated at 420,000.

Census of 1840.—For the purpose of comparison, we here present a summary of the Sixth Census of the United States, June 1, 1840.

Free States.Whites.Free col. Slaves.
Maine284,0365371
New Hampshire500,4381,355
Vermont291,218730
Massachusetts729,0308,668
Rhode Island105,5873,2385
Connecticut301,8568,10517
Total of N. England2,212,16522,633 23
New York2,378,89450,0274
New Jersey351,58821,044674
Pennsylvania1,676,11547,864 64
Ohio1,502,12217,3423
Indiana678,6987,1653
Illinois472,2543,598331
Michigan211,560707
Wisconsin30,74918511
Iowa42,92417216
Total Free States9,557,065170,727 1129
Slaveholding States.Whites.Free col. Slaves.
Delaware58,16116,9192,605
Maryland318,20462,07889,737
District of Columbia30,6578,361 4,694
Virginia740,96849,842 448,987
North Carolina484,87022,732 255,817
South Carolina259,0848,276 327,038
Georgia407,6952,753280,944
Florida27,94383725,717
Alabama335,1852,039253,532
Mississippi179,0741,369 195,211
Louisiana158,45725,592 168,451
Arkansas77,17446519,935
Tennessee640,6275,524 183,059
Kentucky590,2537,317182,258
Missouri323,8881,57458,240
Total Slave States4,632,640215,568 2,486,226
Total United States14,189,705386,295 2,487,355

Total population of the United States in 1840, 17,063,355.

Atlantic States.—The progress of population in the Atlantic States, since 1790, is shown by the following table. The Middle States are New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

New England.Middle. Southern.
17901,009,823958,632 1,852,504
18001,233,3151,401,070 2,285,909
18101,471,8912,014,695 2,674,913
18201,659,8082,699,845 3,061,074
18301,954,7173,587,664 3,645,752
18402,234,8224,526,260 3,925,299
18502,728,1065,898,735 4,678,728

It may be interesting to notice in this sketch of the progress of the United States, the population of the country comprising the original thirteen States, while under the Colonial Government, as far as the same is known. The first permanent colony planted by the English in America was Virginia, the settlement of which commenced in 1607. This was followed by the colonization of Massachusetts, in two original settlements; first that commenced at Plymouth in 1620; the other at Salem and Boston in 1628 and 1630. Maryland was settled by English and Irish Catholics in 1634; and New York by the Dutch in 1613.

With the exception of Vermont, the foundation of all the New England States was laid within twenty years from the arrival of the first settlers at Plymouth. Hutchinson says that during ten years next prior to 1640, the number of Puritans who came over to New England amounted to 21,000. If this estimate is correct, the whole number of inhabitants in New England in 1640, taking the natural increase into consideration, must have been over 32,000. As the Puritans came into power in England, under Cromwell, their emigration was checked, and almost ceased, until the restoration, in 1660. Mr. Seaman, in his “Progress of Nations,” has estimated the population of New England to have increased to 120,000 in 1701, and gives the following statement of the population of the original United States, while British colonies, estimated for 1701, 1749, and 1775:

1701.1749.1775.
New England120,000385,000 705,000
New York30,000100,000 200,000
New Jersey15,00060,000 120,000
Pennsylvania20,000200,000 325,008
Delaware5,00025,00040,000
Maryland20,000100,000 210,000
Virginia70,000250,000 540,000
North Carolina20,00080,000 260,000
South Carolina7,00050,000 160,000
Georgia--10,00040,000
Total307,0001,260,000 2,600,000

From 1750 to 1790 (Mr. Seaman states), the white population of the Southern Colonies or States increased faster than the same class in the Northern States, and about as fast from 1790 to 1800. But since that period the increase of whites has been greater in proportion in the Northern than in the Southern States.

In estimating the future progress of that part of the Continent of America within the boundaries of the United States, with reference to the march of population over the immense regions west of the Mississippi, it should be borne in mind that there is a large tract, of about one thousand miles in breadth, between the western boundaries of Missouri and Arkansas, and the Rocky Mountains, which is mostly uninhabitable for agricultural purposes, the soil being sterile, without timber, and badly watered. But the population flowing into California and Oregon, attracted by the rich mineral and agricultural resources of those extensive regions, leaves no doubt that our States on the Pacific will form a most important part of the Republic, and afford new fields for enterprise for many future years.

