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Full text of "Half-hours with the best American authors"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

DAVIS 

GIFT OF 

Mrs. Paul M. Grant 




(prom Ike Picture Ly Stuart Newtoix. 1820.) 



HALF-HOURS 



WITH THE 



BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 



SELECTED AND ARRANGED BY 

CHARLES MORRIS. 



VOL. I. 



PHILADELPHIA: 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 
1891. 

LIBRARY 

PNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
DAVIS 



Copyright, 1886, by J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 



PEEFAOE. 



THERE is no occasion that we should here enter into 
any argument as to the value or the comparative position 
of American literature. The time has gone by in which 
a defensive attitude was necessary. This literature to 
day stands fairly parallel with the best of that of other 
nations, and we need but to point to the selections in the 
following pages in evidence of this assertion. In fact, it 
will suffice to say that a literature which possesses such 
names as those of Irving, Prescott, Bancroft, and Motley 
in history, Emerson and Edwards in philosophy, Haw 
thorne, Cooper, Holmes, and James in fiction, Bryant, 
Longfellow, Poe, Lowell, and Whittier in poetry, and 
others of no less merit in other branches of authorship, 
needs no advocate, but may be left to speak for itself. 

Yet the development of this literature has taken place 
in the face of discouraging obstacles, which fully account 
for the slowness of its progress, and which have not yet 
quite passed away. Of these obstacles we may briefly 
speak. From the first settlement of this country until 
well within the present century the colonists of America 
were actively engaged in an absorbing labor, that of sub 
duing a savage country and its equally savage inhabitants 
to the conditions and the influences of civilization. Ere 
this contest with nature was ended, an equally severe 
one with European civilization began, a mortal struggle 
against the cupidity, arrogance, and tyranny which the 
Middle Ages had left as a heritage to Europe, and which 
sought, like a giant foot, to crush down the eager young 
vitality of the Western world. A third agency, which 



iv PREFACE. 

long absorbed the highest energies of the American intel 
lect, was that of the establishment of a republican gov 
ernment on a scale of grandeur never before attempted, 
and this, not by the slow process of growth, as of old, but 
by the rapid method of radical experiment and political 
revolution. 

All this undoubtedly exercised and strengthened the 
American intellect, but it also narrowed the channel in 
which it flowed. Eapid progress was made in political 
science, and the effete political ideas which had been long 
current in Europe were probed to their hollow hearts by 
the fresh and radical doctrines of the thinkers of America. 
And the prevailing spirit of practicalism found a voice 
in the writings of Benjamin Franklin, the truest advocate 
of hard common sense and every-day wisdom the world 
has ever known. Europe in the eighteenth century pro 
duced no writer superior in intellectual ability to Frank 
lin ; yet the influences here detailed long acted to prevent 
American thought from attaining the width and diversity 
of expression displayed in European literature. There 
has been, and still exists, yet another discouraging influ 
ence, of which we may speak in passing. This is the 
total absence of legal protection of our authors against 
foreign competition. The law-makers of America early 
and clearly perceived the necessity of protecting the 
mechanical interests of the country, if any rapid develop 
ment of industry was desired. But they failed, and still 
fail, to perceive that the mental interests of the country 
were exposed to a yet more severe competition and atood 
still more in need of protection. Every untried American 
book has been forced to compete in open market with 
European books of established reputation, which were 
sure of a profitable sale, and which could be had for the 
taking, without need of compensation to the author. 



PREFACE. V 

No one will deny that the fullest and widest unfoldment 
of the intellect of a nation is the condition best adapted 
to the advancement of all the interests of that nation, 
physical, mental, and spiritual. But it must be affirmed 
that the inducements to this broad intellectual develop 
ment in the United States have been in considerable 
measure withheld, with the resultant tendency to yield a 
narrowed and one-sided intellectual activity. In this re 
spect our legislators have been derelict in their duty to 
their constituents, and, while tenderly fostering the phys 
ical interests of the country, have left its intellectual in 
terests to take care of themselves, blind to the fact that 
literature is a tender plant, which needs to be sedulously 
encouraged, and that a developed intellect is the highest 
product of any civilization. 

Yet in spite of all these restrictions and discourage 
ments there is an American literature, and a very consid 
erable and diversified one. We do not propose to enter 
into any detailed examination of its steps of development. 
We need simply repeat that up to the beginning of this cen 
tury very little literary work of a high class of merit had 
been performed, and that what had appeared was mainly 
in the line of political thought. In this latter direction 
several writers of great ability had arisen. With the 
opening of the nineteenth century a broader development 
began, with the work of a few writers of diversified in 
tellectual powers. Yet the century was well advanced 
ere the growing wealth, increased leisure, and advanced 
education of the people of this country yielded the con 
ditions essential to any decided progress in literature. Of 
American writers of declared ability in the eighteenth 
century we may cite the names of Jonathan Edwards, 
Benjamin Franklin, Philip Freneau, Thomas Paine, and 
Thomas Jefferson. In the first quarter of the nineteenth 



v [ PREFACE. 

century a grade of literature no higher in thought, but 
finer in finish and broader in scope, appeared, and in the 
works of Washington Irving the richest powers and most 
cultured style of contemporary European authors were 
equalled. We might name other able writers of that 
period, but it may best be looked upon as a brooding era, 
a period of intellectual incubation, during which the 
young thought of America was gaining its wings and 
preparing for a free and lofty flight. The true age of 
high activity of American literature, therefore, may be 
viewed as that of the last half-century. During this 
period the physical and political obstructions to the free 
outgrowth of thought have in great measure disappeared. 
The lack of copyright protection remains, with its ten 
dency to restrict literary production to its lower and more 
popular channels and to discourage the publication of 
works of a higher class. Yet no bonds can confine the 
mind of a nation when it has once gained a certain 
strength. American thought has found its voice, in spite 
of pecuniary restrictions, and the literary product of the 
United States now fairly vies in quality as well as in 
quantity with that of any European nation. 

The names of our meritorious authors of recent date 
are far too numerous to be here given, and in evidence of 
their intellectual ability and literary skill we offer this 
work, as a repertory of choice selections from the best 
writers of America. We have endeavored to diversify 
these selections as much as possible, and to include ex 
tracts alike from the provinces of reasoning and descrip 
tion, such as science, theology, philosophy, travel, history, 
and criticism, and from those of imagination, such as 
poetry, fiction, and humor. 

It has not been our purpose, however, to attempt a 
survey of the entire field of American literature. Some 



PREFACE. vii 

authors of established reputation have been omitted. 
Others but little known to general readers have been in 
troduced. We have been controlled rather by the liter 
ary merit and diversity of interest in the matter than by 
the name of the author, our desire being to please and 
instruct readers, and not to offer any estimate as to the 
comparative standing of writers. In particular we have 
avoided works of a technical character, however merito 
rious in their particular provinces, and also the more solid 
products of philosophy, theology, and the like weighty 
subjects ; it being borne constantly in mind that it is to 
the general reading public that this work is offered, and 
that it should therefore contain nothing that may prove 
laborious to read or difficult to understand. 

From the lighter literature of America we have gleaned 
more broadly, to the extent that the works of novelists, 
humorists, and miscellaneous writers offered the oppor 
tunity for a judicious short selection. This has not been 
possible in the case of several writers of good standing in 
public estimation, particularly of some of our most meri 
torious novelists, their works being of value as wholes 
only, and presenting no special interest in a fragmentary 
state. In many cases, indeed, the stamp of public appro 
bation has been set on works which did not fairly deserve 
and cannot retain it. But numerous other works have 
sunk out of sight of the reading world not from lack of 
merit, but through the pressure of new and often inferior 
applicants for public favor. From this older wine of 
thought we have drawn to the extent that space per 
mitted, though the somewhat inconvenient number of 
meritorious writers has rendered many omissions neces 
sary. 

We here take the opportunity to return thanks and ex 
press our sense of deep obligation to the several authors 



viii PREFACE. 

and publishers who have, with much courtesy and kind 
ness, granted us permission to use extracts from their 
copyrighted works. The books and authors from whom 
selections have been made are sufficiently indicated in the 
biographical notices attached to the several articles, and 
we beg to offer to these authors in that form our ac 
knowledgment of their courtesy. To the publishers to 
whose kindness we are indebted we can but express our 
thanks for the courteous willingness with which they 
have permitted us to use extracts from their highly -valu 
able material. 

Acknowledgment of such favors is due to Messrs. 
Roberts Brothers, Ticknor & Co., Lee & Shepherd, Estes 
& Lauriat, and Cupples, Upham & Co., of Boston ; Harper 
& Brothers, Charles Scribner's Sons, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 
D. Appleton & Co., Henry Holt & Co., Fords, Howard & 
Hurlbut, American Tract Society, and Funk & Wagnalls, 
of New York; American Publishing Company, of Hart 
ford ; J. B. Lippincott Company, Porter & Coates, and D. 
McKay, of Philadelphia ; S. C. Griggs & Co., and E. R. 
Donnelley & Sons, of Chicago. 

Especial acknowledgment is due to Messrs. Houghton, 
Miffiin & Co. for allowing us to use selections from the 
following eminent American authors, whose works they 
publish : 

Longfellow, Whittier, Emerson, Hawthorne, Holmes, 
Lowell, Aldrich, Agassiz, Burroughs, Alice and Phoebo 
Gary, Fields, Bret Harte, Hay, Howells, Miss Jewett, 
Miss Larcom, Parton, Piatt, Miss Phelps, Saxe, Stedman, 
Mrs. Stowe, Thoreau, Ticknor, Warner, R. G-. White, 
Whipple, and Mrs. Whitney. 

CHAELES MORRIS. 



CONTENTS. 



SUBJECT. AUTHOR. PAO 

Aspects of American Literature PARKE GODWIN 9 

America the Old World Louis AGASSIZ 16 

In the Hemlocks JOHN BURROUGHS 23 

The Land Fever CAROLINE M. KIRKLAND . . 31 

Rhoecus J. RUSSELL LOWELL .... 41 

Every-Day Wisdom BENJAMIN FRANKLIN ... 46 

The First Revolution of the Heavens wit 
nessed by Man ORMSBY M. MITCHEL ... 53 

Hezekiah Bedott F. M. WHITCHER 57 

The Journey to Palmyra WILLIAM WARE 67 

Kentucky Belle CONSTANCE F. WOOLSON ... 73 

The Love of Trees HENRY WARD BEECHER . . 79 

The Purloined Letter EDGAR ALLAN POE .... 85 

The Blind Preacher . WILLIAM WIRT 102 

Speech on Duluth J. PROCTOR KNOTT 107 

Love's Young Dfeam VARIOUS 115 

Love-Song of the Bedouins BAYARD TAYLOR 115 

A Love-Song from the Persian T. B. ALDRICH 117 

A Health E. C. PINKNEY 117 

Annabel Lee E. A. POE 119 

A Warning J. G. WHITTIER 120 

The Duke's Plot JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY . . 121 

My Chateaux GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS . . 129 

The Character of Washington THOMAS JEFFERSON .... 140 

The Ride of the Avengers THEODORE WINTHROP . . . 143 

My Child JOHN PIERPONT 152 

A Bee-Hunt WASHINGTON IRVING .... 155 

Approaching the Alps CORNELIUS C. FELTON . . . 159 

The Monarch of Tezcuco WILLIAM H. PRESCOTT ... 16 1 

The Energy of Youth E. P. WHIPPLE 174 

A Summer Day's Idyl L. M. ALCOTT 178 

The Hasty Pudding JOEL BARLOW 136 

ix 



x CONTENTS. 

SUBJECT. AUTHOR. PAGE 

Vagrant Children THEODORE PARKER . . 193 

The Pleasures of Gardening CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER . 198 

Boston Transcendentalism A; D. T. WHITNEY 203 

Reply to Hayne DANIEL WEBSTER 210 

Thanatopsis WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT . 215 

The Use of Time JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE . . 218 

How I came to Buy a Farm BAYARD TAYLOR 228 

Roman Antiquities at Nimes HENRY JAMES, JR 237 

The Royal Gorge ERNEST INGERSOLL .... 244 

The Meaning of Infancy JOHN FISKE 254 

Old Virginia JAMES PARTON 261 

The Revolving Seasons VARIOUS 271 

April EMERSON 271 

Ma f HELEN HUNT 271 

1 J. G. PERCIVAL 272 

f ELIZABETH AKERS .... 273 

' U.R. LOWELL 274 

Summer. . f EDITH MAY .' 276 

I ROSE TERRY 277 

Autumn , R. H. STODDARD 278 



H. W. LOVGFELLOW ... 280 

Winter. The Snow-Storm R. W. EMERSON 280 

The Frost HANNAH F. GOULD .... 281 

The Closing Year GEORGE D. PRENTICE ... 282 

The Mocking-Bird JOHN JAMES AUDUBON . . . 285 

The Wood-Thrush " " " ... 288 

Quotation and Originality R. W. EMERSON 291 

Long Tom Coffin JAMES FENIMORE COOPER . . 302 

The Value of Education . . HORACE MANN 313 

Betsey and I are Out WILL CARLETON 319 

How Betsey and I Made Up " " 324 

The Arabian Civilization in Spain .... JOHN W. DRAPER 328 

Dialogue between Truth and Peace .... ROGER WILLIAMS 341 

In the Arctic Seas ISAAC I. HAYES 344 

Imperishable Memories EDWARD EVERETT 358 

Encounter with a Panther CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN . 363 

Thanksgiving ALICE GARY 368 

The Indians JOSEPH STORY 376 

The Importance of Classical Learning . . " " 379 

Free Schools " " 380 

Anecdotes of Thackeray JAMES T. FIELDS 381 

Books and Reading NOAH PORTER 394 



CONTENTS. xi 

SUBJECT. AUTHOR. PAGE 

An Ancient Chariot-Race LEWIS WALLACE 405 

An Artist in Whitewash SAMUEL L. CLEMENS .... 420 

Befogging a Guide " " .... 425 

A Garland of Flower-Poems VARIOUS 429 

Flowers H. W. LONGFELLOW .... 430 

The Wild Honeysuckle PHILIP FRENEAU 432 

The Trailing Arbutus ROSE TERRY 433 

The Violet W. W. STORY 434 

A Violet . . . A. D. T. WHITNEY 435 

The Bluebells of New England T. B. ALDRICH 436 

The Rhodora R. W. EMERSON 437 

The Death of the Flowers W. C. BRYANT 438 

Braddock's Defeat FRANCIS PARKMAN .... 439 

The Idea of Deity 0. B. FROTHINGHAM .... 449 

The White Stone Canoe HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAPT . . 458 

Military Insubordination HENRY CLAY 463 

A Ride in a Palace-Car HELEN HUNT JACKSON ... 467 

Symphony SIDNEY LANIER 479 

The Autocrat's Opinions OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES . 487 

The Understone World " " " .487 

Truth and Falsehood " " " .489 

The Side-Door to the Heart " " " .490 

The Clock of Life " " " . 491 

Growing Beyond " " " .492 

Conditions of Language- Variation .... RICHARD GRANT WHITE . . 493 

An Heroic Combat . . WASHINGTON IRVING .... 502 



HALF-HOURS 



WITH THE 



BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 



ASPECTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. 

PARKE GODWIN. 

[The paper which we have selected for our opening Half-Hour, on 
account of its able presentation of the claims of American literature to 
American readers, is from the pen of Parke Godwin, one of our best- 
known and most clever journalists. It is chosen from his volume of 
thoughtful and suggestive essays, entitled "Out of the Past." Mr. 
Godwin was born at Paterson, New Jersey, February 25, 1816, and 
is the son of an officer of the war of 1812, and the grandson of a Kevo- 
lutionary soldier. He has long been identified with New York jour 
nalism, and was associated with William Cullen Bryant, his father-in- 
law, in the editorship of the New York Evening Post, from 1837 to 
1853. He is the author of very many periodical papers, of the first 
volume of a " History of France," of a " Life of William Cullen 
Bryant," published in 1883, and of several other works and trans 
lations.] 

IT would be absurd to expect of us, in this the seven 
tieth year of an independent national existence, as full 
and rich a literary growth as that of the older nations, 
absurd, for the reason that we have had no time to pro 
duce it in, while our intellectual energies have been ab- 

9 



10 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GODWIN 

sorbed in other ways. A man who has his fields to clear, 
his house to build, his shoes and clothing to make, his 
ways of access to his neighbors to open, and, above all, 
his government and social order to invent and institute, 
in short, who has to provide by dint of the severest toil 
for the most immediate and pressing wants of his exist 
ence, is not the man who constructs epics, or amuses his 
fancy with the invention of dramas or tales. His epics 
and dramas and romances he finds in his work. The 
giants of the woods are the giants most formidable to 
him, and whose conquest is more important than any 
imagination might conjure from the dim twilight of 
mythology. He is battling face to face with the frost 
and hail and mud jotuns that Carlyle speaks of; and, 
while the battle lasts, he has as little relish as he has 
opportunity for idle songs about them. Let him be 
deeply engaged the while in a novel and somewhat mo 
mentous political experiment, working out into practical 
and victorious solution a problem in which the destinies 
of half a world are involved, and the stern and trying 
task laid upon him will scarcely permit of his turning 
aside to the gentle and capricious arts. If, therefore, the 
whole of his earlier life should exhibit an absolute want 
of literary result, the fact would not argue against his 
capacity for that kind of production, but simply that his 
powers had been diverted into other channels. But this 
consideration is so obvious that we need not press it 
further. 

Again, if in the progress of wealth and leisure, with 
the growth of intellectual wants and refinements, we 
should find him prone to imitate the artistic efforts of 
those who had gone before, it would merely show a very 
common trait of youth. .Nothing is more natural than 
for juniors to copy their seniors. Even men and nations 



GODWIN] ASPECTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. H 

endowed with indisputable genius are apt, in their first 
crude endeavors, to pursue the paths and ape the man 
ners of their predecessors, whose successes they admire, 
and for whose qualities they feel a kindred sympathy, 
but the secrets of whose self-dependence they have not 
yet learned. Fearful at first of the strength of their 
untried wings, though full of impulse for flight, like 
young birds they watch the motions of their elders, until 
in due time they may themselves launch forth into the 
air. Indeed, we remember years ago to have read the 
work of some unrecognized Western philosopher who 
maintained with an abundance of instances to confirm 
his theory that early imitation is a characteristic mark 
of genius, and that the greatest of men have begun their 
careers by a more or less conscious adoption of some 
much-loved model. . . . 

Now, all this being admitted, the question of American 
originality narrows itself down to this, whether the stock 
has degenerated by crossing the ocean, or in being exposed 
to the different influences of new natural and social con 
ditions? Do such of us as have devoted our energies to 
literature give evidence of deterioration and decay, or 
is the old vigor still in our loins ? 

We think that no fair mind can hesitate as to the 
answer. We believe that our authors have at least not 
retrograded. On the other hand, we believe that they 
are worthy scions of the old stock; and, more than that, 
that under the inspiration of a new order of things, such 
as exists in this country, they have laid the foundations 
of a peculiar literature, not yet copious, not yet com 
parable for richness, depth, variety, or grace with either 
of the ancient or modern literatures, but still full of native 
freshness and promise. Like a noble youth rounding 
into manhood, we are wild, extravagant, and impulsive, 



12 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GODWIN 

betraying the faults of want of discipline and culture, but 
strong in the consciousness of mighty powers, and bound 
ing forward to a future of glorious developments. 

Nol we may not point to bright galaxies like those 
which shed lustre from other heavens; we have no 
thickly-studded constellations and luminous groups scat 
tered all above us; but we do claim single stars that 
shine with an unborrowed and unfading brilliancy. Few 
will be disposed to deny that in metaphysics and moral 
reasoning Jonathan Edwards is of the same order of men 
with Locke and Butler ; that in experimental philosophy 
Franklin, and in the science of navigation Bowditch, aro 
names consecrated by history ; that Hamilton, Jefferson, 
and Madison rank with the statesmen of any age ; that 
the historians Bancroft and Prescott take their places by 
the side of the best modern historians, whether we regard 
the accuracy of their research or the perspicuity and 
finish of their style ; that Cooper, as a novelist, is only 
inferior to Scott, to whom all others are inferior ; that 
the pleasant essays of Irving fear no comparison with 
those of Addison and Goldsmith; and that poems of 
Bryant will be read with delight as long as Gray's Elegy, 
or Coleridge's Genevieve, or Milton's Lycidas, or Burns's 
songs, because, like those immortal productions, they are 
perfect in their kind. When, moreover, we name the 
only eloquence in our language which approaches the 
comprehensive and masterly speeches of Burke, we recall 
that of Webster ; the artist of modern artists who ap 
proaches nearest to Titian is Allston ; the liveliest maga- 
zinist of the day, not excepting Jules Janin, is Willis ; 
the woman who has written a book which has had a 
wider instant circulation than the book of any other 
woman is Mrs. Stowe. Well, this is not much : it is not 
Shakespeare, Milton, or Bacon, it is not Swift, Fielding, 



GODWIN] ASPECTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. 13 

Thackeray ; but it is some proof of what we contend for, 
that the old Saxon blood has not turned to water in 
our veins, nor the old fire of the heart become a putrid 
phosphor. 

It is a piece of unworthy prejudice to pretend that 
our leading writers are only second editions of European 
celebrities. Cooper is no more an imitator of Scott than 
is Bulwer or Dickens : his materials and his methods of 
presenting them are his own; and no man not born in 
America, in the shadow of her primeval woods, under the 
inspirations of her unsettled pioneer, could have written 
any of the best of his works. Bryant is wholly Ameri 
can, or if he resembles Wordsworth or Cowper it is 
because he writes English with the deep meditative wis 
dom of the one and the pensive grace of the other ; but 
neither Wordsworth nor Cowper has written more true, 
beautiful, or indestructible poems than the Waterfowl or 
the Prairies. Whom does Emerson imitate ? Carlyle ! 
Why, with scarcely a quality in common with Carlyle, 
he is just as much the superior of Carlyle in clearness 
and depth of insight as he is in simplicity and melody of 
style. Has Mr. Dana a prototype? has Channing? has 
Audubon ? has Webster ? has Hawthorne ? has Melville ? 
has Uncle Tom ? 

There always must be more or less of structural uni 
formity in the literature of nations which speak the same 
language. Out of the same deep heart of the national 
life from which language comes, literature also is born ; 
and those mysterious indwelling causes, and hardly less 
mysterious external influences, which mould and modify 
the one, must give form and color to the other. It is im 
possible to separate ourselves wholly from the features or 
the predominant traits of our parents. Had the earlier 
settlers of this country been French or German, as they 

2 



14 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GODWIN 

were English, our subsequent growth would probably 
have partaken of a French or German bias. What liter 
ature we might have created would have borne a family 
likeness to Yoltaire or Goethe, to Victor Hugo or Freili- 
grath, instead of to Milton and Sir Walter Scott, to 
Addison and Pope ; and we should in that event have 
had to struggle ourselves clear of German mysticism and 
French elegance, as we now have to make our way out of 
the heavy and melancholy gravity of John Bull. 

But this resemblance between our own literature and 
that of England, springing from an identity of race and 
tongue, made especially apparent during the formative 
and transitional stages of our growth, will not prevent 
a new, self-prompted development in the maturer future. 
Already we have cut ourselves loose from the leading- 
strings which were inevitable to our childhood, not in 
our political system only, but in our manners, morals, and 
arts ; and, under the various influences pouring in upon 
us from the vast accessions to our population from 
the Old World, our whole literary and social character 
is undergoing change. This is not the place to speak 
of the social indications, but, as it regards the liter 
ary, we allege that our younger writers abound in the 
unmistakable evidences of a new and vigorous direc 
tion given to their habits of feeling and thought. 
They are not only less English than their predecessors 
were, they are not only more universal in their 
affinities and tastes, the consequence of wider sympa 
thies and the infusion of the European element, but 
they are more entirely independent and self-sustained. 
They have a more decided character of their own. A 
certain ready, open impressibility, which takes in all the 
wonders of nature and all the excellences of art and has a 
quick feeling for every variety of human character, is 



GODWIN] ASPECTS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. 15 

the mark of most of them, accompanied by a fresh, 
buoyant, genial enthusiasm. Without losing the earnest 
ness of their northern origin, they have had superin 
duced upon it the volatile and graceful vivacity of the 
south ; they are more external, sensuous, impassioned / 
but none the less intense and thoughtful. The Saxon 
and the Celtic bloods unite in their veins, giving bril 
liancy and facility to a foundation of endurance and 
power. 

It is scarcely time for these new combinations to show 
themselves in full force, except in practical enterprise, 
where our achievements both in grandeur of conception 
and force of execution surpass all that is recorded in 
modern annals; but in that branch of literature which 
comes nearest to enterprise in narratives of travel 
there are many signs of departure from the old types. 
Stephens in Central America, Melville in the South 
Seas, Curtis in Egypt and Syria, have marked out styles 
of their own, each differing from the other, and each dif 
fering from any travellers that have gone before them. 
They are full of freshness and broad sensuous life, not 
like the worn-out debauchees of Europe, who travel to 
get rid of themselves or to find a new sensation, but 
like marvellously wise children, capable of surprises, but 
accepting all novelties with good-humor, indeed, with 
a certain rollicking fun in them, and yet estimating 
things at their true value with unerring practical sa 
gacity. 

Among our nascent poets, too, such as Lowell, Boker, 
Bead, Taylor, and Stoddard, we discern the earnest of a 
departure from old methods, and an entrance upon a new 
and original career. They are more free, frank, and ex 
pansive than the modern British poets, and superadd to 
the concentrated force and strength of their insular 



16 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

models a more affluent, richly-colored, and catholic view 
of life. A luxuriance, as of some deep virgin soil shoot 
ing up into weedy extravagance at times, betrays the in 
spiration of our prolific nature, and reminds us of broad 
rivers and lakes, flowery prairies and interminable leafy 
woods. Their faults, mainly, are faults of excess, and not 
of deficiency. They want discipline, but they do not 
want sensibility nor native vigor. They have the hale, 
ruddy-complexioned look of health, and, above all, a sin 
cere, fearless spirit, which betokens the capacity for lusty 
human growth. Let them be true to the promises of 
their youth, and their manhood will ripen into luscious 
and fragrant fulfilments. 



AMERICA THE OLD WORLD. 

LOUIS AGASSIZ. 

[Though America may justly he called the New World, so far as 
the outgrowth of civilization and the knowledge of the earth's surface 
by enlightened men are concerned, yet geologically it claims prece 
dence as the Old World, the first region of the earth to lift its head 
ahove the primeval ocean and to sustain itself against the encroach 
ing waves of all succeeding seas. This we are told hy one not Amer 
ican in birth, but so long a citizen of our country and so thoroughly 
identified with its interest that we can fairly claim him as a member 
of the guild of American authors. No man, in fact, has done more 
for the scientific advancement of America, and for the interest of the 
higher education in this land, than Louis Agassiz, the Swiss savant 
who came to our shores already well laden with years and fame, both 
of which he doubled upon our soil. 

Louis Jean Eudolphe Agassiz was born in Motier, near Lake Neuf- 
chatel, Switzerland, in 1807. His study of the fresh-water and the 
fossil iislies of Europe, and his splendid works upon these two subjects, 



AGASSIZ] AMERICA THE OLD WORLD. 17 

brought him into the highest scientific reputation. He visited the 
United States in 1846, where, in 1847, he was induced to become pro 
fessor of zoology and geology in Harvard University. This post he 
continued to hold till his death in 1873. He made a scientific visit to 
Brazil in 1865, hut the labors of his later life were principally in the 
United States, where he gave a decided impetus to the study of 
science. Among his works are a " Monograph of Living and Fossil 
Echinodermata," " Outlines of Comparative Physiology," " Princi 
ples of Zoology," and " Contributions to the Natural History of the 
United States." E. P. Whipple says of him (in his " Character and 
Characteristic Men"), " In the operation of his mind there is no pre 
dominance of any single power, but the intellectual action of what we 
feel to be a powerful nature. When he observes, his whole mind enters 
into the art of observation ; just as, when he reasons, his whole mind 
enters into the art of reasoning. . . . He is not merely a scientific 
thinker ; he is a scientific force ; and no small portion of the immense 
influence which he exerts is due to the energy, intensity, and ge 
niality which distinguish the nature of the man. . . . He is at once 
one of the most dominating and one of the most sympathetic of men, 
having the qualities of leader and companion combined in singular 
harmony." From his "Sketches of Creation," a volume of popular 
geological essays, distinguished for their simplicity, clearness, and 
attractiveness of diction, we make the following extract.] 



FIRST-BORN among the continents, though so much later 
in culture and civilization than some of more recent birth, 
America, so far as her physical history is concerned, has 
been falsely denominated the New World. Hers was the 
first dry land lifted out of the waters, hers the first shore 
washed by the ocean that enveloped all the earth beside j 
and while Europe was represented only by islands rising 
here and there above the sea, America already stretched 
an unbroken line of land from Nova Scotia to the Far 
West. . . . 

There is perhaps no part of the world, certainly none 
familiar to science, where the early geological periods can 
be studied with so much ease and precision as in the 
b 2* 



18 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [AaAssiz 

United States. Along their northern borders, between 
Canada and the United States, there runs the low line of 
hills known as the Laurentian Hills. Insignificant in 
height, nowhere rising more than fifteen hundred or two 
thousand feet above the level of the sea, these are never 
theless the first mountains that broke the uniform level 
of the earth's surface and lifted themselves above the 
waters. Their low stature, as compared with that of 
other more lofty mountain-ranges, is in accordance with 
an invariable rule by which the relative age of mountains 
may be estimated. The oldest mountains are the lowest, 
while the younger and more recent ones tower above their 
elders, and are usually more torn and dislocated also. 
This is easily understood, when we remember that all 
mountains and mountain-chains are the result of up 
heavals, and that the violence of the outbreak must have 
been in proportion to the strength of the resistance. 
When the crust of the earth was so thin that the heated 
masses within easily broke through it, they were not 
thrown to so great a height, and formed comparatively 
low elevations, such as the Canadian hills or the mountains 
of Bretagne and Wales. But in later times, when young, 
vigorous giants, such as the Alps, the Himalayas, or, later 
still, the Eocky Mountains, forced their way out from their 
fiery prison-house, the crust of the earth was much thicker, 
and fearful indeed must have been the convulsions which 
attended their exit. 

The Laurentian Hills form, then, a granite range stretch 
ing from Eastern Canada to the Upper Mississippi, and 
immediately along its base are gathered the Azoic de 
posits, the first stratified beds, in which the absence of 
life need not surprise us, since they were formed beneath 
a heated ocean. As well might we expect to find the re 
mains of fish or shells or crabs at the bottom of geysers 



AGASSIZ] AMERICA THE OLD WORLD. 19 

or of boiling springs, as on those early shores bathed by 
an ocean of which the heat must have been so intense. 
Although, from the condition in which we find it, this 
first granite range has evidently never been disturbed by 
any violent convulsion since its first upheaval, yet there 
has been a gradual rising of that part of the continent, 
for the Azoic beds do not lie horizontally along the base 
of the Laurentian Hills in the position in which they 
must originally have been deposited, but are lifted and 
rest against their slopes. They have been more or less 
dislocated in this process, and are greatly metamorphized 
by the intense heat to which they must have been ex 
posed. Indeed, all the oldest stratified rocks have been 
baked by the prolonged action of heat. . . . 

Such, then, was the earliest American land, a long, 
narrow island, almost continental in its proportions, since 
it stretched from the eastern borders of Canada nearly to 
the point where now the base of the Rocky Mountains 
meets the plain of the Mississippi Yalley. We may still 
walk along its ridge and know that we tread upon the an 
cient granite that first divided the waters into a northern 
and southern ocean ; and, if our imaginations will carry us 
so far, we may look down toward its base and fancy how 
the sea washed against this earliest shore of a lifeless 
world. This is no romance, but the bald, simple truth ; for 
the fact that this granite band was lifted out of the waters 
so early in the history of the world, and has not since been 
submerged, has, of course, prevented any subsequent de 
posits from forming above it. And this is true of all the 
northern part of the United States. It has been lifted 
gradually, the beds deposited in one period being subse 
quently raised, and forming a shore along which those of 
the succeeding one collected, so that we have their whole 
sequence before us. In regions where all the geological 



20 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [AGASSIZ 

deposits Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, 
Triassic, etc. are piled one upon another, and we can get 
a glimpse of their internal relations only where some rent 
has laid them open, or where their ragged edges, worn 
away by the abrading action of external influences, ex 
pose to view their successive layers, it must, of course, 
be more difficult to follow their connection. For this 
reason the American continent offers facilities to the 
geologist denied to him in the so-called' Old World, 
where the earlier deposits are comparatively hidden, and 
the broken character of the land, intersected by moun 
tains in every direction, renders his investigation still 
more difficult. . . . 

With what interest do we look upon any relic of early 
human history ! The monument that tells of a civiliza 
tion whose hieroglyphic records we cannot even decipher, 
the slightest trace of a nation that vanished and left no 
sign of its life except the rough tools and utensils buried 
in the old site of its towns or villages, arouses our imagi 
nation and excites our curiosity. Men gaze with awe at 
the inscription on an ancient Egyptian or Assyrian stone ; 
they hold with reverential touch the yellow parchment- 
roll whose dim, defaced characters record the meagre 
learning of a buried nationality ; and the announcement 
that for centuries the tropical forests of Central America 
have hidden within their tangled growth the ruined 
homes and temples of a past race stirs the civilized 
world with a strange, deep wonder. 

To me it seems that to look on the first land that was 
ever lifted above the waste of waters, to follow the shore 
where the earliest animals and plants were created when 
the thought of God first expressed itself in organic forms, 
to hold in one's hand a bit of stone from an old sea- 
beach, hardened into rock thousands of centuries ago, and 



AGASSIZ] AMERICA THE OLD WORLD. 21 

studded with the beings that once crept upon its surface, 
or were stranded there by some retreating wave, is even 
of deeper interest to men than the relics of their own 
race, for these things tell more directly of the thoughts 
and creative acts of God. 

Standing in the neighborhood of Whitehall, near Lake 
George, one may look along such a sea-shore, and see it 
stretching westward and sloping gently southward as far 
as the eye can reach. It must have had a very gradual 
slope, and the waters must have been very shallow ; for 
at that time no great mountains had been uplifted, and 
deep oceans are always the concomitants of lofty heights. 
We do not, however, judge of this by inference merely : 
we have an evidence of the shallowness of the sea in those 
days in the character of the shells found in the Silurian 
deposits, which shows that they belonged in shoal waters. 

Indeed, the fossil remains of all times tell us almost as 
much of the physical condition of the world at different 
epochs as they do of its animal and vegetable population. 
When Robinson Crusoe first caught sight of .the footprint 
on the sand, he saw in it more than the mere footprint, for 
it spoke to him of the presence of men on his desert island. 
We walk on the old geological shores, like Crusoe along 
his beach, and the footprints we find there tell us, too, 
more than we actually see in them. The crust of our earth 
is a great cemetery, where the rocks are tombstones on 
which the buried dead have written their own epitaphs. 
They tell us not only who they were and when and where 
they lived, but much also of the circumstances under which 
they lived. We ascertain the prevalence of certain physi 
cal conditions at special epochs by the presence of animals 
and plants whose existence and maintenance required such 
a state of things, more than by any positive knowledge 
respecting it. Where we find the remains of quadrupeds 



22 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [AoAssiz 

corresponding to our ruminating animals, we infer not 
only land, but grassy meadows also, and an extensive 
vegetation ; where we find none but marine animals, we 
know the ocean must have covered the earth ; the remains 
of large reptiles, representing, though in gigantic size, the 
half-aquatic, half-terrestrial reptiles of our own period, in 
dicate to us the existence of spreading marshes still soaked 
by the retreating waters ; while the traces of such animals 
as live now in sand and shoal waters, or in mud, speak to 
us of shelving sandy beaches and of mud-flats. The eye 
of the Trilobite tells us that the sun shone on the old beach 
where he lived ; for there is nothing in nature without a 
purpose, and when so complicated an organ was made to 
receive the light, there must have been light to enter it. 
The immense vegetable deposits in the Carboniferous 
period announce the introduction of an extensive terres 
trial vegetation ; and the impressions left by the wood and 
leaves of the trees show that these first forests must have 
grown in a damp soil and a moist atmosphere. In short, 
all the remains of animals and plants hidden in the rocks 
have something to tell of the climatic conditions and the 
general circumstances under which they lived, and the 
study of fossils is to the naturalist a thermometer by which 
he reads the variations of temperature in past times, a 
plummet by which he sounds the depths of the ancient 
oceans, a register, in fact, of all the important physical 
changes the earth has undergone. 



BURROUGHS] IN THE HEMLOCKS. 23 

IN THE HEMLOCKS. 

JOHN BURROUGHS. 

[The author of this attractive study of Nature in Nature's own 
haunts was born at Koxbury, New York, April 3, 1837. He is an en 
thusiastic observer of life in the woods and fields, particularly of bird- 
life, and enough of the open-air freshness and vitality has crept into 
his writings to give them a wide-spread popularity. In addition to 
many contributions to periodicals, he has published " Wake-Kobin," 
" Winter Sunshine," " Birds and Poets," " Locusts and Wild Honey," 
"Pepacton," "Fresh Fields," etc.] 

MOST people receive with incredulity a statement of 
the number of birds that annually visit our climate. 
Yery few even are aware of half the number that spend 
the summer in their own immediate vicinity. We little 
suspect, when we walk in the woods, whose privacy we 
are intruding upon, what rare and elegant visitants 
from Mexico, from Central and South America, and from 
the islands of the sea, are holding their reunions in the 
branches over our heads, or pursuing their pleasure on 
the ground before us. 

I recall the altogether admirable and shining family 
which Thoreau dreamed he saw in the upper chambers 
of Spaulding's woods, which Spaulding did not know 
lived there, and which were not put out when Spaulding, 
whistling, drove his team through their lower hallfe. 
They did not go into society in the village ; they were 
quite well ; they had sons and daughters ; they neither 
wove nor spun ; there was a sound as of suppressed 
hilarity. 

I take it for granted that the forester was only saying 
a pretty thing of the birds, though I have observed that 
it does sometimes annoy them when Spaulding's cart 



24 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BURROUGHS 

rumbles through their house. Generally, however, they 
are as unconscious of Spaulding as Spaulding is of them. 

Walking the other day in an old hemlock wood, I 
counted over forty varieties of these summer visitants, 
many of them common to other woods in the vicinity, 
but quite a number peculiar to these ancient solitudes, 
and not a few that are rare in any locality. It is quite 
unusual to find so large a number abiding in one forest, 
and that not a large one, most of them nesting and 
spending the summer there. . . . 

The ancient hemlocks, whither I propose to take the 
reader, are rich in many things beside birds. Indeed, 
their wealth in this respect is owing mainly, no doubt, to 
their rank vegetable growths, their fruitful swamps, and 
their dark, sheltered retreats. 

Their history is of an heroic cast. Ravished and torn 
by the tanner in his thirst for bark, preyed upon by the 
lumberman, assaulted and beaten back by the settler, still 
their spirit has never been broken, their energies never 
paralyzed. Not many years ago a public highway passed 
through them, but it was at no time a tolerable road ; 
trees fell across it, mud and limbs choked it up, till finally 
travellers took the hint and went around ; and now, 
walking along its deserted course, I see only the foot 
prints of coons, foxes, and squirrels. 

Nature loves such woods, and places her own seal upon 
them. Here she shows me what can be done with ferns 
and mosses and lichens. The soil is marrowy and full of 
innumerable forests. Standing in these fragrant aisles, I 
feel the strength of the vegetable kingdom, and am awed 
by the deep and inscrutable processes of life going on so 
silently about me. 

No hostile forms with axe or spud now visit these soli 
tudes. The cows have half-hidden ways through them, 



BURROUGHS] IN THE HEMLOCKS. 25 

and know where the best browsing is to be had. In 
spring the farmer repairs to their bordering of maples to 
make sugar ; in July and August women and boys from 
all the country about penetrate the old Bark-peelings for 
raspberries and blackberries ; and I know a youth who 
wonderingly follows their languid stream casting for 
trout. 

In like spirit, alert and buoyant, on this bright June 
morning go I also to reap my harvest, pursuing a sweet 
more delectable than sugar, fruit more savory than ber 
ries, and game for another palate than that tickled by 
trout. 

June, of all the months, the student of ornithology can 
least afford to lose. Most birds are nesting then, and in 
full song and plumage. And what is a bird without its 
song ? Do we not wait for the stranger to speak ? It 
seems to me that I do not know a bird till I have heard 
its voice ; then I come nearer it at once, and it possesses 
a human interest to me. I have met the gray-cheeked 
thrush (Turdus alicice) in the woods, and held him in my 
hand ; still I do not know him. The silence of the cedar- 
bird throws a mystery about him which neither his good 
looks nor his petty larcenies in cherry-time can dispel. A 
bird's song contains a clue to its life, and establishes 
a sympathy, an understanding, between itself and the 
listener. 

I descend a steep hill, and approach the hemlocks 
through a large sugar-bush. When twenty rods distant, I 
hear all along the line of the forest the incessant warble 
of the red-eyed fly-catcher ( Vireosylvia olivacea), cheerful 
and happy as the merry whistle of a school-boy. He is 
one of our most common and widely distributed birds. 
Approach any forest at any hour of the day, in any kind 
of weather, from May to August, in any of the Middle or 



26 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BURROUGHS 

Eastern districts, and the chances are that the first note 
you hear will be his. Eain or shine, before noon or after, 
in the deep forest or in the village grove, when it is too 
hot for the thrushes or too cold and windy for the war 
blers, it is never out of time or place for this little min 
strel to indulge his cheerful strain. In the deep wilds of 
the Adirondack, where few birds are seen and fewer heard, 
his note was almost constantly in my ear. Always busy, 
making it a point never to suspend for one moment his 
occupation to indulge his musical taste, his lay is that of 
industry and contentment. There is nothing plaintive or 
especially musical in his performance, but the sentiment 
expressed is eminently that of cheerfulness. Indeed, the 
songs of most birds have some human significance, which, 
I think, is the source of the delight we take in them. 
The song of the bobolink to me expresses hilarity ; the 
song-sparrow's, faith ; the bluebird's, love ; the cat-bird's, 
pride ; the white-eyed fly-catcher's, self-consciousness ; 
that of the Lermit-thrush, spiritual serenity ; while there 
is something military in the call of the robin. . . . 

Passing down through the maple arches, barely pausing 
to observe the antics of a trio of squirrels, two gray ones 
and a black one, I cross an ancient brush fence and am 
fairly within the old hemlocks, and in one of the most 
primitive, undisturbed nooks. In the deep moss I tread 
as with muffled feet, and the pupils of my eyes dilate in 
the dim, almost religious light. The irreverent red squir 
rels, however, run and snicker at my approach, or mock 
the solitude with their ridiculous chattering and frisking. 

This nook is the chosen haunt of the winter wren. 
This is the only place and these the only woods in which 
I find him in this vicinity. His voice fills these dim aisles, 
as if aided by some marvellous sounding-board. Indeed, 
his song is very strong for so small a bird, and unites in a 



BURROUGHS] IN THE tfEMLOCKS. 27 

remarkable degree brilliancy and plaintiveness. I think 
of a tremulous vibrating tongue of silver. You may know 
it is the song of a wren, from its gushing lyrical character ; 
but you must needs look sharp to see the little minstrel, 
especially while in the act of singing. He is nearly the 
color of the ground and the leaves ; he never ascends the 
tall trees, but keeps low, flitting from stump to stump and 
from root to root, dodging in and out of his hiding-places, 
and watching all intruders with a suspicious eye. He has 
a very pert, almost comical look. His tail stands more 
than perpendicular: it points straight toward his head. 
He is the least ostentatious singer I know of. He does 
not strike an attitude, and lift up his head in preparation, 
and, as it were, clear his throat, but sits there on a log 
and pours out his music, looking straight before him, or 
even down at the ground. As a songster he has but 
few superiors. I do not hear him after the first week in 
July. . . . 

I am attracted by another warble in the same locality, 
and experience a like difficulty in getting a good view of 
the author of it. It is quite a noticeable strain, sharp 
and sibilant, and sounds well amid the old trees. In the 
upland woods of beech and maple it is a more familiar 
soun'l than in these solitudes. On taking the bird in hand, 
one Cannot help exclaiming, "How beautiful!" So tiny 
and elegant, the smallest of the warblers ; a delicate blue 
back , with a slight bronze-colored triangular spot between 
the shoulders ; upper mandible black ; lower mandible 
yellow as gold ; throat yellow, becoming a dark bronze on 
the breast. Blue yellow-back he is called, though the 
yellow is much nearer a bronze. He is remarkably delicate 
and beautiful, the handsomest, as he is the smallest, of 
the warblers known to me. It is never without surprise 
that I find amid these rugged, savage aspects of Nature 



28 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BURROUGHS 

creatures so fairy and delicate. But such is the law. Go 
to the sea or climb the mountain, and with the ruggedest 
and the savagest you will find likewise the fairest and 
the most delicate. The greatness and the minuteness of 
Nature pass all understanding. 

Ever since I entered the woods, even while listening 
to the lesser songsters, or contemplating the silent forms 
about me, a strain has reached my ears from out the 
depths of the forest that to me is the finest sound in 
nature, the song of the hermit-thrush. I often hear him 
thus a long way off, sometimes over a quarter of a mile 
away, when only the stronger and more perfect parts of 
his music reach me ; and through the general chorus of 
wrens and warblers I detect this sound rising pure and 
serene, as if a spirit from some remote height were slowly 
chanting a divine accompaniment. This song appeals to 
the sentiment of the beautiful in me, and suggests a serene 
religious beatitude as no other sound in nature does. It 
is perhaps more of an evening than a morning hymn, 
though I hear it at all hours of the day. It is very simple, 
and I can hardly tell the secret of its charm. " O spheral, 
spheral!" he seems to say; "O holy, holy! O clear away, 
clear away ! O clear up, clear up !" interspersed with the 
finest trills and the most delicate preludes. It is not a 
proud, gorgeous strain, like the tanager's or the gross- 
beak's ; suggests no passion or emotion, nothing personal, 
but seems to be the voice of that calm, sweet solemnity 
one attains to in his best moments. It realizes a peace 
and a deep solemn joy that only the finest souls may 
know. A few nights ago I ascended a mountain to see 
the world by moonlight ; and when near the summit the 
hermit commenced his evening hymn a few rods from 
me. Listening to this strain on the lone mountain, with 
the full moon just rounded from the horizon, the pomp 



BURROUGHS] IN THE HEMLOCKS. 29 

of your cities and the pride of your civilization seemed 
trivial and cheap. . . . 

I walk along the old road, and note the tracks in the 
thin layer of mud. "When do these creatures travel here ? 
I have never yet chanced to meet one. Here a par 
tridge has set its foot ; there, a woodcock ; here, a squirrel 
or mink; there, a skunk; there, a fox. What a clear, 
nervous track reynard makes ! how easy to distinguish 
it from that of a little dog, it is so sharply cut and 
defined ! A dog's track is coarse and clumsy beside it. 
There is as much wildness in the track of an animal as in 
its voice. Is a deer's track like a sheep's or a goat's ? 
What winged-footed fleetness and agility may be inferred 
from the sharp, braided track of the gray squirrel upon 
the new snow! Ah! in nature is the best discipline. 
How wood-life sharpens the senses, giving a new power 
to the eye, the ear, the nose! And are not the rarest 
and most exquisite songsters wood-birds ? . . . 

My attention is soon arrested by a pair of humming 
birds, the ruby-throated, disporting themselves in a low 
bush a few yards from me. The female takes shelter 
amid the branches, and squeaks exultingly as the male, 
circling above, dives down as if to dislodge her. Seeing 
me, he drops like a feather on a slender twig, and in a 
moment both are gone. Then, as if by a preconcerted 
signal, the throats are all atune. I lie on my back with 
eyes half closed, and analyze the chorus of warblers, 
thrushes, finches, and fly-catchers ; while, soaring above 
all, a little withdrawn and alone, rises the divine soprano 
of the hermit. That richly-modulated warble proceeding 
from the top of yonder birch, and which unpractised ears 
would mistake for the voice of the scarlet tanager, comes 
from that rare visitant, the rose-breasted grossbeak. It is 
a strong, vivacious strain, a bright noonday song, full of 

3* 



30 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BURROUGHS 

health and assurance, indicating fine talents in the per 
former, but not genius. As I come up under the tree he 
casts his eye down at me, but continues his song. This 
bird is said to be quite common in the Northwest, but he 
is rare in the Eastern districts. His beak is disproportion 
ately large and heavy, like a huge nose, which slightly 
mars his good looks; but Nature has made it up to him in 
a blush rose upon his breast, and the most delicate of pink 
linings to the under side of his wings. His back is varie 
gated black and white, and when flying low the white 
shows conspicuously. If he passed over your head, you 
would note the delicate flush under his wings. 

That bit of bright scarlet on yonder dead hemlock, glow 
ing like a live coal against the dark background, seeming 
almost too brilliant for the severe Northern climate, is his 
relative the scarlet tanager. I occasionally meet him in 
the deep hemlocks, and know no stronger contrast in 
nature. I almost fear he will kindle the dry limb on which 
he alights. He is quite a solitary bird, and in this sec 
tion seems to prefer the high, remote woods, even going 
quite to the mountain's top. Indeed, the event of my last 
visit to the mountain was meeting one of these brilliant 
creatures near the summit, in full song. The breeze car 
ried the notes far and wide. He seemed to enjoy the 
elevation, and I imagined his song had more scope and 
freedom than usual. When he had flown far down the 
mountain-side, the breeze still brought me his finest notes 
In plumage he is the most brilliant bird we have. The 
bluebird is not entirely blue ; nor will the indigo bird bear 
a close inspection, nor the goldfinch, nor the summer red- 
bird. But the tanager loses nothing by a near view : the 
deep scarlet of his body and the black of his wings and 
tail are quite perfect. . . . 

But the declining sun and the deepening shadows ad- 



KIRKLAND] THE LAND TEVER. 31 

monish me that this ramble must be brought to a close, 
even though only the leading characters in this chorus of 
forty songsters have been described, and only a small por 
tion of the venerable old woods explored. In a secluded 
swampy corner of the old Bark-peelings, where I find the 
great purple orchis in bloom, and where the foot of man 
or beast seems never to have trod, I linger long, contem 
plating the wonderful display of lichens and mosses that 
overrun both the smaller and the larger growths. Every 
bush and branch and sprig is dressed up in the most rich 
and fantastic of liveries ; and, crowning all, the long 
bearded moss festoons the branches or sways gracefully 
from the limbs. Every twig looks a century old, though 
green leaves tip the end of it. A young yellow birch has 
a venerable, patriarchal look, and seems ill at ease under 
such premature honors. A decayed hemlock is draped as 
if by hands for some solemn festival. 

Mounting toward the upland again, I pause reverently 
as the hush and stillness of twilight come upon the woods. 
It is the sweetest, ripest hour of the day. And as the 
hermit's evening hymn goes up from the deep solitude 
below me, I experience that serene exaltation of sentiment 
of which music, literature, and religion are but the faint 
types and symbols. 



THE LAND FEVER. 

CAROLINE M. KIRKLAND. 

[The efforts of speculators to get possession of great blocks of West 
ern lands were as strongly marked in the past as they are in the 
present, and doubtless gave rise to many scenes like that which Mrs. 
Kirkland has so humorously depicted in her " Western Clearings," 
an extract from which we give below. The contrast between the 



32 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KIKKLANP 

natural hospitality of the "Western settler and his hatred of the land- 
grabbing speculator is admirably outlined in this amusing sketch. 
Mrs. Kirkland, a native of the city of New York, resided for several 
years after 1830 in Michigan, where she published "A New Home 
'Who'll Follow?" "Forest Life," and "Western Clearings." There 
are no more animated and graphic delineations of Western life, which 
she depicts with equal truth and humor.] 

[Mr. Willoughby, a belated traveller, stops in front of a rough log 
house and accosts its tall and surly tenant.] 

THIS individual and his dwelling resembled each other 
in an unusual degree. The house was, as we have said, 
of the roughest ; its ribs scarcely half filled in with clay ; 
its " looped and windowed raggedness " rendered more 
conspicuous by the tattered cotton sheets which had long 
done duty as glass, and which now fluttered in every 
breeze ; its roof of oak shingles, warped into every possible 
curve ; and its stick chimney, so like its owner's hat, open 
at the top and jammed in at the sides : all shadowed forth 
the contour and equipments of the exceedingly easy and 
self-satisfied person who leaned on the fence, and snapped 
his long cart-whip, while he gave such answers as suited 
him to the gentleman in the india-rubbers, taking especial 
care not to invite him to alight. 

" Can you tell me, my friend " civilly began Mr. 

Willoughby. 

" Oh, friend !" interrupted the settler ; " who told you 
1 was your friend ? Friends is scuss in these parts." 

" You have at least no reason to be otherwise," replied 
the traveller, who was blessed with a very patient temper, 
especially when there was no use in getting angry. 

"I don't know that," was the reply. "What fetched 
you into these woods ?" 

" If I should say ' my horse,' the answer would perhaps 
be as civil as the question." 



KIRKLAND] THE LAND FEVER. 33 

" Jist as you like," said the other, turning on his heel 
and walking off. 

" I wished merely to ask you," resumed Mr. Willoughby, 
talking after the nonchalant son of the forest, " whether 
this is Mr. Pepper's land." 

" How do you know it ain't mine ?" 

" I'm not likely to know at present, it seems," said the 
traveller, whose patience was getting a little frayed. 
And, taking out his memorandum-book, he ran over his 
minutes : " South half of northwest quarter of section 
fourteen Your name is Leander Pepper, is it not ?" 

"Where did you get so much news? You ain't the 
sheriff, he ye ?" 

" Pop," screamed a white-headed urchin from the house, 
" mam says supper's ready." 

" So a'n't I," replied the papa : " I've got all my chores 
to do yet." And he busied himself at a log pigsty on 
the opposite side of the road, half as large as the dwell 
ing-house. Here he was soon surrounded by a squealing 
multitude, with whom he seemed to hold a regular con 
versation. 

Mr. Willoughby looked at the westering sun, which was 
not far above the dense wall of trees that shut in the 
small clearing ; then at the heavy clouds which advanced 
from the north, threatening a stormy night; then at his 
watch, and then at his note-book ; and, after all, at his 
predicament, on the whole, an unpleasant prospect. But 
at this moment a female face showed itself at the door. 
Our traveller's memory reverted at once to the testimony 
of Ledyard and Mungo Park ; and he had also some float 
ing and indistinct poetical recollections of woman's being 
useful when a man was in difficulties, though hard to 
please at other times. The result of these reminiscences, 
which occupied a precious second, was that Mr. Wil- 



34 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KIRKLAND 

loughby dismounted, fastened his horse to the fence, and 
advanced with a brave and determined air, to throw him 
self upon female kindness and sympathy. 

He naturally looked at the lady, as he approached the 
door, but she did not return the compliment. She looked 
at the pigs, and talked to the children, and Mr. Wil- 
loughby had time to observe that she was the very dupli 
cate of her husband, as tall, as bony, as ragged, and twice 
as cross-looking. 

"Malviny Jane!" she exclaimed, in no dulcet treble, 
" be done a-paddlin' in that 'ere water ! If I come there, 
I'll " 

"You'd better look at Sophrony, I guess," was the 
reply. 

"Why, what's she a-doin' ?" 

" Well, I guess if you look you'll see," responded Miss 
Malvina, coolly, as she passed into the house, leaving at 
every step a full impression of her foot in the same black 
mud that covered her sister from head to foot. 

The latter was saluted with a hearty cuff as she 
emerged from the puddle ; and it was just at the propi 
tious moment when her shrill howl aroused the echoes, 
that Mr. Willoughby, having reached the threshold, was 
obliged to set about making the agreeable to the mamma. 
And he called up for the occasion all his politeness. 

" I believe I must become an intruder on y0ur hospi 
tality for the night, madam," he began. The dame still 
looked at the pigs. Mr. Willoughby tried again, in less 
courtly phrase. 

"Will it be convenient for you to lodge me to-night, 
ma'am? I have been disappointed in my search for a 
hunting-party, whom I had engaged to meet, and the 
night threatens a storm." 

" I don't know nothin' about it ; you must ask the old 



KIRKLAND] THE LAND FEVER. 35 

man," said the lady, now for the first time taking a survey 
of the new-comer : " with my will, we'll lodge nobody." 

This was not very encouraging ; but it was a poor night 
for the woods : so our traveller persevered, and, making 
so bold a push for the door that the lady was obliged to 
retreat a little, he entered, and said he would wait her 
husband's coming. 

And in truth he could scarcely blame the cool reception 
he had experienced, when he beheld the state of affairs 
within those muddy precincts. The room was large, but 
it swarmed with human beings. The huge open fireplace, 
with its hearth of rough stone, occupied nearly the whole 
of one end of the apartment ; and near it stood a long 
cradle, containing a pair of twins, who cried a sort of 
hopeless cry, as if they knew it would do no good, yet 
could not help it. The schoolmaster (it was his week) 
sat reading a tattered novel, and rocking the cradle oc 
casionally when the children cried too loud. An old 
gray-headed Indian was curiously crouched over a large 
tub, shelling corn on the edge of a hoe ; but he ceased his 
noisy employment when he saw the stranger, for no In 
dian will ever willingly be seen at work, though he may 
be sometimes compelled by the fear of starvation or the 
longing for whiskey to degrade himself by labor. Near 
the only window was placed the work-bench and entire 
paraphernalia of the shoemaker, who in these regions 
travels from house to house, shoeing the family and mend 
ing the harness as he goes, with various interludes of 
songs and jokes, ever new and acceptable. This one, who 
was a little, bald, twinkling-eyed fellow, made the smoky 
rafters ring with the burden of that favorite ditty of the 
West, 

" All kinds of game to hunt, my boys, also the buck and doe 
All down by the banks of the river 0-hi-o 1" 



36 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KIBKLAND 

And children of all sizes, clattering in all keys, completed 
the picture and the concert. 

The supper-table, which maintained its place in the 
midst of this living and restless mass, might remind one 
of the square stone lying bedded in the bustling leaves of 
the acanthus ; but the associations would be any but those 
of Corinthian elegance. The only object which at that 
moment diversified its dingy surface was an iron hoop, 
into which the mistress of the feast proceeded to turn a 
quantity of smoking-hot potatoes, adding afterward a bowl 
of salt and another of pork-fat, by courtesy denominated 
gravy : plates and knives dropped in afterward, at the dis 
cretion of the company. 

Another call of "Pop! pop!" brought in the host 
from the pigsty ; the heavy rain which had now begun 
to fall having, no doubt, expedited the performance of the 
chores. Mr. Willoughby, who had established himself 
resolutely, took advantage of a very cloudy assent from 
the proprietor, to lead his horse to a shed and to deposit 
in a corner his cumbrous outer gear; while the company 
used in turn the iron skillet which served as a wash-basin, 
dipping the water from a large trough outside, overflow 
ing with the abundant drippings of the eaves. Those 
who had no pocket-handkerchiefs contented themselves 
with a nondescript article which seemed to stand for the 
family towel ; and when this ceremony was concluded, all 
seriously addressed themselves to the demolition of the 
potatoes. The grown people were accommodated with 
chairs and chests ; the children prosecuted a series of fly 
ing raids upon the good cheer, snatching a potato now and 
then as they could find an opening under the raised arm 
of one of the family, and then retreating to the chimney- 
corner, tossing the hot prize from hand to hand, and blow 
ing it stoutly the while. The old Indian had disappeared. 



KIKKLAND] THE LAND FEVER. 37 

To our citizen, though he felt inconveniently hungry, 
this primitive meal seemed a little meagre ; and he ven 
tured to ask if he could not he accommodated with some 
tea. 

" Ain't my victuals good enough for you ?" 

" Oh, the potatoes are excellent ; but I am very fond 
of tea." 

" So be I ; but I can't have everything I want : can 
you ?" 

This produced a laugh from the shoemaker, who seemed 
to think his patron very witty, while the schoolmaster, 
not knowing but the stranger might happen to be one of 
his examiners next year, produced only a faint giggle, 
and then, reducing his countenance instantly to an awful 
gravity, helped himself to his seventh potato. 

The rain, which now poured violently, not only outside 
but through many a crevice in the roof, naturally kept 
Mr. Willoughby cool ; and, finding that dry potatoes gave 
him the hiccoughs, he withdrew from the table, and, seat 
ing himself on the shoemaker's bench, took a survey of his 
quarters. 

Two double beds and the long cradle seemed all the 
sleeping-apparatus ; but there was a ladder which doubt 
less led to a lodging above. The sides of the room were 
hung with abundance of decent clothing, and the dresser 
was well stored with the usual articles, among which a 
teapot and canister shone conspicuous : so that the ap 
pearance of inhospitality could not arise from poverty, 
and Mr. Willoughby concluded to set it down to the 
account of rustic ignorance. 

The eating ceased not until the hoop was empty, and 
then the company rose and stretched themselves and 
began to guess it was about time to go to bed. Mr. 
Willoughby inquired what was to be done with his horse. 



38 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

" Well, I s'pose he can stay where he is." 

" But what can he have to eat ?" 

" I reckon you won't get nothing for him, without you 
turn him out on the mash." 

" He would get off, to a certainty." 

" Tie his legs." 

The unfortunate traveller argued in vain. Hay waa 
" scuss," and potatoes were " scusser ;" and, in short, the 
" mash" was the only resource, and these natural meadows 
afford but poor picking after the first of October. But to 
the " mash" was the good steed despatched, ingloriously 
hampered, with the privilege of munching wild grass in 
the rain, after his day's journey. 

Then came the question of lodging for his master. 
The lady, who had by this time drawn out a trundle-bed 
and packed it full of children, said there was no bed for 
him, unless he could sleep " up chamber" with the boys. 

Mr. Willoughby declared that he should make out very 
well with a blanket by the fire. 

"Well, just as you like," said his host; "but Solomon 
sleeps there, and if you like to sleep by Solomon, it is 
more than I should." 

This was the name of the old Indian, and Mr. Wil 
loughby once more cast woful glances toward the ladder. 

But now the schoolmaster, who seemed rather disposed 
to be civil, declared that he could sleep very well in the 
long cradle, and would relinquish his place beside the 
shoemaker to the guest, who was obliged to content him 
self with this arrangement, which was such as was most 
usual in these times. 

The storm continued through the night, and many a 
crash in the woods attested its power. The sound of a 
storm in the dense forest is almost precisely similar to that 
of a heavy surge breaking on a rocky beach ; and when 



KIKKLAND] THE LAND FEVER. 39 

our traveller slept, it was only to dream of wreck and dis 
aster at sea, and to wake in horror and affright. The wild 
rain drove in at every crevice, and wet the poor children 
in the loft so thoroughly that they crawled shivering 
down the ladder and stretched themselves on the hearth, 
regardless of Solomon, who had returned after the others 
were in bed. 

But morning came at last ; and our friend, who had no 
desire farther to test the vaunted hospitality of a Western 
settler, was not among the latest astir. The storm had 
partially subsided ; and although the clouds still lowered 
angrily, and his saddle had enjoyed the benefit of a leak 
in the roof during, the night, Mr. Willoughby resolved to 
push on as far as the next clearing at least, hoping for 
something for breakfast besides potatoes and salt. It took 
him a weary w T hile to find his horse, and when he had sad 
dled him, and strapped on his various accoutrements, he 
entered the house, and inquired what he was to pay for his 
entertainment, laying somewhat of a stress on the last 
word. 

His host, nothing daunted, replied that he guessed he 
would let him off for a dollar. 

Mr. Willoughby took out his purse, and as he placed a 
silver dollar in the leathern palm outspread to receive it, 
happening to look toward the hearth, and perceiving the 
preparations for a very substantial breakfast, the long- 
pent-up vexation burst forth. 

" I really must say, Mr. Pepper " he began ; his tone 

was certainly that of an angry man, but it only made his 
host laugh. 

" If this is your boasted Western hospitality, I can tell 
you " 

"You'd better tell me what the dickens you are pep- 
perin' me up this fashion for! My name isn'lj Pepper, no 



40 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

more than yours is ! Maybe that is your name : you seem 
pretty warm." 

" Your name not Pepper! Pray, what is it, then?" 

" Ah ! there's the thing, now ! You land-hunters ought 
to know sich things without askin'." 

"Land-hunter! I'm no land-hunter!" 

" Well, you're a land-shark, then, swallowin' up poor 
men's farms. The less I see of such cattle, the better I'm 
pleased." 

"Confound you!" said Mr. Willoughby, who waxed 
warm, " I tell you I've nothing to do with land. I wouldn't 
take your whole State for a gift." 

" What did you tell my woman you was a land-hunter 
for, then ?" 

And now the whole matter became clear in a moment ; 
and it was found that Mr. Willoughby's equipment, with 
the mention of a " hunting-party," had completely misled 
both host and hostess. And, to do them justice, never 
were regret and vexation more heartily expressed. 

" You needn't judge our new-country folks by me," said 
Mr. Handy, for such proved to be his name : " any man 
in these parts would as soon bite off his own nose as to 
snub a civil traveller that wanted a supper and a night's 
lodgin'. But, somehow or other, your lots o' fixin', and 
your askin' after that 'ere Pepper, one of the worst land- 
sharks we've ever had here, made me mad ; and I know 
T. treated you worse than an Indian." 

" Humph !" said Solomon. 

"But," continued the host, "you shall see whether my 
old woman can't set a good breakfast when she's a mind 
to. Come, you shan't stir a step till you've had breakfast. 
And just take back this plaguy dollar : I wonder it didn't 
burn my fingers when I took it." 

Mrs. Handy set forth her very best, and a famous break- 



LOWELL] RH(ECU$. 41 

fast it was, considering the times. And before it was 
finished, the hunting-party made their appearance, having 
had some difficulty in finding their companion, who had 
made no very uncommon mistake as to section corners 
and town lines. 

" I'll tell ye what," said Mr. Handy, confidentially, as 
the cavalcade, with its baggage-ponies, loaded with tents, 
gun-cases, and hampers of provisions, was getting into 
order for a march to the prairies, " I'll tell ye what : if 
you've occasion to stop anywhere in the Bush, you'd better 
tell 'em at the first goin'-off that you ain't land-hunters." 

"But Mr. Willoughby had already had " a caution." 



RHGECUS. 

J. RUSSELL LOWELL. 

i 

[We hardly need tell our readers who is the author of this charm 
ing poetic rendition of an old Greek legend. No name should he 
better known to cultured Americans than that of James Russell 
Lowell, who, alike in prose and in poetry, stands almost at the head 
of American writers. As a poet, indeed, many incline to rank him 
first among our hards ; and for versatility of powers he has nowhere a 
superior. From biting satire and the richest of humor he freely turns 
to a tone of deep earnestness and profuse imagination, while in prose 
he is as easy, fluent, rich in imagery, copious in illustration, and 
forcible in reasoning as the most brilliant of American essayists. He 
was born at Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1819. Of his works we 
may name " A Fable for Critics," " The Vision of Sir Launfal," " The 
Biglow Papers," " Under the Willows," "Fireside Travels," and 
"Among my Books."] 

A YOUTH named Rhoecus, wandering in the wood, 
Saw an old oak just trembling to its fall, 
And, feeling pity of so fair a tree, 

4* 



42 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LOWELL 

He propped its gray trunk with admiring care, 

And with a thoughtless footstep loitered on. 

But, as he turned, he heard a voice behind 

That murmured, " Ehoecus !" 'Twas as if the leaves, 

Stirred by a passing breath, had murmured it ; 

And, while he paused bewildered, yet again 

It murmured, " Ehoecus !" softer than a breeze. 

He started, and beheld with dizzy eyes 

"What seemed the substance of a happy dream 

Stand there before him, spreading a warm glow 

Within the green glooms of the shadowy oak. 

It seemed a woman's shape, yet all too fair 

To be a woman, and with eyes too meek 

For any that were wont to mate with gods. 

All naked like a goddess stood she there, 

And like a goddess all too beautiful 

To feel the guilt-born earthliness of shame. 

" Ehoecus, I am the Dryad of this tree," 

Thus she began, dropping her low-toned words 

Serene, and full, and clear, as drops of dew, 

"And with it I am doomed to live and die ; 

The rain and sunshine are my caterers, 

!Nor have I other bliss than simple life : 

Now ask me what thou wilt, that I can give, 

And with a thankful joy it shall be thine." 

Then Ehoecus, with a flutter at the heart, 
Yet, by the prompting of such beauty, bold, 
Answered, " What is there that can satisfy 
The endless craving of the soul but love ? 
Give me thy love, or but the hope of that 
Which must be evermore my nature's goal," 
After a little pause she said again, 
But with a glimpse of sadness in her tone, 



LOWELL] RHCECUS. 43 

" I give it, Hhoecus, though a perilous gift ; 
An hour before the sunset meet me here." 
And straightway there was nothing he could see 
But the green glooms beneath the shadowy oak ; 
And not a sound came to his straining ears 
But the low, trickling rustle of the leaves, 
And far away upon an emerald slope 
The falter of an idle shepherd's pipe. 

!N"ow, in those days of simpleness and faith, 
Men did not think that happy things were dreams 
Because they overstepped the narrow bourn 
Of likelihood, but reverently deemed 
Nothing too wondrous or too beautiful 
To be the guerdon of a daring heart. 
So Rhcecus made no doubt that he was blest; 
And all along unto the city's gate 
Earth seemed to spring beneath him as he walked ; 
The clear, broad sky looked bluer than its wont, 
And he could scarce believe he had not wings, 
Such sunshine seemed to glitter through his veins 
Instead of blood, so light he felt and strange. 

Young Ehoecus had a faithful heart enough, 
But one that in the present dwelt too much, 
And, taking with blithe welcome whatsoe'er 
Chance gave of joy, was wholly bound in that, 
Like the contented peasant of a vale, 
Deemed it the world, and never looked beyond. 
So, haply meeting in the afternoon 
Some comrades who were playing at the dice, 
He joined them, and forgot all else beside. 

The dice were rattling at the merriest, 



44 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LowELi 

And Rhoecus, who bad met but sorry luck, 

Just laughed in triumph at a happy throw, 

When through the room there hummed a yellow bee 

That buzzed about his ear with down-dropped legs, 

As if to light. And Rhoecus laughed, and said, 

Feeling how red and flushed he was with loss, 

" By Venus ! does he take me for a rose ?" 

And brushed him off with rough, impatient hand. 

But still the bee came back, and thrice again 

Rhoecus did beat him off with growing wrath. 

Then through the window flew the wounded bee ; 

And Rhcecus, tracking him with angry eyes, 

Saw a sharp mountain-peak of Thessaly 

Against the red disk of the setting sun, 

And instantly the blood sank from his heart, 

As if its very walls had caved away. 

Without a word he turned, and, rushing forth, 

Ran madly through the city and the gate, 

And o'er the plain, which now the wood's long shade, 

By the low sun thrown forward broad and dim, 

Darkened wellnigh unto the city's wall. 

Quite spent and out of breath he reached the tree, 
And, listening fearfully, he heard once more 
The low voice murmur, "Rhoecus!" close at hand; 
Whereat he looked around him, but could see 
Naught but the deepening glooms beneath the oak. 
Then sighed the voice, " O Rhoecus ! nevermore 
Shalt thou behold me or by day or night, 
Me, who would fain have blest thee with a love 
More ripe and bounteous than ever yet 
Filled up with nectar any mortal heart ; 
But thou didst scorn my humble messenger, 
And sent'st him back to me with bruised wings. 



LOWELL] RHCECUS. 45 

We spirits only show to gentle eyes, 

"We ever ask an undivided love ; 

And he who scorns the least of Nature's works 

Is thenceforth exiled and shut out from all. 

Farewell ! for thou canst never see me more." 

Then Ehoecus beat his breast, and groaned aloud, 
And cried, " Be pitiful ! forgive me yet 
This once, and I shall never need it more !" 
" Alas 1" the voice returned, " 'tis thou art blind, 
Not I unmerciful ; I can forgive, 
But have no skill to heal thy spirit's eyes ; 
Only the soul hath power o'er itself." 
With that again there murmured, " Nevermore !" 
And Ehoecus after heard no other sound, 
Except the rattling of the oak's crisp leaves, 
Like the long surf upon a distant shore, 
Raking the sea-worn pebbles up and down. 
The night had gathered round him ; o'er the plain 
The city sparkled with its thousand lights. 
And sounds of revel fell upon his ear 
Harshly and like a curse ; above, the sky, 
With all its bright sublimity of stars, 
Deepened, and on his forehead smote the breeze ; 
Beauty was all around him, and delight, 
But from that eve he was alone on earth. 



46 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FRANKLIN 

EVERY-DAY WISDOM. 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. 

[The man who, of the natives of the Western Hemisphere in the 
eighteenth century, chiefly redeemed America from the reproach of in 
tellectual mediocrity and placed it on a level with the highest mental 
standard of Europe, was the author whom we now quote, Ben 
jamin Franklin, the world's philosopher of common sense. Homely, 
plain, and simple in diction, devoid of the graces of rhetoric and 
of imaginative fluency, in fact, the very genius of the practical, in 
everything he says we can distinguish the flavor of solid thought, 
and in an apologue he has the art of saying more than many authors 
can express in a volume. His arrows of e very-day wisdom strike 
home, and have the faculty of clinging in the memory far more firmly 
than the showily-feathered shafts of many who far surpass him in the 
graces of style and in brilliancy of illustration. No biographical 
details of Franklin's life need here be given. His life-story is part of 
the history of our country, and he has told it himself in an artless 
autobiography, which is one of the finest bits of eighteenth-century 
literature. See " Life of Benjamin Franklin, written by Himself," 
edited by John Bigelow.] 

THE EPHEMERA. 

AN EMBLEM OF HUMAN LIFE. 

(Written to MADAME BRILLON, of Passy.) . 

[Human life was never more cleverly satirized than in this neat in 
stance of the modern fable, which needs no formal moral in conclu 
sion, as its moral is woven through its whole texture.] 

You may remember, my dear friend, that when we 
lately spent that happy day in the delightful garden and 
sweet society of the Moulin Joly, I stopped a little in one 
of our walks, and stayed some time behind the company. 
We had been shown numberless skeletons of a kind of 
ittle fly, called an ephemera, whose successive genera- 



FRANKLIN] THE EPHEMERA. 47 

tions, we were told, were bred and expired within the day. 
I happened to see a living company of them on a leaf, 
who appeared to be engaged in conversation. You know 
I understand all the inferior animal tongues. My too 
great application to the study of them is the best excuse 
I can give for the little progress I have made in your 
charming language. I listened through curiosity to the 
discourse of these little creatures ; but as they, in their 
natural vivacity, spoke three or four together, I could 
make but little of their conversation. I found, however, 
by some broken expressions that I heard now and then, 
they were disputing warmly on the merit of two foreign 
musicians, one a cousin, the other a moscheto ; in which 
dispute they spent their time, seemingly as regardless of 
the shortness of life as if they had been sure of living 
a month. Happy people, thought I; you are certainly 
under a wise, just, and mild government, since you have 
no public grievances to complain of, nor any subject of 
contention but the perfections and imperfections of 
foreign music. I turned my head from them to an old 
gray-headed one, who was single on another leaf and talk 
ing to himself. Being amused with his soliloquy, I put it 
down in writing, in hopes it will likewise amuse her to 
whom I am so much indebted for the most pleasing of 
all amusements, her delicious company and heavenly 
harmony. 

" It was," said he, " the opinion of learned philosophers 
of our race, who lived and flourished long before my 
time, that this vast world, the Moulin Joly, could not 
itself subsist more than eighteen hours ; and I think 
there was some foundation for that opinion, since, by the 
apparent motion of the great luminary that gives life to 
all nature, and which in my time has evidently declined 
considerably towards the ocean at the end of our earth, it 



48 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FRANKLIN 

must then finish its course, be extinguished in the waters 
that surround us, and leave the world in cold and dark 
ness, necessarily producing universal death 'and destruc 
tion. I have lived seven of those hours, a great age, 
being no less than four hundred and twenty minutes of 
time. How very few of us continue so long! I have 
seen generations born, nourish, and expire. My present 
friends are the children and grandchildren of the friends 
of my youth, who are now, alas, no more ! And I must 
soon follow them ; for, by the course of nature, though 
still in health, I cannot expect to live above seven or 
eight minutes longer. What now avails all my toil and 
labor, in amassing honey-dew on this leaf, which I cannot 
live to enjoy ! What the political struggles I have been 
engaged in, for the good of my compatriot inhabitants 
of this bush, or my philosophical studies for the benefit 
of our race in general ? for, in politics, what can laws 
do without morals ? Our present race of ephemerae will 
in a course of minutes become corrupt, like those of 
other and older bushes, and consequently as wretched. 
And in philosophy how small our progress! Alas! art 
is long and life is short. My friends would comfort me 
with the idea of a name, they say I shall leave behind 
me ] and they tell me I have lived long enough to nature 
and to glory. But what will fame be to an ephemera 
who no longer exists ? and what will become of all his 
tory in the eighteenth hour, when the world itself, even 
the whole Moulin Joly, shall come to its end, and be 
buried in universal ruin ?" 

To me, after all my eager pursuits, no solid pleasures 
now remain but the reflection of a long life spent in 
meaning well, the sensible conversation of a few good 
lady ephemerae, and nqw and then a kind smile and a 
tune from the ever amiable Brillante. 



FRANKLIN] THE WHISTLE. 49 

Franklin's neat method of putting a sermon into a paragraph is in 
none of his writings better illustrated than in his short apologue of 
" The Whistle." 



THE WHISTLE. 

When I was a child of seven years old, my friends, on 
a holiday, filled my pockets with coppers. I went di 
rectly to a shop where they sold toys for children ; and, 
being charmed with the sound of a whistle that I met by 
the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered 
and gave all my money for one. I then came home, and 
went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my 
whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers and 
sisters and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, 
told me I had given four times as much for it as it was 
worth ; put me in mind what good things I might have 
bought with the rest of the money ; and laughed at me 
so much for my folly, that I cried with vexation ; and the 
reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me 
pleasure. 

This, however, was afterwards of use to me, the impres 
sion continuing on my mind ; so that often, when I was 
tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, 
Don't give too much for the whistle ; and I saved my money. 

As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the 
actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, 
who gave too much for the whistle. 

When I saw one too ambitious of court favor, sacri 
ficing his time in attendance on levees, his repose, his 
liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends, to attain it, 
I have said to myself, This man gives too much for his 
whistle. 

When I saw another fond of popularity, constantly 
employing himself in political bustles, neglecting his own 
c d 5 



50 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FRANKLIN 

affairs, and ruining them by that neglect, He pays, indeed, 
said I, too much for his whistle. 

If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfort 
able living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the 
esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevolent 
friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth, Poor man. 
said I, you pay too much for your whistle. 

When I met with a man of pleasure, sacrificing every 
laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, to 
mere corporeal sensations, and ruining his health in their 
pursuit, Mistaken man, said I, you are providing pain for 
yourself, instead of pleasure ; you give too much for your 
whistle. 

If I see one fond of appearance, or fine clothes, fine 
houses, fine furniture, fine equipages, all above his fortune, 
for which he contracts debts, and ends his career in a 
prison, Alas, say I, he has paid dear, very dear, for his 
whistle. 

When I see a beautiful, sweet-tempered girl married to 
an ill-natured brute of a husband, What a pity, say I, that 
she should pay so much for a whistle ! 

In short, I conceive that great part of the miseries 
of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates 
they have made of the value of things, and by their giving 
too much for their whistles. 

As a good example of Franklin's views upon money-matters, we 
cite the following : 

NECESSARY HINTS TO THOSE THAT WOULD BE RICH. 

The use of money is all the advantage there is in having 
money. 

For six pounds a year you may have the use of one 
hundred pounds, provided you are a man of known 
prudence and honesty. 



FRANKLIN] HINTS CONCERNING MONEY. 51 

He that spends a groat a day idly, spends idly above 
six pounds a year, which is the price for the use of one 
hundred pounds. 

He that wastes idly a groat's worth of his time per day, 
one day with another, wastes the privilege of using one 
hundred pounds each day. 

He that idly loses five shillings' worth of time loses 
five shillings, and might as prudently throw five shillings 
into the sea. 

He that loses five shillings not only loses that sum, but 
all the advantage that might be made by turning it in 
dealing, which, by the time that a young man becomes 
old, will amount to a considerable sum of money. 

Again : he that sells upon credit asks a price for what 
he sells equivalent to the principal and interest of his 
money for the time he is to be kept out of it : therefore 
he that buys upon credit pays interest for what he buys, 
and he that pays ready money might let that money out 
to use : so that he that possesses anything he has bought 
pays interest for the use of it. 

Yet, in buying goods, it is best to pay ready money, 
because he that sells upon credit expects to lose five per 
cent, by bad debts ; therefore he charges, on all he sells 
upon credit, an advance that shall make up that deficiency. 

Those who pay for what they buy upon credit pay 
their share of this advance. 

He that pays ready money escapes, or may escape, that 
charge. 

A penny saved is two pence clear ; 
A pin a day's a groat a year. 

To quote the best of Franklin's autobiography would be to quote it 
nearly all : we must content ourselves with a short extract, descrip 
tive of the first entrance of the roving Boston boy into that city to 



52 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FRANKLIN 

which his residence was to give one of its chief claims to distinction, 
and to many of whose most valuable institutions his ideas were to 
give rise. 

FIRST ENTRANCE INTO PHILADELPHIA. 

I have been the more particular in this description ot 
my journey, and shall be so of my first entry into that 
city, that you may in your mind compare such unlikely 
beginnings with the figure I have since made there. I 
was in my working dress, my best clothes being to come 
round by sea. I was dirty from my journey ; my pockets 
were stuffed out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no 
soul nor where to look for lodging. I was fatigued with 
travelling, rowing and want of rest, I was very hungry; 
and my whole stock of cash consisted of a Dutch dollar, 
and about a shilling in copper. The latter I gave the 
people' of the boat for my passage, who at first refused it, 
on account of my rowing ; but I insisted on their taking 
it. A man being sometimes more generous when he has 
but a little money than when he has plenty, perhaps 
through fear of being thought to have but little. 

Then I walked up the street, gazing about, till near the 
market-house I met a boy with bread. I had made many 
a meal on bread, and, inquiring where he got it, I went 
immediately to the baker's he directed me to, in Second 
street, and asked for biscuit, intending such as we had in 
Boston ; but they, it seems, were not made in Philadelphia. 
Then I asked for a three-penny loaf, and was told they had 
none such. So not considering or knowing the difference 
of money, and the greater cheapness nor the names of his 
bread, I bade him give me three-penny worth of any sort. 
He gave me, accordingly, three great puffy rolls. I wa& 
surprised at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room 
in ray pockets, walked off with a roll under each arm, and 



MITCHEL] FIRST REVOLUTION OF THE HEAVENS. 53 

eating the other. Thus I went up Market street as far as 
Fourth street, passing by the door of Mr. Bead, my future 
wife's father ; when she, standing at the door, saw me, and 
thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridicu 
lous appearance. Then I turned and went down Chesnut 
street and part of Walnut street, eating my roll all the 
way, and, coming round, found myself again at Market 
street wharf, near the boat I came in, to which I went for 
a draught of the river water; and, being filled with one 
of my rolls, gave the other two to a woman and her child 
that came down the river in the boat with us, and were 
waiting to go farther. 

Thus refreshed, I walked again up the street, which by 
this time had many clean-dressed people in it, who were 
all walking the same way. I joined them, and thereby 
was led into the great meeting-house of the Quakers near 
the market. I sat down among them, and, after looking 
round awhile and hearing nothing said, being very drowsy 
through labor and want of rest the preceding night, I fell 
fast asleep, and continued so till the meeting broke up, 
when one was kind enough to rouse me. This was, there 
fore, the first house I was in, or slept in, in Philadelphia. 



THE FIRST REVOLUTION OF THE HEAVENS WITNESSED 
BY MAN. 

ORMSBY M. MITCHEL. 

[Ormsby McKnight Mitchel, the astronomer and soldier, was born 
in Kentucky, August 28, 1810. He entered West Point in 1825, 
when but fifteen years old. In 1837 lie resigned his military commis 
sion, and afterwards became Professor of Mathematics, Philosophy, 
and Astronomy at the Cincinnati College. The Cincinnati Observa- 



54 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MITCHEL 

tory, built from 1842 to 1847, is solely the result of his enthusiastic 
efforts. He published " The Planetary and Stellar Worlds" and " An 
Elemetary Treatise on the Sun, Planets, etc.," which were written in 
a style of fervid eloquence and were well received by the public. At 
the outbreak of the civil war he re-entered the military service, with 
the rank of brigadier-general. He was made major-general in 1862, 
and died at Beaufort, South Carolina, of yellow fever, October 30 
of the same year.] 

FAR away from the earth on which we dwell, in the 
blue ocean of space, thousands of bright orbs, in cluster 
ings and configurations of exceeding beauty, invite the 
upward gaze of man, and tempt him to the examination 
of the wonderful sphere by which he is surrounded. 
The starry heavens do not display their glittering con 
stellations in the glare of day, while the rush and tur 
moil of business incapacitate man for the enjoyment of 
their solemn grandeur. It is in the stillness of the mid- 
night hour, when all nature is hushed in repose, when 
the hum of the world's on-going is no longer heard, that 
the planets roll and shine, and the bright stars, trooping 
through the deep heavens, speak to the willing spirit that 
would learn their mysterious being. 

Often have I swept backward in imagination six thou 
sand years, and stood beside our great ancestor as he 
gazed for the first time upon the going down of the sun. 
What strange sensations must have swept through his 
bewildered mind, as he watched the last departing ray of 
the sinking orb, unconscious whether he should ever be 
hold its return ! Wrapt in a maze of thought, strange 
and startling, his eye long lingers about the point at 
which the sun had slowly faded from his view. 

A mysterious darkness, hitherto unexperienced, creeps 
over the face of nature. The beautiful scenes of earth, 
which through the swift hours of the first wonderful 
day of his existence had so charmed his senses, are 



MITCHEL] FIRST REVOLUTION OF THE HEAVENS. 55 

slowly fading, one by one, from his dimmed vision. A 
gloom deeper than that which covers earth steals across 
the mind of earth's solitary inhabitant. He raises his 
inquiring gaze towards heaven, and lo ! a silver crescent 
of light, clear and beautiful, hanging in the western sky, 
meets his astonished eye. The young moon charms his 
untutored vision, and leads him upward to her bright 
attendants, which are now stealing, one by one, from out 
the deep-blue sky. The solitary gazer bows, and won 
ders, and adores. 

The hours glide by, the silver moon is gone, the 
stars are rising, slowly ascending the heights of heaven, 
and solemnly sweeping downward in the stillness of the 
night. The first grand revolution to mortal vision is 
nearly completed. A faint streak of rosy light is seen in 
the east, it brightens, the stars fade, the planets are 
extinguished, the eye is fixed in mute astonishment on 
the growing splendor, till the first rays of the returning 
sun dart their radiance on the young earth and its soli 
tary inhabitant. To him " the evening and the morning 
were the first day." 

The curiosity excited on this first solemn night, the 
consciousness that in the heavens God had declared his 
glory, the eager desire to comprehend the mysteries that 
dwell in these bright orbs, have, clung to the descendants 
of him who first watched and wondered, through the long 
lapse of six thousand years. In this boundless field of 
investigation human genius has won its most signal vic 
tories. Generation after generation has rolled away, age 
after age has swept silently by ; but each has swelled by 
its contribution the stream of discovery. One barrier 
after another has given way to the force of intellect, - 
mysterious movements have been unravelled, mighty 
laws have been revealed, ponderous orbs have been 



56 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MITCHEI 

weighed, their reciprocal influences computed, their com 
plex wanderings made clear, until the mind, majestic in 
its strength, has mounted, step by step, up the rocky 
height of its self-built pyramid, from whose star-crowned 
summit it looks out upon the grandeur of the universe, 
self-clothed with the prescience of a God. With resist 
less energy it rolls back the tide of time, and lives in 
the configuration of rolling worlds a thousand years ago, 
or, more wonderful, it sweeps away the dark curtain 
from the future, and beholds those celestial scenes which 
shall greet the vision of generations when a thousand 
years shall have rolled away, breaking their noiseless 
waves on the dim shores of eternity. 

To trace the efforts of the human mind in this long 
and ardent struggle, to reveal its hopes and fears, its 
long years of patient watching, its moments of despair 
and hours of triumph, to develop the means by which 
the deep foundations of the rock-built pyramid of science 
have been laid, and to follow it as it slowly rears its 
stately form from age to age, until its vertex pierces the 
very heavens, these are the objects proposed for accom 
plishment, and these are the topics to which I would invite 
your earnest attention. 

The task is one of no ordinary difficulty. It is no 
feast of fancy, with music and poetry, with eloquence 
and art, to enchain the mind. Music is here ; but it is 
the deep and solemn harmony of the spheres. Poetry is 
here ; but it must be read in the characters of light, 
written on the sable garments of night. Architecture in 
here ; but it is the colossal structure of sun and system, 
of cluster and universe. Eloquence is here ; but " there 
is neither speech nor language : its voice is not heard ;" 
yet its resistless sweep comes over us in the mighty 
periods of revolving worlds. 



WIIITCIIER] HEZEKIAH BEDOTT. 57 

Shall we not listen to this music, because it is deep 
and solemn ? Shall we not read this poetry, because its 
letters are the stars of heaven ? Shall we refuse to con 
template this architecture, because "its architraves, its 
archways, seem ghostly from infinitude" ? Shall we turn 
away from this surging eloquence, because its utterance 
is made through sweeping worlds ? No ! the mind is 
ever inquisitive, ever ready to attempt to scale the most 
rugged steeps. Wake up its enthusiasm, fling the light 
of hope on its pathway, and, no matter how rough and 
steep and rocky it may prove, onward is the word which 
charms its willing powers. 



HEZEKIAH BEDOTT. 

F. M. WHITCHER. 

[Frances Miriam Berry was born at Whitesborough, New York, in 
1812. Her literary life began as a contributor to NeaVs Gazette, in 
which she published a series of articles under the title of " Widow 
Bedott's Table-Talk," which attracted wide-spread attention from 
their rich vein of humor and their masterly handling of the Yankee 
dialect. In 1847 she married the Kev. B. W. Whitcher. She con 
tinued her contributions to periodical literature after her marriage, and 
died in 1852. We give two illustrations of her amusing sketches.] 

HE was a wonderful hand to moralize, husband was, 
'specially after he begun to enjoy poor health. He made 
an observation once, when he was in one of his poor turns, 
that I never shall forget the longest day I live. He says 
to me, one winter evenin', as we was a-settin' by the fire, 
I was a-knittin' (I was always a wonderful great knitter) 
and he was a-smokin' (he was a master hand to smoke, 
though the doctor used to tell him he'd be better off to let 



58 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITCHER 

tobacker alone ; when he was well, used to take his pipe 
and smoke a spell after he'd got the chores done up, and 
when he wa'n't well, used to smoke the biggest part o' the 
time). Well, he took his pipe out of his mouth and turned 
toward me, and I knowed something was comin', for he 
had a pertikkeler way of lookin' round when he was gwine 
to say anything oncommon. Well, he says to me, says 
he, " Silly" (my name was Prissilly naterally, but he gin- 
erally called me Silly, 'cause 'twas handier, you know). 
Well, he says to me, says he, "Silly," and he looked 
pretty sollem, I tell you, he had a sollem countenance 
naterally, and after he got to be deacon 'twas more so, 
but since he'd lost his health he looked sollemer than 
ever, and certingly you wouldent wonder at it if you 
knowed how much he underwent. He was troubled with 
a wonderful pain in his chest, and amazin' weakness in the 
spine of his back, besides the pleurissy in the side, and 
havin' the ager a considerable part o' the time, and bein' 
broke of his rest o' nights, 'cause he was so put to't for 
breath when he laid down. Wiry, it's an onaccountable 
fact, that when that man died he hadent seen a well 
day in fifteen year, though when he was married, and 
for five or six year after, I shouldent desire to see a 
ruggeder man than what he was. But the time I'm 
speakin' of he'd been out o' health nigh upon ten year, 
and, oh dear sakes ! how he had altered since the first 
time I ever see him! That was to a quiltin' to Squire 
Smith's, a spell afore Sally was married. I'd no idee then 
that Sal Smith was a-gwine to be married to Sam Pen- 
dergrass. She'd ben keepin' company with Mose Hewlitt 
for better'n a year, and everybody said that was a settled 
thing, and, lo and behold! all of a sudding she up and 
took Sam Pendergrass. Well, that was the first time 
I ever see my husband, and if anybody'd a told me 



WHITCHER] HEZEKIAH BEDOTT. 59 

then that I should ever marry him, I should a said but, 
lawful sakes ! I 'most forgot, I was gwine to tell you what 
he said to me that evenin', and when a body begins to tell 
a thing I believe in finishin' on't some time or other. 
Some folks have a way of talkin' round and round and 
round for evermore, and never comin' to the pint. Now 
there's Miss Jinkins, she that was Poll Bingham afore she 
was married, she is the tejusest individooal to tell a story 
that ever I see in all my born days. But I was a-gwine to 
tell you what husband said. He says to me, says he, 
" Silly ;" says I, "What ?" I dident say " What, Hezekier?" 
for I dident like his name. The first time I ever heard it 
I near killed myself a-laffin'. "Hezekier Bedott!" says I. 
" Well, I would give up if I had sich a name ;" but then 
you know I had no more idee o' marry in' the feller than 
you have this minnit o' marryin' the governor. I s'pose 
you think it's curus we should a named our oldest son 
Hezekier. Well, we done it to please father and mother 
Bedott; it's father Bedott's name, and he and mother 
Bedott bo.th used to think that names had ought to go 
down from gineration to gineration. But we always called 
him Kier, you know. Speakin' o' Kier, he is a blessin', 
ain't he ? and I ain't the only one that thinks so, I guess. 
Now don't you never tell nobody that I said so, but, be 
tween you and me, I rather guess that if Kezier Winkle 
thinks she's a-gwine to ketch Kier Bedott she is a leetle 
out of her reckonin'. But I was gwine to tell what hus 
band said. He says to me, says he, " Silly ;" I says, says 
I, " What ?" If I dident say " what" when he said " Silly," 
he'd a kept on sayin' "Silly" from time to eternity. He 
always did, because, you know, he wanted me to pay per- 
tikkeler attention, and I ginerally did ; no woman was 
ever more attentive to her husband than what I was. 
Well, he says to me, says he, "Silly;" says I, "What?" 



60 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITCHER 

though I'd no idee what he was gwine to say ; dident know 
but what 'twas something about his sufferin's, though he 
wa'n't apt to complain, but he frequently used to remark 
that he wouldent wish his worst enemy to suffer one min- 
nit as he did all the time, but that can't be called grumblin' ; 
think it can ? Why, I've seen him in sitivations when 
you'd a thought no mortal could a helped grumblin', but 
he dident. He and me went once in the dead o' winter in 
a one-hoss slay out to Boonville, to see a sister o' hisen. 
You know the snow is amazin' deep in that section o' the 
kentry. Well, the hoss got stuck in one o' them 'ere flam- 
bergasted snow-banks, and there we sot, onable to stir, 
and to cap all, while we was a-settin' there, husband was 
took with a dretful crick in his back. Now that was 
what I call a perdickerment, don't you ? Most men would a 
swore, but husband dident. He only said, says he, " Con- 
sarn it !" How did we get out, did you ask ? Why, we 
might a ben settin' there to this day, fur as I know, if 
there hadent a happened to come along a mess o' men in a 
double team, and they hysted us out. 

But I was gwine to tell you that observation o' hisen. 
Says he to me, says he, " Silly." I could see by the light 
o' the fire (there dident happen to be no candle burnin', if 
I don't disremember, though my memory is sometimes 
ruther forgitful, but I know we wa'n't apt to burn candles 
exceptin' when we had company), I could see by the light 
o' the fire that his mind was oncommon solemnized. Says 
he to me, says he, " Silly ;" I says to him, says I, " What ?" 
He says to me, says he, " We're all poor critters I " 

[" Mrs. Mudlaw's recipe for Potato Pudding," the last published 
of Mrs. "Whitcher's sketches during her lifetime, is one of the most 
amusing, and capitally shows her power of character-painting.] 

Mrs. Mudlaw was a short, fat woman, with a broad, 



WHITCHER] HEZEKIAH BEDOTT. 61 

red face such a person as a stranger would call the very 
personification of good-nature; though I have never 
found fat people to be any more amiable than lean ones. 
Certainly, Mrs. Mudlaw was not a very sweet-tempered 
woman. On this occasion she felt rather more cross 
than usual, forced, as she was, to give one of her recipes 
to a nobody. She, however, knew the necessity of as 
suming a pleasant demeanor at that time, and accord 
ingly entered the nursery with an encouraging grin on 
her blazing countenance. Mrs. Philpot, fearing lest her 
cook's familiarity might belittle her mistress in the eyes 
of Mrs. Darling, and again asking to be excused for a 
short time, went into the library, a nondescript apart 
ment, dignified by that name, which communicated with 
the nursery. The moment she left her seat, a largo 
rocking-chair, Mudlaw dumped herself down in it, ex 
claiming, 

" Miss Philpot says you want to get my recipe for po- 
tater puddin' ?" 

" Yes," replied Mrs. Darling. " I would be obliged to 
you for the directions." And she took out of her pocket 
a pencil and paper to write it down. 

"Well, 'tis an excellent puddin'," said Mudlaw, com 
placently; "for my part, I like it about as well as any 
puddin' I make, and that's sayin' a good deal, I can tell 
you, for I understand makin' a great variety. 'Taint so 
awful rich as some, to be sure. Now, there's the Cardi- 
nelle puddin', and the Washington puddin', and the Lay 
Fayette puddin', and the " 

" Yes. Mr. Darling liked it very much. How do you 
make it ?" 

" Wai, I peel my potaters and bile 'em in fair water. I 
always let the water bile before I put 'em in. Some folks 
let their potaters lie and sog in the water ever so long, 

6 



62 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITCHER 

before it biles ; but I think it spiles 'em. I always make 
it a pint to have the water bile " 

" How many potatoes ?" 

" Wai, I always take about as many potaters as I think 
I shall want. I'm generally governed by the size of the 
puddin' I want to make. If it's a large puddin', why, I 
take quite a number, but if it's a small one, why, then I 
don't take as many. As quick as they're done, I take 'em 
up and mash 'em as fine as I can get 'em. I'm always very 
partic'lar about that some folks ain't; they'll let their 
potaters be full o' lumps, /never do ; if there's anything 
I hate, it's lumps in potaters. I won't have 'em. Whether 
I'm mashin' potaters for puddin's or for vegetable use, I 
mash it till there ain't the size of a lump in it. If I 
can't git it fine without siftin', why, I sift it. Once in 
a while, when I'm otherways engaged, I set the girl to 
mashin' on't. Wai, she'll give it three or four jams, and 
come along. l Miss Mudlaw, is the potater fine enough ?' 
Jubiter Eammin ! that's the time I come as near gittin' 
mad as I ever allow myself to come, for I make it a pint 
never to have lumps " . 

" Yes, I know it is very important. What next ?" 

" Wai, then I put in my butter ; in winter-time I melt 
it a little, not enough to make it ily, but jest so's to 
soften it." 
" How much butter does it require ?" 

"Wai, I always take butter accordin' to the size of 
the puddin' ; a large puddin' needs aT good-sized lump o' 
butter, but not too much. And I'm always partic'lar to 
have my butter fresh and sweet. Some folks think it's 
no matter what sort o' butter they use for cookin'; but 1 
don't. Of all things, I do despise strong, frowy, rancid 
butter. For pity's sake, have your butter fresh." 

" How much butter did you say ?" 



WHITCHER] HEZEKIAH BEDOTT. 63 

" Wai, that depends, as I said before, on what sized 
puddin' you want to make. And another thing that reg 
ulates the quantity of butter I use is the 'mount o' cream 
I take. I always put in more or less cream ; when I have 
abundance o' cream, I put in considerable, and when it's 
scarce, why, I use more butter than I otherways should. 
But you must be partic'lar not to get in too much cream. 
There's a great deal in havin' jest the right quantity; 
and so 'tis with all the ingrejiences. There ain't a better 
puddin' in the world than a potater puddin', when it's 
made right, but 'tain't everybody that makes 'em right. I 
remember when I lived in Tuckertown, I was a-visitin' to 
Squire Humphrey's one time I went in the first com 
pany in Tuckertown dear me! this is a changeable 
world. Wai, they had what they called a potater puddin' 
for dinner. Good land ! Of all the puddin's ! I've often 
occurred to that puddin' since, and wondered what the 
Squire's wife was a-thinkin' of when she made it. I 
wa'n't obleeged to do no such things in them days, and 
didn't know how to do anything as well as I do now. 
Necessity's the mother of invention. Experience is the 
best teacher, after all " 

" Do you sweeten it ?" 

" Oh, yes, to be sure it needs sugar, the best o' sugar, 
too ; not this wet, soggy, brown sugar. Some folks never 
think o' usin' good sugar to cook with, but for my part I 
won't have no other." 

" How much sugar do you take ?" 

" Wai, that depends altogether on whether you calcu 
late to have sass for it some like sass, you know, and 
then some agin don't. So, when I calculate for sass, I 
don't take so much sugar ; and when I don't calculate foi 
sass, I make it sweet enough to eat without sass. Poor 
Mr. Mudlaw was a great hand for puddin'-sass. I always 



64 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITCHEB 

made it for him good rich sass, too. I could afford to 
have things rich before he was unfortinate in bisness." 
(Mudlaw went to State's prison for horse-stealing.) " I 
like sass myself, too ; and the curnel and the children are 
all great sass hands ; and so I generally calculate for sass, 
though Miss Philpot prefers the puddin' without sass, and 
perhaps you'd prefer it without. If so, you must put in 
sugar accordingly. I always make it a pint to have 'em 
sweet enough when they're to be eat without sass." 

" And don't you use eggs ?" 

" Certainly : eggs is one o' the principal ingrejiences." 

" How many does it require ?" 

" Wai, when eggs is plenty, I always use plenty ; and 
when they're scarce, why, I can do with less, though I'd 
ruther have enough. And be sure and beat 'em well. It 
does distress me, the way some folks beat eggs. I always 
want to have 'em thoroughly beat for everything I use 
'em in. It tries my patience most awfully to have any 
body round me that won't beat eggs enough. A spell 
ago we had a darky to help in the kitchen. One day I 
was a-makin' sponge cake, and havin' occasion to go up 
stairs after something, I sot her to beatin' the eggs. 
Wai, what do you think the critter done ? Why, she 
whisked 'em round a few times, and turned 'em right onto 
the other ingrejiences that I'd got weighed out. When I 
come back and saw what she'd done, my gracious! I 
come as nigh to losin' my temper as I ever allow myself 
to come. 'Twas awful provokin' ! I always want the 
kitchen help to do things as I want to have 'em done. 
But I never saw a darky yet that ever done anything 
right. They're a lazy, slaughterin' set. To think o' her 
spilin' that cake so, when I'd told her over and over agin 
that I always made it a pint to have my eggs thoroughly 
beat!" 



WHITCHER] HEZEKIAH BEDOTT. 65 

"Yes, it was too bad. Do you use fruit in the 
pudding ?" 

" Wai, that's jest as you please. You'd better be gov 
erned by your own judgment as to that. Some like cur 
rants, and some like raisins, and then agin some don't 
like nary one. If you use raisins, for pity's sake pick out 
the stuns. It's awful to have a body's teeth come grindin' 
onto a raisin stun. I'd rather have my ears boxed any 
time." 

" How many raisins must I take ?" 

"Wai, not too many it's apt to make the puddin' 
heavy, you know ; and when it's heavy it ain't so light 
and good. I'm a great hand " 

" Yes. What do you use for flavoring?" 

" There agin you'll have to exercise your own judg 
ment. Some likes one thing, and some another, you 
know. If you go the hull figger on temperance, why, 
some other kind o' flavorin' '11 do as well as wine or 
brandy, I s'pose. But whatever you make up your mind 
to use, be partic'lar to git in a sufficiency, or else your 
puddin' '11 be flat. I always make it a pint " 

" How long must it bake ?" 

" There's the great thing after all. The bakin' 's the 
main pint. A potater puddin', of all puddin's, has got to 
be baked jest right. For if it bakes a leetle too much, 
it's apt to dry it up ; and then if it don't bake quite 
enough, it's sure to taste potatery, and that spiles it, 
you know." 

''How long should you think ?" 

" Wai, that depends a good deal on the heat o' your 
oven. If you have a very hot oven, 'twon't do to leave 
it in too long ; and if your oven ain't so very hot, why, 
you'll be necessiated to leave it in longer." 

" Well, how can I tell anything about it ?" 
e 6* 



66 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITCHER 

" Wai, I always let 'em bake till I think they're done, 
that's the safest way. I make it a pint to have 'em 
baked exactly right. It's very important in all kinds o* 
bakin' cake, pies, bread, puddin's, and everything to 
have 'em baked precisely long enough, and jest right. 
Some folks don't seem to have no system at all about their 
bakin'. One time they'll burn their bread to a crisp, and 
then agin it'll be so slack 'tain't fit to eat. Nothin' hurts 
my feelin's so much as to see things overdone or slack- 
baked. Here only t'other day Lorry, the girl that Miss 
Philpot dismissed yesterday, come within an ace o' lettin' 
my bread burn up. My back was turned for a minnit, and 
what should she do but go to stuffin' wood into the stove 
at the awfullest rate ! If I hadn't a found it out jest when 
I did, my bread would a ben spilt as sure as I'm a live 
woman. Jubiter Rammin ! I was about as much decom 
posed as I ever allow myself to git! I told Miss Philpot 
I wouldn't stan' it no longer, one of us must quit, 
either Lorry or me must walk." 

" So you've no rule about baking this pudding ?" 

" No rule 1" said Mudlaw, with a look of intense sur 
prise. 

"Yes," said Mrs. Darling; "you seem to have no rule 
for anything about it." 

" No rule !" screamed the indignant cook, starting up, 
while her red face grew ten times redder, and her little 
black eyes snapped with rage. " No rules ! do you tell me 
I've no rules ! Me ! that's cooked in the first families for 
fifteen years, and always gin satisfaction, to be told by 
such as you that I hain't no rules !" 



WARE] THE JOURNEY TO PALMYRA. 67 

THE JOURNEY TO PALMYRA. 

WILLIAM WARE. 

[The imaginative and beautiful description of antique scenery and 
conditions which we give below is from the " Zenobia" of William 
Ware, one of the earliest delvers in that field of Oriental and antique 
manners and customs which has been recently so attractively wrought 
by several popular novelists. As an author Mr. Ware belongs to the 
first half of the nineteenth century, his early literary essays having been 
published in the Knickerbocker Magazine in 1836, under the title of 
" Letters from Palmyra." He afterwards published a sequel, entitled 
" Probus," the scenes of which are laid in Home during the final per 
secutions of the Christians. These works are now known as " Zenobia" 
and " Aurelian." He also published " Julian," " Sketches of European 
Capitals," and " Lectures on Allston." He died in 1852, in his fifty- 
fifth year. His classical works vividly display the characteristics of 
life in the Koman empire, and unite fine descriptive powers and 
earnest reflection with a just and graphic rendition of the scenes and 
events of ancient history.] 

I WILL not detain you long with our voyage, but will 
only mark out its course. Leaving the African shore, we 
struck across to Sicily, and, coasting along its eastern 
border, beheld with pleasure the towering form of JEtna, 
sending up into the heavens a dull and sluggish cloud 
of vapors. We then ran between the Peloponnesus and 
Crete, and so held our course till the island of Cyprus 
rose like her own fair goddess from the ocean, and filled 
our eyes with a beautiful vision of hill and valley, wooded 
promontory, and glittering towns and villas. A fair wind 
soon withdrew us from these charming prospects, and, 
after driving us swiftly and roughly over the remainder 
of our way, rewarded us with a brighter and more wel 
come vision still, the coast of Syria, and our destined 
port, Berytus. 

As far as the eye could reach, both toward the north 



68 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WARE 

and the south, we beheld a luxuriant region, crowded with 
villages, and giving every indication of comfort and wealth. 
The city itself, which we rapidly approached, was of in 
ferior size, but presented an agreeable prospect of ware 
houses, public and private edifices, overtopped here and 
there by the lofty palm, and other trees of a new and 
peculiar foliage. Four days were consumed here in the 
purchase of slaves, camels, and horses, and in other prep 
arations for the journey across the Desert. Two routes 
presented themselves, one more, the other less, direct: 
the last, though more circuitous, appeared to me the more 
desirable, as it would take me within sight of the modern 
glories and ancient remains of Heliopolis. This, there 
fore, was determined upon ; and on the morning of the 
fifth day we set forward upon our long march. Four 
slaves, two camels, and three horses, with an Arab con 
ductor, constituted our little caravan ; but for greater 
safety we attached ourselves to a much larger one than 
our own, in which we were swallowed up and lost, con 
sisting of travellers and traders from all parts of the 
world, and who were also on their way to Palmyra, as a 
point whence to separate to various parts of the vast East. 
It would delight me to lay before you, with the distinct 
ness and minuteness of a picture, the whole of this novel 
and to me most interesting route ; but I must content my 
self with a slight sketch, and reserve fuller communica 
tions to the time when, once more seated with you upon 
the Coelian, we enjoy the freedom of social converse. 

Our way through the valleys of Libanus was like one 
long wandering among the pleasure-grounds of opulent 
citizens. The land was everywhere richly cultivated, and 
a happier peasantry, as far as the eye of the traveller 
could judge, nowhere exists.- The most luxuriant valleys 
of our own Italy are not more crowded with the evidences 



WARE] THE JOURNEY TO PALMYRA. 69 

of plenty and contentment. Upon drawing near to the 
ancient Baal bee, I found, on inquiry of our guide, that we 
were not to pass through it, as I had hoped, nor even very 
near it, not nearer than between two and three miles. 
So that in this I had been clearly deceived by those of 
whom I had made the most exact inquiries at Berytus. I 
thought I discovered great command of myself, in that I 
did not break the head of my Arab, who, doubtless to 
answer purposes of his own, had brought me thus out of 
my way for nothing. The event proved, however, it was 
not for nothing; for soon after we had started on our 
journey, on the morning of the second day, turning sud 
denly round the projecting rock of a mountain-ridge, 
we all at once beheld, as if a veil had been lifted up, 
Heliopolis and its suburbs, spread out before us in all 
their various beauty. The city lay about three miles 
distant. I could only, therefore, identify its principal 
structure, the Temple of the Sun, as built by the first 
Antonine. This towered above the walls and over all 
the other buildings, and gave vast ideas of the great 
ness of the place, leading the mind to crowd it with 
other edifices that should bear some proportion to this 
noble monument of imperial magnificence. As suddenly 
as the view of this imposing scene had been revealed, so 
suddenly was it again eclipsed by another short turn in 
the road, which took us once more into the mountain-val 
leys. But the overhanging and impenetrable foliage of a 
Syrian forest shielding me from the fierce rays of a burn 
ing sun, soon reconciled me to my loss, more especially 
as I knew that in a short time we were to enter upon the 
sandy desert which stretches from the Anti-Libanus almost 
to the very walls of Palmyra. 

Upon this boundless desert we now soon entered. The 
scene which it presented was more dismal than I can de- 



70 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WARE 

scribe. A red, moving sand, or hard and baked by the 
heat of a sun such as Eome never knows, low, gray rocks 
just rising here and there above the level of the plain, with 
now and then the dead and glittering trunk of a vast cedar, 
whose roots seemed as if they had outlasted centuries, 
the bones of camels and elephants scattered on either hand, 
dazzling the sight by reason of their excessive whiteness, 
at a distance occasionally an Arab of the desert, for a 
moment surveying our long line, and then darting off to 
his fastnesses, these were the objects which, with scarce 
any variation, met our eyes during the four wearisome 
days that we dragged ourselves over this wild and inhos 
pitable region. A little after noon of the fourth day, as 
we started on our way, having refreshed ourselves and 
our exhausted animals at a spring which here poured out 
its warm but still grateful waters to the traveller, my ears 
received the agreeable news that toward the east there 
could now be discerned the dark line which indicated our 
appioach to the verdant tract that encompasses the great 
city. Our own excited spirits were quickly imparted to 
our beasts, and a more rapid movement soon revealed 
into distinctness the high land and waving groves of 
palm-trees which mark the site of Palmyra. 

It was several miles before we reached the city that 
we suddenly found ourselves landing as it were from a 
sea upon an island or continent in a rich and thickly- 
peopled country. The roads indicated an approach to a 
great capital in the increasing numbers of those who 
thronged them, meeting and passing us, overtaking us, or 
crossing our path. Elephants, camels, and the dromedary, 
which I had before seen only in the amphitheatres, I here 
beheld as the native inhabitants of the soil. Frequent 
villas of the rich and luxuriant Palmyrenes, to which they 
retreat from the greater heats of the city, now threw a 



WA.RE] THE JOURNEY TO PALMYRA. 71 

lovely charm over the scene. Nothing can exceed the 
splendor of these sumptuous palaces. Italy itself has 
nothing which surpasses them. The new and brilliant 
costumes of the persons whom we met, together with the 
rich housings of the animals which they rode, served 
greatly to add to all this beauty. I was still entranced, 
as it were, by the objects around me, and buried in reflec 
tion, when I was aroused by the shout of those who led the 
caravan, and who had attained the summit of a little rising 
ground, saying, " Palmyra ! Palmyra !" I urged forward 
my steed, and in a moment the most wonderful prospect I 
ever beheld no, I cannot except even Rome burst upon 
my sight. Flanked by hills of considerable elevation on the 
east, the city filled the whole plain below as far as the eye 
could reach, both toward the north and toward the south. 
This immense plain was all one vast and boundless city. 
Tt seemed to me to be larger than Rome. Yet I knew very 
well that it could not be, that it was not. And it was 
some time before I understood the true character of the 
scene before me, so as to separate the city from the coun 
try and the country from the city, which here wonderfully 
interpenetrate each other and so confound and deceive the 
observer. For the city proper is so studded with groups 
of lofty palm-trees shooting up among its temples and 
palaces, and, on the other hand, the plain in its immediate 
vicinity is so thickly adorned with magnificent structures 
of the purest marble, that it is not easy, nay, it is impos 
sible, at the distance at which I contemplated the whole, 
to distinguish the line which divides the one from the 
other. It was all city and all country, all country and all 
city. Those which lay before me I was ready to believe 
were the Elysian Fields. I imagined that I saw under my 
feet the dwellings of purified men and of gods. Certainly 
they were too glorious for the mere earth-born. There 



72 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WARE 

was a central point, however, which chiefly fixed my atten 
tion, where the vast Temple of the Sun stretched upward 
its thousand columns of polished marble to the heavens, in 
its matchless beauty casting into the shade every other 
work of art of which the world can boast. I have stood 
before the Parthenon, and have almost worshipped that 
divine achievement of the immortal Phidias. But it is a 
toy by the side of this bright crown of the Eastern capital. 
I have been at Milan, at Ephesus, at Alexandria, at Anti- 
och ; but in neither of those renowned cities have I beheld 
anything that I can allow to approach, in united extent, 
grandeur, and most consummate beauty, this almost more 
than work of man. On each side of this, the central point, 
there rose upward slender pyramids, pointed obelisks, 
domes of the most graceful proportions, columns, arches, 
and lofty towers, for number and for form beyond my 
power to describe. These buildings, as well as the walls 
of the city, being all either of white marble or of some 
stone as white, and being everywhere in their whole ex 
tent interspersed, as I have already said, with multitudes 
of overshadowing palm-trees, perfectly filled and satisfied 
my sense of beauty, and made me feel for the moment as 
if in such a scene I should love to dwell and there end my 
days. Nor was I alone in these transports of delight. All 
my fellow-travellers seemed equally affected ; and from the 
native Palmyrenes, of whom there were many among us, 
the most impassioned and boastful exclamations broke 
forth. " What is Eome to this ?" they cried. " Fortune 
is not constant. Why may not Palmyra be what Eome 
has been mistress of the world ? Who more fit to rule 
than the great Zenobia? A few years may see great 
changes. Who can tell what shall come to pass ?" These, 
and many such sayings, were uttered by those around me, 
accompanied by many significant gestures and glances of 



WOOLSON] KENTUCKY BELLE. 73 

the eye. I thought of them afterwards. We now de 
scended the hill, and the long line of our caravan moved 
on toward the city. 






KENTUCKY BELLE. 

CONSTANCE F. WOOLSON. 

[The author of this stirring and pathetic poem of the war, Con 
stance Fenimore Woolson, is known in literature principally as a 
novelist. Her works of fiction, particularly the later ones, are written 
with a power and originality which have given her a high rank among 
American authors. Her principal novels are "Castle Nowhere," 
"Kodman, the Keeper," "Anne," "For the Major," and "East 
Angels." She was horn at Claremont, New Hampshire, about 1848. 
She lived for a period in Ohio and in the South, and in 1879 removed 
to England.] 

SUMMER of 'sixty-three, sir, and Conrad was gone away 
Gone to the county town, sir, to sell our first load of hay : 
We lived in the log-house yonder, poor as ever you've seen ; 
Eoschen there was a baby, and I was only nineteen. 

Conrad he took the oxen, but he left Kentucky Belle. 
How much we thought of Kentuck, I couldn't begin to 

tell 
Came from the Blue-Grass country ; my father gave her 

to me 
When I rode North with Conrad, away from the Tennessee. 

Conrad lived in Ohio, a German he is, you know, 
The house stood in broad corn-fields, stretching on, row 

after row. 
The old folks made me welcome ; they were kind as kind 

could be ; 
But I kept longing, longing, for the hills of the Tennessee. 

D 7 



74 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WOOLSON 

Oh for a sight of water, the shadowed slope of a hill ! 
Clouds that hang on the summit, a wind that never is still ! 
But the 1-evel land went stretching away to meet the sky 
Never a rise, from north to south, to rest the weary eye ! 

From east to west, no river to shine out under the moon. 
Nothing to make a shadow in the yellow afternoon : 
Only the breathless sunshine, as I looked out, all forlorn ; 
Only the "rustle, rustle," as I walked among the corn. 

When I fell sick with pining, we didn't wait any more, 
But moved away from the corn-lands, out to this river 

shore 

The Tuscarawas it's called, sir off there's a hill, you see 
And now I've grown to like it next best to the Tennessee. 

I was at work that morning. Some one came riding like 

mad 
Over the bridge and up the road Farmer Eouth's little 

lad. 

Bareback he rode ; he had no hat ; he hardly stopped to say, 
" Morgan's men are coming, Frau ; they're galloping on 

this way. 

" I'm sent to warn the neighbors. He isn't a mile behind ; 
He sweeps up all the horses every horse that he can find. 
Morgan, Morgan the raider, and Morgan's terrible men, 
With bowie-knives and pistols, are galloping up the glen !" 

The lad rode down the valley, and I stood still at the door ; 
The baby laughed and prattled, playing with spools on 

the floor ; 
Kentuck was out in the pasture ; Conrad, my man, was 

gone. 
Near, nearer, Morgan's men were galloping, galloping on ! 



WOOLSON] KENTUCKY BELLE. 75 

Sudden I picked up baby, and ran to the pasture-bar. 
"Kentuck!" I called "Kentucky!" She knew me ever 

so far ! 

I led her down the gully that turns off there to the right, 
And tied her to the bushes ; her head was just out of 

sight. 

As I ran back to the log-house, at once there came a 

sound 
The ring of hoofs, galloping hoofs, trembling over the 

ground 
Coming into the turnpike out from the White- Woman 

Glen- 
Morgan, Morgan the raider, and Morgan's terrible men. 

As near they drew and nearer, my heart beat fast in alarm ; 
But still I stood in the door-way with baby on my arm. 
They came ; they passed ; with spur and whip in haste 

they sped along 
Morgan, Morgan the raider, and his band, six hundred 

strong. 

Weary they looked and jaded, riding through night and 

through day ; 

Pushing on east to the river, many long miles away, 
To the border-strip where Virginia runs up into the west, 
And fording the Upper Ohio before they could stop to 

rest. 

On like the wind they hurried, and Morgan rode in ad 
vance ; 

.Bright were his eyes like live coals, as he gave me a side 
ways glance ; 

And I was just breathing freely, after my choking pain, 

When the last one of the troopers suddenly drew his rein. 



76 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WooLSOS 

Frightened I was to death, sir ; I scarce dared look in his 

face, 
As he asked for a drink of water, and glanced around the 

place. 

I gave him a cup, and he smiled 'twas only a boy, you 

see, 

Faint and worn, with dim-blue eyes ; and he'd sailed on 
the Tennessee. 

Only sixteen he was, sir a fond mother's only son 
Off and away with Morgan before his life h%d begun ! 
The damp drops stood on his temples; drawn was the 

boyish mouth ; 
And I thought me of the mother waiting down in the 

South. 

Oh ! pluck was he to the backbone, and clear grit through 

and through ; 
Boasted and bragged like a trooper ; but the big words 

wouldn't do ; 

'The boy was dying, sir, dying, as plain as plain could be, 
Worn out by his ride with Morgan up from the Tennessee. 

But when I told the laddie that I too was from the South, 
Water came in his dim eyes, and quivers around his mouth. 

II Do you know the Blue-Grass country ?" he wistful began 

to say ; 
Then swayed like a willow sapling, and fainted dead away. 

I had him into the log-house, and worked and brought 

him to ; 

I fed him, and I coaxed him, as I thought his mother'd do ; 
And when the lad got better, and the noise in his head 

was gone, 
Morgan's men were miles away, galloping, galloping on. 



WOOLSON] KENTUCKY BELLE. 77 

" Oh, I must go !" he muttered ; " I must be up and away ! 

Morgan Morgan is waiting for me ! Oh, what will Mor 
gan say ?" 

But I heard a sound of tramping, and kept him back from 
the door 

The ringing sound of horses' hoofs that I had heard before. 

And on, on came the soldiers the Michigan cavalry 
And fast they rode, and black they looked, galloping 

rapidly : 

They had followed hard on Morgan's track ; they had fol 
lowed day and night ; 

But of Morgan and Morgan's raiders they had never 
caught a sight. 

And rich Ohio sat startled through all those summer 

days ; 
For strange, wild men were galloping over her broad 

highways 
Now here, now there, now seen, now gone, now north, 

now east, now west, 
Through river-valleys and corn-land farms, sweeping away 

her best. 

A bold ride and a long ride ! But they were taken at last. 
They almost reached the river by galloping hard and fast ; 
But the boys in blue were upon them ere ever they gained 

the ford, 
And Morgan, Morgan the raider, laid down his terrible 

sword. 

Well, I kept the boy till evening kept him against his 

will- 
But he was too weak to follow, and sat there pale and 

still. 

7* 



78 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WOOLSON 

When it was cool and dusky you'll wonder to hear me tell, 
But I stole down to that gully and brought up Kentucky 
Belle. 

I kissed the star on her forehead my pretty, gentle lass 
But I knew that she'd be happy back in the old Blue-Grass. 
A suit of clothes of Conrad's, with all the money I had, 
And Kentuck, pretty Kentuck, I gave to the worn-out lad. 

I guided him to the southward as well as I knew how; 
The boy rode off with many thanks and many a back 
ward bow ; 

And then the glow it faded, and my heart began to swell, 
As down the glen away she went, my lost Kentucky Belle! 

When Conrad came in the evening, the moon was shining 

high; 

Baby and I were both crying I couldn't tell him why 
But a battered suit of rebel gray was hanging on the wall, 
And a thin old horse, with drooping head, stood in Ken 
tucky's stall. 

Well, he was kind, and never once said a hard word to me ; 
He knew I couldn't help it 'twas all for the Tennessee. 
But, after the war was over, just think what came to pass 
A letter, sir ; and the two were safe back in the old Blue- 
Grass. 

The lad had got across the border, riding Kentucky Belle ; 
And Kentuck she was thriving, and fat, and hearty, and 

well; 
He cared for her, and kept her, nor touched her with whip 

or spur. 
Ah ! we've had many horses since, but never a horse like 

her! 



BEECHER] THE LOVE OF TREES. 79 

THE LOVE OF TREES. 

HENRY WARD BEECHER. 

[The reputation of Henry "Ward Beecher has been made in another 
field than that of literature. He is best known as an orator of the 
pulpit and of the lecture-stage, where his racy manner and his flow 
of original thought and brilliant illustration have brought him a repu 
tation second to that of none in America. Beneath his genial humor 
lie an earnestness which redoubles his power, and an independence of 
spirit which will call no man's opinion master. As an essayist and 
a novelist he manifests the same originality, geniality, and earnestness 
which have made him famous in the pulpit. His novel of " Norwood" 
is full of appreciation of character and love of nature, an illustration 
of the latter of which traits we give below. Mr.. Beecher was born 
at Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1813. In his boyhood, as we are told 
by his sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, he gave little promise of the 
oratorical ability which he has since so strikingly displayed. His 
powers, however, quickly unfolded, and, after an early desire to enter 
the navy, he matriculated at Amherst College, whence he graduated in 
theology in 1834. In 1847 he became pastor of the Plymouth Con 
gregational Church in Brooklyn, where he still remains, and where he 
has gathered around him one of the largest and most discriminative 
congregations in the United States.] 

To the great tree-loving fraternity we belong. We 
love trees with universal and unfeigned love, and all 
things that do grow under them, or around them the 
whole leaf and root tribe. Not alone when they are in 
their glory, but in whatever state they are in leaf, or 
rimed with frost, or powdered with snow, or crystal- 
sheathed in ice, or in severe outline stripped and bare 
against a November sky we love them. Our heart 
warms at the sight of even a board or a log. A lumber 
yard is better than nothing. The smell of wood, at least, 
is there, the savory fragrance of resin, as sweet as myrrh 
and frankincense ever was to a Jew. If we can get 



80 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BEECHER 

nothing better, wo love to read over the names of trees in 
a catalogue. Many an hour have we sat at night, when, 
after exciting work, we needed to be quieted, and read 
nurserymen's catalogues, and Loudon's Encyclopedias, and 
Arboretum, until the smell of the woods exhaled from 
the page, and the sound of leaves was in our ears, and 
sylvan glades opened to our eyes that would have made 
old Chaucer laugh and indite a rapturous rush of lines. 

But how much more do we love trees in all their sum 
mer pomp and plenitude ! Not for their names and affin 
ities, not for their secret physiology and as material for 
science ; not for any reason that we can give, except that 
when with them we are happy. The eye is full, the ear 
is full, the whole sense and all the tastes solaced, and our 
whole nature rejoices with that various and full happiness 
which one has when the soul is suspended in the midst of 
Beethoven's symphonies and is lifted hither and thither, 
as if b'lown by sweet sounds through the airy passages of 
a full, heavenly dream. . . . 

First in our regard, as it is first in the whole nobility 
of trees, stands the white elm, no less esteemed because it 
is an American tree, known abroad only by importation, 
and never seen in all its magnificence, except in our own 
valleys. The old oaks of England are very excellent in 
their way, gnarled and rugged. The elm has strength as 
significant as they, and a grace, a royalty, which leaves the 
oak like a boor in comparison. Had the elm been an 
English tree, and had Chaucer seen and loved and sung 
it ; had Shakespeare and every English poet hung some 
garlands upon it, it would have lifted up its head now, not 
only the noblest of all growing things, but enshrined in a 
thousand rich associations of history and literature. 

Who ever sees a hawthorn or a sweetbrier (the eglan 
tine) that his thoughts do not, like a bolt of light, burst 



THE LOVE OF TREES. 81 

through ranks of poets, and ranges of sparkling conceits 
which have been born since England had a written lan 
guage, and of which the rose, the willow, the eglantine, 
the hawthorn, and other scores of vines or trees, have 
been the cause, as they are now and for evermore the sug 
gestions and remembrancers? Who ever looks upon an 
oak and does not think of navies, of storms, of battles 
on the ocean, of the noble lyrics of the sea, of English 
glades, of the fugitive Charles, the tree-mounted monarch, 
of the Herne oak, of parks and forests, of Robin Hood 
and his merry men, Friar Tuck not excepted, of old baro 
nial halls with mellow light streaming through diamond- 
shaped panes upon oaken floors, and of carved oaken 
wainscotings ? And who that has ever travelled in 
English second-class cushionless cars has not other and 
less genial remembrances of the enduring solidity of the 
impervious, unelastic oak ? 

One stalwart oak I have, and only one, yet discovered. 
On my west line is a fringe of forest, through which 
rushes in spring, trickles in early summer, and dies out 
entirely in August, the issues of a noble spring from the 
near hill-side. On the eastern edge of this belt of trees 
stands the monarchical oak, wide-branching on the east, 
toward the open pasture and the free light, but on its 
western side lean and branchless, from the pressure of 
neighboring trees ; for trees, like men, cannot grow to 
the real nature that is in them when crowded by too 
much society. Both need to be touched on every side by 
sun and air, and by nothing else, if they are to be rounded 
out into full symmetry. Growing right up by its side, and 
through its branches, is a long, wifely elm beauty and 
grace imbosomed by strength. Their leaves come and go 
together, and all the summer long they mingle their rus 
tling harmonies. Their roots pasture in the same soil, nor 
f 



82 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BEECH KR 

could either of them be hewn down without tearing away 
the branches and marring the beauty of the other. And 
a tree, when thoroughly disbranched, may, by time and 
care, regain its health again, but never its beauty. 

Under this oak I love to sit and hear all the things which 
its leaves have to tell. No printed leaves have more treas 
ures of history or of literature to those who know how 
to listen. But, if clouds kindly shield us from the sun, we 
love as well to couch down on the grass some thirty yards 
off, and, amidst the fragrant smell of crushed herbs, to 
watch the fancies of the trees and clouds. The roguish 
winds will never be done teasing the leaves, that run away 
and come back, with nimble playfulness. Now and then 
a stronger puff dashes up the leaves, showing the downy 
under-surfaces that flash white all along the up-blown and 
tremulous forest edge. Now the wind draws back his 
breath, and all the woods are still. Then some single leaf 
is tickled, and quivers all alone. I am sure there is no 
wind. The other leaves about it are still. Where it gets 
its motion I cannot tell, but there it goes fanning itself 
and restless among its sober fellows. By and by one or 
two others catch the impulse. The rest hold out a moment, 
but soon catching the contagious merriment, away goes 
the whole tree and all its neighbors, the leaves running in 
ripples all down the forest side. I expect almost to hear 
them laugh out loud. 

A stroke of wind upon the forest, indolently swelling 
and subsiding, is like a stroke upon a hive of bees, for 
sound ; and like stirring a fire full of sparks, for upspring- 
ing thoughts and ideal suggestions. The melodious whirl 
draws out a flitting swarm of sweet images that play 
before the eye like those evening troops of gauzy insects 
that hang in the air between you and the sun, and pipe 
their own music, and flit in airy rounds of mingled dance 



BEECHER] THE LOVE OF TREES. 83 

as if the whole errand of their lives was to swing in 
mazes of sweet music. 

Different species of trees move their leaves very differ 
ently, so that one may sometimes tell by the motion of 
shadows on the ground, if he be too indolent to look up, 
under what kind of tree he is dozing. On the tulip-tree 
(which has the finest name that ever tree had, making the 
very pronouncing of its name almost like the utterance of 
a strain of music Liriodendron tuUpifera), on the tulip- 
tree, the aspen, and on all native poplars, the leaves are 
apparently Anglo-Saxon or Germanic, having an intense 
individualism. Each one moves to suit itself. Under the 
same wind one is trilling up and down, another is whirling, 
another slowly vibrating right and left, and others still, 
quieting themselves to sleep, as a mother gently pats her 
slumbering child ; and each one intent upon a motion of 
its own. Sometimes other trees have single frisky leaves, 
but usually the oaks, maples, beeches, have community 
of motion. They are all acting together, or all are aliko 
still. 

What is sweeter than a murmur of leaves, unless it be 
the musical gurgling of water that runs secretly and cuts 
under the roots of these trees, and makes little bubbling 
pools that laugh to see the drops stumble over the root 
and plump down into its bosom! In such nooks could 
trout lie. Unless ye would become mermaids, keep far 
from such places, all innocent grasshoppers and all ebony 
crickets! Do not believe in appearances. You peer over 
and know that there is no danger. You can see the radi 
ant gravel. You know that no enemy lurks in that fairy 
pool. You can see every nook and corner of it, and it is 
as sweet a bathing-pool as ever was swum by long-legged 
grasshoppers. Over the root comes a butterfly with both 
sails a little drabbled, and quicker than light he is plucked 



84 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BEECHEK 

down, leaving three or four bubbles behind him, fit em 
blems of a butterfly's life. There ! did I not tell you ? 
Now go away, all maiden crickets and grasshoppers ! 
These fair surfaces, so pure, so crystalline, so surely safe, 
have a trout somewhere in them lying in wait for you. 

But what if one sits between both kinds of music, leaves 
above and water below? ' What if birds are among the 
leaves, sending out random calls, far-piercing and sweet, 
as if they were lovers saying, "My dear, are you there?" 
If you are half reclining upon a cushion of fresh new moss, 
that swells up between the many-plied and twisted roots 
of a huge beech-tree, and if you have been there half an 
hour without moving, and if you will still keep motion 
less, you may see what they who only walk through 
forests never see. . . . 

To most people a grove is a grove, and all groves are 
alike. But no two groves are alike. There is as marked 
a difference between different forests as between different 
communities. A grove of pines without underbrush, car 
peted with the fine-fingered russet leaves of the pine, and 
odorous of resinous gums, has scarcely a trace of likeness 
to a maple woods, either in the insects, the birds, the 
shrubs, the light and shade, or the sound of its leaves. If 
we lived in olden times among young mythologies, we 
should say that pines held the imprisoned spirits of naiads 
and water-nymphs, and that their sounds were of the 
water for whose lucid depths they always sighed. At any 
rate, the first pines must have grown on the sea-shore, and 
learned their first accents from the surf and the waves ; 
and all their posterity have inherited the sound, and borne 
it inland to the mountains. 

I like best a forest of mingled trees, ash, maple, oak, 
beech, hickory, and evergreens, with birches growing along 
the edges of the brook that carries itself through the roots 



FOE] THE PURLOINED LETTER. 85 

and stones toward the willows that grow in yonder 
meadow. It should be deep and sombre in some direc 
tions, running off into shadowy recesses and coverts 
beyond all footsteps. In such a wood there is endless 
variety. It will breathe as many voices to your fancy as 
might be brought from any organ beneath the pressure 
of some Handel's hands. By the way, Handel and Bee 
thoven always remind me of forests. So do some poets, 
whose numbers are various as the infinity of vegetation, 
fine as the choicest cut leaves, strong and rugged in places 
as the unbarked trunk and gnarled roots at the ground's 
surface. Is there any other place, except the sea-side, 
where hours are so short and moments so swift as in a 
forest ? Where else, except in the rare communion of 
those friends much loved, do we awake from pleasure 
whose calm flow is without a ripple, into surprise that 
whole hours are gone which we thought but just begun 
blossomed and dropped, which we thought but just 
budding ! 



THE PURLOINED LETTER. 

EDGAR ALLAN POE. 

[As a writer of the short story Poe has had few equals in this coun 
try. The artful ingenuity with which he works up the details of his 
plot, and his minute attention to the smallest illustrative particulai 
which bears upon the conduct of the story, give his tales a vivid in 
terest from which no reader can escape. The scenes of gloom and 
terror which he loves to depict, the forms of horror to which he seems 
to give actual life, render his mastery over his reader as exciting as it 
is absorbing. His skill in analysis is as marked as his power of paint 
ing scenes of horror. "We give below one of these analytic stories, as 
illustrative of his method of handling a subject of this character, 

8 



86 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PoE 

though, as Griswold indicates, he but unties the knot he has himself 
carefully tied. As a poet, Poe ranks with the most original of Ameri 
can authors, and brings into his poetry all that weirdness, subtilty, 
artistic detail, and facility of word-painting which give the charm to 
his stories, together with a musical flow of language in which he has 
never been excelled. He was born in Boston in 1811, graduated at 
the University of Virginia in 1826, and successively became editor 
of the "Southern Literary Messenger," the " G-entleman's Magazine," 
"Graham's Magazine," and the " Broadway Journal." He died in 
Baltimore in 1849.] 

" Nil sapientise odiosius acumine nimio." SENECA. 
(" There is nothing more odious in knowledge than too much acute- 
ness.") 

AT Paris, just after dark one gusty evening in the 
autumn of 18 , I was enjoying the twofold luxury of 
meditation and a meerschaum in company with my friend 
C. Auguste Dupin, in his little back library, or book-closet, 
au troisieme, No. 33, Rue Dunot, Faubourg St. Germain. 
For one hour at least we had maintained a profound 
silence ; while each, to any casual observer, might have 
seemed intently and exclusively occupied with the curling 
eddies of smoke that oppressed the atmosphere of the 
chamber. For myself, however, I was mentally discuss 
ing certain topics which had formed matter for conversa 
tion between us at an earlier period of the evening, I 
mean the affair of the Rue Morgue, and the mystery at 
tending the murder of Marie Roget. I looked upon it, 
therefore, as something of a coincidence when the door 
of our apartment was thrown open and admitted our old 

acquaintance, Monsieur G- , the prefect of the Parisian 

police. 

We gave him a hearty welcome ; for there was nearly 
balf as much of the entertaining as of the contemptible 
about the man, and we had not seen him for several yeara 



POE] THE PURLOINED LETTER. 87 

We had been sitting in the dark, and Dupin now arose for 
the purpose of lighting a lamp, but sat down again with 
out doing so, upon G- 's saying that he had called to 

consult us, or rather to ask the opinion of my friend about 
some official business which had occasioned a great deal 
of trouble. 

" If it is any point requiring reflection," observed Du 
pin, as he forbore to enkindle the wick, " we shall examine 
it to better purpose in the dark." 

" That is another of your odd notions," said the pre 
fect, who had the fashion of calling everything " odd" that 
was beyond his comprehension, and thus lived amid an 
absolute legion of " oddities." 

"Very true," said Dupin, as he supplied his visitor 
with a pipe and rolled toward him a comfortable chair. 

"And what is the difficulty now ?" I asked. "Nothing 
more in the assassination way, I hope ?" 

" Oh, no ; nothing of that nature. The fact is, the busi 
ness is very simple indeed, and I make no doubt that we 
can manage it sufficiently well ourselves ; but then I 
thought Dupin would like to hear the details of it, be 
cause it is so excessively odd" 

" Simple and odd," said Dupin. 

" Why, yes ; and not exactly that, either. The fact is, 
we have all been a good deal puzzled because the affair is 
so simple, and yet baffles us altogether." 

" Perhaps it is the very simplicity of the thing which 
puts you at fault," said my friend. 

" What nonsense you do talk !" replied the prefect, 
laughing heartily. 

"Perhaps the mystery is a little too plain," said Dupin. 

" Oh, good heavens ! who ever heard of such an idea ?" 

" A little too self-evident." 

"Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ho! ho! ho!" roared 



88 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [Po* 

our visitor, profoundly amused. " Oh, Dupin, you will be 
the death of me yet !" 

" And what, after all, is the matter on hand ?" I asked. 

" Why. I will tell you," replied the prefect, as he gave 
a long, steady, and contemplative puff, and settled him 
self in his chair. " I will tell you in a few words ; but, 
before I begin, let me caution you that this is an affair 
demanding the greatest secrecy, and that I should most 
probably lose the position I now hold were it known that 
I confided it to any one." 

" Proceed," said I. 

" Or not," said Dupin. 

" Well, then, I have received personal information, from 
a very high quarter, that a certain document of the last 
importance has been purloined from the royal apartments. 
The individual who purloined it is known ; this beyond a 
doubt: he was seen to take it. It is known, also, that it 
still remains in his possession." 

" How is this known ?" asked Dupin. 

"It is clearly inferred," replied the prefect, "from the 
nature of the document, and from the non-appearance of 
certain results which would at once arise from its passing 
out of the robber's possession, that is to say, from his 
employing it as he must design in the end to employ it." 

" Be a little more explicit," I said. 

" Well, I may venture so far as to say that the paper 
gives its holder a certain power in a certain quarter, 
where such power is immensely valuable." The prefect 
was fond of the cant of diplomacy. 

" Still I do not quite understand," said Dupin. 

" No ? Well, the disclosure of the document to a 
third person, who shall be nameless, would bring in ques 
tion the honor of a personage of most exalted station ; 
and this fact gives the holder of the document an ascend- 



POE] THE PURLOINED LETTER. 89 

ency over the illustrious personage whose honor and peace 
are so jeopardized." 

"But this ascendency," I interposed, "would depend 
upon the robber's knowledge of the loser's knowledge of 
the robber. "Who would dare " 

"The thief," said G , "is the Minister D , who 

dares all things, those unbecoming as well as those becom 
ing a man. The method of the theft was not less ingenious 
than bold. The document in question a letter, to be 
frank had been received by the personage robbed while 
alone in the royal boudoir. During its perusal she was 
suddenly interrupted by the entrance of the other ex 
alted personage, from whom especially it was her wish to 
conceal it. After a hurried and vain endeavor to thrust 
it in a drawer, she was forced to place it, open as it was, 
upon a table. The address, however, was uppermost, and, 
the contents thus unexposed, the letter escaped notice. 

At this juncture enters the Minister D . His lynx 

eye immediately perceives the paper, recognizes the hand 
writing of the address, observes the confusion of the 
personage addressed, and fathoms her secret. After some 
business transactions, hurried through in his ordinary 
manner, he produces a letter somewhat similar to the one 
in question, opens it, pretends to read it, and then places 
it in close juxtaposition to the other. Again he converses 
for some, fifteen minutes upon the public affairs. At 
length, in taking leave, he takes also from the table the 
letter to which he had no claim. Its rightful owner 
saw, but, of course, dared not call attention to the act, 
in the presence of the third personage, who stood at her 
elbow. The minister decamped, leaving his own letter 
one of no importance upon the table." 

"Here, then," said Dupin to me, "you have precisely 
what you demand to make the ascendency complete, the 

8* 



90 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PoE 

robber's knowledge of the loser's knowledge of the 
robber." 

"Yes," replied the prefect; "and the power thus at 
tained has, for some months past, been wielded for politi 
cal purposes, to a very dangerous extent. The personage 
robbed is more thoroughly convinced every day of the 
necessity of reclaiming her letter. But this, of course, 
cannot be done openly. In fine, driven to despair, she 
has committed the matter to me." 

" Than whom," said Dupin, amid a perfect whirlwind 
of smoke, " no more sagacious agent could, I suppose, bo 
desired, or even imagined." 

" You flatter me," replied the prefect ; " but it is possi 
ble that some such opinion may have been entertained." 

" It is clear," said I, " as you observe, that the letter is 
still in the possession of the minister, since it is this pos 
session, and not any employment of the letter, which 
bestows the power. With the employment the power 
departs." 

" True," said G- , " and upon this conviction I pro 
ceeded. My first care was to make thorough search of the 
minister's hotel ; and here my chief embarrassment lay in 
the necessity of searching without his knowledge. Beyond 
all things, I have been warned of the danger which would 
result from giving him reason to suspect our design." 

"But," said I, "you are quite aufait in these investiga 
tions. The Parisian police have done this thing often 
before." 

" Oh, yes ; and for this reason I did not despair. The 
habits of the minister gave me, too, a great advantage. 
He is frequently absent from home all night. His ser 
vants are by no means numerous. They sleep at a dis 
tance from their master's apartment, and, being chiefly 
Neapolitans, are readily made drunk. I have keys, as 



POE] THE PURLOINED LETTER. 91 

you know, with which I can open any chamber or cabi 
net in Paris. For three months a night has not passed 
during the greater part of which I have not been engaged, 

personally, in ransacking the D Hotel. My honor is 

interested, and, to mention a great secret, the reward is 
enormous. So I did not abandon the search until I had 
become fully satisfied that the thief is a more astute man 
than myself. I fancy that I have investigated every 
nook and corner of the premises in which it is possible 
that the paper can be concealed." 

" But is it not possible," I suggested, " that although 
the letter may be in possession of the minister, as it un 
questionably is, he may have concealed it elsewhere than . 
upon his own premises ?" 

" This is barely possible," said Dupin. " The present 
peculiar condition of affairs at court, and especially of 

those intrigues in which D is known to be involved, 

would render the instant availability of the document 
its susceptibility of being produced at a moment's notice 
a point of nearly equal importance with its possession." 

" Its susceptibility of being produced ?" said I. 

" That is to say, of being destroyed" said Dupin. 

" True," I observed. " The paper is clearly, then, upon 
the premises. As for its being upon the person of the 
minister, we may consider that as out of the question." 

" Entirely," said the prefect. " He has been twice way 
laid, as if by footpads, and his person rigorously searched 
under my own inspection." 

" You might have spared yourself this trouble," said 

Dupin. "D , I presume, is not altogether a fool, and, 

if not, must have anticipated these waylay ings as a mat 
ter of course." 

" Not altogether a fool," said G ; " but then he is a 

poet, which I take to be only one remove from a fool." 



92 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PoK 

" True," said Dupin, after a long and thoughtful whiff 
from his meerschaum, " although I have been guilty of 
certain doggerel myself." 

" Suppose you detail," said I, " the particulars of your 
search." 

" Why, the fact is, we took our time, and we searched 
everywhere. I have had long experience in these affairs. 
I took the entire building, room by room ; devoting the 
nights of a whole week to each. We examined, first, the 
furniture of each apartment. We opened every possible 
drawer; and I presume you know that, to a properly- 
trained police-agent, such a thing as a secret drawer is 
impossible. Any man is a dolt who permits a { secret ' 
drawer to escape him in a search of this kind. The thing 
is so plain. There is a certain amount of bulk of 
space to be accounted for in every cabinet. Then we 
have accurate rules. The fiftieth part of a line could not 
escape us. After the cabinets we took the chairs. The 
cushions we probed with the fine long needles you have 
seen me employ. From the tables we removed the tops." 

" Why so ?" 

" Sometimes the top of a table, or other similarly ar 
ranged piece of furniture, is removed by the person wishing 
to conceal an article ; then the leg is excavated, the article 
deposited within the cavity, and the top replaced. The bot 
toms and tops of bed-posts are employed in the same way." 

" But could not the cavity be detected by sounding ?" I 
asked. 

" By no means, if, when the article is deposited, a suf 
ficient wadding of cotton be placed around it. Besides, 
in our case we were obliged to proceed without noise." 

" But you could not have removed you could not have 
taken to pieces all articles of furniture in which it would 
have been possible to make a deposit in the manner you 



POE] THE PURLOINED LETTER. y3 

mentioD. A letter may be compressed into a thin spiral 
roll, not differing much in shape or bulk from a large 
knitting-needle, and in this form it might be inserted into 
the rung of a chair, for example. You did not take to 
pieces all the chairs ?" 

" Certainly not ; but we did better we examined the 
rungs of every chair in the hotel, and, indeed, the joint 
ings of every description of furniture, by the aid of a 
most powerful microscope. Had there been any traces of 
recent disturbance we should not have failed to detect it 
instantly. A single grain of gimlet-dust, for example, 
would have been as obvious as an apple. Any disorder 
in the gluing any unusual gaping in the joints would 
have sufficed to insure detection." 

" I presume you looked to the mirrors, between the 
boards and the plates, and you probed the beds and the 
bedclothes, as well as the curtains and carpets." 

" That of course ; and when we had absolutely com 
pleted every particle of the furniture in this way, then 
we examined the house itself. We divided its entire sur 
face into compartments, which we numbered, so that none 
might be missed; then we scrutinized each individual 
square inch throughout the premises, including the two 
houses immediately adjoining, with the microscope, as 
before." 

" The two houses adjoining !" I exclaimed; u you must 
have had a great deal of trouble." 

" We had ; but the reward offered is prodigious." 

" You include the grounds about the houses ?" 

'' All the grounds are paved with brick. They gave us 
comparatively little trouble. We examined the moss be 
tween the bricks, and found it undisturbed." 

" You looked among D 's papers, of course, and into 

the books of the library ?" 



94 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PoE 

" Certainly : we opened every package and parcel j we 
not only opened every book, but we turned over every 
leaf in each volume, not contenting ourselves with a mere 
shake, according to the fashion of some of our police- 
officers. We also measured the thickness of every book- 
cover, with the most accurate admeasurement, and applied 
to each the most jealous scrutiny of the .microscope. 
Had any of the bindings been recently meddled with, it 
would have been utterly impossible that the fact should 
have escaped observation. Some five or six volumes, just 
from the hands of the binder, we carefully probed, longi 
tudinally, with the needles." 

" You explored the floors beneath the carpets ?" 

"Beyond doubt. We removed every carpet, and ex 
amined the boards with the microscope." 

"And the paper on the walls ?" 

"Yes." 

" You looked into the cellars ?" 

" We did." 

" Then," I said, " you have been making a miscalcula 
tion, and the letter is not upon the premises, as you 
suppose." 

"I fear you are right there," said the prefect. "And 
now, Dupin, what would you advise me to do ?" 

" To make a thorough research of the premises." 

"That is absolutely needless," replied G- . "I am 

not more sure that I breathe than I am that the letter is 
not at the hotel." 

"I have no better advice to give you," said Dupin. 
"You have, of course, an accurate description of the 
letter?" 

" Oh, yes !" And here the prefect, producing a memoran 
dum-book, proceeded to read aloud a minute account of 
the internal, and especially of the external, appearance of 



POE] THE PURLOINED LETTER. 95 

the missing document. Soon after finishing the perusal 
of this description, he took his departure, more entirely 
depressed in spirits than I had ever known the good 
gentleman before. 

In about a month afterward he paid us another visit, 
and found us occupied very nearly as before. He took a 
pipe and a chair, and entered into some ordinary conver 
sation. At length I said, 

"Well, but, G- , what of the purloined letter? I 

presume you have at last made up your mind that there 
is no such thing as overreaching the minister?" 

" Confound him, say I yes. I made the re-examination, 
however, as Dupin suggested; but it was all labor lost, 
as I knew it would be." 

"How much was the reward offered, did you say?" 
asked Dupin. 

" Why, a very great deal, a very liberal reward : I don't 
like to say how much, precisely, but one thing I will say, 
that I wouldn't mind giving my individual check for 
fifty thousand francs to any one who could obtain me 
that letter. The fact is, it is becoming of more and more 
importance every day ; and the reward has been lately 
doubled. If it were trebled, however, I could do no more 
than I have done." 

" Why, yes," said Dupin, drawlingly, between the whiffs 

of his meerschaum, " I really think, G , you have 

not exerted yourself to the utmost in this matter. You 
might do a little more, I think, eh ?" 

" How ? in what way ?" 

" Why puff, puff you might puff, puff employ coun 
sel in the matter, eh ? puff, puff, puff. Do you remem 
ber the story they tell of Abernethy ?" 

"No; hang Abernethy!" 

" To be sure ! hang him and welcome. But, once upon a 



96 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PoK 

time, a certain rich miser conceived the design of sponging 
upon this Abernethy for a medical opinion. Getting up, 
for this purpose, an ordinary conversation in a private 
company, he insinuated his case to the physician, as that 
of an imaginary individual. 

"'We will suppose,' said the miser, 'that his symptoms 
are such and such : now, doctor, what would you have 
directed him to take ?' 

" ' Take,' said Abernethy, ' why, take advice, to be sure.' " 

" But," said the prefect, a little discomposed, " I am 
perfectly willing to take advice, and to pay for it. I 
would really give fifty thousand francs to any one who 
would aid me in the matter." 

"In that case," replied Dupin, opening a drawer and 
producing a check-book, "you may as well fill me up a 
check for the amount mentioned. When you have signed 
it, I will hand you the letter." 

I was astounded. The prefect appeared absolutely 
thunderstricken. For some minutes he remained speech 
less and motionless, looking incredulously at my friend, 
with open mouth and eyes that seemed starting from 
their sockets ; then, apparently recovering himself in 
dome measure, he seized a pen, and, after several pauses 
and vacant stares, finally filled up and signed a check 
for fifty thousand francs and handed it across the table to 
Dupin. The latter examined it carefully and deposited 
it in his pocket-book, then, unlocking an escritoire, took 
thence a letter and gave it to the prefect. This function 
ary grasped it in a perfect agony of joy, opened it with a 
trembling hand, cast a rapid glance at its contents, and 
then, scrambling and struggling to the door, rushed at 
length unceremoniously from the room and from the 
house, without having uttered a syllable since Dupin had 
requested him to fill up the check. 



POE] THE PURLOINED LETTER. 97 

When he had gone, my friend entered into some ex 
planations. 

" The Parisian police," he said, " are exceedingly able 
in their way. They are persevering, ingenious, cunning, 
and thoroughly versed in the knowledge which their 
duties seem chiefly to demand. Thus, when G de 
tailed to us his mode of searching the premises at the 

Hotel D , I felt entire confidence in his having made 

a satisfactory investigation, so far as his labors extended." 

" So far as his labors extended ?" said I. 

" Yes," said Dupin. " The measures adopted were not 
only the best of their kind, but carried out to absolute 
perfection. Had the letter been deposited within the 
range of their search, these fellows would, beyond a 
question, have found it." 

I merely laughed ; but he seemed quite serious in all 
that he said. . . . 

" There is a game of puzzles," he resumed, :c which is 
played upon a map. One party playing requires another 
to find a given word the name of a town, river, state, 
or empire any word, in short, upon the motley and per 
plexed surface of the chart. A novice in the game gen 
erally seeks to embarrass his opponents by giving them 
the most minutely lettered names ; but the adept selects 
such words as stretch, in large characters, from one end 
of the chart to the other. These, like the over-largely 
lettered signs and placards of the street, escape observa 
tion by dint of being excessively obvious ; and here the 
physical oversight is precisely analogous with the moral 
inapprehension by which the intellect suffers to pass 
unnoticed those considerations which are too obtrusively 
and too palpably self-evident. But this is a point, it 
appears, somewhat above or beneath the understanding of 
the prefect. He never once thought it probable, or possi- 
E g 9 



98 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PoB 

ble, that the minister had deposited the letter immediately 
beneath the nose of the whole world by way of best pre 
venting any portion of that world from perceiving it. 

" But the more I reflected upon the daring, dashing, 

and discriminating ingenuity of D ; upon the fact 

that the document must have always been at hand, if he 
intended to use it to good purpose ; and upon the decisive 
evidence obtained by the prefect that it was not hidden 
within the limits of that dignitary's ordinary search, the 
more satisfied I became that, to conceal this letter, the 
minister had resorted to the comprehensive and sagacious 
expedient of not attempting to conceal it at all. 

" Full of these ideas, I prepared myself with a pair of 
green spectacles, and called one fine morning, quite by 

accident, at the ministerial hotel. I found D at home. 

yawning, lounging, and dawdling, as usual, and pretend 
ing to be in the last extremity of ennui. He is, perhaps, 
the most really energetic human being now alive, but 
that is only when nobody sees him. 

" To be even with him, I complained of my weak eyes, 
and lamented the necessity of the spectacles, under cover 
of which I cautiously and thoroughly surveyed the whole 
apartment, while seemingly intent only upon the conver 
sation of my host. 

" I paid especial attention to a large writing-table near 
which he sat, and upon which lay confusedly some miscel 
laneous letters and other papers, with one or two musical 
instruments and a few books. Here, however, after a 
long and very deliberate scrutiny, I saw nothing to excite 
particular suspicion. 

"At length my eyes, in going the circuit of the room, 
fell upon a trumpery filigree card-rack of pasteboard that 
hung dangling by a dirty blue ribbon from a little brass 
knob just beneath the middle of the mantel-piece. In 



FOE] THE PURLOINED LETTER. 99 

this rack, which had three or four compartments, were 
five or six visiting-cards and a solitary letter. This last 
was much soiled and crumpled. It was torn nearly in 
two across the middle, as if a design, in the first instance, 
to tear it entirely up as worthless, had been altered, or 
stayed, in the second. It had a large black seal, bearing 

the D cipher very conspicuously, and was addressed 

in a diminutive female hand to D , the minister him 
self. It was thrust carelessly, and even, as it seemed, 
contemptuously, into one of the uppermost divisions of 
the rack. 

"No sooner had I glanced at this letter than I concluded 
it to be that of which I was in search. To be sure, it 
was, to all appearance, radically different from the one of 
which the prefect had read us so minute a description. 

Here the seal was large and black, with the D cipher ; 

there it was small and red, with the ducal arms of the 

S family. Here, the address to the minister was 

diminutive and feminine; there, the superscription, to a 
certain royal personage, was markedly bold and decided : 
the size alone formed a point of correspondence. But, 
then, the radicalness of these differences, which was exces 
sive j the dirt ; the soiled and torn condition of the paper, 

so inconsistent with the true methodical habits of D , 

and so suggestive of a design to delude the beholder into 
an idea of the worthlessness of the document; theae 
things, together with the hyperobtrusive situation of 
this document, full in the view of every visitor, and thus 
exactly in accordance with the conclusions to which I 
had previously arrived ; these things, I say, were strongly 
corroborative of suspicion, in one who came with the 
intention to suspect. 

" I protracted my visit as long as possible, and, while I 
maintained a most animated discussion with the minister 



100 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS, [PoE 

upon a topic which I knew well had never failed to in 
terest and excite him, T kept my attention really riveted 
upon the letter. In this examination I committed to 
memory its external appearance and arrangement in the 
rack, and also fell, at length, upon a discovery which set 
at rest whatever trivial doubt I might have entertained. 
In scrutinizing the edges of the paper, I observed them 
to be more chafed than seemed necessary. They presented 
the broken appearance which is manifested when a stiff 
paper, having been once folded and pressed with a folder, 
is refolded in a reversed direction, in the same creases or 
edges which had formed the original fold. This discovery 
was sufficient. It was clear to me that the letter had 
been turned, as a glove, inside out, redirected and re- 
sealed. I bade the minister good-morning and took my 
departure at once, leaving a gold snuff-box upon the 
table. 

" The next morning I called for the snuff-box, when we 
resumed, quite eagerly, the conversation of the preceding 
day. While thus engaged, however, a loud report, as if 
of a pistol, was heard immediately beneath the windows 
of the hotel, and was succeeded by a series of fearful 

screams, and the shoutings of a terrified mob. D 

rushed to a casement, threw it open, and looked out. In 
the mean time I stepped to the card-rack, took the letter, 
put it in my pocket, and replaced it by a fac-simile (so 
far as regards externals), which I had carefully prepared 

at my lodgings, imitating the D cipher very readily 

by means of a seal formed of bread. 

"The disturbance in the street had been occasioned by 
the frantic behavior of a man with a musket. He had 
fired it among a crowd of women and children. It proved, 
however, to have been without ball, and the fellow was 
suffered to go his way as a lunatic or a drunkard. When 



Pox] THE PURLOINED LETTER. 101 

he had gone, D came from the window, whither I 

had followed him immediately upon securing the object 
in view. Soon afterward I bade him farewell. The 
pretended lunatic was a man in my own pay." 

"But what purpose had you," I asked, "in replacing 
the letter by a fac-simile ? Would it not have been better 
at the first visit to have seized it openly and departed ?" 

"D ," replied Dupin, "is a desperate man, and a 

man of nerve. His hotel, too, is not without attendants 
devoted to his interests. Had I made the wild attempt 
you suggest, I might never have left the ministerial pres 
ence alive. The good people of Paris might have heard 
of me no more. But I had an object apart from these 
considerations. You know my political prepossessions. 
In this matter I act as a partisan of the lady concerned. 
For eighteen months the minister has had her in his 
power. She has now him in hers, since, being unaware 
that the letter is not in his possession, he will proceed 
with his exactions as if it was. Thus will he inevitably 
commit himself at once to his political destruction. His 
downfall, too, will not be more precipitate than awkward. 
It is all very well to talk about the/adlis descensus Averni; 
but in all kinds of climbing, as Catalan i said of singing, 
it is far more easy to get up than to come down. In the 
present instance I have no sympathy at least no pity 
for him who descends. He is that monstrum horrendum, 
an unprincipled man of genius. I confess, however, that 
I should like very well to know the precise character 
of his thoughts when, being defied by her whom the 
prefect terms a certain personage, he is reduced to open 
ing the letter which I left for him in the card-rack." 

" How ? Did you put anything particular in it ?" 

"Why, it did not seem altogether right to leave the 

interior blank : that would have been insulting. D , at 

9* 



102 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WiRT 

Vienna once, did me an evil turn, which I told him, quite 
good-humored ly, that I should remember. So, as I knew 
he would feel some curiosity in regard to the identity of 
the person who had outwitted him, I thought it a pity 
not to give him a clue. He is well acquainted with my 
MS., and I just copied into the middle of the blank sheet, 
the words, 

' Un dessein si funeste. 
S'il n'est digne d'Atree, est digne de Thyeste 

They are to be found in Oebillon's 'Atree.' " 



THE BLIND PREACHER. 

WILLIAM WIRT. 

[William Wirt, for many years Attorney-General of the United 
States, and the author of a notable " Life of Patrick Henry," was 
born in Bladensburg, Maryland, in 1772. He studied law in his 
native State, and in 1807 took part, as assistant to the then attorney- 
general, in the trial of Aaron Burr. In this celebrated trial he showed 
great powers of oratory, and made a speech of unusual brilliancy and 
effectiveness, a portion of which was his glowing sketch of the home 
of Blennerhasset on the Ohio, one of the most attractive and popular 
instances of American eloquence. The sketch of the Blind Preacher, 
which we give, is from his " Letters of the British Spy." In addition 
he published "The Kainbow," and "The Bachelor," two series of 
essays, the latter of which, on the model of the Spectator, attracted 
considerable attention. He was a florid and rhetorical writer, whose 
works, though criticised for their inaccuracy, were well calculated to 
arouse popular interest He died in 1834.] 

IT was one Sunday, as I travelled through the county 
of Orange, that my eye was caught by a cluster of horses 



WIRT] THE BLIND PREACHER. 103 

tied near a ruinous old wooden house in the forest, not far 
from the roadside. Having frequently seen such objects 
before in travelling through these States, I had no diffi 
culty in understanding that this was a place of religious 
worship. 

Devotion alone should have stopped me, to join in the 
duties of the congregation ; but I must confess that curi 
osity to hear the preacher of such a wilderness was not 
the least of my motives. On entering, I was struck with 
his preternatural appearance. He was a tall and very 
spare old man ; his head, which was covered with a white 
linen cap, his shrivelled hands, and his voice, were all 
shaking under the influence of a palsy ; and a few moments 
ascertained to me that he was perfectly blind. 

The first emotions which touched my breast were those 
of mingled pity and veneration. But ah ! sacred God ! 
how soon were all my feelings changed ! The lips of Plato 
were never more worthy of a prognostic swarm of bees 
than were the lips of this holy man ! It was a day of 
the administration of the sacrament ; and his subject, of 
course, was the passion of our Saviour. I had heard the 
subject handled a thousand times; I had thought it ex 
hausted long ago. Little did I suppose that in the wild 
woods of America I was to meet with a man whose elo 
quence would give to this topic a new and more sublime 
pathos than I had ever before witnessed. 

As he descended from the pulpit to distribute the mystic 
symbols, there was a peculiar, a more than human, solem 
nity in his air and manner which made my blood run cold 
and my whole frame shiver. 

He then drew a picture of the sufferings of our Saviour , 
his trial before Pilate ; his ascent up Calvary ; his cruci 
fixion, and his death. I knew the whole history; but 
never, until then, had I heard the circumstances so selected, 



104 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WiRi 

so arranged, so colored. It was all new ; and I seemed to 
have heard it for the first time in my life. His enuncia 
tion was so deliberate, that his voice trembled on every 
syllable ; and every heart in the assembly trembled in 
unison. His peculiar phrases had that force of descrip 
tion that the original scene appeared to be at that mo 
ment acting before our eyes. We saw the very faces of 
the Jews ; the staring, frightful distortions of malice and 
rage. We saw the buffet : my soul kindled with a flame 
of indignation, and my hands were involuntarily and con 
vulsively clinched. 

But when he came to touch on the patience, the forgiv 
ing meekness of our Saviour ; when he drew, to the life, 
his blessed eyes streaming in tears to heaven, his voice 
breathing to God a soft and gentle prayer of pardon on 
his enemies, " Father, forgive them, for they know not 
what they do," the voice of the preacher, which had all 
along faltered, grew fainter and fainter, until, his utterance 
being entirely obstructed by the force of his feelings, ho 
raised his handkerchief to his eyes and burst into a loud 
and irrepressible flood of grief. The effect is inconceiva 
ble. The whole house resounded with the mingled groans, 
and sobs, and shrieks of the congregation. 

It was some time before the tumult had subsided so far 
as to permit him to proceed. Indeed, judging by the usual, 
but fallacious, standard of my own weakness, I began to 
be very uneasy for the situation of the preacher. For I 
could not conceive how he would be able to let his audience 
down from the height to which he had wound them, with 
out impairing the solemnity and dignity of his subject, or 
perhaps shocking them by the abruptness of the fall. But 
no ; the descent was as beautiful and sublime a the eleva 
tion had been rapid and enthusiastic. 

The first sentence with which he broke the awful 



WIRT] THE BLIND PREACHER, 105 

was a quotation from Rousseau : " Socrates died like a 
philosopher, but Jesus Christ like a God !" 

I despair of giving you any idea of the effect produced 
by this short sentence, unless you could perfectly conceive 
the whole manner of the man, as well as the peculiar 
crisis in the discourse. Never before did I completely un 
derstand what Demosthenes meant by laying such stress 
on delivery. You are to bring before you the venerable 
figure of the preacher ; his blindness, constantly recalling 
to your recollection old Homer, Ossian, and Milton, and 
associating with his performance the melancholy grandeur 
of their geniuses ; you are to imagine that you hear his 
slow, solemn, well-accented enunciation, and his voice of 
affecting, trembling melody ; you are to remember the 
pitch of passion and enthusiasm to which the congregation 
were raised ; and then the few minutes of portentous, 
death-like silence which reigned throughout the house ; 
the preacher removing his white handkerchief from his 
aged face (even yet wet from the recent torrent of his 
tears) and, slowly stretching forth the palsied hand which 
holds it, begins the sentence, " Socrates died like a philoso 
pher" then pausing, raising his other hand, pressing them 
both clasped together with warmth .and energy to his 
breast, lifting his " sightless balls" to heaven, and pouring 
his w r hole soul into his tremulous voice, " but Jesus Christ 
like a God !" If he had been in deed and in truth an angel 
of light, the effect could scarcely have been more divine. 

Whatever I had been able to conceive of the sublimity 
of Massillon, or the force of Bourdaloue, had fallen far 
short of the power which I felt from the delivery of this 
simple sentence. The blood, which just before had rushed 
in a hurricane upon my brain, and in the violence and 
agony of my feelings had held my whole system in sus 
pense, now ran back into my heart with a sensation which 



106 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WiRT 

I cannot describe, a kind of shuddering delicious horror ! 
The paroxysm of blended pity and indignation, to which 
I had been transported, subsided into the deepest self- 
abasement, humility, and adoration. I had just been lacer 
ated and dissolved by sympathy for our Saviour as a fellow- 
creature ; but now, with fear and trembling, I adored him 
as "a God!" 

If this description give you the impression that this 
incomparable minister had anything of shallow, theatrical 
trick in his manner, it does him great injustice. I have 
never seen in any other orator such a union of simplicity 
and majesty. He has not a gesture, an attitude, or an ac 
cent to which he does not seem forced by the sentiment 
which he is expressing. His mind is too serious, too 
earnest, too solicitous, and, at the same time, too dignified, 
to stoop to artifice. Although as far removed from osten 
tation as a man can be, yet it is clear, from the train, the 
style and substance of his thoughts, that he is not only a 
very polite scholar, but a man of extensive and profound 
erudition. I was forcibly struck with a short yet beauti 
ful character which he drew of our learned and amiable 
countryman Sir Eobert Boyle : he spoke of him as if " his 
noble mind had, evon before death, divested herself of all 
influence from his frail tabernacle of flesh ;" and called 
him, in his peculiarly emphatic and impressive manner, 
" a pure intelligence ; the link between men and angels." 