In taking the Seventh Census of the United States, there have been engaged 45 marshals, and 3231 assistants. The aggregate amount appropriated by Congress for the expenses was $1,267,500. On the 30th of September last there were employed in the Census-office ninety-one clerks, who in November were increased to one hundred and forty-eight.

[pg 562]

The Immensity of the Universe!—How often has the grandeur of the conception been marred by the scientific puerilities that have been brought to its aid. Lecturers have astonished us with rows of decimals, as though these could vivify the imaginative faculty, or impart an idea in any respect more elevated than could have been entertained through an unscientific yet devout contemplation of the works and ways of God. They have talked to us of millions, and millions of millions, as though the computation of immense numbers denoted the highest exercise of the human intellect, or the loftiest sublimities of human thought. Sometimes they would vary the effect by telling us how many billions of years it would take for a railroad locomotive to travel across the solar system, or for a cannon ball to fly to the widest range of a comet's orbit, or for the flash of the electric telegraph to reach the supposed remotest confines of the Milky Way. And so we have known some preachers attempt to measure eternity by clocks and pendulums, or sand-glasses as large as the earth's orbit, and dropping one grain of sand every million of years, as though any thing of that kind could come up to the dread impression of that one Saxon word—forever, or the solemn grandeur of the Latin secula seculorum, or to the effect produced by any of those simple reduplications through which language has ever sought to set forth the immeasurable conception, by making its immeasurability the very essence of the thought, and of the term by which it is denoted.

Such contrivances as we have mentioned only weary instead of aiding the conceptive faculty. If any such help is required for the mind, one of the shortest formulas of arithmetic or algebra, we contend, would be the most effective. The more we can express by the highest symbol, the less is the true grandeur of the thought impaired by any of that imitating and ever-foiled effort of the imagination which attends those longer methods that are addressed solely to it. Let us attempt such a formula by taking at once, for our unit of division, the most minute space ever brought into visibility by the highest power of the microscope. Let our dividend on the other hand, be the utmost distance within which the telescope has ever detected the existence of a material entity. Denote the quotient by the letter x, and let r stand for the radius of the earth's orbit. Then rxx is the formula sought; and if any one think for a moment on the immense magnitude of the latter part of the expression (xx), and at what a rate the involution expands itself even when x represents a moderate number,10 he may judge how immeasurably it leaves behind it all other computations. The whole of the universe made visible by Lord Rosse's telescope actually shrinks to the dimensions of an animalcule in the comparison. And yet, even at that distance, so utterly surpassing all conceivability, we may suppose the existence of worlds still embraced within the dominions of God, and still, in the same ratio, remote from the frontiers of his immeasurable empire.

But let us return from so fruitless an inquiry. There is another idea suggested by the contemplation of the heavens of no less interest, although presenting a very different, if not an opposite aspect. It is the comparative nothingness of the tangible material universe, as contrasted with the space, or spaces, occupied even within its visible boundaries. The distance of our sun from the nearest fixed star (conjectured by astronomers to be the star 61 Cygni) is estimated at being at least 60,000,000,000,000 of miles, or 600,000 diameters of the earth's orbit, or about sixty million diameters of the sun himself. Taking this for the average distance between the stars, although it is doubtless much greater, and supposing them to be equal in magnitude to each other, and to the sun, we have these most striking results. The sun and the star in Cygnus (and so of the others) would present the same relation as that of two balls of ten inches diameter placed ten thousand miles apart, or one a thousand miles above the North Pole, and the other a like distance below the South Pole of our earth. Preserving the same ratio, we might represent them again, by two half-inch bullets placed, the one at Chicago, and the other on the top of the City Hall in the City of New York; and so on, until finally we would come down to two points, less than a thousandth part of an inch in diameter, requiring the microscope to render them visible, and situated at the distance of a mile asunder. Suppose then an inch of the finest thread of thistle-down cut into a thousand sections, and a globular space as large as the sphere of our earth, occupied with such invisible specks, at distances from each other never less than a mile at least, and we have a fair representation of the visible universe—on a reduced scale, it is true, yet still preserving all the relative magnitudes, and all the adjusted proportions of the parts to each other, and to the whole. On any scale we may assume, all that partakes, in the lowest degree, of sensible materiality, bears but an infinitessimal proportion to what appears to be but vacant space. In this view of the matter it becomes more than a probability that there is no relatively denser solidity than this any where existing. Even in the hardest and apparently most impenetrable matter, the ultimate particles may be as sparse in their relative positions, as are, to each other, the higher compound and component bodies which we know are dispersed at such immense distances as mere points in space.