This man has been before my imagination almost ever 
since. A thousand times, as I rode along, I dropped the 
reins of my bridle, stretched forth my hand, and tried to 
imitate his quotation from Rousseau ; a thousand times I 
abandoned the attempt in despair, and felt persuaded that 
his peculiar manner and power arose from an energy of 
soul which nature could give, but which no human being 
could justly copy. In short, he seems to be altogether a 



KNOTT] SPEECH ON DULUTH. 107 

being of a former age, or of a totally different nature from 
the rest of men. As I recall, at this moment, several of 
his awfully striking attitudes, the chilling tide with which 
my blood begins to pour along my arteries reminds me of 
the emotions produced by the first sight of Gray's intro 
ductory picture of his bard : 

" On a rock, whose haughty brow 

Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood, 
Eobed in the sable garb of woe, 

"With haggard eyes the poet stood 
(Loose his beard and hoary hair 
Streamed, like^a meteor, to the troubled air), 
And with a poet's hand and prophet's fire 
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre." 



SPEECH ON DULUTH. 

J. PROCTOR KNOTT. 

[J. Proctor Knott, a member of the House of Kepresentatives from 
Kentucky, rose on January 27, 1871, to address the House on a bill 
then before it, proposing to make an extensive land-grant to a pro 
jected railroad from the St. Croix Eiver to Duluth, Minnesota, at the 
western extremity of Lake Superior. This bill had already passed the 
Senate, and was pressed by a powerful lobby and many interested 
members in the House. But the member from Kentucky, in a speech 
which for telling humor has rarely been equalled upon that floor, so 
covered the whole scheme with ridicule as effectually to kill it, and 
to convulse with laughter not only the House of Representatives, but 
the whole country. We append this amusing specimen of Con 
gressional wit.] 

MR. SPEAKER, Tf I could be actuated by any conceivable 
inducement to betray the sacred trust reposed in me by 
those to whose generous confidence I am indebted for the 



108 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KNOTT 

honor of a seat on this floor : if I could he influenced by 
any possible consideration to become instrumental in giv 
ing away, in violation of their known wishes, any por 
tion of their interest in the public domain for the mere 
promotion of any railroad enterprise whatever, I should 
certainly feel a strong inclination to give this measure 
my most earnest and hearty support ; for I am assured that 
its success would materially enhance the pecuniary pros 
perity of some of the most valued friends I have on earth: 
friends for whose accommodation I would be willing to 
make almost any sacrifice not involving my personal 
honor or my fidelity as the trusteeof an expressed trust. 
And that fact of itself would be sufficient to countervail 
almost any objection I might entertain to the passage of 
this bill not inspired by an imperative and inexorable 
sense of public duty. 

Now, sir, I have been satisfied for years that if there 
was any portion of the inhabited globe absolutely in a 
suffering condition for want of a railroad it was these 
teeming pine barrens of the St. Croix. At what particu 
lar point on that noble stream such a road should be 
commenced I knew was immaterial, and so it seems to 
have been considered by the draughtsman of this bill. It 
might be up at the spring, or down at the foot-log, or the 
water-gate, or the fish-dam, or anywhere along the bank, 
no matter where. But in what direction it should run, 
or where it should terminate, were always to my mind 
questions of the most painful perplexity. I could con 
ceive of no place on " God's green earth" in such strait 
ened circumstances for railroad facilities as to be likely 
to desire or willing to accent such a connection. I knew 
that neither Bayfield nor Superior City would have it, for 
they both indignantly spurned the munificence of the 
government when coupled with such ignominious condi- 



KNOTT] SPEECH ON DULUTH. 109 

tions, and let this very same land-grant die on their hands 
years and years ago rather than submit to the degrada 
tion of a direct communication by railroad with the piney 
woods of the St. Croix ; and I knew that what the enter 
prising inhabitants of those giant young cities would 
refuse to take would have few charms for others, what 
ever their necessities or cupidity might be. 

Hence, as I said, sir, I was utterly at a loss to determine 
where the terminus of this great and indispensable road 
should be, until I accidentally overheard some gentleman 
the other day mention the name of "Duluth." Duluth ! 
The word fell upon my ear with peculiar and indescribable 
charm, like the gentle murmur of a low fountain stealing 
forth in the midst of roses, or the soft, sweet accents of 
an angel's whisper in the bright, joyous dream of sleeping 
innocence. Duluth ! 'Twas the name for which my soul 
had panted for years, as the hart panteth for water- 
brooks. But where was Duluth ? Never, in all my 
limited reading, had my vision been gladdened by seeing 
the celestial word in print. And I felt a profounder humil 
iation in my ignorance, that its dulcet syllables had never 
before ravished my delighted ear. I was certain the 
draughtsman of this bill had never heard of it, or it 
would have been designated as one of the termini of this 
road. I asked my friends about it, but they knew nothing 
of it. I rushed to the Library and examined all the maps 
I could find. I discovered in one of them a delicate, hair- 
like line, diverging from the Mississippi near a place 
marked Prescott, which I supposed was intended to repre 
sent the river St. Croix, but I could nowhere find Duluth. 

Nevertheless, I was confident it existed somewhere, 
and that its discovery would constitute the crowning 
glory of the present century, if not of all modern times. 
I knew it was bound to exist in the very nature of things ; 

10 



110 'BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KNOTT 

that the symmetry and perfection of our planetary system 
would be incomplete without it ; that the elements of 
material nature would long since have resolved them 
selves back into original chaos if there had been such a 
hiatus in creation as would have resulted from leaving 
out Duluth. In fact, sir, I was overwhelmed with the 
conviction that Duluth not only existed somewhere, but 
that, wherever it was, it was a great and glorious place. 
I was convinced that the greatest calamity that ever 
befell the benighted nations of the ancient world was in 
their having passed away without a knowledge of the 
actual existence of Duluth ; that their fabled Atlantis, 
never seen save by the hallowed vision of inspired poesy, 
was, in fact, but another name for Duluth ; that the golden 
orchard of the Hesperides was but a poetical synonyme 
for the beer-gardens in the vicinity of Duluth. I was 
certain that Herodotus had died a miserable death be 
cause in all his travels and with all his geographical re 
search he had never heard of Duluth. I knew that if 
the immortal spirit of Homer could look down from 
another heaven than that created by his own celestial 
genius upon the long lines of pilgrims from every nation 
of the earth to the gushing fountain of poesy opened by 
the touch of his magic wand, if he could be permitted to 
behold the vast assemblage of grand and glorious produc 
tions of the lyric art called into being by his own in 
spired strains, he would weep tears of bitter anguish that 
instead of lavishing all the stores of his mighty genius upon 
the fall of Troy it had not been his more blessed lot to crys 
tallize in deathless song the rising glories of Duluth. Yet, 
sir, had it not been for this map, kindly furnished me by 
the Legislature of Minnesota, I might have gone down to 
my obscure and humble grave in an agony of despair 
because I could nowhere find Duluth. Had such been my 



KNOTT] SPEECH ON DULUTH. Ill 

melancholy fate, I have no doubt that with the last feeble 
pulsation of my breaking heart, with the last faint exha 
lation of my fleeting breath, I should have whispered, 
" Where is Duluth ?" 

But, thanks to the beneficence of that band of minis 
tering angels who have their bright abodes in the far-off 
capital of Minnesota, just as the agony of my anxiety was 
about to culminate in the frenzy of despair, this blessed 
map was placed in my hands, and as I unfolded it a 
resplendent scene of ineffable glory opened before me, 
such as I imagine burst upon the enraptured vision of the 
wandering peri through the opening gates of paradise. 
There, there, for the first time, my enchanted eye rested 
upon the ravishing word " Duluth/' 

This map, sir, is intended, as it appears from its title, 
to illustrate the position of Duluth in the United States ; 
but if gentlemen will examine it I think they will concur 
with me in the opinion that it is far too modest in its 
pretensions. It not only illustrates the position of Duluth 
in the United States, but exhibits its relations with all 
created things. It even goes further than this. It lifts 
the shadowy veil of futurity, and affords us a view of 
the golden prospects of Duluth far along the dim vista 
of ages yet to come. 

If gentlemen will examine it, they will find Duluth not 
only in the centre of the map, but represented in the cen 
tre of a series of concentric circles one hundred miles 
apart, and some of them as much as four thousand miles 
in diameter, embracing alike in their tremendous sweep 
the fragrant savannas of the sunlit South and the eternal 
solitudes of snow that mantle the ice-bound North. How 
these circles were produced is perhaps one of those pri 
mordial mysteries that the most skilful pala3ologist will 
never be able to explain. But the fact is, sir, Duluth is 



112 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KNOTT 

pre-eminently a central place, for I am told by gentlemen 
who have been so reckless of their own personal safety as 
to venture away into those awful regions where Duluth 
is supposed to be, that it is so exactly in the centre of the 
visible universe that the sky comes down at precisely the 
same distance all around it. 

I find by reference to this map that Duluth is situated 
somewhere near the western end of Lake Superior ; but, 
as there is no dot or other mark indicating its exact loca 
tion, I am unable to say whether it is actually confined to 
any particular spot, or whether " it is just lying around 
there loose." I really cannot tell whether it is one of 
those ethereal creations of intellectual frost-work, more 
intangible than the rose-tinted clouds of a summer sunset ; 
one of those airy exhalations of the speculator's brain, 
which I am told are ever flitting in the form of towns and 
cities along those lines of railroad, built with government 
subsidies, luring the unwary settlers, as the mirage of the 
desert lures the famished traveller on, and ever on, until it 
fades away in the darkening horizon, or whether it is a 
real, bona fide, substantial city, all " staked off," with the 
lots marked with their owner's name, like that proud 
commercial metropolis lately discovered on the desirable 
shores of San Domingo. But, however that may be, I 
am satisfied Duluth is there, or thereabout ; for I see it 
stated here on this map that it is exactly thirty-nine hun 
dred and ninety miles from Liverpool, though I have no 
doubt, for the sake of convenience, it will be moved back 
ten miles, so as to make the distance an even four thou 
sand. 

Then, sir, there is the climate of Duluth, unquestion 
ably the most salubrious and delightful to be found any 
where on the Lord's earth. Now, I have always been 
under the impression, as I presume other gentlemen have, 



KNOTT] SPEECH ON DULUTH. 113 

that in the region around Lake Superior it was cold 
enough for at least nine months in the year to freeze the 
smoke-stack off a locomotive. But I see it represented 
on this map that Duluth is situated exactly half-way be 
tween the latitudes of Paris and Yenice, so that gentle 
men who have inhaled the exhilarating airs of the one or 
basked in the golden sunlight of the other must see at a 
glance that Duluth must be a place of untold delights, a 
terrestrial paradise, fanned by the balmy zephyrs of an 
eternal spring, clothed in the gorgeous sheen of ever- 
blooming flowers, and vocal with the silvery melody of 
nature's choicest songsters. In fact, sir, since I have seen 
this map I have no doubt that Byron was vainly endeav 
oring to convey some faint conception of the delicious 
charms of Duluth when his poetic soul gushed forth in 
the rippling strains of that beautiful rhapsody, 

u Know ye the land of the cedar and vine, 
Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine ; 
"Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppressed with perfume, 
Wax faint o'er the gardens of Gul in their bloom : 
Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit, 
And the voice of the nightingale never is mute ; 
Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky, 
In color though varied, in beauty may vie?" 

As to the commercial resources of Duluth, sir, they are 
simply illimitable and inexhaustible, as is shown by this 
map. I see it stated here that there is a vast scope of 
territory, embracing an area of over two million square 
miles, rich in every element of material wealth and com 
mercial prosperity, all tributary to Duluth. Look at it, 
sir. Here are inexhaustible mines of gold, immeasurable 
veins of silver, impenetrable depths of boundless forest, 
vast coal-measures, wide-extended plains of richest pas- 
h 10* 



114 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KNOTT 

turage, all all embraced in the vast territory which must, 
in the very nature of things, empty the untold treasures 
of its commerce into the lap of Duluth. 

Sir, I might stand here for hours and hours and expatiate 
with rapture on the gorgeous prospects of Duluth, as de 
picted upon this map. But human life is too short, and the 
time of this house far too valuable, to allow me to linger 
longer upon the delightful theme. I think every gentle 
man on this floor is as well satisfied as I am that Duluth 
is destined to become the commercial metropolis of the 
universe, and that this road should be built at once. I 
am fully persuaded that no patriotic representative of the 
American people who has a proper appreciation of the 
associated glories of Duluth and the St. Croix will hesi 
tate a moment to say that every able-bodied female in the 
land, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, who is 
in favor of " women's rights," should be drafted and set 
to work upon this great work without delay. Neverthe 
less, sir, it grieves my very soul to be compelled to say 
that I cannot vote for the grant of lands provided for in 
this bill. 

Ah, sir! you can have no conception of the poignancy 
of my anguish that I am deprived of that blessed privi 
lege! There are two insuperable obstacles in the way. 
In the first place, my constituents, for whom I am acting 
here, have no more interest in this road than they have 
in the great question of culinary taste now perhaps agi 
tating the public mind of Dominica, as to whether the 
illustrious commissioners who recently left this capital for 
that free and enlightened republic would be better fricas 
seed, boiled, or roasted ; and, in the second place, these 
lands, which I am asked to give away, alas, are not mine 
to bestow ! My relation to them is simply that of trustee 
to an express trust. And shall I ever betray that trust ? 



TAYLOR] LOVE'S YOUNG DREAM. 115 

Never, sir ! Eather perish Duluth ! Perish the paragon 
of cities ! Eather let the freezing cyclone of the bleak 
Northwest bury it forever beneath the eddying sands of 
the raging St. Croix ! 



LOVE'S YOUNG DREAM. 

Love and poetry are woven of the same thread and painted with the 
same hues. Emotion and enthusiasm are elements necessary to the 
life of both, and every true lover becomes a poet for once in his life, 
just as every poet is a lover, by nature if not in actual fact. "What 
ever the poet's theme, be it art or nature, war or woman, he must be 
thoroughly in love with it, and the heart-beat of his love must throb 
through his verses, or they will be but dead timber, words without 
soul. The realm of the poet is a fairy-land of fancy, with an at 
mosphere made up of splendor and unrealism. And chief among 
the many legends upon the portal of this fairy-land are the lines of 
the poet Moore : 

" There is nothing half so sweet in life 
As love's young dream." 

The truth of this sentiment has been recognized by every poet, troru 
Homer down to the most recent rhymester, and it has formed the 
inspiring theme of countless numbers of verse. It seems eminently 
fitting, therefore, to devote our present Half-Hour to the poets of 
America in their rendition of this most ancient yet youngest and 
freshest of poetic themes. And first Bayard Taylor comes to us with 
a love-song of the Bedouins, a strain of passionate sentiment from that 
land where love is life, and life is love. 

FROM the desert I come to thee 

On a stallion shod with fire ; 
And the winds are left behind 

In the speed of my desire. 



116 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TATLOB 

Under thy window I stand, 

And the midnight hears my cry ; 
I love thee, I love but thee, 
With a love that shall not die 
Till the sun grows cold, 
And the stars are old, 
And the leaves of the Judgment 
Book unfold ! 

Look from thy window and see 

My passion and my pain ; 
I lie on the sands below, 

And I faint in thy disdain. 
Let the night- winds touch thy brow 
With the heat of my burning sigh, 
And melt thee to hear the vow 
Of a love that shall not die 
Till the sun grows cold, 
And the stars are old, 
And the leaves of the Judgment 
Book unfold ! 

My steps are nightly driven, 
By the fever in my breast, 
To hear from thy lattice breathed 

The word that shall give me rest. 
Open the door of thy heart, 

And open thy chamber door, 
And my kisses shall teach thy lips 
The love that shall fade no more 
Till the sun grows cold, 
And the stars are old, 
And the leaves of the Judgment 
Book unfold ! 



ALDRICH] LOVE'S YOUNG DREAM. 117 

We may fitly follow this passionate serenade with Aldrich's tender 
love-song from the Persian, though its strain breathes of the thought 
ful West rather than of the fiery East. 

Ah ! sad are they who know not love, 
But, far from passion's tears and smiles, 

Drift down a moonless sea, beyond 
The silvery coasts of fairy isles. 

And sadder they whose longing lips 

Kiss empty air, and never touch 
The dear warm mouth of those they love, 

Waiting, wasting, suifering much. 

But clear as amber, fine as musk, 
" Is life to those who, pilgrim- wise, 
Move hand in hand from dawn to dusk, 
Each morning nearer Paradise. 

Oh, not for them shall angels pray ! 

They stand in everlasting light, 
They walk in Allah's smile by day, 

Arid nestle in his heart by night. 



E. C. Pinkney's " Health" breathes another strain. 

I fill this cup to one made up 

Of loveliness alone, 
A woman, of her gentle sex 

The seeming paragon ; 
To whom the better elements 

And kindly stars have given 
A form so fair, that, like the air, 

'Tis less of earth than heaver 



118 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

Her every tone is music's own. 

Like those of morning birds, 
And something more than melody 

Dwells ever in her words ; 
The coinage of her heart are they, 

And from her lips each flows 
As one may see the burden'd bee 

Forth issue from the rose. 

Affections are as thoughts to her, 

The measures of her hours ; 
Her feelings have the fragrancy, 

The freshness of young flowers ; 
And lovely passions, changing oft, 

So fill her, she appears 
The image of themselves by turns, 

The idol of past years ! 

Of her bright face one glance will trace 

A picture on the brain, 
And of her voice in echoing hearts 

A sound must long remain ; 
But memory, such as mine of her, 

So very much endears, 
When death is nigh my latest sigh 

Will not be life's, but hers. 

I fill this cup to one made up 

Of loveliness alone, 
A woman, of her gentle sex 

The seeming paragon ; 
Her health ! and would on earth there stood 

Some more of such a frame, 
That life might be all poetry, 

And weariness a name. 



POE] LOVE'S YOUNG DREAM. 119 

Love, indeed, is the law of life, or, as Whittier tells us, it is above 
all law beyond that which it makes for itself. 

" Oh, rank is good, and gold is fair, 

And high and low mate ill ; 

But love has never known a law 

Beyond its own sweet will !" 

It has the power of the magnet in drawing souls together, whose 
union Longfellow has happily compared to the rapid inflow of two 
meeting streams : 

" So these lives that had run thus far in separate channels, 
Coming in sight of each other, then swerving and flowing asunder, 
Parted by barriers strong, but drawing nearer and nearer, 
Rushed together at last, and one was lost in the other." 



Poe, the weirdest in thought, yet the most musical in diction, of 
American poets, sings of his lost love in the following melodious yet 
somewhat artificial strain. 

It was many and many a year ago, 

In a kingdom by the sea, 
That a maiden there lived, whom you may know 

By the name of Annabel Lee ; 
And this maiden she lived with no other thought 

Than to love and be loved by me. 

I was a child, and she was a child, 

In this kingdom by the sea ; 
But we loved with a love that was more than love, 

I and my Annabel Lee, 
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven 

Coveted her and me. 

And this was the reason that, long ago, 

In this kingdom by the sea, 
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling 

My beautiful Annabel Lee ; 



120 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [Pojs 

So that her high-born kinsman came 

And bore her away from me, 
To shut her up in a sepulchre 

In this kingdom by the sea. 

The angels, not half so happy in heaven, 

Went envying her and me, 
Yes ! that was the reason (as all men know, 

In this kingdom by the sea) 
That the wind came out of the cloud by night, 

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee. 

But our love it was stronger by far than the love 

Of those who were older than we, 

Of many far wiser than we, 
And neither the angels in heaven above, 

Nor the demons down under the sea, 
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul 

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee. 

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams 

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee ; 
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes 

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee ; 
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side 
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride, 

In the sepulchre there by the sea, 

In her tomb by the sounding sea. 

In conclusion may be given Whittier's wise warning to those in 
whom marriage, with its cares and crosses, threatens to dim or extin 
guish the light of love. 

And if the husband or the wife 
In home's strong light discovers 



MOTLEY] THE DUKE'S PLOT. 121 

Such slight defects as failed to meet 
The blinded eyes of lovers, 

Why need we care to ask ? Who dreams 

Without their thorns of roses, 
Or wonders that the truest steel 

The readiest spark discloses ? 

For still in mutual suiferance lies 

The secret of true living : 
Love scarce is love that never knows 

The sweetness of forgiving. 



THE DUKE'S PLOT. 

JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY. 

[John Lothrop Motley, the historian of the Dutch Eepublic, was 
born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, April 15, 1814. He graduated at 
Harvard in 1831, and then studied at Gottingen for about a year, after 
which he spent some time in European travel. Upon his return home 
he studied law, but soon relinquished the legal profession for the more 
congenial pursuit of literature. His early works were two novels of no 
great success, " Morton's Hope, or the Memoirs of a Young Provin 
cial," and " Merry Mount, a Romance of the Massachusetts Colony." 
He also contributed to the North American Review and other periodi 
cals. His works of fiction are spirited, with wellrelaborated descriptions 
and much humor. In 1851 he revisited Europe, to collect materials 
for a projected history of Holland. The result of this visit was the 
brilliant historical work, " The Rise of the Dutch Republic," one of 
the most scholarly productions in the whole range of American his 
torical compositions. This work, published in 1856, was followed in 
1860-67 by " The History of the United Netherlands from the Death 
* 11 



122 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MOTLEY 

of William the Silent to tlie Synod of Dort," and in 1874 by the " Life 
of John of Barneveldt," in completion of his valuable study of the 
history of the Netherlands. Mr. Motley served the government as 
minister-plenipotentiary to Austria from 1861 to 1867, and as ambas 
sador to England in 1869-70. He died May 29, 1877. As an historian, 
Motley is very animated in style ; and his great work is exceedingly 
attractive in its illustrations of the manners and customs of the period 
of which it treats, and in its graphic details of the stirring events of 
the Netherlandish wars. "We give as an example the description of 
the result of the Duke of Anjou's treacherous effort to seize upon 
Antwerp.] 

ON the 16th of January, suspicion was aroused in the 
city. A man in a mask entered the mainguard-house in 
the night, mysteriously gave warning that a great crime 
was in contemplation, and vanished before he could be 
arrested. His accent proved him to be a Frenchman. 
Strange rumors flew about the streets. A vague uneasi 
ness pervaded the whole population as to the intention of 
their new master, but nothing was definitely known, for of 
course there was entire ignorance of the events which were 
just occurring in other cities. The colonels and captains 
of the burgher guard came to consult the Prince of Orange. 
He avowed the most entire confidence in the Duke of 
Anjou, but, at the same time, recommended that the chains 
should be drawn, the lanterns hung out, and the draw 
bridge raised an hour earlier than usual, and that other 
precautions, customary in the expectation of an attack, 
should be duly taken. He likewise sent the burgomas 
ter of the interior, Dr. Alostanus, to the Duke of Anjou, 
in order to communicate the suspicions created in the 
minds of the city authorities by the recent movements of 
troops. 

Anjou, thus addressed, protested in the most solemn 
manner that nothing was farther from his thoughts than 
any secret enterprise against Antwerp. He was willing, 



MOTLEY] THE DUKE'S PLOT. 123 

according to the figure of speech which he had always ready 
upon every emergency, " to shed every drop of his blood 
in her defence." He swore that he would signally punish 
all those who had dared to invent such calumnies against 
himself and his faithful Frenchmen, declaring earnestly, 
at the same time, that the troops had only been assembled 
in the regular course of their duty. As the duke was so 
loud and so fervent; as he, moreover, made no objections 
to the precautionary measures which had been taken ; as 
the burgomaster thought, moreover, that the public atten 
tion thus aroused would render all evil designs futile, even 
if any had been entertained ; it was thought that the city 
might sleep in security for that night at least. 

On the following morning, as vague suspicions were still 
entertained by many influential persons, a deputation of 
magistrates and militia officers waited upon the duke, the 
Prince of Orange although himself still feeling a confi 
dence widen, seems now almost inexplicable consenting 
to accompany them. The duke was more vehement than 
ever in his protestations of loyalty to his recent oaths, as 
well as of deep affection for the Netherlands, for Brabant 
in particular, and for Antwerp most of all, and he made 
use of all his vivacity to persuade the prince, the burgo 
masters, and the colonels, that they had deeply wronged 
him by such unjust suspicions. His assertions were ac 
cepted as sincere, and the deputation withdrew, Anjou 
having first solemnly promised at the suggestion of 
Orange not to leave the city during the whole day, in 
order that unnecessary suspicion might be prevented. 

This pledge the duke proceeded to violate almost as soon 
as made. Orange returned with confidence to his own 
house, which was close to the citadel, and therefore far 
removed from the proposed point of attack ; but he had 
hardly arrived there when he received a visit from the 



124 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MOTLEI 

duke's private secretary, Quinsay, who invited him tc 
accompany his highness on a visit to the camp. Orange 
declined the request, and sent an earnest prayer to the 
duke not to leave the city that morning. The duke dined 
as usual at noon. While at dinner he received a letter, 
was observed to turn pale on reading it, and to conceal it 
hastily in a muff which he wore on his left arm. The re 
past finished, the duke ordered his horse. The animal 
was restive, and so strenuously resisted being mounted 
that, although it was his usual charger, it was exchanged 
for another. This second horse started in such a flurry 
that the duke lost his cloak and almost his seat. He 
maintained his self-possession, however, and placing him 
self at the head of his body-guard and some troopers, 
numbering in all three hundred mounted men, rode out 
of the palace yard towards the Kipdorp gate. 

This portal opened on the road towards Borgerhout, 
where his troops were stationed, and at the present day 
bears the name of that village. It is on the side of the 
city farthest removed from and exactly opposite the river. 
The town was very quiet, the streets almost deserted ; for 
it was one o'clock, the universal dinner-hour, and all sus 
picion had been disarmed by the energetic protestations 
of the duke. The guard at the gate looked listlessly upon 
the cavalcade as it approached, but as soon as Anjou 
had crossed the first drawbridge he rose in his stirrups 
and waved his hand. " There is your city, my lads," said 
he to the troopers behind him ; " go and take possession 
of it." 

At the same time he set spurs to his horse, and galloped 
off towards the camp at Borgerhout. Instantly after 
wards, a gentleman of his suite, Count Eochepot, affected 
to have broken his leg through the plunging of his horse, 
a circumstance by which he had been violently pressed 



MOTLEY] THE DUKE'S PLOT. 125 

against the wall as lie entered the gate. Kaiser, the com 
manding officer at the guard-house, stepped kindly forward 
to render him assistance, and his reward was a desperate 
thrust from the Frenchman's rapier. As he wore a steel 
cuirass, he fortunately escaped with a slight wound. 

The expression " broken leg" was the watchword, for 
at one and the same instant the troopers and guardsmen 
of Anjou set upon the burgher watch at the gate and 
butchered every man. A sufficient force was left to pro 
tect the entrance thus easily mastered, while the rest of 
the Frenchmen entered the town at full gallop^ shriek 
ing, "Ville gaignee! ville gaignee ! vive la messe! vive le Due 
d' Anjou /" They were followed by their comrades from 
the camp outside, who now poured into the town at the 
preconcerted signal, at least six hundred cavalry and three 
thousand musketeers, all perfectly appointed, entering 
Antwerp at once. From the Kipdorp gate two main ar 
teries the streets called the Kipdorp and the Meer led 
quite through the heart of the city towards the town- 
house and the river beyond. Along these great thorough 
fares the French soldiers advanced at a rapid pace ; the 
cavalry clattering furiously in the van, shouting, "Ville 
gaignee! ville gaignee ! vive la messe! vive la messe ! tue, tue, 
tue /" 

The burghers coming to door and window to look for 
the cause of all this disturbance were saluted with volleys 
of musketry. They were .for a moment astonished, but 
not appalled, for at first they believed it to be merely 
an accidental tumult. Observing, however, that the sol 
diers, meeting with but little effective resistance, were dis 
persing into dwellings and warehouses, particularly into 
the shops of the goldsmiths and lapidaries, the citizens re 
membered the dark suspicions which had been so rife, and 
many recalled to mind that distinguished French officers 

11* 



126 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MOTLEY 

had during the last few days been carefully examining the 
treasures of the jewellers, under pretext of purchasing, 
but, as it now appeared, with intent to rob intelligently. 

The burghers, taking this rapid view of their position, 
flew instantly to arms. Chains and barricades were 
stretched across the streets; the trumpets sounded 
through the city ; the municipal guards swarmed to the 
rescue. An effective rally was made, as usual, at the 
Bourse, whither a large detachment of the invaders had 
forced their way. Inhabitants of all classes and condi 
tions, noble and simple, Catholic and Protestant, gave 
each other the hand, and swore to die at each other's side 
in defence of the city against the treacherous strangers. 
The gathering was rapid and enthusiastic. Gentlemen 
came with lance and cuirass, burghers with musket and 
bandoleer, artisans with axe, mallet, and other implements 
of their trade. A bold baker standing by his oven stark 
naked, according to the custom of bakers at that day 
rushed to the street as the sound of the tumult reached 
his ear. With his heavy bread-shovel, which he still held 
in his hand, he dealt a French cavalry officer, just riding 
and screaming by, such a hearty blow that he fell dead 
from his horse. The baker seized the officer's sword, 
sprang, all unattired as he was, upon his steed, and careered 
furiously through the streets, encouraging his countrymen 
everywhere to the attack, and dealing dismay through 
the ranks of the enemy. His services in that eventful 
hour were so signal that he was publicly thanked after 
wards by the magistrates for his services, and rewarded 
with a pension of three hundred florins for life. 

The invaders had been forced from the Bourse, while 
another portion of them had penetrated as far as the 
market-place. The resistance which they encountered 
became every instant more formidable, and Fervaeques. a 



MOTLEY] THE DUKE'S PLOT. 127 

leading French officer, who was captured on the occasion, 
acknowledged that no regular troops could have fought 
more bravely than did these stalwart burghers. Women 
and children mounted to roof and window, whence they 
hurled not only tiles and chimney-pots, but tables, pon 
derous chairs, and other bulky articles, upon the heads of 
the assailants, while such citizens as had used all their 
bullets loaded their pieces with the silver buttons from 
their doublets, or twisted gold and silver coins with their 
teeth into ammunition. With a population so resolute, 
the four thousand invaders, however audacious, soon found 
themselves swallowed up. The city had closed over them 
like water, and within an hour nearly a third of their 
whole number had been slain. Yery few of the burgh 
ers had perished, and fresh numbers were constantly ad 
vancing to the attack. The Frenchmen, blinded, stagger 
ing, beaten, attempted to retreat. Many threw themselves 
from the fortifications into the moat. The rest of the 
survivors struggled through the streets falling in large 
numbers at every step towards the point at which they 
had so lately entered the city. Here at the Kipdorp gate 
was a ghastly spectacle, the slain being piled up in the 
narrow passage full ten feet high, while some of the heap, 
not quite dead, were striving to extricate a hand or foot, 
and others feebly thrust forth their heads to gain a 
mouthful of air. 

From the outside, some of Anjou's officers were attempt 
ing to climb over this mass of bodies in order to enter 
the city ; from the interior, the baffled and fugitive rem 
nant of their comrades were attempting to force their 
passage through the same horrible barrier ; while many 
dropped at every instant upon the heap of slain, undei 
the blows of the unrelenting burghers. On the other 
hand, Count Bochepot himself, to whom the principal com- 



128 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MOTLEY 

mand of the enterprise had been intrusted by Anjou, 
stood directly in the path of his fugitive soldiers, not only 
bitterly upbraiding them with their cowardice, but actu 
ally slaying ten or twelve of them with his own hands, 
as the most effectual mode of preventing their retreat. 
Hardly an hour had elapsed from the time when the 
"Duke of Anjou first rode out of the Kipdorp gate, before 
nearly the whole of the force which he had sent to accom 
plish his base design was either dead or captive. Two 
hundred and fifty nobles of high rank and illustrious 
name were killed ; recognized at once as they lay in the 
streets by their magnificent costume. A larger number of 
the gallant chivalry of France had been sacrificed as 
Anjou confessed in this treacherous and most shameful 
enterprise, than had often fallen upon noble and honor 
able fields. Nearly two thousand of the rank and file 
had perished, and the rest were prisoners. It was at first 
asserted that exactly fifteen hundred and eighty-three 
Frenchmen had fallen, but this was only because this 
number happened to be the date of the year, to which 
the lovers of marvellous coincidences struggled very hard 
to make the returns of the dead correspond. Less than 
one hundred burghers lost their lives. 

Anjou, as he looked on at a distance, was bitterly re 
proached for his treason by several of the high-minded 
gentlemen about his person, to whom he had not dared to 
confide his plot. The Duke of Montpensier protested 
vehemently that he washed his hands of the whole trans 
action, whatever might be the issue. He was responsible 
for the honor of an illustrious house, which should never 
be stained, he said, if he could prevent it, with such foul 
deeds. The same language was held by Laval, by Eoche- 
foucauld, and by the Marechal de Biron, the last gentle 
man, whose two sons were engaged in the vile enterprise, 



CURTIS] MF CHATEAUX. 129 

bitterly cursing the duke to the face, as he rode through 
the gate after revealing his secret undertaking. 

Meanwhile, Anjou, in addition to the punishment of 
hearing these reproaches from men of honor, was the 
victim of a rapid and violent fluctuation of feeling. Hope, 
fear, triumph, doubt, remorse, alternately swayed him. 
A s he saw the fugitives leaping from the walls, he shouted 
exultingly, without accurately discerning what manner of 
men they were, that the city was his, that four thousand 
of his brave soldiers were there, and were hurling the 
burghers from the battlements. On being made after- 
wards aware of his error, he was proportionably de 
pressed ; and when it was obvious at last that the result 
of the enterprise was an absolute and disgraceful failure, 
together with a complete exposure of his treachery, he 
fairly mounted his horse and fled conscience-stricken from 
the scene. 



MY CHATEAUX. 

GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS. 

[There are no more delightful essays in the language, for those wno 
are ready to cut loose from the solid shore of facts and bask in " that 
light which never was on sea or land," than those which we find em 
balmed in the pages of " Prue and I," the most imaginative work of 
George William Curtis, one of our most imaginative prose authors. 
The " admirable fooling" of My Chateaux, from which we extract the 
present Half-Hour, does not need the dress of verse to make it poetry. 
There are few who have not indulged in day-dreams like those which 
it with such pleasant humor portrays. Mr. Curtis was born in Prov 
idence, Rhode Island, in 1824. He was an active traveller in his 
younger years, and has given us, in his " Nile Notes of a Howadji" 
and "The Howadji in Syria," two of the most picturesque books o( 



130 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CURTIS 

travel in American literature. They are full of the softness and exuber 
ance of the Orient, and in reading them we seem lapped in a sunshine 
not our own. He has written, "besides, " The Potiphar Papers," " Lo 
tus-Eating," a work full of brilliant word-painting, and " Trumps," 
an able character novel of New York society. For many years past Mr. 
Curtis has been editorially connected with the Harper periodicals.] 

I AM the owner of great estates. Many of them lie in 
the West ; but the greater part are in Spain. You may 
see my western possessions any evening at sunset, when 
their spires and battlements flash against the horizon. 

It gives me a feeling of pardonable importance, as a 
proprietor, that they are visible, to my eyes at least, from 
any part of the world in which I chance to be. In my 
long voyage around the Cape of Good Hope to India (the 
only voyage I ever made, when I was a boy and a super 
cargo), if I fell homesick, or sank into a revery of all the 
pleasant homes I had left behind, I had but to wait until 
sunset, and then, looking toward the west, I beheld my 
clustering pinnacles and towers brightly burnished as if 
to salute and welcome me. 

So, in the city, if I get vexed and wearied, and cannot 
find my wonted solace in sallying forth at dinner-time to 
contemplate the gay world of youth and beauty hurrying 
to the congress of fashion, or if I observe that years are 
deepening their tracks around the eyes of my wife Prue, 
I go quietly up to the house-top, toward evening, and re 
fresh myself with a distant prospect of my estates. . . . 

I have never been to Spain myself, but I have naturally 
conversed much with travellers to that country ; although, 
I must allow, without deriving from them much substantial 
information about my property there. The wisest of them 
told me that there were more holders of real estate in 
Spain than in any other region he had ever heard of, and 
they are all great proprietors. Every one of them pos- 



CURTIS] MY CHATEAUX. 131 

sesses a multitude of the stateliest castles. From conver 
sation with them you easily gather that each one considers 
his own castles much the largest and in the loveliest posi 
tions. And, after I had heard this said, I verified it, by 
discovering that all my immediate neighbors in the city 
were great Spanish proprietors. 

One day as I raised my head from entering some long 
and tedious accounts in my books, and began to reflect 
that the quarter was expiring, and that I must begin to 
prepare the balance-sheet, I observed my subordinate, in 
office but not in years (for poor old Titbottom will never 
see sixty again !), leaning on his hand, and much abstracted. 

" Are you not well, Titbottom ?" asked I. 

" Perfectly ; but I was just building a castle in Spain," 
said he. 

I looked at his rusty coat, his faded hands, his sad eye, 
and white hair, for a moment, in great surprise, and then 
inquired, 

u Is it possible that you own property there too ?" 

He shook his head silently ; and, still leaning on his hand, 
and with an expression in his eye as if he were looking 
upon the most fertile estate of Andalusia, he went on 
making his plans ; laying out his gardens, I suppose, 
building terraces for the vines, determining a library with 
a southern exposure, and resolving which should be the 
tapestried chamber. . . . 

It is not easy for ne to say how I know so much, as 1 
certainly do, about my castles in Spain. The sun always 
shines upon them. They stand lofty and fair in a lumi 
nous, golden atmosphere, a little hazy and dreamy, per 
haps, like the Indian summer, but in which no gales blow 
and there are no tempests. All the sublime mountains, 
and beautiful valleys, and soft landscape that I have not 
yet seen, are to be found in the grounds. They command a 



132 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CURTIS 

noble view of the Alps, so fine, indeed, that I should be 
quite content with the prospect of them from the highest 
tower of my castle, and not care to go to Switzerland. 

The neighboring ruins, too, are as picturesque as those 
of Italy, and my desire of standing in the Coliseum, and 
of seeing the shattered arches of the Aqueducts stretch 
ing along the Campagna and melting into the Alban 
Mount, is entirely quenched. The rich gloom of my 
orange groves is gilded by fruit as brilliant of com 
plexion and exquisite of flavor as any that ever dark- 
eyed Sorrento girls, looking over the high plastered walls 
of southern Italy, hand to the youthful travellers climb 
ing on donkeys. up the narrow lane beneath. 

The Nile flows through my grounds. The Desert lies 
upon their edge, and Damascus stands in my garden. I 
am given to understand, also, that the Parthenon has been 
removed to my Spanish possessions. The Golden Horn is 
my fish-preserve ; my flocks of golden fleece are pastured 
on the plain of Marathon, and the honey of Hymettus is 
distilled from the flowers that grow in the vale of Enna, 
all in my Spanish domains. 

From the windows of those castles look the beautiful 
women whom I have never seen, whose portraits the poets 
have painted. They wait for me there, and chiefly the 
fair-haired child, lost to my eyes so long ago, now bloomed 
into an impossible beauty. The lights that never shone 
glance at evening in the vaulted halls, upon banquets that 
were never spread. The bands I have never collected play 
all night long, and enchant the brilliant company, that 
was never assembled, into silence. 

En the long summer mornings the children that I never 
had play in the gardens that I never planted. I hear 
their sweet voices sounding low and far away, calling, 
"Father! father!" I see the lost fair-haired girl, grown 



CURTIS] MY CHATEAUX. 133 

now into a woman, descending the stately stairs of my 
castle in Spain, stepping out upon the lawn, and playing 
with those children. They bound away together down 
the garden ; but those voices linger, this time airily calling, 
"Mother! mother!" 

But there is a stranger magic than this in my Spanish 
estates. The lawny slopes on which, when a child, I 
played, in my father's old country-place, which was sold 
when he failed, are all there, and not a flower faded nor a 
blade of grass sere. The green leaves have not fallen 
from the spring woods of half a century ago, and a gor 
geous autumn has blazed undimmed for fifty years among 
the trees I remember. 

Chestnuts are not especially sweet to my palate now, 
but those with which I used to prick my fingers when 
gathering them in New Hampshire woods are exquisite 
as ever to my taste, when I think of eating them in Spain. 
I never ride horseback now at home ; but in Spain, when 
I think of it, I bound over all the fences in the country, 
barebacked upon the wildest horses. Sermons I am apt 
to find a little soporific in this country ; but in Spain I 
should listen as reverently as ever, for proprietors must 
set a good example on their estates. 

Plays are insufferable to me here, Prue and I never go , 
Prue, indeed, is not quite sure it is moral ; but the theatres 
in my Spanish castles are of a prodigious splendor, and 
when I think of going there, Prue sits in a front box with 
me, a kind of royal box, the good woman attired in 
such wise as I have never seen her here, while I wear my 
white waistcoat, which in Spain has no appearance of 
mending, but dazzles with immortal newness and is a 
miraculous fit. 

Yes, and in those castles in Spain, Prue is not the 
placid, breeches-patching helpmate with whom you are 

12 



134 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS, [CURTIS 

acquainted, but her face has a bloom which we both 
remember, and her movement a grace which my Spanish 
swans emulate, and her voice a music sweeter than those 
that orchestras discourse. She is always there what she 
seemed to me when I fell in love with her, many and 
many years ago. The neighbors called her then a nice, 
capable girl ; and certainly she did knit and darn with 
a zeal and success to which my feet and my legs have 
testified for nearly half a century. But she could spin a 
finer web than ever came from cotton, and in its subtle 
meshes my heart was entangled, and there has reposed 
softly and happily ever since. The neighbprs declared 
she could make pudding and cake better than any girl of 
her age ; but stale bread from Prue's hand was ambrosia 
to my palate. 

" She who makes everything well, even to making neigh 
bors speak well of her, will surely make a good wife," said 
I to myself when I knew her ; and the echo of a half- 
century answers, " a good wife." 

So, when I meditate my Spanish castles, I see Prue in 
them as my heart saw her standing by her father's door. 
"Age cannot wither her." There is a magic in the Span 
ish air that paralyzes Time. He glides by unnoticed and 
unnoticing. I greatly admire the Alps, which I see so dis 
tinctly from my Spanish windows ; I delight in the taste 
of the southern fruit that ripens upon my terraces; I 
enjoy the pensive shade of the Italian ruins in my gar 
dens; I like to shoot crocodiles and talk with the Sphinx 
upon the shores of the Nile, flowing through my domain ; 
I am glad to drink sherbet in Damascus and fleece my 
flocks on the plains of Marathon; but I would resign all 
these forever rather than part with that Spanish portrait 
of Prue for a day. Nay, have I not resigned them all 
forever, to live with that portrait's changing original ? 



CURTIS] MY CHATEAUX. 135 

I have often wondered how I should reach my castles. 
The desire of going comes over me very strongly some 
times, and I endeavor to see how I can arrange my af 
fairs so as to get away. To tell the truth, I am not quite 
sure of the route, I mean, to that particular part of 
Spain in which my estates lie. I have inquired very 
particularly, but nobody seems to know precisely. . . . 

At length I resolved to ask Titbottom if he had ever 
heard of the best route to our estates. He said that he 
owned castles, and sometimes there was an expression in 
his face as if he saw them. I hope he did. I should long 
ago have asked him if he had ever observed the turrets 
of my possessions in the West, without alluding to Spain, 
if I had not feared he would suppose I was mocking his 
poverty. I hope his poverty has not turned his head, for 
he is very forlorn. 

One Sunday I went with him a few miles into the 
country. It was a soft, bright day ; the fields and hills lay 
turned to the sky, as if every leaf and blade of grass 
were nerves, bared to the touch of the sun. I almost felt 
the ground warm under my feet. The meadows waved and 
glittered, the lights and shadows were exquisite, and the 
distant hills seemed only to remove the horizon farther 
away. As we strolled along, picking wild flowers, for it 
was in summer, I was thinking what a fine day it was for 
a trip to Spain, when Titbottom suddenly exclaimed, 

" Thank G-od, I own this landscape !" 

" You !" returned I. 

" Certainly," said he. 

" Why," I answered, u I thought this was part of Bourne's 
property !" 

Titbottom smiled. 

" Does Bourne own the sun and sky ? Does Bourne 
own that sailing shadow yonder ? Does Bourne own the 



136 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CURTIS 

golden lustre of the grain, or the motion of the woods, or 
those ghosts of hills that glide pallid along the horizon ? 
Bourne owns the dirt and fences ; I own the beauty that 
makes the landscape, or otherwise how could I own castles 
in Spain?" 

That was very true. I respected Titbottom more than 
ever. 

" Do you know," said he, after a long pause, " that I 
fancy my castles lie just beyond those distant hills? At 
all events, I can see them distinctly from their summits." 

He smiled quietly as he spoke, and it was then I 
asked, 

"But, Titbottom, have you never discovered the way 
to them ?" 

" Dear me ! yes," answered he. " I know the way well 
enough ; but it would do no good to follow it. I should 
give out before I arrived. It is a long and difficult jour 
ney for a man of my years and habits and income," he 
added, slowly. 

As he spoke he seated himself upon the ground ; and 
while he pulled long blades of grass, and, putting them 
between his thumbs, whistled shrilly, he said, 

" I have never known but two men who reached their 
estates in Spain." 

" Indeed !" said I. How did they go ?" 

" One went over the side of a ship, and the other out 
of a third-story window," said Titbottom, fitting a broad 
blade between his thumbs and blowing a demoniacal blast. 

" And I know one proprietor who resides upon his es 
tates constantly," continued he. 

"Who is that?" 

" Our old friend Slug, whom you may see any day at the 
asylum, just coming in from the hunt, or going to call upon 
his friend the Grand Lama, or dressing for the wedding 



CURTIS] MY CHATEAUX. 137 

of the Man in the Moon, or receiving an ambassador from 
Timbuctoo. Whenever I go to see him, Slug insists that 
I am the Pope, disguised as a journeyman carpenter, and 
he entertains me in the most distinguished manner. He 
always insists upon kissing my foot, and I bestow upon 
him, kneeling, the apostolic benediction. This is the only 
Spanish proprietor in possession with whom I am ac 
quainted." 

And, so saying, Titbottom lay back upon the ground, 
and, making a spy-glass of his hand, surveyed the land 
scape through it. This was a marvellous book-keeper of 
more than sixty ! 

" I know another man who lived in his Spanish castle 
for two months, and then was tumbled out head first. 
That was young Stunning, who married old Buhl's daugh 
ter. She was all smiles, and mamma was all sugar, and 
Stunning was all bliss, for two months. He carried his 
head in the clouds, and felicity absolutely foamed at his 
eyes. He was drowned in love ; seeing, as usual, not what 
really was, but what he fancied. He lived so exclusively 
in his castle that he forgot the office down town, and one 
morning there came a fall, and Stunning was smashed." 

Titbottom arose, and, stooping over, contemplated the 
landscape \fith his head down between his legs. 

" It's quite a new eifect, so," said the nimble booiv 
keeper. 

" Well," said I, Stunning failed ?" 

" Oh, yes, smashed all up, and the castle in Spain came 
down about his ears with a tremendous crash. The family 
sugar was all dissolved into the original cane in a moment. 
Fairy times are over, are they? Heigh-ho! the falling 
stones of Stunning's castle have left their marks all over 
his face. I call them his Spanish scars." 

11 But, my dear Titbottom," said I, " what is the matter 

12* 



138 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CURTIS 

with you this morning? Your usual sedateness is quite 
gone." 

" It's only the exhilarating air of Spain," he answered. 
"My castles are so beautiful that I can never think of 
them, nor speak of them, without excitement ; when I 
was younger I desired to reach them even more ardently 
than now, because I heard that the philosopher's stone 
was in the vault of one of them." 

" Indeed," said I, yielding to sympathy ; " and I have 
good reason to believe that the fountain of eternal youth 
flows through the garden of one of mine. Do you know 
whether there are any children upon your grounds?" 

" l The children of Alice call Bartrum father !' " replied 
Titbottom, solemnly, and in a low voice, as he folded his 
faded hands before him, and stood erect, looking wistfully 
over the landscape. The light wind played with his thin 
white hair, and his sober black suit was almost sombre in 
the sunshine. The half-bitter expression, which I had re 
marked upon his face during part of our conversation, had 
passed away, and the old sadness had returned to his eye. 
He stood, in the pleasant morning, the very image of a 
great proprietor of castles in Spain. 

" There is wonderful music there," he said : " sometimes 
I awake at night and hear it. It is full of the sweetness 
of youth, and love, and a new world. I lie and listen, and 
I seem to arrive at the great gates of my estates. They 
swing open upon noiseless hinges, and the tropic of my 
dreams receives me. Up the broad steps, whose marble 
pavement mingled light and shadow print with shifting 
mosaic, beneath the boughs of lustrous oleanders, and 
palms, and trees of unimaginable fragrance, I pass into 
the vestibule, warm with summer odors, and into the 
presence-chamber beyond, where my wife awaits me. But 
castle, and wife, and odorous woods, and pictures, and 



CURTIS] MY CHATEAUX. 139 

statues, and all the bright substance of my household, seem 
to reel and glimmer in the splendor, as the music fails. 

" But when it swells again, I clasp the wife to my heart, 
and we move on with a fair society, beautiful women, noble 
men, before whom the tropical luxuriance of that world 
bends and bows in homage ; and through endless days and 
nights of eternal summer the stately revel of our life pro 
ceeds. Then, suddenly, the music stops. I hear my watch 
ticking under the pillow. I see dimly the outline of my 
little upper room. Then I fall asleep, and in the morning 
ome one of the boarders at the breakfast-table says, 

" ' Did you hear the serenade last night, Mr. Titbottom?' '* 

I doubted no longer that Titbottom was a very exten 
sive proprietor. The truth is, that he was so constantly 
engaged in planning and arranging his castles that he 
conversed very little at the office, and I had misinterpreted 
his silence. 

As we walked homeward, that day, he was more thai* 
ever tender and gentle. " We must all have something 
to do in this world," said he, " and I, who have so much 
leisure, for you know I have no wife nor children to 
work for, know not what 1 should do if I had not my 
castles in Spain to look after." 

When I reached home, my darling Prue was sitting in 
the small parlor, reading. I felt a little guilty for having 
been so long away, and upon my only holiday, too. So I 
began to say that Titbottom invited me to go to walk, and 
that I had no idea we had gone so far, and that 

" Don't excuse yourself," said Prue, smiling, as she laid 
down her Book ; " I am glad you have enjoyed yourself. 
You ought to go out sometimes and breathe the fresh air, 
and run about the fields, which I am not strong enough to 
do. Why did you not bring home Mr. Titbottom to tea ? 
He is so lonely, and looks so sad. I am sure he has very 



140 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [JEFFERSON 

little comfort in this life," said my thoughtful Prue, as she 
called Jane to set the tea-table. 

''But he has a good deal of comfort in Spain, Prue," 
answered I. 
" When was Mr. Titbottom in Spain ?" inquired my wife. 

" Why, he is there more than half the time," I replied. 

Prue looked quietly at me and smiled. " I see it has done 
you good to breathe the country air," said she. "Jane, get 
some of the blackberry jam, and call Adoniram and the 
children." 



THE CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON. 

THOMAS JEFFERSON. 

[Of the history of Thomas Jefferson we have no need to speak. As 
an author he must be credited with a document which will live as 
long as America remains a nation, u The Declaration of Independ 
ence," which, as Edward Everett says, " is equal to anything ever 
born on parchment or expressed in the visible signs of thought." His 
other literary labors may be found in his " Notes on Virginia," his 
State Papers, and the Autobiography, Correspondence, etc., embraced 
in the published volumes of his writings. He has an easy and flexi 
ble style, and a critical discernment that might have made him famous 
as an author but for the all-embracing political interests of his times. 
His " Character of Washington" is of interest as a clearly-drawn pen- 
picture from one who had every opportunity to know the great man 
of whom he wrote.] 

I THINK I knew General Washington intimately and 
thoroughly, and were I called on to delineate his charac 
ter, it should be in terms like these : 

His mind was great and powerful, without being of the 
very first order, his penetration strong, though not so 
acute as that of a Newton, Bacon, or Locke ; and as far 



JEFFERSON] CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON. 141 

as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow 
in operation, being little aided by invention or imagina 
tion, but sure in conclusion. Hence the common remark 
of his officers, of the advantage he derived from councils 
of war, where, hearing all suggestions, he selected what 
ever was best; and certainly no general ever planned his 
battles more judiciously. But if deranged during the 
course of the action, if any member of his plan was dis 
located by sudden circumstances, he was slow in readjust 
ment. The consequence was, that he often failed in the 
field, and rarely against an enemy in station, as at Boston 
and New York. He was incapable of fear, meeting per 
sonal dangers with the calmest unconcern. Perhaps the 
strongest feature in his character was prudence; never 
acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was 
maturely weighed ; refraining if he saw a doubt, but, 
when once decided, going through with his purpose, what 
ever obstacles opposed. His integrity was most pure, his 
justice the most inflexible I have ever known, no motives 
of interest or consanguinity, of friendship or hatred, being 
able to bias his decision. He was, indeed, in every sense 
of the words, a wise, a good, and a great man. His tem 
per was naturally irritable and high-toned ; but reflection 
and resolution had obtained a firm and habitual ascendency 
over it. If ever, however, it broke its bounds, he was 
most tremendous in his wrath. In his expenses he was 
honorable, but exact ; liberal in contribution to whatever 
promised utility, but frowning and unyielding on all 
visionary projects and all unworthy calls on his charity. 
His heart was not warm in its affections ; but he exactly 
calculated every man's value, and gave him a solid esteem 
proportioned to it. His person, you know, was fine, his 
stature exactly what one could wish, his deportment easy, 
erect, and noble; the best horseman of his age, and the 



142 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [JEFFERSON 

most graceful figure that could be seen on horseback. Al 
though in the circle of his friends, where he might be un 
reserved with safety, he took a free share in conversation, 
his colloquial talents were not above mediocrity, possess 
ing neither copiousness of ideas nor fluency of words. 
In public, when called on for a sudden opinion, he was 
unready, short, and embarrassed. Yet he wrote readily, 
rather diffusely, in an easy and correct style. This he had 
acquired by conversation with the world, for his education 
was merely reading, writing, and common arithmetic, to 
which he added surveying at a later day. His time was 
employed in action chiefly, reading little, and that only 
in agriculture and English history. His correspondence 
became necessarily extensive, and, with journalizing his 
agricultural proceedings, occupied most of his leisure 
hours within-doors. On the whole, his character was, in 
its mass, perfect, in nothing bad. in few points indifferent ; 
and it may truly be said that never did nature and for 
tune combine more perfectly to make a man great, and to 
place him in the same constellation with whatever wor 
thies have merited from man an everlasting remembrance. 
For his was the singular destiny and merit, of leading the 
armies of his country successfully through an arduous 
war for the establishment of its independence; of con 
ducting its councils through the birth of a government, 
new in its forms and principles, until it had settled down 
into a quiet and orderly train ; and of scrupulously obey 
ing the laws through the whole of his career, civil and 
military, of which the history of the world furnishes no 
other example. 



WINTHROP] THE RIDE OF THE AVENGERS. 143 

THE RIDE OF THE AVENGERS. 

THEODORE WINTHROP. 

[There is nothing in American literature more stirring in incident, 
more vivid in description, and more original in manner than the novel 
of prairie and mountain from which we make the following extract. 
Life in the Western border-land has never been more forcibly depicted 
than in u John Brent," with his wonderful horse, and the life of open- 
air adventure and clearly-outlined scenery through which he leads us. 
Winthrop's other works, all published after his death, were " Cecil 
Dreeme," a tale of university life in New York City, with an original 
ity as marked as that of " John Brent," though quite unlike it in tone 
and manner, "Edwin Brothertoft," "The Canoe and the Saddle," 
" Life in the Open Air," and " Adventures among the Northwestern 
Rivers and Forests." Born in New Haven in 1828, he spent a portion 
of his life in the West, where he gathered the materials for several 
of his works. He entered the army at the outbreak of the civil war, 
with the rank of major, and was shot during the attack on Big Bethel, 
June 10, 1861, almost at the beginning of the war.] 

[Ellen Clitheroe, the daughter of a weak old man who has joined 
the Mormons, has been abducted by two villains, Larrap and Murker. 
They are pursued by John Brent, the lover of the abducted girl, with 
his friend Richard Wade and a man named Armstrong, whose brother 
has been murdered by these villains, and who rides up on their trail 
just in time to join the other two in their pursuit. We take up the 
thread of the story at an advanced point on the trail.] 

WE were ascending now all the time into subalpine 
regions. We crossed great sloping savannas, deep in dry, 
rustling grass, where a nation of cattle might pasture. 
We plunged through broad wastes of hot sand. We flung 
ourselves down and up the red sides of water-worn gul 
lies. We took breakneck leaps across dry quebradas in 
the clay. We clattered across stony arroyos, longing 
thirstily for the gush of water that had flowed there not 
many months before. 



144 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WINTHROP 

The trail was everywhere plain. No prairie craft was 
needed to trace it. Here the chase had gone, but a few 
hours ago ; here, across grassy slopes, trampling the grass 
as if a mower had passed that way; here, ploughing 
wearily through the sand ; here, treading the red, crum 
bling clay ; here, breaking down the sMe of a bank ; here, 
leaving a sharp hoof-track in the dry mud of a fled tor 
rent. Everywhere a straight path, pointing for that deep 
ening gap in the Sierra, Luggernel Alley, the only gate 
of escape. 

Brent's unerring judgment had divined the course 
aright. On he led, charging along the trail, as if he were 
trampling already on the carcasses of the pursued. On he 
led, and we followed, drawing nearer, nearer to our goal. 

Our horses suffered bitterly for water. Some five hours 
we had ridden without a pause. Not one drop or sign of 
water in all that arid waste. The torrents had poured 
along the dry water-courses too hastily to let the scanty 
alders and willows along their line treasure up any sap of 
growth. The wild-sage bushes had plainly never tasted 
fluid more plenteous than seldom dew-drops doled out 
on certain rare festal days, enough to keep their meagre 
foliage a dusty gray. No pleasant streamlet lurked any 
where under the long, dry grass of the savannas. The 
arroyos were parched and hot as rifts in lava. 

It became agonizing to listen to the panting and gasp 
ing of our horses. Their eyes grew staring and bloodshot. 
We suffered, ourselves, hardly less than they. It was 
cruel to press on. But we must hinder a crueller cruelty. 
Love against Time, Vengeance against Time ! We must 
not flinch for any weak humanity to the noble allies that 
struggled on with us, without one token of resistance. 

Fulano suffered least. He turned his brave eye back, 
and beckoned me with his ear to listen, while he seemed 



WINTHKOP] THE RIDE OF THE AVENGERS. 145 

to say, " See, this is my Endurance ! I hold my Power 
ready still to show." 

And he curved his proud neck, shook his mane like a 
banner, and galloped the grandest of all. 

We came to a broad strip of sand, the dry bed of a 
mountain-torrent. The trail followed up this disappoint 
ing path. Heavy ploughing for the tired horses ! How 
would they bear the rough work down the ravine yet to 
come? 

Suddenly our leader pulled up and sprang from the 
saddle. 

"Look !" he cried, " how those fellows spent their time 
and saved ours. Thank heaven for this ! "We shall save 
her, surely, now." 

It was WATER ! No need to go back to Pindar to know 
that it was " the Best." 

They had dug a pit deep in the thirsty sand and found 
a lurking river buried there. Nature never questioned 
what manner of men they were that sought. Murderers 
flying from vengeance and planning now another villain 
outrage, still impartial Nature did not changS her laws 
for them. Sunshine, air, water, life, these boons of hers, 
she gave them freely. That higher boon of death, if 
they were to receive it, must be from some other power, 
greater than the undiscriminating force of Nature. . . . 

We drank thankfully of this well by the wayside. No 
gentle beauty hereabouts to enchant us to delay. No 
grand old tree, the shelter and the landmark of the foun 
tain, proclaiming an oasis near. Nothing but bare, hot 
sand. But the water was pure, cool, and bright. It had 
come underground from the Sierra, and still remembered 
its parent snows. We drank, and were grateful, almost to 
the point of pity. Had we been but avengers, like Arm 
strong, my friend and I could wellnigh have felt mercy 
a k 13 



146 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WINTHROP 

here, and turned back pardoning. But rescue was more 
imperative than vengeance. Our business tortured us, as 
with the fanged scourge of Tisiphone, while we dallied. 
"We grudged these moments of refreshment. Before night 
fell down the west, and night was soon to be climbing up 
the east, we must overtake ; and then ? 

I wiped the dust and spume away from Fulano's nos 
trils and breathed him a moment. Then I let him drain 
deep, delicious draughts from the stirrup-cup. He whin 
nied thanks and undying fealty, my noble comrade ! He 
drank like a reveller. When I mounted again, he gave 
a jubilant curvet and bound. My weight was a feather 
to him. All those leagues of our hard, hot gallop were 
nothing. 

The brown Sierra here was close at hand. Its glittering, 
icy summits, above the dark and sheeny walls, far above 
the black phalanxes of clambering pines, stooped forward 
and hung over us as we rode. We were now at the foot 
of the range, where it dipped suddenly down upon the 
plain. The gap, our goal all day, opened before us, grand 
and terrible. Some giant force had clutched the moun 
tains and riven them narrowly apart. The wild defile 
gaped, and then wound away and closed, lost between its 
mighty walls, a thousand feet high, and bearing two 
brother pyramids of purple cliffs aloft far above the snow- 
line. A fearful portal into a scene of the throes and ago 
nies of earth ! and my excited eyes seemed to read, gilded 
over its entrance, in the dead gold of that hazy October 
sunshine, words from Dante's inscription, 

" Per me si va tra la perduta gente ; 
Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch' entrate I" 

" Here we are," said Brent, speaking hardly above hia 
breath. "This is Luggernel Alley at last, thank God I 



WINTHROP] THE RIDE OF THE AVENGERS. 147 

In an hour, if the horses hold out, we shall be at the 
Springs ; that is, if we can go through this breakneck 
gorge at the same pace. My horse began to flinch a little 
before the water. Perhaps that will set him up. How 
are yours ?" 

" Fulano asserts that he has not begun to show himself 
yet. I may have to carry you en croupe, before we are 
done." 

Armstrong said nothing, but pointed impatiently down 
the defile. The gaunt white horse moved on quicker at 
this gesture. He seemed a tireless machine, not flesh and 
blood, a being like his master, living and acting by the 
force of a purpose alone. 

Our chief led the way into the cafion. 

Yes, John Brent, you were right when you called Lug- 
gernel Alley a wonder of our continent. 

I remember it now, I only saw it then, for those 
strong scenes of nature assault the soul whether it will 
or no, fight in against affirmative or negative resistance, 
and bide their time to be admitted as dominant ovei 
the imagination. It seemed to me then that I was not 
noticing how grand the precipices, how stupendous the 
cleavages, how rich and gleaming the rock faces in Lug- 
gernel Alley. My business was not to stare about, but 
to look sharp and ride hard ; and I did it. 

Yet now I can remember, distinct as if I beheld it, every 
stride of that pass ; and everywhere, as I recall foot after 
foot of that fierce chasm, I see three men with set faces, 
one deathly pale and wearing a bloody turban, all 
galloping steadily on, on an errand to save and to slay. 

Terrible riding it was ! A pavement of slippery, sheeny 
rock ; great beds of loose stones ; barricades of mighty 
boulders, where a cliff had fallen an aeon ago, before the 
days of the road-maker race ; crevices where an unwary 



148 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

foot might catch ; wide rifts where a shaky horse might 
fall, or a timid horseman drag him down. Terrible riding ! 
A pass where a calm traveller would go quietly picking 
his steps, thankful if each hour counted him a safe mile. 

Terrible riding! Madness to go as we went! Horso 
and man, any moment either might shatter every limb. 
But man and horse neither can know what he can do, 
until he has dared and done. On we went, with the old 
frenzy growing tenser, heart almost broken with eager 
ness. 

No whipping or spurring. Our horses were a part of 
ourselves. While we could go, they would go. Since the 
water, they were full of leap again. Down in the shady 
Alley, too, evening had come before its time. Noon's 
packing of hot air had been dislodged by a mountain- 
breeze drawing through. Horses and men were braced 
and cheered to their work ; and in such riding as that, 
the man and the horse must think together and move 
together, eye and hand of the rider must choose and 
command, as bravely as the horse executes. The blue 
sky was overhead, the red sun upon the castellated walls 
a thousand feet above us, the purpling chasm opened be 
fore. It was late ; these were the last moments. But we 
should save the lady yet. 

"Yes," our hearts shouted to us, "we shall save her 

yet." 

An arroyo, the channel of a dry torrent, followed the 
pass. It had made its way as water does, not straight 
way, but by that potent feminine method of passing under 
the frowning front of an obstacle, and leaving the dull 
rock staring there, while the wild creature it would have 
held is gliding away down the valley. This zigzag channel 
baffled us; we must leap it without check wherever it 
crossed our path. Every second now was worth a cen- 



WINTHROP] THE RIDE OF THE AVENGERS. 149 

tury. Here was the sign of horses, passed but now. We 
could not choose ground. We must take our leaps on 
that cruel rock wherever they offered. 

Poor Pumps ! 

He had carried his master so nobly! There were so 
few miles to do ! He had chased so well ; he merited to 
be in at the death. 

Brent lifted him at a leap across the arroyo. 

Poor Pumps ! 

His hind feet slipped on the time-smoothed rock. He 
fell short. He plunged down a dozen feet among the 
rough boulders of the torrent-bed. Brent was out of the 
saddle almost before he struck, raising him. 

No, he would never rise again. Both his forelegs were 
broken at the knee. He rested there, kneeling on the 
rocks where he fell. 

Brent groaned. The horse screamed horribly, horribly, 
there is no more agonized sound, and the scream went 
echoing high up the cliffs where the red sunlight rested. 

It costs a loving master much to butcher his brave and 
trusty horse, the half of his knightly self; but it costs 
him more to hear him shriek in such misery. Brent drew 
his pistol to put poor Pumps out of pain. 

Armstrong sprang down and caught his hand. 

" Stop !" he said, in his hoarse whisper. 

He had hardly spoken since we started. My nerves 
were so strained that this mere ghost of a sound rang 
through me like a death-yell, a grisly cry of merciless 
and exultant vengeance. I seemed to hear its echoes, 
rising up and swelling in a flood of thick uproar, until 
they burst over the summit of the pass and were wasted 
in the crannies of the towering mountain-flanks above. 

" Stop !" whispered Armstrong. " No shooting ! They'll 
hear. The knife!" 

13* 



150 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WINTHROP 

He held out his knife to my friend. 

Brent hesitated one heart-beat. Could he stain his 
hand with his faithful servant's blood ? 

Pumps screamed again. 

Armstrong snatched the knife and drew it across the 
throat of the crippled horse. 

Poor Pumps ! He sank and died without a moan. Noble 
martyr in the old, heroic cause ! 

I caught the knife from Armstrong. I cut the thong 
of my girth. The heavy California saddle, with its ma- 
cheers and roll of blankets, fell to the ground. I cut off 
my spurs. They had never yet touched Fulano's flanks. 
He stood beside me, quiet, but trembling to be off. 

"Now, Brent! up behind me!" I whispered; for the 
awe of death was upon us. 

I mounted. Brent sprang up behind. I ride light for 
a tall man. Brent is the slightest body of an athlete I 
ever saw. 

Fulano stood steady till we were firm in our seats. 

Then he tore down the defile. 

Here was that vast reserve of power ; here the tireless 
spirit ; here the hoof striking true as a thunderbolt, where 
the brave eye saw footing ; here that writhing agony of 
speed; here the great promise fulfilled, the great heart 
thrilling to mine, the grand body living to the beating 
heart. Noble Fulano ! 

I rode with a snaffle. I left it hanging loose. I did not 
check or guide him. He saw all. He knew all. All was 
his doing. 

We sat firm, clinging as we could, as we must. Fulano 
dashed along the resounding pass. 

Armstrong pressed after : the gaunt white horse strug 
gled to emulate his leader. Presently we lost them behind 
the curves of the Alley. No other horse that ever lived 



WINTHKOP] THE RIDE OF THE AVENGERS. 151 

could have held with the black in that headlong gallop to 
save. 

Over the slippery rocks, over the sheeny pavement, 
plunging through the loose stones, staggering over the 
barricades, leaping the arroyo, down, up, on, always on, 
on went the horse, we clinging as we might. 

It seemed one beat of time, it seemed an eternity, when 
between the ring of the hoofs I heard Brent whisper in 
my ear, 

" We are there." 

The /'rags flung apart, right and left. I saw a sylvan 
glade. I saw the gleam of gushing water. 

Fulano dashed on, uncontrollable ! 

There they were, the Murderers. 

Arrived but one moment ! 

The lady still bound to that pack-mule branded A. & A. 

Murker just beginning to unsaddle. 

Larrap not dismounted, in chase of the other animals 
as they strayed to graze. 

The men heard the tramp, and saw us, as we sprang into 
the glade. 

Both my hands were at the bridle. 

Brent, grasping my waist with one arm, was awkward 
with his pistol. 

Murker saw us first. He snatched his six-shooter and 
fired. 

Brent shook with a spasm. His pistol arm dropped. 

Before the murderer could cock again, Fulano was upon 
him! 

He was ridden down. He was beaten, trampled down 
upon the grass, crushed, abolished. 

We disentangled ourselves from the melee. 

Where was the other ? 

The coward, without firing a shot, was spurring Arm- 



152 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PIERPONT 

strong's Flathead horse blindly up the canon whence we 
had issued. 

We turned to Murker. 

Fulano was up again, and stood there shuddering. But 
the man ? 

A hoof had battered in the top of his skull ; blood was 
gushing from his mouth; his ribs were broken; all his 
body was a trodden, massacred carcass. 

He breathed once, as we lifted him. 

Then a tranquil, childlike look stole over his face, 
that well-known look of the weary body, thankful that 
the turbulent soul has gone. Murker was dead. 

Fulano, and not we, had been executioner. His was 
the stain of blood. 



MY CHILD. 

JOHN PIERPONT. 

[One of the most pathetic poems in our language is that which we 
append from John Pierpont, a poet of the earlier days of the present 
century. The beautiful image with which the eighth verse closes has 
become part of the world's stock of poetical aphorisms. The author 
was born in Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1785. He was long pastor of 
the Hollis Street Church, Boston, and was closely identified with the 
anti-slavery and temperance movements. His poems are characterized 
by great beauty of thought and earnestness of purpose, and few Ameri 
can poets surpass him in finish of versification, truth of sentiment, 
"love of right, freedom, and man, and hearty hatred of everything 
that is at war with them."] 

I CANNOT make him dead ! 
His fair sunshiny head 
Is ever bounding round my study chair ; 



PIERFONT] MY CHILD. 153 

Yet, when my eyes, now dim 
With tears, I turn to him, 
The vision vanishes, he is not there ! 

I walk my parlor floor, 

And through the open door 
I hear a footfall on the chamber stair ; 

I'm stepping toward the hall 

To give the boy a call ; 
And then bethink me that he is not there 1 

I thread the crowded street ; 

A satchelled lad 'I meet, 
With the same beaming eye's and colored hair, 

And, as he's running by, 

Follow him with my eye, 
Scarcely believing that he is not there! 

I know his face is hid 

Under the coffin-lid ; 
Closed are his eyes ; cold is his forehead fair ; 

My hand that marble felt ; 

O'er it in prayer I knelt ; 
Yet my heart whispers that he is not there 1 

I cannot make him dead ! 

When passing by the bed 
So long watched over with parental care, 

My spirit and my eye 

Seek him inquiringly, 
Before the thought comes that he is not there I 

When, at the cool gray break 
Of day, from sleep I wake, 
With my first breathing of the morning air 



154 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PIEKPONT 

My soul goes up, with joy, 
To Him who gave my boy ; 
Then comes the sad thought that he is not there ! 

When, at the day's calm close, 

Before we seek repose, 
I'm with his mother, offering up our prayer, 

Whate'er I may be saying, 

I am in spirit praying 
For our boy's spirit, though he is not there ! 

Not there ! Where, then, is he ? 

The form I used to see 
Was but the raiment that he used to wear. 

The grave that now doth press 

Upon that cast-off dress 
Is but his wardrobe locked : he is not there I 

He lives ! In all the past 

He lives ; nor, to the last, 
Of seeing him again will I despair ; 

In dreams I see him now, 

And on his angel brow 
I see it written, " Thou shalt see me there I" 

Yes, we all live to God ! 

Father, thy chastening rod 
So help us, thine afflicted ones, to bear, 

That, in the spirit-land, 

Meeting at thy right hand, 
'Twill be our heaven to find that he is there ! 



IRVING] A BEE-HUNT. 155 

A BEE-HUNT. 

WASHINGTON IRVING. 

[Washington Irving was born in the city of New York, April 3, 
1783 His literary life began in 1807, when he joined with his "brother 
William and with James K. Paulding in the issue of Salmagundi, a sa 
tirical and humorous magazine. In 1809 was published the most humor 
ous of his works, " The History of New York, by Diedrich Knicker 
bocker," one of the most admirable bits of burlesque history in our 
language. " The Sketch-Book" appeared in 1819, and at once gained 
its author the highest reputation as an essayist, and as one of the most 
elegant and polished writers in English literature. " Bracebridge 
Hall" soon followed, after which he began that series of admirable 
histories on which his fame chiefly rests. " The History of Columbus," 
" The Conquest of Granada," " Mahomet and his Successors," with 
biographies of Oliver Goldsmith and George Washington, and a num 
ber of works of a more general character, complete the list of his pub 
lications. No man did more in the early days of our nation to bring 
American literature up to the level of that of England than Wash 
ington Irving, and he stands to-day among the classic writers of the 
English language. The selection we give below is from " A Tour on 
ihe Prairies," published in 1835.] 

THE beautiful forest in which we were encamped 
abounded in bee-trees ; that is to say, trees in the decayed 
trunks of which wild bees had established their hives. It 
is surprising in what countless swarms the bees have over 
spread the Far West within but a moderate number of 
years. The Indians consider them the harbinger of the 
white man, as tbe buffalo is of the red man, and say that 
in proportion as the bee advances the Indian and buffalo 
retire. We are always accustomed to associate the hum of 
the bee-hive with the farm-house and flower-garden, and to 
consider those industrious little animals as connected with 
the busy haunts of man ; and I am told that the wild bee 
is seldom to be met with at any great distance from the 



156 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [IRVING 

frontier. They have been the heralds of civilization, 
steadfastly preceding it as it advanced from the Atlantic 
borders, and some of the ancient settlers of the West 
pretend to give the very year when the honey-bee first 
crossed the Mississippi. The Indians with surprise found 
the mouldering trees of their forests suddenly teeming with 
ambrosial sweets ; and nothing, I am told, can exceed the 
greedy relish with which they banquet for the first time 
upon this unbought luxury of the wilderness. 

At present the honey-bee swarms in myriads in the noble 
groves and forests which skirt and intersect the prairies 
and extend along the alluvial bottoms of the rivers. It 
seems to me as if these beautiful regions answer literally 
to the description of the land of promise, " a land flowing 
with milk and honey;" for the rich pasturage of the 
prairies is calculated to sustain herds of cattle as count 
less as the sands upon the sea-shore, while the flowers 
with which they are enamelled render them a very para 
dise for the nectar-seeking bee. 

We had not been long in the camp when a party set out 
in quest of a bee-tree ; and, being curious to witness the 
sport, I gladly accepted an invitation to accompany them. 
The party was headed by a veteran bee-hunter, a tall, lank 
fellow in homespun garb that hung loosely about his limbs, 
and a straw hat shaped not unlike a bee-hive ; a comrade 
equally uncouth in garb, and without a hat, straddled 
along at his heels, with a long rifle on his shoulder. To 
these succeeded half a dozen others, some with axes and 
some with rifles, for no one stirs far from the camp with 
out his fire-arms, so as to be ready either for wild deer or 
wild Indian. 

After proceeding some distance we came to an open 
glade on the skirts of the forest. Here our leader halted, 
and then advanced quietly to a low bush, on the top of 



IRVING] A BEE-HUNT. 157 

which I perceived a piece of honey-comb. This I found 
was the bait or lure for the wild bees. Several were hum 
ming about it, and diving into its cells. When they had 
laden themselves with honey they would rise into the air 
and dart off in a straight line, almost with the velocity 
of' a bullet. The hunters watched attentively the course 
they took, and then set off in the same direction, stum 
bling along over twisted roots and fallen trees, with their 
eyes turned up to the sky. In this way they traced the 
honey-laden bees to their hive in the hollow trunk of a 
blasted oak, where, after buzzing about for a moment, 
they entered a hole about sixty feet from the ground. 

Two of the bee-hunters now plied their axes vigorously 
at the foot of the tree, to level it with the ground. The 
mere spectators and amateurs, in the mean time, drew off 
to a cautious distance, to be out of the way of the falling 
of the tree and the vengeance of its inmates. The jarring 
blows of the axe seemed to have no effect in alarming or 
disturbing this most industrious community. They con 
tinued to ply at their usual occupations, some arriving 
full-freighted into port, others sallying forth on new ex 
peditions, like so many merchantmen in a money-making 
metropolis, little suspicious of impending bankruptcy and 
downfall. Even a loud crack which announced the dis- 
rupture of the trunk failed to divert their attention from 
the intense pursuit of gain. At length down came the tree 
with a tremendous crash, bursting open from end to end, 
and displaying all the hoarded treasures of the common 
wealth. 

One of the hunters immediately ran up with a wisp of 
lighted hay as a defence against the bees. The latter, 
however, made no attack and sought no revenge; they 
seemed stupefied by the catastrophe and unsuspicious of 
its cause, and remained crawling and buzzing about the 

14 



158 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [IRVING 

ruins without offering us any molestation. Every one of 
the party now fell to, with spoon and hunting-knife, to 
scoop out the flakes of honey-comb with which the hollow 
trunk was stored. Some of them were of old date and a 
deep brown color ; others were beautifully white, and the 
honey in their cells was almost limpid. Such of the combs 
as were entire were placed in camp-kettles, to be conveyed 
to the encampment ; those which had been shivered in the 
full were devoured upon the spot. Every stark bee-hunter 
was to be seen with a rich morsel in his hand, dripping 
about his fingers, and disappearing as rapidly as a cream 
tart before the holiday appetite of a school-boy. 

Nor was it the bee-hunters alone that profited by the 
downfall of this industrious community : as if the bees 
would carry through the similitude of their habits with 
those of laborious and gainful man, I beheld numbers 
from rival hives, arriving on eager wing, to enrich them 
selves with the ruins of their neighbors. These busied 
themselves as eagerly and cheerfully as so many wreckers 
on an Indiaman that has been driven on shore, plunging 
into the cells of the broken honey-combs, banqueting 
greedily on the spoil, and then winging their way full- 
freighted to their homes. As to the poor proprietors of 
the ruin, they seemed to have no heart to do anything, 
not even to taste the nectar that flowed around them, but 
crawled backwards and forwards, in vacant desolation, as 
I have seen a poor fellow with his hands in his pockets, 
whistling vacantly and despondingly about the ruins of 
his house that had been burnt. 

It is difficult to describe the bewilderment and confusion 
of the bees of the bankrupt hive who had been absent at 
the time of the catastrophe, and who arrived from time to 
time with full cargoes from abroad. At first they wheeled 
about in the air, in the place where the fallen tree had 



FELTON] APPROACHING THE ALPS. 159 

once reared its head, astonished at finding it all a vacuum. 
At length, as if comprehending their disaster, they settled 
down in clusters on a dry branch of a neighboring tree, 
whence they seemed to contemplate the prostrate ruin 
and to buzz forth doleful lamentations over the downfall 
of their republic. It was a scene on which the " melan 
choly Jaques" might have moralized by the hour. 

We now abandoned the place, leaving much honey in 
the hollow of the tree. " It will all be cleared off by var 
mint," said one of the rangers. " What vermin ?" asked 
I. " Oh, bears, and skunks, and raccoons, and 'possums. 
The bears is the knowingest varmint for finding out a bee- 
tree in the world. They'll gnaw for days together at the 
trunk, till they make a hole big enough to get in their 
paws, and then they'll haul out honey, bees, and all." 



APPROACHING THE ALPS. 

CORNELIUS C. FELTON. 

[Cornelius Conway Felton was born at West Newbury, Massachu 
setts, in 1807. He graduated from Harvard in 1827, and held the profes 
sorship of Greek literature in that institution from 1834 to 1860, when 
he became President of the University. He died in 1862. Professor 
Felton published a number of works on classical subjects, besides nu 
merous contributions to periodical literature. His letters of travel, 
of which we give two specimens, are admirably written.] 

BUT this is a digression from the Alps. The road up 
St. Gothard is a wonderful piece of engineering, mounting 
apparently inaccessible heights by a series of terraces or 
tourniquets, so that carriages are very easily driven up. 
The Reuss flows down, and the sound of the water is 
heard the whole distance, though the river is sometimes 



160 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FELTON 

so deep below the road that one can scarcely see it. Then 
the rocky walls rise steep and bare on either side, seeming 
to rest on the deep foundations of the earth and to sup- 
port the sky on their summits. 

I walked a considerable part of the way, to enjoy the 
wonderful scene more completely. It was a good day's 
journey to the Hospitenthal, or valley of the hospice, on 
the height of the pass. This valley is a beautiful spot, 
green and lovely itself, though at so immense a height, 
and surrounded by snow-capped pinnacles. We spent the 
night here. 

The next morning we started for the Furca Pass, and 
the Grimsel ; but no more carriage-roads. I was strongly 
tempted to walk the whole distance from the Hospiten 
thal to Meyringen, but reflected that I was twenty years 
older than I was twenty years ago, and much heavier 
than when I was much lighter : so I finally decided to 
compromise the matter by taking one horse for myself 
and our courier. The rest of the party had each a horse, 
and two men were employed to take Edie the whole dis 
tance, some fifty miles, in a chair. 

Now, if I were animated by the proper traveller's spirit, 
I should rise into the sublime, in my description of the 
appalling dangers from which we miraculously escaped. 
I should make each particular hair stand on end by tell 
ing you what dizzy heights we scaled by paths scarce a 
foot in width, along the edges of perpendicular precipices 
ten thousand feet or more in depth. I should freeze your 
blood with horror by depicting the mountainous masses 
of rock just tottering- to their fall, by which we had to 
pass. I should make you shudder to think of the mighty 
glaciers we crossed, and the yawning crevasses, a thousand 
feet deep, over which we were obliged to jump. I should 
thrill you with the thunder of the descending avalanche 



FELTON] APPROACHING THE ALPS. 161 

that came within a hair's-breadth of burying us five hun 
dred feet deep in snow. I should But enough of 

these awful adventures, that trip so freely from the pens 
of summer tourists. 

In plain prose and rigid truth, the whole journey was 
exciting in the highest degree. The path does wind along 
the edge of tremendous precipices, and above it the rocky 
mountain-sides do rise sheer and awful up to heaven. 
Sometimes the path descends so. steeply that it seems 
impossible to go down without breaking your neck ; again 
it seems to go straight up into the air, and the wonder is 
how any four footed beast can possibly climb it without 
rolling over backwards. If you look up, you half believe 
the mountain is coming down upon you ; if you look 
down, you are struck by the exceeding probability that 
you may reach the bottom a great deal sooner than you 
intend. With all this, you have an abiding confidence 
in your sure-footed and faithful beast, and you know that 
he will carry you safely through. 

I walked about half the whole distance, but it so hap 
pened that I rode over the worst parts of the way. I felt 
astonished, delighted, and constantly amazed by the gran 
deur of the gigantic scenery ; and only once did I feel in the 
least startled with any sense of danger. In one place, in 
the steep side of an enormous rock, a way is scooped out 
just deep enough for a horse to pass and high enough for 
the rider if he stoops. The side of the road towards the 
abyss is guarded by a wooden railing. Near this spot a 
beggar-girl had placed herself; and as my horse entered 
this rather critical passage, she came up and spoke in the 
peculiar, inarticulate whine they all employ, standing be 
tween the horse and the rocky side. The horse shied an 
instant, pressed my leg against the slender railing, and I 
looked over into what really seemed a fathomless abyss. 
I 14* 



162 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FELTOK 

There was no actual danger, for the horse knew his foot 
ing exactly ; but the appearance of danger set my blood 
in motion for a moment and made my pulse beat at a 
pretty rapid rate. Agassiz will remember this spot. 

The ordinary conception of the largeness of frame of the knights 
of old, of which romance has given us very exaggerated ideas, is 
rather depreciated by the following narration, in which we find a 
quiet university professor experiencing great difficulty in getting in 
side the armor of one of the doughty knights of ancient Burgundy. 

Having finished all that I desired to do there, we left 
Constance for Zurich, passing through Zug, and by the 
Lake of Zug, one of those exquisite mountain-lakes so 
numerous in Switzerland. The scenery all the way was 
beautiful. At Zurich we saw all that was to be seen, 
not a great deal, but, among other things, the Zeughaus, 
as they call it, or collection of ancient and medieval 
arms, some of them curious and valuable as memorials 
of the early wars of Switzerland against the Burgun- 
dians. Many complete suits of armor from the old battle 
fields were there, spears, battle-axes, and a peculiarly 
heavy lance, with a heavy head set all over with spikes, 
and called a morning star, a singular name for- such a 
bloody and destructive instrument. 

The place is not much visited : nobody else was there 
with us. I always try to vivify an idea by embodying 
it in some manner. I had often tried to imagine how a 
knight of the Middle Ages would feel, buckled up in his 
" complete steel," on a hot day. Being a middle-aged 
man myself, and the day being very hot, I asked permis 
sion of the keeper to try the experiment of equipping 
myself in one of those old Burgundian panoplies. He 
willingly complied with the request, looking, however, a 
little, amused and surprised. I selected one of the two 



I-ELTON] MEDIAEVAL ARMOR. 163 

largest in the collection, and, the keeper acting as squire, 
I was soon encased from head to foot, like the ghost of 
Hamlet's father, " armed cap-a-pie." 

I could, however, just squeeze myself into it ; it pinched 
in many places ; and as this belonged to one of the stoutest 
knights of the Burgundian host, it is very evident that the 
notion of the greater size of the warriors of the Middle 
Ages as compared with our own is, like that of the greater 
size of Englishmen as compared with Americans, a mere 
superstition. I had the most difficulty in getting the hel 
met on, but at last pushed my head into it, buckled it 
securely, took off my spectacles, and drew the visor down. 
Next, I seized a huge battle-axe, and then marched across 

the hall, while Gr and the girls were sitting down and 

laughing. 

I could walk well enough, except that I seemed to be a 
little stiff in the joints ; there was also a slight difficulty 
in breathing through the visor, and a little hardness of 
hearing through the iron side-pieces. I could not see 
much, except directly in front, and there only in spots. 
Add to this, the heat was excessive, and the weight of 
the armor was rather more than one "wants in a summer 
day. The battle-axe was something of a load, too, about 
as much as Satan's spear in Milton, taller than " the mast 
of some great ammiral." 

With these exceptions, the armor was comfortable 
enough, and I think our ancestors must have had a cosey 
time after they got used to it. I walked about in it for 
several minutes, swinging the axe in the most formidable 
manner, and could have borne it a good while longer. 
But, having satisfied my wish to embody an idea, I re 
quested my squire to help me out of the harness, and I 
must confess I breathed more freely. It was easier walk 
ing, seeing, hearing, talking. I could wear my spectacles, 



164 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PRESCOTT 

which I could not under the visor ; and, upon the whole, I 
congratulate myself on having been born in the present 
tige, rather than in the time of Charles the Bold of Bur 
gundy. 



THE MONARCH OF TEZCUCO. 

WILLIAM HICKLING PRESCOTT. 

[The historian Prescott was born at Salem, Massachusetts, May 4, 
1796. He studied in Harvard University, which he left in 1814, with 
the intention of studying law. But in a preliminary course of histor 
ical reading his sight became seriously affected, one eye having already 
been deprived of its power of vision through an accident in college. 
For a time he was totally blind, but eventually he recovered some 
feeble power of vision. At a later period he became able to use his 
eyes sufficiently to engage to some extent in study, and to write a num 
ber of historical and critical essays, preliminary to the brilliant series 
of histories on which his fame rests. By the aid of a reader he was en 
abled to make the extensive researches necessary to these works, and in 
the face of extraordinary discouragements he completed his " Ferdinand 
and Isabella," " Conquest of Mexico," "Conquest of Peru," " Philip 
the Second," and " Charted the Fifth after his Abdication." He died 
in 1859. His works have given him a position in the front rank of 
historians. Their style is clear and fluent, while their descriptive pas 
sages are peculiarly vivid and attractive, and the selections from the 
mass of often conflicting material are made with great judgment 
and sagacity. There is no more popular historian than Prescott, in 
whose pages the stirring scenes he describes seem acted out in life 
rather than coldly narrated. The extract which we append, from 
the " Conquest of Mexico," gives a vivid idea of the degree of culture 
and luxury attained by the civilized races of the New "World, who 
certainly in many particulars were in advance of their conquerors, 
however greatly their inferiors in the art of war.] 

THE hours of the Tezcucan monarch were not all passed 
in idle dalliance with the Muse, nor in the sober contem- 



PRESCOTT] THE MONARCH OF TEZCUCO. 165 

plations of philosophy, as at a later period. In the fresh 
ness of youth and early manhood he led the allied armies 
in their annual expeditions, which were certain to result 
in a wider extent of territory to the empire. In the in 
tervals of peace he fostered those productive arts which 
are the surest sources of public prosperity. He encour 
aged agriculture above all ; and there was scarcely a spot 
so rude, or a steep so inaccessible, as not to confess the 
power of cultivation. The land was covered with a busy 
population, and towns and cities sprang up in places since 
deserted or dwindled into miserable villages. 

From resources thus enlarged by conquest and domes 
tic industry, the monarch drew the means for the large 
consumption of his own numerous household, and for the 
costly works which he executed for the convenience and 
embellishment of the capital. He filled it with stately 
edifices for his nobles, whose constant attendance he was 
anxious to secure at his court. He erected a magnificent 
pile of buildings which might serve both for a royal resi 
dence and for the public offices. It extended, from east 
to west, twelve hundred and thirty-four yards, and from 
north to south, nine hundred and seventy-eight. It was 
encompassed by a wall of unburnt bricks and cement, six 
feet wide and nine high for one-half of the circumference, 
and fifteen feet high for the other half. Within this en 
closure were two courts. The outer one was used as tho 
great market-place of the city, and continued to be so 
until long after the Conquest, if, indeed, it is not now. 
The interior court was surrounded by the council-cham- ' 
bers and halls of justice. There were also accommoda 
tions there for the foreign ambassadors ; and a spacious 
'saloon, with apartments opening into it, for men of science 
and poets, who pursued their studies in this retreat or 
met together to hold converse under its marble porticoes. 



166 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PRESCOTT 

In this quarter, also, were kept the public archives, which 
fared better under the Indian dynasty than they have 
since under their European successors. 

Adjoining this court were the apartments of the king, 
including those for the royal harem, as liberally supplied 
with beauties as that of an Eastern sultan. Their walls 
were incrusted with alabasters and richly-tinted stucco, 
or hung with gorgeous tapestries of variegated feather- 
work. They led through long arcades, and through intri 
cate labyrinths of shrubbery, into gardens where baths 
and sparkling fountains were overshadowed by tall groves 
of cedar and cypress. The basins of water were well 
stocked with fish of various kinds, and the aviaries with 
birds glowing in all the gaudy plumage of the tropics. 
Many birds and animals which could not be obtained 
alive were represented in gold and silver so skilfully as 
to have furnished the great naturalist Hernandez with 
models for his work. 

Accommodations on a princely scale were provided for 
the sovereigns of Mexico and Tlacopan when they visited 
the court. The whole of this lordly pile contained three 
hundred apartments, some of them fifty yards square. 
The height of the building is not mentioned. It was 
probably not great, but supplied the requisite room by 
the immense extent of ground which it covered. The 
interior was doubtless constructed of light materials, es 
pecially of the rich woods which, in that country, are re 
markable, when polished, for the brilliancy and variety 
of their colors. That the more solid materials of stone 
and stucco were also liberally employed is proved by the 
remains at the present day, remains which have fur 
nished an inexhaustible quarry for the churches and other 
edifices since erected by the Spaniards on the site of the 
ancient city. 



PRESCOTT] THE MONARCH OF TEZCUCO. 167 

Wo are not informed of the time occupied in building 
this palace. But two hundred thousand workmen, it is 
said, were employed on it. However this may be, it is 
certain that the Tezcucan monarchs, like those of Asia 
and ancient Egypt, had the control of immense masses 
of men, and would sometimes turn the whole population 
of a conquered city, including the women, into the public 
works. The most gigantic monuments of architecture 
which the world has witnessed would never have been 
reared by the hands of freemen. 

Adjoining the palace were buildings for the king's chil 
dren, who, by his various wives, amounted to no less than 
sixty sons and fifty daughters. Here they were instructed 
in all the exercises and accomplishments suited to their 
station ; comprehending, what would scarcely find a place 
in a royal education on the other side of the Atlantic, the 
arts of working in metals, jewelry, and feather-mosaic. 
Once in every four months, the whole household, not ex 
cepting the youngest, and including all the officers and 
attendants on the king's person, assembled in a grand 
saloon of the palace, to listen to a discourse from an orator, 
probably one of the priesthood. The princes, on this oc 
casion, were all dressed in nequen, the coarsest manufacture 
of the country. The preacher began by enlarging on the 
obligations of morality and of respect for the gods, espe 
cially important in persons whose rank gave such additional 
weight to example. He occasionally seasoned his homily 
with a pertinent application to his audience, if any mem 
ber of it had been guilty of a notorious delinquency. 
From this wholesome admonition the monarch himself 
was not exempted, and the orator boldly reminded him of 
his paramount duty to show respect for his own laws. 
The king, so far from taking umbrage, received the lesson 
with humility; and the audience, we are assured, were 



168 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PRESOOTT 

often melted into tears by the eloquence of the preacher. 
This curious scene may remind one of similar usages in 
the Asiatic arid Egyptian despotisms, where the sovereign 
occasionally condescended to stoop from his pride of place 
and allow his memory to be refreshed with the convic 
tion of his own mortality. It soothed the feelings of the 
subject to find himself thus placed, though but for a 
moment, on a level with his king ; while it cost little to 
the latter, who was removed too far from his people to 
suffer anything by this short-lived familiarity. It is prob 
able that such an act of public humiliation would have 
found less favor with a prince less absolute. 

Nezahualcoyotl's fondness for magnificence was shown 
in his numerous villas, which were embellished with all 
that could make a rural retreat delightful. His favorite 
residence was at Tezcotzinco, a conical hill about two 
leagues from the capital. It was laid out in terraces, or 
hanging gardens, having a flight of steps five hundred and 
twenty in number, many of them hewn in the natural 
porphyry. In the garden on the summit was a reservoir 
of water, fed by an aqueduct that was carried over hill 
and valley, for several miles, on huge buttresses of ma 
sonry. A large rock stood in the midst of this basin, 
sculptured with the hieroglyphics representing the years 
of Nezahualcoyotl's reign and his principal achievements 
in each. On a lowe"r level were three other reservoirs, in 
each of which stood a marble statue of a woman, emblem 
atic of the three states of the empire. Another tank 
contained a winged lion, (?) cut out of the solid rock, bear 
ing in its mouth the portrait of the emperor. His like 
ness had been executed in gold, wood, feather-work, and 
stone ; but this was the only one which pleased him. 

From these copious basins the water was distributed in 
numerous channels through the gardens, or was made to 



PRESCOTT] THE MONARCH OF TEZCUCO. 169 

tumble over the rocks in cascades, shedding refreshing 
dews on the flowers and odoriferous shrubs below. In 
the depths of this fragrant wilderness, marble porticoes 
and pavilions were erected, and baths excavated in the 
solid porphyry, which are still shown by the ignorant 
natives as the " Baths of Montezuma." The visitor de 
scended by steps cut in the living stone and polished so 
bright as to reflect like mirrors. Towards the base of the 
hill, in the midst of cedar groves, whose gigantic branches 
threw a refreshing coolness over the verdure in the sul 
triest seasons of the year, rose the royal villa, with its 
light arcades and airy halls, drinking in the sweet per 
fumes of the gardens. Here the monarch often retired, to 
throw off the burden of state and refresh his wearied 
spirits in the society of his favorite wives, reposing during 
the noontide heats in the embowering shades of his para 
dise, or mingling, in the cool of the evening, in their fes 
tive sports and dances. Here he entertained his imperial 
brothers of Mexico and Tlacopan, and followed the hardier 
pleasures of the chase in the noble woods that stretched 
for miles around his villa, flourishing in all their primeval 
majesty. Here, too, he often repaired in the latter days 
of his life, when age had tempered ambition and cooled 
the ardor of his blood, to pursue in solitude the studies 
of philosophy and gather wisdom from meditation. 

The extraordinary accounts of the Tezcucan architec 
ture are confirmed, in the main, by the relics which still 
cover the hill of Tezcotzinco or are half buried beneath 
its surface. They attract little attention, indeed, in the 
country, where their true history has long since passed 
into oblivion; while the traveller whose curiosity leads 
him to the spot speculates on their probable origin, and, 
as he stumbles over the huge fragments of sculptured 
porphyry and granite, refers them to the primitive racea 
H 15 



170 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PKE&COTT 

who spread their colossal architecture over the country 
long before the coming of the Acolhuans and the Aztecs. 

The Tezcucan princes were used to entertain a great 
number of concubines. They had but one lawful wife, to 
whose issue the crown descended. Nezahualcoyotl re 
mained unmarried to a late period. He was disappointed 
in an early attachment, as the princess who had been 
educated in privacy to be the partner of his throne gave 
her hand to another. The injured monarch submitted 
the affair to the proper tribunal. The parties, however, 
were proved to have been ignorant of the destination of 
the lady, and the court, with an independence which re 
flects equal honor on the judges who could give and the 
monarch who could receive the sentence, acquitted the 
young couple. This story is sadly contrasted by the fol 
lowing. 

The king devoured his chagrin in the solitude of his 
beautiful villa of Tezcotzinco, or sought to divert it by 
travelling. On one of his journeys he was hospitably 
entertained by a potent vassal, the old lord of Tepechpan, 
who, to do his sovereign more honor, caused him to be 
attended at the banquet by a noble maiden, betrothed to 
himself, and who, after the fashion of the country, had 
been educated under his own roof. She was of the blood 
royal of Mexico, and nearly related, moreover, to the Tez 
cucan monarch. The latter, who had all the amorous 
temperament of the South, was captivated by the grace 
and personal charms of the youthful Hebe, and conceived 
a violent passion for her. He did not disclose it to any 
one, however, but, on his return home, resolved to gratify 
it, though at the expense of his own honor, by sweeping 
away the only obstacle which stood in his path. 

He accordingly sent an order to the chief of Tepechpan 
to take command of an expedition set on foot against the 



PRESCOTT] THE MONARCH OF TEZCUCO. 171 

Tlascalans. At the same time he instructed two Tezcucan 
chiefs to keep near the person of the old lord, and bring 
him into the thickest of the fight, where he might lose his 
life. He assured them this had been forfeited by a great 
crime, but that, from regard for his vassal's past services, 
he was willing to cover up his disgrace by an honorable 
death. 

The veteran, who had long lived in retirement on his 
estates, saw himself with astonishment called so suddenly 
and needlessly into action, for which so many younger 
men were better fitted. He suspected the cause, and, in 
the farewell entertainment to his friends, uttered a pre 
sentiment of his sad destiny. His predictions were too 
soon verified ; and a few weeks placed the hand of his 
virgin bride at her own disposal. 

Nezahualcoyotl did not think it prudent to break his 
passion publicly to the princess so soon after the death of 
his victim. He opened a correspondence with her through 
a female relative, and expressed his deep sympathy for 
her loss. At the same time, he tendered the best consola 
tion in his power, by an offer of his heart and hand. Her 
former lover had been too well stricken in years for the 
maiden to remain long inconsolable. She was not aware 
of the perfidious plot against his life ; and, after a decent 
time, she was ready to comply with her duty, by placing 
herself at the disposal of her royal kinsman. 

It was arranged by the king, in order to give a more 
natural aspect to the affair and prevent all suspicion of 
the unworthy part he had acted, that the princess should 
present herself in his grounds at Tezcotzinco, to witness 
some public ceremony there. Nezahualcoyotl was stand 
ing in a balcony of the palace w T hen she appeared, and 
inquired, as if struck with her beauty for the first time, 
" who the lovely young creature was, in his gardens." 



172 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PRESCOT-I 

When his courtiers had acquainted him with her name 
and rank, he ordered her to be conducted to the palace, 
that she might receive the attentions due to her station. 
The interview was soon followed by a public declaration 
of his passion ; and the marriage was celebrated not long 
after with great pomp, in the presence of his court, and 
of his brother monarchs of Mexico and Tlacopan. 

This story, which furnishes so obvious a counterpart to 
that of David and Uriah, is told Avith great circumstan 
tiality, both by the king's son and grandson, from whose 
narratives Ixtlilxochitl derived it. They stigmatize the 
action as the basest in their great ancestor's life. It is 
indeed too base not to leave an indelible stain on any 
character, however pure in other respects, and exalted. 

The king was strict in the execution of his laws, though 
his natural disposition led him to temper justice with 
mercy. Many anecdotes are told of the benevolent in 
terest he took in the concerns of his subjects, and of his 
anxiety to detect and reward merit, even in the most 
humble. It was common for him to ramble among them 
in disguise, like the celebrated caliph in the " Arabian 
Nights," mingling freely in conversation, and ascertaining 
their actual condition with his own eyes. 

On one such occasion, when attended only by a single 
lord, he met with a boy who was gathering sticks in a field 
for fuel. He inquired of him " why he did not go into the 
neighboring forest, where he would find a plenty of them." 
To which the lad answered, " It was the king's wood, and 
he would punish him with death if he trespassed there." 
The royal forests were very extensive in Tezcuco, and 
were guarded by laws full as severe as those of the Nor 
man tyrants in England. " What kind of man is your 
king ?" asked the monarch, willing to learn the effect of 
these prohibitions on his own popularity. " A very hard 



PRESCOTT] THE MONARCH OF TEZCUCO. 173 

man," answered the boy, "who denies his people what 
God has given them." Nezahualcoyotl urged him not to 
mind such arbitrary laws, but to glean his sticks in the 
forest, as there was no one present who would betray 
him. But the boy sturdily refused, bluntly accusing the 
disguised king, at the same time, of being a traitor, and 
of wishing to bring him into trouble. 

Nezahualcoyotl, on returning to the palace, ordered the 
child and his parents to be summoned before him. They 
received the orders with astonishment, but, on entering 
the presence, the boy at once recognized the person with 
whom he had discoursed so unceremoniously, and he was 
filled with consternation. The good-natured monarch, 
however, relieved his apprehensions by thanking him for 
the lesson he had given him, and, at the same time, com 
mended his respect for the laws, and praised his parents 
for the manner in which they had trained their son. He 
then dismissed the parties with a liberal largess, and 
afterward mitigated the severity of the forest laws so as 
to allow persons to gather any wood they might find on the 
ground, if they did not meddle with the standing timber. 

Another adventure is told of him, with a poor woodman 
and his wife, who had brought their little load of billets 
for sale to the market-place of Tezcuco. The man was 
bitterly lamenting his hard lot, and the difficulty with 
which he earned a wretched subsistence, while the master 
of the palace before which they were standing lived an 
idle life, without toil, and with all the luxuries in the 
world at his command. 

He was going on in his complaints, when the good 
woman stopped him, by reminding him he might be over 
heard. He was so, by Nezahualcoyotl himself, who, stand 
ing screened from observation, at a latticed window which 
overlooked the market, was amusing himself, as he was 

15* 



174 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHIFPLK 

wont, with observing the common people chaffering in the 
square. He immediately ordered the querulous couple 
into his presence. They appeared trembling and con 
science-struck before him. The king gravely inquired 
what they had said. As they answered him truly, he 
told them they should reflect, that, if he had great treas 
ures at his command, he had still greater calls for them ; 
that, far from leading an easy life, he was oppressed with 
the whole burden of government ; and concluded by ad 
monishing them " to be more cautious in future, as walls 
had ears." He then ordered his officers to bring a quan 
tity of cloth and a generous supply of cacao (the coin of 
the country), and dismissed them. " G-o," said he : " with 
the little you now have, you will be rich ; while, with all 
my riches, I shall still be poor." 



THE ENERGY OF YOUTH. 

E. P. WHIPPLE. 

[Edwin, Percy Whipple, born at Gloucester, Massachusetts, in 1819, 
was the author of several works, and of numerous essays, in which he 
carried the art of criticism to a height not surpassed by that of the 
most noted English critical writers* His style is easy and idiomatic, 
marked by apt illustration and grace of handling. His " Character 
and Characteristic Men" shows fine powers of judgment and apprecia 
tion, and his word-pictures of our authors leave little to he added. 
He died June 16, 1886. We offer a short extract from his writings in 
i. lustration of his manner.] 

IN passing from the sphere of politics to the serener 
region of literature, art, science, and philosophy, there is 
an increasing difficulty in estimating youth by years, and 
an increasing necessity to estimate it by qualities. One 



THE ENERGY OF YOUTH. 175 

thing, however, is certain, that the invention of new 
methods, the discovery of new truth, and the creation of 
new beauty intellectual acts which are among the most 
important of historical events all belong to that thor 
oughly live condition of mind which we have called young. 
In this sense of youth, it may be said that Raphael, the 
greatest painter of moral beauty, and Titian, the greatest 
painter of sensuous beauty, were both almost equally 
young, though Raphael died at thirty-seven, while Titian 
was prematurely cut off by the plague when he was only 
a hundred. These, of course, are the extreme cases. But, 
it may be asked, were not the greatest poems of the 
world, the " Iliad" of Homer, the " Divina Commedia" of 
Dante, the "Paradise Lost" of Milton, the creations of 
comparative old age? The answer to this question is, 
that each was probably organized round a youthful con 
ception, and all were coextensive with the whole growth 
and development of tneir creators. Thus, we do not call 
Milton old when he produced " Paradise Lost," but when 
this mental growth was arrested ; and accordingly " Para 
dise Regained" and " Samson Agonistes," works produced 
after his prime, are comparatively bleak and bare products 
of a withering imagination and a shrunken personality. 

But, confining the matter to the mere question of years, 
it may be said that, allowing for some individual excep 
tions, the whole history of the human intellect will bear 
out the general assertion that the power in which great 
natures culminate, and which fixes fatal limits to their 
loftiest aspirations, namely, that flashing conceptive and 
combining genius which fuses force and insight in one ex 
ecutive intelligence, which seizes salient points and central 
ideas, which darts in an instant along the whole line of 
analogies and relations, which leaps with joyous daring 
the vast mental spaces that separate huddled facts from 



176 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHIFFLE 

harmonizing laws, that this power, to say the least, 
rarely grows after thirty-five or forty. The mental stat 
ure is then reached, though it may not dwindle and be 
dwarfed until long afterwards. Thus, Shakespeare com 
pleted "Hamlet" when he was about thirty-six. Mozart, 
the Shakespeare of composers, died at thirty-six. But 
why enumerate? Amid the scores of instances which 
must crowd into every mind, let us select five men, of 
especial historical significance, and who are commonly 
imaged to our minds with heads silvered over with age, 
let us take Groethe in poetry, Newton in science, Bacon 
in philosophy, Columbus in discovery, Watt in mechanics. 
Now, how stand the facts ? The greatest works of Goethe 
were conceived and partly executed when he was a young 
man ; and if age found him more widely and worldly wise, 
it found him weak in creative passion, and, as a poet, living 
on the interest of his youthful conceptions. Newton, in 
whose fertile and capacious intellect the dim, nebulous 
elements of truth were condensed by patient thinking 
into the completed star, discovered the most universal of 
all natural laws, the law of gravitation, before he was 
twenty-five, though an error of observation, not his own, 
prevented him from demonstrating it until he was forty. 
Bacon had " vast contemplative ends," and had taken " all 
knowledge for his province," had deeply meditated new 
methods and audaciously doubted old ones, before the in 
cipient beard had begun timidly to peep from his youthful 
chin. The great conception of Columbus sprang from the 
thoughts and studies of his youth ; and it was the radi 
ance shed from this conception which gave him fortitude 
to bear the slow martyrdom of poverty, contempt, and 
sickness of heart which embittered the toiling years pre 
ceding its late realization. The steam-engine was invented 
by James Watt before he was thirty ; but then Watt was 



WEIPPLE] THE ENERGY OF YOUTH. 177 

a thinker from his cradle. Everybody will recollect hia 
grandmothers reproof of what she called his idleness, at 
the time his boyish brain was busy with meditations des 
tined to ripen in the most marvellous and revolutionizing 
of all industrial inventions, an invention which, of itself 
alone, has given Great Britain an additional productive 
power equal, to ten millions of workmen, at the cost of 
only a halfpenny a day, an invention which supplies the 
motive power by which a single county in England is en 
abled to produce fabrics representing the labor of twenty- 
one millions of men, an invention which, combined with 
others, annually, in England, weaves into cloth a length 
of cotton thread equal to fifty-one times the distance be 
tween the earth and the sun, five thousand millions of 
miles, an invention which created the wealth by which 
England was enabled to fight or subsidize the whole con 
tinent of Europe from 1793 to 1815, and which made that 
long war really a contest between the despotic power of 
JSTapoleon Bonaparte and the productive genius of James 
Watt. All this vast and teeming future was hidden from 
the good grandmother, as she saw the boy idling over the 
tea-kettle. " James," she said, " I never saw such an idle 
young fellow as you are. Do take a book and employ 
yourself usefully. For the last half-hour you have not 
spoken a single word. Do you know what you have been 
doing all this time? Why, you have taken off, and re 
placed, and taken off again, the teapot-lid, and you have 
held alternately in the steam, first a saucer and then a 
spoon ; and you have busied yourself in examining and 
collecting together the little drops formed by the conden 
sation of the steam on the surface of the china and the 
silver. Now, are you not ashamed to waste your time in 
this disgraceful manner ?" Was ever idleness so produc 
tive before ? 



178 VEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ALCOTT 

A SUMMER DAY'S IDYL. 

L. M. ALCOTT. 

[Louisa May Alcott, whose reputation rests on her attractive stories 
of young girl life, has written nothing fuller of thought and character 
than her earlier novel of " Moods," from which we make our extract. 
The poetically-told story of the long float down the river, and the 
amusing night-scare that followed, form a most charming picture of 
the poetry of life. Miss Alcott was born in Germantown, Pennsyl 
vania, in 1832.] 

SYLVIA, too full of genuine content to talk, sat listening 
to the musical dip of well-pulled oars, watching the green 
banks on either side, dabbling her hands in the eddies as 
they rippled by, and singing to the wind, as cheerful and 
serene as the river that gave her back a smiling image of 
herself. What her companions talked of she neither heard 
nor cared to know, for she was looking at the great picture- 
book that always lies ready for the turning of the youngest 
or the oldest hands ; was receiving the welcome of the 
playmates she best loved, and was silently yielding her 
self to the power which works all wonders with its be 
nignant magic. Hour after hour she journeyed along that 
fluent road, under bridges where early fishers lifted up 
their lines to let them through ; past gardens tilled by 
unskilful townsmen who harvested an hour of strength 

> 

to pay the daily tax the city levied on them ; past honey 
moon cottages where young wives walked with young 
husbands in the dew, or great houses shut against the 
morning. Lovers came floating down the stream with 
masterless rudder and trailing oars. College race-boats 
shot by with modern Greek choruses in full blast and the 
frankest criticisms from their scientific crews. Fathers 
went rowing to and fro with argosies of pretty children, 



ALCOTT] A SUMMER DAY'S IDYL. 179 

who gave them gay good-morrows. Sometimes they met 
fanciful nutshells manned by merry girls, who made for 
shore at sight of them with most erratic movements and 
novel commands included in their Art of Navigation. Now 
and then some poet or philosopher went musing by, fishing 
for facts or fictions where other men catch pickerel or perch. 

All manner of sights and sounds greeted Sylvia, and she 
felt as if she were watching a panorama painted in water- 
colors by an artist who had breathed into his work the 
breath of life and given each figure power to play its part. 
Never had human faces looked so lovely to her eye, for 
morning beautified the plainest with its ruddy kiss; never 
had human voices sounded so musical to her ear, for daily 
cares had not yet brought discord to the instruments tuned 
by sleep and touched by sunshine into pleasant sound; 
never had the whole race seemed so near and dear to her, 
for she was unconsciously pledging all she met in that 
genuine elixir vitae which sets the coldest blood aglow 
and makes the whole world kin ; never had she felt so truly 
her happiest self, for of all the costlier pleasures she 
had known not one had been so congenial as this, as she 
rippled farther and farther up the stream and seemed to 
float into a world whose airs brought only health and 
peace. Her comrades wisely left her to her thoughts, a 
smiling Silence for their figure-head, and none among them 
but found the day fairer and felt himself fitter to enjoy 
it for the innocent companionship of maidenhood and a 
happy heart. 

At noon they dropped anchor under a wide-spreading 
oak that stood on the river's edge, a green tent for wan 
derers like themselves ; there they ate their first meal 
spread among white clovers, with a pair of squirrels star 
ing at them as curiously as human spectators ever watched 
royalty at dinner, while several meek cows courteously 



180 BES-i' AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ALCOTT 

left their guests the shade and went away to dine at a 
side-table spread in the sun. They spent an hour or two 
talking or drowsing luxuriously on the grass ; then the 
springing up of a fresh breeze roused them all, and, weigh 
ing anchor, they set sail for another port. 

Now Sylvia saw new pictures, for, leaving all traces of 
the city behind them, they went swiftly country ward, 
sometimes by hay-fields, each an idyl in itself, with white- 
sleeved mowers all arow ; the pleasant sound of whetted 
scythes ; great loads rumbling up lanes, with brown-faced 
children shouting atop ; rosy girls raising fragrant wind 
rows or bringing water for thirsty sweethearts leaning on 
their rakes. Often they saw ancient farm-houses with 
mossy roofs, and long well-sweeps suggestive of fresh 
draughts and the drip of brimming pitchers; orchards and 
cornfields rustling on either hand, and grandmotherly caps 
at the narrow windows, or stout matrons tending babies 
in the door-way as they watched smaller selves playing 
keep house under the " laylocks" by the wall. Tillages, 
like white flocks, slept on the hill-sides ; martinbox school- 
houses appeared here and there, astir with busy voices, 
alive with wistful eyes ; and more than once they came 
upon little mermen bathing, who dived with sudden 
splashes, like a squad of turtles tumbling off a sunny rock. 

Then they went floating under vernal arches, where a 
murmurous rustle seemed to whisper, " Stay !" along shad- 
owless sweeps, where the blue turned to gold and dazzled 
with its unsteady shimmer ; passed islands so full of birds 
they seemed green cages floating in the sun, or doubled 
capes that opened long vistas of light and shade, through 
which they sailed into the pleasant land where summer 
reigned supreme. To Sylvia it seemed as if the inhabitants 
of these solitudes had flocked down to the shore to greet her 
as she came. Fleets of lilies unfurled their sails on either 



ALCOTT] A SUMMER DAY'S IDYL. 181 

hand, and cardinal flowers waved their scarlet flags among 
the green. The sagittaria lifted its blue spears from arrowy 
leaves ; wild roses smiled at her with blooming faces ; 
meadow-lilies rang their flame-colored bells ; and clematis 
and ivy hung garlands everywhere, as if hers were a floral 
progress and each came to do her honor. . . . 

The wind served them till sunset ; then the sail was 
lowered and the rowers took to their oars. Sylvia de 
manded her turn, and wrestled with one big oar while 
Warwick sat behind and did the work. Having blistered 
her hands and given herself as fine a color as any on her 
brother's palette, she professed herself satisfied, and went 
back to her seat to watch the evening-red transfigure 
earth and sky, making the river and its banks a more 
royal pageant than splendor-loving Elizabeth ever saw 
along the Thames. 

Anxious to reach a certain point, they rowed on into 
the twilight, growing stiller and stiller as the deepening 
hush seemed to hint that Nature was at her prayers. 
Slowly the " Kelpie" floated along the shadowy way, and 
as the shores grew dim, the river dark with leaning hem 
locks or an overhanging cliff, Sylvia felt as if she were 
making the last voyage across that fathomless stream 
where a pale boatman plies and many go lamenting. 

The long silence was broken first by Moor's voice, 
saying, 

"Adam, sing." 

If the influences of the hour had calmed Mark, touched 
Sylvia, and made Moor long for music, they had also 
softened Warwick. Leaning on his oar, he lent the music 
of a mellow voice to the words of a German volkslied, 
and launched a fleet of echoes such as any tuneful vintager 
might have sent floating down the Rhine. Sylvia was no 
weeper, but, as she listened, all the day's happiness which 

16 



182 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ALCOTT 

had been pent up in her heart found vent in sudden tears, 
that streamed down noiseless and refreshing as a warm 
south rain. Why they came she could not tell, for neither 
song nor singer possessed the power to win so rare a trib 
ute, and at another time she would have restrained all 
visible expression of this indefinable yet sweet emotion 
Mark and Moor had joined in the burden of the song, and 
when that was done took up another ; but Sylvia only sat 
and let her tears flow while they would, singing at heart, 
though her eyes were full and her cheeks wet faster than 
the wind could kiss them dry. 

After frequent peerings and tackings here and there, 
Mark at last discovered the haven he desired, and with 
much rattling of oars, clanking of chains, and splashing 
of impetuous boots, a landing was eifected, and Sylvia 
found herself standing on a green bank with her hammock 
in her arms and much wonderment in her mind whether 
the nocturnal experiences in store for her would prove as 
agreeable as the daylight ones had been. Mark and Moor 
unloaded the boat and prospected for an eligible sleeping- 
place. Warwick, being an old campaigner, set about 
building a fire, and the girl began her sylvan housekeep 
ing. The scene rapidly brightened into light and color as 
the blaze sprang up, showing the little kettle slung gypsy- 
wise on forked sticks, and the supper prettily set forth in 
a leafy table-service on a smooth, flat stone. Soon four 
pairs of wet feet surrounded the fire ; an agreeable obliv 
ion of meum and tuum concerning plates, knives, and cups 
did away with etiquette, and every one was in a comfort 
able state of weariness, which rendered the thought of 
bed so pleasant that they deferred their enjoyment of the 
reality, as children keep the best bite till the last. ... 

Presently some one suggested bed, and the proposition 
was unanimously accepted. 



ALCOTT] A SUMMER DAY'S IDYL. 183 

" Where are you going to hang me ?" asked Sylvia, as 
she laid hold of her hammock and looked about her with 
nearly as much interest as if her suspension was to be of 
the perpendicular order. 

"You are not to be swung up in a tree to-night, but 
laid like a ghost, and requested not to walk till morning. 
There is an unused barn close by, so we shall have a roof 
over us for one night longer," answered Mark, playing 
chamberlain while the others remained to quench the fire 
and secure the larder. 

An early moon lighted Sylvia to bed, and when shown 
her half the barn which, as she was a marine, was very 
properly the bay, Mark explained she scouted the idea of 
being nervous or timid in such rude quarters, made her 
self a cosy nest, and bade her brother a merry good-night. 

More weary than she would confess, Sylvia fell asleep 
at once, despite the novelty of her situation and the noises 
that fill a summer night with fitful rustlings and tones. 
How long she slept she did not know, but woke suddenly 
and sat erect with that curious thrill which sometimes 
startles one out of deepest slumber and is often the fore 
runner of some dread or danger. She felt this hot tingle 
through blood and nerves, and stared about her, thinking 
of fire. But everything was dark and still, and after 
waiting a few moments she decided that her nest had been 
too warm, for her temples throbbed and her cheeks were 
feverish with the close air of the barn half filled with new- 
made hay. 

Creeping up a fragrant slope, she spread her plaid again 
and lay down where a cool breath flowed through wide 
chinks in the wall. Sleep was slowly returning, when the 
rustle of footsteps scared it quite away and set her heart 
beating fast, for they came toward the new couch she 
had chosen. Holding her breath, she listened. The quiet 



184 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ALCOTT 

tread drew nearer and nearer till it paused within a yard 
of her, then some one seemed to throw themselves down, 
sigh heavily a few times, and grow still as if falling asleep. 

"It is Mark," thought Sylvia, and whispered his name; 
but no one answered, and from the other corner of the 
I arn she heard her brother muttering in his sleep. Who 
was it, then? Mark had said there were no cattle near; 
she was sure neither of her comrades had left their bivouac, 
for there was her brother talking as usual in his dreams ; 
some one seemed restless and turned often with decided 
motion, that was Warwick, she thought ; while the quiet 
est sleeper of the three betrayed his presence by laughing 
once with the low-toned merriment she recognized as 
Moor's. These discoveries left her a prey to visions of 
grimy strollers, maudlin farm-servants, and infectious emi 
grants in dismal array. A strong desire to cry out pos 
sessed her for a moment, but was checked ; for with all her 
sensitiveness Sylvia had much common sense, and that 
spirit which hates to be conquered even by a natural fear. 
She remembered her scornful repudiation of the charge of 
timidity, and the endless jokes she would have to undergo 
if her mysterious neighbor should prove some harmless 
wanderer or an imaginary terror of her own : so she held 
her peace, thinking valiantly, as the drops gathered on 
her forehead and every sense grew painfully alert, 

" I'll not call if my hair turns gray with fright and I 
find myself an idiot to-morrow. I told them to try me, 
arid I won't be found wanting at the first alarm. I'll be 
still, if the thing does not touch me, till dawn, when I 
shall know how to act at once, and so save myself from 
ridicule at the cost of a wakeful night." 

Ifqlding fast to this resolve, Sylvia lay motionless, lis 
tening to the cricket's chirp without, and taking uncom 
fortable notes of the state of things within, for the new- 



ALCOTT] A SUMMER DAF'S IDYL. 185 

comer stirred heavily, sighed long and deeply, and seemed 
to wake often, like one too sad or weary to rest. She 
would have been wise to have screamed her scream and 
had the rout over, for she tormented herself with the in 
genuity of a lively fancy, and suifered more from her own 
terrors than at the discovery of a dozen vampires. Every 
tale of diablerie she had ever heard came most inoppor 
tunely to haunt her now, and, though she felt their folly, 
she could not free herself from their dominion. She 
wondered till she could wonder no longer what the morn 
ing would show her. She tried to calculate in how many 
springs she could reach and fly over the low partition 
which separated her from her sleeping body-guard. She 
wished with all her heart that she had stayed in her nest 
which was nearer the door, and watched for dawn with 
eyes that ached to see the light. 

In the midst of these distressful sensations, the far-off 
crow of some vigilant chanticleer assured her that the 
short summer night was wearing away and relief was at 
hand. This comfortable conviction had so good an effect 
that she lapsed into what seemed a moment's oblivion, 
but was in fact an hour's restless sleep, for when her eyes 
unclosed again the first red streaks were visible in the 
east, and a dim light found its way into the barn through 
the great door which had been left ajar for air. An in 
stant Sylvia lay collecting herself, then rose on her arm, 
looked resolutely behind her, stared with round eyes a 
moment, and dropped down again, laughing with a merri 
ment which, coming on the heels of her long alarm, was 
rather hysterical. All she saw was a little, soft-eyed Alder- 
ney, which lifted its stag-like head and regarded her with 
a confiding aspect that won her pardon for its innocent 
offence. 

Through the relief of both mind and body which she 

16* 



186 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BARLOW 

experienced in no small degree, the first thought that 
came was a thankful " what a mercy I didn't call Mark, 
for I should never have heard the last of this ;" and, hav 
ing fought her fears alone, she enjoyed her success alone, 
and, girl-like, resolved to say nothing of her first night's 
adventures. Gathering herself up, she crept nearer and 
caressed her late terror, which stretched its neck toward 
her with a comfortable sound and munched her shawl like 
a cosset lamb. But before this new friendship was many 
minutes old, Sylvia's heavy lids fell together, her head 
dropped lower and lower, her hand lay still on the dap 
pled neck, and with a long sigh of weariness she dropped 
back upon the hay, leaving little Alderney to watch ovei 
her much more tranquilly than she had watched over it. 



THE HASTY PUDDING. 

JOEL BARLOW. 

[From the works of Joel Barlow, the author of the ponderous 
American epic "The Columbiad," we extract a portion of his serio 
comic " Hasty Pudding," his best and most celebrated poem. He was 
born at Heading, Connecticut, in 1755, and died in 1812. In his era 
he belonged to the first class of American authors, though he would 
by no means be accorded this rank at the present day. We give the 
whole of the first and parts of the second and third cantos.] 

CANTO I. 

Te Alps audacious, through the heavens that rise, 
To cramp the day and hide me from the skies ; 
Te Gallic flags, that, o'er their heights unfurl'd, 
Bear death to kings, and freedom to the world, 
I sing not you. A softer theme I choose, 
A virgin theme, unconscious of the Muse, 



BARLOW] THE HASTY PUDDING. 187 

But fruitful, rich, well suited to inspire 
The purest frenzy of poetic fire. 

Despise it not, ye bards to terror steel'd, 
Who hurl your thunders round the epic field ; 
Nor ye who strain your midnight throats to sing 
Joys that the vineyard and the still-house bring ; 
Or on some distant fair your notes employ, 
And speak of raptures that you ne'er enjoy. 
I sing the sweets I know, the charms I feel, 
My morning incense, and my evening meal, 
The sweets of Hasty Pudding. Come, dear bowl, 
Glide o'er my palate, and inspire my soul. 
The milk beside thee, smoking from the kine, 
Its substance mingled, married in with thine, 
Shall cool and temper thy superior heat, 
And save the pains of blowing while I eat. 

Oh ! could the smooth, the emblematic song 
Flow like thy genial juices o'er my tongue, 
Could those mild morsels in my numbers chime, 
And, as they roll in substance, roll in rhyme. 
No more thy awkward, unpoetic name 
Should shun the muse or prejudice thy fame, 
But, rising grateful to the accustom'd ear, 
All bards should catch it, and all realms revere ! 

Assist me first with pious toil to trace, 
Through wrecks of time, thy lineage and thy race ; 
Declare what lovely squaw in days of yore 
(Ere great Columbus sought thy native shore) 
First gave thee to the world ; her works of fame 
Have lived indeed, but lived without a name. 
Some tawny Ceres, goddess of her days, 
First learn'd with stones to crack the well-dried maize, 
Through the rough sieve to shake the golden shower, 
In boiling water stir the yellow flour : 



18S BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

The yellow flour, bestrew'd and stirr'd with haste, 
Swells in the flood and thickens to a paste, 
Then puffs and wallops, rises to the brim, 
Drinks the dry knobs that on the surface swim ; 
The knobs at last the busy ladle breaks, 
And the whole mass its true consistence takes. 

Could but her sacred name, unknown so long, 
Eise, like her labors, to the son of song, 
To her, to them, I'd consecrate my lays, 
And blow her pudding with the breath of praise. 
If 'twas Oella, whom I sang before, 
I here ascribe her one great virtue more. 
Not through the rich Peruvian realms alone 
The fame of Sol's sweet daughter should be known, 
But o'er the world's wide clime should live secure, 
Far as his rays extend, as long as they endure. 

Dear Hasty Pudding, what unpromised joy 
Expands my heart, to meet thee in Savoy ! 
Doom'd o'er the world through devious paths to roam, 
Each clime my country, and each house my home, 
My soul is soothed, my cares have found an end, 
I greet my long-lost, unforgotten friend. 

For thee through Paris, that corrupted town, 
How long in vain I wander'd up and down, 
Where shameless Bacchus, with his drenching hoard, 
Cold from his cave usurps the morning board. 
London is lost in smoke and steep'd in tea ; 
~No Yankee there can lisp the name of thee ; 
The uncouth word, a libel on the town, 
Would call a proclamation from the crown.* 



* A certain king, at the time when this was written, was publishing 
proclamations to prevent American principles from being propagated 
in his countiy. 



BARLOW] THE HASTY PUDDING. 189 

From climes oblique, that fear the sun's full rays, 
Chill'd in their fogs, exclude the generous maize ; 
A grain, whose rich, luxuriant growth requires 
Short, gentle showers, and bright, ethereal fires. 

But here, though distant from our native shore, 
With mutual glee we meet and laugh once more ; 
The same ! I know thee by that yellow face, 
That strong complexion of true Indian race, 
Which time can never change, nor soil impair, 
Nor Alpine snows, nor Turkey's morbid air ; 
For endless years, through every mild domain, 
Where grows the maize, there thou art sure to reign. 

But man, more fickle, the bold license claims 
In different realms to give thee different names. 
Thee the soft nations round the warm Levant 
Polenta call, the French, of course, Polente. 
E'en in thy native regions, how I blush 
To hear the Pennsylvanians call thee Mush ! 
On Hudson's banks while men of Belgic spawii 
Insult and eat thee by the name Suppawn ! 
All spurious appellations, void of truth ; 
I've better known thee from my earliest youth. 
Thy name is Hasty Pudding ; thus my sire 
Was wont to greet thee fuming from his fire ; 
And, while he argued in thy just defence 
With logic clear, he thus explain'd the sense : 
" In haste the boiling caldron, o'er the blaze, 
Receives and cooks the ready powder'd maize ; 
In haste 'tis served, and then in equal haste, 
With cooling milk, we make the sweet repast. 
No carving to be done, no knife to grate 
The tender ear and wound the stony plate ; 
But the smooth spoon, just fitted to the lip, 
And taught with art the yielding mass to dip, 



190 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BARLOW 

By frequent journeys to the bowl well stored, 
Performs the hasty honors of the board." 
Such is thy name, significant and clear, 
A name, a sound, to every Yankee dear, 
But most to me, whose heart and palate chaste 
Preserve my pure hereditary taste. 

There are who strive to stamp with disrepute 
The luscious food because it feeds the brute j 
In tropes of high-strain'd wit, while gaudy prigs 
Compare thy nursling, man, to pamper'd pigs ; 
With sovereign scorn I treat the vulgar jest, 
Nor fear to share thy bounties with the beast. 
What though the generous cow gives me to quaff 
The milk nutritious, am I then a calf? 
Or can the genius of the noisy swine, 
Though nursed on pudding, claim a kin to mine ? 
Sure the sweet song I fashion to thy praise 
Runs more melodious than the notes they raise. 

My song resounding in its grateful glee 
No merit claims ; I praise myself in thee. 
My father loved thee through his length of days : 
.For thee his fields were shaded o'er with maize ; 
From thee what health, what vigor he possess'd, 
Ten sturdy freemen from his loins attest ; 
Thy constellation ruled my natal morn, 
And all my bones were made of Indian corn. 
Delicious grain ! whatever form it take, 
To roast or boil, to smother or to bake, 
In every dish 'tis welcome still to me, 
But most, my Hasty Pudding, most in thee. 

Let the green succotash with thee contend, 
Let beans and corn their sweetest juices blend, 
Let butter drench them in its yellow tide, 
And a long slice of bacon grace their side, 



BARLOW] THE HASTY PUDDING. 191 

Not all the plate, how famed soe'er it be, 
Can please my palate like a bowl of thee. 
Some talk of Hoe-Cake, fair Virginia's pride, 
Rich Johnny- Cake this mouth has often tried; 
Both please me well, their virtues much the same, 
Alike their fabric, as allied their fame, 
Except in dear New England, where the last 
Receives a dash of pumpkin in the paste, 
To give it sweetness and improve the taste. 
But place them all before me, smoking hot, 
The big, round dumpling, rolling from the pot, 
The pudding of the bag, whose quivering breast, 
With suet lined, leads on the Yankee feast, 
The Charlotte brown, within whose crusty sides 
A belly soft the pulpy apple hides, 
The yellow bread whose face like amber glows, 
And all of Indian that the bake-pan knows, 
You tempt me not, my favorite greets my eyes, 
To that loved bowl my spoon by instinct flies. 



CANTO II. 

To mix the food by vicious rules of art, 
To kill the stomach and to sink the heart, 
To make mankind to social virtue sour, 
Cram o'er each dish, and be what they devour ; 
For this the kitchen muse first framed her book, 
Commanding sweat to stream from every cook ; 
Children no more their antic gambols tried, 
And friends to physic wonder'd why they died. 

Not so the Yankee : his abundant feast, 
With simples furnish'd and with plainness dress'd, 
A numerous offspring gathers round the board, 
And cheers alike the servant and the lord, 



192 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BARLOW 

Whose well-bought hunger prompts the joyous taste, 

And health attends them from the short repast. 

While the full pail rewards the milkmaid's toil, 

The mother sees the morning caldron boil ; 

To stir the pudding next demands their care, 

To spread the table and the bowls prepare ; 

To feed the children as their portions cool, 

And comb their heads and send them off to school. 

CANTO III. 

Some with molasses line the luscious treat, 
And mix, like bards, the useful with the sweet. 
A wholesome dish, and well deserving praise, 
A great resource in those bleak wintry days 
When the chill'd earth lies buried deep in snow, 
And raging Boreas drives the shivering cow. 

Bless'd cow I thy praise shall still my notes employ, 
Great source of health, the only source of joy ; 
How oft thy teats these pious hands have press'd ! 
How oft thy bounties proved my only feast ! 
How oft I've fed thee with my favorite grain ! 
And roar'd, like thee, to find thy children slain ! 

Ye swains, who know her various worth to prize, 
Ah ! house her well from winter's angry skies. 
Potatoes, pumpkins, should her sadness cheer, 
Corn from your crib, and mashes from your beer ; 
When spring returns she'll well acquit the loan, 
And nurse at once your infants and her own. 

Milk, then, with pudding I would always choose ; 
To this in future I confine my muse, 
Till she in haste some further hints unfold, 
Well for the young, nor useless to the old. 
First in your bowl the milk abundant take, 
Then drop with care along the silver lake 



TARKEB] VAGRANT CHILDREN. 193 

Your flakes of pudding ; these at first will bide 
Their little bulk beneath the swelling tide ; 
But when their growing mass no more can sink, 
"When the soft island looms above the brink, 
Then check your hand ; you've got the portion due : 
So taught our sires, and what they taught is true.* 



VAGRANT CHILDREN. 

THEODORE PARKER. 

[In the religious history of America no man has occupied a more 
prominent place, and won a greater host of decided friends and de 
clared enemies, than the writer from whom we now select. Beginning 
his pastoral life as a Unitarian clergyman, he soon promulgated 
radical views concerning the absolute humanity of Christ, and other 
points of doctrine, which forced him from the bosom of the Church 

* The following note was added : 

" There are various ways of preparing and eating it, with molasses, 
butter, sugar, cream, and fried. Why so excellent a thing cannot be 
eaten alone? Nothing is perfect alone : even man, who boasts of so 
much perfection, is nothing without his fellow-substance. In eating, 
beware of the lurking heat that lies deep in the mass ; dip your spoon 
gently, take shallow dips, and cool it by degrees. It is sometimes 
necessary 'to blow. This is indicated by certain signs which every 
experienced feeder knows. They should be taught to young beginners. 
I have known a child's tongue blistered for want of this attention, 
and then the school-dame would insist that the poor thing had told a 
lie. A mistake : the falsehood was in the faithless pudding. A pru 
dent mother will cool it for her child with her own sweet breath. 
The husband, seeing this, pretends his own wants blowing too from 
the same lips. A sly deceit of love. She knows the cheat, but, feign 
ing ignorance, lends her pouting lips and gives a gentle blast which 
warms the husband's heart more than it cools his pudding." 
I n 17 



194 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

and into an independent position as pastor and lecturer. In this re 
lation to the community his ardent and powerful intellect, his incessant 
activity, and his great learning gave him a wide-spread influence, and" 
the extended radicalism which now prevails is in considerable part the 
result of his teachings. He was an active worker in the interests of 
reform, and, in particular, opposed with all his strength and intellectual 
vigor the institution of slavery. Many of his sermons, addresses, and 
essays have "been published. "We give a short extract in illustration 
of his style and of his interest in the subject of reform. He was born 
in Massachusetts in 1810, and died at Florence, Italy, in I860.] 

WHAT will be the fate of these two thousand children ? 
Some men are superior to circumstances, so well born 
they defy ill breeding. There may be children so excel 
lent and strong they cannot be spoiled. Surely there are 
some who will learn with no school, boys of vast genius, 
whom you cannot keep from learning. Others there are 
of wonderful moral gifts, whom no circumstances can 
make vulgar ; they will live in the midst of corruption 
and keep clean through the innate refinement of a won 
drous soul. Out of these two thousand children there 
may be two of this sort ; it were foolish to look for more 
than one in a thousand. The nineteen hundred and ninety- 
eight depend mainly on circumstances to help them ; yes, 
to make their character. Send them to school, and they 
will learn. Give them good precepts, good examples, they 
will also become good. Give them bad precepts, bad ex 
amples, and they become wicked. Send them half clad 
and uncared for into your streets, and they grow up 
hungry savages, greedy for crime. 

What have these abandoned children to help them? 
Nothing, literally nothing ! They are idle, though their 
bodies crave activity. They are poor, ill clad, and ill fed. 
There is nothing about them to foster self-respect ; nothing 
to call forth their conscience, to awaken and cultivate their 
sense of religion. They find themselves beggars in the 



PARKER] VAGRANT CHILDREN. 195 

wealth of a city ; idlers in the midst of its work ; yes, 
savages in the midst of civilization. Their consciousness 
is that of an outcast, one abandoned and forsaken of men. 
In cities, life is intense amongst all classes. So the pas 
sions and appetites of such children are strong and violent. 
Their taste is low, their wants clamorous. Are religion 
and conscience there to abate the fever of passion and 
regulate desire ? The moral class and the cultivated shun 
these poor wretches, or look on with stupid wonder. Our 
rule is that the whole need the physician, not the sick. 
They are left almost entirely to herd and consort with 
the basest of men ; they are exposed early and late to 
the worst influences, and their only comrades are men 
whom the children of the rich are taught to shun as the 
pestilence. To be poor is hard enough in the country, 
where artificial wants are few, and those easily met, 
where all classes are humbly clad, and none fare sump 
tuously every day. But to be poor in the city, where a 
hundred artificial desires daily claim satisfaction, and 
where, too, it is difficult for the poor to satisfy the natural 
and unavoidable wants of food and raiment ; to be hungry, 
ragged, dirty, amid luxury, wantonness, and refinement ; 
to be miserable in the midst of abundance, that is hard 
beyond all power of speech. Look, I will not say at the 
squalid dress of these children, as you see them prowling 
about the markets and wharves, or contending in the 
dirty lanes and by-places into which the pride of Boston 
has elbowed so much of her misery; look at their faces! 
Haggard as they are, meagre and pale and wan, want is 
not the worst thing written there, but cunning, fraud, 
violence, and obscenity, and, worst of all, fear! 

Amid all the science and refined culture of the nine 
teenth century, these children learn little; little that is 
good, much that is bad. In the intense life around them, 



196 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PARKER 

they unavoidably become vicious, obscene, deceitful, and 
violent. They will lie, steal, be drunk. How can it be 
otherwise ? 

If you could know the life of one of those poor lepers 
of Boston, you would wonder and weep. Let me take 
one of them at random out of the mass. He was born, 
unwelcome, amid wretchedness and want. His coming 
increased both. Miserably he struggled through his in 
fancy, less tended than the lion's whelp. He becomes a 
boy. He is covered only with rags, and those squalid 
with long-accumulated filth. He wanders about your 
streets, too low even to seek employment, now snatching 
from a gutter half-rotten fruit which the owner flings 
away. He is ignorant ; he has never entered a school- 
house ; to him even the alphabet is a mystery. He is 
young in years, yet old in misery. There is no hope in 
his face. He herds with others like himself, low, ragged, 
hungry, and idle. If misery loves company, he finds that 
satisfaction. Follow him to his home at night ; he herds 
in a cellar, in the same sty with father, mother, brothers, 
sisters, and perhaps yet other families of like degree. 
What served him for dress by day is his only bed by night. 

"Well, this boy steals some trifle, a biscuit, a bit of rope, 
or a knife from a shop- window. He is seized and carried 
to jail. The day comes for trial. He is marched through 
the streets in handcuffs, the companion of drunkards and 
thieves, thus deadening the little self-respect which Nature 
left even in an outcast's bosom. He sits there chained 
like a beast ; a boy in irons ! the sport and mockery of 
men vulgar as the common sewer. His trial comes. Of 
course he is convicted. The show of his countenance is 
witness against him. His rags and dirt, his ignorance, 
his vagrant habits, his idleness, all testify against him. 
That face, so young and yet so impudent, so sly, so writ 



PARKER] VAGRANT CHILDREN. 197 

all over with embryo villany, is evidence enough. The 
jury are soon convinced, for they see his temptations in 
his look, and surely know that in such a condition men 
will steal; yes, they themselves would steal. The judge 
represents the law, and that practically regards it a crime 
even for a boy to be weak and poor. Much of our common 
law, it seems to me, is based on might, not right. So he 
is hurried off to jail at a tender age, and made legally the 
companion of felons. Now the State has him wholly in 
her power; by that rough adoption has made him her 
own child, and sealed the indenture with the jailer's key. 
His handcuffs are the symbol of his sonship to the State. 
She shuts him in her college for the Little. What does 
that teach him? science, letters? even morals and religion ? 
Little enough of this, even in Boston, and in most counties 
of Massachusetts, I think, nothing at all, not even a trade 
which he can practise when his term expires! I have 
been told a story, and I wish it might be falsely told, of a 
boy, in this city, of sixteen, sent to the house of correction 
for five years because he stole a bunch of keys, and coming 
out of that jail at twenty-one, unable to write, or read, or 
calculate, and with no trade but that of picking oakum. 
Yet he had been five years the child of the State, and in 
that college for the poor! Who would employ such a 
youth ; with such a reputation ; with the smell of the 
jail in his very breath ? Not your shrewd men of busi 
ness, they know the risk ; not your respectable men, 
members of churches and all that; not they! Why, it 
would hurt a man's reputation for piety to do good in 
that way. Besides, the risk is great, and it argues a great 
deal more Christianity than it is popular to have, for a 
respectable man to employ such a youth. He is forced 
back into crime again. I say forced, for honest men will 
not employ him when the State shoves him out of the 

IT* 



198 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WARNER 

jail. Soon you will have him in the court again, to be 
punished more severely. Then he goes to the State 
prison, and then again, and again, till death mercifully 
ends his career ! 

Who is to blame for all that ? I will ask the best man 
among the best of you, what he would have become if 
thus abandoned, turned out in childhood, and with no 
culture, into the streets, to herd with the wickedest of 
men 1 Somebody says there are " organic sins" in society 
which nobody is to blame for. But by this sin organized 
in society these vagrant children are training up to be 
come thieves, pirates, and murderers. I cannot blame 
them. But there is a terrible blame somewhere, for it is 
not the will of God that one of these little ones should 
perish. Who is it that organizes the sin of society ? 



THE PLEASURES OF GARDENING. 

CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER. 

[We extract from " My Summer in a Garden" the following 
humorous and philosophical description of the pleasures and pains 
of horticulture, and of the highly agreeable and sociable character of 
mechanics who work by the hour. Mr. Warner is a native of Plain- 
field, Massachusetts, where he was born in 1829. " Saunterings," 
" Back-Log Studies," " My Winter on the Nile," and several other 
works from his pen, are all marked by the genial humor which appears 
in our extract. In combination with S. L. Clemens ("Mark Twain") 
he produced " The Gilded Age," a highly humorous novel, which has 
been successfully dramatized.] 

PERHAPS, after all, it is not what you get out of a gar 
den, but what you put into it, that is the most remunera- 



WARNER] THE PLEASURES OF GARDENING. 199 

tive. What is a man ? A question frequently asked, and 
never, so far as I know, satisfactorily answered. He com 
monly spends his seventy years, if so many are given him, 
in getting ready to enjoy himself How many hours, how 
many minutes, does one get of that pure content which 
is happiness? I do not mean laziness, which is always 
discontent ; but that serene enjoyment in which all the 
natural senses have easy play, and the unnatural ones 
have a holiday. There is probably nothing that has such 
a tranquillizing effect, and leads into such content, as gar 
dening. By gardening, I do not mean that insane desire to 
raise vegetables which some have ; but the philosophical 
occupation of contact with the earth, and companionship 
with gently-growing things and patient processes; that 
exercise which soothes the spirit and develops the deltoid 
muscles. 

In half an hour I can hoe myself right away from this 
world, as we commonly see it, into a large place where 
there are no obstacles. What an occupation it is for 
thought! The mind broods like a hen on eggs. The 
trouble is, that you are not thinking about anything, but 
are really vegetating like the plants around you. I begin 
to know what the joy of the grape-vine is in running up 
the trellis, which is similar to that of the squirrel in running 
up a tree. We all have something in our nature that re-* 
quires contact with the earth. In the solitude of garden- 
labor, one gets into a sort of communion with the vege 
table life, which makes the old mythology possible. For 
instance, I can believe that the dryads are plenty this 
summer; my garden is like an ash-heap. Almost all the 
moisture it has had in weeks has been the sweat of honest 
industry. 

The pleasure of gardening in these days, when the ther 
mometer is at ninety, is one that I fear I shall not be able 



200 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WARNER 

to make intelligible to my readers, many of whom do not 
appreciate the delight of soaking in the sunshine. I sup 
pose that the sun, going through a man, as it will on such 
a day, takes out of him rheumatism, consumption, and 
every other disease, except sudden death from sunstroke. 
But, aside from this, there is an odor from the evergreens, 
the hedges, the various plants and vines, that is only ex 
pressed and set afloat at a high temperature, which is de 
licious ; and, hot as it may be, a little breeze will come at 
intervals, which can be heard in the tree-tops, and which 
is an unobtrusive benediction. I hear a quail or two 
whistling in the ravine ; and there is a good deal of frag 
mentary conversation going on among the birds, even on 
the warmest days. The companionship of Calvin,* also, 
counts for a good deal. He usually attends me, unless 
I work too long in one place, sitting down on the turf, 
displaying the ermine of his breast, and watching my 
movements with great intelligence. He has a feline and 
genuine love for the beauties of Nature, and will establish 
himself where there is a good view, and look on it for 
hours. He always accompanies us when we go to gather 
the vegetables, seeming to be desirous to know what we 
are to have for dinner. He is a connoisseur in the garden ; 
Jbeing fond of almost all the vegetables, except the cucum 
ber, a dietetic hint to man. I believe it is also said that 
the pig will not eat tobacco. These are important facts. 
It is singular, however, that those who hold up the pigs 
as models to us never hold us up as models to the pigs. 

I wish I knew as much about natural history and the 
habits of animals as Calvin does. He is the closest ob 
server I ever saw ; and there are few species of animals 

* That is the name of our cat, given him 011 account of his gravity, 
morality, and uprightness. 



WARNER] THE PLEASURES OF GARDENING 201 

on the place that he has not analyzed. I think that he 
has, to use a euphemism very applicable to him, got out 
side of every one of them, except the toad. To the toad 
he is entirely indifferent ; but I presume he knows that 
the toad is the most useful animal in the garden. I think 
the Agricultural Society ought to offer a prize for the 
finest toad. When Polly comes to sit in the shade near 
my strawberry-beds, to shell peas, Calvin is always lying 
near in apparent obliviousness ; but not the slightest un 
usual sound can be made in the bushes that he is not alert 
and prepared to investigate the cause of it. It is this 
habit of observation, so cultivated, which has given him 
such a trained mind and made him so philosophical. It 
is within the capacity of even the humblest of us to attain 
this. 

And, speaking of the philosophical temper, there is no 
class of men whose society is more to be desired for this 
quality than that of plumbers. They are the most agree 
able men I know ; and the boys in the business begin to 
be agreeable very early. I suspect the secret of it is that 
they are agreeable by the hour. In the dryest days, my 
fountain became disabled: the pipe was stopped up. A 
couple of plumbers, with the implements of their craft, 
came out to view the situation. There was a good deal 
of difference of opinion about where the stoppage was. I 
found the plumbers perfectly willing to sit down and talk 
about it, talk by the hour. . Some of their guesses and 
remarks were exceedingly ingenious ; and their general 
observations on other subjects were excellent in their way, 
and could hardly have been better if they had been made 
by the job. The work dragged a little, as it is apt to do 
by the hour. The plumbers had occasion to make me 
several visits. Sometimes they would find, upon arrival, 
that they had forgotten some indispensable tool ; and one 



202 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WARNER 

would go back to the shop, a mile and a half, after it, and 
his comrade would await his return with the most exem 
plary patience, and sit down and talk, always by the 
hour. I do not know but it is a habit to have something 
wanted at the shop. They seemed to me very good 
workmen, and always willing to stop and talk about the 
job, or anything else, when I went near them. Nor had 
they any of that impetuous hurry that is said to be the 
bane of our American civilization. To their credit be it 
said that I never observed anything of it in them. They 
can afford to wait. Two. of them will sometimes wait 
nearly half a day while a comrade goes for a tool. They 
are patient and philosophical. It is a great pleasure to 
meet such men. One only wishes there was some work 
he could do for them by the hour. There ought to be 
reciprocity. I think they have very nearly solved the 
problem of Life : it is to work for other people, never for 
yourself, and get your pay by the hour. You then have 
no anxiety, and little work. If you do things by the job, 
you are perpetually driven : the hours are scourges. If 
you work by the hour, you gently sail on the stream of 
Time, which is always bearing you on to the haven of 
Pay, whether you make any effort or not. Working by 
the hour tends to make one moral. A plumber working 
by the job, trying to unscrew a rusty, refractory nut, in 
a cramped position, where the tongs continually slipped 
off, would swear; but I never heard one of them swear, 
or exhibit the least impatience at such a vexation, work 
ing by the hour. Nothing can move a man who is paid 
by the hour. How sweet the flight of time seems to his 
calm mind ! 



WHITNEY] BOSTON TRANSCENDENTALISM. 203 

BOSTON TRANSCENDENTALISM. 

A. D. T. WHITNEY. 

[Mrs. "Whitney's " Hitherto" furnishes the subjoined neatly-drawn 
and amusing description of Boston in those days when " the intel 
lectual metropolis" had gone a little mad with its first over-deep 
draught of the " New Philosophy." The fever has somewhat abated 
since then. Mrs. Whitney is a native of Boston, where she was born 
in 1824. She is the author of a considerable number of meritorious 
novels, all marked by naturalness, sprightliness, excellent powers of 
characterization, and a high moral earnestness. " The Gayworthys," 
" Hitherto : A Story of Yesterdays," " Patience Strong's Outings," " A 
Summer in Leslie Goldthwaite's Life," and "Faith Gartney's Girl 
hood" may be named as her best-known works.] 

BOSTON was ID her pleasant young matronhood then. 
She wore her own hair, as it were, and had not capped it 
with any foreign tawdriness, or taken to false, staring 
fronts. She had not had her dear old irregular teeth out, 
that gave half the home sweetness to her smile, and re 
placed them with the square, stiff, polished blocks that 
grin from old, care-lined, art-finished faces. 

Boston was individual, and not conglomerate, as it is 
to-day. There is only a little hit of the old place left now : 
streets of charming houses without any modern improve 
ments, over behind Beacon Hill and beyond the State- 
House. The South End is a piece of New York patched 
on, and Back Bay has been filled up and a section of 
Paris dumped down into it. 

I am glad I remember it as it was. 

In this still, simple Boston, where, just behind her busy 
wharves, there were places to live and to think in, there 
were many things beginning besides railroads and steam 
ships. We came into the midst of these, or the sound of 
them. 



204 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITNEY 

It was the time of the first flush and ferment of rational, 
moral, physiological, philanthropic, transcendental, sesthet- 
ical philosophy. Miss Sedgwick had written " Home," 
and the " Rich Poor Man," and " Means and Ends." 
" Combe's Physiology" was being desperately studied in 
young ladies' schools. There was unlimited and unmiti 
gated cold bathing; and calisthenics were coming into 
vogue. Theodore Parker was preaching; Emerson was 
thinking great thoughts aloud to a wondering world ; 
Brownson had come out with " New Yiews ;" Margaret 
Fuller was expanding the rare, strange blossom of her 
womanhood ; and girls of seventeen were reading Carlyle. 
" The True, the Good, and the Beautiful," bound into a 
watchword, were rampant on men's lips. A grand watch 
word ; so is " Liberty, Fraternity, Equality :" the thing 
is to rise to the real height of it, to reach by it to the 
more, not to pervert it to an excuse for dropping to the 
less, or the worse. 

Coming to stay with Mrs. Holgate, Aunt lldy and 
Hope Devine and I three diverse and unaccustomed 
souls entered into the midst or the edge of the midst 
of all this. 

The Holgates had gone to a lecture when we arrived. 
The " family-reliance," Liefie, or Relief, got tea for us and 
made us comfortable. People had family-reliances in that 
old time, which gave them leisure to run after the new 
ideas. JSfow they have been running after them so long 
that family-reliances have ceased to be educated, and the 
stock has run out. There is danger that we may have to 
begin anew this circle of humanity, and not. come round 
to the " true, the good, and the beautiful" again, in the 
abstract, for a few generations of women more. . . . 

Mrs. Holgate was a woman whom I should shortly de 
scribe as having begun aesthetics rather late in life. They 



WHITNEY] BOSTON TRANSCENDENTALISM. 205 

sat somehow curiously on the substratum of homely habit 
and unintrospective common sense. She had a way of 
snatching up her raptures, as if she had all at once remem 
bered them ; or of making a supererogatory use of them, 
as of a new mental elegance or contrivance, that she had 
done without all her life, but which it was the right and 
proper thing to find essential and inevitable now. 

She was stout, and looked externally what people call 
"settled down. :? Yery much so, indeed ; and as if the 
settling had taken place a loog time ago, and could not 
easily be disturbed ; as if you would hardly expect new 
modes of thought or action from her, or a new expression 
in her face, any more than new ways of doing up her hair, 
which women past forty were not apt to affect in those 
days. 

I noticed all this of her in five minutes after she had 
come in with her daughters, a good deal heated with her 
summer-evening walk, and looking as if dog-days and meta 
physics together were considerably too much for her. 

Boston, as I said, was still green with gardens then , 
and there were hushes of home quiet in cool, watered 
streets and unprofaned " Places," where vines covered the 
house-fronts and caged birds sang in the windows, that 
almost feigned a feeling of the country and the woods ; 
and people were content to abide there, for the most part, 
even amid the August heats. 

The two young ladies were bright-looking, handsome 
girls, with hair tucked plain behind their ears, and prompt, 
straightforward manners, and a very Boston-y air of de 
termined sense and intellectuality. A process-of-culture 
expression pervaded themselves and the house: A little 
anticipative it was, also, claiming result by faith and pur 
pose. As, for instance, a reading-stand in a window, which 
we afterward found to be the younger sister's particular 

18 



206 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITNEY 

corner, held a large German dictionary open upon it, and 
a volume of Schiller in the original rested beside. We 
noticed subsequently that her actual studies were as yet 
limited to the rudiments of the language; but she set what 
was to be before herself and others with a truly apostolic 
pressing forward to the things before. 

In her children's babyhood, Mrs. Holgate had been 
simply a little romantic, in an old fashion of romance, and 
had named her daughters, respectively, Harriet Byron and 
Corinna. At the present time she especially felicitated her 
self upon this second baptismal choice, which I think she 
had probably rather hit upon originally for its prettiness 
than through any enthusiastic and appreciative intimacy 
with Madame de Stael. Corinna herself evidently blessed 
her fate in this respect, and tried to live faithfully up to 
her christening, as Harriet did to her nose, which was 
rarely and delicately classic. Corinna undertook severe 
literature and deep research ; Harriet devoted herself more 
to the beautiful in art and poetry. 

They had been this evening to a conversational class, 
after Margaret Fuller; subject, "the mythology of the 
Greeks." 

To unravel an old myth, to find the why of it, the 
abstract principle, this was just now what interested 
and excited above all, and rewarded with its highest de 
light the mental enterprise of a certain portion of the 
young, progressive intellect of the city of progress. 

It was all exceedingly well ; place and time according 
and proportionate ; but there was a New England excess 
in it all. Everybody must needs do the same style of 
thinking, and they must be at it all the time. Because 
great minds were comparing the old and the new, finding 
the lights that fall from different and far-off points in all 
the ages, sifting truths, and giving grand abstractions to 



WHITNEY] BOSTON TRANSCENDENTALISM. 207 

the world, all they who listened, and who were fired by 
the watchwords, Progress ! Culture ! must dip into the 
self-same abstractions, must find a myth in everything, 
and begin all their sentences with adverbs. 

They were like children rolling their forlorn and much- 
manipulated bits of dough from the maternal pie-boards, 
till, seeing it, one got sick of the pies beforehand, and mis 
trusted the whole baking. 

There were circles and circles ; as there are in every 
thing. There were those who were, and those who only 
ambitioned to be ; those who rode their chariots of thought 
for the sake of the whither they might bear them, and they 
who liked the equipage and its blazonry, and the stepping 
in and out before the eyes of the multitude. 

There were restless spirits also, to whom the old was 
tasteless and lifeless ; who seized eagerly these roundabout 
fashions of coming back to what they had and knew al 
ready through fresh and toilsome reasonings ; taking back 
and forth from each other's fingers the threads of truth 
in a perpetual cat's-cradle of fancied discovery and inven 
tion ; crying out to each other without ceasing, Behold, 
now, that is truly something new ; that, indeed, is won 
derful ! 

It was a fever that had its day ; that rages yet, as fever 
always does, in its breeding-haunts, whence it bursts forth 
now and then as epidemic. 

The Holgates had taken it badly ; we came, as it were, 
into the midst of an infection. Aunt Ildy looked about 
her, at first, in pure mystification ; then she began to 
behave as if she thought they had got a plague, and to 
go round with her nostrils metaphorically stuffed, and to 
do her duty vigorously, by scattering, from time to time, 
some pungent, if not ill-savoring, antiseptics. 

It was certainly a change for me, and a break upon the 



208 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITNEY 

old wearing lines of thought ; but it was not precisely 
what Aunt Ildy had meant and looked for. 

It stirred in me some of my own old wonderings and 
speculations ; I could not help entering into it enough to 
find out a little of what it was ; sometimes I got light, and 
sometimes I grew confused. 

But I was stayed on the right and left, by Aunt Ildy's 
uncompromising .orthodoxy and sarcastic practicability ; 
by Hope Devine's strange, straight vision, right through 
all mysticism and bewilderment, to what truly was. 

I do not believe that in all the community, so touched 
with strange fire, there was such a curious conjunction of 
elements, to test and neutralize each other and evolve 
some safe result of life to a true longing for the living 
reality, as was met here in Mrs. Holgate's house. 

I remember bits of conversation that sprang up now and 
then over a breakfast or a tea, after a chapter of some 
new book, or a surprising modern aphorism, or a fresh 
" Orphic saying," or in our rooms at night, between Hope 
and me, and sometimes with Aunt Ildy also, when we 
asked each other how it all seemed, and what we supposed 
would be the upshot and the outcome of it all. 

I remember little momentary situations, and the look 
of everybody, stamped like a picture upon my imagina 
tion by the force of some sudden peculiarity of act or 
word. 

I shall never forget how funnily Corinna Holgate 
startled us one day, as we all sat in the back parlor with 
our different morning work, she in her window with 
portfolio on lap and various sheets of scribbled paper 
lying about her, on which she was making up some ab 
stract of a u conversational," or sketching some outline of 
ideas preparatory to one that was to be. 

Still on the Grecian myths; still puzzling for clever 



WHITNEY] BOSTON TRANSCENDENTALISM. 209 

solutions and brilliant suggestions ; trying to recollect 
clearly what had been propounded and explained last time, 
or put forth in questions to be answered next. 

"Why" she demanded electrically, like a thunder-clap 
out of a far-off cloud of philosophic abstraction, across the 
unthinking and unexpectant summer silence of our com 
monplace, " why was Venus fabled to have arisen from 
the foam of the sea ?" 

" Because you must be clean before you can be beauti- 
tiful!" shot back Aunt Ildy, quick as a flash. an irony 
of common sense out of a swift, frowning cloud of con 
tempt. 

Hope and I laughed. Harriet and Mrs. Holgate, slow to 
receive and discern, looked up as if they did not quite know 
whether it were meant as Orphic or not; but Corinna, after 
a second's breathlessness, jumped to her feet, let fall her 
papers in a Sibylline shower, rushed to Miss Chism, and, 
dropping on a cricket at her feet, accepted her and her 
word as an advent and an inspiration. 

" Why, that's grand ! r ' she cried. " That's a real thought ! 
That's insight ! I've found a soul !" 

" Better keep quiet about your luck, then," said Miss 
Chism, drawing away her knitting-yarn from under Co- 
rinna's elbow, and shifting slightly her position away from 
the heroics. " A chicken doesn't peep when it's really 
got its mouth full !" 

Corinna did not care a bit or her snubbing. It was 
only a spur. 

"Why won't you own up? You do think, Miss Chism. 
What do you deny yourself for ?" And then she quoted 
Emerson, about " our own rejected thought returning to 
us, with a kind of offended majesty, from the lips of 
others." 

It was sufficiently ridiculous ; and I believed, myself, 
o 18* 



210 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WEBSTER 

that Corinna was half funny and dexterous in defence, as 
a bright girl might be, and half in earnest, determined to 
win Aunt Ildy over. 

" Whatever I think, I choose to think, and be done with 
it ; I wasn't made to chew a cud or to count my breaths, 
to see how many I take in a day." 

"Miss Ildy! You're epigrammatic! You don't know 
how clever you are !" 

" There, let me alone. Don't snarl my yarn ! I don't 
believe you know how big a fool you are, or will be if you 
go on !" 

" I mean to go on till I have found out ; and that's the 
height and extreme small apex of human knowledge. See 
how you've snarled my yarn !" 

And she went back and began to gather up her scattered 
papers. 



REPLY TO HAYNE. 

DANIEL WEBSTER. 

[As an illustrative instance of Webster's splendid oratory we offer 
an extract from his celebrated " Reply to Hayne," which is by all 
acknowledged to rank highest among his Congressional orations. For 
beauty of language, loftiness of eloquence, logical consistency, imagi 
native beauty, and earnest patriotism, it has never been surpassed ; 
and if it stood alone, without the support of his other remarkable 
speeches, it would suffice to stamp him as one of the noblest and truest 
orators the world has ever known. We confine our selection to two 
short sections of this oration, those most striking and admirable, 
leaving out its more personal portions, though in doing so we must 
omit the keen and crushing sarcasm with which he overwhelmed his 
opponent. 

Daniel Webster was born in Salisbury, New Hampshire, January 
18, 1782. In 1813 he entered the House of Representatives, where 



WEBSTER] REPLY TO HAYNE. 211 

he very quickly became a power from the brilliance and force of his 
oratory. He was elected to the Senate in 1828, and remained there 
for twelve years. He was Secretary of State under Harrison, and sat 
again in the Senate from 1845 to 1850. He died in 1852.] 

THE eulogium pronounced by the honorable gentleman 
on the character of the State of South Carolina, for her 
Revolutionary and other merits, meets my hearty concur 
rence. I shall not acknowledge that the honorable mem 
ber goes before me in regard for whatever of distinguished 
talent, or distinguished character, South Carolina has pro 
duced. I claim part of the honor, I partake in the pride, 
of her great names. I claim them for countrymen, one 
and all, the Laurenses, the Eutledges, the Pinckneys, 
the Sumters, the Marions, Americans all, whose fame 
is no more to be hemmed in by State lines than their 
talents and patriotism were capable of being circumscribed 
within the same narrow limits. In their day and genera 
tion, they served and honored the country, and the whole 
country ; and their renown is of the treasures of the whole 
country. Him whose honored name the gentleman himself 
bears, does he esteem me less capable of gratitude for his 
patriotism, or sympathy for his sufferings, than if his eyes 
had first opened upon the light of Massachusetts instead 
of South Carolina ? Sir, does he suppose it in his power 
to exhibit a Carolina name so bright as to produce envy 
in my bosom? ISTo, sir; increased gratification and delight, 
rather. I thank God that, if I am gifted with little of 
the spirit which is able to raise mortals to the skies, I 
have yet none, as I trust, of that other spirit which would 
drag angels down. When I shall be found, sir, in my 
place here in the Senate, or elsewhere, to sneer at public 
merit because it happens to spring up beyond the little 
limits of my own State or neighborhood ; when T refuse, 
for any such cause, or for any cause, the horn ago. due to 



212 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WEBSTER 

American talent, to elevated patriotism, to sincere devo 
tion to liberty and the country ; or if I see an uncommon 
endowment of Heaven, if I see extraordinary capacity 
and virtue, in any son of the South, and if, moved by local 
prejudice or gangrened by State jealousy, I get up here to 
abate the tithe of a hair from his just character and just 
fame, may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth ! 

Sir, let me recur to pleasing recollections ; let me in 
dulge in refreshing remembrance of the past; let me 
remind you that, in early times, no States cherished 
greater harmony, both of principle and feeling, than Mas 
sachusetts and South Carolina. Would to God that har 
mony might again return ! Shoulder to shoulder they 
went through the Revolution ; hand in hand they stood 
around the administration of Washington, and felt his 
own great arm lean on them for support. Unkind feeling, 
if it exist, alienation, and distrust are the growth, unnat 
ural to such soils, of false principles since sown. They 
are weeds, the seeds of which that same great arm never 
scattered. 

Mr. President, I shall enter on no encomium upon Mas 
sachusetts; she needs none. There she is. Behold her, 
and judge for yourselves. There is her history; the 
world knows it by heart. The past, at least, is secure. 
There is Boston, and Concord, and Lexington, and Bun 
ker Hill ; and there they will remain forever. The bones 
of her sons, fallen in the great struggle for Indepen 
dence, now lie mingled with the soil of every State, from 
New England to Georgia ; and there they will lie forever. 
And, sir, where American liberty raised its first voice, 
and where its youth was nurtured and sustained, there it 
still lives, in the strength of its manhood and full of its 
original spirit. If discord and disunion shall wound it, 
if party strife and blind ambition shall hawk at and tear 



WEBSTER] REPLY TO HAYNE. 213 

it, if folly and madness, if uneasiness under salutary and 
necessary restraint, shall succeed in separating it from 
that Union by which alone its existence is made sure, it 
will stand, in the end, by the side of that cradle in which 
its infancy was rocked ; it will stretch forth its arm, with 
whatever of vigor it may still retain, over the friends 
who gather round it, and it will fall at last, if fall it must, 
amidst the proudest monuments of its own glory, and on 
the very spot of its origin. 

Mr. President, I have thus stated the reasons of my 
dissent to the doctrines which have been advanced and 
maintained. I am conscious of having detained you and 
the Senate much too long. I was drawn into the debate 
with no previous deliberation, such as is suited to the dis 
cussion of so grave and important a subject. But it is a 
subject of which my heart is full, and I have not been will 
ing to suppress the utterance of its spontaneous sentiments. 
I cannot, even now, persuade myself to relinquish it, with 
out expressing once more my deep conviction that, since it 
respects nothing less than the Union of the States, it is of 
most vital and essential importance to the public happiness. 
I profess, sir, in my career hitherto, to have kept steadily 
in view the prosperity and honor of the whole country, 
and the preservation of our Federal Union. It is to that 
Union we owe our safety at home and our considera 
tion and dignity abroad. It is to that Union that we are 
chiefly indebted for whatever makes us most proud of our 
country. That Union we reached only by the discipline 
of our virtues in the severe school of adversity. It had 
its origin in the necessities of disordered finance, prostrate 
commerce, and ruined credit. Under its benign influences 
these great interests immediately awoke, as from the dead, 
and sprang forth with newness of life. Every year of its 



214 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WEBSTKB 

duration has teemed with fresh proofs of its utility and 
its "blessings; and, although our territory has stretched 
out wider and wider, and our population spread farther 
and farther, they have not outrun its protection or its bene 
fits. It has been to us all a copious fountain of national, 
social, and personal happiness. 