But not to dwell on this idea, there is another of a kindred nature to which we would call attention, although it must often have come home to every serious mind. Who can soberly contemplate the mighty heavens without being struck with what may be called the isolation of the universe, or rather, of the innumerable parts of which it is composed. To the most thoughtful spirit a sense of loneliness must be a main, if not a predominant element in such a survey. The first impression from these glittering points in space may, indeed, be that of a social congregated host. And yet how perfect the seclusion; so that while there is granted a bare knowledge of each other's existence, the possibility of any more intimate communion, without a change in present laws, is placed altogether beyond the reach of hope. What immeasurable fields of space intervene even between those that seem the nearest to each other on the celestial canvas!

We may say, then, that whatever may be reserved for a distant future, this perfect seclusion seems now to be the predominant feature, or law, of the Divine dispensations. No doubt our Creator could easily have formed us with sensitive powers, or a sensitive organization, capable of being affected from immensely remote, as well as from comparatively near distances. There is nothing inconceivable in such an adaptation of the nervous system to a finer class of etherial undulations as might have enabled us to see and hear what is going on in the most distant worlds. But it hath not so pleased Him to constitute us; and [pg 563] we think, with all reverence be it said, that we see wisdom in the denial of such powers unless accompanied by an organization which would, on the other hand, utterly unfit us for the narrow world in which we have our present probationary residence. If the excitements of our limited earth bear with such exhausting power upon our sensitive system, what if a universe should burst upon us with its tremendous realities of weal or woe!

It is in kindness, then, that each world is severed, for the present, from the general intercourse, and that so perfectly that no amount of science can ever be expected to overcome the separation. He hath set a bound which we can not pass,” except in imagination. Even analogical reasoning utterly fails, or only lights us to the conclusion that the diversities of structure, of scenery, and of condition, must be as great, and as numberless as the spaces, and distances, and positions they respectively occupy. The moral sense, however, is not wholly silent. It has a voice “to which we do well to take heed” when the last rays of reason and analogy have gone out in darkness. It can not be, it affirms—it can not be, that the worlds on worlds which the eye and the telescope reveal to us are but endless repetitions of the fallen earth on which we dwell. What a pall would such a thought spread over the universe! How sad would it render the contemplation of the heavens! How full of melancholy the conception that throughout the measureless fields of space there may be the same wretchedness and depravity that have formed the mournful history of our earth, and which we fail to see in its true intensity, because we have become hardened through long and intimate familiarity with its scenes. And yet, for all that natural science merely, and natural theology can prove, it may be so, and even far worse. For all that they can affirm, either as to possibility or probability, a history of woe surpassing any thing that earth has ever exhibited, or inhabitant of earth has ever imagined, may have every where predominated. The highest reasoning of natural theology can only set out for us some cold system of optimism, which may make it perfectly consistent with its heartless intellectuality to regard the sufferings of a universe, and that suffering a million-fold more intense than any thing ever yet experienced, as only a means to some fancied good time coming, and ever coming, for other dispensations and other races, and other types of being in a future incalculably remote. To a right thinking mind nothing can be more gloomy than that view of the universe which is given by science alone, taking the earth as its base line of measurement, and its present condition (assumed to have come from no moral catastrophe, but to be a necessary result of universal physical laws) as the only ground of legitimate induction. But we have a surer guide than this. Besides the moral sense, we have the representations the Bible gives of God and Christ. These form the ground of the belief that our earth is not a fair sample of the universe, that fallen worlds are rare and extraordinary, as requiring extraordinary mediatorial remedies—that blessedness is the rule and not the exception, and that the Divine love and justice have each respect to individual existences, instead of being both absorbed in that impersonal attribute which has regard only to being in general, or to worlds and races viewed only in reference to some interminable progress, condemned by its own law of development to eternal imperfection, because never admitting the idea of finish of workmanship, or of finality of purpose, either in relation to the universe or any of its parts.