I have not allowed myself, sir, to look beyond the Union, 
to see what might lie hidden in the dark recess behind. I 
have not coolly weighed the chances of preserving liberty 
when the bonds that unite us together shall be broken 
asunder. I have not accustomed myself to hang over the 
precipice of disunion, to see whether, with my short sight, 
I can fathom the depth of the abyss below ; nor could I 
regard him as a safe counsellor in the affairs of this gov 
ernment whose thoughts should be mainly bent on con 
sidering, not how the Union may be best preserved, but 
how tolerable might be the condition of the people when 
it should be broken up and destroyed. While the Union 
lasts, we have high, exciting, gratifying prospects spread 
out before us, for us and our children. Beyond that I 
seek not to penetrate the veil. G-od grant that, in my 
day, at least, that curtain may not rise ! God grant 
that on my vision never may be opened what lies be 
hind ! When my eyes shall be turned to behold for the 
last time the sun in heaven, may I not see him shining 
on the broken and dishonored fragments of a once glorious 
Union ; on States dissevered, discordant, belligerent ; on a 
land rent with civil feuds, or drenched, it may be, in fra 
ternal blood ! Let their last feeble and lingering glance 
rather behold the gorgeous ensign of the republic, now 
known and honored throughout the earth, still full high 
advanced, its arms and trophies streaming in their original 
lustre, not a stripe erased or polluted, nor a single star 
obscured, bearing for its motto no such miserable interroga- 



BRYANT] THANATOPSIS. 215 

tory as " What is all this worth ?" nor those other words of 
delusion and folly, " Liberty first, and Union afterwards ;" 
but everywhere, spread all over in characters of living 
light, blazing on all its ample folds, as they float over the 
sea and over the land, and in every wind under the whole 
Leavens, that other sentiment, dear to every true American 
heart, Liberty and Union, now and forever, one and in 
separable 1 



THANATOPSIS. 

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT. 

[The poem given below is one of the most remarkable ever penueu 
by any poet of any land, when we consider the age of the author at 
the time of its composition, not yet nineteen, and the lofty concep 
tion, striking imagery, and philosophical depth of thought involved. 
Yet Bryant had been writing verses from the age of nine, and at four 
teen had prepared a collection of poems, which were published in 1809. 
The poems of his after-life were not very numerous, but they were all 
marked by a close and poetic observation of nature and fine powers 
of reflective thought, which have placed him in the front rank of 
American authors. He was born in 1794, and died in 1878. In ad 
dition to his original poems, Bryant made translations of Homer's 
" Iliad" and " Odyssey," of high excellence, while the ability displayed 
in his prose works would have given him a high reputation in this 
field, but for the overshadowing merit of his poetry.] 

To him who in the love of Nature holds 
Communion with her visible forms, she speaks 
A various language ; for his gayer hours 
She has a voice of gladness, and a smile 
And eloquence of beauty, and she glides 
Into his darker musings with a mild 
And healing sympathy, that steals away 



216 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BRYANT 

Their sharpness, ere he is aware. When thoughts 
Of the^ast bitter hour come like a blight 
Over thy spirit, and sad images 
Of the stern agony, and shroud, and pall, 
And breathless darkness, and the narrow house, 
Make thee to shudder, and grow sick at heart ; 
Go forth, under the open sky, and list 
To Nature's teachings, while from all around 
Earth and her waters, and the depths of air- 
Comes a still voice. 

Yet a few days, and thee 
The all-beholding sun shall see no more 
In all his course ; nor yet in the cold ground, 
Where thy pale form was laid, with many teal's, 
Nor in the embrace of ocean, shall exist 
Thy image. Earth, that nourished thee, shall claim 
Thy growth, to be resolved to earth again, 
And, lost each human trace, surrendering up 
Thine individual being, shalt thou go 
To mix forever with the elements, 
To be a brother to the insensible rock 
And to the sluggish clod, which the rude swain 
Turns with his share, and treads upon. The oak 
Shall send his roots abroad, and pierce thy mould. 

Yet not to thine eternal resting-place 
Shalt thou retire alone, nor couldst thou wish 
Couch more magnificent. Thou shalt lie down 
With patriarchs of the infant world, with kingfc 
The powerful of the earth, the wise, the good, 
Fair forms, and hoary seers of ages past, 
All in one mighty sepulchre. The hills 
Eock-ribbed and ancient as the sun, the vales 



BRYANT] THANATOPSIS. 217 

Stretching in pensive quietness between, 
The venerable woods, rivers that move 
In majesty, and the complaining brooks 
That make the meadows green ; and, poured round all, 
Old Ocean's gray and melancholy waste, 
Are but the solemn decorations all 
Of the great tomb of man. The golden sun, 
The planets, all the infinite host of heaven, 
Are shining on the sad abodes of death, 
Through the still lapse of ages. All that tread 
The globe are but a handful to the tribes 
That slumber in its bosom. Take the wings 
Of morning, pierce the Barcan wilderness, 
Or lose thyself in the continuous woods 
Where rolls the Oregon, and hears no sound 
Save his own dashings, yet the dead are there ; 
And millions in those solitudes, since first 
The flight of years began, have laid them down 
In their last sleep, the dead reign there alone. 
So shalt thou rest, and what if thou withdraw 
In silence from the living, and no friend 
Take note of thy departure ? All that breathe 
Will share thy destiny. The gay will laugh 
When thou art gone, the solemn brood of care 
Plod on, and each one as before will chase 
His favorite phantom ; yet all these shall leave 
Their mirth and their employments, and shall come 
And make their bed with thee. As the long train 
Of ages glides away, the sons of men, 
The youth in life's fresh spring, and he who goes 
In the full strength of years, matron and maid, 
The speechless babe, and the gray-headed man, 
Shall one by one be gathered to thy side, 
By those who in their turn shall follow them. 
K 19 



218 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

So live, that when thy summons comes to join 
The innumerable caravan, which moves 
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take 
His chamber in the silent halls of death, 
Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, 
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed 
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave 
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch 
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams. 



THE USE OF TIME. 

JAMES FREEMAN CLARKE. 

[The author from whom we now quote is a prominent Unitarian 
clergyman, who was born at Hanover, New Hampshire, in 1810. 
After preaching for a number of years in Kentucky and Pennsylvania, 
he settled in 1841 in Boston, where he formed a new church organiza 
tion, called " The Church of the Disciples." It has since remained 
one of the leading religious institutions of Boston. Mr. Clarke is a 
speaker and writer of great ability, combining a firm belief in the 
supernatural and transcendental views in philosophy with an earnest 
devotion to practical reforms. In addition to his many strictly theo 
logical works, he is the author of a valuable historical work, " The 
Ten Great Religions," with a recently-published sequel, "A Com 
parison of all Religions." Our selection is from his suggestive and 
useful volume on "Self-Culture."] 

FEW of the facts of our life are more mysterious and 
inexplicable, more paradoxical and contradictory, than 
the commonest and simplest of all, that is, the progress 
of time. Time is the most rigid, and at the same time the 
most elastic, of all things. Time is a stream which bears 
all creatures on at the same rate. All beings who live on 
the surface of the earth are living in the same day of the 



CLARKE] THE USE OF TIME. 219 

same month and year. Time and events happen alike to 
all. No one can hold back longer than the rest ; no one 
can hurry forward so as to get a month, a day, an hour, a 
minute, a second, in advance of the rest. Why should it 
not be so? Why should not sluggishness of hand and 
laziness of mind drop back, and be left a month or a year 
behind in time, as they would be left a mile or ten miles 
behind in space ? Why should not genius and energy get 
on faster, and arrive sooner? But no! We are all im 
mersed in the same now. The same moment arrives at 
once to all the thousand millions of beings on the earth. 
Ah, if we could only go back when we choose, and live 
the past over again ! What a gift, more wonderful than 
that imagined in any fairy story, this would be! If some 
angel should come, and say, You may be as you were a 
year ago, before that fatal crime was committed, that 
terrible mistake made ; before that opportunity came 
which you threw away and lost forever; before that dear 
friend was taken from you by death, so that you could 
show him the love you felt in your heart, but neglected 
to manifest in action ! If in the light of those results, of 
that experience, which is the divine judgment here on all 
human actions, we could begin our lives anew ! 

No. The moment which has not yet come is perfectly 
fluid. It is open to us all. We can put into it what we 
please. It arrives out of the future a shadowy possibility ; 
it crystallizes, in that infinitesimal moment we call the 
present, around whatever we think, or feel, or say, or do, 
and is gone forever, unalterable, holding in its adamantine 
grasp the changeable, irrecoverable action. What is done 
is done forever; what is omitted is omitted forever. The 
good action is sealed up and made immortal ; the bad ac 
tion is sealed up and can never be recalled, though we 
seek to repent of it diligently, and with tears. No awful 



220 REST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLARKE 

fate, no tremendous doom, no iron necessity, can compare 
with this relentless grasp of Time, which seizes and retains, 
inexorable, unforgiving, all that passes into its irresistible 
embrace. So that time, of all things the most airy and 
impalpable before it comes, seems to be of all things the 
most solid and substantial when it has gone by. 

Yet, on the other hand, this same element of time is a 
very flexible and elastic material. How it stretches out 
to some persons ! How much more a day, an hour, is 
to one person than to another! How much more some 
people put into a month or a year than others do ! Yes, 
how much more to each of us are our few hours of fiery 
inspiration and insight than the months in which we 
hammer mechanically this experience into opinion -on the 
anvils of logic ! How much more we live in the deep, 
momentary experiences of faith, generosity, love, than in 
the dreary years of routine which follow them ! We see 
then what is meant by redeeming time. It is to fill the 
hours full of the richest freight ; to fill them with the life 
of thought, feeling, action, as they pass by. 

It is to live so as to be glad, not sad, when we look back. 
It is to conquer in the great struggle with the devil, with 
incarnate evil, and to have the sentence pronounced by 
the Rhadamanthine voice of the past, Well done I This 
is the safety-vault into which we can put our treasure, 
sure that no thieves can break in and eteal. One moment 
of self-conquest, one good action really done, one generous 
deed actually performed, yes, one effort to do right really 
made, has the seal of time put on it, and no power in 
heaven nor all the fires of hell can melt that wax from 
the eternal bond. This last year, one man has made a 
fortune and invested it in the best securities, in mort 
gages, in houses, in railroads. But houses burn ; thieves 
steal your bonds ; robbers of a worse kind, who walk about 



CLARKK] THE USE OF TIME. 221 

State Street and "Wall Street with unblushing faces, de 
vour the property of the stockholders in a sham corpora 
tion. Another man has given his wealth for a good object, 
and that is safe forever ; no thief can touch it, and no 
railroad president or bank teller can ever run away with 
that money. 

What a difference between two lives, equally long, of 
which one has been wasted, the other redeemed ! One 
lias gone on without a purpose or aim ; the other, steadily 
directed to some noble object ; the one empty of love, 
thought, action ; the other, crowded with hours of glorious 
life ; the one, in which, as we look back, we can see noth 
ing but eating and sleeping, and mechanical, empty labor; 
in the other, the lowest toil made bright by a good and 
generous purpose, the humblest lot gilded and glorified 
by high thoughts and large loves. This is the real ever 
lasting punishment, to remember the irrevocable past. 
Just as far as we have wasted our time we go into ever 
lasting punishment; for what shall ever annihilate the 
black record of the evil we have done ? I suppose that even 
the most blessed saint must sometimes go into this kind 
of everlasting punishment. And just as far as we have 
redeemed time we go into everlasting bliss ; for the record 
of good is equally indestructible. One man looks back 
yes, we all look back sometimes with a sense of utter 
loss, like that of Coleridge. Coleridge, in one of the most 
pathetic passages in English literature, speaks of the 

" Sense of past youth, and manhood come in vain 1 
And genius given and knowledge won in vain I 
And all that I have culled in wood-walks wild, 
And all that patient toil has reared, and all 
Commune with thee has opened out but flowers 
Strewed on my hearse, and scattered on my bier. 
In the same coffin, for the self-same grave." 
19* 



BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLARKK 

And sometimes we look back, thinking of one good act 
done, one great truth seen, one deep affection experienced; 
and then we can use the lofty strain of Dryden, in his 
noble translation of Horace, and say, 

" Happy the man, and happy he alone, 
He who can call the hour his own, 
He who, secure within, can say, 
' To-morrow do thy worst, for 1 have lived to day I 
Be fair, or foul, or rain, or shine, 
The joy I have possessed, in spite of Fate, is mine I 
Not heaven itself upon the past has power ; 
For what has been has been, and I have had my hour.' " 

Life becomes solemn enough when we look at it from 
this point of view. It becomes vastly more solemn than 
death ; for we are not responsible for dying ; we are re 
sponsible for living. Why talk of a judgment to come 
on some great day in the future, when every day is a day 
of judgment ; when every moment, as it goes by, judges 
us ; when the act we put into it is carved into this terrible 
past in letters more lasting than those which have resisted 
for five thousand years the sands and the revolutions of 
Egypt? Carved on the granite there, you may read the 
actions done fifty centuries ago; you may see the task 
masters, by the command of the great Rameses, beating 
the poor Hebrew slaves at their work of building his 
cities. Those stones may decay at last, and that record 
be lost. But not an idle word, not an unkind word that 
we say, not a moment of our life, but gives an account of 
itself in the imperishable record of the past. 

As regards self-culture, all depends on the use of time. 
All those who have unfolded great powers have been hard 
workers. Genius itself is nothing but an immense power 
of work. It is the power of immersing one's self in work, 



CLARKE] THE USE OF TIME. 223 

but making it all play and joy by the quantity of life put 
into it. Genius always " redeems the time." 

There were four men who lived during the last century, 
who all lived to be very old, whose lives were contempo 
raneous during the largest part of the period from 1700 
to 1800, who were different in many respects, but who 
were all alike in this power of turning time into thought 
and action. They were Swedenborg, Voltaire, Wesley, 
and Franklin. Swedenborg died in 1772, aged eighty- 
four ; Yoltaire died in 1778, also aged eighty-four ; Frank 
lin died in 1790, also aged eighty-four; Wesley died in 
1791, aged eighty-eight. Perhaps no four men of the 
century exercised a greater influence on the age than 
these. Swedenborg's thought has been slowly filtering 
into philosophy and theology, spiritualizing both. To 
him, the whole world, both in this life and the life to 
come, is a shining web of divine laws, God descending 
into nature, into the soul, into the body, and making every 
thing divine. His thought, so subtle and so deep, is grad 
ually conquering the materialism of philosophy and the 
ology, and so bringing down what he called the New 
Jerusalem, or the sight of divine truth incarnate in all 
actual facts and laws. But what a vast amount of 
thought and study ; what patient labor on works which 
no one in that day, and but few even in ours, have cared 
to read ; what entire confidence in the power of truth ; 
what fidelity to his thought, persistency in his purpose, 
cool ardor, patient energy, marked the life of the solitaiy 
thinker ! He was the most lonely man on the earth in 
his day ; hardly a soul sympathized with him, or under 
stood him. Yet he worked on, without haste or rest, an 
incarnation of thought, sure that somewhere men would 
be found to read and understand what God told him to 
say. Surely he " redeemed the time." 



224 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLARKE 

How different was Yoltaire ! The man of society, the 
man of the world, the man who wrote for the day and 
hour, whose every book and pamphlet had an immediate 
answer and welcome ; the critic, the wit, the superficial 
but acute thinker on all subjects under heaven, but who 
seldom lifted his eyes to the heaven itself; the man from 
vvhose soul religious sentiment seemed to have been elimi 
nated, in whose organization reverence was omitted. He 
also did his work, to expose shams, to dethrone super 
stitions, to attack hoary abuses, to claim for man justice, 
freedom, opportunity. He worked, not by faith, but by 
sight, in the present moment, but with indefatigable en 
ergy, redeeming the time. And if, as the preacher says, 
" there is a time for everything," that time was certainly 
the time for Yoltaire, when the world was so full of evils 
and abuses, which needed such stinging scorn as his for 
their correction. The pulpit has used Yoltaire only as the 
type of the worst unbelief and sin. But do him this jus 
tice, he put his whole soul into his rather barren work of 
destruction. It was the best he knew, and he did it. And 
he did it well. 

How different again, both from Swedenborg and Yol 
taire, was Wesley ! No mystic like Swedenborg, but with 
an intense practical desire to turn all the doctrinal truth 
he saw into instant life, he made the new heavens and 
earth in England of which the Northern sage dreamed. 
No man ever so fully believed that " now is the day of 
salvation" as John Wesley. No man ever went so entirely 
out of the religion of form, doctrine, ceremony, into that 
of life, as he. His profoundest conviction was this : that 
no human being lived on earth so bad or base, so stupid 
or worldly, so utterly corrupt and worthless, but that, if 
he could believe it, God was ready to kindle in his soul a 
fire of love which would wholly consume this evil. His 



CLARKE] THE USE OF TIME. 225 

business was to make men believe it. For this faith he 
lived. In this faith he worked, redeeming the time. He 
saw the dead in sin coming to life all around him, he 
passed his happy years in this divinest of labors ; he died 
a soldier with his armor on, having done a work which 
neither God nor man can ever willingly let die. 

And now look at the 'fourth whom I have named, Dr. 
Franklin, differing from the three, with none of the 
mysticism of Swedenborg in his nature, yet with none of 
the sneering scepticism of Yoltaire. A practical man, 
bent on doing work, not living, like Yoltaire, for literary 
success, not feeding on flattery and popular applause. He 
had also his share of hard trial and opposition and lonely 
struggle. But he rose out of it, higher and higher, by the 
steady strength with which he did his work, plucking 
the lightning from the clouds, and the sceptre of America 
from the hand of obstinate, stupid, conscientious George 
the Third. When he stood before the English Lords in 
Council, the object of abuse and ridicule ; when he stood 
in the midst of the glittering court of France, the object 
of praise and admiration ; when he stood in the Ameri 
can Congress, with his calm good sense directing its coun 
sels ; and when he tried experiments with his kite and his 
key, he was still the faithful servant of his highest 
thought, he also was "redeeming the time," and he re 
deemed it well. 

We see, then, how it is. We see, by these examples, that 
if a man will be faithful to his highest conviction, to the 
best thought which God gives him to say, the best act 
given him to do, he will change time into life. He will 
bring forth fruit in youth, and in age will be still green 
and flourishing, like all the four men I have named. This 
is the first condition, then, of making the most of time, 
that we shall be always true to our best thought, that we 
P 



226 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

shall do with our might whatever our hand finds to do. 
We must understand the value of the present moment. 
We must not spend our days in grieving over the past, 
but forget the things that are behind. We must not look 
with anxiety or fear to the future, but let to-morrow take 
thought for the things of itself. On this point philosophy 
and Christianity are at one. Jesus says, " Take no thought 
for the morrow," and Horace, the epicurean, says the same. 
"What may happen to-morrow, do not inquire, but what 
ever Fortune brings to-day count as clear gain." . . . 

It is not the longest lives that have been the most full. 
Rafaelle died when he was thirty-seven, while Michel An- 
gelo lived to be ninety. During his thirty-seven years, 
Rafaelle seems to have done as much as Michel Angelo did 
in his ninety years, though the genius and industry of the 
latter were, perhaps, fully equal to those of the other. 
For a single work perfectly done is enough to make a full 
life. Handel lived to be eighty; Mozart died when ho 
was only thirty-six. But who remembers how many years 
they lived ? As you listen to the music of Mozart, and 
as you look at the infants of Eafaelle, you find that each 
of them attained that marvellous summit of human ex 
perience in which joy and grief become one. .They solve 
the problem of evil by showing that the deepest sorrow 
may be one with the highest joy. When we look at the 
face of the infant Jesus in the pictures of Rafaelle, and 
listen to the music of Mozart, we perceive in both a per 
fect union of pathos and joy, of sadness and gladness, of 
gloom and glory, of light and shade, of sunshine and 
shadow, of tender pity and triumphant praise. That 
which no philosophy and no theology can do, art has 
done, to show us the element of good in evil, to show that 
evil is the black carbon out of which Nature manufactures 
her most brilliant diamonds. 



CLARKE] THE USE OF TIME. 227 

The death of Christ has given this faith to the world. 
Jesus lived only thirty-one or thirty-three years. The first 
thirty years were years of preparation, of silence, ob 
scurity, apparent inaction. Then came one year of real 
life, which has transformed the world, created a new faith 
in God and man, caused us to believe in good in spite of 
all appearance, and by means of this undying faith in 
good has made goodness real. What a meaning in the 
death of Jesus is this, that the most cruel and wicked 
action has been so transfigured and glorified that we for 
get all the horror of the cross, and make it the symbol of 
triumph ! I presume that the cross which Constantino 
saw in the skies was not miraculous, in the common 
meaning of that term. But can anything be more mi 
raculous in reality than this fact, that in three hundred 
years from the death of Jesus this instrument of a slave's 
torture should become the standard of the Koman Em 
pire ? This miracle was but one of the results of Christ's 
single year of labor. 

To make the best use of time, we must have life in the 
soul. He who is something will do something ; he who is 
more will do more ; and he who is most will do most. 
Jesus, in a single year of active life, has done the greatest 
work which has ever been done in the world : hence wt 
may infer that his was the fullest soul that has ever been 
in the world. 

Therefore, it is not a quantity of time that is needed in 
order to do a great work, but the power of using time. 
What we need is the eternal youth of the heart, the un 
dying love of truth, which will lift us above the hard 
conservatism which refuses to see what it has never yet 
seen, and so never learns anything new. 

To make the best use of time we must keep the old and 
accept the new. There are two kinds of men who can 



228 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TAYLOR 

make no progress, the conservative who is so conserva 
tive as never to accept the new births of time, and the 
radical who is so radical as to drop the old truth in order 
to take the new one. This obstinate conservatism, which 
shuts its eyes and closes its ears and hardens its heart 
against every new revelation of the divine spirit, is typi 
fied by the friend of Galileo, who refused to look through 
his telescope to see the satellites of Jupiter, because, ac 
cording to his theory, there ought not to be any satellites 
there. " Look and see them," said Galileo. " I will not 
look," replied the other. " What is the use of looking ? 
I know that there are none there." But the emblem of 
that radicalism which can only get on new ground by 
deserting the old ground is the little child, whose hands 
are so small that he drops the apple he already holds, in 
order to take another. True progress is in keeping all 
the old truth and accepting all the new truth. So we 
save the time, and go on from good years to better years. 



HOW I CAME TO BUY A FARM. 

BAYARD TAYLOR. 

[Of the many travellers whom America has sent out to explore and 
roport upon the wonders of the Old World, there have been none more 
ardent in exploration and with more facile powers of description than 
Bayard Taylor. Born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1825, he 
inaugurated his life-work by a pedestrian tour of Europe while still 
quite young. His " Views Afoot," published after his return, at once 
brought him into repute. His succeeding travels were extensive, and 
are described in a series of interesting works. At a later date he wrote 
several novels, and published some volumes of poetry. One of his 
latest works was his translation of Goethe's " Faust," undoubtedly the 



TAYLOR] HOW I CAME TO BUY A FARM. 229 

best and most vitalized rendition into English verse yet made of the 
great German poem. He died at Berlin, Prussia, December 19, 1878. 
Taylor's works of travel are marked by a fresh, flowing, and vigorous 
style, a quick perception of the attractive features of a scene or situa 
tion, and graphic descriptive powers. His poems are easy and ani 
mated and of fine imaginative quality, while his novels present ex 
cellent pictures of real life, and prove him to be as expert in seizing 
the salient points of a character as in noting those of a landscape. 
From one of his latest descriptive works, "At Home and Abroad," 
we select the following attractive relation of the realization of a boyish 
dream]. 

IN the first place, it runs in the blood. If there is any 
law I believe in, it is that of the hereditary transmission 
of traits, qualities, capacities, and passions. My father is 
a farmer ; my grandfather ivas, and his father before him, 
and his, and his again, to the seventh ancestor, who came 
over in one of William Penn's vessels and immediately 
set about reducing the superfluous sylvanism of that 
Apostle's Sylvania. If I could brush away the clouds 
which hang about this portion of the genealogical tree, I 
have no doubt but that I should find its trunk striking 
through cottages or country halls for some centuries fur 
ther, and that " Eoger (ob. 1614), the son of Thomas, the 
son of Eoger," who wore the judicial ermine upon his 
escutcheon, had his favorite country-house in the neigh 
borhood of London. 

The child that has tumbled into a newiy-ploughed 
furrow never forgets the smell of the fresh earth. He 
thrives upon it as the butcher's boy thrives upon tho 
steam of blood, but a healthier apple-red comes into his 
cheeks, and his growing muscle is subdued in more inno 
cent pastimes. Almost my first recollection is that of a 
swamp, into which I went barelegged at morning, and 
out of which I came, when driven by hunger, with long 
stockings of black mud and a mask of the same. If the 

20 



230 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TAYLOR 

child was missed from the house, the first thing that sug 
gested itself was to climb upon a mound which over 
looked the swamp. Somewhere among the tufts of the 
rushes and the bladed leaves of the calamus a little 
brown ball was sure to be seen moving, now dipping out 
of sight, now rising again, like a bit of drift on the rip 
pling green. It was my head. The treasures I there 
collected were black terrapins with orange spots, baby 
frogs the size of a chestnut, thrushes' eggs, and stems of 
purple phlox. 

I cannot say that my boyish experience of farm-work 
was altogether attractive. I had a constitutional horror 
of dirty hands, and my first employments picking stones 
and weeding corn were rather a torture to this superfine 
taste. But almost every field had its walnut-tree, and many 
of the last year's nuts retained their flavor in the spring; 
melons were planted among the corn, and the meadow 
which lay between never exhausted its store of wonders. 
Besides, there were eggs to hide at Easter ; cherries and 
strawberries in May; fruits all summer; fishing-parties by 
torch-light ; lobelia and sumach to be gathered, dried, and 
sold for pocket-money; and in the fall, chestnuts, persim 
mons, wild grapes, cider, and the grand butchering after 
frost came : so that all the pleasures I knew were those 
incidental to a farmer's life. The books I read came from 
the village library, and the task of helping to "fodder" on 
the dark winter evenings was lightened by the anticipa 
tion of sitting down to Gibbon's Eome, or " Thaddeus of 
Warsaw," afterwards. To be sure, I sometimes envied 
the store-keeper's boy, whom I had once seen shovelling 
sugar out of a hogshead, and who now and then stealthily 
dipped his hand into the raisin-box ; but it is not in the 
nature of any child to be perfectly satisfied with his lot. 

A life of three years in a small country town effectually 



TAYLOR] HOW I CAME TO BUY A FARM. 231 

cured me of all such folly. When I returned to the home 
stead as a youth, I first felt the delight and the refresh 
ment of labor in the open air. I was then able to take 
the plough-handle, and I still remember the pride I felt 
when my furrows were pronounced even and well turned. 
Although it was already decided that I should not make 
farming the business of my life, I thrust into my plans a 
slender wedge of hope that I might one day own a bit of 
ground, for the luxury of having, if not the profit of cul 
tivating it. The aroma of the sweet soil had tinctured my 
blood ; the black mud of the swamp still stuck to my feet. 

It happened that adjoining my father's property there 
was an old farm which was fast relapsing into a state of 
nature. Thirty or forty years had passed since the plough 
had touched any part of it. The owner, who lived upon 
another estate at a little distance, had always declined to 
sell, perhaps for the reason that no purchaser could be 
found to offer an encouraging price. Left thus to herself, 
Nature played all sorts of wild and picturesque pranks 
with the property. Two heaps of stones were all that 
marked the site of the house and barn ; half a dozen 
ragged plum- and peach-trees hovered around the outskirts 
of the vanished garden, the melancholy survivors of all 
its bloom and fruitage ; and a mixture of tall sedge-grass, 
sumachs, and blackberry-bushes covered the fields. The 
hawthorn hedges which lined the lane had disappeared, 
but some clumps of privet still held their ground, and the 
wild grape and scarlet-berried celastrus clambered all over 
the tall sassafras- and tulip-trees. 

Along the road which bounded this farm on the east 
stood a grove of magnificent oaks, more than a hundred 
feet in height. Standing too closely to permit of lateral 
boughs near the earth, their trunks rose like a crowded 
colonnade clear against the sky, and the sunset, burning 



232 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TAYLOR 

through, took more gorgeous hues of orange and angry 
crimson. 

Knowing that if the farm were sold those glorious trees 
would probably be the first to fall, and that the sunset 
would thereby for me lose half its splendor, I gradually 
came to contemplate them with the interest which an 
uncertain, suspended fate inspires. At the foot of the 
oaks, on the border of the field, there was an old, gnarled 
mother-pine, surrounded by her brood of young ones, who, 
always springing up in the same direction, from the fact 
that the seeds were scattered by the nor' west winds, 
seemed to be running oif down the slope, as if full-fledged 
and eager to make their way into the world. The old 
pine had an awful interest to me as a boy. More than 
once huge black snakes had been seen hanging from 
its boughs, and the farm-hands would tell mysterious 
stories of an old mother-serpent, as long as a fence-rail 
and as swift as a horse. In fact, my brother and I, on 
our way to the peach-trees, which still produced some bit 
ter-flavored fruit, had more than once seen snakes in our 
path. On a certain occasion, as my memory runs, I chased 
the snake, while he ran away. His story is, that he chased 
and I ran ; and the question remains unsettled to this day. 

In another wood of chestnuts, beyond the field, the 
finest yellow violets were to be found ; the azaleas blos 
somed in their season, and the ivory Indian-pipe sprang 
up under the beech-trees. Sometimes we extended our 
rambles to the end of the farm, and looked down into the 
secluded dells beyond the ridge which it covered. Such 
glimpses were like the discovery of unknown lands. How 
far off the other people lived ! How strange it must be to 
dwell continually down in that hollow, with no other house 
in sight ! But when I build a house, I thought, I shall 
build it up on the ridge, with a high steeple, from the top 



TAYLOR] HOW I CAME TO BUY A FARM. 233 

of which I can see far and wide. That deserted farm was 
to me like the Ejuxria of Hartley Coleridge, but my day 
dreams were far less ambitious than his. If I had known 
then, what I learned long afterwards, that a tradition of 
buried treasure still lingers about the old garden, I should 
no doubt have dug up my millions in my imagination, 
roofed my house with gold, and made the steeple thereof 
five hundred feet high. 

At last came the launch into the world, a slide, a 
plunge, a shudder, and the ship rides the waves. Ab 
sence, occupation, travel, substituted realities for dreams, 
and the farm, if not forgotten, became a very subordinate 
object in the catalogue of things to be attained. When 
ever I visited the homestead, however, I saw the sunset 
through its grating of forest, and remembered the fate 
that still hung suspended over the trees. Fifty years 
of neglect had given the place a bad name among the 
farmers, while Nature, as if delighted to recover posses 
sion, had gone on adorning it in her own wild and match 
less way. I looked on the spot with an instructed eye, 
and sighed, as I counted up my scanty earnings, at the re 
flection that years must elapse before I could venture to 
think of possessing it. My wish, nevertheless, was heard 
and remembered. 

In July, 1853, I was on the island of Loo-Choo. Re 
turning to the flag-ship of the squadron one evening, after 
a long tramp over the hills to the south of Napa-Kiang 
in a successful search for the ruins of the ancient fortress 
of Tima-gusku, I was summoned by the officer of the 
deck to receive a package which had been sent on board 
from one of the other vessels. Letters from home, after 
an interval of six months without news! I immediately 
asked permission to burn a lamp on the orlop deck, and 
read until midnight, forgetting the tramp of the sentry 

20* 



234 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TAYLOR 

and the sounds of the sleepers in their hammocks around 
me. Opening letter after letter, and devouring, piece by 
piece, the banquet of news they contained, the most 
startling as well as the most important communication 
was the old farm was mine ! Its former owner had 
died, the property was sold, and had been purchased in 
my name. I went on deck. The midwatch had just re 
lieved the first. The night was pitch-dark, only now and 
then a wave burst in a flash of white phosphoric fire. 
But as I looked westward over the stern-rail I saw the 
giant oaks, rising black against the crimson sunset, and 
knew that they were waiting for me, that I should surely 
see them again. 

Five months afterwards I approached home, after an 
absence of nearly two years and a half. It was Christmas 
Eve, a clear, sharp winter night. The bare earth was 
hard frozen ; the sun was down, a quarter-moon shone 
overhead, and the keen nor' west wind blew in my face. 
I had known no winter for three years, and the bracing 
stimulus of the cold was almost as novel as it was refresh 
ing. Presently I recognized the boundaries of my prop 
erty, yes, I actually possessed a portion of the earth's 
surface ! After all, I thought, possession at least so far 
as Nature is concerned means simply protection. Thi.i 
moonlit wilderness is not more beautiful to my eyes than 
it was before ; but I have the right, secured by legal docu 
ments, to preserve its beauty. I need not implore the 
woodman to spare those trees: I'll spare them myself. 
This is the only difference in my relation to the property. 
So long as any portion of the landscape which pleases me 
is not disturbed, I possess it quite as much as this. 

During these reflections I had reached the foot of the 
ridge. A giant tulip-tree, the honey of whose blossoms I 
had many a time pilfered in boyhood, crowned the slope, 



TAYLOR] HOW I CAME TO BUY A FARM. 235 

drooping its long boughs as if weary of stretching them 
in welcome. Behind it stood the oaks, side by side, far 
along the road. As I reached the first tree, the wind, 
which had- fallen, gradually swelled, humming through 
the bare branches until a deep organ -bass filled the wood. 
It was a hoarse yet grateful chorus of welcome, inartic 
ulate, yet intelligible. " Welcome, welcome home !" went 
booming through the trees ; " welcome, our master and 
our preserver ! See, with all the voice we can catch from 
the winds, we utter our joy. For now there is an end to 
fear and suspense : he who knows us and loves us spreads 
over us the shelter of his care. Long shall we flourish on 
the hill : long shall our leaves expand in the upper air : 
long shall our grateful shadows cover his path. We shall 
hail his coming from afar : our topmost boughs will spy 
him across the valleys, and whisper it to the fraternal 
woods. We are old ; we never change ; we shall never 
cease to remember and to welcome our master !" 

So the trees were first to recognize me. Listening to 
their deep, resonant voices (which I would not have ex 
changed for the dry rattle of a hundred-league-long forest 
of tropical palms), I was conscious of a new sensation, 
which nothing but the actual sight of my own property 
could have suggested. I felt like a tired swimmer when 
he first touches ground, like a rudderless ship, drifting 
at the will of the storm, when her best bower takes firm 
hold, like a winged seed when, after floating from bush 
to bush and from field to field, it drops at last upon a 
handful of mellow soil and strikes root. My life had now 
a point d'appui, and, standing upon these acres of real 
estate, it seemed an easier thing to move the world. A 
million in bank stock or railroad bonds could not have 
given me the same positive, tangible sense of property. 

When I walked over my fields (yes, actually my fields !) 



236 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TAYLOR 

the next day, this sensation returned in an almost ridicu 
lous excess. " You will of course cut down that ugly old 
tree," said some one. It impressed me very much as if I 
had been told, " That chapter in your book is inferior to 
the others ; tear it out !" or, " Your little finger is crooked ; 
have it amputated !" Why, even the sedge-grass and su 
machs, how beautiful they were ! Could I ever make up 
my mind to destroy them ? As for the cedars, the haw 
thorn, the privet, the tangled masses of climbing smilax, 
no, by the bones of Belshazzar, they shall stand ! " Thin 
field will not be worth much for grain." Well, what if 
it isn't? "Everything is wild and neglected; it "wants 
clearing, sadly." Everything is grand, beautiful, charm 
ing : there is nothing like it ! So ran the course of ro 
mark and counter-remark. I did not suifer my equanimity 
to be disturbed : was I not sole owner, appellator, and dis 
poser of all ? Nor did the trees appear to be sensible of 
the least fear. They leaned their heads against one another 
in a sort of happy, complacent calm, as if whispering, 
" It's all right ; let us enjoy the sunshine ; he'll take care 
of us!" 

Yes, one cannot properly be considered as a member of 
the Brotherhood of Man, an inhabitant of the Earth, until 
he possesses a portion of her surface. As the sailors say, 
he stays, he don't actually live. The Agrarians, Com 
munists, Socialistic Levellers, and Flats of all kinds are 
replenished from the ranks of the non-owners of real es 
tate. Banks break ; stocks and scrips of all kinds go up 
and down on the financial see-saw; but a fee-simple of 
solid earth is J^^THERE! You see it, you feel it, you 
walk -over it. It is yours, and your children's, and their 
progeny's (unless mortgaged and sold through foreclosure) 
until the Millennium. 

And this is how I came to buy a Farm. 



JAMES] ROMAN ANTIQUITIES AT NIMES. 237 

ROMAN ANTIQUITIES AT NIMES. 

HENRY JAMES, JR. 

[Henry James, Jr., who holds a high rank among recent American 
novelists, was born in New York City in 1843. His principal pro 
ductions are "Daisy Miller," " Koderick Hudson," " The American," 
"The Europeans," "The Portrait of a Lady," etc., with some works 
of travel and criticism. From one of the most recent of his publica 
tions, " A Little Tour in France," we ofler an extract, illustrative of 
his descriptive powers. As a novelist he has attracted much attention 
by his psychological analysis of character, in which department of 
literary art he displays marked skill and critical discernment.] 

IT was a pleasure to feel one's self in Provence again, 
the land where the silver-gray earth is impregnated 
with the light of the sky. To celebrate the event, as 
soon as I arrived at Nimes I engaged a caleche to convey 
me to the Pont du Gard. The day was yet young, and it 
was perfectly fair : it appeared well, for a longish drive, 
to take advantage, without delay, of such security. After 
I had left the town I became more intimate with that 
Provencal charm which I had already enjoyed from the 
window of the train, and which glowed in the sweet 
sunshine and the white rocks and lurked in the smoke- 
puffs of the little olives. The olive-trees in Provence are 
half the landscape. They are neither so tall, so stout, 
nor so richly contorted as I have seen them beyond the 
Alps ; but this mild, colorless bloom seems the very text 
ure of the country. The road from Nimes, for a distance 
of fifteen miles, is superb ; broad enough for an army, and 
as white and firm as a dinner-table. It stretches away 
over undulations which suggest a kind of harmony ; and 
in the curves it makes through the wide, free country, 
where there is never a hedge or a wall and the detail is 



238 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [JAMES 

always exquisite, there is something majestic, almost pro 
cessional. Some twenty minutes before I reached the 
little inn that marks the termination of the drive, my 
vehicle met with an accident which just missed being 
serious, and which engaged the attention of a gentleman 
who, followed by his groom and mounted on a strikingly 
handsome horse, happened to ride up at the moment. 
This young man, who, with his good looks and charming 
manner, might have stepped out of a novel of Octave 
Feuillet, gave me some very intelligent advice in refer 
ence to one of my horses that had been injured, and was 
so good as to accompany me to the inn, with the resources 
of which he was acquainted, to see that his recommenda 
tions were carried out. The result of our interview was 
that he invited me to come and look at a small but ancient 
chateau in the neighborhood, which he had the happiness 
not the greatest in the world, he intimated to inhabit, 
and at which I engaged to present myself after I should 
have spent an hour at the Pont du Gard. For the mo 
ment, when we separated, I gave all my attention to that 
great structure. You are very near it before you see it ; 
the ravine it spans suddenly opens and exhibits the pict 
ure. The scene at this point grows extremely beautiful. 
The ravine is the valley of the Gardon, which the road 
from Nimes has followed some time without taking ac 
count of it, but which, exactly at the right distance from 
the aqueduct, deepens and expands, and puts on those 
characteristics which are best suited to give it effect. 
The gorge becomes romantic, still, and solitary, and, with 
its white rocks and wild shrubbery, hangs over the clear, 
colored river, in whose slow course there is here and there 
a deeper pool. Over the valley, from side to side, and ever 
so high in the air, stretch the three tiers of the tremendous 
bridge. They are unspeakably imposing, and nothing could 



JAMES] ROMAN ANTIQUITIES AT NIMES. 239 

well be more Roman. The hugeness, the solidity, the un 
expectedness, the monumental rectitude of the whole thing 
leave you nothing to say, at the time, and make you 
stand gazing. You simply feel that it is noble and perfect, 
that it has the quality of greatness. A road, branching 
from the highway, descends to the level of the river and 
passes under one of the arches. This road has a wide 
margin of grass and loose stones, which slopes upward 
into the bank of the ravine. You may sit here as long 
as you please, staring up at the light, strong piers : the 
spot is extremely natural, though two or three stone 
benches have been erected on it. I remained there an 
hour, and got a complete impression ; the place was per 
fectly soundless, and for the time, at least, lonely ; the 
splendid afternoon had begun to fade, and there was a 
fascination in the object I had come to see. It came to 
pass that at the same time I discovered in it a certain 
stupidity, a vague brutality. That element is rarely ab 
sent from great Roman work, which is wanting in the 
nice adaptation of the means to the end. The means are 
always exaggerated; the end is so much more than at 
tained. The Eoman rigidity was apt to overshoot the 
mark, and I suppose a race which could do nothing small 
is as defective as a race that can do nothing great. Of this 
Boman rigidity the Pont du Gard is an admirable example. 
It would be a great injustice, however, not to insist upon 
its beauty, a kind of manly beauty, that of an object 
constructed not to please but to serve, and impressive 
simply from the scale on which it carries out this inten 
tion. The number of arches in each tier is different ; they 
are smaller and more numerous as they ascend. The 
preservation of the thing is extraordinary : nothing has 
crumbled or collapsed; every feature remains; and the 
huge blocks of stone, of a brownish yellow (as if they 



240 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [.JAM KB 

had been baked by the Provencal sun for eighteen cen 
turies), pile themselves, without mortar or cement, as 
evenly as the day they were laid together. All this to 
carry the water of a couple of springs to a little provin 
cial city! The conduit on the top has retained its shape 
and traces of the cement with which it was lined. When 
the vague twilight began to gather, the lonely valley 
seemed to fill itself with the shadow of the Eoman name, 
as if the mighty empire were still as erect as the supports 
of the aqueduct; and it was open to a solitary tourist, 
sitting there sentimental, to believe that no people has 
ever been, or will ever be, as great as that, measured, as 
we measure the greatness of an individual, by the push 
they gave to what they undertook. The Pont du Gard 
is one of the three or four deepest impressions they have 
left: it speaks of them in a manner with which they 
might have been satisfied. 

I feel as if it were scarcely discreet to indicate the where 
abouts of the chateau of the obliging young man I had 
met on the way from Nimes. I must content myself with 
Baying that it nestled in an enchanting valley, dans le 
fond, as they say in France, and that I took my course 
thither on foot, after leaving the Pont du Gard. I find 
it noted in my journal as " an adorable little corner." The 
principal feature of the place is a couple of very ancient 
towers, brownish yellow in hue, and mantled in scarlet 
Virginia creeper. One of these towers, reputed to be of 
Saracenic origin, is isolated, and is only the more effec 
tive ; the other is incorporated in the house, which is de 
lightfully fragmentary and irregular. It had got to be 
late by this time, and the lonely castel looked crepuscular 
and mysterious. An old housekeeper was sent for, who 
showed me the rambling interior; and then the young 
man took me into a dim old drawing-room, which had 



ROMAN ANTIQUITIES AT NJMES. 243 

no less than four chimney-pieces, all unlighted, and gave 
me a refection of fruit and sweet wine. When I praised 
the wine and asked him what it was, he said, simply, 
"C'est du vin de ma mere!" Throughout my little 
journey I had never yet felt myself so far from Paris ; 
and this was a sensation I enjoyed more than my host, 
who was an involuntary exile, consoling himself with lay 
ing out a manege, which he showed me as I walked away. 
His civility was great, and I was greatly touched by it. 
On my way back to the little inn where I had left my 
vehicle, I passed the Pont du Gard, and took another 
look at it. Its great arches made windows for the even 
ing sky, and the rocky ravine, with its dusky cedars and 
shining river, was lonelier than before. At the inn I 
swallowed, or tried to swallow, a glass of horrible wine 
with my coachman ; after which, with my reconstructed 
team, I drove back to Mmes in the moonlight. It only 
added a more solitary whiteness to the constant sheen of 
the Provencal landscape. . . . 

What nobler ornament can there be than the Roman 
baths at the foot of Mont Cavalier, and the delightful old 
garden that surrounds them ? All that quarter of Nimes 
has every reason to be proud of itself; it has been re 
vealed to the world at large by. copious photography. A 
clear, abundant stream gushes from the foot of a high 
hill (covered with trees and laid out in paths), and is dis 
tributed into basins which sufficiently refer themselves to 
the period that gave them birth, the period that has left 
its stamp on that pompous Peyrou which we admired at 
Montpellier. Here are the same terraces and steps and 
balustrades, and a system of water- works less impressive, 
perhaps, but very ingenious and charming. The whole 
place is a mixture of old Rome and of the French eigh 
teenth century ; for the remains of the antique baths are 
L q 21 



242 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [JAMES 

in a measure incorporated in the modern fountains. In a 
corner of this umbrageous precinct stands a small Eoman 
ruin, which is known as a temple of Diana, but was more 
apparently a nymphceum, and appears to have had a 
graceful connection with the adjacent baths. I learn from 
Murray that this little temple, of the period of Augustus, 
" was reduced to its present state of ruin in 1577 ;" the 
moment at which the towns-people, threatened with a 
siege by the troops of the crown, partly demolished it, 
lest it should serve as a cover to the enemy. The remains 
are very fragmentary, but they serve to show that the 
place was lovely. I spent half an hour in it on a perfect 
Sunday morning (it is enclosed by a high grille, carefully 
tended, and has a warden of its own), and with the help 
of my imagination tried to reconstruct a little the aspect 
of things in the Gallo-Roman days. I do wrong, perhaps, 
to say that I tried; from a flight so deliberate I should 
have shrunk. But there was a certain contagion of an 
tiquity in the air; and among the ruins of baths and 
temples, in the very spot where the aqueduct that crosses 
the Gardon in the wondrous manner I had seen discharged 
itself, the picture of a splendid paganism seemed vaguely 
to glow. Roman baths, Roman baths ; those words alone 
were a scene. Everything was changed : I was strolling 
in a jardin frangais ; the bosky slope of the Mont Cava 
lier (a very modest mountain), hanging over the place, is 
crowned with a shapeless tower, which is as likely to be 
of mediaeval as of antique origin ; and yet, as I leaned on 
the parapet of one of the fountains, where a flight of 
curved steps (a hemicycle, as the French say) descended 
into a basin full of dark, cool recesses, where the slabs of 
the Roman foundations gleam through the clear green 
water, as in this attitude I surrendered myself to contem 
plation and revery, it seemed to me that I touched for a 



JAMES] ROMAN ANTIQUITIES AT NfMES. 243 

moment the ancient world. Such moments are illumi 
nating, and the light of this one mingles, in my memory, 
with the dusky greenness of the Jardin de la Fontaine. 

The fountain proper the source of all these distributed 
waters is the prettiest thing in the world, a reduced copy 
of Vaucluse. It gushes up at the foot of the Mont Cava 
lier, at a point where that eminence rises with a certain 
cliff-like effect, and, like other springs in the same circum 
stances, appears to issue from the rock with a sort of quiv 
ering stillness. I trudged up the Mont Cavalier, it is a 
matter of five minutes, and having committed this cock- 
neyism enhanced it presently by another. I ascended the 
stupid Tour Magne, the mysterious structure I mentioned 
a moment ago. The only feature of this dateless tube, 
except the inevitable collection of photographs to which 
you are introduced by the door-keeper, is the view you 
enjoy from its summit. The view is, of course, remark 
ably fine, but I am ashamed to say I have not the smallest 
recollection of it; for while I looked into the brilliant 
spaces of the air I seemed still to see only what I saw in 
the depths of the Eoman baths, the image, disastrously 
confused and vague, of a vanished world. This world, 
however, has left at .Mimes a far more considerable me 
mento than a few old stones covered with water-moss. 
The Roman arena is the rival of those of Yerona and of 
Aries ; at a respectful distance it emulates the Colosseum. 
It is a small Colosseum, if I may be allowed the expres 
sion, and is in a much better preservation than the great 
circus at Rome. This is especially true of the external 
walls, with their arches, pillars, cornices. I must add that 
one should not speak of preservation, in regard to the 
arena at Nimes, without speaking also of repair. After 
the great ruin ceased to be despoiled, it began to be pro 
tected, and most of its wounds have been dressed with 






J44 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [INGERSOLL 

new material. These matters concern the archaeologist; 
and I felt here, as I felt afterwards at Aries, that one of 
the profane, in the presence of such a monument, can only 
admire and hold his tongue. The great impression, on 
the whole, is an impression of wonder that so much should 
have survived. What remains at Nimes, after all dilapi 
dation is estimated, is astounding. I spent an hour in the 
Arenes on that same sweet Sunday morning, as I came 
back from the Roman baths, and saw that the corridors, 
the vaults, the staircases, the external casing, are still 
virtually there. Many of these parts are wanting in the 
Colosseum, whose sublimity of size, however, can afford 
to dispense with detail. The seats at Nimes, like those at 
Yerona, have been largely renewed ; not that this mattered 
much, as I lounged on the cool surface of one of them 
and admired the mighty concavity of the place and the 
elliptical sky-line, broken by uneven blocks and forming 
the rim of the monstrous cup, a cup that had been filled 
with horrors. And yet I made my reflections ; I said to 
myself that though a Eoman arena is one of the most 
impressive of the works of man, it has a touch of that 
same stupidity which I ventured to discover in the Pont 
du Gard. It is brutal ; it is monotonous ; it is not at all 
exquisite. 



THE ROYAL GORGE. 

ERNEST INGERSOLL. 

[The following sketch is from " The Crest of the Continent," an 
excellent description of Rocky Mountain scenery and of the mining 
regions of Colorado, by an author who has but recently come into the 
literary field. The amusing story with which our extract closes is not 



INGERSOLL] THE ROYAL GORGE. 245 

an unfair specimen of the " drawing of the long how" in which many 
of our far- Western friends are adepts.] 

THE Grand Canon of the Arkansas, and its culminating 
chasm, the Royal Gorge, lie between Salida and Canon 
City, and form a sufficient theme for a chapter by them 
selves. It was on our return from Silver Cliff that we 
went there. 

Situated only half a dozen miles west of Canon City, 
the traveller going either to Leadville or Gunnison begins 
to watch for the canon as soon as he has passed the city 
limits, the penitentiary, and the mineral springs. If he 
looks ahead, he sees the vertically-tilted, whitish strata of 
sandstone and limestone, which the upthrust of the inte 
rior mountains has set on edge, broken at a narrow portal 
through which the graceful river finds the first freedom 
of the plains, becomes of age, so to speak, and com 
mences, however awkwardly, that manly progress that 
by and by will enable it to take its important place in the 
commerce of the world, 

" the river 

Which through continents pushes its pathway fore vet, 
To fling its fond heart in the sea." 

Eunning the gauntlet of these scraggy warders of tho 
castle of the mountain-gods within, the train boldly as 
saults the gates of the castle itself. From the smooth 
ness of the outer world, where the eye can range in wide 
vision, taking in the profiles of countless noble chains 
and lowlier but serviceable ridges, where the sun shines 
broadly and its light and heat are reflected in shimmer 
ing volumes from expanses of whitened soil, the eager 
traveller now finds himself locked between precipitous 
hill-sides, strewn with jagged fragments, as though the 



246 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [!NGERSOLL 

Titans had tossed in here the chips from their workshop 
of the world. He strives for language large enough to 
picture the heights that with ceaselessly-growing altitude 
hasten to meet him. He searches his fancy after images 
and similitudes that shall help him comprehend and 
recall the swiftly-crowding forms of Nature's massive 
architecture. He taxes his eyes and mind and memory 
to see and preserve until he can have leisure to study 
this exhibition of the depth and breadth of the barrier 
that so long has loomed before him in silent majesty, yet 
for which the world has found no better name than the 
Rocky Mountains. He has gone past it, gone over it, it 
may be; now he is going through it. The track, as he 
rushes ahead, seems bodily to sink deeper and deeper 
into the earth, as though the apparent progress forward 
only resulted in impotent struggles to keep from sink 
ing deeper, like an exhausted swimmer in swift waters. 
The roar of the yeasty, nebulous-green river at his 
side mingles with the crashing echoes of the train, re 
verberating heavenward through rocks that rise perpen 
dicularly to unmeasured heights. The ear is stunned, 
and the mind refuses to sanction what the senses report 
to it. 

Then a new surprise, and almost terror, comes. The 
train rolls round a long curve, close under a wall of black 
and banded granite, beside which the ponderous locomo 
tive shrinks to a mere dot, as if swinging on some pivot 
in the heart of the mountain, or captured by a centrip 
etal force that would never resign its grasp. Almost a 
whole circle is accomplished, and the grand amphithe- 
atrical sweep of the wall shows no break in its smooth 
and zenith -cutting facade. "Will the journey end here ? 
Is it a mistake that this crevice goes through the range ? 
Does not all this mad water gush from some powerful 



TXGERSOLL] THE ROYAL GORGE. 247 

spring, or boil out of a subterranean channel impenetrable 
to us ? 

No, it opens. Eesisting centripetal, centrifugal force 
claims the train, and it breaks away at a tangent past the 
edge or round the corner of the great black wall which 
compelled its detour, and that of the river before it. Now 
what glories of rock-piling confront the wide-distended 
eye! How those sharp-edged cliffs, standing with upright 
heads that play at hand-ball with the clouds, alternate 
with one another, so that first the right, then the left, 
then the right one beyond strike on our view, each one 
half obscured by its fellow in front, each showing itself 
level-browed with its comrades as we come even with it. 
each a score of hundreds of dizzy feet in height, rising 
perpendicular from the water and the track, splintered 
atop into airy pinnacles, braced behind against the almost 
continental mass through which the chasm has been 
cleft. 

This is the Eoyal Gorge ! 

But how faintly I tell it ! how inexpressible are tne 
wonders of plutonic force it commemorates, how magnifi 
cent the pose and self-sustained majesty of its walls, how 
stupendous the height as wo look up, the depth if we were 
to gaze timidly down, how splendid the massive shadows 
at the base of the interlocking headlands, the glint of 
sunlight on the upper rim, and the high polish of the 
crowning points ! One must catch it all as an impression 
on the retina of his mind's eye, must memorize it ir.- 
stantly and ponder it afterward. It is ineffable, but the 
thought of it remains through years and years a legacy 
of vivid recollection and delight, and you never cease to 
be proud that you have seen it. 

There is more canon after that, miles and miles of it, 
the Grand Canon of the Arkansas. In and out of all the 



248 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [!NGERSOLL 

bends and elbows, gingerly round the promontories whose 
very feet the river laves, rapidly across the small, sheltered 
nooks where soil has been drifted and a few adventurous 
trees have grown, noisily through the echoing cuttings, 
the train rushes westward, letting you down gradually 
from the tense excitement of the great chasm, to the cedar- 
strewn ledges that fade out into the gravel bars and the 
park-like spaces of the open valley beyond Cotopaxi. 

Thomas Paine tells us in his "Age of Eeason," " The sub 
lime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related that it 
is difficult to class them separately." It is good philosophy, 
also, that the higher the strain the longer the rebound : so 
no excuse is needed for asking you to enjoy as heartily 
as we did the story an old fellow told us at the supper 
station, who dropped the hint that he had been one of the 
" boys" who had helped push the railway through this 
canon. Moreover, he helped us to a new phase of human 
nature as exemplified in the mind of an " old-timer." 

The influence of the canon on the ordinary tourist, per 
haps, will be comparatively transient, fading into a dream 
like memory of amazing mental impressions. Not so with 
the man who has dwelt, untutored, for many years, amid 
these stupendous hills and abysmal gorges. His imagina 
tion, once aroused and enlarged, continues to expand ; his 
fiction, once created, hardens into fact ; his veracity, once 
elongated, stretches on and on forever. Of all natural 
curiosities he is the most curious, more marvellous than 
even the Grand Canon itself. 

Strictly sane and truthful in the daytime, he speaks 
only of commonplace things ; but when the night comes, 
and the huge mountains group themselves around his 
camp-fire like a circle of black Cyclopean tents, he shades 
his face from the blaze and bids his imagination stalk 
forth with Titanic strides. Then, if his hearers are in 



INGERSOLL] THE ROYAL GORGE. 249 

sympathy, with self-repressed and nonchalant gravity, he 
pours forth in copious detail his strange experiences with 
bears and bronchos, Indians and serpents, footpads and 
gamblers, mines and mules, tornadoes and forest-fires. He 
never for a moment weakens the effect of his story by 
giving way to gush and enthusiasm ; he makes his facts 
eloquent, and then relates them in the careless monotone 
of one who is superior to emotion under any circum 
stances. 

We could not find our old-timer in these most favorable 
Circumstances, but ensconced behind 

" Sublime tobacco ! which, from east to west, 
Cheers the tar's labors, or the Turkman's rest," 

he seized his opportunity in our discussion of the heroio 
engineering by which the penetralia of the Eoyal Gorge 
was opened to the locomotive, and began : 

" Talk about blastin' ! The boy's yarn about blowin' 
up a mountain's nothin' but a squib to what we did when 
we blasted the Ryo Grand Railroad through the Royal 
Gorge. 

" One day the boss sez to me, sez he, ' Hyar, you, do 
you know how to handle gunpowder?' 

" Sez I, < You bet.' 

"Sez he, 'Do you see that 'ere ledge a thousand feet 
above us, stickin' out like a hat-brim ?' 

"Sez I, 'You bet I do.' 

" ' Wall,' sez he, ' that'll smash a train into a grease-spot 
some day, ef we don't blast it off.' 

" c Jess so,' sez I. 

" Wall, we went up a gulch, and clum the mountain an' 
come to the prissipass, and got down on all fours, an' 
looked down straight three thousand feet. The river 



250 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [INGERSOLF. 

down there looked like a lariat a-runnin' after a broncho. 
I begun to feel like a kite a-sailin' in the air like. Forty 
church steeples in one warn't nowhar to that 'ere pinnacle 
in the clouds. An' after a while it begun rainin' an' 
tmowin' an' hailin' an' thundrin' an' doin' a reglar tornado 
biznis down thar, an' a reglar summer day whar we wu/. 
on top. "Wall, there wuz a crevice from whar we wuz, an' 
we sorter slid down into it, to within fifty feet o' the ledge, 
an' then they let me down on the ledge with a rope an' 
drill. "When I got down thar, I looked up an' sez to the 
boss, l Boss, how are ye goin' to get that 'cussion powder 
down ?' Yer see, we used this 'ere powder as'll burn like 
a pine-knot 'thout explodin', but if yer happen to drop it 
it'll blow yer into next week 'fore ye kin wink yer eye. 

" ' Wall,' sez the boss, sez he, ' hyar's fifty pound, an' yer 
must ketch it.' 

" ' Ketch it,' sez 1. l Hain't ye gettin' a little keerless '{ 
S'pose I miss it?' I sez. 

" ' But ye mustn't miss it,' sez he. ' 'T seems to me yer 
gettin' mighty keerful of yourself all to wunst.' 

" Sez I, l Boss, haul me up. I'm a fool, but not an idgit. 
Haul me up. I'm not so much afeared of the blowin' up 
ez of the comin' down. If I should miss comin' onto this 
ledge, thar's nobody a thousan' feet below thar to ketch 
me, an' I might get drowiaded in the Arkansaw, for 1 
kain't swim.' 

" So they hauled me up, an' let three other fellers down, 
an' the boss discharged me, an' I sot down sorter behind 
a rock, an' tole 'em they'd soon have a fust-class funeral, 
and might need me for pall-bearer. 

" Wall, them fellers ketched the dynamite all right, and 
put 'er in, an' lit their fuse, but afore they could haul 'em 
up she went off. Great guns ! 'Twas wuss'n forty thou 
san' Fourth o' Julys. A million coyotes an' tin pans an' 



INGERSOLL] THE ROYAL GORGE. 251 

horns an' gongs ain't a sarcumstance. TV hull gorge 
fur ten mile bellered, an' bellered, an' kep' on bellerin' 
wuss'n a corral o' Texas bulls. I foun' myself on my back 
a-lookin' up, an' th' las' thing I seed wuz two o' them fel 
lers a-whirlin' clean over the mountain, two thousan' feet 
above. One of 'em had my jack-knife an' tobacker, but 
'twas no use cryin'. 'Twas a good jack-knife, though ; I 
don't keer so much fur the tobacker. He slung suthin' at 
me as he went over, but it didn't come nowhar near, V 
I don't know yet what it was. When we all kinder come 
to, the boss looked at his watch, 'n' tole us all to witness 
that the fellers was blown up just at noon, an' was only 
entitled to half a day's wages, an' quit 'thout notice. 
When we got courage to peep over an' look down, we 
found that the hat-brim wasn't busted off at all ; the hull 
thing was only a squib. But we noticed that a rock ez 
big ez a good-sized cabin hed loosened, an' hed rolled down 
on top of it. While we sat lookin' at it, boss sez, sez he, 

" ' Did you fellers see more'n two go up ?' 

"'No,' sez we, an' pretty soon we heern t'other feller 
a-hollerin', * Come down 'n' get me out !' 

" Gents, you may have what's left of my old shoe, if the 
ledge hadn't split open a little, 'n' that chap fell into the 
rrack, 'n' the big rock rolled onto the ledge an' sorter 
gently held him thar. He warn't hurt a har. We warn't 
slow about gettin' down. We jist tied a rope to a pint o' 
rock an' slid. But you may hang me for a chipmuck ef 
we could git anywhar near him, an' it was skeery busi 
ness a-foolin' roun' on that 'ere verandy. 'Twarn't much 
bigger'n a hay-rack, an' a thousan' foot up. We hed some 
crowbars, but boss got a leetle excited, an' perty soon bent 
every one on 'em tryin' to prize off that boulder, that'd 
weigh a hundred ton like. Then agin we wuz all on it, 
fer it kivered th' hull ledge, 'n' whar'd we ben ef he'd 



252 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [!NGERSOLL 

prized it off? All the while the chap kep' a-hollerin', 
* Hurry up ; pass me some tobacker !' Oh, it was the pit- 
terfulest cry you ever heern, an' we -didn't know what to 
do till he yelled, ' I'm a-losin' time ; hain't you goin' to 
git me out?' Sez boss, 'I've bent all the crowbars, an' 
we can't git you out.' 

" ' Got any dynamite powder ?' sez the feller. 

" ' Yes.' 

" ' Well, then, why 'n the name of the Denver 'n' Ryo 
Grand don't you blast me out ?' sez he. 

" ' We can't blast you out,' sez boss, ' fer dynamite busts 
down, an' it'll blow you down the canyon.' 

" 'Well, then,' sez he, ' one o' ye swing down under the 
ledge, an' put a shot in whar it's cracked below.' 

" ' You're wiser 'n a woman,' sez boss. ' I'd never thought 
o' that.' 

" So the boss took a rope, 'n' we swung him down, 'n' 
he put in a shot, 'n' was goin' to light the fuse, when the 
feller inside smelt the match. 

" ' Hev ye tumbled to my racket ?' sez he. 

'"You bet we have, feller-priz'ner!' sez the boss. 

" ' Touch 'er off!' sez the feller. 

" ' All right,' sez boss. 

" ' Hold on !' yells the feller as wuz inside. 

" ' What's the racket now ?' sez the boss. 

" ' You hain't got the sense of a blind mule,' sez he. 
' Do you s'pose I want to drop down the canyon when the 
shot busts ? Pass in a rope through the crack, 'n' I'll tie 
it roun' me, 'n' then you can touch 'er off kind o' easy like.' 

" Wall, that struck us all as a pious idea. That feller 
knowed more'n a dozen blind mules, sed mules weren't 
fur off, neither. Wall, we passed in the rope, 'n' when we 
pulled boss up, he guv me t'other e'end 'n' tole me to hole 
on tighter 'n a puppy to a root. I tuck the rope, wrapped 



INGERSOLL] THE ROYAL GORGE. 253 

it 'round me, 'n' climb up, fifty feet to a pint o' rock right 
under 'nuther pint 'bout a hundred feet higher, that kinder 
hung over the pint whar I wuz. Boss 'n' t'other fellers 
skedaddled up the crevice 'n' hid. 

" Purty soon suthin' happened. I can't describe it, gents. 
The hull canyon wuz full o' blue blazes, flyin' rocks, 'n' 
loose volcanoes. Both sides o' the gorge, two thousan' 
foet straight up, seemed to touch tops 'n' then swing open. 
I wuz sort o' dazed 'n' blinded, l n' felt ez if the prissipasses 
'n' the mountains wuz all on a tangle-foot drunk, staggerin' 
like. The rope tightened 'round my stummick, 'n' I seized 
onto it tight, 'n' yelled, 

" l Hole on, pard, I'll draw you up ! Cheer up, my 
hearty,' sez I, ' cheer up ! Jess as soon's I git my footin', 
I'll bring ye to terry firmy !' 

" Ye see, I wuz sort o' confused 'n' blinded by the smoke 
'n' dust, 'n' hed a queer feelin', like a spider a-swingin' 
an' a-whirlin' on a har. At last I got so's I could see, 'n' 
looked down to see if the feller wuz a-swingin' clar of the 
rocks, but I couldn't see him. The ledge wuz blown clean 
off, 'n' the canyon seemed 'bout three thousan' feet deep. 
My stummick begun to hurt me dreadful, 'n' I squirmed 
'round 'n' looked up, 'n' durn my breeches, gents, ef I 
wasn't within ten foot of the top of the gorge, 'n' the 
feller ez wuz blasted out wuz a-haulin' on me up. 

" Sez I when he got me to the top, sez I, ' Which eend of 
this rope wuz you on, my friend ?' 

" * I dunno,' sez he. ' Which eend wuz you on ?' 

" ' I dunno,' sez I. 

" An', gents, to this day we can't tell ef it was which or 
t'other ez wuz blasted out." 



254 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 



THE MEANING OF INFANCY. 

JOHN FISKE. 

[No man has done more to popularize the modern evolutionary 
theories than John Fiske, the author of " Myths and Myth-Makers," 
" Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy," and many other works, in which 
the views of Darwin, Spencer, and others of the radical scientists of 
the present day are relieved of their technicalities and brought within 
the range of popular comprehension. He has a fresh, easy, and flow 
ing style, and possesses in an unusual degree the art of giving trans 
parency to opaque subjects. From one of his later works, " Excursions 
of an Evolutionist," we make the following extract. Mr. Fiske is a 
native of Hartford, Connecticut, where he was born in 1842.] 

WHAT is the Meaning of Infancy ? What is the mean 
ing of the fact that man is born into the world more help 
less than any other creature, and needs for a much longe* 
season than any other living thing the tender care arid 
wise counsel of his elders ? It is one of the most familiar 
of facts that man, alone among animals, exhibits a capacity 
for progress. That man is widely different from other 
animals in the length of his adolescence and the utter 
helplessness of his babyhood, is an equally familiar fact. 
Tow, between these two commonplace facts is there any 
connection ? Is it a mere accident that the creature which 
is distinguished as progressive should also be distinguished 
as coming slowly to maturity, or is there a reason lying 
deep down in the nature of things why this should be so? 
I think it can be shown with very few words that between 
these two facts there is a connection that is deeply in 
wrought with the processes by which life has been evolved 
upon the earth. It can be shown that man's progressive 
ness and the length of his infancy are but two sides of 
one and the same fact ; and in showing this, still more 



FISKE] THE MEANING OF INFANCY. 255 

will appear. It will appear that it was the lengthening 
of infancy which ages ago gradually converted our fore 
fathers from brute creatures into human creatures. It is 
babyhood that has made man what he is. The simple 
unaided operation of natural selection could never have 
resulted in the origination of the human race. Natural 
selection might have gone on forever improving the breed 
of the highest animal in many ways, but it could never 
unaided have started the process of civilization or have 
given to man those peculiar attributes in virtue of which 
it has been well said that the difference between him and 
the highest of apes immeasurably transcends in value the, 
difference between an ape and a blade of grass. In order 
to bring about that wonderful event, the Creation of Man, 
natural selection had to call in the aid of other agencies, 
and the chief of these agencies was the gradual lengthen 
ing of babyhood. 

Such is the point which I wish to illustrate in few 
words, and to indicate some of its bearings on the history 
of human progress. Let us first observe what it was that 
lengthened the infancy of the highest animal, for then we 
shall be the better able to understand the character of the 
prodigious effects which this infancy has wrought. A 
few familiar facts concerning the method in which men 
learn how to do things will help us here. 

When we begin to learn to play the piano, we have to 
devote much time and thought to the adjustment and 
movement of our fingers, and to the interpretation of the 
vast and complicated multitude of symbols which make 
up the printed page of music that stands before us. For 
a long time, therefore, our attempts are feeble and stam 
mering, and they require the full, concentrated power of 
the mind. Yet a trained pianist will play a new piece of 
music at sight, and perhaps have so much attention tc 



256 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

spare that he can talk with you at the same time. What 
an enormous number of mental acquisitions have in this 
case become almost instinctive or automatic ! It is just so 
in learning a foreign language, and it was just the same 
when in childhood we learned to walk, to talk, and to 
write. It is just the same, too, in learning to think about 
abstruse subjects. What at first strains the attention to 
the utmost, and often wearies us, comes at last to be done 
without effort and almost unconsciously. Great minds 
thus travel over vast fields of thought with an ease of 
which they are themselves unaware. Dr. Nathaniel 
Bowditch once said that in translating the " Mecanique 
Celeste" he had come upon formulas which Laplace intro 
duced with the word " obviously," where it took neverthe 
less many days of hard study to supply the intermediate 
steps through which that transcendent mind had passed 
with one huge leap of inference. At some time in his 
youth no doubt Laplace had to think of these things, just 
as Rubinstein had once to think how his fingers should be 
placed on the keys of the piano ; but what was once the 
object of conscious attention comes at last to be wellnigh 
automatic, while the flight of the conscious mind goes on 
ever to higher and vaster themes. 

Let us now take a long leap from the highest level of 
human intelligence to the mental life of a turtle or a cod 
fish. In what does the mental life of such creatures con 
sist ? It consists of a few simple acts mostly concerned 
with the securing of food and the avoiding of danger, and 
these few simple acts are repeated with unvarying mo 
notony during the whole lifetime of these creatures. Con 
sequently these acts are performed with great ease and are 
attended with very little consciousness, and moreover the 
capacity to perform them is transmitted from parent to 
offspring as completely as the capacity of the stomach to 






FISKE] THE MEANING OF INFANCY. 257 

digest food is transmitted. In all animals the new-born 
stomach needs but the contact with food in order to begin 
digesting, and the new-born lungs need but the contact 
with air in order to begin to breathe. The capacity for 
performing these perpetually-repeated visceral actions is 
transmitted in perfection. All the requisite nervous con 
nections are fully established during the brief embryonic 
existence of each creature. In the case of lower animals 
it is almost as much so with the few simple actions which 
make up the creature's mental life. The bird known as 
the fly-catcher no sooner breaks the egg than it will snap 
at and catch a fly. This action is not so very simple ; but 
because it is something the bird is always doing, being, 
indeed, one out of the very few things that this bird ever 
does, the nervous connections needful for doing it are all 
established before birth, and nothing but the presence of 
the fly is required to set the operation going. 

With such creatures as the codfish, the turtle, or the 
fly-catcher, there is accordingly nothing that can properly 
be called infancy. With them the sphere of education is 
extremely limited. They get their education before they 
are born. In other words, heredity does everything for 
them, education nothing. The career of the individual is 
predetermined by the careers of his ancestors, and he can 
do almost nothing to vary it. The life of such creatures 
is conservatism cut and dried, and there is nothing pro 
gressive about them. 

In what I just said I left an " almost." There is a great 
deal of saving virtue in that little adverb. Doubtless eveu 
animals low in the scale possess some faint traces of educa- 
bility ; but they are so very slight that it takes geologic 
ages to produce an appreciable result. In all the innumer 
able wanderings, fights, upturnings, and cataclysms of the 
earth's stupendous career, each creature has been sum- 

r 22* 



258 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

moned under penalty of death to use what little wit he 
may have had, and the slightest trace of mental flexibility 
is of such priceless value in the struggle for existence that 
natural selection must always have seized upon it, and 
sedulously hoarded and transmitted it for coming genera 
tions to strengthen and increase. With the lapse of geo 
logic time the upper grades of animal intelligence have 
doubtless been raised higher and higher through natural 
selection. The warm-blooded mammals and birds of to 
day no doubt surpass the cold-blooded dinosaurs of the 
Jurassic age in mental qualities as they surpass them in 
physical structure. From the codfish and turtle of ancient 
family to the modern lion, dog, and monkey it is a very 
long step upward. The mental life of a warm-blooded 
animal is a very diiferent aifair from that of reptiles and 
fishes. A squirrel or a bear does a good many things in 
the course of his life. He meets various vicissitudes in 
various ways ; he has adventures. The actions he per 
forms are so complex and so numerous that they are sev 
erally .performed with less frequency than the few actions 
performed by the codfish. The requisite nervous connec 
tions are accordingly not fully established before birth. 
There is not time enough. The nervous connections needed 
for the visceral movements and for the few simple instinc 
tive actions get organized, and then the creature is born 
before he has learned how to do all the things his parents 
could do. A good many of his nervous connections are not 
yet formed, they are only formable. Accordingly, he is not 
quite able to take care of himself; he must for a time ba 
watched and nursed. All mammals and most birds have 
thus a period of babyhood that is not very long, but is, on 
the whole, longest with the most intelligent creatures. It 
is especially long with the higher monkeys, and among 
the man-like apes it becomes so long as to be strikingly 



PISKE] THE MEANING OF INFANCY. 259 

suggestive. An infant orang-outang, captured by Mr. 
Wallace, was still a helpless baby at tbe age of three 
months, unable to feed itself, to walk without aid, or to 
grasp objects with precision. 

But this period of helplessness has to be viewed under 
another aspect. It is a period of plasticity. The creat 
ure's career is no longer exclusively determined by hered 
ity. There is a period after birth when its character can 
be slightly modified by what happens to it after birth, 
that is, by its experience as an individual. It becomes 
educable. It is no longer necessary for each generation 
to be exactly like that which has preceded. A door is 
opened through which the capacity for progress can enter. 
Horses and dogs, bears and elephants, parrots and mon 
keys, are all teachable to some extent; and we have even 
heard of a learned pig. Of learned asses there has been 
no lack in the world. 

But this educability of the higher mammals and birds 
is, after all, quite limited. By the beginnings of infancy 
the door for progressiveness was set ajar, but it was not 
all at once thrown wide open. Conservatism still con 
tinued in fashion. One generation of cattle is much like 
another. It would be easy for foxes to learn to climb 
trees, and many a fox might have saved his life by doing 
so ; yet, quick-witted as he is, this obvious device never 
seems to have occurred to Reynard. Among slightly 
teachable mammals, however, there is one group more 
teachable than the rest. Monkeys, with their greater 
power of handling things, have also more inquisitiveness 
and more capacity for sustained attention than any other 
mammals ; and the higher apes are fertile in varied re 
sources. The orang-outang and gorilla are for this reason 
dreaded by other animals, and roam the undisputed lords 
of their native forests. They have probably approached 



260 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

the critical point where variations in intelligence, always 
important, have come to be supremely important, so as to 
be seized by natural selection in preference to variations 
in physical constitution. At some remote epoch of the 
past we cannot say just when or how our half-human 
forefathers reached and passed this critical point, and 
forthwith their varied struggles began age after age to 
result in the preservation of bigger and better brains, 
while the rest of their bodies changed but little. This 
particular work of natural selection must have gone on 
for an enormous length of time, and as its result we see 
that while man remains anatomically much like an ape, 
he has acquired a vastly greater brain, with all that this 
implies. Zoologically the distance is small between man 
and the chimpanzee ; psychologically it has become so 
great as to "be immeasurable. 

But this steady increase of intelligence, as our fore 
fathers began to become human, carried with it a steady 
prolongation of infancy. As mental life became more 
complex and various, as the things to be learned kept ever 
multiplying, less and less could be done before birth, more 
and more must be left to be done in the earlier years of 
life. So, instead of being born with a few simple capaci 
ties thoroughly organized, man came at last to be born 
with the germs of many complex capacities which were 
reserved to be unfolded and enhanced or checked and 
stifled by the incidents of personal experience in each 
individual. In this simple yet wonderful way there has 
been provided for man a long period during which his 
mind is plastic and malleable, and the length of this period 
has increased with civilization until it now covers nearly 
one-third of our lives. It is not that our inherited ten 
dencies and aptitudes are not still the main thing. It is 
only that we have at last acquired great power to modify 



PARTON] OLD VIRGINIA. 261 

them by training, so that progress may go on with ever- 
increasing sureness and rapidity. 



OLD VIRGINIA. 

JAMES PARTON. 

[James Parton, though noted for his work in the field of American 
"biography, is a native of England, where he was horn, at Canterhury, 
in 1822. He came when young to the United States, and engaged in 
literary lahors, the principal result of which is his series of admira 
ble biographies, which have attained an exceptional popularity with 
American readers for their fulness and freshness of incident and their 
judicious selection and handling of the salient features in the life of 
each person treated. From his " Life of Thomas Jefferson" we select 
the following episodial description of business methods and extrava 
gance in Old Virginia.] 

WHEN John Rolfe, not yet husband of Pocahontas, 
planted the first tobacco-seed in Jamestown, in 1612, good 
tobacco sold in London docks at five shillings a pound, or 
two hundred and fifty pounds sterling for a hogshead of a 
thousand pounds' weight. Fatal facility of money-making ! 
It Avas this that diverted all labor, capital, and enterprise 
into one channel, and caused that first ship-load of negroes 
in the James Eiver to be so welcome. The planter could 
have but one object, to get more slaves in order to raise 
more tobacco. Hence the price was ever on the decline, 
dropping first from shillings to pence, and then going down 
the scale of pence, until it remained for some years at an 
average of about two pence a pound in Virginia and three 
pence in London. In Virginia it often fell below two 
pence ; as, during brief periods of scarcity, it would rise 
to six pence and seven pence. . . . 



262 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

Old Virginia is a pathetic chapter in Political Economy. 
Old Virginia indeed ! She reached decrepitude while con 
temporary communities were enjoying the first vigor of 
youth ; while New York was executing the task which 
Virginia's George Washington had suggested and foretold, 
that of connecting the waters of the great West with tho 
ocean ; while New England was careering gayly over the 
sea, following the whale to his most distant retreat, and 
feeding belligerent nations with her superabundance. One 
little century of seeming prosperity ; three generations of 
spendthrifts; then the lawyer and the sheriff! Nothing 
was invested, nothing was saved for the future. There 
were no manufactures, no commerce, no towns, no internal 
trade, no great middle class. As fast as that virgin rich 
ness of soil -could be converted into tobacco, and sold in 
London docks, the proceeds were expended in vast, ugly 
mansions, heavy furniture, costly apparel, Madeira wine, 
tine horses, huge coaches, and more slaves. The planters 
lived as though virgin soil were revenue, not capital. They 
tried to maintain in Virginia the lordly style of English 
grandees, without any Birmingham, Staffordshire, Sheffield, 
or London docks to pay for it. Their short-lived pros 
perity consisted of three elements, virgin soil, low-priced 
slaves, high-priced tobacco. The virgin soil was rapidly 
exhausted; the price of negroes was always on the in 
crease ; and the price of tobacco was always tending down 
ward. Their sole chance of founding a stable common 
wealth was to invest the proceeds of their tobacco in 
something that would absorb their labor and yield them 
profit when the soil would no longer produce tobacco. 

But their laborers were ignorant slaves, the possession 
of whom destroyed their energy, swelled their pride, and 
dulled their understandings. Virginia's case was hopeless 
from the day on which that Dutch ship landed the first 



PARTON] OLD VIRGINIA. 263 

twenty slaves ; and, when the time of reckoning came, 
the people had nothing to show for their long occupation 
of one of the finest estates in the world, except great 
hordes of negroes, breeding with the rapidity of rabbits ; 
upon whose annual increase Virginia subsisted, until the 
most glorious and beneficial of all wars set the white race 
free and gave Virginia her second opportunity. 

All this was nobody's fault. It was a combination of 
circumstances against which the unenlightened human 
nature of that period could not possibly have made head. 
Few men saw anything wrong in slavery. No man knew 
much about the laws that control the prosperity of States. 
No man understood the science of agriculture. Every one 
with whom those proud and thoughtless planters dealt 
plundered them, and the mother-country discouraged 
every attempt of the colonists to manufacture their own 
supplies. There were so many charges upon tobacco, in 
its course from the planter's packing-house to the con 
sumer's pipe, that it was no very uncommon thing, in dull 
years, for the planter to receive from his agent in London, 
in return for his hogsheads of tobacco, not a pleasant sum 
of money, nor even a box of clothes, but a bill of charges 
which the price of the tobacco had not covered. One of the 
hardships of which the clergy complained was, that they 
did not " dare" to send their tobacco to London, for fear of 
being brought in debt by it, but had to sell it on the spot 
to speculators much below the London price. The old 
Virginia laws and records so abound in tobacco informa 
tion that we can follow a hogshead of tobacco from its 
native plantation on the James to the shop of the tobac 
conist in London. 

In the absence of farm-vehicles, many planters who 
kept a coach had no wagon, each hogshead was attached 
to a pair of shafts with a horse between them, and " rolled" 



264 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PARTON 

to a shed on the bank of the stream. "When a ship ar 
rived in the river from London, it anchored opposite each 
plantation which it served, and set ashore the portion of 
the cargo belonging to it, continuing its upward course 
until the hold was empty. Then, descending the river, it 
stopped at the different plantations, taking in from each 
its hogsheads of tobacco, and the captain receiving long 
lists of articles to be bought in London with the proceeds 
of the tobacco. The rivers of Virginia, particularly the 
Potomac and the James, are wide and shallow, with a 
deep channel far from either shore : so that the transfer 
of the tobacco from the shore to the ship, in the general 
absence of landings, was troublesome and costly. To this 
day, as readers remember, the piers on the James present 
to the wondering passenger from the North a stretch of 
pine planks from an eighth to half a mile long. The ship 
is full at length, drops down past Newport News, salutes 
the fort upon Old Point Comfort, and glides out between 
the capes into the ocean. 

Suppose her now safe in London docks, say about the 
year 1735, the middle of the prosperous period, when the 
great houses were building in Virginia, with stabling for 
" a hundred horses" and pretext of work for " a hundred 
servants." By the time she is fast at her berth the vul 
tures have alighted upon her deck. Two " land-waiters" 
represent the authorities of the custom-house, and are 
sworn to see that the king gets his own. A personage 
called the " ship's husband" is not long behind them. He, 
representing the merchant to whom the tobacco is con 
signed, would naturally be the antagonist of the land- 
waiters ; but he is only too glad to establish an under 
standing with them. And behind each of these two 
powers there is a train of hangers-on, hungry for a morsel 
of the prey. There is already a charge of two pounds for 



PARTON] OLD VIRGINIA. 265 

freight upon each hogshead. As soon as the ship is re 
ported at the custom-house, the king demands his " old 
subsidy" of three farthings upon every pound of tobacco 
on board, more than three pounds sterling on a hogshead 
of a thousand pounds' weight. The " duty" of five and 
one-third pence per pound has next to be calculated, and 
a bond given for its payment when the tobacco is sold for 
home consumption. The purchaser, it is true, pays these 
duties j but the planter is responsible and bound for the 
payment. 

Then there is a continuous fire of petty charges at each 
unfortunate hogshead, some of which it is difficult now to 
explain. I copy the following items from an agent's bill 
of 1733 : " primage, 6d. ;" " wharfage and lighterage, Qd. ;" 
" Mr. Perry, 3d. ;" a husbanding the ship, 4d. ;" " watching 
and drink, 3d. ;" " entry inwards and bonds, 6d. ;" " land- 
waiters' fees, 3d. ; " dinners, breakfasts to the husband and 
officers while landing the ship, with other incident ex 
penses, 9d. ;" " entry outwards and searchers, Sd. ;" " cocket* 
money, etc., 3d. ;" " debentures one with another, 13d. ;" 
" cooperage on board, 2d. ;" " ditto, landing, Is. ;" " ditto, 
outwards, 9d. ;" " refusing and hoops, Id. ;" " porterage, re 
housing, and extraordinary rummaging, 6d. ;" " weighing 
and shipping, Qd. ;" " wharfage and lighterage outwards, 
Qd. ;" " cartage, Is. ;" " warehouse rent for three months, 
Is. 6d. ;" "brokerage, 2s.;" "postage, as charged by the 
post-office ;" " agent's commission, 2 J per cent." In other 
bills I observe such words as " suttle,"f and the old familiar 
" tare" and " tret." 