Editor's Easy Chair

New-Yorkers have a story to tell of the winter just now dying, that will seem, perhaps, to the children of another generation like a pretty bit of Munchausenism. Whoever has seen our Metropolitan City only under the balmy atmosphere of a soft May-day, or under the smoky sultriness of a tropic August—who has known our encompassing rivers only as green arms of sparkling water, laughing under the shadows of the banks, and of shipping—would never have known the Petersburg of a place into which our passing winter has transformed the whole.

Only fancy our green East River, that all the summer comes rocking up from the placid Sound, with a hoarse murmur through the rocks of Hell-Gate, and loitering, like a tranquil poem, under the shade of the willows of Astoria, all bridged with white and glistening ice! And the stanch little coasting-craft, that in summer-time spread their wings in companies, like flocks of swans, within the bays that make the vestibule to the waters of the city, have been caught in their courses, and moored to their places, by a broad anchor of sheeted silver.

The oyster-men, at the beacon of the Saddle-rock, have cut openings in the ice; and the eel-spearers have plied their pronged trade, with no boat save the frozen water.

In town, too, a carnival of sleighs and bells has wakened Broadway into such hilarity as was like to the festivals we read of upon the Neva. And if American character verged ever toward such coquetry of flowers and bon-bons as belongs to the Carnival at Rome, it would have made a pretty occasion for the show, when cheeks looked so tempting, and the streets and house-tops sparkled with smiles.

As for the country, meantime, our visitors tell us that it has been sleeping for a month and more under a glorious cloak of snow; and that the old days of winter-cheer and fun have stolen back to mock at the anthracite fires, and to woo the world again to the frolic of moonlight rides and to the flashing play of a generous hickory-flame.


Beside the weather, which has made the ballast of very much of the salon chat, city people have been measuring opinions of late in their hap-hazard and careless way, about a new and most unfortunate trial of divorce. It is sadly to be regretted that the criminations and recriminations between man and wife should play such part as they do, not only in the gossip, but in the papers of the day. Such reports as mark the progress of the Forrest trial (though we say it out of our Easy Chair) make very poor pabulum for the education of city children. And we throw out, in way of hint, both to legislators and editors, the question how this matter is to be mended.

As for the merits of the case, which have been so widely discussed, we—talking as we do in most kindly fashion of chit-chat—shall venture no opinion. At the same time, we can not forbear intimating our strong regret, that a lady, who by the finding of an impartial jury, was declared intact in character, and who possessed thereby a start-point for winning high estimation in those quiet domestic circles which her talents were fitted to adorn—should peril all this, by a sudden appeal to the sympathies of those who judge of character by scenic effects: and who, by the very necessity of her new position, will measure her worth by the glare of the foot-lights of a theatre!

Mrs. Forrest has preferred admiration to sympathy; [pg 564] her self-denial is not equal to her love of approbation.


European topic still has its place, and Louis Napoleon with his adroit but tyrannic manœuvres, fills up a large space of the talk. It would seem, that he was rivaling the keenest times of the Empire, in the zeal of his espionage; and every mail brings us intelligence of some unfortunately free-talker, who is “advised” to quit “the Republic.”

Americans are very naturally in bad odor; and from private advices we learn that their requisitions to see the lions of the capital city, meet with a growing coolness. Still, however, the gay heart of Paris leaps on, in its fond, foolish heedlessness; and the operas and theatres win the discontented away from their cares, and bury their lost liberties under the shabby concealment of a laugh.

Report says that the masked balls of the Opera were never more fully attended; or the gayety of their Carnival pursued with a noisier recklessness.

This, indeed, is natural enough: when men are denied the liberty of thinking, they will relieve themselves by a license of desire; and when the soul is pinioned by bonds, the senses will cheat the man.

There is no better safeguard for Despotism, whether under cover of a Kingdom or a Republic—than immorality. The brutality of lust is the best extinguisher of thought: and the drunkenness of sensualism will inevitably stifle all the nobler impulses of the mind.


As for political chat at home, it runs now in the channel of President-making; and the dinner-tables of Washington are lighted up with comparison of chances. Under this, the gayeties proper are at a comparative stand-still. The Assembly balls, as we learn, are less brilliant, and more promiscuous than ever; and even the select parties of the National Hotel are singularly devoid of attractions. Lent too is approaching, to whip off, with its scourge of custom, the cue of papal diplomats; and then, the earnestness of the campaign for the Presidency will embrue the talk of the whole Metropolis.

While we are thus turning our pen-point Washington-ward, we shall take the liberty of felicitating ourselves, upon the contrast which has belonged to the reception of Lola Montes, in New York, and in the metropolis of the nation. Here, she was scarce the mention of a respectable journal; there, she has been honored by distinguished “callers.”

We see in this a better tone of taste in our own city, than in the city of the nation; and it will justify the opinion, which is not without other support, that the range of honorable delicacy is far lower in the city of our representatives, than in any city of their clients. Representatives leave their proprieties at home; and many a member would blush at a license within the purlieus of his own constituency, which he courts as an honor in the city of our Cæsars! We wish them joy of their devotion to the Danseuse, whom—though we count as humble as themselves in point of morals—we believe to be superior, mentally, to the bulk of her admirers.


As a token of French life and morals, we make out this sad little bit of romance from a recent paper:

A few days since, some boatmen upon the Seine saw what appeared to be a pair of human feet floating down the stream; manning their barge, they hastened to the spot, and succeeded in drawing from the water the body of a young woman, apparently about twenty-five years of age, and elegantly dressed; a heavy stone was attached to her neck by a cord. Within a small tin box, in the pocket of her dress, carefully sealed, was found the following note:

“My parents I have never known; up to the age of seven years, I was brought up by a good woman of a little village of the Department of the Seine and Marne; and from that time, to the age of eighteen I was placed in a boarding-house of Paris. Nothing but was provided for my education. My parents were without doubt rich, for nothing was neglected that could supply me with rich toilet, and my bills were regularly paid by an unknown hand.

“One day I received a letter; it was signed, ‘Your mother.’ Then I was happy!

“ ‘Your birth,’ she wrote me, ‘would destroy the repose of our entire family; one day, however, you shall know me: honorable blood flows in your veins, my daughter—do not doubt it. Your future is made sure. But for the present, it is necessary that you accept a place provided for you in the establishment of M——; and when once you have made yourself familiar with the duties of the place, you shall be placed at the head of an even larger establishment.’

“A few days after, I found myself in the new position. Years passed by. Then came the Revolution of February. From that fatal time I have heard nothing of my family. Alone in the world, believing myself deserted, maddened by my situation, I yielded, in an evil hour, to the oaths of one who professed to love me. He deceived me; there is nothing now to live for; suicide is my only refuge. I only pray that those who find this poor body, will tell my story to the world; and, please God, it may soften, the heart of those who desert their children!”

The story may be true or not, in fact; it is certainly true to the life, and the religion of Paris: and while such life, and such sense of duty remains, it is not strange that a Napoleon can ride into rule, and that the French Republic should be firmest under the prick of bayonets.


It appears that a Madame de la Ribossière has deceased lately in Paris, leaving a very large fortune—to the city of Paris—much to the ire, not only of her family, but of sundry friends, literary and others, who had contributed very greatly to her amusement.

A French writer comments on the matter in a strain which, considering our duties as Editor, we shall not think it worth while to gainsay.

Madame de la Ribossière was a lady of refined tastes, who derived a large part of her enjoyment of life from the accomplishments of artistic and literary gentlemen; how then, does it happen that she should not have given proof of the pleasure she had received by a few princely legacies?