* COCKET. A scroll of parchment, sealed and delivered by the 
officers of the custom-house to merchants, as a warrant that their mer 
chandise is entered. 

f SUTTLE. Suttle-weight, in commerce, is the weight when the tare 
has "been deducted, and tret has yet to be allowed. 
M 23 



266 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PABTON 

Besides these vexatious charges, each of which could 
be a pretext for fraud, the London agent had other modes 
of despoiling the planter who was quaffing his Madeira, 
or chasing the fox, three thousand miles away. Two 
pounds of tobacco were allowed to be taken from each 
hogshead for a sample ; but a cooper who knew what was 
due to a British merchant and to himself could dra^\ 
eight pounds as well as two, and a weigher who had been 
previously " seen" could mark down the weight of a hogs 
head two hundred pounds or ten pounds, according to 
the size of the hogshead, leaving the planter to decide 
whether his scales or those of the London custom-house 
were untrustworthy. In a word, all those fraudulent 
devices complained of by honest merchants in the bad 
days of the New York Custom-House were familiar in 
the custom-house of London in 1733, and the frauds were 
concealed by precisely the same means. Upon the arrival 
of a ship, the merchant to whom the tobacco was con 
signed would apply for the services of certain land-waiters, 
" whose friendship he could rely upon," to superintend the 
landing of his tobacco. Perhaps they were engaged at 
the time. Then he delayed landing his tobacco till they 
were at leisure. The rest can be imagined. The weighers, 
the coopers, and the "ship's husband" understand one 
another; and "if," as an old remonstrance has it, "any 
two of them agree in their account, the third alters his 
book to make it agree with theirs."* 

We read, besides, of British merchants sweeping the 
refuse of their warehouses into casks, putting a little good 
tobacco at the top and bottom, and, after getting a draw- 



* Case of the Tobacco Planters of Virginia, as represented by them 
selves : signed by the President of the Council and Speaker of the 
House of Burgesses. London, 1733. 



PARTON] OLD VIRGINIA, 267 

back of duty from their own government, sending thip 
mass of dust and stalks to defraud a foreign country. In 
1750, when tobacco yielded the British government one 
hundred and fifty thousand pounds sterling per annum, 
it gave the planter an average profit of one pound sterling 
per hogshead. 

The same factors who sold the Virginia tobacco were 
usually charged to purchase the merchandise which the 
planters required. Doubtless many of them performed 
both duties with sufficient correctness ; but, down to the 
Revolution, it was a standing complaint with the planters 
that their tobacco brought them less and their merchan 
dise cost them more than they had expected. Readers 
remember the emphatic expostulations of General Wash 
ington on both these points. The very ships that carried 
the tobacco and brought back the merchandise were 
nearly all owned in London. When a Yankee merchant 
had a prosperous year, or made a lucky voyage, he built 
another schooner ; so that, when Jefferson made his first 
bow to a jury, in 1767, New England owned seven-eighths 
of the shipping that frequented New England ports. But 
of all the great fleet trading with Yirginia, about three 
hundred vessels in 1767, seven-eighths belonged to British 
merchants. The Yankee's new schooner proved a hetter 
investment than the Yirginian's " likely negro wenches," 
whom the Yankee's schooner brought for him from the 
coast of Guinea ; and the Virginian's pipes of Madeira 
consumed his acres, while the Yaukee, with his New Eng 
land rum, added acres to his estate. 

How little the planters foresaw the desolation of their 
Province is affectingly attested by many of the relics of 
their brief affluence. They built their parish churches to 
last centuries, like the churches to which they were ac 
customed "at home." In neighborhoods where now a 



268 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PAKTON 

congregation of fifty persons could not be collected, there 
are the ruins of churches that were evidently built for the 
accommodation of numerous and wealthy communities : 
a forest, in some instances, has grown up all around them, 
making it difficult to get near the imperishable walls. 
Sometimes the wooden roof has fallen in. and one husre 

' O 

tree, rooted among the monumental slabs of the middle 
aisle, has filled all the interior. Other old churches long 
stood solitary in old fields, the roof sound, but the door 
standing open, in which the beasts found nightly shelter, 
and into which the passing horseman rode and sat on his 
horse before the altar till the storm passed. Others have 
been used by the farmers as wagon-houses, by fishermen 
to hang their seines in, by gatherers of turpentine as 
storehouses. One was a distillery, and another was a barn 
A poor drunken wretch reeled for shelter into an aban 
doned church of Chesterfield County, the county of the 
first Jeffersons, and he died in a drunken sleep at the foot 
of the reading-desk, where he lay undiscovered until his 
face was devoured by rats. An ancient font was found 
doing duty as a tavern punch-bowl; and a tombstone, 
which served as the floor of an oven, used to print me 
morial words upon loaves of bread. Fragments of richly- 
colored altar-pieces, fine pulpit-cloths, and pieces of old 
carving used to be preserved in farm-houses and shown 
to visitors. When the late Bishop Meade began his 
rounds, forty years ago, elderly people would bring to him 
sets of communion-plate and single vessels which had 
once belonged to the parish church, long deserted, and beg 
him to take charge of them. 

Those pretty girls of the Apollo, who turned young 
Jefferson's head in 1762, and most of the other bright 
spirits of that generation, where does their dust repose ? 
In cemeteries so densely covered with trees and tangled 



PARTON] OLD VIRGINIA. 269 

shrubbery that no traces of their tombstones can be dis 
covered ; in cemeteries over which the plough and the 
harrow pass; in cemeteries through the walls of which 
some stream has broken, and where the bones and skulls 
of the dead may be seen afloat upon the slime. 

The suddenness of the collapse was most remarkable. 
Westmoreland County, the birthplace of Washington, 
Madison, Monroe, and Marshall, called absurdly enough 
" the Athens of Virginia," was still the most polite and 
wealthy region of Virginia when Thomas Jefferson was a 
young lawyer. In thirty years it became waste and des 
olate. A picket-guard in 1813, posted on the Potomac to 
watch for the expected British fleet, were seeking one day 
a place to encamp, when they came upon an old church, 
the condition of which revealed at once the completeness 
and the recentness of the ruin. It stood in a lonely dell, 
where the silence was broken only by the breeze whisper 
ing through the pines and cedars and dense shrubbery 
that closed the entrance. Huge oaks, standing near the 
walls, enveloped the roof with their long, interlacing 
branches. The doors all stood wide open ; the windows 
were broken ; the roof was rotten and had partly fallen 
in ; and a giant pine, uprooted by a tempest, was lying 
against the front, choking up the principal door. The 
church-yard, which was extensive and enclosed by a high 
brick wall of costly structure, was densely covered all 
over with tombstones and monuments ; many of which, 
though they bore names once held in honor throughout 
Virginia, were broken to pieces or prostrate, with bram 
bles and weeds growing thick and tangled between them 
everywhere. The parish had been important enough to 
have a separate building for a vestry just outside the 
church-yard wall. This had rotted away from its chim 
ney, which stood erect in a mass of ruin. 



270 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PARTON 

"With some difficulty the soldiers forced their way 
through the fine old porch, between massive doors, into 
the church. What a picture of desolation was disclosed ! 
The roof, rotted away at the corners, had let in for years 
the snow and rain, staining and spoiling the interior. The 
galleries, where in the olden time the grandees of the 
parish sat, in their square, high pews, were sloping and 
leaning down upon the pews on the floor, and on one side 
had quite fallen out. The remains of the great Bible still 
lay open on the desk, and the tattered canvas which hung 
from the walls showed traces of the Creed and Command 
ments which had once been written upon it. The marble 
font was gone: it was a punch-bowl, the commander of 
the picket was told. The communion-table, which had 
been a superb piece of work, of antique pattern, with a 
heavy walnut top, was in its place, but roughened and 
stained by exposure. It was afterwards used as a chop- 
ping-block. The brick aisles showed that the church was 
the resort of animals, and the wooden ceiling was alive 
with squirrels and snakes. The few inhabitants of the 
vicinity white trash held the old church and its wilder 
ness of graves in dread, and scarcely dared enter the 
tangled dell in which they were. It was only the run 
away slave, overcome by a greater terror, flying from a 
being more awful than any ghost, savage man, that 
ventured to go into the church itself and crouch among 
the broken pews. 

Such is the ruin that befalls a community which sub 
sists upon its capital. 



EMERSON] THE REVOLVING SEASONS. 271 



THE REVOLVING SEASONS. 

POETS, good, bad, and indifferent, have settled upon the seasons as 
their peculiar property, and have sung the vernal charms of spring 
and the ripe lustiness of autumn, May with her eyes of blue, and Oc 
tober with his cheeks of brown, until many volumes might be made 
up of these tributes to the revolving beauties of the year. The rapid 
changes of nature in our temperate clime, and the quick succession of 
new phases of attractiveness, are remarkably calculated to arouse the 
poetic temperament to an endeavor to embalm these fleeting charms 
in the more enduring form of verse, more enduring, that is, if the 
verse have in it any of the staying quality of original thought. The 
great sum of these written leaves of sentiment perish more quickly 
than the fallen leaves of autumn. Others there are, however, with 
u life in their veins," and of these we present a serial succession from 
the season-songs of American bards. Emerson, to whom nature was 
an ever-enduring inspiration, thus chronicles the coming of April : 

April cold with dropping rain 
Willows and lilacs brings again, 
The whistle of returning birds, 
And trumpet-lowing of the herds. 
The scarlet maple-keys betray 
What potent blood hath modest May, 
What fiery force the earth renews, 
The wealth of forms, the flush of hues ; 
What joy in rosy waves outpoured 
Flows from the heart of Love, the Lord. 

Another of our poets, who has ever her finger on the pulse of Nature, 
thus gives us the meaning of May : 

The voice of one who goes before, to make 
The paths of June more beautiful, is thine, 
Sweet May! HELEN HUNT. 



272 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

An older poet thus sings his song of the May : 

I feel a newer life in every gale ; 

The winds that fan the flowers, 
And with their welcome breathings fill the sail, 

Tell of serener hours, 
Of hours that glide unfelt away 
Beneath the sky of May. 

The spirit of the gentle south wind calls 

From his blue throne of air, 
And where his whispering voice in music falls, 

Beauty is budding there ; 
The bright ones of the valley break 
Their slumbers, and awake. 

The waving verdure rolls along the plain, 

And the wide forest weaves, 
To welcome back its playful mates again, 

A canopy of leaves ; 
And from its darkening shadow floats 
A gush of trembling notes. 

Fairer and brighter spreads the reign of May ; 

The tresses of the woods 
With the light dallying of the west wind play ; 

And the full-brimming floods, 
As gladly to their goal they run, 
Hail the returning sun. J. G. PERCIVAL. 

The richest month of the year, throbbing-hearted June, the season 
of the rose and of the fullest chorus of the birds, the embowered gate 
way between the realms of the blossom, and the fruitage, has always 
been a favorite theme of the poets. "We cull a pair of June roses for 
our poetic bouquet : 



AKERS] THE REVOLVING SEASONS. 273 

Never was my life's neglected garden 
Half so full of fragrance as to-day, 

Never has the world been half so radiant, 
Nor its shapes of sorrow and dismay 
Ever seemed so few and far away. 

Wide the chestnut waves its spreading branches, 
In a white bewilderment of bloom, 

And the lilacs, overwhelmed with blossoms, 
Dropping like a wounded warrior's plume, 
Hang their faint heads heavy with perfume. 

On the sea a veil of silvery softness, 
Faint, and filmy, and mysterious, lies, 

Blending doubtfully the fair horizon 
With the azure of the smiling skies, 
Tender as the blue of loving eyes. 

On the grass the fallen apple-blossoms 

Heap a pillow rosy-hued and rare, 
While the dim ghosts of the dandelions 

Sail serenely in the untroubled air, 

And the clover blushes everywhere. 

In the leaves a bobolink is pouring 

Passion-songs which brook no pause or rest : 

Hark ! how gushingly the liquid music 
Swells and overflows his trembling breast, 
Like a love that cannot be repressed ! 

Oh, the joy, the luxury, the rapture, 
Thus to brush away the chains of care, 

Thus to drop the mask from heart and forehead, 
To be glad and young again, and wear 
Lilies-of-the-valley in my hair I 



274 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LOWELL 

Far away, unfelt and scarce remembered, 
Seems the world-life, harsh and turbulent : 

So much harmony, and joy, and beauty, 
In this matchless day of days are blent, 
I desire no more : I am content ! 

ELIZABETH AKERS 

We quote next one of the most imaginatively beautiful of American 
poems, the June song of James Russell Lowell. In richness of im 
agery it is unsurpassed, and in reading it we seem transported into the 
very heart of June itself, even though the snows of winter he drifting 
without. 

And what is so rare as a day in June ? 

Then, if ever, come perfect days ; 
Then Heaven tries the earth if it be in tune, 

And over it softly her warm ear lays : 
Whether we look, or whether we listen, 
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten ; 
Every clod feels a stir of might, 

An instinct within it that reaches and towers, 
And, groping blindly above it for light, 

Climbs to a soul in grass and flowers ; 
The flush of life may well be seen 

Thrilling back over hills and valleys ; 
The cowslip startles in meadows green, 

The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice, 
And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean 

To be some happy creature's palace ; 
The little bird sits at his door in the sun, 

Atilt like a blossom among the leaves, 
And lets his illumined being o'errun 

With the deluge of summer it receives ; 
His mate feels the eggs beneath her wings, 
And the heart in her dumb breast flutters and sings ; 



LOWELL] THE REVOLVING SEASONS. 275 

He sings to the wide world, and she to her nest : 
In the nice ear of Nature which song is the best ? 



Now is the high tide of the year, 

And whatever of life hath ebbed away 
Comes flooding back with a ripply cheer 

Into every bare inlet and creek and bay ; 
Now the heart is so full that a drop overfills it, 
We are happy now because God wills it ; 
No matter how barren the past may have been, 
Tis enough for us now that the leaves are green ; 
"We sit in the warm shade and feel right well 
How the sap creeps up and the blossoms swell ; 
We may shut our eyes, but we cannot help knowing 
That skies are clear and grass is growing ; 
The breeze comes whispering in our ear 
That dandelions are blossoming near, 

That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing, 
That the river is bluer than the sky, 
That the robin is plastering his house hard by ; 
And if the breeze kept the good news back, 
For other couriers we should not lack ; 

We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing, 
And hark ! how clear bold chanticleer, 
Warmed with the new wine of the year, 

Tells all in his lusty crowing ! 

Joy comes, grief goes, we know not how ; 
Everything is happy now, 

Everything is upward striving ; 
'Tis as easy now for the heart to be true 
As for grass to be green or skies to be blue : 

'Tis the natural way of living. 



276 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MAY 

Who knows whither the clouds have fled ? 

In the unscarred heaven they leave no wake ; 
And the eyes forget the tears they have shed, 

The heart forgets its sorrow and ache ; 
The soul partakes the season's youth, 

And the sulphurous rifts of passion and woe 
Lie deep 'neath a silence pure and smooth, 

Like burnt-out craters healed with snow. 

A poetess of the past generation thus gracefully sings of the dawn- 
ing summer : 

The early spring hath gone ; I see her stand 

Afar off on the hills, white clouds, like doves, 

Yoked by the south wind to her opal car, 

And at her feet a lion and a lamb 

Couched, side by side. Irresolute spring hath gone ! 

And summer comes like Psyche, zephyr-borne 

To her sweet land of pleasures. 

She is here ! 

Amid the distant vales she tarried long, 
But she hath come, oh, joy ! for I have heard 
Her many-chorded harp the livelong day 
Sounding from plains and meadows, where, of late, 
Eattled the hail's sharp arrows, and where came 
The wild north wind careering like a steed 
Unconscious of the rein. She hath gone forth 
Into the forest, and its poised leaves 
Are platformed for the zephyr's dancing feet. 
Under its green pavilions she hath reared 
Most beautiful things; the spring's pale orphans lie 
Sheltered upon her breast ; the bird's loud song 
At morn outsoars his pinion, and when waves 
Put on night's silver harness, the still air 
Is musical with soft tones. She hath baptized 



TERRY] THE REVOLVING SEASONS. 277 

Earth with her joyful weeping. She hath blessed 
All that do rest beneath the wing of Heaven, 
And all that hail its smile. Her ministry 
Is typical of love. She hath disdained 
No gentle office, but doth bend to twine 
The grape's light tendrils and to pluck apart 
The heart-leaves of the rose. She doth not pass 
Unmindful the bruised vine, nor scorn to lift 
The trodden weed ; and when her lowlier children 
Faint by the wayside like worn passengers, 
She is a gentle mother, all night long 
Bathing their pale brows with her healing dews. 
The hours are spendthrifts of her wealth ; the days 
Are dowered with her beauty. EDITH MAY. 

A midsummer day's dream is thus beautifully chronicled in song by 
Rose Terry : 

When o'er the mountain steeps 
The hazy noontide creeps, 
And the shrill cricket sleeps 

Under the grass, 
When soft the shadows lie, 
And clouds sail o'er the sky, 
And the idle winds go by, 
With the heavy scent of blossoms as they pass, 

Then when the silent stream 
Lapses as in a dream, 
And the water-lilies gleam 

Up to the sun, 
When the hot and burdened day 
Rests on its downward way, 
When the moth forgets to play, 

And the plodding ant may dream her work is done, 

24 



278 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TERRY 

Then, from the noise of war 
And the din of earth afar, 
Like some forgotten star 
Dropt from the sky, 
The sounds of love and fear, 
All voices sad and clear, 
Banished to silence drear, 
The willing thrall of trances sweet I lie. 

Some melancholy gale 
Breathes its mysterious tale, 
Till the rose's lips grow pale 

With her sighs, 
And o'er my thoughts are cast 
Tints of the vanished past, 
Glories that faded fast, 
Renewed to splendor in my dreaming eyes. 

As poised on vibrant wings, 
Where its sweet treasure swings, 
The honey-lover clings 

To the red flowers, 
So, lost in vivid light, 
So, rapt from day and night, 
I linger in delight, 
Enraptured o'er the vision-freighted hours. 



Autumn comes to us as a lusty harvester, personified by one of our 
most charming poets, Kichard Henry Stoddard : 

Sometimes we see thee stretched upon the ground, 
In fading woods where acorns patter fast, 

Dropping to feast thy tusky boars around, 

Crunching among the leaves the ripened mast ; 



STOBDARD] THE REVOLVING SEASONS. 279 

Sometimes at work where ancient granary doors 

Are open wide, a thresher stout and hale, 

Whitened with chaff upwafted from thy flail. 
While south winds sweep along the dusty floors ; 
And sometimes fast asleep at noontide hours, 

Pillowed on sheaves, and shaded from the heat, 

With Plenty at thy feet, 

Braiding a coronet of oaten straw and flowers. 
What time, emerging from a low-hung cloud, 

The shining chariot of the Sun was driven 
Slope to its goal, and Day in reverence bowed 

His burning forehead at the gate of Heaven, 
Then I beheld thy presence full revealed 
Slow trudging homeward o'er a stubble field ; 
Around thy brow, to shade it from the west, 

A wisp of straw entwisted in a crown; 

A golden wheat-sheaf, slipping slowly down, 
Hugged tight against thy waist, and on thy breast, 
Linked to a belt, an earthen flagon swung ; 

And o'er thy shoulder flung, 
Tied by their stems, a bundle of great pears, 
Bell-shaped and streaky, some rich orchard's pride ; 
A heavy bunch of grapes on either side, 

Across each arm, tugged downward by the load, 
Their glossy leaves blown off by wandering airs ; 

A yellow-rinded melon in thy right, 

In thy left hand a sickle caught the light, 
Keen as the moon which glowed 

Along the fields of night : 

One moment seen, the shadowy masque was flown, 
And I was left, as now, to meditate alone. 

With this fragmentary extract from Stoddard's picturesque poem we 
may step beyond the jocund season of the harvest into that charming 



280 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EMERSON 

second summer which is thus delightfully pictured in Longfellow's 
" Evangeline" : 

That beautiful season, 

. . . the Summer of All Saints ! 
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light ; and 

the landscape 

Lay as if new-created in all the freshness of childhood. 
Peace seemed to reign upon earth, and the restless heart- 

of the ocean 
Was for a moment consoled. All sounds were in harmony 

blended. 

. . . And the great sun 
Looked with eyes of love through the golden vapors 

around him ; 

While arrayed in its robes of russet and scarlet and yellow, 
Bright with the sheen of the dew, each glittering tree of 

the forest 
Flushed like the plane-tree the Persian adorned with 

mantles and jewels. 

Winter, with its snows, comes to us in the thoughtful imagery of 
Emerson, who is a poet in whatever form he writes, whether prose or 
verse, and whose imagination is unsurpassed in depth and richness by 
that of any other American writer. 

THE SNOW-STORM. 

Announced by all the trumpets of the sky, 
Arrives the snow, and, driving o'er the fields, 
Seems nowhere to alight : the whited air 
Hides hills and woods, the river, and the heaven, 
And veils the farm-house at the garden's end. 
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier's feet 
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit 



GOULD] THE REVOLVING SEASONS. 281 

Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed 
In a tumultuous privacy of storm. 

Come see the north wind's masonry. 
Out of an unseen quarry evermore 
Furnished with tile, the fierce artificer 
Curves his white bastions with projected roof 
Eound every windward stake, or tree, or door. 
Speeding, the myriad-handed, his wild work 
So fanciful, so savage, naught cares he 
For number or proportion. Mockingly, 
On coop or kennel he hangs Parian wreaths ; 
A swan-like form invests the hidden thorn 
Fills up the farmer's lane from wall to wall, 
Maugre the farmer's sighs ; and at the gate 
A tapering turret overtops the work. 
And when his hours are numbered, and the world 
Is all his own, retiring, as he were not, 
Leaves, when the sun appears, astonished Art 
To mimic in slow structures, stone by stone, 
Built in an age, the mad wind's night- work, 
The frolic architecture of the snow. 

In a more sprightly vein is Hannah P. Gould's tribute of verse to 
THE FROST. 

The Frost looked forth, one still, clear night, 
And he said, " Now I shall be out of sight ; 
So through the valley and over the height 

In silence I'll take my way. 
I will not go like that blustering train, 
The wind and the snow, the hail and the rain, 
Who make so much bustle and noise in vain, 

But I'll be as busy as they !" 
24* 



282 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GOULD 

Then he went to the mountain, and powdered its crest, 
He climbed up the trees, and their boughs he dressed 
With diamonds and pearls, and over the breast 

Of the quivering lake he spread 
A coat of mail, that it need not fear 
The downward point of many a spear 
That he hung on its margin, far and near, 

Where a rock could rear its head. 

He went to the windows of those who slept, 
And over each pane like a fairy crept : 
Wherever he breathed, wherever he stepped, 

By the light of the moon were seen 
Most beautiful things. There were flowers and trees, 
There were bevies of birds and swarms of bees, 
There were cities, thrones, temples, and towers, and theso 

All pictured in silver sheen ! 

But he did one thing that was hardly fair ; 
He peeped in the cupboard, and, finding there 
That all had forgotten for him to prepare, 

" Now, just to set them a-thinking, 
I'll bite this basket of fruit," said he; 
" This costly pitcher I'll burst in three, 
And the glass of water they've left for me 

Shall 'tcUckr to tell them I'm drinking." 

As fit conclusion to this group of poems of the seasons we append 
"The Closing Year" of George D. Prentice, with its thoughtful but 
sombre review of the record of Time in its pitiless onward march : 

'Tis midnight's holy hour, and silence now 

Is brooding like a gentle spirit o'er 

The still and pulseless world. Hark ! on the winds 

The bell's deep tones are swelling, 'tis the knell 



PRENTICE] THE REVOLVING SEASONS. 283 

Of the departed year. No funeral train 

Is sweeping past ; yet, on the stream and wood, 

With melancholy light, the moonbeams rest 

Like a pale, spotless shroud ; the air is stirred 

As by a mourner's sigh ; and on yon cloud 

That floats so still and placidly through heaven, 

The spirits of the seasons seem to stand, 

Young Spring, bright Summer, Autumn's solemn form, 

And Winter with its aged locks, and breathe, 

In mournful cadences that come abroad 

Like the far wind-harp's wild and touching wail, 

A melancholy dirge o'er the dead year, 

Gone from the earth forever. 

'Tis a time 

For memory and for tears. Within the deep, 
Still chambers of the heart, a spectre dim, 
Whose tones are like the wizard's voice of Time 
Heard from the tomb of ages, points its cold 
And solemn finger to the beautiful 
And holy visions that have passed away 
And left no shadow of their loveliness 
On the dead waste of life. That spectre lifts 
The coffin-lid of Hope and Joy and Love, 
And, bending mournfully above the pale, 
Sweet forms that slumber there, scatters dead flowers 
O'er what has passed to nothingness. 

The year 

Has gone, and with it many a glorious throng 
Of happy dreams. Its mark is on each brow. 
Its shadow in each heart. In its swift course 
It waved its sceptre o'er the beautiful, 
And they are not. It laid its pallid hand 
Upon the strong man, and the haughty form 



284 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PRENTICB 

Is fallen, and the flashing eye is dim. 
It trod the hall of revelry, where thronged 
The bright and joyous, and the tearful wail 
Of stricken ones is heard where erst the song 
And reckless shout resounded. 

It passed o'er 

The battle-plain where sword and spear and shield 
Flashed in the light of mid-day, and the strength 
Of serried hosts is shivered, and the grass, 
Green from the soil of carnage, waves above 
The crushed and mouldering skeleton. It came, 
And faded like a wreath of mist at eve ; 
Yet ere it melted in the vipwless air, 
It heralded its millions to their home 
In the dim land of dreams. 

Eemorseless Time ! 

Fierce spirit of the glass and scythe I what power 
Can stay him in his silent course, or melt 
His iron heart to pity ? On, still on, 
He presses, and forever. The proud bird, 
The condor of the Andes, that can soar 
Through heaven's unfathomable depths, or brave 
The fury of the northern hurricane, 
And bathe his plumage in the thunder's home, 
Furls his broad wings at nightfall, and sinks down 
To rest upon his mountain crag, but Time 
Knows not the weight of sleep or weariness, 
And night's deep darkness has no chain to bind 
His rushing pinions. 

Revolutions sweep 

O'er earth, like troubled visions o'er the breast 
Of dreaming sorrow; cities rise and sink 



AUEUBON] THE MOCKING-BIRD. 285 

Like bubbles on the water ; fiery isles 

Spring blazing from, the ocean, and go back 

To their mysterious caverns ; mountains rear 

To heaven their bald and blackened cliffs, and bow 

Their tall heads to the plain; new empires rise, 

Gathering the strength of hoary centuries, 

And rush down like the Alpine avalanche, 

Startling the nations ; and the very stars, 

Yon bright and burning blazonry of God, 

Glitter awhile in their eternal depths, 

And, like the Pleiads, loveliest of their train, 

Shoot from their glorious spheres, and pass away 

To darkle in the trackless void : yet Time, 

Time the tomb-builder, holds his fierce career, 

Park, stern, all-pitiless, and pauses not 

Amid the mighty wrecks that strew his path 

To sit and muse, like other conquerors, 

Upon the fearful ruin he has wrought. 



THE MOCKING-BIRD. 

JOHN JAMES AUDUBON. 

[The following attractive description of the ways and wiles of tne 
mocking-bird, and the subsequent short sketch of " The "Wood- 
Thrush," are from the "American Ornithological Biography" of Au- 
dubon, a work full of correct and admirably vivid pictures of bird-life 
in the New World. The great work on which Audubon's fame rests 
is his " Birds of America," the fruit of many years of solitary explo 
ration of the American forests, whose feathered tenants were studied 
and drawn from life in their native haunts. This work, containing 
life-sized and life-colored portraits of over one thousand American 



286 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [AUDUBON 

birds, is, in the words of Cuvier, " the most magnificent monument 
which art has yet erected to nature." In addition to the works men 
tioned, his " Biography of American Quadrupeds" has all the vital 
interest of his "Ornithological Biography." Audubon was born in 
Louisiana in 1781. He died on the Hudson, near New York, in 1851.] 

IT is where the great magnolia shoots up its majestic 
trunk, crowned with evergreen leaves, and decorated with 
a thousand beautiful flowers, that perfume the air around ; 
where the forests and fields are adorned with blossoms of 
every hue ; where the golden orange ornaments the gar 
dens and groves ; where bignonias of various kinds inter 
lace their climbing stems around the white-flowered Stu- 
artia, and, mounting still bigber, cover tbe summits of tbe 
lofty trees around, accompanied witb innumerable vines, 
that bere and tbere festoon tbe dense foliage of tbe mag 
nificent woods, lending to tbe vernal breeze a slight por 
tion of tbe perfume of tbeir clustered flowers ; wbere a 
genial warmtb seldom forsakes tbe atmosphere ; wbere 
berries and fruits of all descriptions are met witb at every 
step ; in a word, kind reader, it is wbere Nature seems to 
bave paused, as sbe passed over tbe earth, and, opening 
ber stores, to bave strewed witb unsparing band tbe di 
versified seeds from wbicb bave sprung all tbe beautiful 
and splendid forms wbicb I should in vain attempt to 
describe, tbat tbe mocking-bird sbould bave fixed its abode, 
tbere only tbat its wondrous song sbould be beard. 

But wbere is tbat favored land? It is in tbat great 
continent to wbose distant shores Europe bas sent forth 
ber adventurous sons, to wrest for themselves a habita 
tion from tbe wild inhabitants of tbe forest, and to convert 
the neglected soil into fields of exuberant fertility. It is, 
reader, in Louisiana tbat tbese bounties of nature are in 
tbe greatest perfection. It is tbere tbat you sbould listen 
to tbe love-song of tbe mocking-bird, as I at this moment 



AUDUBON] THE MOCKING-BIRD. 287 

do. See how he flies round his mate, with motions as 
light as those of the butterfly ! His tail is widely ex 
panded, he mounts in the air to a small distance, describes 
a circle, and, again alighting, approaches his beloved one, 
his eyes gleaming with delight, for she has already prom 
ised to be his and his only. His beautiful wings are 
gently raised, he bows to his love, and, again bouncing 
upwards, opens his bill and pours forth his melody, full 
of exultation at the conquest which he has made. 

They are not the soft sounds of the flute or of the haut 
boy that I hear, but the sweeter notes of Nature's own 
music. The mellowness of the song, the varied modula 
tions and gradations, the extent of its compass, the great 
brilliancy of execution, are unrivalled. There is probably 
no bird in the world that possesses all the musical quali 
fications of this king of song, who has derived all from 
Nature's self. Yes, reader, all ! 

JSTo sooner has he again alighted, and the conjugal con 
tract has been sealed, than, as if his breast was about to 
be rent with delight, he again pours forth his notes with 
more softness and richness than before. He now soars 
"higher, glancing around with a vigilant eye to assure him 
self that none has witnessed his bliss. "When these love- 
scenes, visible only to the ardent lover of nature, are over, 
he dances through the air, full of animation and delight, 
and, as if to convince his lovely mate that to enrich her 
hopes he has much more love in store, he that moment 
begins anew and imitates all the notes which Nature has 
imparted to the other songsters of the grove. 

For a while, each long day and pleasant night are thus 
spent ; but at a peculiar note of the female- he ceases his 
song and attends to her wishes. A nest is to be prepared, 
and the choice of a place in which to lay it is to become a 
matter of mutual consideration. The orange, the fig, the 



288 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

pear-tree of the gardens are inspected; the thick brier- 
patches are also visited. They appear all so well suited 
for the purpose in view, and so well does the bird know 
that man is not his most dangerous enemy, that instead 
of retiring from him they at length fix their abode in his 
vicinity, perhaps in the nearest tree to his window. Dried 
twigs, leaves, grasses, cotton, flax, and other substances 
are picked up, carried to a forked branch, and there ar 
ranged. The female has laid an egg, and the male re 
doubles his caresses. Five eggs are deposited in due time, 
when the male, having little more to do than to sing his 
mate to repose, attunes his pipe anew. Every now and 
then he spies an insect on the ground, the taste of which 
he is sure will please his beloved one. He drops upon it, 
takes it in his bill, beats it against the earth, and flies to 
the nest to feed and receive the warm thanks of his de 
voted female. 

When a fortnight has elapsed, the young brood demand 
all their care and attention. No cat, no vile snake, no 
dreaded hawk, is likely to visit their habitation. Indeed, 
the inmates of the next house have by this time become 
quite attached to the lovely pair of mocking-birds and 
take pleasure in contributing to their safety. The dew 
berries from the fields, and many kinds of fruit from the 
gardens, mixed with insects, supply the young as well as 
the parents with food. The brood is soon seen emerging 
from the nest, and in another fortnight, being now able to 
fly with vigor and to provide for themselves, they leave 
the parent birds, as many other species do. 



THE WOOD-THRUSH. 

This bird is my greatest favorite of the feathered tribes 
of the woods. To it I owe much. How often has it re- 



AUDUBON] THE WOOD-THRUSH. 289 

vived my drooping spirits, when I have listened to its 
wild notes in the forest, after passing a restless night in 
my slender shed, so feebly secured against the violence of 
the storm as to show me the futility of my best efforts to 
rekindle my little fire, whose uncertain and vacillating- 
light had gradually died away under the destructive 
weight of the dense torrents of rain that seemed to in 
volve the heavens and the earth in one mass of fearful 
murkiness, save when the red streaks of the flashing 
thunderbolt burst on the dazzled eye, and, glancing along 
the huge trunk of the stateliest and noblest tree in my 
immediate neighborhood, were instantly followed by an 
uproar of crackling, crashing, and deafening sounds, roll 
ing their volumes in tumultuous eddies far and near, as if 
to silence the very breathings of the unformed thought ! 
How often, after such a night, when far from my dear 
home and deprived of the presence of those nearest to 
my heart, wearied, hungry, drenched, and so lonely and 
desolate as almost to question myself why I was thus 
situated, when I have seen the fruits of my labors on the 
eve of being destroyed, as the water, collected into a 
stream, rushed through my little camp and forced me to 
stand erect, shivering in a cold fit like that of a severe 
ague, when I have been obliged to wait with the patience 
of a martyr for the return of day, trying in vain to de 
stroy the tormenting mosquitoes, silently counting over 
the years of my youth, doubting, perhaps, if ever again I 
should return to my home and embrace my family ! how 
often, as the first glimpses of morning gleamed doubtfully 
amongst the dusky masses of the forest-trees, has there 
come upon my ear, thrilling along the sensitive cords 
which connect that organ with the heart, the delightful 
music of this harbinger of day ! and how fervently, on 
such occasions, have I blessed the Being who formed the 
N t 25 



290 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [AUDUBON 

wood-thrush, and placed it in those solitary forests, as 
if to console me amidst my privations, to cheer my de 
pressed mind, and to make me feel, as I did, that never 
ought man to despair, whatever may be his situation, as 
he can never be certain that aid and deliverance are not 
at hand. 

The wood-thrush seldom commits a mistake after such 
a storm as I have attempted to describe ; for no sooner 
are its sweet notes heard than the heavens gradually 
clear, the bright, refracted light rises in gladdening rays 
from beneath the distant horizon, the effulgent beams in 
crease in their intensity, and the great orb of day at 
length bursts on the sight. The gray vapor that floats 
along the ground is quickly dissipated, the world smiles 
at the happy change, and the woods are soon heard to 
echo the joyous thanks of their many songsters. At that 
moment all fears vanish, giving place to an inspiriting 
hope. The hunter prepares to leave his camp. He 
listens to the wood-thrush, while he thinks of the course 
which he ought to pursue, and as the bird approaches to 
peep at him, and learn somewhat of his intentions, he raises 
his mind towards the Supreme Disposer of events. Sel 
dom, indeed, have I heard the song of this thrush without- 
feeling all that tranquillity of mind to which the secluded 
situation in which it delights is so favorable. The thick 
est and darkest woods always appear to please it best. 
The borders of murmuring streamlets, overshadowed by 
the dense foliage of the lofty trees growing on the ger tie 
declivities, amidst which the sunbeams seldom penetrate, 
are its favorite resorts. There it is that the musical 
powers of this hermit of the woods must be heard to be 
fully appreciated and enjoyed. 



EMERSON] QUOTATION AND ORIGINALITY. 291 

QUOTATION AND ORIGINALITY. 

R. W. EMERSON. 

[Anything like a just biographical notice of Kalph Waldo Emerson 
is far beyond the space at our command. "We can but say that he was 
born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1803, that his life's residence was in 
Concord, near Boston, where he died in 1882, and that he was de 
scended from a family of the first thinkers in New England, cultured 
through many generations. His biographical record is that of a 
thinker. His life presents few interesting incidents, but many in 
teresting thoughts. It was passed as a Unitarian minister and as a 
lecturer, in which latter field his fine oratorical powers and the origi 
nality and depth of his thought gained him a host of admirers among 
the cultured classes of the United States and Europe. His published 
1 works are but collections of his orations, their original adaptation for 
effect upon the lecture-platform rendering them less suitable for ease 
of reading than they otherwise might have been. Their principal 
defects are an overfulness of thought and a certain lack of consecu- 
tiveness. They are made up of short, sparkling sentences, many of 
which are complete wholes in themselves, and are' very likely to be 
come constituent parts of the proverbial philosophy of the future. 
But in reading these essays we frequently seem to be stepping from 
rung to rung of a ladder instead of following a continuous highway. 
Like all great thinkers, Emerson leaps to conclusions, and neglects to 
supply those intermediate steps of reasoning which many of his 
readers need. As Holmes says, " Emerson's style is epigrammatic, in 
cisive, authoritative, sometimes quaint, never obscure, except when he 
is handling nebulous subjects. His paragraphs are full of brittle 
sentences that break apart and are independent units, like the frag 
ments of a coral colony. His imagery is frequently daring, leaping 
from the concrete to the abstract, from the special to the general and 
universal, and vice versa, with a bound that is like a flight." 

He is looked upon as a philosopher and is classed with the mystics, 
though neither of these views of his position in literature seems quite 
correct. He is a philosophical thinker rather than a philosopher. 
He beholds all things from a stand-point above that of the immediately 
practical, looks through every fact to its ultimate, and from the im 
perfections of the present deduces the perfection of the coming time. 



292 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EMERSOX 

But these deeply philosophic views are woven into no combined sys 
tem of philosophy. Each stands alone, with no necessary dependence 
upon the others, and if Emerson's mind contained a broad and con 
secutive ideal scheme of the universe he failed to put it upon record. 
Philosophically he seems to stand between the German and the Eng 
lish school, that is, between the purely ideal and the materialistic. 
He is deeply interested in the practical affairs of life, enthusiastic for 
reform in its every aspect ; yet he is ever a teacher, never an actor, and 
his mental grasp reaches through all evil to its core of good. For this 
reason Emerson is innately cheerful. He never despairs of the regen 
eration of the world, but is so sure of it that his philosophy is ever a 
decided optimism. He reminds us of an observer who stands at a 
remote distance and sees past, present, and future in one sweeping 
glance, and to whom existing evils vanish in the splendor of the ulti 
mate good. His mysticism is never more than partial. He is too 
deeply interested in facts to become a confirmed mystic. There is ( 
nothing now going on or that has gone on in the world that escapes 
the vision of his far-seeing eyes, and, in the words of the proverb, 
" all is fish that comes to his net." Yet all facts in his hands become 
enveloped in a net-work of idealism, and his mind, like a veritabfe 
philosopher's stone, has translated the hard, work-a-day world into the 
pure gold of optimistic thought. We have dwelt at such length upon 
our biographical notice of Emerson from the highly-important position 
which he occupies in literature. He is among the first thinkers, if not 
decidedly the first, not only of America, but of the nineteenth century, 
and, despite his limitations and imperfections as a literary artist, this 
seems likely to become the verdict of the future. The taste of the 
world in thought is growing steadily towards idealism and analysis, 
and Emerson may yet be looked upon as the Shakespeare of modern 
philosophy. We have said nothing of his poems. It will suffice to 
state that they are rough diamonds, weak in versification, but rich in 
thought. His works are all poems in grain, the cast of his mind 
being essentially imaginative and poetic and almost utterly devoid of 
the prosaic element.] 

WE prize books, and they prize them most who are 
themselves wise. Our debt to tradition through reading 
and conversation is so massive, our protest or private 
addition so rare and insignificant, and this commonly on 



EMERSON] QUOTATION AND ORIGINALITY. 293 

the ground of other reading or hearing, that, in a large 
sense, one would s.ay there is no pure originality. All 
minds .quote. Old and new make the warp and woof 
of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist 
of these two strands. By necessity, by proclivity, and by 
delight, we all quote. We quote not only books and 
proverbs, but arts, sciences, religion, customs, and laws ; 
nay, we quote temples and houses, tables and chairs, by 
imitation. The Patent Office Commissioner knows that 
all machines in use have been invented and reinvented 
over and over ; that the mariner's compass, the boat, the 
pendulum, glass, movable types, the kaleidoscope, the 
railway, the power-loom, etc., have been many times 
found and lost, from Egypt, China, and Pompeii down ; 
and if we have arts which Rome wanted, so also Rome 
had arts which we have lost ; that the invention of yes^ 
terday of making wood indestructible by means of vapor 
of coal-oil or paraffine was suggested by the Egyptian 
method which has preserved its mummy-cases four thou 
sand years. 

The highest statement of new philosophy complacently 
caps itself with some prophetic maxim from the oldest 
learning. There is something mortifying in this perpetual 
circle. This extreme economy argues a very small capital 
of invention. The stream of affection flows broad and 
strong ; the practical activity is a river of supply ; but 
the dearth of design accuses the penury of intellect. How 
few thoughts ! In a hundred years, millions of men and 
not a hundred lines of poetry, not a theory of philosophy 
that offers a solution of the great problems, not an art of 
education that fulfils the conditions. In this delay and 
vacancy of thought we must make the best amends we 
can by seeking the wisdom of others to fill the time. 

If we confine ourselves to literature, 'tis easy to see 
25* 



294 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EMERSON 

that the debt is immense to past thought. None escape 
it. The originals are not original. There is imitation, 
model, and suggestion to the very archangels, if we knew 
their history. The first book tyrannizes over the second. 
Read Tasso, and you think of Virgil ; read Virgil, and you 
think of Homer ; and Milton forces you to reflect how 
narrow are the limits of human invention. The " Paradise 
Lost" had never existed but for these precursors ; and if 
we find in India or Arabia a book out of our horizon of 
thought and tradition, we are soon taught by new re 
searches in its native country to discover its foregoers and 
its latent, but real, connection with our own Bibles. 

Read in Plato, and you shall find Christian dogmas, and 
not only so, but stumble on our evangelical phrases. 
Hegel pre-exists in Proclus, and, long before, in Heraclitus 
and Parmenides. Whoso knows Plutarch, Lucian, Rabe 
lais, Montaigne, and Bayle will have a key to many sup 
posed originalities. Rabelais is the source of many a 
proverb, story, and jest, derived from him into all modern 
languages ; and if we knew Rabelais's reading we should 
see the rill of the Rabelais river. Swedenborg, Behmen, 
Spinoza, will appear original to uninstructed and to 
thoughtless persons: their originality will disappear to 
such as are either well read or thoughtful ; for scholars 
will recognize their dogmas as reappearing in men of a 
similar intellectual elevation throughout history. Albert, 
the "wonderful doctor," St. Buonaventura, the "seraphic 
doctor," Thomas Aquinas, the "angelic doctor" of the 
thirteenth century, whose books made the sufficient cul 
ture of these ages, Dante absorbed, and he survives for 
us. " Renard the Fox," a German poem of the thirteenth 
century, was long supposed to be the original work, until 
Grimm found fragments of another original a century older. 
M. Le Grand showed that in the old Fabliaux were the 



.EMERSON] QUOTATION AND ORIGINALITY. 295 

originals of the tales of Moliere, La Fontaine, Boccaccio, 
and of Voltaire. 

Mythology is no man's work ; but, what we daily ob 
serve in regard to the bon-mots that circulate in society, 
that every talker helps a story in repeating it, until, at 
last, from the slenderest filament of a fact a good fable is 
constructed, the same growth befalls mythology: the 
legend is tossed from believer to poet, from poet to be 
liever, everybody adding a grace, or dropping a fault, or 
Bounding the form, until it gets an ideal truth. . . . 

Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first 
quoter of it. Many will read the book before one thinks 
of quoting a passage. As soon as he has done this, that 
line will be quoted east and west. Then there are great 
ways of borrowing. Genius borrows nobly. When 
Shakespeare is charged with debts to his authors, Landor 
replies, "Yet he was more original than his originals. 
He breathed upon dead bodies and brought them into life." 
And we must thank Karl Ottfried Miiller for the just re 
mark, " Poesy, drawing within its circle all that is glori 
ous and inspiring, gave itself but little concern as to where 
its flowers originally grew." So Voltaire usually imitated, 
but with such superiority that Dubuc said, "He is like 
the false Amphitryon ; although the stranger, it is always 
he who has the air of being master of the house." Words 
worth, as soon as he heard a good thing, caught it up, 
meditated upon it, and very soon reproduced it in his 
conversation and writing. If De Quincey said, " That is 
what I told you," he replied, " No : that is mine, mine, 
and not yours." On the whole, we like the valor of it. 
'Tis on Marmontel's principle, " I pounce on what is mine, 
wherever I find it ;" and on Bacon's broader rule, "I take 
all knowledge to be my province." It betrays the con 
sciousness that truth is the property of no individual, but 



296 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EMERSON 

is tbe treasure of all men. And inasmuch as any writer 
has ascended to a just view of man's condition, he has 
adopted this tone. In so far as the receiver's aim is on 
life, and not on literature, will be his indifference to the 
source. The nobler the truth or sentiment, the less im 
ports the question of authorship. It never troubles the 
simple seeker from whom he derived such or such a senti 
ment. Whoever expresses to us a just thought makes 
ridiculous the pains of the critic who should tell him 
where such a word had been said before. " It is no more 
according to Plato than according to me." Truth is 
always present : it only needs to lift the iron lids of the 
mind's eye to read its oracles. But the moment there is 
the purpose of display, the fraud is exposed. In fact, it is 
as difficult to appropriate the thoughts of others, as it is 
to invent. Always some steep transition, some sudden 
alteration of temperature, or of point of view, betrays the 
foreign interpolation. 

There is, besides, a new charm in such intellectual works 
as, passing through long time, have had a multitude of 
authors and improvers. We admire that poetry which no 
man wrote, no poet less than the genius of humanity 
itself, which is to be read in a mythology, in the effect 
of a fixed or national style of pictures, of sculptures, or 
drama, or cities, or sciences, on us. Such a poem also is 
language. Every word in the language has once been 
used happily. The ear, caught by that felicity, retains it, 
and it is used again and again, as if the charm belonged 
to the word, and not to the life of thought which so en 
forced it. These profane uses, of course, kill it, and it is 
avoided. But a quick wit can at any time reinforce it, 
and it comes into vogue again. Then people quote so 
differently : one finding only what is gaudy and popular ; 
another, the heart of the author, the report of his select 



EMERSON] QUOTATION AND ORIGINALITY. 297 

and happiest hour ; and the reader sometimes giving more 
to the citation than he owes to it. Most of the classical 
citations you shall hear or read in the current journals or 
speeches were not drawn from the originals, but from 
previous quotations in English books ; and you can easily 
pronounce, from the use and relevancy of the sentence, 
whether it had not done duty many times before, whether 
your jewel was got from the mine or from an auctioneer. 
We are as much informed of a writer's genius by what he 
selects as by what he originates. "We read the quotation 
with his eyes, and find a new and fervent sense ; as a pas 
sage from one of the poets, well recited, borrows new 
interest from the rendering. As the journals say, " the 
italics are ours." The profit of books is according to the 
sensibility of the reader. The profoundest thought or 
passion sleeps as in a mine until an equal mind and heart 
finds and publishes it. The passages of Shakespeare that 
we most prize were never quoted until within this century ; 
and Milton's prose, and Burke, even, have their best fame 
within it. Every one, too, remembers his friends by their 
favorite poetry or other reading. 

Observe also that a writer appears to more advantage 
in the pages of another book than in his own. In his own 
he waits as a candidate for your approbation ; in another's 
he is a law-giver. 

Then another's thoughts have a certain advantage with 
us simply because they are another's. There is an illusion 
in a new phrase. A man hears a fine sentence out of 
Swedenborg, and wonders at the wisdom, and is very 
merry at heart that he has now got so fine a thing. 
Translate it out of the new words into his own usual 
phrase, and he will wonder again at his own simplicity, 
such tricks do fine words play with us. . . . 

Swedenborg threw a formidable theory into the world, 



298 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EMERSON 

that every soul existed in a society of souls, from which 
all its thoughts passed into it, as the blood of the mother 
circulates in her unborn child ; and he noticed that, when 
in his bed, alternately sleeping and waking, sleeping, 
he was surrounded by persons disputing and offering 
opinions on the one side and on the other side of a propo 
sition ; waking, the like suggestions occurred for and 
against the proposition as his own thoughts ; sleeping 
again, he saw and heard the speakers as before : and this 
as often as he slept or waked. And if we expand the 
image, does it not look as if we men were thinking and 
talking out of an enormous antiquity, as if we stood, not 
in a coterie of prompters that filled a sitting-room, but in 
a circle of intelligences that reached through all thinkers, 
poets, inventors, and wits, men and women, English, Ger 
man, Celt, Aryan, Ninevite, Copt, back to the first ge 
ometer, bard, mason, carpenter, planter, shepherd, back 
to the first negro, who, with more health or better per 
ception, gave a shriller sound or name for the thing he saw 
and dealt with? Our benefactors are as many as the 
children who invented speech, word by word. Language 
is a city to the building of which every human being 
brought a stone ; yet he is no more to be credited with 
the grand result than the acaleph which adds a cell to the 
coral reef which is the basis of the continent. Tldvra fet : 
all things are in flux. It is inevitable that you are in 
debted to the past. You are fed and formed by it. The 
old forest is decomposed for the composition of the new 
forest. The old animals have given their bodies to the 
earth to furnish through chemistry the forming race, and 
every individual is only a momentary fixation of what 
was yesterday another's, is to-day his, and will belong to 
a third to-morrow. So it is in thought. Our knowledge 
is the 'amassed thought and experience of innumerable 



EMEKSON] QUOTATION AND ORIGINALITY. 299 

minds : our language, our science, our religion, our opin 
ions, our fancies, we inherited. Our country, customs, 
laws, our ambitions, and our notions of fit and fair, all 
these we never made ; we found them ready-made ; we but 
quote them. Goethe frankly said, " What would remain 
to me if this art of appropriation were derogatory to 
genius ? Every one of my writings has been furnished to 
me by a thousand different persons, a thousand things : 
wise and foolish have brought me, without suspecting it, 
the offering of their thoughts, faculties, and experience. 
My work is an aggregation of beings taken from the 
whole of nature : it bears the name of Goethe." 

But there remains the indefeasible persistency of the 
individual to be himself. One leaf, one blade of grass, one 
meridian, does not resemble another. Every mind is dif 
ferent ; and the more it is unfolded, the more pronounced 
is that difference. He must draw the elements into him 
for food, and, if they be granite and silex, will prefer 
them cooked by sun and rain, by time and art, to his 
hand. But, however received, these elements pass into 
the substance of his constitution, will be assimilated, and 
tend always to form, not a partisan, but a possessor of 
truth. To all that can be said of the preponderance of 
the Past, the single word Genius is a sufficient reply. 
The divine resides in the new. The divine never quotes, 
but is, and creates. The profound apprehension of the 
Present is Genius, which makes the Past forgotten. 
Genius believes its faintest presentiment against the tes 
timony of all history ; for it knows that facts are not 
ultimates, but that a state of mind is the ancestor of 
everything. And what is Originality? It is being, being 
one's self, and reporting accurately what we see and are. 
Genius is, in the first instance, sensibility, the capacity of 
receiving just impressions from the external world, and 



300 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EMERSON 

the power of co-ordinating these after the laws of thought. 
It implies Will, or original force, for their right distribu 
tion and expression. If to this the sentiment of piety be 
added, if the thinker feels that the thought most strictly 
his own is not his own, and recognizes the perpetual sug 
gestion of the Supreme Intellect, the oldest thoughts be 
come new and fertile whilst he speaks them. 

Originals never lose their value. There is always in 
them a style and weight of speech which the immanence 
of the oracle bestowed, and which cannot be counterfeited. 
Hence the permanence of the high poets. Plato, Cicero, 
and Plutarch cite the poets in the manner in which Scrip 
ture is quoted in our churches. A phrase or a single word 
is adduced, with honoring emphasis, from Pindar, Hesiod, 
or Euripides, as precluding all argument, because thus had 
they said : importing that the bard spoke not his own, but 
the words of some god. True poets have always ascended 
to this lofty platform and met this expectation. Shake 
speare, Milton, Wordsworth, were very conscious of their 
responsibilities. When a man thinks happily, he finds no 
foot-track in the field he traverses. All spontaneous 
thought is irrespective of all else. Pindar uses this 
haughty defiance, as if it were impossible to find his 
sources : " There are many swift darts within my quiver, 
which have a voice for those with understanding ; but to 
the crowd they need interpreters. He is gifted with 
genius who knoweth much by natural talent." 

Our pleasure in seeing each mind take the subject to 
which it has a proper right is seen in mere fitness in time. 
He that cornea second must needs quote him that comes 
first. The earliest describers of savage life, as Captain 
Cook's account of the Society Islands, or Alexander 
Henry's travels among our Indian tribes, have a charm 
of truth and just point of view. Landsmen and sailors 



EMERSON] QUOTATION AND ORIGINALITY. 301 

freshly come from the most civilized countries, and with 
no false expectation, no sentimentality yet about wild life, 
healthily receive and report what they saw, seeing what 
they must, and using no choice ; and no man suspects the 
superior merit of the description, until Chateaubriand, or 
Moore, or Campbell, or Byron, or the artists, arrive, and 
mix so much art with their picture that the incomparable 
advantage of the first narrative appears. For the same 
reason we dislike that the poet should choose an antique 
or far-fetched subject for his muse, as if he avowed want 
of insight. The great deal always with the nearest. 
Only as braveries of too prodigal power can we pardon it 
when the life of genius is so redundant that out of petu- 
lance it flings its fire into some old mummy, and, lo ! it 
walks and blushes again here in the street. 

We cannot overstate our debt to the Past, but the 
moment has the supreme claim. The Past is for us ; but 
the sole terms on which it can become ours are its subor 
dination to the Present. Only an inventor knows how to 
borrow, and every man is or should be an inventor. We 
must not tamper with the organic motion of the soul. 'Tis 
certain that thought has its own proper motion, and the 
hints which flash from it, the words overheard at un 
awares by the free mind, are trustworthy and fertile 
when obeyed and not perverted to low and selfish account. 
This vast memory is only raw material. The divine gift 
is ever the instant life, which receives and uses and 
creates, and can well bury the old in the omnipotency 
with which Nature decomposes all her harvest fc r recom- 
position. 



302 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COOPKK 

LONG TOM COFFIN. 

JAMES FENIMORE COOPER. 

[Of Cooper's sea- tales " The Pilot" is acknowledged by all readers 
as the best, and of his sea-characters there are none that equal in origi 
nality and truth to life Long Tom Coffin, the giant cockswain. We 
have selected from this work the passage in which Tom's character and 
peculiarities are most strikingly displayed, and in which the simple- 
minded but cool and ready seaman disconcerts the treacherous plan 
which has been laid to entrap him. " Mr. Cooper," as Griswold says, 
"has the faculty of giving to his pictures an astonishing reality. 
They are not mere transcripts of nature, but actual creations, embody 
ing the very spirit of intelligent and genial experience and observa 
tion." James Fenimore Cooper, the only one of our early novelists 
whose works are yet popular, and who is alike able in the widely- 
separate fields of ocean and forest life, was born at Burlington, New 
Jersey, in 1789. He died in 1851. In addition to his long list of 
novels, he is the author of a " Naval History of the United States," 
and of " The Lives of American Naval Officers."] 

TOM stood with infinite composure, leaning on his hai- 
poon, and surveying, with a countenance where wonder 
was singularly blended with contempt, the furniture and 
arrangements of an apartment that was far more splendid 
than any he had before seen. In the mean time, Borrough- 
cliffe entirely disregarded the private communications that 
passed between his host and Dillon, which gradually be 
came more deeply interesting, and finally drew them to a 
distant corner of the apartment, but, taking a most undue 
advantage of the absence of the gentleman who had so 
lately been his boon companion, he swallowed c ne pota 
tion after another, as if a double duty had devolved on 
him in consequence of the desertion of the veteran. 
"Whenever his eye did wander from the ruby tints of his 
glas, it was to survey with unrepressed admiration the 



COOPER] LONG TOM COFFIN. 303 

inches of the cockswain, about whose stature and frame 
there were numberless excellent points to attract the gaze 
of a recruiting officer. From this double pleasure the 
captain was, however, at last summoned to participate in 
the councils of his friends. 

Dillon was spared the disagreeable duty of repeating 
the artful tale he had found it necessary to palm on the 
colonel, by the ardor of the veteran himself, who executed 
the task in a manner that gave to the treachery of his 
kinsman every appearance of a justifiable artifice, and of 
unshaken zeal in the cause of his prince. In substance, 
Tom was to be detained as a prisoner, and the party of 
Barnstable were to be entrapped, and of course to share a 
similar fate. The sunken eye of Dillon cowered before 
the steady gaze which Borroughcliffe fastened on him, as 
the latter listened to the plaudits the colonel lavished on 
his cousin's ingenuity ; but the hesitation that lingered in 
the soldier's manner vanished when he turned to examine 
their unsuspecting prisoner, who was continuing his sur 
vey of the apartment, while he innocently imagined the 
consultations he witnessed were merely the proper and 
preparatory steps to his admission into the presence of 
Mr. Griffith. 

" Drill," said Borroughcliffe, aloud, " advance .and re 
ceive your orders." The cockswain turne'd quickly at this 
sudden mandate, and, for the first time, perceived that 
he had been followed into the gallery by the orderly and 
two files of the recruits, armed. " Take this man to the 
guard-room, and feed him, and see that he dies not of 
thirst." 

There was nothing alarming in this order; and Tom 
was following the soldiers, in obedience to a gesture from 
their captain, when their steps were arrested in the gal 
lery by the cry of " Halt !" 



304 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COOPER 

" On recollection, Drill," said Borroughcliffe, in a tone 
from which all dictatorial sounds were banished, " show 
the gentleman into my own room, and see him properly 
supplied." 

The orderly gave such an intimation of his comprehend 
ing the meaning of his officer, as the latter was accustomed 
to receive, when Borroughcliffe returned to his bottle, and 
the cockswain followed his guide with an alacrity and 
good-will that were not a little increased by the repeated 
mention of the cheer that awaited him. 

Luckily for the impatience of Tom, the quarters of the 
captain were at hand, and the promised entertainment by 
no means slow in making its appearance. The former was 
an apartment that opened from a lesser gallery, which 
communicated with the principal passage Already men 
tioned ; and the latter was a bountiful but ungarnished 
supply of that staple of the British isles, called roast beef; 
of which the kitchen of Colonel Howard was never with 
out a due and royal provision. The sergeant, who cer 
tainly understood one of the signs of his captain to imply 
an attack on the citadel of the cockswain's brain, mingled, 
with his own hands, a potation that he styled a rummer 
of grog, and which he thought would have felled the ani 
mal itself that Tom was so diligently masticating, had it 
been alive and in its vigor. Every calculation that was 
made on the infirmity of the cockswain's intellect under 
the stimulus of Jamaica was, however, futile. He swal 
lowed glass after glass with prodigious relish, but, at the 
same time, with immovable steadiness ; and the eyes of 
the sergeant, who felt it incumbent to do honor to his own 
cheer, were already glistening in his head, when, happily 
for the credit of his heart, a tap at the door announced 
the presence of his captain, and relieved him from the im 
pending disgrace of being drunk blind by a recruit. 



COOPER] LONG TOM COFFIN. 305 

As Borroughcliffe entered the apartment, he commanded 
his orderly to retire, adding, 

"Mr. Dillon will give you instructions, which you are 
implicitly to obey." 

Drill, who had sense enough remaining to apprehend 
the displeasure of his officer should the latter discover 
his condition, quickened his departure, and the cockswain 
soon found himself alone with the captain. The vigor of 
Tom's attacks on the remnant of the sirloin was now much 
abated, leaving in its stead that placid quiet which is apt 
to linger about the palate long after the cravings of the ap 
petite have been appeased. He had seated himself on one 
of the trunks of Borroughcliffe, utterly disdaining the use 
of a chair, and, with the trencher in his lap, was using 
his own jack-knife on the dilapidated fragment of the ox, 
with something of that nicety with which the female 
ghoul of the Arabian Tales might be supposed to pick her 
rice with the point of her bodkin. The captain drew a 
seat nigh the cockswain ; and with a familiarity and kind 
ness infinitely condescending, when the difference in their 
several conditions is considered, he commenced the follow 
ing dialogue : 

" I hope you have found your entertainment to your 
Hiving, Mr. a a I must own my ignorance of your 
name." 

" Tom," said the cockswain, keeping his eyes roaming 
over the contents of the trencher ; " commonly called Long 
Tom by my shipmates." 

" You have sailed with discreet men, and able naviga 
tors, it will seem, as they understood longitude so well," 
rejoined the captain; "but you have a patronymic I 
would say another name ?" 

" Coffin," returned the cockswain. " I'm called Tom, 
when there is any hurry, such as letting go the haulyards, 



306 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COOPER 

or a sheet ; Long Tom, when they want to get to windward 
of an old seaman, by fair weather; and Long Tom Coffin, 
when they wish to hail me, so that none of my cousins 
of the same name about the islands shall answer ; for I 
believe the best man among them can't measure much 
over a fathom, taking him from his headworks to his 
heel." 

" You are a most deserving fellow," cried Borrough cliff e, 
" and it is painful to think to what a fate the treachery 
of Mr. Dillon has consigned you." 

The suspicions of Tom, if he ever entertained any, were 
lulled to rest too effectually by the kindness he had re 
ceived, to be awakened by this equivocal lament : he there 
fore, after renewing his intimacy with the rummer, con 
tented himself by saying, with a satisfied simplicity, 

" I am consigned to no one. carrying no cargo but this 
Mr. Dillon, who is to give me Mr. Griffith in exchange, or 
go back to the Ariel himself, as my prisoner." 

" Ah, my good friend, I fear you will find, when the 
time comes to make this exchange, that he will refuse to 
do either." 

" But I'll be d d if he don't do one of them ! my orders 
are to see it done, and back he goes, or Mr. Griffith, who 
is as good a seaman, for his years, as ever trod a deck, 
slips his cable from this here anchorage." 

Borroughcliffe affected to eye his companion with great 
commiseration, an exhibition of compassion that was, 
however, completely lost on the cockswain, whose nerves 
were strung to their happiest tension by his repeated liba 
tions, while his wit was, if anything, quickened by the 
same cause, though his own want of guile rendered him 
slow to comprehend its existence in others. Perceiving it 
necessary to speak plainly, the captain renewed the attack 
in a more direct manner: 



COOPER] LONG TOM COFFIN. 307 

" I am sorry to say that you will not be permitted to 
return to the Ariel ; and that your commander, Mr. Barn- 
stable, will be a prisoner within the hour ; and, in fact, 
that your schooner will be taken before the morning 
breaks." 

" Who'll take her ?" asked the cockswain, with a grim 
smile, on whose feelings, however, this combination of 
threatened calamities was beginning to make some im 
pression. 

" You must remember that she lies immediately under 
the heavy guns of a battery that can sink her in a few 
minutes ; an express has already been sent to acquaint the 
commander of the work with the Ariel's true character; 
and, as the wind has already begun to blow from the 
ocean, her escape is impossible." 

The truth, together with its portentous consequences, 
now began to glare across the faculties of the cockswain. 
He remembered his own prognostics on the weather, and 
the helpless situation of the schooner, deprived of more 
than one-half her crew, and left to the keeping of a boy, 
while her commander himself was on the eve of captivity. 
The trencher fell from his lap to the floor, his head sunk 
on his knees, his face was concealed between his broad 
palms, and, in spite of every effort the old seaman could 
make to conceal his emotion, he fairly groaned aloud. 

For a moment the better feelings of Borroughcliffe pre 
vailed ; and he paused as he witnessed this exhibition of 
suffering in one whose head was already sprinkled with 
the marks of time ; but his habits, and the impression left 
by many years passed in collecting victims for the wars, 
soon resumed their ascendency, and the recruiting officer 
diligently addressed himself to an improvement of his 
advantage : 

" I pity from my heart the poor lads whom artifice or 



BOS BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COOPER 

mistaken notions of duty may have led astray, and who 
will thus be taken in arms against their sovereign ; but, 
as they are found in the very island of Britain, they must 
be made examples to deter others. I fear that, unless they 
can make their peace with government, they will all be 
condemned to death." 

" Let them make their peace with God, then : your gov 
ernment can do but little to clear the log-account of a man 
whose watch is up for this world." 

" But by making their peace with those who have the 
power, their lives maybe spared," said the captain, watch 
ing with keen eyes the effect his words produced on the 
cockswain. 

" It matters but little, when a man hears a messenger 
pipe his hammock down for the last time ; he keeps his 
watch in another world, though he goes below in this. 
But to see wood and iron, that has been put together after 
such moulds as the Ariel's, go into strange hands, is a blow 
that a man may remember long after the purser's books 
have been squared against his name forever! I would 
rather that twenty shot should strike my old carcass, than 
one should hull the schooner that didn't pass out above 
her water-line." 

Borroughcliffe replied, somewhat carelessly, " I may be 
mistaken, after all ; and, instead of putting any of you to 
death, they may place you all on board the prison-ships, 
where you may yet have a merry time of it these ten or 
fifteen years to come." 

"How's that, shipmate!" cried the cockswain, with a 
start ; " a prison-ship, d'ye say ? you may tell them they 
may save the expense of one man's rations by hanging 
bim, if they please, and that is old Tom Coffin." 

" There is no answering for their caprice : to-day they 
may order a dozen of you to be shot for rebels ; to-morrow 



COOPER] LONG TOM COFFIN. 309 

they may choose to consider you as prisoners of war, and 
send you to the hulks for a dozen years." 

" Tell them, brother, that I'm a rebel, will ye ? and ye'll 
tell 'em no lie, one that has fou't them since Manly 's 
time, in Boston Bay, to this hour. I hope the boy will 
blow her up ! it would be the death of poor Eichard Barn- 
stable to see her in the hands of the English !" 

" I know of one way," said Borroughcliffe, affecting to 
muse, " and but one, that will certainly avert the prison-ship ; 
for, on second thoughts, they will hardly put you to death." 

" Name it, friend," cried the cockswain, rising from his 
seat in evident perturbation, " and if it lies in the power 
of man, it shall be done." 

"Nay," said the captain, dropping his hand familiarly 
on the shoulder of the other, who listened with the most 
eager attention, " 'tis easily done, and no dreadful thing 
in itself. You are used to gunpowder, and know its smell 
from otto of roses ?" 

" Ay, ay," cried the impatient old seaman, " I have had 
it flashing under my nose by the hour ; what then ?" 

" Why, then, what I have to propose will be nothing to 
a man like you. You found the beef wholesome, and the 
grog mellow ?" 

" Ay, ay, all well enough ; but what is that to an old 
sailor?" asked the cockswain, unconsciously grasping the 
collar of Borroughcliffe's coat in his agitation ; " what 
then ?" 

The captain manifested no displeasure at this unex 
pected familiarity, but smiled with suavity as he un 
masked the battery from behind which he had hitherto 
carried on his attacks. 

" Why, then, you have only to serve your King as you 
have before served the Congress ; and let me be the man 
to show you your colors." 



310 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COOPER 

The cockswain stared at the speaker intently, but it 
was evident he did not clearly comprehend the nature of 
the proposition, and the captain pursued the subject : 

" In plain English, enlist in my company, my fine fel 
low, and your life and liberty are both safe." 

Tom did not laugh aloud, for that was a burst of feeling 
in which he was seldom known to indulge ; but every 
feature of his weather-beaten visage contracted into an 
expression of bitter, ironical contempt. Borroughcliffe 
felt the iron fingers, that still grasped his collar, gradu 
ally tightening about his throat like a vice ; and, as the 
arm slowly contracted, his body was drawn, by a power 
that it was in vain to resist, close to that of the cock 
swain, who, when their faces were within a foot of each 
other, gave vent to his emotions in words : 

" A messmate, before a shipmate ; a shipmate, before a 
stranger; a stranger, before a dog, but a dog, before a 
soldier!" 

As Tom concluded, his nervous arm was suddenly ex 
tended to the utmost, the fingers relinquishing their grasp 
at the same time; and, when Borroughcliffe recovered 
his disordered faculties, he found himself in a distant 
corner of the apartment, prostrate among a confused pile 
of chairs, tables, and wearing-apparel. In endeavoring to 
rise from this humble posture, the hand of the captain 
fell on the hilt of his sword, which had been included in 
the confused assemblage of articles produced by his over 
throw. 

" How now, scoundrel I" he cried, baring the glittering 
weapon, and springing on his feet : " you must be taught 
your distance, I perceive." 

The cockswain seized the harpoon which leaned against 
tlie wall, and dropped its .barbed extremity within a foot 
of the breast of his assailant, with an expression of the 



COOPER] LONG TOM COFFIN. 311 

eye that denoted the danger of a nearer approach. The 
captain, however, wanted not for courage, and, stung to 
the quick by the insult he had received, he made a des 
perate parry, and attempted to pass within the point of 
the novel weapon of his adversary. The slight shock 
was followed by a sweeping whirl of the harpoon, and 
Borroughcliffe found himself without arms, completely at 
the mercy of his foe. The bloody intentions of Tom van 
ished with his success ; for, laying aside his weapon, he 
advanced upon his antagonist and seized him with an 
open palm. One more struggle, in which the captain dis 
covered his incompetency to make any defence against 
the strength of a man who managed him as if he had 
been a child, decided the matter. When the captain was 
passive in the hands of his foe, the cockswain produced 
sundry pieces of sennit, marline, and ratline-stuff from his 
pockets, which appeared to contain as great a variety of 
small cordage as a boatswain's store-room, and proceeded 
to lash the arms of the conquered soldier to the posts of 
his bed, with a coolness that had not been disturbed since 
the commencement of hostilities, a silence that seemed 
inflexible, and a dexterity that none but a seaman could 
equal. When this part of his plan was executed, Tom 
paused a moment, and gazed around him as if in quest of 
something. The naked sword caught his eye, and, with 
this weapon in his hand, he deliberately approached his 
captive, whose alarm prevented his observing that the 
cockswain had snapped the blade asunder from the 
handle, and that he had already encircled the latter with 
marline. 

" For God's sake," exclaimed Borroughcliffe, " murder 
me not in cold blood !" 

The silver hilt entered his mouth as the words issued 
from it, an4 the captive found, while the line was passed 



312 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COOPER 

and repassed, in repeated involutions, across the back of 
his neck, that he was in a condition to which he often 
subjected his own men when unruly, and which is uni 
versally called being " gagged." The cockswain now ap 
peared to think himself entitled to all the privileges of a 
conqueror ; for, taking the light in his hand, he commenced 
a scrutiny into the nature and quality of the worldly 
effects that lay at his mercy. Sundry articles, that be 
longed to the equipments of a soldier, were examined, 
and cast aside with great contempt, and divers gar 
ments of plainer exterior were rejected as unsuited to the 
frame of the victor. He, however, soon encountered two 
articles, of a metal that is universally understood. But 
uncertainty as to their use appeared greatly to embarrass 
him. The circular prongs of these curiosities were ap 
plied to either hand, to the wrists, and even to the nose, 
and the little wheels at their opposite extremity were 
turned and examined with as much curiosity and care as 
a savage would expend on a watch, until the idea seemed 
to cross the mind of the honest seaman that they formed 
part of the useless trappings of a military man ; and he 
cast them aside also, as utterly worthless. Borrough- 
cliife, who watched every movement of his conqueror 
with a good-humor that would have restored perfect har 
mony between them could he but have expressed half 
what he felt, witnessed the safety of a favorite pair of 
spurs with much pleasure, though nearly suffocated by 
the mirth that was unnaturally repressed. At length 
the cockswain found a pair of handsomely-mounted pis 
tols, a sort of weapon with which he seemed quite familiar. 
They were loaded, and the knowledge of that fact ap 
peared to remind Tom of the necessity of departing, by 
bringing to his recollection the danger of his commander 
and of the Ariel. He thrust the weapons into the canvas 



THE VALUE OF EDUCATION. 313 

belt that encircled bis body, and, grasping bis barpoon, 
approach ed tbe bed, where Borroughcliffe was seated in 
duress. 

" Harkye, friend," said the cockswain, " may the Lord 
forgive you, as I do, for wishing to make a soldier of a 
seafaring man, and one who has followed the waters since 
he was an hour old, and one who hopes to die off sound 
ings, and to be buried in brine. I wish you no harm, 
friend; but you'll have to keep a stopper on your conver 
sation till such time as some of your messmates call in 
this way, which I hope will be as soon after I get an offing 
as may be." 

With these amicable wishes, the cockswain departed, 
leaving Borroughcliffe the light, and the undisturbed pos 
session of his apartment, though not in the most easy 
or the most enviable situation imaginable. The captain 
heard the bolt of his lock turn, and the key rattle as the 
cockswain withdrew it from the door, two precautionary 
steps which clearly indicated that the vanquisher deemed 
it prudent to secure his retreat, by insuring the detention 
of the vanquished, for at least a time. 



THE VALUE OF EDUCATION. 

HORACE MANN. 

[Of American reformers no name stands higher than that of the 
writer of the present article. His fine abilities and thorough culture 
were devoted solely to the good of humanity, without heed to the 
personal advancement which they might have brought him. He 
devoted himself particularly and persistently to the cause of educa 
tion, and was remarkably successful in imparting his enthusiasm on 
this subject to the many young men who passed under his care as 
o 27 



814 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MANN 

President of Antioch College. It is doubtful if any man of his time 
did as much as he for the general advancement of education. He was 
born in 1796, and died in 1859.] 

EDUCATION is to inspire the love of truth, as the su- 
premest good, and to clarify the vision of the intellect to 
discern it. We want a generation of men above deciding 
great and eternal principles upon narrow and selfish 
grounds. Our advanced state of civilization has evolved 
many complicated questions respecting social duties. We 
want a generation of men capable of taking up these com 
plex questions, and of turning all sides of them towards 
the sun, and of examining them by the white light of 
reason, and not under the false colors which sophistry 
may throw upon them. . . . Many may I not say most ? 
of those great questions which make the present ago 
boil and seethe like a caldron will never be settled until 
we have a generation of men who were educated from 
childhood to seek for truth and to revere justice. In the 
middle of the last century, a great dispute arose among 
astronomers respecting one of the planets. Some, in their 
folly, commenced a war of words, and wrote hot books 
against each other; others, in their wisdom, improved 
their telescopes, and soon settled the question forever. 
.Education should imitate the latter. If there are mo 
mentous questions which, with present lights, we cannot 
demonstrate and determine, let us rear up stronger and 
purer and more impartial minds for the solemn arbitra 
ment. Let it be for ever and ever inculcated that no 
bodily wounds or maim, no deformity of person, nor 
disease of brain or lungs or heart, can be so disabling 
or so painful as error, and that he who heals us of our 
prejudices is a thousandfold more our benefactor than he 
who heals us of mortal maladies. Teach children, if you 
will, to beware of the bite of a mad dog ; but teach them 



MANN] THE VALUE OF EDUCATION. 315 

still more faithfully that no horror of water is so fatal as 
a horror of truth because it does not come from our leader 
or our party. Then shall we have more men who will 
think, as it were, under oath, not thousandth and ten- 
thousandth transmitters of falsity, not copyists of copy 
ists, and blind followers of blind followers ; but men who 
can track the Deity in his ways of wisdom. A love of truth, 
a love of truth, this is the pool of a moral Bethesda, 
whose waters have miraculous healing. And though we 
lament that we cannot bequeath to posterity this precious 
boon, in its perfectness, as the greatest of all patrimonies, 
yet let us rejoice that we can inspire a love of it, a rever 
ence for it, a devotion to it, and thus circumscribe and 
weaken whatever is wrong, and enlarge and strengthen 
whatever is right, in that mixed inheritance of good and 
evil which, in the order of Providence, one generation 
transmits to another. 

If we contemplate the subject with the eye of a states 
man, what resources are there, in the whole domain of 
nature, at all comparable to that vast influx of power 
which comes into the world with every incoming genera 
tion of children ? Each embryo life is more wonderful 
than the globe it is sent to inhabit, and more glorious 
than the sun upon which it first opens its eyes. Each one 
of these millions, with a fitting education, is capable of 
adding something to the sum of human happiness and of 
subtracting something from the sum of human misery; 
and many great souls amongst them there are, who may 
become instruments for turning the course of nations, as 
the rivers of water are turned. It is the duty of moral 
and religious education to employ and administer all these 
capacities of good for lofty purposes of human beneficence, 
as a wise minister employs the resources of a great em 
pire. " Suffer little children to come unto me," said tho 



316 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MANN 

Saviour, " and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom 
of heaven." And who shall dare say that philanthropy 
and religion cannot make a better world than the present, 
from beings like those in the kingdom of heaven ! 

Education must be universal. It is well when the wise 
and the learned discover new truths ; but how much better 
to diffuse the truths already discovered amongst the mul 
titude ! Every addition to true knowledge is an addition 
to human power ; and while a philosopher is discovering 
one new truth, millions may be propagated amongst the 
people. Diffusion, then, rather than discovery, is the 
duty of our government. With us, the qualification of 
voters is as important as the qualification of governors, 
and even comes first in the natural order. . . . The theory 
of our government is, not that all men, however unfit, 
shall be voters, but that every man, by the power of 
reason and the sense of duty, shall become fit to be a 
voter. 

Education must bring the practice as nearly as possible 
to the theory. As the children now are, so will the sov 
ereigns soon be. How can we expect the fabric of the 
government to stand, if vicious materials are daily 
wrought into its framework? Education must prepare 
our citizens to become municipal officers, intelligent jurors, 
honest witnesses, legislators, or competent judges of legis 
lation, in fine, to fill all the manifold relations of life. 
For this end, it must be universal. The whole land must 
be watered with the streams of knowledge. It is not 
enough to have here and there a beautiful fountain play 
ing in palace-gardens ; but let it come like the abundant 
fatness of the clouds upon the thirsting earth. 

Finally, education alone can conduct us to that enjoy 
ment which is at once best in quality and infinite in 
quantity. God has revealed to us not by ambiguous 



MANN] THE VALUE OF EDUCATION. 317 

signs, but by his mighty works ; not in the disputable 
language of human invention, but by the solid substance 
and reality of things what he holds to be valuable, and 
what he regards as of little account. The latter he has 
created sparingly, as though it were nothing worth ; while 
the former he has poured forth with immeasurable munifi 
cence. I suppose all the diamonds ever found could be 
hid under a bushel. Their quantity is little because their 
value is small. But iron ore, without which mankind 
would always have been barbarians, without which they 
would now relapse into barbarism, he has strewed pro 
fusely all over the earth. Compare the scantiness of pearl 
with the extent of forests and coal-fields. Of one, little 
has been created, because it is worth little ; of the others, 
much, because they are worth much. His fountains of 
naphtha, how few, and myrrh and frankincense, how ex 
iguous ! but who can fathom his reservoirs of water, or 
measure the light and the air? This principle pervades 
every realm of nature. Creation seems to have been pro 
jected upon the plan of increasing the quantity in the 
ratio of the intrinsic value. 

Emphatically is this plan manifested when we come to 
that part of creation we call ourselves. Enough of the 
materials of worldly good has been created to answer this 
great principle, that, up to the point of competence, up 
to the point of independence and self-respect, few things 
are more valuable than property ; beyond that point few 
things are of less. And hence it is that all acquisitions 
of property, beyond that point, considered and used as 
mere property, confer an inferior sort of pleasure in in 
ferior quantities. However rich a man may be, a certain 
number of thicknesses of woollens or of silks is all he can 
comfortably wear. Give him a dozen palaces, he can live 
in but one at a time. Though the commander be worth 

27* 



318 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MANN 

the whole regiment, or ship's company, he can have the 
animal pleasure of eating only his own rations ; and any 
other animal eats with as much relish as he. Hence the 
wealthiest, with all their wealth, are driven back to a 
cultivated mind, to beneficent uses and appropriations; 
and it is then, and then only, that a glorious vista of 
happiness opens out into immensity and immortality. 

Education, then, is to show to our youth, in early life, 
this broad line of demarcation between the value of those 
things which can be owned and enjoyed by but one, and 
those which can be owned and enjoyed by all. If I own 
a ship, a house, a farm, or a mass of the metals called 
precious, my right to them is, in its nature, sole and ex 
clusive. No other man has a right to trade with my ship, 
to occupy my house, to gather my harvests, or to appro 
priate my treasures to his use. They are mine, and are 
incapable both of a sole and of a joint possession. But 
not so of the treasures of knowledge which it is the duty 
of education to diffuse. The same truth may enrich and 
ennoble all intelligences at once. Infinite diffusion sub 
tracts nothing from depth. None are made poor because 
others are made rich. In this part of the Divine econ 
omy, the privilege of primogeniture attaches to all, and 
every son and daughter of Adam are heirs to an infinite 
patrimony. If I own an exquisite picture or statue, it 
is mine exclusively. Even though publicly exhibited, but 
few could be charmed by its beauties at the same time. 
It is incapable of bestowing a pleasure simultaneous and 
universal. But not so of the beauty of a moral senti 
ment ; not so of the glow of sublime emotion ; not so of 
the feelings of conscious purity and rectitude. These 
may shed rapture upon all, without deprivation of any ; 
be imparted, and still possessed ; transferred to millions, 
yet never surrendered ; carried out of the world, and still 



CARLETON] BETSEY AND I ARE OUT. 319 

left in it. These may imparadise mankind, and, undiluted, 
unattenuated, be sent round the whole orb of being. 
Let education, then, teach children this great truth, 
written as it is on the fore-front of the universe, that God 
has so constituted this world, into which he has sent them, 
that whatever is really and truly valuable may be pos 
sessed by all, and possessed in exhaustless abundance. 

And now, you, my friends, who feel that you are pa 
triots and lovers of mankind, what bulwarks, what ram 
parts for freedom can you devise, so endurable and im 
pregnable as intelligence and virtue ? Parents, among the 
happy groups of children whom you have at home more 
dear to you than the blood in the fountain of life you 
have not a son nor a daughter who, in this world of temp 
tation, is not destined to encounter perils more dangerous 
than to walk a bridge of a single plank over a dark and 
sweeping torrent beneath. But it is in your power and 
at your option, with the means which Providence will 
graciously vouchsafe, to give them that firmness of intel 
lectual movement and that keenness of moral vision, that 
light of knowledge and that omnipotence of virtue, by 
which, in the hour of trial, they will be able to walk with 
unfaltering step over the deep and yawning abyss below, 
and to reach the opposite shore in safety and honor and 
happiness. 



BETSEY AND I ARE OUT. 

WILL CARLETON. 

[Will Carleton, the author of " Farm Ballads," is a native of Mich 
igan, where he was born in 1845. His early life was spent on his 
father's farm, and afterwards as teacher of a country school. During 



320 BEST AMERICAN A UTHORS. [CARLETON 

this latter period, in his "boarding around," he doubtless gathered the 
experiences which are so graphically detailed in his poems. Of these 
poems, the two we quote, u Betsey and I are Out." and " How Betsey and 
I made up," have gained a high place in the affections of the reading 
public, and possess a homely pathos that is seldom equalled. In others 
of his poems there is a rich humor that has given them an enduring 
popularity.] 

DRAW up the papers, lawyer, and make 'em good and 

stout ; 
For things at home are cross ways, and Betsey and I are 

out. 

We, who have worked together so long as man and wife, 
Must pull in single harness for the rest of our nat'ral life. 

"What is the matter?" say you. I swan it's hard to 

tell! 

Most of the years behind us we've passed by very well ; 
I have no other woman, she has no other man, 
Only we've lived together as long as we ever can. 