In the good old times (may they come again!) authors had different treatment. Thus Pliny, the younger, in writing to Tacitus, says, “I have received the past year some twenty-five thousand ses terces more than yourself—in the way of legacies—but don't be jealous!”

The truth is, that a rich man rarely died in Rome, without leaving some token to the author who had beguiled the hours of solitude—enlarged his ideas, or consoled him in affliction. Cicero speaks of a large inheritance, which he possessed, of statues and beautiful objects. In short, Roman literature and the history of antiquity grew out of those princely endowments, which independence and strength of opinion did not fail to secure.

But nowadays, says the French author, a writer is paid like a starveling; and picks up such crumbs of charity as fall only from the tables of the publishers. [pg 565] And he goes on pleasantly, to suggest a change in this matter; which, if it gain footing on the other side of the water, we shall take the liberty of welcoming very kindly in America. When the custom of leaving legacies to writers is in vogue, we shall take the liberty of suggesting, in our own behalf, such objects of art as would be agreeable to us; and such stocks as we should prefer as a permanent investment.

Meantime, we suck our quill in our Easy Chair, with as much forbearance as we can readily command.

Editor's Drawer.

That was a dignified and graceful entertainment which recently took place in the gay capital of France. Some two hundred of the “nobility and gentry,” including a sprinkling of English aristocracy, assembled in a prominent hall of the city, to see a Rat and Owl Fight! And while they were getting ready the combatants, which went by sundry fancy or favorite names, they had a poet in leash, who “improvised a strophe for the occasion! Think of a “poet” apostrophizing, in studied measures, twelve rats and four old owls! But that's “the way they do things in France.”

They have another very sensible and dramatic amusement there, which they call the Mat de Cocagne.” This is a long pole, of about eighteen inches diameter at the base, well polished and greased from top to bottom, with soft soap, tallow, and other slippery ingredients. To climb up this pole to the top is an eminent exploit, which crowns the victorious adventurer with a rich prize, and gains him the acclamations of ten thousand spectators. The “pretenders” strip off their upper gear altogether, and roll up their trowsers mid-thigh, and thus accoutred, present themselves at the bottom of the mast. Now just listen to a description of the operation, and reflections thereupon, and tell us whether you ever read any thing more “perfectly French.”

“The first who attempt the ascent look for no honor; their office is to prepare the way, and put things in train for their successors: they rub off the grease from the bottom, the least practicable part of the pole. In every thing the first steps are the most difficult, although seldom the most glorious; and scarcely ever does the same person commence an enterprise, and reap the fruit of its accomplishment. They ascend higher by degrees, and the expert climbers now come forth, the heroes of the list: they who have been accustomed to gain prizes, whose prowess is known, and whose fame is established since many seasons. They do not expend their strength in the beginning; they climb up gently, and patiently, and modestly, and repose from time to time; and they carry, as is permitted, a little sack at their girdle, filled with ashes to neutralize the grease and render it less slippery.

“All efforts, however, for a long time prove ineffectual. There seems to be an ultimate point, which no one can scan, the measure and term of human strength; and to overreach it is at last deemed impossible. Now and then a pretender essays his awkward limbs, and reaching scarce half way even to this point, falls back clumsily amidst the hisses and laughter of the spectators; so in the world empirical pretension comes out into notoriety for a moment only to return with ridicule and scorn to its original obscurity.

“But the charm is at length broken: a victorious climber has transcended the point at which his predecessors were arrested. Every one now does the same: such are men: they want but a precedent: as soon as it is proved that a thing is possible, it is no longer difficult. Our climber continues his success: farther and farther still; he is a few feet only from the summit, but he is wearied, he relents. Alas! is the prize, almost in his grasp, to escape from him! He makes another effort, but it is of no avail. He does not, however, lose ground: he reposes. In the mean time, exclamations are heard, of doubt, of success, of encouragement.

“After a lapse of two or three minutes, which is itself a fatigue, he essays again. It is in vain! He begins even to shrink: he has slipped downward a few inches, and recovers his loss by an obstinate struggle (applause!’sensation!’), but it is a supernatural effort, and—his last. Soon after a murmur is heard from the crowd below, half raillery and half compassion, and the poor adventurer slides down, mortified and exhausted, upon the earth!