So I have talked with Betsey, and Betsey has talked with 

me, 

And so we've agreed together that we can't never agree ; 
Not that we've catched each other in any terrible crime ; 
We've been a-gatherin' this for years, a little at a time. 

There was a stock of temper we both had for a start, 
Although we never suspected 'twould take us two apart ; 
I had my various failings, bred in the flesh and bone, 
And Betsey, like all good women, had a temper of her 
own. 

The first thing I remember whereon we disagreed 
Was something concerning heaven, a difference in our 
creed ; 



CARLETON] BETSEY AND I ARE OUT. 321 

We arg'ed the thing at breakfast, we arg'ed the thing at 

tea, 
And the more we arg'ed the question the more we didn't 



.And the next that I remember was when we lost a cow ; 
She had kicked the bucket for certain, the question was 

only, How ? 

I held my own opinion, and Betsey another had ; 
And when we were done a-talkin', we both of us was 

mad. 

And the next that I remember, it started in a joke ; 
But for full a week it lasted, and neither of us spoke. 
And the next was when I scolded because she broke a 

bowl, 
And she said I was mean and stingy and hadn't any soul. 

And so that bowl kept pourin' dissensions in our cup ; 
And so that blamed cow-critter was always a-comin' up ; 
And so that heaven we arg'ed no nearer to us got, 
But it gave us a taste of somethin' a thousand times as 
hot. 

And so the thing kept workin', and all the self-same way , 
Always sbmethin' to arg'e, and somethin' sharp to say ; 
And down on us came the neighbors, a couple dozen 

strong, 
And lent their kindest sarvice for to help the thing along. 

And there has been days together and many a weary 

week 
We was both of us cross and spunky, and both too proud 

to speak ; 

V 



322 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CARLETOH 

And I have been thinkin' and thinkin', the whole of the 

winter and fall, 
If I can't live kind with a woman, why, then, I won't at 

all. 

And so I have talked with Betsey, and Betsey has talked 

with me, 

And we have agreed together that we can't never agree ; 
And what is hers shall be hers, and what is mine shall be 

mine ; 
And I'll put it in the agreement, and take it to her to sign. 

Write on the paper, lawyer, the very first paragraph, 
Of all the farm and live stock that she shall have her 

half; 
For she has helped to earn it, through many a weary 

day, 
And it's nothing more than justice that Betsey has her 

pay- 

Give her the house and homestead ; a man can thrive and 

roam, 

But women are skeery critters unless they have a home ; 
And I have always determined, and never failed to say, 
That Betsey never should want a home if I was taken 

away. 

There is a little hard money that's drawin' tol'rable pay, 
A couple of hundred dollars laid by for a rainy day, 
Safe in the hands of good men, and easy to get at ; 
Put in another clause there, and give her half of that. 

Yes, I see you smile, sir, at my givin' her so much ; 
Yes, divorce is cheap, sir, but I take no stock in such I 



CARLETON] BETSEY AND I ARE OUT. 323 

True and fair I married her, when she was blithe and 

young, 
And Betsey was al'ays good to me, exceptin' with her 

tongue. 

Once, when I was young as you, and not so smart, per 
haps, 

For me she mittened a lawyer, and several other chaps ; 
And all of them was flustered, and fairly taken down, 
And I for a time was counted the luckiest man in town. 

Once when I had a fever, I won't forget it soon, 
I was hot as a basted turkey and crazy as a loon, 
Never an hour went by me when she was out of sight ; 
She nursed me true and tender, and stuck to me day and 
night. 

And if ever a house was tidy, and ever a kitchen clean, 
Her house and kitchen was tidy as any I ever seen ; 
And I don't complain of Betsey, or any of her acts, 
Exceptin' when we've quarrelled, and told each other 
facts. 

So draw up the paper, lawyer, and I'll go home to-night 
And read the agreement to her and see if it's all right ; 
And then in the mornin' I'll sell to a tradin' man I know, 
And kiss the child that was left to us, and out in the 
world I'll go. 

And one thing put in the paper, that first to me didn't 

occur ; 

That when I am dead at last she'll bring me back to her, 
And lay me under the maples I planted years ago, 
When she and I was happy, before we quarrelled so. 



324 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CARLETO* 

And when she dies I wish that she would be laid by me, 
And, lyin' together in silence, perhaps we will agree ; 
And, if ever we meet in heaven, I wouldn't think it queei 
If we loved each other the better because we quarrelled 
here. 

HOW BETSEY AND I MADE UP. 

Give us your hand, Mr. Lawyer; how do you do to-day? 
You drew up that paper, I s'pose you want your pay. 
Don't cut down your figures ; make it an X or a Y ; 
For that 'ere written agreement was just the makin' of 
me. 

Goin' home that evenin' I tell you 1 was blue, 
Thinkin' of all my troubles, and what I was goin' to do ; 
And if my bosses hadn't been the steadiest team alive, 
They'd Ve tipped me over, certain, for I couldn't see 
where to drive. 

No, for I was laborin' under a heavy load ; 
No, for I was travellin' an entirely different road ; 
For I was a-tracin' over the path of our lives ag'in, 
And seein' where we missed the way, and where we might 
have been. 



And many a corner we'd turned that just to a quarrel 

led, 
When I ought to Ve held my temper and driven straight 

ahead ; 
And the more I thought it over the more these memories 

came, 
And the more I struck the opinion that I was the most to 

blame. 



CARLETON] HOW BETSEY AND I MADE UP. 325 

And things I had long forgotten kept risin' in my mind, 
Of little matters betwixt us, where Betsey was good and 

kind; 
And these things flashed all through me, as you know 

things sometimes will 
When a feller's alone in the darkness, and everything is 

still. 



" But," says I, " we're too far along to take another track, 
And when I put my hand to the plough I do not oft turn 

back; 
And 'tain't an uncommon thing now for couples to smash 

in two ;" 
And so I set my teeth together, and vowed I'd see it 

through. 

When I come in sight o' the house 'twas some'at in the 

night, 

And just as I turned a hill-top I see the kitchen light ; 
Which often a han'some pictur' to a hungry person makes, 
But it don't interest a feller much that's goin' to pull up 

stakes. 

And when I went in the house the table was set for me, 

As good a supper's I ever saw, or ever want to see ; 

And I crammed the agreement down my pocket as well 

as I could, 
And fell to eatin' my victuals, which somehow didn't taste 

good. 

And Betsey she pretended to look about the house, 
But she watched my side-coat-pocket like a cat would 
watch a mouse ; 



326 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CARLETON 

And then she went to foolin' a little with her cup, 
And intently readin' a newspaper, a-holdin' it wrong 
side up. 

And when I'd done my supper I drawed the agreement 

out, 
And give it to her without a word, for she knowed what 

'twas about ; 

And then I hummed a little tune, but now and then a note 
Was bu'sted by some animal that hopped up in my throat. 

Then Betsey she got her specs from off the mantel-shelf, 
And read the article over quite softly to herself, 
Read it by little and little, for her eyes is gettin' old, 
And lawyer's writin' ain't no print, especially when it's 
cold. 

And after she'd read a little she give my arm a touch, 
And kindly said she was afraid I was 'lowin' her too much ; 
But when she was through she went for me, her face 

a-streamin' with tears, 
And kissed me for the first time in over twenty years 1 

I don't know what you'll think, sir, I didn't come to 

inquire, 

But I picked up that agreement and stuffed it in the fire ; 
And I told her we'd bury the hatchet alongside of the 

cow; 
And we struck an agreement never to have another row. 

And I told her in the future I wouldn't speak cross or 

rash, 
If half the crockery in the house was broken all to smash ; 



CARLETON] HOW BETSEY AND I MADE UP. 327 

And she said, in regards to heaven, we'd try and learii its 

worth 
By startin' a branch establishment and runnin' it here or 

earth. 

And so we sat a-talkin' three-quarters of the night, 

And opened our hearts to each other until they both grew 

light; 
And the days when I was winnin' her away from so many 

men 
Was nothin' to that evenin' I courted her over again. 

Next mornin' an ancient virgin took pains to call on us, 
Her lamp all trimmed and a-burnin' to kindle another fuss ; 
But when she went to pryin' and openin' of old sores, 
My Betsey rose politely and showed her out-of-doors. 

Since then I don't deny but there's been a word or two ; 
But we've got our eyes wide open and know just what 

to do: 
When one speaks cross the other just meets it with a 

laugh, 
And the first one's ready to give up considerable more 

than half. 

Maybe you'll think me soft, sir, a-talkin' in this style, 
But somehow it does me lots of good to tell it once in a 

while ; 

And I do it for a compliment, 'tis so that you can see 
That that there written agreement of yours was just the 

makin' of me. 

So make out your bill, Mr. Lawyer : don't stop short of 

an X; 
Make it more if you want to, for I have got the checks. 



328 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DRAPER 

I'm richer than a National Bank, with all its treasures 

told, 
For I've got a wife at home now that's worth her weight 

in gold. 



THE ARABIAN CIVILIZATION IN SPAIN. 

JOHN W. DRAPER. 

[It is seldom that an author attains to an eminence in two distinct 
fields of thought equal to that gained by Dr. Draper, whose standing 
as a scientist is surpassed only by his position as an historian. The 
influence of the scientific mind, indeed, is evident throughout his his 
tories, yet they have a brilliancy of style, an imaginative fluency, and 
a wealth of illustration which have placed them among the most 
widely read of modern historical works. His " History of the Intel 
lectual Development of Europe," to which we owe our extract, has 
run through numerous editions, and has been translated into nearly 
every European language. A smaller work, the " History of the Con 
flict between Keligion and Science," has had an equal good fortune. 
His " History of the American Civil War" is less well known, yet it 
displays the same powers of thoughtful and philosophical analysis of 
the underlying causes of social and political phenomena. In science 
Dr. Draper must be credited with several discoveries of high impor 
tance, which we need not particularize here. He was born in England, 
near Liverpool, in 1811, but came to America in 1833, graduated in 
medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1839 became pro 
fessor of chemistry in the University of New York, which post ho 
held till his death in 1882. His brilliant picture of the conditions of 
the Arab civilization in Spain is one of his most eflective pieces of 
writing.] 

SCARCELY had the Arabs become firmly settled in Spain 
when they commenced a brilliant career. Adopting what 
had now become the established policy of the Commanders 
of the Faithful in Asia, the Emirs of Cordova distin- 



DRAPER] ARABIAN CIVILIZATION IN SPAIN. 329 

guished themselves as patrons of learning, and set an 
example of refinement strongly contrasting with the con 
dition of the native European princes. Cordova, under 
their administration, at its highest point of prosperity, 
boasted of more than two hundred thousand houses and 
more than a million of inhabitants. After sunset, a man 
might walk through it in a straight line for ten miles by 
the light of the public lamps. Seven hundred years after 
this time there was not so much as one public lamp in 
London. Its streets were solidly paved. In Paris, cen 
turies subsequently, whoever stepped over his threshold 
on a rainy day stepped up to his ankles in mud. Other 
cities, as Granada, Seville, Toledo, considered themselves 
rivals of Cordova. The palaces of the khalifs were mag 
nificently decorated. Those sovereigns might well look 
down with supercilious contempt on the dwellings of the 
rulers of Germany, France, and England, which were 
scarcely better than stables, chimneyless, windowless, 
and with a hole in the roof for the smoke to escape, like 
the wigwams of certain Indians. The Spanish Moham 
medans had brought with them all the luxuries and prodi 
galities of Asia. Their residences stood forth against the 
clear blue sky, or were embosomed in woods. They had 
polished marble balconies, overhanging orange-gardens ; 
courts with cascades of water; shady retreats provoca 
tive of slumber in the heat of the day; retiring-rooms 
vaulted with stained glass, speckled with gold, over which 
streams of water were made to gush ; the floors and walls 
were of exquisite mosaic. Here, a fountain of quicksilver 
shot up in a glistening spray, the glittering particles fall 
ing with a tranquil sound like fairy-bells; there, apart 
ments into which cool air was drawn from the flower- 
gardens in summer, by means of ventilating towers, and 
in winter through earthen pipes, or caleducts, embedded in 

28* 



330 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DRAPER 

the walls, the hypocaust, in the vaults below, breathing 
forth volumes of warm and perfumed air through these 
hidden passages. The walls were not covered with wain 
scot, but adorned with arabesques, and paintings of agri 
cultural scenes and views of Paradise. From the ceilings, 
corniced with fretted gold, great chandeliers hung, one of 
which, it is said, was so large that it contained eighteen 
hundred and four lamps. Clusters of frail marble columns 
surprised the beholder with the vast weights they bore. 
In the boudoirs of the sultanas they were sometimes of 
verd-antique, and incrusted with lapis-lazuli. The furni 
ture was of sandal and citron wood, inlaid with mother- 
of-pearl, ivory, silver, or relieved with gold and precious 
malachite. In orderly confusion were arranged vases of 
rock crystal, Chinese porcelains, and tables of exquisite 
mosaic. The winter apartments were hung with rich 
tapestry ; the floors were covered with embroidered Per 
sian carpets. Pillows and couches, of elegant forms, were 
scattered about the rooms, perfumed with frankincense. 
It was the intention of the Saracen architect, by ex 
eluding the view of the external landscape, to concentrate 
attention on his work ; and since the representation of the 
human form was religiously forbidden, and that source of 
decoration denied, his imagination ran riot with the com 
plicated arabesques he introduced, and sought every oppor 
tunity of replacing the prohibited works of art by the 
trophies and rarities of the garden. For this reason, the 
Arabs never produced artists ; religion turned them from 
the beautiful, and made them soldiers, philosophers, and 
men of affairs. Splendid flowers and rare exotics orna 
mented the court-yards and even the inner chambers. 
Great care was taken to make due provision for the clean 
liness, occupation, and amusement of the inmates. 
Through pipes of metal, water, both warm and cold, to 



DBAPERJ ARABIAN CIVILIZATION IN SPAIN. 331 

suit the season of the year, ran into baths of marble ; in 
niches, where the current of air could be artificially di 
rected, hung dripping alcarazzas. There were whisper 
ing-galleries for the amusement of the women ; labyrinths 
and marble play-courts for the children ; for the master 
himself, grand libraries. The Khalif Alhakem's was so 
large that the catalogue alone filled forty volumes. He 
had also apartments for the transcribing, binding, and 
ornamenting of books. A taste for caligraphy and the 
possession of splendidly-illuminated manuscripts seems to 
have anticipated in the khalifs, both of Asia and Spain, 
the taste for statuary and paintings among the later popes 
of Rome. 

Such were the palace and gardens of Zehra, in which 
Abderrahman III. honored his favorite sultana. The edi 
fice had twelve hundred columns of Greek, Italian, Spanish, 
and African marble. Its hall of audience was incrusted 
with gold and pearls. Through the long corridors of its 
seraglio black eunuchs silently glided. The ladies of the 
harem, both wives and concubines, were the m6st beau 
tiful that could be found. To that establishment alone 
sixty-three hundred persons were attached. The body 
guard of the sovereign was composed of twelve thousand 
horsemen, whose cimeters and belts were studded with 
gold. This was that Abderrahman who, after a glorious 
reign of fifty years, sat down to count the number of days 
of unalloyed happiness he had experienced, and could only 
enumerate fourteen. " O man !" exclaimed the plaintive 
khalif, " put not thy trust in this present world." 

No nation has ever excelled the Spanish Arabs in the 
beauty and costliness of their pleasure-gardens. To them 
we owe the introduction of very many of our most valu 
able cultivated fruits, such as the peach. Retaining the 
love of their ancestors for the cooling effect of water in 



332 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DRAPER 

a hot climate, they spared no pains in the superfluity of 
fountains, hydraulic works, and artificial lakes in which 
fish were raised for the table. Into such a lake, attached 
to the palace of Cordova, many loaves were cast each day 
to feed the fish. There were also menageries of foreign 
animals; aviaries of rare birds; manufactories in which 
skilled workmen, obtained from foreign countries, displayed 
their art in textures of silk, cotton, linen, and all the 
miracles of the loom ; in jewelry and filigree- work, with 
which they ministered to the female pride of the sultanas 
and concubines. Under the shade of cypresses cascades 
disappeared ; among flowering shrubs there were winding 
walks, bowers of roses, seats cut out of the rock, and 
crypt-like grottos hewn in the living stone. Nowhere 
was ornamental gardening better understood ; for not only 
did the artist try to please the eye as it wandered ovei 
the pleasant gradation of vegetable color and form, he 
also boasted his success in the gratification of the sense 
of smell by the studied succession of perfumes from beds 
of flowers. 

To these Saracens we are indebted for many of our 
personal comforts. Eeligiously cleanly, it was not possi 
ble for them to clothe themselves, according to the fashion 
of the natives of Europe, in a garment unchanged till it 
dropped to pieces of itself, a loathsome mass of vermin, 
stench, and rags. No Arab who had been a minister of 
state, or the associate or antagonist of a sovereign, would 
have offered such a spectacle as the corpse of Thomas a 
Becket when his hair-cloth shirt was removed. They 
taught us the use of the often-changed and often-washed 
under-garment of linen or cotton, which still passes among 
ladies under its old Arabic name. But to cleanliness 
they were not unwilling to add ornament. Especially 
among women of the higher classes was the love of finery 



DRAPER] ARABIAN CIVILIZATION IN SPAIN. 333 

a passion. Their outer garments were often of silk, em 
broidered and decorated with gems and woven gold. So 
fond were the Moorish women of gay colors and the lustre 
of chrysolites, hyacinths, emeralds, and sapphires, that it 
was quaintly said that the interior of any public building 
in which they were permitted to appear looked like a 
flower-meadow in the spring besprinkled with rain. 

In the midst of all this luxury, which cannot be re 
garded by the historian with disdain, since in the end it 
produced a most important result in the south of France, 
the Spanish khalifs, emulating the example of their Asiatic 
compeers, and in this strongly contrasting with the popes 
of Eome, were not only the patrons but the personal cul 
tivators of all the branches of human learning. One of 
them was himself the author of a work on polite litera 
ture in not less than fifty volumes ; another wrote a trea 
tise on algebra. When Zaryab the musician came from 
the East to Spain, the Khalif Abderrahman rode forth to 
meet him in honor. The College of Music in Cordova was 
sustained by*ample government patronage, and produced 
many illustrious professors. 

The Arabs never translated into their own tongue the 
great Greek poets, though they so sedulously collected 
and translated the Greek philosophers. Their religious 
sentiments and sedate character caused them to abominate 
the lewdness of our classical mythology, and to denounce 
indignantly any connection between the licentious, impure 
Olympian Jove and the Most High God as an insufferable 
and unpardonable blasphemy. Haroun Alraschid had 
gratified his curiosity by causing Homer to be translated 
into Syriac, but he did not adventure on rendering the 
great epics into Arabic. Notwithstanding this aversion 
to our graceful but not unobjectionable ancient poetry, 
among them originated the Tensons, or poetic disputa- 



334 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DRAPER 

tions, carried afterward to perfection among the Trouba 
dours j from them, also, the Provencals learned to employ 
jongleurs. Across the Pyrenees, literary, philosophical, 
and military adventurers were perpetually passing ; and 
thus the luxury, the taste, and, above all, the chivalrous 
gallantry and elegant courtesies of Moorish society found 
their way from Granada and Cordova to Provence and 
Languedoc. The French and German and English nobles 
imbibed the Arab admiration of the horse ; they learned 
to pride themselves on skilful riding. Hunting and fal 
conry became their fashionable pastimes ; they tried to 
emulate that Arab skill which had produced the celebrated 
breed of Andalusian horses. It was a scene of grandeur 
and gallantry ; the pastimes were tilts and tournaments. 
The refined society of Cordova prided itself in its polite 
ness. A gay contagion spread from the beautiful Moorish 
miscreants to their sisters beyond the mountains ; the 
south of France was full of the witcheries of female fasci 
nations, and of dancing to the lute and mandolin. Even 
in Italy and Sicily the love-song became the favorite com 
position ; and out of these genial but not orthodox begin 
nings the polite literature of modern Europe arose. The 
pleasant epidemic spread by degrees along every hill-side 
and valley. In monasteries, voices that had vowed celi 
bacy might be heard carolling stanzas of which St. Jerome 
would hardly have approved ; there was many a juicy 
abbot who could troll forth in jocund strains, like those 
of the merry sinners of Malaga and Xeres, the charms of 
women and wine, though one was forbidden to the Moslem 
and one to the monk. The sedate graybeards of Cordova 
had already applied to the supreme judge to have the 
songs of the Spanish Jew, Abraham Ibn Sahal, prohibited ; 
for there was not a youth, nor woman, nor child in the 
city who could not repeat them by heart. Their immoral 



DRAPER] ARABIAN CIVILIZATION IN SPAIN. 335 

tendency was a public scandal. The light gayety of 
Spain was reflected in the coarser habits of the northern 
countries. It was an archdeacon of Oxford who some 
time afterward sang, 

" Mihi sit propositum in taberna mori, 
Yinum sit apposition moricntis ori, 
Ut dicant, cum venerint angelorum chori, 
' Deus sit propitius huic potatori,' " etc. 

Even as early as the tenth century, persons having a 
taste for learning and for elegant amenities found their 
way into Spain from all adjoining countries ; a practice in 
subsequent years still more indulged in when it became 
illustrated by the brilliant success of Gerbert, who, as we 
have seen, passed from the Infidel University of Cordova 
to the papacy of Eome. 

The khalifs of the West carried out the precepts of AH, 
the fourth successor of Mohammed, in the patronage of 
literature. They established libraries in all their chief 
towns : it is said that not fewer than seventy were in 
existence. To every mosque was attached a public school, 
in which the children of the poor were taught to read 
and write, and instructed in the precepts of the Koran. 
For those in easier circumstances there were academies, 
usually arranged in twenty-five or thirty apartments, 
each calculated for accommodating four students; the 
academy being presided over by a rector. In Cordova, 
Granada, and other great cities, there were universities 
frequently under the superintendence of the Jews; the 
Mohammedan maxim being that the real learning of a 
man is of more public importance than any particular 
religious opinions he may entertain. In this they fol 
lowed the example of the Asiatic khalif, Haroun Alras- 
chid, who actually conferred the superintendence of his 



336 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DRAPER 

schools on John Masue, a Nestorian Christian. The Mo 
hammedan liberality was in striking contrast with the in 
tolerance of Europe. Indeed, it may be doubted whether 
at this time any European nation is sufficiently advanced 
to follow such an example. In the universities some of 
the professors of polite literature gave lectures on Arabic 
classical works ; others taught rhetoric, or composition, or 
mathematics, or astronomy. From these institutions many 
of the practices observed in our colleges were derived. 
They held Commencements, at which poems were read 
and orations delivered in presence of the public. They 
had also, in addition to these schools of general learning, 
professional ones, particularly for medicine. 

With a pride perhaps not altogether inexcusable, the Ara 
bians boasted of their language as being the most perfect 
spoken by man. Mohammed himself, when challenged to 
produce a miracle in proof of the authenticity of his mis 
sion, uniformly pointed to the composition of the Koran, 
its unapproachable excellence vindicating its inspiration. 
The orthodox Moslems the Moslems are those who are 
submissively resigned to the Divine will are wont to 
assert that every page of that book is indeed a conspicu 
ous miracle. It is not then surprising that, in the Arabian 
schools, great attention was paid to the study of language, 
and that so many celebrated grammarians were produced. 
By these scholars, dictionaries, similar to those now in 
use, were composed ; their copiousness is indicated by the 
circumstance that one of them consisted of sixty volumes, 
the definition of each word being illustrated or sustained 
by quotations from Arab authors of acknowledged repute. 
They had also lexicons of Greek, Latin. Hebrew, and 
cyclopaedias such as the Historical Dictionary of Sciences 
of Mohammed Ibn Abdallah of Granada. In their high 
est civilization and luxury they did not forget the amuse- 



DRAFER] ARABIAN CIVILIZATION IN SPAIN. 337 

ments of their forefathers, listening to the tale-teller, who 
never failed to obtain an audience in the midst of Arab 
tents. Around the evening fires in Spain the wandering 
literati exercised their wonderful powers of Oriental in 
vention, edifying the eager listeners by such narrations as 
those that have descended to us in the Arabian Nights' 
Entertainments. The more sober and higher efforts of 
the educated were, of course, directed to pulpit eloquence, 
in conformity with the example of all the great Oriental 
khalifs, and sanctified by the practice of the Prophet him 
self. Their poetical productions embraced all the modern 
minor forms, satires, odes, elegies, etc. ; but they never 
produced any work in the higher walks of poesy, no epic, 
no tragedy. Perhaps this was due to their false fashion 
of valuing the mechanical execution of a work. They 
were the authors and introducers of rhyme ; and such 
was the luxuriance and abundance of their language that 
in some of their longest poems the same rhyme is said to 
have been used alternately from the beginning to the end. 
Where such mechanical triumphs were popularly prized, 
it may be supposed that the conception and spirit would be 
indifferent. Even among the Spanish women there were 
not a few who, like Velada, Ayesha, Labana, Algasania, 
achieved reputation in these compositions ; and some of 
them were daughters of khalifs. And this is the more 
interesting to us since it was from the Provengal poetry, 
the direct descendant of these efforts, that European liter 
ature arose. Sonnets and romances at last displaced the 
grimly-orthodox productions of the wearisome and igno 
rant fathers of the Church. 

#*###*#*# 

I have to deplore the systematic manner in which the 
literature of Europe has contrived to put out of sight our 
scientific obligations to the Mohammedans. Surely the;y 
p w 29 



338 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DRAPER 

cannot be much longer hidden. Injustice founded on re 
ligious rancor and national conceit cannot be perpetuated 
forever. What should the modern astronomer say when, 
remembering the contemporary barbarism of Europe, he 
finds the Arab Abul Hassan speaking of tubes to the ex 
tremities of which ocular and object diopters, perhaps 
sights, were attached, as used at Meragha? what when 
he reads of the attempts of Abderrahman Sufi at improv 
ing the photometry of the stars ? Are the astronomical 
tables of Ebn Junis (A.D. 1008), called the Hakemite tables, 
or the Ilkanic tables of Nasser Eddin Tasi, constructed at 
the great observatory just mentioned, Meragha, near 
Tauris, A.D. 1259, or the measurement of time by pendu 
lum-oscillations, and the methods of correcting astronom 
ical tables by systematic observations, are such things 
worthless indications of the mental state? The Arab has 
left his intellectual impress on Europe, as, before long, 
Christendom will have to confess ; he has indelibly written 
it on the heavens, as any one may see who reads the names 
of the stars on a common celestial globe. 

Our obligations to the Spanish Moors in the arts of life 
are even more marked than in the higher branches of 
science, perhaps only because our ancestors were better 
prepared to take advantage of things connected with daily 
affairs. They set an example of skilful agriculture, the 
practice of which was regulated by a code of laws. Not 
only did they attend to the cultivation of plants, intro 
ducing very many new ones, they likewise paid great 
attention to the breeding of cattle, especially the sheep 
and horse. To them we owe the introduction of the great 
products, rice, sugar, cotton, and also, as we have pre 
viously observed, nearly all the fine garden and orchard 
fruits, together with many less important plants, as spin 
ach and saffron. To them Spain owes the culture of silk ; 



I)RAPER] ARABIAN CIVILIZATION IN SPAIN. 339 

they gave to Xeres and Malaga their celebrity for wine. 
They introduced the Egyptian system of irrigation by 
flood-gates, wheels, and pumps. They also promoted 
many important branches of industry; improved the 
manufacture of textile fabrics, earthenware, iron, steel; 
the Toledo sword-blades were everywhere prized for their 
temper. The Arabs, on their expulsion from Spain, car 
ried the manufacture of a kind of leather, in which they 
were acknowledged to excel, to Morocco, from which 
country the leather itself has now taken its name. They 
also introduced inventions of a more ominous kind, gun 
powder and artillery. The cannon they used appear to 
have been made of wrought iron. But perhaps they more 
than compensated for these evil contrivances by the intro 
duction of the mariner's compass. 

The mention of the mariner's compass might lead us 
correctly to infer that the Spanish Arabs were interested 
in commercial pursuits, a conclusion to which we should 
also come when we consider the revenues of some of their 
khalifs. That of Abderrahman III. is stated at five and 
a half million sterling, a vast sum if considered by its 
modern equivalent, and far more than could possibly be 
raised by taxes on the produce of the soil. It probably 
exceeded the entire revenue of all the sovereigns of Chris 
tendom taken together. From Barcelona and other ports 
an immense trade with the Levant was maintained, but it 
was mainly in the hands of the Jews, who from the first 
invasion of Spain by Musa had ever been the firm allies 
and collaborators of the Arabs. Together they had par 
ticipated in the dangers of the invasion ; together they 
had shared its boundless success ; together they had held 
in irreverent derision, nay, even in contempt, the woman- 
worshippers and polytheistic savages beyond the Pyrenees, 
as they mirthfully called those whose long-delayed ven- 



340 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DRAPER 

geance they were in the end to feel ; together they were 
expelled. Against such Jews as lingered behind the 
hideous persecutions of the Inquisition wer<3 directed. 
But in the days of their prosperity they maintained a 
merchant marine of more than a thousand ships. They 
had factories and consuls on the Tanais. With Constanti 
nople alone they maintained a great trade : it ramified 
from the Black Sea and East Mediterranean into the in 
terior of Asia ; it reached the ports of India and China, 
and extended along the African coast as far as Madagas 
car. Even in these commercial affairs the singular genius 
of the Jew and Arab shines forth. In the midst of the 
tenth century, when Europe was about in the same con 
dition that Caifraria is now, enlightened Moors, like Abul 
Cassem, were writing treatises on the principles of trade 
and commerce. As on so many other occasions, on these 
affairs they have left their traces. The smallest weight 
they used in trade was the grain of barley, four of which 
were equal to one sweet pea, called in Arabic carat. We 
still use the grain as our unit of weight, and still speak 
of gold as being so many carats fine. 

Such were the Khalifs of the West ; such their splendor, 
their luxury, their knowledge ; such some of the obliga 
tions we are Binder to them, obligations which Christian 
Europe, with singular insincerity, has ever been fain to 
hide. The cry against the misbeliever has long outlived 
the Crusades. Considering the enchanting country over 
which they ruled, it was not without reason that they 
caused to be engraven on the public seal, " The servant of 
the Merciful rests contented in the decrees of G-od." What 
more, indeed, could Paradise give them ? But, consider 
ing also the evil end of all this happiness and pomp, this 
learning, liberality, and wealth, we may well appreciate 
the solemn truth which these monarchs, in their day of 



WILLIAMS] TRUTH AND PEACE. 341 

pride and power, grandly wrote in the beautiful mosaics 
on their palace walls, an ever-recurring warning to him 
who owes dominion to the sword, " There is no conqueror 
but God." 



DIALOGUE BETWEEN TRUTH AND PEACE. 

ROGER WILLIAMS. 

[Our present author is the one victim of the Puritan persecution 
in New England who turned this evil into good, and has stamped his 
name indelibly upon the historical tablet of America. Born in Wales 
in 1599, he emigrated to Massachusetts in 1631 in search of that re 
ligious liberty which was the controlling demand of his life. He 
failed to find it here, and was banished from the colony in 1635, though 
rather on political than on religious grounds. Proceeding to Rhode 
Island, he gained great influence over the Indians of that region, 
founded the city of Providence, and established a community in which 
men of all creeds might find tolerance and liberty of opinion. Hi3 
works are principally in advocacy of religious liberty. We tran 
scribe a quaint dialogue, of no special literary merit, but curious in 
character, and full of the inspiring spirit of its writer.] 

Truth. In what dark corner of the world (sweet Peace) 
are we two met ? How hath this present evil world ban 
ished me from all the coasts and quarters of it ? and how 
hath the righteous God in judgment taken thee from the 
earth, Rev. vi. 4. 

Peace. 'Tis lamentably true (blessed Truth) the founda 
tions of the world have long been out of course: the 
gates of earth and hell have conspired together to inter 
cept our joyful meeting and our holy kisses : with what a 
weary, tired wing have I flown over nations, kingdoms, 
cities, towns, to find out precious truth ! 

Truth. The like inquiries in my flights and travels 
29* 



342 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WILLIAMS 

have I made for Peace, and still am told, she hath left the 
earth and fled to heaven. 

Peace. Dear Truth, what is the earth but a dungeon of 
darkness, where Truth is not ? 

Truth. And what is the Peace thereof but a fleeting 
dream, thine ape and counterfeit ? 

Peace. Oh, where's the promise of the God of Heaven, 
that Righteousness and Peace shall kiss each other? 

Truth. Patience (sweet Peace), these heavens and earth 
are growing old, and shall be changed like a garment, 
Psal. eii. They shall melt away, and be burnt up, with 
all the works that are therein ; and the most high Eternal 
Creator shall gloriously create new heavens and new earth, 
wherein dwells righteousness, 2 Peter iii. Our kisses shall 
then have their endless date of pure and sweetest joys ; 
till then both thou and I must hope, and wait, and bear 
the fury of the dragon's wrath, whose monstrous lies and 
furies shall with himself be cast into the lake of fire, the 
second death, Rev. xx. 

Peace. Most precious Truth, thou knowest we are both 
pursued and laid for. Mine heart is full of sighs, mine 
eyes with tears. Where can I better vent my full op 
pressed bosom, than into thine, whose faithful lips may 
for these few hours revive my drooping, wandering spirits, 
and here begin to wipe tears from mine eyes, and the eyes 
of my dearest children ? 

Truth. Sweet daughter of the God of Peace, begin, pour 
out thy sorrows, vent thy complaints ; how joyful am I 
to improve these precious minutes to revive our hearts, 
both thine and mine, and the hearts of all that love the 
Truth and Peace, Zach. viii. 

Peace. Dear Truth, I know thy birth, thy nature, thy 
delight. They that know thee, will prize thee far above 
themselves and lives, and sell themselves to buy thee. 



WILLIAMS] TRUTH AND PEACE. 343 

Well spake that famous Elizabeth to her famous attorney, 
Sir Edward Coke: "Mr. Attorney, go on as thou hast 
begun, and still plead, not pro Domina Regina, but pro 
Domina Veritate." 

Truth. "Tis true, my crown is high, my sceptres strong 
to break down strongest holds, to throw down highest 
crowns of all that plead (though but in thought) against 
me. Some few there are, but oh, how few, are valiant for 
the Truth and dare to plead my cause, as my witnesses in 
sackcloth, Eev. ii. ; while all men's tongues are bent like 
boughs to shoot out lying words against me ! 

Peace. Oh, how could I spend eternal days and endless 
dates at thy holy feet, in listening to the precious oracles 
of thy mouth ! All the words of thy mouth are Truth, 
and there is no iniquity in them. Thy lips drop as the 
honey-comb. But oh ! since we must part anon, let us (as 
thou saidst) improve our minutes, and (according as thou 
promisedst) revive me with thy words, which are sweeter 
than the honey, and the honey-comb. 

CONCLUSION. 

Peace. We have now (dear Truth) through the gracious 
hand of God clambered up to the top of this our tedious 
discourse. 

Truth. Oh, 'tis mercy unexpressible that either thou or 
I have had so long a breathing time, and that together ! 

Peace. If English ground must yet be drunk with Eng 
lish blood, oh, where shall Peace repose her wearied head 
and heavy heart ? 

Truth. Dear Peace, if thou find welcome, and the God 
of Peace miraculously please to quench" these all-devour 
ing flames, yet where shall Truth find rest from cruel 
persecutions ? 

Peace. Oh, will not the authority of holy scriptures, the 



344 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HATES 

commands and declarations of the Son of God*, therein 
produced by thee, together with all the lamentable ex 
periences of former and present slaughters, prevail with 
the sons of men (especially with the sons of Peace) to 
depart from the dens of lions, and mountains of leopards, 
and to put on the bowels (if not of Christianity, yet) of 
humanity each to other? 

Truth. Dear Peace, Habacuck's fishes keep their con 
stant bloody game of persecutions in the world's mighty 
ocean ; the greater taking, plundering, swallowing up the 
lesser : O happy he whose portion is the God of Jacob ! 
who hath nothing to lose under the sun, but hath a state, 
a house, an inheritance, a name, a crown, a life, past all 
the plunderers, ravishers, murtherers reach and fury ! 

Peace. But lo ! Who's there ? 

Truth. Our sister Patience, whose desired company is 
as needful as delightful ! 'Tis like the wolf will send the 
scattered sheep in one : the common pirate gathers up the 
loose and scattered navy : the slaughter of the witnesses 
by that bloody beast unites the Independents and the 
Presbyterians. The God of Peace, the God of Truth, will 
shortly seal this truth, and confirm this witness, and make 
it evident to the whole world, 

That the doctrine of persecution for cause of conscience 
is most evidently and lamentably contrary to the doctrine 
of Christ Jesus the Prince of Peace. Amen. 



IN THE ARCTIC SEAS. 

' ISAAC I. HAYES, M.D. 

[The narrative of life in the kingdom of ice given by this explorer 
is full of interest. We extract two scenes from his story of Arctic 
adventure, one a picturesque description of peril among icebergs, and 



HAYES] IN THE ARCTIC SEAS. 345 

the other a stirring relation of a walrus-hunt in the Northern seas. 
Dr. Hayes was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1832. He 
accompanied Dr. Kane in his expedition to the Polar region in 1853, 
and himself conducted an expedition to the same region in 1860. He 
died in 1881.] 

FOUR days of almost constant calm would tax the pa 
tience of even Job-like resignation. We had a breath of 
wind now and then to tantalize us, treacherous currents 
to keep us ever anxious, icebergs always threatening us ; 
now at anchor, then moored to a berg, and again keeping 
free from danger through a hard struggle with the oars. 
We had many narrow escapes, one of which, as illustrating 
a peculiar feature of Arctic navigation, is perhaps worthy 
of more particular record. 

We had made a little progress during the night, but 
soon after breakfast the wind died away, and the schooner 
lay like a log upon the water. Giving too little heed to 
the currents, we were eagerly watching the indications 
of wind which appeared at the south, and hoping for a 
breeze, when it was discovered that the tide had changed, 
and was stealthily setting us upon a nest of bergs which 
lay to leeward. One of them was of that description 
known among the crew by the significant title of " Touch 
me not," and presented that jagged, honey- combed ap 
pearance indicative of great age. They are unpleasant 
neighbors. The least disturbance of their equilibrium may 
cause the whole mass to crumble to pieces, and woe be 
unto the unlucky vessel that is caught in the dissolution! 

In such a trap it seemed, however, that we stood a fair 
chance of being ensnared. The current was carrying us 
along at an uncomfortably rapid rate. A boat was low 
ered as quickly as possible, to run out a line to a berg 
which lay grounded about a hundred yards from us. 
While this was being done, we grazed the side of a berg 



346 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HAYES 

which rose a hundred feet above our topmasts, then 
slipped past another of smaller dimensions. By pushing 
against them with our ice-poles we changed somewhat 
the course of the schooner ; but when we thought that 
we were steering clear of the mass which we so much 
dreaded, an eddy changed the direction of our drift, and 
carried us almost broadside upon it. 

The schooner struck on the starboard quarter, and the 
shock, slight though it was, disengaged some fragments 
of ice that were large enough to have crushed the vessel 
had they struck her, and also many little lumps which 
rattled about us ; but fortunately no person was hit. The 
quarter-deck was quickly cleared, and all hands, crowding 
forward, anxiously watched the boat. The berg now be 
gan o revolve, and was settling slowly over us ; the little 
lumps fell thicker and faster upon the after-deck, and the 
forecastle was the only place where there was the least 
chance of safety. 

At length the berg itself saved us from destruction. An 
immense mass broke off from that part which was beneath 
the surface of the sea, and this a dozen times larger 
than the schooner came rushing up within a few yards 
of us, sending a vast volume of foam and water flying from 
its sides. This rupture arrested the revolution, and the 
berg began to settle in the opposite direction. And now 
came another danger. A long tongue was protruding 
immediately underneath the schooner ; already the keel 
was slipping and grinding upon it ; and it seemed prob 
able that we should be knocked up into the air like a 
foot-ball, or at least capsized. The side of our enemy soon 
leaned from us, and we were in no danger from the worse 
than hail-stone showers which had driven us forward : so 
we sprang to the ice-poles, and exerted our strength in 
endeavoring to push the vessel off. There were no idle 



HAYES] IN THE ARCTIC SEAS. 347 

hands. Danger respects not the dignity of the quarter 
deck. 

After we had fatigued ourselves at this hard labor with 
out any useful result, the berg came again to our relief. 
A loud report first startled us ; another and another fol 
lowed in quick succession, until the noise grew deafening, 
and the whole air seemed a reservoir of frightful sound. 
The opposite side of the berg had split off, piece after 
piece tumbling a vast volume of ice into the sea, and 
sending the berg revolving back upon us. This time the 
movement was quicker ; fragments began again to fall ; 
and., already sufficiently startled by the alarming dissolu 
tion which had taken place, we were in momentary ex 
pectation of seeing the whole side nearest to us break 
loose and crash bodily upon the schooner, in which event 
she wouM inevitably be carried down beneath it, as hope 
lessly doomed as a shepherd's hut beneath an Alpine ava 
lanche. 

By this time, Dodge, who had charge of the boat, had 
succeeded in planting an ice-anchor and attaching his rope, 
and greeted us with the welcome signal, " Haul in." WQ 
pulled for our lives, long and steadily. Seconds seemed 
minutes, and minutes hours. At length we began to 
move off. Slowly and steadily sank the berg behind us, 
carrying away the main boom, and grazing hard against 
the quarter. But we were safe. Twenty yards away, 
and the disruption occurred which we had all so much 
dreaded. The side nearest to us now split off, and came 
plunging wildly down into the sea, sending over us a 
shower of spray, raising a swell which set us rocking to 
and fro as if in a gale of wind, and left us grinding in the 
debris of the crumbling ruin. 

At last we succeeded in extricating ourselves, and were 
fur enough away to look back calmly upon the object of 



348 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HAYES 

our terror. It was still rocking and rolling like a thing of 
life. At each revolution fresh masses were disengaged; 
and, as its sides came up in long sweeps, great cascades 
tumbled and leaped from them hissing into the foaming 
sea. After several hours it settled down into quietude, a 
mere fragment of its former greatness, while the pieces 
that were broken from it floated quietly away with the 
tide. 

Whether it was the waves created by the dissolution 
which I have just described, or the sun's warm rays, or 
both combined, I cannot pretend to say, but the day was 
filled with one prolonged series of reports of crumbling ice 
bergs. Scarcely had we been moored in safety when a very 
large one about two miles distant from us, resembling in 
its general appearance the British House of Parliament, 
began to go to pieces. First a lofty tower came plunging 
into the water, starting from their inhospitable perch an 
immense flock of gulls, that went screaming up into the 
air ; over went another ; then a whole side settled squarely 
down ; then the wreck capsized, and at length, after five 
hours of rolling and crashing, there remained of this 
splendid mass of congelation not a fragment that arose 
fifty feet above the water. Another, which appeared to 
be a mile in length and upwards of a hundred feet in 
height, split in two with a quick, sharp, and at length 
long, rumbling report, which could hardly have been ex 
ceeded by a thousand pieces of artillery simultaneously 
discharged, and the two fragments kept wallowing in the 
sea for hours before they came to rest. Even the berg to 
which we were moored chimed in with the infernal con 
cert, and discharged a corner larger than St. Paul's Ca 
thedral. 

No words of mine can adequately describe the din and 
noise which filled our ears during the few hours succeed- 



HATES] IN THE ARCTIC SEAS. 349 

ing the encounter which I have narrated, and therefore I 
borrow from the "Ancient Mariner:" 

" The ice was here, 
The ice was there, 

The ice was all around ; 
It creaked and growled, 
And roared and howled 

Like demons in a s wound." 



It seemed, indeed, as if old Thor himself had taken a 
holiday, and had come away from his kingdom of Thrud- 
wanger and his Winding Palace of five hundred and forty 
halls, and had crossed the mountains with his chariot and 
he-goats, armed with his mace of strength, and girt about 
with his belt of prowess, and wearing his gauntlets of 
iron, for the purpose of knocking these giants of the 
frost to right and left for his own special amusement. 

It is, however, only at this season of the year that the 
bergs are so unneighborly. They are rarely known to 
break up except in the months of July and August. It 
must be then owing to an unevenly-heated condition of 
the interior and exterior, caused by the sun's warm rays 
playing upon them. From the sunny side of a berg I 
have not unfrequently seen pieces discharged in a line 
almost horizontal, with great force, and with an explosive 
report like a quarryman's blast. These explosions and the 
crumbling of the ice are always attended with a cloud of 
vapor, no doubt caused by the colder ice of the interior 
being brought suddenly in contact with the warmer air. 
The effect is often very remarkable as well as beautiful, 
especially when the cloud reflects the rays of the sun. 

If, however, my pen cannot convey a picture of these 
icebergs in their more terrible aspects, it will, I fear, bo 
equally impotent to portray their wondrous beauties. I 

30 



350 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HATES 

have tried it once before, and was much dissatisfied with 
the result. I had then, however, a soft sky, when the 
whole heavens were a mass of rich, warm color, the sea a 
dissolved rainbow, and the bergs great floating monoliths 
of malachite and marble bathed in flame. Now the sky 
was gray, the air clear, and the ice everywhere a dead 
while or a cold, transparent blue. 

I clambered up the sloping side of the berg to which 
we were tied, and, from an elevation of nearly two hun 
dred feet, obtained a view which well repaid me for the 
trouble of the venture. I am glad to say, however, that 
I came down again before St. Paul's Cathedral tumbled 
from its corner, an event which sent us drifting away to 
a less uncomfortable neighborhood, at the expense of an 
ice-anchor and eighty fathoms of manilla line. 

As I approached the berg, I was struck with the re 
markable transparency of the water. Looking over the 
gunwale of the boat, I could trace the ice stretching 
downward apparently to an interminable distance. Look 
ing back at the schooner, its reflection was a perfect image 
of itself, and it required only the separation of it from the 
surrounding objects to give to the mind the impression 
that two vessels, keel to keel, were floating in mid-air. 
This singular transparency of* the water was further 
shown when I had reached the top of the berg. Off to 
the southeast a high, rocky bluff threw its dark shadow 
upon the water, and the dividing line between sunlight 
and shade was so marked that it required an effort to 
dispel the illusion that the margin of sunlight was not 
the edge of a fathomless abyss. 

It is difficult for the mind to comprehend the immense 
quantity of ice which floated upon the sea around me. 
To enumerate the separate bergs was impossible. I 
counted five hundred, and gave up in despair. Near by 



HATES] IN THE ARCTIC SEAS. 351 

they stood out in all the rugged harshness of their sharp 
outlines ; and from this, softening with the distance, they 
melted away into the clear gray sky, and there, far off 
upon the sea of liquid silver, the imagination conjured up 
effigies both strange and wonderful. Birds and beasts and 
human forms and architectural designs took shape in the 
distant masses of blue and white. The dome of St. Peters 
loomed above the spire of Old Trinity; and under the 
shadow of the Pyramids nestled a Byzantine tower and a 
Grecian temple. 

To the eastward the sea was dotted with little islets, 
dark specks upon a brilliant surface. Icebergs, great and 
small, crowded through the channels which divided them, 
until in the far distance they appeared massed together, 
terminating against a snow-covered plain that sloped up 
ward until it was lost in a dim line of bluish whiteness. 
This line could be traced behind the serrated coast as far 
to the north and south as the eye would carry. It was 
the great mer de glace which covers the length and breadth 
of the Greenland continent. The snow-covered slope was 
a glacier descending therefrom, the parent stem from 
which had been discharged, at irregular intervals, many 
of the icebergs which troubled us so much, and which 
have supplied materials for this too long description. 

A WALRUS-HUNT. 

I have had a walrus-hunt and a most exciting day's 
sport. Much ice has broken adrift and come down the 
Sound during the past few days ; and, when the sun is 
out bright and hot, the walrus come up out of the water 
to sleep and bask in the warmth on the pack. Being upon 
the hill-top this morning to select a place for building a 
cairn, my ear caught the hoarse bellowing of numerous 
walrus; and upon looking over the sea I observed that 



352 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HAYES 

the tide was carrying the pack across the outer limit of 
the bay, and that it was alive with the beasts which were 
filling the air with such uncouth noises. Their numbers 
appeared to be even beyond conjecture, for they extended 
as far as the eye could reach, almost every piece of ice 
being covered. There must have been, indeed, many 
hundreds or even thousands. 

Hurrying from the hill, I called for volunteers, and 
quickly had a boat's crew ready for some sport. Putting 
three rifles, a harpoon, and a line into one of the whale- 
boats, we dragged it over the ice to the open water, into 
which it was speedily launched. 

We had about two miles to pull before the margin of 
the pack was reached. On the cake of ice to which we 
first came, there were perched about two dozen animals ; 
and these we selected for the attack. They covered the 
raft almost completely, lying huddled together, lounging 
in the sun or lazily rolling and twisting themselves about, 
as if to expose some fresh part of their unwieldy bodies 
to the warmth, great, ugly, wallowing sea-hogs, they 
were evidently enjoying themselves, and were without 
apprehension of approaching danger. We neared them 
slowly, with muffled oars. 

As the distance between us and the game steadily nar 
rowed, we began to realize that we were likely to meet 
with rather formidable antagonists. Their aspect was for 
bidding in the extreme, and our sensations were perhaps 
not unlike those which the young soldier experiences who 
hears for the first time the order to charge the enemy. 
We should all, very possibly, have been quite willing to 
retreat had we dared own it. Their tough, nearly hairless 
hides, which are about an inch thick, had a singularly 
iron-plated look about them, peculiarly suggestive of de 
fence ; while their huge tusks, which they brandished 



HAYES] IN THE ARCTIC SEAS. 353 

with an appearance of strength that their awkwardness 
did not diminish, looked like very formidable weapons of 
offence if applied to a boat's planking or to the human 
ribs, if one should happen to find himself floundering in 
the sea among the thick-skinned brutes, To complete 
the hideousness of a facial expression which the tusks 
rendered formidable enough in appearance, Nature had 
endowed them with broad, flat noses, which were covered 
all over with stiff whiskers, looking much like porcupine 
quills, and extending up to the edge of a pair of gaping 
nostrils. The use of these whiskers is as obscure as that 
of the tusks ; though it is probable that the latter may 
be as well weapons of offence and defence as for the more 
useful purpose of grubbing up from the bottom of the 
sea the mollusks which constitute their principal food. 
There were two old bulls in the herd who appeared to be 
dividing their time between sleeping and jamming their 
tusks into each other's faces, although they appeared to 
treat the matter with perfect indifference, as they did not 
seem to make any impression on each other's thick hides. 
As we approached, these old fellows neither of which 
could have been less than sixteen feet long, nor smaller in 
girth than a hogshead raised up their heads, and, after 
taking a leisurely survey of us, seemed to think us un 
worthy of further notice, and then, punching each other 
again in the face, fell once more asleep. This was exhib 
iting a degree of coolness rather alarming. If they had 
showed the least timidity, we should have found some 
excitement in extra caution ; but they seemed to make so 
light of our approach that it was not easy to koep up the 
bold front with which we had commenced the adventure. 
But we had come, quite too far to think of backing out : 
so we pulled in and made ready for the fray. 

Besides the old bulls, the group contained several cows, 
x 30* 



354 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HAYES 

and a few calves of various sizes, some evidently year 
lings, others but recently born, and others, half or three- 
quarters grown. Some were without tusks, while on 
others they were just sprouting, and above this they were 
of all sizes up to those of the big bulls, which had great 
curved cones of ivory nearly three feet long. At length 
we were within a few boat's-lengths of the ice-raft, and the 
game had not taken alarm. They had probably never 
seen a boat before. Our preparations were made as we 
approached. The walrus will always sink when dead, 
unless held up by a harpoon-line; and there were there 
fore but two chances for us to secure our game, either to 
shoot the beast dead on the raft, or to get a harpoon well 
into him after he was wounded, and hold on to him until 
he was killed. As to killing the animal where he lay, 
that was not likely to happen, for the thick skin destroys 
the force of the ball before it can reach any vital part, 
and indeed, at a distance, actually flattens it; and the 
skull is so heavy that it is hard to penetrate with an ordi 
nary bullet, unless the ball happens to strike through the 
eye. 

To Miller, a cool and spirited fellow, who had been after 
whales on the " nor'west coast," was given the harpoon, 
and he took his station at the bows ; while Knorr, Jensen, 
and myself kept our places in the stern-sheets, and held 
our rifles in readiness. Each selected his animal, and we 
fired in concert over the heads of the oarsmen. As soon 
as the rifles were discharged, I ordered the men to " give 
way," and the boat shot right among the startled animals 
as they rolled oif pell-mell into the sea. Jensen had fired 
at the head of one of the bulls, and hit him in the neck ; 
Knorr killed a young one, which was pushed off in the 
hasty scramble and sank; while I planted a minie-ball 
somewhere in the head of the other bull and drew from 



HAYES] 7^ THE ARCTIC SEAS. 355 

him a most frightful bellow, louder, I venture to say, 
than ever came from wild bull of Bashan. When he 
rolled over into the water, which he did with a splash 
that sent the spray flying all over us, he almost touched 
the bows of the boat, and gave Miller a good opportunity 
to get in his harpoon, which he did in capital style. 

The alarmed herd seemed to make straight for the hot 
torn, and the line spun out over the gunwale at a fearful 
pace ; but, having several coils in the boat, the end was 
not reached before the animals began to rise, and we took 
in the slack and got ready for what was to follow. The 
strain of the line whipped the boat around among some 
loose fragments of ice, and, the line having fouled among 
it, we should have been in great jeopardy had not one of 
the sailors promptly sprung out, cleared the line, and de 
fended the boat. 

In a few minutes the whole herd appeared at the sur 
face, about fifty yards away from us, the harpooned 
animal being among them. Miller held fast to his line, 
and the boat was started with a rush. The coming up of 
the herd was the signal for a scene which baffles descrip 
tion. They uttered one wild, concerted shriek, as if an 
agonized call for help ; and then the air was filled with 
answering shrieks. The "huk! huk! huk I" of the 
wounded bulls seemed to find an echo everywhere, as the 
cry was taken up and passed along from floe to floe, like 
the bugle-blast passed from squadron to squadron along a 
line of battle ; and down from every piece of ice plunged 
the startled beasts, as quickly as the sailor drops from his 
hammock when the long-roll beats to quarters. With 
their ugly heads just above the water, and with mouths 
wide open, belching forth the dismal "huk! huk! huk!" 
they came tearing toward the boat. 

In a few moments we were completely surrounded, and 



356 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HATES 

the numbers kept multiplying with astonishing rapidity. 
The water soon became alive and black with them. 

They seemed at first to be frightened and irresolute, 
and for a time it did not seem that they meditated mis 
chief; but this pleasing prospect was soon dissipated, and 
we were forced to look well to our safety. 

That they meditated an attack there could no longer be 
a doubt. To escape the onslaught was impossible. We 
had raised a hornets' nest about our ears in a most aston 
ishingly short space of time, and we must do the best we 
could. Even the wounded animal to which we were fast 
turned upon us, and we became the focus of at least a 
thousand gaping, bellowing mouths. 

It seemed to be the purpose of the walrus to get their 
tusks over the gunwale of the boat, and it was evident that, 
in the event of one such monster hooking on to us, the 
boat would be torn in pieces and we would be left floating 
in the sea helpless. We had good motive, therefore, to be 
active. Miller plied his lance from the bows, and gave 
many a serious wound. The men pushed back the onset 
with their oars, while Knorr, Jensen, and myself loaded 
and fired our rifles as rapidly as we could. Several times 
we were in great jeopardy, but the timely thrust, of an 
oar, or the lance, or a bullet, saved us. Once I thought 
we were surely gone. I had fired, and was hastening to 
load ; a wicked-looking brute was making at us, and it 
seemed probable that he would be upon us. I stopped 
loading, and was preparing to cram my rifle down his 
throat, when Knorr, who had got ready his weapon, sent 
a fatal shot into his head. Again, an immense animal, 
the largest that I had ever seen, and with tusks apparently 
three feet long, was observed to be making his way through 
the herd with mouth wide open, bellowing dreadfully. I 
was now, as before, busy loading, Knorr and Jensen had 



HAYES] IN THE ARCTIC SEAS. 357 

just discharged their pieces, and the men were well en 
gaged with their oars. It was a critical moment, but, 
happily, I was in time. The monster, his head high above 
the boat, was within two feet of the gunwale, when I 
raised my piece and fired into his mouth. The discharge 
killed him instantly, and he went down like a stone. 

This ended the fray. I know not why, but the whole 
herd seemed suddenly to take alarm, and all dove down 
with a tremendous splash almost at the same instant. 
When they came up again, still shrieking as before, they 
were some distance from us, their heads all now pointed 
seaward, making from us as fast as they could go, their 
cries growing more and more faint as they retreated in 
the distance. 

We must have killed at least a dozen, and mortally 
wounded as many more. The water was in places red 
with blood, and several half-dead and dying animals lay 
floating about us. The bull to which we were made fast 
pulled away with all his might after the retreating herd, 
but his strength soon became exhausted ; and, as his speed 
slackened, we managed to haul in the line, and finally ap 
proached him so nearly that our rifle-balls took effect, and 
Miller at length gave him the coup de grace with his lance. 
We then drew him to the nearest piece of ice, and I had 
soon a fine specimen to add to my natural-history collec 
tions. Of the others we secured only one : the rest had 
died and sunk before we reached them. 

I have never before regarded the walrus as a really for 
midable animal ; but this contest convinces me that I have 
done their courage great injustice. They are full of fight; 
and, had we not been very active and self-possessed, our 
boat would have been torn to pieces and we either 
drowned or killed. A more fierce attack than that which 
they made upon us could hardly be imagined, and a more 



358 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EVERETT 

formidable-looking enemy than one of these huge mon 
sters, with his immense tusks arid bellowing throat, would 
be difficult to find. 



IMPERISHABLE MEMORIES. 

EDWARD EVERETT. 

[Edward Everett was born at Dorchester, Massachusetts, in 1794. 
During his long and active life he filled many positions, political and 
professional. At the age of twenty he was ordained minister of one of 
the largest churches in Boston. After a year in this service he became 
professor of Greek literature at Harvard, and editor of the North 
American Review. He afterwards served for many years as United 
States representative, senator, secretary of state, and in other positions. 
But his reputation rests mainly on his brilliant oratory, in which field 
of labor he was unexcelled. When little more than a boy, he had at 
tained to great influence and popularity, and in his later years he be 
came the most polished and highly considered of American lecture 
orators. His orations were by no means of the ephemeral nature of 
the great sum of such efforts, but were carefully-studied and diligently- 
prepared productions, well worthy of the permanent position they 
have attained in American literature. His oration on Washington, 
before the outbreak of the civil war, was delivered nearly one hundred 
and twenty-five times, in almost every section of the Union, and did 
much to allay the irritation which then existed. His last great oration 
was delivered at Gettysburg, on the occasion of the consecration of the 
national cemetery at that place. He died in January, 1865. His ora 
tions have been published in four volumes, and have become an im 
portant feature of every American library of reference.] 

IT has been the custom, from the remotest antiquity, to 
preserve and to hand down to posterity, in bronze and in 
marble, the counterfeit presentment of illustrious men. 
Within the last few years modern research has brought to 
light, on the banks of the Tigris, huge slabs of alabaster 



EVERETT] IMPERISHABLE MEMORIES. 359 

buried for ages, which exhibit in relief the faces and the 
persons of men who governed the primeval East in the 
gray dawn of histoiy. Three thousand years have elapsed 
since they lived, and reigned, and built palaces, and forti 
fied cities, and waged war, and gained victories of which 
the trophies are carved upon these monumental tablets, 
the triumphal procession, the chariots laden with spoil, the 
drooping captive, the conquered monarch in chains, but 
the legends inscribed upon the stone are imperfectly deci 
phered, and little beyond the names of the personages and 
the most general tradition of their exploits is preserved. 
In like manner the obelisks and the temples of ancient 
Egypt are covered with the sculptured images of whole 
dynasties of Pharaohs, older than Moses, older than 
Joseph, whose titles are recorded in the hieroglyphics 
with which the granite is charged, and which are gradually 
yielding up their long-concealed mysteries to the sagacity 
of modern criticism. The plastic arts, as they passed 
into Hellas, with all the other arts which give grace and 
dignity to our nature, reached a perfection unknown to 
Egypt or Assyria; and the heroes and sages of Greece 
and Eome, immortalized by the sculptor, still people the 
galleries and museums of the modern world, 

In every succeeding age and in every country, in which 
the fine, arts have been cultivated, the respect and affec 
tion of survivors have found a pure and rational gratifica 
tion in the historical portrait and the monumental statue 
of the honored and loved in private life, and especially of 
the great and good who have deserved well of their coun 
try. Public esteem and confidence and private affection, 
the gratitude of the community and the fond memories of 
the fireside, have ever sought, in this way, to prolong the 
sensible existence of their beloved and respected objects. 
What though the dear and honored features and person 



360 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EVERETT 

on which, while living, we never gazed without tender 
ness or veneration, have been taken from us, something 
of the loveliness, something of the majesty, abides in the 
portrait, the bust, and the statue. The heart bereft of 
the living originals turns to them ; and, cold and silent as 
they are, they strengthen and animate the cherished 
recollections of the loved, the honored, and the lost. 

The skill of the painter and sculptor, which thus comes 
in aid of the memory and imagination, is, in its highest 
degree, one of the rarest, as it is one of the most exquisite, 
accomplishments within our attainment, and in its perfec 
tion as seldom witnessed as the perfection of speech or of 
music. The plastic hand must be moved by the same 
ethereal instinct as the eloquent lips or the recording pen. 
The number of those who, in the language of Michael 
Angelo, can discern the finished statue in the heart of the 
shapeless block, and bid it start into artistic life, who 
are endowed with the exquisite gift of moulding the rigid 
bronze or the lifeless marble into graceful, majestic, and 
expressive forms, is not greater than the number of 
those who are able, with equal majesty, grace, and ex 
pressiveness, to make the spiritual essence the finest 
shades of thought and feeling sensible to the mind, 
through the eye and the ear, in the mysterious embodi 
ment of the written and the spoken word. If Athens, 
in her palmiest days, had but one Pericles, she had also 
but one Phidias. 

Nor are these beautiful and noble arts, by which the 
face and the form of the departed are preserved to us, 
calling into the highest exercise, as they do, all the imita 
tive and idealizing powers of the painter and the sculptor, 
the least instructive of our teachers. The portraits and 
the statues of the honored dead kindle the generous am 
bition of the youthful aspirant to fame. Themistocles 



EVERETT] IMPERISHABLE MEMORIES. 361 

could not sleep for the trophies in the Ceramicus ; and 
when the living Demosthenes had ceased to speak, the 
stony lips remained to rebuke and exhort his degenerate 
countrymen. More than a hundred years have elapsed 
since the great Newton passed away ; but from age to age 
his statue by Roubillac, in the ante-chapel of Trinity 
College, will give distinctness to the conceptions formed 
of him by hundreds and thousands of ardent youthful 
spirits, filled with reverence for that transcendent in 
tellect which, from the phenomena that fall within our 
limited vision, deduced the imperial law by which the 
Sovereign Mind rules the entire universe. We can never 
look on the person of Washington ; but his serene and 
noble countenance, perpetuated by the pencil and the 
chisel, is familiar to far greater multitudes than ever 
stood in his living presence, and will be thus familiar to 
the latest generation. 

What parent, as he conducts his son to Mount Auburn 
or to Bunker Hill, will not, as he passes before their monu 
mental statues, seek to heighten his reverence for virtue, 
for patriotism, for science, for learning, for devotion to 
the public good, as he bids him contemplate the form of 
that grave and venerable Winthrop, who left his pleasant 
home in England to come and found a new republic in 
this untrodden wilderness ; of that ardent and intrepid 
Otis, who first struck out the spark of American indepen 
dence ; of that noble Adams, its most eloquent champion 
on the floor of Congress ; of that martyr, Warren, who laid 
down his life in its defence ; of that self taught Bowditch, 
who, without a guide, threaded the starry mazes of the 
heavens ; of that Story, honored at home and abroad as 
one of the brightest luminaries of the law, and, by a fe 
licity of which I believe there is no other example, ad 
mirably portrayed in marble by his son ? 
Q ' 31 



362 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EVEEETT 

"What citizen of Boston, as he accompanies the stranger 
around our streets, guiding him through our busy thor 
oughfares, to our wharves crowded with vessels which range 
every sea and gather the produce of every climate, up 
to the dome of this capitol, which commands as lovely a 
landscape as can delight the eye or gladden the heart, 
will not, as he calls his attention at last to the statues of 
Franklin and Webster, exclaim, " Boston takes pride in 
her natural position, she rejoices in her' beautiful environs, 
she is grateful for her material prosperity ; but richer 
than the merchandise stored in palatial warehouses, 
greener than the slopes of sea-girt islets, lovelier than 
this encircling panorama of land and sea, of field and 
hamlet, of lake and stream, of garden and grove, is the 
memory of her sons, native and adopted ; the character, 
services, and fame of those who have benefited and 
adorned their day and generation. Our children and the 
schools at which they are trained, our citizens and the 
services they have rendered, these are our jewels, 
these our abiding treasures." 

Yes, your long rows of quarried granite may crumble 
to the dust ; the corn-fields in yonder villages, ripening to 
the sickle, may, like the plains of stricken Lombardy a 
few weeks ago, be kneaded into bloody clods by the mad 
ding wheels of artillery ; this populous city, like the old 
cities of Etruria and Campagna Romagna, may be deso 
lated by the pestilence which walketh in darkness, may 
decay with the lapse of time, and the busy mart, which 
now rings with the joyous din of trade, become as lonely 
and still as Carthage or Tyre, as Babylon or Nineveh : 
but the names of the great and good shall survive the 
desolation and the ruin ; the memory of the wise, the 
brave, the patriotic, shall never perish. 

Yes, Sparta is a wheat-field ; a Bavarian prince holds 



BROWW] ENCOUNTER WITH A PANTHER. 363 

court at the foot of the Acropolis ; the travelling virtuoso 
digs for marble in the Roman Forum, and beneath the 
ruins of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus ; but Lycurgus 
and Leonidas, and Miltiades and Demosthenes, and Cato 
and Tully, " still live ;" and HE* still lives, and all the 
great and good shall live in the heart of ages, while mar 
ble and bronze shall endure ; and when marble and bronze 
have perished, they shall " still live" in memory, so long 
as men shall reverence law, and honor patriotism, and love 
liberty ! 



ENCOUNTER WITH A PANTHER. 

CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN. 

[Charles Brockden Brown, the earliest of American novelists, was 
of Quaker lineage, and was born in Philadelphia in 1771. His pro 
fession of the law was given up at an early age for the pursuit of 
literature, and several novels appeared in rapid succession from his 
pen, the best known of these being " Wieland," " Arthur Mervyn," 
and " Edgar Huntly." These works are faulty in many respects, yet 
they are of sufficient originality and power to give them an abiding 
place in literature. The least unhealthy in tone is " Edgar Huntly," 
in which the hero follows a somnambulist through dangerous scenes 
of cave, forest, and mountain, which are described with much ability. 
The adventure with the panther, which we quote, is very animated 
and exciting.] 

AT that moment, torrents of rain poured from above, 
and stronger blasts thundered amidst these desolate re 
cesses and profound chasms. Instead of lamenting the 
prevalence of this tempest, I now began to regard it with 
pleasure. It conferred new forms of sublimity and gran- 

* Daniel Webster. 



364 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BROWN 

deur on the scene. As I crept with hands and feet along 
my imperfect bridge, a sudden gust had nearly whirled 
me into the frightful abyss. To preserve myself, I was 
obliged to loose my hold of my burden, and it fell into the 
gulf. This incident disconcerted and distressed me. As 
soon as I had effected my dangerous passage, I screened 
myself behind a cliff, and gave myself up to reflection. . . . 

While occupied with these reflections, my eyes were 
fixed upon the opposite steeps. The tops of the trees, 
waving to and fro, in the wildest commotion, and their 
trunks, occasionally bending to the blast, which, in these 
lofty regions, blew with a violence unknown in the tracts 
below, exhibited an awful spectacle. At length my at 
tention was attracted by the trunk which lay across the 
gulf, and which I had converted into a bridge. I per 
ceived that it had already somewhat swerved from its 
original position, that every blast broke or loosened some 
of the fibres by which its roots were connected with the 
opposite bank, and that, if the storm did not speedily 
abate, there was imminent danger of its being torn from 
the rock and precipitated into the chasm. Thus my re 
treat would be cut off, and the evils from which I was 
endeavoring to rescue another would be experienced by 
myself. . . . 

I believed my destiny to hang upon the expedition with 
which I should recross this gulf. The moments that were 
spent in these deliberations were critical, and I shuddered 
to observe that the trunk was held in its place by one or 
two fibres which were already stretched almost to breaking. 

To pass along the trunk, rendered slippery by the wet 
and unsteadfast by the wind, was eminently dangerous. 
To maintain my hold in passing, in defiance of the whirl 
wind, required the most vigorous exertions. For this end 
it was necessary to discommode myself of my cloak, and 



BROWN] ENCOUNTER WITH A PANTHER. 365 

of the volume which I carried in the pocket of my cloak. 
I believed there was no reason to dread these being de 
stroyed or purloined if left for a few hours or a day in 
this recess. If laid beside a stone, under shelter of this 
cliff, they would, no doubt, remain unmolested till the 
disappearance of the storm should permit me to revisit 
this spot in the afternoon or on the morrow. 

Just as I had disposed of these encumbrances, and had 
risen from my seat, my attention was again called to the 
opposite steep, by the most unwelcome object that at this 
time could possibly occur. Something was perceived 
moving among the bushes and rocks, which, for a time, I 
hoped was no more than a raccoon or opossum, but which 
presently appeared to be a panther. His gray coat, ex 
tended claws, fiery eyes, and a cry which he at that mo 
ment uttered, and which, by its resemblance to the human 
voice, is peculiarly terrific, denoted him to be the most 
ferocious and untamable of that detested race. 

The industry of our hunters has nearly banished ani 
mals of prey from these precincts. The fastnesses of 
Norwalk, however, could not but aiford refuge to some 
of them. Of late I had met them so rarely that my fears 
were seldom alive, and I trod without caution the rug- 
gedest and most solitary haunts. Still, however, I had 
seldom been unfurnished in my rambles with the means 
of defence. . . . 

The unfrequency with which I had lately encountered 
this foe, and the encumbrance of provision, made me 
neglect on this occasion to bring with me my usual arms. 
The beast that was now before me, when stimulated by 
hunger, was accustomed to assail whatever co aid provide 
him with a banquet of blood. He would set upon the 
man and the deer with equal and irresistible ferocity. 
His sagacity was equal to his strength, and he seemed 

31* 



366 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BROWN 

able to discover when his antagonist was armed and pre 
pared for defence. 

My past experience enabled me to estimate the full 
extent of my danger. He sat on the brow of the steep, 
eying the bridge, and apparently deliberating whether he 
should cross it. It was probable that he had scented my 
footsteps thus far, and, should he pass over, his vigilance 
could scarcely fail of detecting my asylum. . . . 

Should he retain his present station, my danger was 
scarcely lessened. To pass over in the face of a famished 
tiger was only to rush upon my fate. The falling of the 
trunk, which had lately been so anxiously deprecated, 
was now, with no less solicitude, desired. Every new 
gust I hoped would tear asunder its remaining bands, 
and, by cutting off all communication between the op 
posite steeps, place me in security. 

My hopes, however, were destined to be frustrated. 
The fibres of the prostrate tree were obstinately tenacious 
of their hold, and presently the animal scrambled down 
the rock and proceeded to cross it. 

Of all kinds of death, that which now menaced me was 
the most abhorred. To die by disease, or by the hand of 
a fellow-creature, was propitious and lenient in comparison 
with being rent to pieces by the fangs of this savage. To 
perish in this obscure retreat, by means so impervious to 
the anxious curiosity of my friends, to lose my portion of 
existence by so untoward and ignoble a destiny, was in 
supportable. I bitterly deplored my rashness in coming 
hither unprovided for an encounter like this. 

The evil of my present circumstances consisted chiefly 
in suspense. My death was unavoidable, but my imagi 
nation had leisure to torment itself by anticipations. One 
foot of the savage was slowly and cautiously moved after 
the other. He struck his claws so deeply into the bark 



BROWN] ENCOUNTER WITH A PANTHER. 367 

that they were with difficulty withdrawn. At length he 
leaped upon the ground. We were now separated by an 
interval of scarcely eight feet. To leave the spot where 
I crouched was impossible. Behind and beside me the 
cliff rose perpendicularly, and before me was this grim 
and terrific visage. I shrunk still closer to the ground 
and closed my eyes. 

From this pause of horror I was aroused by the noise 
occasioned by a second spring of the animal. He leaped 
into the pit, in which I had so deeply regretted that I had 
not taken refuge, and disappeared. My rescue was so 
sudden, and so much beyond my belief or my hope, that 
I doubted for a moment whether my senses did not de 
ceive me. This opportunity of escape was not to be neg 
lected. I left my place, and scrambled over the trunk 
with a precipitation which had liked to have proved fatal. 
The tree groaned and shook under me, the wind blew 
with unexampled violence, and I had scarcely reached the 
opposite steep when the roots were severed from the rock 
and the whole fell thundering to the bottom of the chasm. 

My trepidations were not speedily quieted. I looked 
back with wonder on my hair-breadth escape, and on that 
singular concurrence of events which had placed me, in 
so short a period, in absolute security. Had the trunk 
fallen a moment earlier, I should have been imprisoned on 
the hill or thrown headlong. Had its fall been delayed 
another moment, I should have been pursued; for the 
beast now issued from his den, and testified his surprise 
and disappointment by tokens the sight of which made 
my blood run cold. 

He saw me, and hastened to the verge of the chasm. 
He squatted on his hind-legs and assumed the attitude of 
one preparing to leap. My consternation was excited 
afresh by these appearances. It seemed at first as if the 



368 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CART 

rift was too wide for any power of muscles to carry him 
in safety over ; but I knew the unparalleled agility of this 
animal, and that his experience had made him a better 
judge of the practicability of this exploit than I was. 

Still there was hope that he would relinquish this de 
sign as desperate. This hope was quickly at an end. He 
sprung, and his fore-legs touched the verge of the rock on 
which I stood. In spite of vehement exertions, however, 
the surface was too smooth and too hard to allow him to 
make good his hold. He fell, and a piercing cry, uttered 
below, showed that nothing had obstructed his descent to 
the bottom. 



THANKSGIVING. 

ALICE GARY. 

[Of the several American instances of a poetic sisterhood, that of 
Alice and Phoebe Gary is of the most interest, from the rich poetic 
power possessed by both these "gifted sisters." As a poet Alice was 
more inclined to look at life through pensive eyes, while Phrebe's muse 
was of a more cheerful mould. But in respect to ability it would be 
difficult to discriminate between them. Alice Gary was born near 
Cincinnati, in 1820, and died in 1871. In addition to her poems she 
wrote several novels, but it is on the former that her reputation rests. 
Her verse is full of melody and grace, and is eveiywhere marked with 
original and beautiful thought and imagery. From one of her longer 
poems we select the following eloquent picture of life and nature.] 

THRICE happy is the man who doth obey 
The Lord of Love through love ; who fears to break 
The righteous law for th' law's righteous sake; 
And who, by daily use of blessings, gives 
Thanks for the daily blessings he receives ; 



CAKY] THANKSGIVING. 369 

His spirit grown so reverent, it dares 
Cast the poor shows of reverence away, 

Believing they 

More glorify the Giver who partake 
Of his good gifts, than they who fast and make 
Burnt-offerings and Pharisaic prayers. 

The wintry snows that blind 
The air, and blight what things were glorified 
By summer's reign, we do not think unkind 
When that we see them changed, afar and wide, 
To rain, that, fretting in the rose's face, 

Brings out a softer grace, 
And makes the troops of rustic daffodils 
Shake out their yellow skirts along the hills, 
And all the valleys blush from side to side. . . . 



I thank thee for my common blessings, still 

Rained through thy will 

Upon my head ; the air 

That knows so many tunes which grief beguile, 
Reaching its light love to me everywhere, 
And that will still be kissing all the while. 

I thank thee that my childhood's vanished days 

Were cast in rural ways. 
Where I beheld, with gladness ever new, 

That sort of vagrant dew 
Which lodges in the beggarly tents of such 
Yile weeds as virtuous plants disdain to touch, 
And with rough-bearded burs, night after night, 
TJpgathered by the morning, tender and true, 

Into her clear, chaste light. 
y 



370 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CART 

Such ways I learned to know 

That free will cannot go 

Outside of mercy ; learned to bless His name 
Whose revelations, ever thus renewed 
Along the varied year, in field and wood, 

His loving care proclaim. 

I thank thee that the grass and the red rose 

Do what they can to tell 

How spirit through all forms of matter flows ; 
For every thistle by the common way 
"Wearing its homely beauty, for each spring 
That, sweet and homeless, runneth where it will, 

For night and day, 
For the alternate seasons, everything 
Pertaining to life's marvellous miracle ; 

Even for the lowly flower 

That, living, dwarfed and bent 
Under some beetling rock, in gloom profound, 
Far from her pretty sisters of the ground, 

And shut from sun and shower, 
Seemeth endowed with human discontent. 



Ah ! what a tender hold 

She taketh of us in our own despite, 
A sadly-solemn creature, 
Crooked, despoiled of nature, 

Leaning from out the shadows, dull and cold, 

To lay her little white face in the light. 

The chopper going by her rude abode 

Thinks of his own rough hut, his old wife's smile, 



CART] THANKSGIVING. 371 

And of the bare young feet 
That run through th' frost to meet 
His coming, and forgets the weary load 
Of sticks that bends his shoulders down the while. 

I thank thee, Lord, that Nature is so wise, 
So capable of painting in men's eyes 

Pictures whose airy hues 

Do blend and interfuse 
With all the darkness that about us lies, 

That clearly in our hearts 

Her law she writes, 

Eeserving cunning past our mortal arts, 
Whereby she is avenged for all her slights. 

And I would make thanksgiving 

For the sweet, double living, 

That gives the pleasures that have passed away, 

The sweetness and the sunshine of to-day. 

I see the furrows ploughed and see them planted. 
See the young cornstalks rising green and fair ; 
Mute things are friendly, and I am acquainted 

With all the luminous creatures of the air, 
And with the cunning workers of the ground 
That have their trades born with them, and with all 

The insects, large and small, 
That fill the summer with a wave of sound. 

I watch the wood-bird line 
Her pretty nest, with eyes that never tire, 
And watch the sunbeams trail their wisps of fire 
Along the bloomless bushes, till they shine. 

The violet, gathering up her tender blue 
From the dull ground, is a good sight to see ; 



372 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CART 

And it delighteth me 

To have the mushroom push his round head through 
The dry and brittle stubble, as I pass, 
His smooth and shining coat, half rose, half fawn, 

But just put on ; 

And to have April slip her showery grass 
Under my feet, as she was used to do 

In the dear spring-times gone. 

I make the brook my Nile, 

And hour by hour beguile, 

Tracking its devious course 
Through briery banks to its mysterious source, 

That I discover, always, at my will, 

A little silver star, 
Under the shaggy forehead of some hill, 

From travelled ways afar. 

Forgetting wind and flood, 
I build my house of unsubstantial sand, 
Shaping the roof upon my double hand, 
And setting up the dry and sliding grains, 

With infinite pains, 

In the similitude 

Of beam and rafter, then 

Where to the ground the dock its broad leaf crooks, 
I hunt long whiles to find the little men 
That I have read of in my story-books. 

Often, in lawless wise, 
Some obvious work of duty I delay, 
Taking my fill 

Of an uneasy liberty, and still 
Close shutting up my eyes, 



CART] THANKSGIVING. 373 

As though it were not given me to see 
The avenging ghost of opportunity 
Thus slighted, far away. 

I linger, when I know 

That I should forward go ; 
Now haply for the katydid's wild shrill, 

Now listening to the low, 

Dull noise of mill-wheels, counting now the row 
Of clouds about the shoulder of the hill. 

My heart anew rejoices 

In th' old familiar voices 
That come back to me like a lullaby ; 

Now 'tis the church-bell's call, 
And now a teamster's whistle, now, perhaps, 

The silvery lapse 

Of waters in among the reeds that meet ; 
And now, down-dropping to a whispery fall, 
Some milkmaid chiding with love's privilege, 

Through the green wall 

Of the dividing hedge, 
And the so sadly eloquent reply 
Of the belated cow-boy, low and sweet. . . . 

I thank thee, Lord, for every saddest cross ; 

Gain comes to us through loss, 

The while we go, 
Blind travellers holding by the wall of time 

And seeking out through woe 
The things that are eternal and sublime. 

Ah ! sad are they of whom no poet writes 
Nor ever any story-teller Jiears, 

32 



374 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

The childless mothers, who on lonesome nights 
Sit by their fires and weep, having the chores 
Done for the day, and time enough to see 

All the wide floors 
Swept clean of playthings; they, as needs must be, 

Have time enough for tears. . . . 

My cross is not as hard as theirs to bear, 
And yet alike to me are storms or calms ; 

My life's young joy, 

The brown-cheeked farmer-boy, 
Who led the daisies with him like his lambs, 
Carved his sweet picture on my milking-pail, 
And cut my name upon his threshing-flail, 
One day stopped singing at his plough ; alas ! 
Before that summer-time was gone, the grass 
Had choked the path which to the sheep-field led, 
Where I had watched him tread 

So oft on evening's trail, 
A shining oat-sheaf balanced on his head 

And nodding to the gale. 

Bough wintry weather came, and, when it sped, 

The emerald wave 

Swelling above my little sweetheart's grave 
With such bright, bubbly flowers was set about, 

I thought he blew them out, 
And so took comfort that he was not dead. 

For I was of a rude and ignorant crew', 
And hence believed whatever things I saw 
Were the expression of a hidden law, 
And, with a wisdom wiser than I knew, 
Evoked the simple meanings out of things 
By childlike questionings. 



OAKY] THANKSGIVING. 375 

And he they named with shudderings of fear 

Had never in his life been half so near 

As when 1 sat all day with cheeks unkissed 

And listened to the whisper, very low, 

That said our love above death's wave of woe 

Was joined together like the seamless mist. 

God's yea and nay 

Are not so far away, 
I said, but I can hear them when I please ; 

Nor could I understand 

Their doubting faith, who only touch his hand 
Across the blind, bewildering centuries. 

And often yet, upon the shining track 

Of the old faith, come back 
My childish fancies, never quite subdued ; 
And when the sunset shuts up in the wood 
The whispery sweetness of uncertainty, 
And Night, with misty locks that loosely drop 
About his ears, brings rest, a welcome boon, 
Playing his pipe with many a starry stop 
That makes a golden snarling in his tune, 

I see my little lad 

Under the leafy shelter of the boughs, 
Driving his noiseless, visionary cows, 
Clad in a beauty I alone can see ; 

Laugh, you who never had 
Your dead come back, but do not take from me 
The harmless comfort of my foolish dream, 

That these our mortal eyes, 
Which outwardly reflect the earth and skies, 

Do introvert upon eternity, 



376 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STOEY 

And that the shapes you deem 

Imaginations, just as clearly fall, 

Each from its own divine original, 

And through some subtle element of light, 

Upon the inward, spiritual eye, 

As do the things which round about them lie, 

Gross and material, on the external sight. 



THE INDIANS. 

JOSEPH STORY. 

[That Judge Story was one of the ablest of the legal writers and 
authorities of America is a well-recognized fact. His "Commenta 
ries on the Constitution of the United States," " Commentaries on the 
Conflict of Laws," " Commentaries on Equity Jurisprudence," and 
" Treatise on the Law of Agency" form a compend of legal literature 
unsurpassed in quantity, and seldom surpassed in quality, by the 
writings of any other of the most eminent American jurists. It is 
surprising that he had any time left to devote to general literature. 
Nevertheless, he is the author of a volume of poems of tolerable merit, 
and of many prose essays of great harmony of language, rhetorical 
skill, and eloquence of manner. He was born at Marblehead, Massa 
chusetts, in 1779, and was a judge of the Supreme Court of the United 
States from 1811 till his death in 1845.] 