“So a courtier, having planned from his youth his career of ambition, struggles up the ladder, lubric and precipitous, to the top—to the very consummation of his hopes, and then falls back into the rubbish from which he has issued; and they who envied his fortune, now rejoice in his fall. What lessons of philosophy in a greasy pole! What moral reflections in a spectacle so empty to the common world! What wholesome sermons are here upon the vanity of human hopes, the disappointments of ambition, and the difficulties of success in the slippery paths of fortune and human greatness! But the very defeat of the last adventurer has shown the possibility of success, and prepared the way for his successor, who mounts up and perches on the summit of the mast, bears off the crown, and descends amidst the shouts and applause of the multitude. It is Americus Vespucius who bears away from Columbus the recompense of his toils!”

So much for climbing a greased pole in reflective, philosophical Paris!


Inquisitiveness has been well described as “an itch for prying into other people's affairs, to the neglect of our own; an ignorant hankering after all such knowledge as is not worth knowing; a curiosity to learn things that are not at all curious.” People of this stamp would rather be “put to the question” than not to ask questions. Silence is torture to them. A genuine quidnunc prefers even false news to no news; he prides himself upon having the first information of things that never happened. Yankees are supposed to have attained the greatest art in parrying inquisitiveness, but there is a story extant of a “Londoner” on his travels in the provinces, who rather eclipses the cunning “Yankee Peddler.” In traveling post, says the narrator, he was obliged to stop at a village to replace a shoe which his horse had lost; when the “Paul Pry” of the place bustled up to the carriage-window, and without waiting for the ceremony of an introduction, said:

“Good-morning, sir. Horse cast a shoe I see. I suppose, sir, you are going to—?”

Here he paused, expecting the name of the place to be supplied; but the gentleman answered:

“You are quite right; I generally go there at this season.”

“Ay—ahem!—do you? And no doubt you are now come from—?”

“Right again, sir; I live there.”

[pg 566]

“Oh, ay; I see: you do! But I perceive it is a London shay. Is there any thing stirring in London?”

“Oh, yes; plenty of other chaises and carriages of all sorts.”

“Ay, ay, of course. But what do folks say?”

“They say their prayers every Sunday.”

“That isn't what I mean. I want to know whether there is any thing new and fresh.”

“Yes; bread and herrings.”

“Ah, you are a queer fellow. Pray, mister, may I ask your name?”

“Fools and clowns,” said the gentleman, “call me ‘Mister;’ but I am in reality one of the clowns of Aristophanes; and my real name is Brekekekex Koax! Drive on, postillion!”

Now this is what we call a “pursuit of knowledge under difficulties” of the most obstinate kind.


In these “leaking” days of wintry-spring, when that classical compound called splosh,” a conglomerate of dirty snow and unmistakable mud, pervades the streets of the city, perhaps these Street Thoughts by a Surgeon may not be without some degree of wholesome effect upon the community:

“In perambulating the streets at this period, what a number of little ragamuffins I observe trundling their hoops! With what interest I contemplate their youthful sport; particularly when I regard its probable consequences! A hoop runs between a gentleman's legs. He falls. When I reflect on the wonderful construction of the skeleton, and consider to how many fractures and dislocations it is liable in such a case, my bosom expands to a considerate police, to whose ‘non-interference’ we are indebted for such chances of practice!

“The numerous bits of orange-peel which diversify the pavement, oftentimes attract my attention. Never do I kick one of them out of the way. The blessings of a whole profession on the hands that scatter them! Each single bit may supply a new and instructive page to the ‘Chapter of Accidents.’

“Considering the damp, muddy state of the streets at this time of the year, I am equally amazed and delighted to see the ladies, almost universally, going about in the thinnest of thin shoes. This elegant fashion beautifully displays the conformation of the ankle-joint; but to the practitioner it has another and a stronger recommendation. I behold the delicate foot separated scarcely by the thickness of thin paper from the mire. I see