THERE is, indeed, in the fate of these unfortunate beings 
much to awaken our sympathy, and much to disturb the 
sobriety of our judgment ; much which may be urged to 
excuse their own atrocities ; much in their characters 
which betrays us into an involuntary admiration. What 
can b,e more melancholy than their history ? By a law of 
their nature, they seem destined to a slow, but sure, ex 
tinction. Everywhere, at the approach of the white man, 



STORY] THE INDIANS. 377 

they fade away. We hear the rustling of their footsteps, 
like that of the withered leaves of autumn, and they are 
gone forever. They pass mournfully by us, and they re 
turn no more. Two centuries ago, the smoke of their 
wigwams and the fires of their councils rose in every 
valley from Hudson's Bay to the farthest Florida, from 
the ocean to the Mississippi and the lakes. The shouts 
of victory and the war-dance rang through the mountains 
and the glades ; the thick arrows and the deadly toma 
hawk whistled through the forests ; and the hunter's trace 
and the dark encampment startled the wild beasts in their 
lairs. The warriors stood forth in their glory. The young 
listened to the songs of other days. The. mothers played 
with their infants, and gazed on the scene with warm 
hopes of the future. The aged sat down ; but they wept 
not. They should soon be at rest in fairer regions, where 
the Great Spirit dwelt, in a home prepared for the brave, 
beyond the western skies. Braver men never lived ; truer 
men never drew the bow. They had courage, and forti 
tude, and sagacity, and perseverance, beyond most of the 
human race. They shrank from no dangers, and they 
feared no hardships. If they had the vices of savage 
life, they had the virtues also. They were true to their 
country, their friends, and their homes. If they forgave 
not injury, neither did they forget kindness. If their ven 
geance was terrible, their fidelity and generosity were un 
conquerable also. Their love, like their hate, stopped not 
on this side of the grave. 

But where are they? Where are the villages, and 
warriors, and youth, the sachems and the tribes, the 
hunters and their families ? They have perished. They 
are consumed. The wasting pestilence has not alone done 
the mighty work. No, nor famine, nor war. There has 
been a mightier power, a moral canker which has eaten 

32* 



378 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STORY 

into their heart-cores, a plague which the touch of the 
white man communicated, a poison which betrayed them 
into a lingering ruin. The winds of the Atlantic fan not 
a single region which they may now call their own. Al 
ready the last feeble remnants of the race are preparing 
for their journey beyond the Mississippi. I see them 
leave their miserable homes, the aged, the helpless, the 
women, and the warriors, " few and faint, yet fearless still." 
The ashes are cold on their native hearths. The smoke 
no longer curls round their lowly cabins. They move on 
with a slow, unsteady step. The white man is upon their 
heels, for terror or despatch ; but they heed him not. 
They turn to take a last look of their deserted villages. 
They cast a last glance upon the graves of their fathers 
They shed no tears ; they utter no cries ; they heave no 
groans. There is something in their hearts which passes 
speech. There is something in their looks, not of ven 
geance or submission, but of hard necessity, which stifles 
both ; which chokes all utterance ; which has no aim or 
method. It is courage absorbed in despair. They linger 
but for a moment. Their look is onward. They have 
passed the fatal stream. It shall never be repassed by 
them, no, never. Yet there lies not between us and 
them an impassable gulf. They know and feel that there 
is for them still one remove farther, not distant nor un 
seen. It is to the general burial-ground of their race. 

Reason as we may, it is impossible not to read in such a 
fate much that we know not how to interpret ; much of 
provocation to cruel deeds and deep resentments ; much 
of apology for wrong and perfidy ; much of pity mingling 
with indignation ; much of doubt and misgiving as to the 
past ; much of painful recollections ; much of dark fore 
bodings. 



STORY] IMPORTANCE OF CLASSICAL LEARNING. 379 

[We may add to the above extract from Judge Story's miscellaneous 
writings two others, short in scope, yet eloquent and beautiful in 
handling. Just at present, when the party opposed to the long- 
continued devotion to classical study in the universities is growing 
rapidly in strength, this forcibly-written appeal from a friend of the 
classics may not be misplaced. The peroration, however, must be 
looked on rather as a vigorous rhetorical outburst than as a series of 
just and truthful comparisons. Certainly our translations from classic 
authors are not so immeasurably behind the originals in merit as thia 
would indicate.] 

THE IMPORTANCE OF CLASSICAL LEARNING. 

The importance of classical learning to professional 
education is so obvious that the surprise is that it could 
ever have become matter of disputation. I speak not 
of its power in refining the taste, in disciplining the judg 
ment, in invigorating the understanding, or in warming the 
heart with elevated sentiments, but of its power of direct, 
positive, necessary instruction. Until the eighteenth cen 
tury, the mass of science, in its principal branches, was 
deposited in the dead languages, and much of it still re 
poses there. To be ignorant of these languages is to 
shut out the lights of former times, or to examine them 
only through the glimmerings of inadequate translations. 
What should we say of the jurist who never aspired to 
learn the maxims of law and equity which adorn the 
Roman codes ? What of the physician who could delib 
erately surrender all the knowledge heaped up for so 
many centuries in the Latinity of continental Europe? 
What of the minister of religion who should choose not 
to study the Scriptures in the original tongue, and should 
be content to trust his faith and his hopes, for time and 
for eternity, to the dimness of translations, which may 
reflect the literal import, but rarely can reflect with un 
broken force the beautiful spirit, of the text ? . . . 

I pass over all consideration of the written treasures 



380 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

of antiquity which have survived the wreck of empires 
and dynasties, of monumental trophies and triumphal 
arches, of palaces of princes and temples of the gods. I 
pass over all consideration of those admired compositions 
in which wisdom speaks as with a voice from heaven ; of 
those sublime efforts of poetical genius which still freshen, 
as they pass from age to age, in undying vigor ; of those 
finished histories which still enlighten and instruct govern 
ments in their duty and their destiny ; of those matchless 
orations which roused nations to arms and chained senates 
to the chariot-wheels of all-conquering eloquence. These 
all may now be read in our vernacular tongue. Ay ! as 
one remembers the face of a dead friend, by gathering up 
the broken fragments of his image ; as one listens to the 
tale of a dream twice told ; as one catches the roar of the 
ocean in the ripple of a rivulet ; as one sees the blaze of ' 
noon in the first glimmer of twilight. 

FREE SCHOOLS. 

I know not what more munificent donation any gov 
ernment can bes.tow than by providing instruction at the 
public expense, not as a scheme of charity, but of munici 
pal policy. If a private person deserves the applause of 
all good men, who founds a single hospital or college, how 
much more are they entitled to the appellation of public 
benefactors who, by the side of every church in every 
village, plant a school of letters ! Other monuments of 
the art and genius of man may perish, but these, from 
their very nature, seem, as far as human foresight can go, 
absolutely immortal. The triumphal arches of other days 
have fallen ; the sculptured columns have crumbled into 
dust; the temples of taste and religion have sunk into 
decay ; the pyramids themselves seem but mighty sepul 
chres hastening to the same oblivion to which the dead 



FIELDS] ANECDOTES OF THACKERAY. 381 

they cover have long since passed. But here, every 
successive generation becomes a living memorial of our 
public schools, and a living example of their excellence. 
Never, never may this glorious institution be abandoned 
or betrayed by the weakness of its friends or the power 
of its adversaries ! It can scarcely be abandoned or be 
trayed while New England remains free and her repre 
sentatives are true to their trust. It must forever count 
in its defence a majority of all those who ought to in 
fluence public affairs by their virtues or their talents ; for 
it must be that here they first felt the divinity of knowl 
edge stir within them. What consolation can be higher, 
what reflection prouder, than the thought that in weal 
and in woe our children are under the public guardian 
ship, and may here gather the fruits of that learning 
which ripens for eternity ! 



ANECDOTES OF THACKERAY. 

JAMES T. FIELDS. 

[In his long business relations with authors, as a member of the 
firm of Ticknor & Fields and of other Boston publishing firms, Mr. 
Fields came frequently into friendly contact with prominent writers. 
His relations with some of these are agreeably told in his " Yester 
days with Authors," from which we extract a portion of his essay on 
Thackeray. Mr. Fields was the author of a number of poems of 
marked ability. He was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 
1817, and died in Boston in 1881.] 

QUESTIONS are frequently asked as to the habits of 
thought and composition of authors one has happened to 
know, as if an author's friends were commonly invited to 



382 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FIELDS 

observe the growth of works he was by and by to launch 
from the press. It is not customary for the doors of the 
writer's workshop to be thrown open, and for this reason 
it is all the more interesting to notice, when it is possible, 
how an essay, a history, a novel, or a poem is conceived, 
grows up, and is corrected for publication. One would 
like very much to be informed how Shakespeare put 
together the scenes of Hamlet or Macbeth, whether the 
subtile thought accumulated easily on the page before 
him, or whether he struggled for- it with anxiety and 
distrust. We know that Milton troubled himself about 
little matters of punctuation, and obliged the printer to 
take special note of his requirements, scolding him roundly 
when he neglected his instructions. We also know that 
Melanchthon was in his library hard at work by two or 
three o'clock in the morning both in summer and winter, 
and that Sir William Jones began his studies with the 
dawn. 

The most popular female writer of America, whose 
great novel struck a chord of universal sympathy through 
out the civilized world, has habits of composition pecu 
liarly her own, and unlike those belonging to any author 
of whom we have record. She croons, so to speak, over 
her writings, and it makes very little difference to her 
whether there is a crowd of people about her or whether 
she is alone during the composition of her books. " Uncle 
Tom's Cabin" was wholly prepared for the press in a little 
wooden house in Maine, from week to week, while the 
story was coming out in a Washington newspaper. Most 
of it was written by the evening lamp, on a pine table, 
about which the children of the family were gathered 
together conning their various lessons for the next day. 
Amid the busy hum of earnest voices, constantly asking 
questions of the mother, intent on her world-renowned 



FIELDS] ANECDOTES OF THACKERAY. 383 

task, Mrs. Stowe wove together those thrilling chapters 
which were destined to find readers in so many languages 
throughout the globe. No work of similar importance, 
so far as we know, was ever written amid so much that 
seemed hostile to literary composition. 

I had the opportunity, both in England and America, of 
observing the literary habits of Thackeray, and it always 
seemed to me that he did his work with comparative ease, 
but was somewhat influenced by a custom of procrastina 
tion. Nearly all his stories were written in monthly in 
stalments for magazines, with the press at his heels. He 
told me that when he began a novel he rarely knew how 
many people were to figure in it, and, to use his own 
words, he was always very shaky about their moral con 
duct. He said that sometimes, especially if he had been 
dining late and did not feel in remarkably good humor 
next morning, he was inclined to make his characters 
villanously wicked ; but if he rose serene with an un 
clouded brain, there was no end to the lovely actions he 
was willing to make his men and women perform. When 
he had written a passage that pleased him very much he 
could not resist clapping on his hat and rushing forth to 
find an acquaintance to whom he might instantly read 
his successful composition. Gilbert Wakefield, universally 
acknowledged to have been the best Greek scholar of his 
time, said he would have turned out a much better one 
if he had begun earlier to study that language, but un 
fortunately he did not begin till he was fifteen years of 
age. Thackeray, in quoting to me this saying of Wake- 
field, remarked, "My English would have been very much 
better if I had read Fielding before I was ten." This ob 
servation was a valuable hint, on the part of Thackeray, 
as to whom he considered his master in art. 

James Hannay paid Thackeray a beautiful compliment 



384 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FIELDS 

when he said, " If he had had his choice he would rather 
have been famous as an artist than as a writer ; but it 
was destined that he should paint in colors which will 
never crack and never need restoration." Thackeray's 
characters are, indeed, not so much inventions as existences, 
and we know them as we know our best friends or our 
most intimate enemies. 

When I was asked, the other day, which of his books I 
like best, I gave the old answer to a similar question, 
" The last one I read" If I could possess only one of his 
works, I think I should choose " Henry Esmond." To 
my thinking, it is a marvel in literature, and I have read 
it oftener than any of the other works. Perhaps the 
reason of my partiality lies somewhat in this little inci 
dent. One day, in the snowy winter of 1852, I met 
Thackeray sturdily ploughing his way down Beacon 
Street with a copy of " Henry Esmond" (the English edi 
tion, then just issued) under his arm. Seeing me some 
way off, he held aloft the volumes and began to shout in 
great glee. When I came up to him he cried out, " Here 
is the very best I can do, and I am carrying it to Prescott 
as a reward of merit for having given me my first dinner 
in America. I stand by this book, and am willing to 
leave it, when I go, as my card." 

As he wrote from month to month, and liked to put off 
the inevitable chapters till the last moment, he was often 
in great tribulation. I happened to be one of a large 
company whom he had invited to a six-o'clock dinner at 
Greenwich one summer afternoon, several years ago. We 
were all to go down from London, assemble in a particu 
lar room at the hotel, where he was to meet us at six 
o'clock, sharp. Accordingly we took steamer and gathered 
ourselves together in the reception-room at the appointed 
time. When the clock struck six, our host had not fill- 



FIELDS] ANECDOTES OF THACKERAY. 385 

filled his part of the contract. His burly figure was yet 
wanting among the company assembled. As the guests 
were nearly all strangers to each other, and as there was 
no one present to introduce us, a profound silence fell 
upon the room, and we anxiously looked out of the win 
dows, hoping every moment that Thackeray would arrive. 
This untoward state of things went on for one hour, still 
no Thackeray and no dinner. English reticence would 
not allow any remark as to the absence of our host. 
Everybody felt serious, and a gloom fell upon the assem 
bled party. Still no Thackeray. The landlord, the butler, 
and the waiters rushed in and out the room, shrieking for 
the master of the feast, who as yet had not arrived. It 
was confidentially whispered by a fat gentleman, with a 
hungry look, that the dinner was utterly spoiled twenty 
minutes ago, when we heard a merry shout in the entry 
and Thackeray bounced into the room. He had ngt 
changed his morning dress, and ink was still visible upon 
his fingers. Clapping his hands and pirouetting briskly 
on one leg, he cried out, " Thank heaven, the last sheet 
of The Virginians has just gone to the printer." He made 
no apology for his late appearance, introduced nobody, 
shook hands heartily with everybody, and begged us all 
to be seated as quickly as possible. His exquisite delight 
at completing his book swept away every other feeling, 
and we all shared his pleasure, albeit the dinner was 
overdone throughout. 

The most finished and elegant of all lecturers, Thackeray 
often made a very poor appearance when he attempted to 
deliver a set speech to a public assembly. He frequently 
broke down after the first two or three sentences. He 
prepared what he intended to say 'with great exactness, 
and his favorite delusion was that he was about to aston 
ish everybody with a remarkable effort. It never dis- 
R z 33 



386 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FIELDS 

turbed him that he commonly made a wofol failure when 
he attempted speech-making, but he sat down with such 
cool serenity if he found that he could not recall what he 
wished to say, that his audience could not help joining in 
and smiling with him when he came to a stand-still. Once 
he asked me to travel with him from London to Man 
chester to hear a great speech he was going to make at 
the founding of the Free Library Institution in that city. 
All the way down he was discoursing of certain effects 
he intended to produce on the Manchester dons by his 
eloquent appeals to their pockets. This passage was to 
have great influence with the rich merchants, this one 
with the clergy, and so on. He said that although Dickens 
and Bulwer and Sir James Stephen, all eloquent speakers, 
were to precede him, he intended to beat each of them on 
this special occasion. He insisted that I should be seated 
directly in front of him, so that I should have the full 
force of his magic eloquence. The occasion was a most 
brilliant one ; tickets had been in demand at unheard-of 
prices several weeks before the day appointed ; the great 
hall, then opened for the first time to the public, was filled 
by an audience such as is seldom convened, even in Eng 
land. The three speeches which came before Thackeray 
was called upon were admirably suited to the occasion, 
and most eloquently spoken. Sir John Potter, who pre 
sided, then rose, and, after some complimentary allusions 
to the author of "Yanity Fair," introduced him to the 
crowd, who welcomed him with ringing plaudits. As he 
rose, he gave me a half- wink from under his spectacles, as 
if to say, " Now for it ; the others have done very well, 
but I will show 'em a grace beyond the reach of their art." 
He began in a clear and charming manner, and was abso 
lutely perfect for three minutes. In the middle of a most 
earnest and elaborate sentence he suddenly stopped, gave 



FIELDS] ANECDOTES OF THACKERAY. 387 

a look of comic despair at the ceiling, crammed both 
hands into his trousers' pockets, and deliberately sat 
down. Everybody seemed to understand that it was one 
of Thackeray's unfinished speeches, and there were no 
signs of surprise or discontent among his audience. He 
continued to sit on the platform in a perfectly composed 
manner ; and when the meeting was over he said to me, 
without a sign of discomfiture, " My boy, you have my 
profoundest sympathy; this day you have accidentally 
missed hearing one of the finest speeches ever composed 
for delivery by a great British orator." And I never 
heard him mention the subject again. 

Thackeray rarely took any exercise, thus living in 
striking contrast to the other celebrated novelist of our 
time, who was remarkable for the number of hours he 
daily spent in the open air. It seems to me almost certain 
now, from concurrent testimony, gathered from physicians 
and those who knew him best in England, that Thacke 
ray's premature death was hastened by an utter disregard 
of the natural laws. His vigorous frame gave ample 
promise of longevity, but he drew too largely on his brain 
and not enough on his legs. High living and high thinking, 
he used to say, was the correct reading of the proverb. 

He was a man of the tenderest feelings, very apt to be 
cajoled into doing what the world calls foolish things, and 
constantly performing feats of unwisdom, which perform 
ances he was immoderately laughing at all the while in 
his books. No man has impaled snobbery with such a 
stinging rapier, but he always accused himself of being a 
snob, past all cure. This I make no doubt was one of his 
exaggerations, but there was a grain of truth in the re 
mark, which so sharp an observer as himself could not fail 
to notice, even though the victim was so near home. . . . 

I wish I could recall half the incidents connected with 



388 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FIELDS 

the dear, dear old Thackeray days, when I saw him so 
constantly and enjoyed him so hugely ; but, alas ! many 
of them are gone, with much more that is lovely and 
would have been of good report, could they be now remem 
bered ; they are dead as (Holmes always puts your 
simile quite right for you), 

" Dead as the bulrushes round little Moses, 
On the old banks of the Nile." 

But while I sit here quietly, and have no fear of any 
bad, unsympathizing listeners who might, if some other 
subject were up, frown upon my levity, let me walk 
through the dusky chambers of my memory and report 
what I find there, just as the records turn up, without 
regard to method. 

I once made a pilgrimage with Thackeray (at my re 
quest, of course, the visits were planned) to the various 
houses where his books had been written, and I remember 
when we came to Young Street, Kensington, he said, with 
mock gravity, " Down on your knees, you rogue, for here 
' Vanity Fair' was penned ! And I will go down with 
you, for I have a high opinion of that little production 
myself." He was always perfectly honest in his expres 
sions about his own writings, and it was delightful to hear 
him praise them when he could depend on his listeners. 
A friend congratulated him once on that touch in " Vanity 
Fair" in which Becky " admires" her husband when he is 
giving Steyne the punishment which ruins her for life. 
" Well," he said, " when I wrote the sentence, I slapped 
my fist on the table and said, 'That is a touch of genius !' " 

He told me he was nearly forty years old before he was 
recognized in literature as belonging to a class of writers 
at all above the ordinary magazinists of his day. " I 
turned off far better things then than I do now," said he, 



FIELDS] ANECDOTES OF THACKERAY. 389 

" and I wanted money sadly (my parents were rich but 
respectable, and I bad spent my guineas in my youtb), 
but bow little I got for my work ! It makes me laugh," 
be continued, " at wbat Tbe Times pays me now, wben I 
tbink of tbe old days, and bow mucb better I wrote for 
tbem tben, and got a shilling where I now get ten." 

One day be wanted a little service done for a friend, 
and I remember his very quizzical expression as he said, 
" Please say the favor asked will greatly oblige a man of 
the name of Thackeray, whose only recommendation is 
that he has seen Napoleon and Goethe, and is tbe owner 
of Schiller's sword." . . . 

Tbe enormous circulation achieved by tbe Cornhill 
Magazine, when it was first started with Thackeray for 
its editor in chief, is a matter of literary history. Tbe 
announcement by bis publishers that a sale of a hundred 
and ten thousand of the first number bad been reached 
made the editor half delirious with joy, and he ran away 
to Paris to be rid of the excitement for a few days. I 
met him by appointment at his hotel in the Hue de la Paix, 
and found him wild with exultation and full of enthusiasm 
for excellent George Smith, bis publisher. " London," be 
exclaimed, " is not big enough to contain me now, and I 
am obliged to add Paris to my residence ! Great heavens/' 
said he, throwing up his long arms, " where will this tre 
mendous circulation stop? Who knows but that I shall 
have to add Vienna and Eome to my whereabouts ? If 
the worst comes to the worst, New York, also, may fall 
into my clutches, and only the Eocky Mountains may be 
able to stop my progress I" Those days in Paris with him 
were simply tremendous. We dined at all possible and 
impossible places together. We walked round and round 
the glittering court of the Palais Boyal, gazing in at tho 
windows of the jewellers' shops, and all my efforts were 

33* 



390 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FIELDS 

necessary to restrain him from rushing in and ordering a 
pocketful of diamonds and " other trifles," as he called 
them ; " for," said he, " how can I spend the princely in 
come which Smith allows me for editing the Cornhill, un 
less I begin instantly somewhere ?" If he saw a group 
of three or four persons talking together in an excited 
way, after the manner of that then riant Parisian people, 
he would whisper to me, with immense gesticulation, 
" There, there, you see the news has reached Paris, and 
perhaps the number has gone up since my last accounts 
from London." His spirits during those few days were 
colossal, and he told me that he found it impossible to 
sleep, " for counting up his subscribers." 

I happened to know personally (and, let me modestly 
add, with some degree of sympathy) what he suffered 
editorially when he had the charge and responsibility of 
a magazine. With first-class contributors he got on very 
well, he said, but the extortioners and revilers bothered 
the very life out of him. He gave me some amusing ac 
counts of his misunderstandings with the "fair" (as he 
loved to call them), some of whom followed him up so 
closely with their poetical compositions that his house 
(he was then living in Onslow Square) was never free of 
interruption. " The darlings demanded," said he, " that I 
should re-write, if I could not understand their non 
sense, and put their halting lines into proper form." " I was 
so appalled," said he, "when they set upon me with their 
' ipics and their ipecacs,' that you might have knocked me 
down with a feather, sir. It was insupportable, and I fled 
away into France." As he went on, waxing drolly furious 
at the recollection of various editorial scenes, I could not 
help remembering Mr. Yellowplush's recommendation, 
thus characteristically expressed : " Take my advice, hon- 
rabble sir, listen to a humble footmin : it's generally best 



.FIELDS] ANECDOTES OF THACKERAY. 391 

in poatry to understand puffickly what you mean your 
self, and to igspress your meaning clearly afterwoods, in 
the simpler words the better, p'r'aps." 

He took very great delight in his young daughter's first 
contributions to the Cornhill, and I shall always remember 
how he made me get into a cab, one day in London, that 
I might hear, as we rode along, the joyful news he had to 
impart, that he had just been reading his daughter's first 
paper, which was entitled " Little Scholars." " When 1 
read it," said he, " I blubbered like a child, it is so good, 
so simple, and so honest ; and my little girl wrote it, every 
word of it," 

During his second visit to Boston I was asked to invite 
him to attend an evening meeting of a scientific club, 
which was to be held at the house of a distinguished 
member. I was very reluctant to ask him to be present, 
for I knew he could be easily bored, and I was fearful that 
a prosy essay or geological speech might ensue, and I 
knew he would be exasperated with me. even although I 
were the innocent cause of his affliction. My worst fears 
were realized.' We had hardly got seated, before a dull, 
bilious-looking old gentleman rose, and applied his auger 
with such pertinacity that we were all bored nearly to 
distraction. I dared not look at Thackeray, but I felt 
that his eye was upon me. My distress may be imagined, 
when he got up quite deliberately from the prominent 
place where a chair had been set for him, and made his 
exit very noiselessly into a small anteroom leading into 
the larger room, and in which no one was sitting. The 
small apartment was dimly lighted, but he knew that I 
knew he was there. Then commenced a series of panto 
mimic feats impossible to describe adequately. He threw 
an imaginary person (myself, of course) upon the floor, 
und proceeded to stab him several times with a paper- 



392 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FIELDS 

folder, which he caught up for the purpose. After dis 
posing of his victim in this way, he was not satisfied, for 
the dull lecture still went on in the other room, and he 
fired an imaginary revolver several times at an imaginary 
head. Still the droning speaker proceeded with his frozen 
subject (it was something about the Arctic regions, if I 
remember rightly), and now began the greatest panto 
mimic scene of all, namely, murder by poison, after the 
manner in which the player king is disposed of in Ham 
let. Thackeray had found a small vial on the mantel 
shelf, and out of that he proceeded to pour the imaginary 
"juice of cursed hebenon" into the imaginary porches of 
somebody's ears. The whole thing was inimitably done, 
and I hoped nobody saw it but myself; but years after 
wards, a ponderous, fat-witted young man put the ques 
tion squarely to me, " What was the matter with Mr. 

Thackeray, that night the club met at Mr. 's 

house?" ... 

Thackeray was a master in every .sense, having as it 
were, in himself, a double quantity of being. Eobust 
humor and lofty sentiment alternated so strangely in him 
that sometimes he seemed like the natural son of Eabe- 
lais, and at others he rose up a very twin brother of the 
Stratford Seer. There was nothing in him amorphous 
:md unconsidered. Whatever he chose to dp was always 
perfectly done. There was a genuine Thackeray flavor 
in everything he was willing to say or to write. He de 
tected with unfailing skill the good or the vile wherever 
it existed. He had an unerring eye, a firm understanding, 
and abounding truth. " Two of his great master powers," 
said the chairman at a dinner given to him many years 
ago in Edinburgh, "are satire and sympathy" George 
Brimley remarked, " That he could not have painted 
Vanity Fair as he has, unless Eden had been shining in 



FIELDS] ANECDOTES OF THACKERAY. 393 

his inner eye." He had, indeed, an awful insight, with 
a world of solemn tenderness and simplicity, in his com 
position. Those who heard the same voice that withered 
the memory of King George the Fourth repeat " The 
spacious firmament on high" have a recollection not easily 
to be blotted from the mind ; and I have a kind of pity for 
all who were born so recently as not to have heard and 
understood Thackeray's Lectures. But they can read 
him, and I beg of them to try and appreciate the tenderer 
phase of his genius, as well as the sarcastic one. He 
teaches many lessons to young men, and here is one of 
them, which I quote memoriter from " Barry Lyndon :" 
" Do you not, as a boy, remember waking of bright sum 
mer mornings and finding your mother looking over you ? 
had not the gaze of her tender eyes stolen into your 
senses long before you woke, and cast over your slumber 
ing spirit a sweet spell of peace, and love, and fresh- 
springing joy?" My dear friend John Brown, of Edin 
burgh (whom may God long preserve to both countries 
where he is so loved and honored !), chronicles this touch 
ing incident. " We cannot resist here recalling one Sun 
day evening in December, when Thackeray was walking 
with two friends along the Dean Eoad, to the west of 
Edinburgh, one of the noblest outlets to any city. It 
was a lovely evening ; such a sunset as one never forgets ; 
a rich dark bar of cloud hovered over the sun, going 
down behind the Highland hills, lying bathed in ame 
thystine bloom ; between this cloud and the hills there 
was a narrow slip of the pure ether, of a tender cowslip 
color, lucid, and as if it were the very body of heaven in 
its clearness ; every object standing out as if etched upon 
the sky. The northwest end of Corstorphine Hill, with 
its trees and rocks, lay in the heart of this pure radiance ; 
and there a wooden crane, used in the granary below, was 



394 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PORTER 

so placed as to assume the figure of a cross ; there it was, 
unmistakable, lifted up against the crystalline sky. All 
three gazed at it silently. As they gazed, Thackeray 
gave utterance in a tremulous, gentle, and rapid voice to 
what all were feeling, in the word 'CALVAKYP The 
friends walked on in silence, and then turned to other 
things. All that evening he was very gentle and serious, 
speaking, as he seldom did, of divine things, of death, 
of sin, of eternity, of salvation, expressing his simple 
faith in God and in his Saviour." 

Thackeray was found dead in his bed on Christmas 
morning, and he probably died without pain. His mother 
and his daughters were sleeping under the same roof 
when he passed away alone. Dickens told me that, look 
ing on him as he lay in his coffin, he wondered that the 
figure he had known in life as one of such noble presence 
could seem so shrunken and wasted ; but there had been 
years of sorrow, years of labor, years of pain, in that 
now exhausted life. It was his happiest Christmas morn 
ing when he heard the Yoice calling him homeward to 
unbroken rest. 



BOOKS AND READING. 

NOAH PORTER. 

[Noah Porter, one of our ablest writers on psychology, was born ut 
Farmington, Connecticut, in 1811. In 1846 he became professor of 
moral philosophy and metaphysics in Yale College, his alma mater, 
and from 1871 to 1886 was its president. His greatest work is " The 
Human Intellect," in which the spiritual and theistic view, as con 
trasted with the materialistic one now widely entertained, is advocated 
with great clearness, judgment, and ability. He has written several 



PORTER] BOOKS AND READING. 395 

other works. From his " Books and Heading," a highly useful and 
suggestive work, we make the following interesting extract.] 

WERE a South-Sea-Islander to be suddenly taken up 
from his savage home and set down in one of the great 
cities of Europe, among the many strange objects which 
he would see, one of the most incomprehensible would be 
a public library. 

A cathedral he would at once understand. Its vast area 
would suggest a counterpart in the enclosure which from 
his childhood onward he had known and feared as a place 
of worship. Its clustered pillars and lofty arches would 
bring to mind a well-remembered grove of old and stately 
trees, "with sounding walks between," the dreaded 
dwelling of some cruel deity, or the fit arena for some 
" abhorred rite." The altar, the priests, the reverent wor 
shippers, would speak to his mind their own meaning. 

A military parade he might comprehend without an in 
terpreter's aid. The measured tread of gathered legions 
would, indeed, differ not a little from the wild rush of his 
own barbarous clan ; the inspiring call of trumpet and 
horn, of fife and drum, blending with all those nameless 
instruments which make the music of war so splendid 
and so spirit-stirring, would be unlike the horrid, disso 
nant noises with which the savage sounds out his bloody 
errand ; but the object and purpose of the show would be 
seen at a glance, and would wake up all the warrior in his 
bosom. 

A festive gathering of lords and ladies gay would be 
quite an intelligible affair, and the more closely he should 
look into the particulars of the transaction, the more 
numerous, it is possible, might be the points of resem 
blance between the barbaric and the fashionable assembly. 

A gallery of paintings, adorned with the proudest tro 
phies of genius, might not be altogether without mean- 



396 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PORTER 

ing ; for though the savage would look upon the creations 
of Raphael or Titian with somewhat such an eye as that 
with which Caliban looked upon Miranda, yet the uses 
of such a collection, which the price of his own kingdom 
could not buy, would not be entirely beyond his compre 
hension. 

But a public library would be too much for him. It 
would prove a mystery quite beyond his reach. Its de 
sign and its utility would be alike incomprehensible. The 
front of the edifice within which the library was placed 
might indeed command his admiration; and, within, the 
lofty arches, the lengthened aisles, and the labyrinthine 
succession of apartments might attract and bewilder him. 
The books, even, rising one above another in splendid lines 
and dressed in gilt and purple and green, might seem to 
his savage eye a very pretty sight ; though they would 
please that eye just as well if carved and colored upon 
the solid wall, or if, as has been the fancy of certain own 
ers of libraries, the volumes had been wrought from solid 
wood, fit books for the wooden heads that owned them. 

The mystery of the library, to the savage, would be 
the books in it, what they were, what they were for, and 
why they were thought worthy to be lodged in a building 
so imposing, and watched with such jealous care. If he 
should linger among the apartments for reading, and 
watch the movements of the inmates, his wonder would 
be likely to increase. His eye might rest upon Dr. Dry 
asdust, the antiquarian, as with anxious look and bustling 
air he rushes into one closet after another, takes volume 
after volume from its dusty retreat, looks into each as 
the conjuring priest at home looks into a tree or a stone 
to see the spirit within, and, after copying from each in 
strange characters, stuffs the manuscript into his pocket, 
and walks off as proudly as though, like the self-same 



PORTER] BOOKS AND READING. 397 

priest, he had caught and bagged the spirit in some fetich, 
amulet, or medicine-bag. The man of science sits for 
hours unconscious of the presence of the wondering sav 
age, and seems more and more bewildered as he gazes 
upon a single page. The savage watches the poet reading 
a favorite author, and marvels at the mysterious influence 
that dilates his eye, and kindles his cheek, and sends mad 
ness through his frame. He is astonished at the reader 
of fiction, looking upon what seems to him a vacant page, 
and yet seeming to see in its enchanted lines a world of 
spirits, living, moving, talking, walking, loving, hating, 
fighting, dying. Should he seek an explanation of the 
enigma, the explanation would rather deepen than solve 
the mystery. Hei*e is a volume, his interpreter might 
say, by the aid of whose characters the shipmaster can 
guide his vessel to your island-home as easily as you can 
follow a forest path. From this volume you can learn the 
story of that famous white captain who first landed upon 
your shores, in the days of your great-grandfather, and 
was there killed and buried ; and mystery above mystery 
in this little book, which gives an account of the discov 
ery of your country by the white man, will be found the 
sufficient reason why his majesty, our king, has a right 
to burn your towns, to shoot down your people, to take 
possession of your land and bring you hither as a cap 
tive; all by authority of discovery, and of a title-deed from 
some king or other potentate who never saw the country 
which he gave away. 

This lesson concerning the nature and value of books 
would probably be quite enough for once, and would send 
the poor barbarian away, well satisfied that a book was 
indeed a very wonderful thing, and that a collection of 
books well deserved to be deposited in a building so 
udorned and so secure. 

34 



398 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PORTER 

Were our savage to remain longer among his civilized 
brethren, and gradually to master the mysteries of their 
social state, his estimate of the influence of books would 
be likely to gather strength. To say nothing of their 
past influence in bringing a nation up to a point at which 
he could only wonder and be silent, their present power 
to determine the character and destiny of single individ 
uals might startle and surprise him. A few pages in a 
single volume fall as it were by chance under the eye of a 
boy in his leisure hours. They fascinate and fix his at 
tention ; they charm and hold his mind ; and the result is 
that the boy becomes a sailor and is wedded to the sea for 
his life. No force nor influence can undo the work begun 
by those few pages ; no love of father or mother, no temp 
tation of money or honor, no fear of suffering or disgrace, 
is an overmatch for the enchantment conjured up and sus 
tained by that exciting volume. A single book has made 
the boy a seaman for life, perhaps a pirate, wretched in 
his life and death. Another book meets the eye of another 
youth, and wakes in his bosom holy aspirations, which, 
all his life after, burn on in the useless flames of a painful 
asceticism, or in a kindly love to God and man. Another 
youth in an unhappy hour meets still another volume, and 
it makes him a hater of his fellow-man and a blasphemer 
of his God. One book makes one man a believer in good 
ness and love and truth ; another book makes another man 
a denier or doubter of these sacred verities. . . . 

Books, as an element of influence, are becoming more 
and more important, and reading is the employment of 
a widening circle. Books of all sorts are now brought 
within the reach of most persons who desire to read them. 
The time has gone by when the mass of the community 
were restricted to a score or two of volumes, the Bible, 
one or two works of devotion, two or three standard his 



PORTER] BOOKS AND READING. 399 

tories, and a half-dozen novels. Many intelligent men can 
recollect the time when all the books on which they could 
lay their hands were few, and were read and re-read till 
they were dry as a remainder biscuit or as empty as a 
thrice -threshed sheaf. 

There are ladies now living, who were well educated for 
their time, to whom the loan or the gift of a new book 
was an important event in their history, making a winter 
memorable, and now their daughters or grand-daughters 
despatch a novel or a poem before dinner. All the known 
books for children, two generations ago, were some half a 
score; whereas at present new "juveniles" are prepared 
by the hundred a year, and the library of a child ten years 
old is very often more numerous and costly than was that 
of many a substantial and intelligent household. The 
minds of tens of thousands are stimulated and occupied 
with books, books, books, from three years old onward 
through youth and manhood. We read when we sit, 
when we lie down, and when we ride ; sometimes when 
we eat and when we walk. When we travel we encounter 
a moving library on every railway-car and a fixed library 
at every railway-station. Books are prepared for railway 
reading, and Railway Library is the title of more than one 
series of books in America, England, France, and Ger 
many. We read when we are well and when we are ill, 
when we are busy and when we are idle, and some even 
die with a book in hand. There is little use for the cau 
tion nowadays, "Beware of the man of one book." If it 
be true, as it may be, that single books make an impres 
sion less marked and decisive than formerly, so that a bad 
or inferior book may do less harm than it once did, it is 
also true that bad books and inferior books are far more 
common than they once were. Their poison is also more 
subtle and less easily detected, for as the taste of readers 



400 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PORTER 

becomes omnivorous it becomes less discriminating. Be 
sides, the readiness with which good men, and men sturdy 
in their principles too, read books which they despise and 
abhor, has introduced a freedom of practice on this sub 
ject at which other generations would have stood aghast. 
In many cases, too, if the principles are not corrupted by 
reading, the taste is vitiated; or, if nothing worse hap 
pens, delicacy of appreciation suffers from the amount of 
intellectual food which is forced upon us, and the satis 
faction is far less keen and exquisite than was enjoyed by 
readers of a few books of superior merit. . . . 

It was said of Edmund Burke, who was a great readei 
and a great thinker also, that he read every book as if he 
were never to see it a second time, and thus made it his 
own, a possession for life. Were his example imitated, 
much, time would be saved that is spent in recalling things 
half remembered, and in taking up the stitches of lost 
thoughts. A greater loss than that of time would be 
avoided, the loss of the dignity and power which are 
possessed by him who keeps his mind tense, active, and 
wakeful. It is very common to give the rule thus : 
" Whatever is worth reading at all is worth reading well." 
If by " well" is intended with the utmost stretch of at 
tention, it is not literally true ; for there are books which 
serve for pastime and amusement, books which can be 
run through when we are more or less fagged or ill, and 
cannot and ought not to put forth our utmost eneigies of 
body and mind. Then there are books which we may 
look through, as a merchant runs over the advertisements 
in a newspaper, taking up the thoughts that interest 
and concern us especially, as the magnet takes and holds 
the iron filings that are scattered through a handful of 
sand. But if every part of a book be equally worthy our 
regard, as the writings of Arnold, Grote, Merivale, Gib- 



PORTER] BOOKS AND READING. 401 

bon, Burke, Webster, Milton, Shakespeare, or Scott, then 
should the entire energy of attention be aroused during 
the time of reading. The page should be read as if it 
were never to be seen a second time ; the mental eye 
should be fixed as if there were no other object to think 
of; the memory should grasp the facts (i.e., the dates, in 
cidents, etc.) like a vice ; the impressions should be dis 
tinctly and sharply received ; the feelings should glow 
intensely at all that is worthy and burn with indignation 
at everything which is bad. For the want of this habit, 
thoroughly matured and made permanent, time is wasted, 
negligent habits are formed, the powers of the mind are 
systematically weakened by the very exercise which 
should give them strength, and reading, which ought to 
arouse and strengthen the intellect, produces, with many, 
no deeper and more abiding impression than the shifting 
pictures of a magic-lantern, or the fantastic groupings of 
the kaleidoscope, first a bewildering show, then confusion 
and vacancy. 

There is nowadays a special danger from this inatten 
tion. So many books are written which are good enough 
in their way, and yet are the food for easy i.e., lazy 
reading, and they are so cheap withal, so much excite 
ment prevails in respect to them, that an active mind is 
in danger of knowing many things superficially and 
nothing well, of being driven through one volume after 
another with such breathless haste as to receive few clear 
impressions and no lasting influences. 

Passive reading is the evil habit against which most 
readers need to be guarded, and to overcome which, when 
formed, requires the most manful and persevering efforts. 
The habit is the natural result of a profusion of books 
and the indolence of our natures and our times, which 
desires to receive thoughts, or, more exactly, pictures, 
aa 34* 



402 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PORTER 

many of which are thin, hazy, and evanescent, rather than 
vigorously to react against them by an effort that thinks 
them over and makes them one's own. It is the intellectual 
dyspepsia which is induced by a plethora of intellectual 
diet, if that may be called intellectual which is the weak 
dilution of thought. Almost better not read at all than 
to read in such a way. Certainly it is better to be forced 
to steal a half-hour from sleep, after a day of bodily toil, 
or to depend for your reading on an hour at a mid-day 
nooning when your fellow-laborers are asleep, if you but 
fix your whole mind on what you read, than to dawdle 
away weeks and months in turning over the leaves of 
hundreds of volumes in search for something new, which 
is feebly conceived, as lazily dismissed, and as stupidly 
forgotten. Better read one history, one poem, or one 
novel, well, if it takes a year to despatch it at stolen in 
tervals of time, than lazily to consume twelve hours of 
the day in a process which wastes the time, and, what is 
worse, wastes the intellect, the fancy, and the living soul. 
But how is the attention to be controlled ? How can 
this miserable passiveness be prevented or overcome? 
Rules in great number have been prescribed. All sorts 
of directions have been devised. An ingenious author 
has advised that each sentence should be read through at 
a single breath, the breath being retained until the sentence 
is finished. Some advise to read with the pen in hand ; 
others, to make a formal analysis of every volume ; others, 
to repeat to ourselves, or to recite to others, the substance 
of each page and chapter. These, and other devices, are 
all of service in their way, and some of them we* will con- 
eider in their appropriate place. But their chief value 
turns upon this, that they induce an interest or require 
an interest, either direct or indirect, in the subject-matter 
which is read. Whatever awakens the interest will be 



PORTER] BOOKS AND READING. 403 

certain to fix and hold the attention. The hired lad in 
the country who steals an hour from sleep or rest, that 
he may get on a few pages in the odd volume of Plutarch 
or Eollin, which, having fallen in his way, has begun to 
unfold before his astonished gaze the till then unknown 
history of the ancient world, the errand-boy of the city, 
who stands trembling at the book-stall, lest the surly pro 
prietor should cut short his borrowed pleasure from the 
page which he devours, these need no artificial device to 
teach them to hold the mind to the book, or to retain its 
contents. The great secret of their attention is to be 
found in the fresh interest with which they lay hold of 
the thoughts of the pictured page, and this remains ever 
the great secret of the habit of successful reading even to 
the mind that has been disciplined to the most amazing 
feats of application. There are no arts of attention, no 
arts of memory, which can be compared with this natural 
and certain condition of success. 

Daniel Webster was one of the most earnest and in 
telligent of readers all his life long. His favorite authors 
were read and re-read with a passionate fondness. His 
critical conversations upon the standard poets and essay 
ists and orators of the English tongue are still remembered 
and quoted by those who were present to hear when the 
mood and opportunity of discourse were upon him. In 
one of the last evenings of his life he beguiled the weari 
ness of his attendants by reciting a poem from Cowper. 
How he came to be so successful and so intelligent a reader 
is explained in his autobiography. Whatever he read, he 
read so often and so earnestly that he learned to repeat it. 
" We had so few books," he says, " that to read them once 
or twice was nothing ; we thought they were all to be got 
by heart." A small circulating library had been established 
in the neighborhood by his father and other persons, and 



404 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

among the books which he obtained from it was the 
Spectator. " I could not understand why it was necessary 
that the author of the Spectator should take such great 
pains to prove that Chevy Chase was a good story ; that 
was the last thing I doubted." He tells us, " In those 
boyish days there were two things which I did dearly 
love, viz., reading and playing, passions which did not 
cease to struggle when boyhood was over." 

The man or boy who reads with attention thus quick 
ened cannot read amiss if what he reads is worth pe 
rusing. Of his habits when a student he says, "Many 
other students read more than I did and knew more than 
I did. But so much as I read I made my own. When a 
half-hour, or an hour at most, had elapsed, I closed my 
book, and though^ on what I had read. If there was any 
thing peculiarly interesting or striking in the passage, 
I endeavored to recall it and lay it up in my memory, 
and commonly could effect my object." 

Sir Edward Sugden explained to Sir Thomas Fowell 
Buxton the secret of his professional success in the follow 
ing words : " I resolved, when beginning to read law, to 
make everything I acquired perfectly my own, and never 
to go to a second thing till I had entirely accomplished 
the first. Many of my competitors read as much in a day 
as I read in a week ; but at the end of the twelve months 
my knowledge was as fresh as on the day it was acquired, 
while theirs had glided away from their recollection." 
{Mem. of Sir T. F. Buxton, ch. xxiv.) 

He who would read with attention must learn to be 
interested in what he reads. He must feel wants or learn 
to create wants which must be supplied. If it be history 
that he would read with attention, he must feel deficiencies 
that will not let him rest till they are supplied ; he must 
be moved by a desire that will command its object. la 



WALLACE] AN ANCIENT CHARIOT-RACE. 405 

it poetry or fiction? He must be excited by a restless 
appetite that longs to be amused with new pictures, or 
diverted by humorous scenes, or stirred by lofty ideals, or 
charmed by poetical melody, and that grows by what it 
feeds on. And the man must master, and not be mastered 
by, his increasing stock of knowledge and his treasured 
products of the imagination. He must exercise great and 
still greater energy in judging and applying the acquisi 
tions he has made, making them accompany his musings, 
feed his memory, animate his principles, and guide his 
life. 



AN ANCIENT CHARIOT-RACE. 

LEWIS WALLACE. 

[General Wallace struck a rich vein when he entered the field of the 
historical novel. Not that it had not been abundantly worked before, 
but that he is peculiarly qualified for the task. His romance of " Ben- 
Hur" probably owes its success mainly to its vivid delineation of scenes 
from the life of Jesus, but as a general picture of life and character in 
the Roman empire at that period it is admirable. From its many 
striking scenes we extract the following description of a chariot-race, 
which is told with such spirit that the reader seems bodily transported 
to the amphitheatre of fair Antioch and made a personal witness of 
its sports. General Wallace was born in Indiana about 1828. He 
served with distinction in the civil war, becoming major-general in 
1862. In 1881 he was appointed United States minister to Constan 
tinople, which position he held until 1885.] 

THE trumpet sounded short and sharp ; whereupon the 
starters, one for each chariot, leaped down from behind 
the pillars of the goal, ready to give assistance if any of 
the fours proved unmanageable. 



406 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

Again the trumpet blew, and simultaneously the gate 
keepers threw the stalls open. 

First appeared the mounted attendants of the chariot 
eers, five in all, Ben-Hur having rejected the service. 
The chalked line was lowered to let them pass, then raised 
again. They were beautifully mounted, yet scarcely ob 
served as they rode forward ; for all the time the tram 
pling of eager horses, and the voices of drivers scarcely 
less eager, were heard behind in the stalls, so that one 
might not look away an instant from the gaping doors. 

The chalked line up again, the gate-keepers called their 
men ; instantly the ushers on the balcony waved their 
hands, and shouted with all their strength, " Down ! down !" 

As well have whistled to stay a storm. 

Forth from each stall, like missiles in a volley from so 
many great guns, rushed the six fours ; and up the vast 
assemblage arose, electrified and irrepressible, and, leaping 
upon the benches, filled the Circus and the air above it 
with yells and screams. This was the time for which 
they had so patiently waited! this the moment of 
supreme interest treasured up in talk and dreams since 
the proclamation of the games! 

"He is come! there look!" cried Iras, pointing to 
Messala. 

" I see him," answered Esther, looking at Ben-Hur. 

The veil was withdrawn. For an instant the little 
Jewess was brave. An idea of the joy there is in doing 
an heroic deed under the eyes of a multitude came to her, 
and she understood ever afterward how, at such times, 
the souls of men, in the frenzy of performance, laugh at 
death or forget it utterly. 

The competitors were now under view from nearly 
every part of the Circus, yet the race was not begun ; 
they had first to make the chalked line successfully. 



WALLACE] AN ANCIENT CHARIOT-RACE. 407 

This line was stretched for the purpose of equalizing 
the start. If it were dashed upon, discomfiture of man 
and horses might be apprehended ; on the other hand, to 
approach it timidly was to incur the hazard of being 
thrown behind in the beginning of the race ; and that 
was certain forfeit of the great advantage always striven 
for, the position next the division wall on the inner line 
of the course. 

This trial, its perils and consequences, the spectators 
knew thoroughly ; and if the opinion of old Nestor, ut 
tered what time he handed the reins to his son, were 
true, 

" It is not strength, but art, obtains the prize, 
And to be swift is less than to be wise," 

all on the benches might well look for warning of the 
winner to be now given, justifying the interest with which 
they breathlessly watched for the result. 

The arena swam in a dazzle of light; yet each driver 
looked first thing for the rope, then for the coveted inner 
line. So, all six aiming at the same point and speeding 
furiously, a collision seemed inevitable ; nor that merely. 
What if the editor, at the last moment, dissatisfied with 
the start, should withhold the signal to drop the rope? 
or if he should not give it in time ? 

The crossing was about two hundred and fifty feet in 
width. Quick the eye, steady the hand, unerring the 
judgment required. If now one look away ! or his mind 
wander ! or a rein slip ! And what attraction in the en 
semble of the thousands over the spreading balcony ! Cal 
culating upon the natural impulse to give one glance just 
one in sooth of curiosity or vanity, malice might be 
there with an artifice ; while friendship and love, did they 
serve the same result, might be as deadly as malice. 



408 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

The divine last touch in perfecting the beautiful is 
animation. Can we accept the saying, then these latter 
days, so tame in pastime and dull in sports, have scarcely 
anything to compare to the spectacle offered by the six 
contestants. Let the reader try to fancy it ; let him first 
look down upon the arena, and see it glistening in its 
frame of dull-gray granite walls ; let him then, in this 
perfect field, see the chariots, light of wheel, very grace 
ful, and ornate as paint and burnishing can make them, 
Messala's rich with ivory and gold ; let him see the 
drivers, erect and statuesque, undisturbed by the motion 
of the cars, their limbs naked, and fresh and ruddy with 
the healthful polish of the baths, in their right hands 
goads, suggestive of torture dreadful to the thought, in 
their left hands, held in careful separation, and high, that 
they may not interfere with view of the steeds, the reins 
passing taut from the fore ends of the carriage-poles; let 
him see the fours, chosen for beauty as well as speed ; let 
him see them in magnificent action, their masters not more 
conscious of the situation and all that is asked and hoped 
from them, their heads tossing, nostrils in play, now 
distent, now contracted, limbs too dainty for the sand 
which they touch but to spurn, -limbs slender, yet with 
impact crushing as hammers, every muscle of the rounded 
bodies instinct with glorious life, swelling, diminishing, 
justifying the world in taking from them its ultimate meas 
ure of force ; finally, along with chariots, drivers, horses, 
let the reader see the accompanying shadows fly ; and 
with such distinctness as the picture comes, he may share 
the satisfaction of the deeper pleasure of those to whom 
it was a thrilling fact, not a feeble fancy. Every age has 
its plenty of sorrows ; heaven help where there are no 
pleasures ! 

The competitors having started each on the shortest 



WALLACE] AN ANCIENT CHARIOT-RACE. 409 

line for the position next the wall, yielding would be like 
giving up the race ; and who dared yield ? It is not in 
common nature to change a purpose in mid-career ; and 
the cries of encouragement from the balcony were indis 
tinguishable and indescribable, a roar which had the 
same effect upon all the drivers. 

The fours neared the rope together. Then the trump 
eter by the editor's side blew a signal vigorously. 
Twenty feet away it was not heard. Seeing the action, 
however, the judges dropped the rope, and not an instant 
too soon, for the hoof of one of Messala's horses struck it 
as it fell. Nothing daunted, the Roman shook out his 
long lash, loosed the reins, leaned forward, and, with a 
triumphant shout, took the wall. 

" Jove with us ! Jove with us I" yelled all the Roman 
faction, in a frenzy of delight. 

As Messala turned in, the bronze lion's head at the end 
of his axle caught the fore-leg of the Athenian's right- 
hand trace-mate, flinging the brute over against its yoke 
fellow. Both staggered, struggled, and lost their head 
way. The ushers had their will at least in part. Tho 
thousands held their breath with horror ; only up where 
the consul sat was there shouting. 

"Jove with us!" screamed Drusus, frantically. 

" He wins ! Jove with us !" answered his associates, 
seeing Messala speed on. 

Tablet in hand, Sanballat turned to them ; a crash from 
the course below stopped his speech, and he could not but 
look that way. 

Messala having passed, the Corinthian was the only 
contestant on the Athenian's right, and to that side the 
latter tried to turn his broken four ; and then, as ill-fortune 
would have it, the wheel of the Byzantine, who was next 
on the left, struck the tail-piece of his chariot, knocking 
s 35 



410 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

his feet from under him. There was a crash, a scream 
of rage and fear, and the unfortunate Cleanthes fell under 
the hoofs of his own steeds : a terrible sight, against 
which Esther covered her eyes. 

On swept the Corinthian, on the Byzantine, on the 
Sidonian. 

Sanballat looked for Ben-Hur, and turned again to 
Drusus and his coterie. 

" A hundred sestertii on the Jew !" he cried. 

" Taken I" answered Drusus. 

" Another hundred on the Jew !" shouted Sanballat. 

Nobody appeared to hear him. He called again ; the 
situation below was too absorbing, and they were too 
busy shouting, " Messala ! Messala ! Jove with us !" 

When the Jewess ventured to look again, a party of 
workmen were removing the horses and broken car; an 
other party were taking off the man himself; and every 
bench upon which there was a Greek was vocal with exe 
crations and prayers for vengeance. Suddenly she dropped 
her hands ; Ben-Hur, unhurt, was to the front, coursing 
freely forward along with the Roman ! Behind them, in 
a group, followed the Sidonian, the Corinthian, and the 
Byzantine. 

The race was on ; the souls of the racers were in it ; 
over them bent the myriads. 

When the dash for position began, Ben-Hur, as we have 
seen, was on the extreme left of the six. For a moment, 
like the others, he was half blinded by the light in the 
arena ; yet he managed to catch sight of his antagonists 
and divine their purpose. At Messala, who was more than 
an antagonist to him, he gave one searching look. The 
air of passionless hauteur characteristic of the fine patri 
cian face was there as of old, and so was the Italian 
beauty, which the helmet rather increased ; but more it 



WALLACE] ^1^ ANCIENT CHARIOT-RACE. 411 

may have been a jealous fancy, or the effect of the brassy 
shadow in which the features were at the moment cast, 
still the Israelite thought he saw the soul of the man as 
through a glass, darkly : cruel, cunning, desperate ; not 
so excited as determined, a soul in a tension of watchful 
ness and fierce resolve. 

In a time not longer than was required to turn to his 
four again, Ben-Hur felt his own resolution harden to a 
like temper. At whatever costs, at all hazards, he would 
humble this enemy ! Prize, friends, wagers, honor every 
thing that can be thought of as a possible interest in the 
race was lost in the one deliberate purpose. Regard for 
life, even, should not hold him back. Yet there was no 
passion, on his part ; no blinding rush of heated blood 
from heart to brain, and back again ; no impulse to fling 
himself upon Fortune : he did not believe in Fortune ; far 
otherwise. He had his plan, and, confiding in himself, he 
settled to the task, never more observant, never more 
capable. The air about him seemed aglow with a renewed 
and perfect transparency. 

When not half-way across the arena, he saw that Mes- 
sala's rush would, if there was no collision, and the rope 
fell, give him the wall ; that the rope would fall, he ceased 
as soon to doubt ; and, further, it came to him, a sudden 
flash-like insight, that Messala knew it was to be let drop 
at the last moment (prearrangement with the editor could 
safely reach that point in the contest) ; and it suggested, 
what more Roman-like than for the official to lend him 
self to a countryman who, besides being so popular, had 
also so much at stake ? There could be no other account 
ing for the confidence with which Messala pushed his four 
forward" the instant his competitors were prudentially 
checking their fours in front of the obstruction, no other 
except madness. 



412 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

It is one thing to see a necessity, and another to act 
upon it. Ben-Hur yielded the wall for the time. 

The rope fell, and all the four but his sprang into 
the course under urgency of voice and lash. He drew 
head to the right, and, with all the speed of his Arabs, 
darted across the trails of his opponents, the angle of 
movement being such as to lose the least time and gain 
the greatest possible advance. So, while the spectators 
were shivering at the Athenian's mishap, and the Sido- 
nian, Byzantine, and Corinthian were striving, with such 
skill as they possessed, to avoid involvement in the ruin, 
Ben-Hur swept around and took the course neck and neck 
with Messala, though on the outside. The marvellous 
skill shown in making the change thus from the extreme 
left across to the right without appreciable loss did not 
fail the sharp eyes upon the benches : the Circus seemed 
to rock and rock again with prolonged applause. Then 
Esther clasped her hands in glad surprise ; then Sanballat, 
smiling, offered his hundred sestertii a second time without 
a taker ; and then the Romans began to doubt, thinking 
Messala might have found an equal, if not a master, and 
that in an Israelite ! 

And now, racing together side by side, a narrow interval 
between them, the two neared the second goal. 

The pedestal of the three pillars there, viewed from the 
west, was a stone wall in the form of a half-circle, around 
which the course and opposite balcony were bent in exact 
parallelism. Making this turn was considered in all re 
spects the most telling test of a charioteer; it was, in 
fact, the very feat in which Orestes failed. As an invol 
untary admission of interest on the part of the spectators, 
a hush fell over all the Circus, so that for the firs time in 
the race the rattle and clang of the cars plunging after 
the tugging steeds were distinctly heard. Then, it would 



WALLACE] AN ANCIENT CHARIOT-RACE. 413 

seem, Messala observed Ben-Hur, and recognized him; 
and at once the audacity of the man flamed out in an as 
tonishing manner. 

" Down Eros, up Mars !" he shouted, whirling his lash 
with practised hand. "Down Eros, up Mars!" he re 
peated, and caught the well-doing Arabs of Ben-Hur a 
cut the like of which they had never known. 

The blow was seen in every quarter, and the amaze 
ment was universal. The silence deepened ; up on the 
benches behind the consul the boldest held his breath, 
waiting for the outcome. Only a moment thus : then, 
involuntarily, down from the balcony, as thunder falls, 
burst the indignant cry of the people. 

The four sprang forward affrighted. No hand had ever 
been laid upon them except in love ; they had been nur 
tured ever so tenderly ; and as they grew, their confidence 
in man became a lesson to men beautiful to see. What 
should such dainty natures do under such indignity but 
leap as from death ? 

Forward they sprang as with one impulse, and forward 
leaped the car. Past question, every experience is ser 
viceable to us. Where got Ben-Hur the large hand and 
mighty grip which helped him now so well ? Where but 
from the. oar with which so long he fought the sea? And 
what was this spring of the floor under his feet to the 
dizzy, eccentric lurch with which in the old time the 
trembling ship yielded to the beat of staggering billows, 
drunk with their power? So he kept his place, and gave 
the four free rein, and called to them in soothing voice, 
trying merely to guide them round the dangerous turn ; 
and before the fever of the people began to abate, he had 
back the mastery. Nor that only : on approaching the 
first goal, he was again side by side with Messala, bearing 
with him the sympathy and admiration of every one not 

35* 



414 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

a Roman. So clearly was the feeling shown, so vigorous 
its manifestation, that Messala, with all his boldness, felt 
it unsafe to trifle further. 

As the cars whirled round the goal, Esther caught sight 
of Ben-Hur's face, a little pale, a little higher raised, 
otherwise calm, even placid. 

Immediately a man climbed on the entablature at the 
west end of the division wall, and took down one of the 
conical wooden balls. A dolphin on the east entablature 
was taken down at the same time. 

In like manner, the second ball and second dolphin dis 
appeared, and then the third ball and third dolphin. 

Three rounds concluded : still Messala held the inside 
position ; still Ben-Hur moved with him side by side j still 
the other competitors followed as before. The contest 
began to have the appearance of one of the double races 
which became so popular in Rome during the later Caesa- 
rean period, Messala and Ben-Hur in the first, the Corin 
thian, Sidonian, and Byzantine in the second. Meantime 
the ushers succeeded in returning the multitude to their 
Reats, though the clamor continued to run the rounds, 
keeping, as it were, even pace with the rivals in the course 
below. 

In the fifth round the Sidonian succeeded in getting a 
place outside Ben-Hur, but lost it directly. 

The sixth round was entered upon without change of 
relative position. 

Gradually the speed had been quickened, gradually 
the blood of the competitors warmed with the work. 
Men and beasts seemed to know alike that the final crisis 
was near, bringing the time for the winner to assert him 
self. 

The interest which from the beginning had centred 
chiefly in the struggle between the Roman and the Jew, 



WALLACE] AN ANCIENT CHARIOT-RACE. 415 

with an intense and general sympathy for the latter, was 
fast changing to anxiety on his account. On all the 
benches the spectators bent forward motionless, except 
as their faces turned following the contestants. Ilderim 
quitted combing his beard, and Esther forgot her fears. 

" A hundred sestertii on the Jew !" cried Sanballat to 
the Eomans under the consul's awning. 

There was no reply. 

" A talent or five talents, or ten ; choose ye !" 

He shook his tablets at them defiantly. 

" I will take thy sestertii," answered a Eoman youth, 
preparing to write. 

" Do not so," interposed a friend. 

Why ?" 

"Messala hath reached his utmost speed. See him lean 
over his chariot-rim, the reins loose as flying ribbons. 
F/ook then at the Jew." 

The first one looked. 

" By Hercules !" he replied, his countenance falling. 
" The dog throws all his weight on the bits. I see! I see ! 
If the gods help not our friend, he will be run away with 
by the Israelite. No, not yet. Look! Jove with us! 
Jove with us !" 

The cry, swelled by every Latin tongue, shook tht> 
velaria over the consul's head. 

If it were true that Messala had attained his utmost 
speed, the effort was with effect : slowly but certainly he 
was beginning to forge ahead. His horses were running 
with their heads low down ; from the balcony their bodies 
appeared actually to skim the earth ; their nostrils showed 
blood-red m expansion; their eyes seemed straining in 
their sockets. Certainly the good steeds were doing their 
best ! How long could they keep the pace ? It was but 
the commencement of the sixth round. On they dashed. 



416 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

As they neared the second goal, Ben-Hur turned in behind 
the Roman's car. 

The joy of the Messala faction reached its bound : they 
screamed, and howled, and tossed their colors ; and San- 
ballat filled his tablets with wagers of their tendering. 

Malluch, in the lower gallery over the Gate of Triumph, 
found it hard to keep his cheer. He had cherished the 
vague hint dropped to him by Ben-Hur of something to 
happen in the turning of the western pillars. It was the 
fifth round, yet the something had not come ; and he had 
said to himself, the sixth will bring it j but, lo ! Ben-Hur 
was hardly holding a place at the tail of his enemy's car. 

Over in the east end, Simonides' party held their peace. 
The merchant's head was bent low. Ilderim tugged at 
his beard/ and dropped his brows till there was nothing 
of his eyes but an occasional sparkle of light. Esther 
scarcely breathed. Iras alone appeared glad. 

Along the home-stretch sixth round Messala leading, 
next him Ben-Hur, and so close it was the old story : 

" First flew Eumelus on Pheretian steeds ; 
With those of Tros bold Diomed succeeds ; 
Close on Eumelus' back they puff the wind, 
And seem just mounting on his. car behind ; 
Full on his neck he feels the sultry breeze, 
And, hovering o'er, their stretching shadow sees." 

Thus to the first goal, and round it. Messala, fearful 
of losing his place, hugged the stony wall with perilous 
clasp ; a foot to the left, and he had been dashed to pieces; 
yet, when the turn was finished, no man, looking at the 
wheel-tracks of the two cars, could have said, here went 
Messala, there the Jew. They left but one trace behind 
them. 

As they whirled by, Esther saw Ben-Hur's face again, 
and it was whiter than before. 



WALLACE] AN ANCIENT CHARIOT-RACE. 417 

Simonides, shrewder than Esther, said to Ilderim, the 
moment the rivals turned into the course, " I am no judge, 
good sheik, if Ben-Hur be not about to execute some de 
sign. His face hath that look." 

To which Ilderim answered, " Saw you how clean they 
were and fresh? By the splendor of G-od, friend, they 
have not been running ! But now watch !" 

One ball and one dolphin remained on the entablatures ; 
and all the people drew a long breath, for the beginning 
of the end was at hand. 

First, the Sidonian gave the scourge to his four, and, 
smarting with fear and pain, they dashed desperately for 
ward, promising for a brief time to go to the front. The 
effort ended in promise. Next, the Byzantine and Co 
rinthian each made the trial with like result, after which 
they were practically out of the race. Thereupon, with a 
readiness perfectly explicable, all the factions except the 
Romans joined hope in Ben-Hur, and openly indulged 
their feeling. 

"Ben-Hur! Ben-Hur!" they shouted, and the blent 
voices of the many rolled overwhelmingly against the 
consular stand. 

From the benches above him as he passed, the favor 
descended in fierce injunction. 

" Speed thee, Jew !" 

" Take the wall now !" 

" On 1 loose the Arabs ! Give them rein and scourge !" 

" Let him not have the turn on thee again. Now or 
never!" 

Over the balustrade they stooped low, stretching their 
hands imploringly to him. 

Either he did not hear, or could not do better, for half 
way round the course and he was still following ; at the 
second goal even still no change ! 
bb 



418 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

And now, to make the turn, Messala began to draw in 
his left-hand steeds, an act which necessarily slackened 
their speed. His spirit was high ; more than one altar 
was richer of his- vows ; the Roman genius was still pre 
sident. On the three pillars only six hundred feet away 
were fame, increase of fortune, promotions, and a triumph 
ineffably sweetened by hate, all in store for him ! That 
moment, Malluch, in the gallery, saw Ben-Hur lean for 
ward over his Arabs and give them the reins. Out flew 
the many-folded lash in his hand ; over the backs of the 
startled steeds it writhed and hissed, and hissed and 
writhed again and again, and, though it fell not, there 
were both sting and menace in its quick report ; and as 
the man passed thus from quiet to resistless action, 
his face suffused, his eyes gleaming, along the reins he 
seemed to flash his will ; and instantly not one, but the 
four as one, answered with a leap that landed them along 
side the Roman's car. Messala, on the perilous edge of the 
goal, heard, but dared not look to see what the awakening 
portended. From the people he received no sign. Above 
the noises of the race there was but one voice, and that 
was Ben-Hur's. In the old Aramaic, as the sheik him 
self, he called to the Arabs, 

"On, Atair! On, Rigel! What, Antares! dost thou 
linger now ? Good horse, oho, Aldebaran ! I hear them 
singing in the tents. I hear the children singing, and the 
women, singing of the stars, of Atair, Antares, Rigel, Al 
debaran, victory! and the song will never end. Well 
done! Home to-morrow, under the black tent-home! 
On, Antares ! The tribe is waiting for us, and the master 
is waiting ! 'Tis done ! 'tis done ! Ha, ha ! We have 
overthrown the proud. The hand that smote us is in the 
dust. Ours the glory ! Ha, ha ! steady ! The work is 
"*one, soho I Rest !" 



WALLACE] AN ANCIENT CHARIOT-RACE. 419 

There had never been anything of the kind more simple; 
seldom anything so instantaneous. 

At the moment chosen for the dash, Messala was moving 
in a circle round the goal. To pass him, Ben-Hur had to 
cross the track, and good strategy required the movement 
to be in a forward direction, that is, on a like circle lim 
ited to the least possible increase. The thousands on the 
benches understood it all : they saw the signal given, the 
magnificent response, the four close outside Messala's 
outer wheel, Ben-Hur's inner wheel behind the others 
car : all this they saw. Then they heard a crash loud 
enough to send a thrill through the Circus, and, quicker 
than thought, out over the course a spray of shining 
white and yellow flinders flew. Down on its right side 
toppled the bed of the Roman's chariot. There was a 
rebound as of the axle hitting the hard earth ; another, 
and another; then the car went to pieces, and Messala, 
entangled in the reins, pitched forward headlong. 

To increase the horror of the sight by making death 
certain, the Sidonian, who had the wall next behind, could 
not stop or turn out. Into the wreck full speed he drove ; 
then over the Roman, and into the latter's four, all mad 
with fear. Presently, out of the turmoil, the fighting of 
horses, the resound of blows, the murky cloud of dust 
and sand, he crawled, in time to see the Corinthian and 
Byzantine go on down the course after Ben-Hur, who had 
not been an instant delayed. 

The people arose, and leaped upon the benches, and 
shouted and screamed. Those who looked that way 
caught glimpses of Messala, now under the trampling of 
the fours, now under the abandoned cars. He was still; 
they thought him dead ; but far the greater number fol 
lowed Ben-Hur in his career. They had not seen the cun 
ning touch of the reins by which, turning a little to the 



420 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLEMENS 

left, he caught Messala's wheel with the iron-shod point 
of his axle, and crushed it ; but they had seen the transfor 
mation of the man, and themselves felt the heat and glow 
of his spirit, the heroic resolution, the maddening energy 
of action with which, by look, word, and gesture, he so 
suddenly inspired his Arabs. And such running ! It was 
rather the long leaping of lions in harness ; but for the 
lumbering chariot, it seemed the four were flying. When 
the Byzantine and Corinthian were half-way down the 
course, Ben-Hur turned the first goal. 
And the race was WON ! 



AN ARTIST IN WHITEWASH. 

SAMUEL L. CLEMENS. 

[The author from whom we now quote, familiarly known oy his 
nom de plume of Mark Twain, is a native of Missouri, where he was 
born in 1835. In early life he was a Mississippi steamboat pilot, and 
afterwards lived in Nevada and California, where his fine powers as a 
humorist first began to display themselves. He has since travelled 
much, and has written several works, mainly devoted to the results of 
actual observation, yet so brimming over with fun, and giving such 
ludicrous interpretations to simple facts, as to have made Mark Twain 
the most popular of American humorists. His wit is never simple 
extravagance, but has a distinct flavor of its own ; nor does it ever 
descend into coarseness, like the fun of many of our popular humor 
ists. To the extract from the life of " Tom Sawyer" we append one of 
the most amusing of his conversational episodes, his description of 
the befogging of the Genoese guide in " The Innocents Abroad."] 

[Tom Sawyer, having offended his guardian, Aunt Polly, is punished 
by being set to whitewash the fence in front of the garden.] 

TOM appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of white 
wash and a long-handled brush. He surveyed the fence, 



CLEMENS] AN ARTIST IN WHITEWASH. 421 

and all gladness left him and a deep melancholy settled 
down upon his spirit. Thirty yards of board fence nine 
feet high. Life to him seemed hollow, and existence but 
a burden. Sighing, he dipped his brush and passed it 
along the topmost plank ; repeated the operation ; did 
it again ; compared the insignificant whitewashed streak 
with the far-reaching continent of unwhitewashed fence, 
and sat down on a tree-box discouraged. . . . 

He began to think of the fun he had planned for this 
day, and his sorrows multiplied. Soon the free boys 
would come tripping along on all sorts of delicious expe 
ditions, and they would make a world of fun of him for 
having to work, the very thought of it burnt him like 
fire. He got out his worldly wealth and examined it, bits 
of toys, marbles, and trash, enough to buy an exchange 
of ivork, maybe, but not half enough to buy so much as 
half an hour of pure freedom. So he returned his strait 
ened means to his pocket, and gave up the idea of trying 
to buy the boys. At this dark and hopeless moment an 
inspiration burst upon him ! Nothing less than a great, 
magnificent inspiration. 

He took up his brush and went tranquilly to work. 
Ben Eogers hove in sight presently, the very boy, of all 
boys, whose ridicule he had been dreading. Ben's gait 
was the hop-skip-and-jump, proof enough that his heart 
was light and his anticipations high. He was eating an 
apple, and giving a long, melodious whoop, at intervals, 
followed by a deep-toned ding-dong-dong, ding-dong-dong, 
for he was personating a steamboat. As he drew near, he 
slackened speed, took the middle of the street, leaned far 
over to starboard, and rounded to ponderously and with 
laborious pomp and circumstance, for he was personating 
the " Big Missouri," and considered himself to be drawing 
nine feet of water. He was boat and captain and engine- 

36 



422 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLEMENS 

bells combined, so he had to imagine himself standing on 
his own hurricane-deck giving the orders and executing 
them : 

"Stop her, sir! Ting-a-ling-ling!" The headway ran 
almost out, and he drew up slowly toward the sidewalk. 

" Ship up to back ! Ting-a-ling-ling !" His arms straight 
ened and stiffened down his sides. 

" Set her back on the stabboard ! Ting-a-ling-ling 1 
Chow ! ch-chow-wow ! Chow !" his right hand, mean 
time, describing stately circles, for it was representing a 
forty-foot wheel. 

"Let her go back on the labboard! Ting-a-ling-ling I 
Chow-ch-chow-chow !" The left hand began to describe 
circles. 

" Stop the stabboard ! Ting-a-ling-ling ! Stop the lab- 
board ! Come ahead on the stabboard ! Stop her ! Let 
your outside turn over slow! Ting-a-ling-ling! Chow- 
ow-ow ! Get out that head-line. Lively now ! Come 
out with your spring line what're you about there? 
Take a turn round that stump with the bight of it! 
Stand by that stage, now let her go ! Done with the 
engines, sir! Ting-a-ling-ling! SKt! sh't I sKtT (trying 
the gauge-cocks). 

Tom went on whitewashing paid no attention to the 
steamboat. Ben stared a moment, and then said, 

" Hi-yi / you're up a stump, ain't you ?" 

No answer. Tom surveyed his last touch with the eye 
of an artist ; then he gave his brush another gentle sweep, 
and surveyed the result, as before. Ben ranged up along 
side of him. Tom's mouth watered for the apple, but he 
stuck to his work. Ben said, " Hello, old chap ; you got 
to work, hey?" 

Tom wheeled suddenly, and said, 

" Why, it's you, Ben ! I warn't noticing." 



CLEMENS] AN ARTIST IN WHITEWASH. 423 

" Say, I'm going in a-swimming, I am. Don't you wish 
you could ? But of course you'd druther work, wouldn't 
you ? Course you would I" 

Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said, 

" What do you call work ?" 

"Why, ain't that work?" 

Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered, care 
lessly, 

" Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain't. All I know is, 
it suits Tom Sawyer." 

" Oh, come now, you don't mean to let on that you like 
it?" 

" Like it ? Well, I don't see why I oughtn't to like it. 
Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every 
day?" 

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nib 
bling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and 
forth stepped back to note the effect added a touch 
here and there criticised the effect again, Ben watching 
every move and getting more and more interested, more 
and more absorbed. Presently he said, 

" Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little." 

Tom considered was about to consent but he altered 
his mind : " No, no ; I reckon it wouldn't hardly do, Ben. 
You see, Aunt Polly's awful particular about this fence 
right here on the street, you know ; but if it was the back 
fence I wouldn't mind, and she wouldn't. Yes, she's awful 
particular about this fence ; it's got to be done very care 
ful ; I reckon there ain't one boy in a thousand, maybe 
two thousand, that can do it in the way it's got to be 
done." 

" No is that so ? Oh, come now, lemme just try, only 
just a little. I'd let you, if you was me, Tom." 

" Ben, I'd like to, honest Injin ; but Aunt Polly well. 



424 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLEMENS 

Jim wanted to do it, but she wouldn't let him ; Sid wanted 
to do it, and she wouldn't let Sid. Now don't you see 
how I'm fixed ? If you was to tackle this fence, and any 
thing was to happen to it 

" Oh, shucks ! I'll be just as careful. Now lemme try. 
Say, I'll give you the core of my apple." 

" Well, here No, Ben ; now don't j I'm afeard " 

" I'll give you all of it !" 

Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but 
alacrity in his heart. And while the late steamer " Big 
Missouri" worked and sweated in the sun, the retired artist 
sat on a barrel in the shade close by, dangled his legs, 
munched his apple, and planned the slaughter of more 
innocents. There was no lack of material ; boys happened 
along every little while ; they came to jeer, but remained 
to whitewash. By the time Ben was fagged out, Tom had 
traded the next chance to Billy Fisher for a kite in good 
repair; and when he played out, Johnny Miller bought 
in for a dead rat and a string to swing it with ; and so on, 
and so on, hour after hour. And when the middle of the 
afternoon came, from being a poor, poverty-stricken boy 
in the morning, Tom was literally rolling in wealth. He 
had, beside the things before mentioned, twelve marbles, 
part of a jew's-harp, a piece of blue bottle-glass to look 
through, a spool cannon, a key that wouldn't unlock any 
thing, a fragment of chalk, a glass stopper of a decanter, 
a tin soldier, a couple of tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kit 
ten with only one eye, a brass door-knob, a dog-collar 
but no dog the handle of a knife, four pieces of orange- 
peel, and a dilapidated old window-sash. 

He had had a nice, good, idle time all the while plenty 
of company and the fence had three coats of whitewash 
on it ! If he hadn't run out of whitewash, he would have 
bankrupted every boy in the village. 



CLEMENS] BEFOGGING A GUIDE. 425 

Tom said to himself that it was not such a hollow world, 
after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, 
without knowing it, namely, that in order to make a man 
or a boy covet a thing it is only necessary to make the 
thing difficult to attain. 

BEFOGGING A GUIDE. 

European guides know about enough English to tangle 
everything up so that a man can make neither head nor 
tail of it. They know their story by heart, the history 
of every statue, painting, cathedral, or other wonder they 
show you. They know it and tell it as a parrot would ; 
and if you interrupt, and throw them off the track, they 
have to go back and begin over again. All their lives 
long they are employed in showing strange things to for 
eigners and listening to their bursts of admiration. It is 
human nature to take delight in exciting admiration. It 
is what prompts children to say " smart" things, and do 
absurd ones, and in other ways " show off" when com 
pany is present. It is what makes gossips turn out in 
rain and storm to go and be the first to tell a startling bit 
of news. Think, then, what a passion it becomes with a 
guide, whose privilege it is, every day, to show to strangers 
wonders that throw them into perfect ecstasies of admira 
tion ! He gets so that he could not by any possibility live 
in a soberer atmosphere. 

After we discovered this, we never went into ecstasies 
any more, we never admired anything, we never showed 
any but impassible faces and stupid indifference in the 
presence of the sublimest wonders a guide had to display. 
We had found their weak point. We have made good use 
of it ever since. We have made some of those people 
savage, at times, but we have never lost our own serenity. 

The doctor asks the questions generally, because he can 

36* 



r26 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLEMENS 

keep his countenance, and look more like an inspired idiot, 
and throw more imbecility into the tone of his voice, than 
any man that lives. It conies natural to him. 

The guides in Genoa are delighted to secure an Ameri 
can party, because Americans so much wonder, and deal 
so much in sentiment and emotion, before any relic of 
Columbus. Our guide there fidgeted about as if he had 
swallowed a spring mattress. He was full of animation, 
full of impatience. He said, 

" Come wis me, genteelmen I come ! I show you ze 
letter writing by Christopher Colombo! write it himself! 
write it wis his own hand ! come I" 

He took us to the municipal palace. After much im 
pressive fumbling of keys and opening of locks, the stained 
and aged document was spread before us. The guide's 
eyes sparkled. He danced about us and tapped the parch 
ment with his finger : 

" What I tell you, genteelmen ? Is it not so ? See ! 
handwriting Christopher Colombo! write it himself!" 

We looked indifferent, unconcerned. The doctor ex 
amined the document very deliberately, during a painful 
pause. Then he said, without any show of interest, 

" Ah, Ferguson, what what did you say was the 
name of the party who wrote this ?" 

" Christopher Colombo ! ze great Christopher Colombo !" 

Another deliberate examination. 

" Ah, did he write it himself, or or how ?" 

"He write it himself! Christopher Colombo ! he's own 
handwriting, write by himself!" 

Then the doctor laid the document down, and said, 

" Why, I have seen boys in America only fourteen years 
old that could write better than that." 

" But zis is ze great Christo " 

" I don't care who it is ! It's the worst writing I ever 



CLEMENS] BEFOGGING A GUIDE. 427 

saw. Now, you mustn't think you can impose on us be 
cause we are strangers. We are not fools, by a good deal. 
If you have got any specimens of penmanship of real 
merit, trot them out ! and if you haven't, drive on !" 

We drove on. The guide was considerably shaken up, 
but he made one more venture. He had something which 
he thought would overcome us. He said, 

" Ah, genteelmen, you come wis me ! I show you beau 
tiful, oh, magnificent bust Christopher Colombo! splendid, 
grand, magnificent I" 

He brought us before the beautiful bust, for it was 
beautiful, and sprang back and struck an attitude : 

" Ah, look, genteelmen ! beautiful, grand, bust Chris- 
tophor Colombo! beautiful bust, beautiful pedestal!" 

The doctor put up his eye-glass, procured for such ce 
ssions : 

" Ah, what did you say this gentleman's name was ?" 

" Christopher Colombo! ze great Christopher Colombo!" 

" Christopher Colombo, the great Christopher Colombo. 
Well, what did he do ?" 

" Discover America I discover America, oh, ze devil !" 

" Discover America ? No, that statement will hardly 
wash. We are just from America ourselves. We heard 
nothing about it. Christopher Colombo, pleasant name 
is is he dead ?" 

" Oh, corpo di Bacco ! three hundred year !" 

" What did he die of?" 

" I do not know. I cannot tell." 

"Small-pox, think?" 

" I do not know, genteelmen, I do not know what he 
die of." 

" Measles, likely ?" 

" Maybe, maybe. I do not know. I think he die of 
something." 



428 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLEMENS 

" Parents living ?" 

" Im-posseeble !" 

" Ah, which is the bust and which is the pedestal?" 

" Santa Maria ! zis ze bust ! zis.zv pedestal !" 

"Ah, I see, I see, happy combination, very happy 
combination indeed. Is is this the first time this gen 
tleman was ever on a bust ?" 

That joke was lost on the foreigner : guides cannot, 
master the subtleties of the American joke. 

We have made it interesting for this Roman guide. 
Yesterday we spent three or four hours in the Yatican 
again, that wonderful world of curiosities. We came very 
near expressing interest sometimes, even admiration. It 
was hard to keep from it. We succeeded, though. Nobody 
else ever did, in the Yatican museums. The guide was 
bewildered, nonplussed. He walked his legs off, nearly, 
hunting up extraordinary things, and exhausted all his 
ingenuity on us, but it was a failure ; we never showed 
any interest in anything. He had reserved what he con 
sidered to be his greatest wonder till the last, a royal 
Egyptian mummy, the best preserved in the world, per 
haps. He took us there. He felt so sure, this time, that 
some of his old enthusiasm came back to him : 

" See, genteelmen ! Mummy ! Mummy !" 

The eye-glass came up as calmly, as deliberately as ever. 

"Ah, Ferguson, what did I understand you to say 
the gentleman's name was ?" 

" Name ? he got no name ! Mummy ! 'Gyptian 
mummy!" 

" Yes, yes. Born here ?" 

" No. ' Gyptian mummy." 

" Ah, just so. Frenchman, I presume ?" 

" No ! not Frenchman, not Eoman ! born in Egypta I" 

" Born in Egypta. Never heard of Egypta before. 



LONGFELLOW] A GARLAND OF FLOWER-POEMS. 429 

Foreign locality, likely. Mummy, mummy. How calm 
he is, how self-possessed ! Is ah ! is he dead ?" 

"Oh, sacre bleu! been dead three thousan' year!" 

The doctor turned on him savagely : 

"Here, now! what do you mean by such conduct as 
this ? Playing us for Chinamen because we are strangers 
and trying to learn ! Trying to impose your vile second 
hand carcasses on us I Thunder and lightning! I've a 
notion to to if you've got a nice fresh corpse, fetch him 
out! or, by George, we'll brain you!" 

We make it exceedingly interesting for this Frenchman. 
However, he has paid us back, partly, without knowing 
it. He came to the hotel this morning to ask if we were 
up, and he endeavored, as well as he could, to describe us, 
so that the landlord would know which persons he meant. 
He finished with the casual remark that we were lunatics. 
The observation was so innocent and so honest that it 
amounted to a very good thing for a guide to say. . . . 

Our Roman Ferguson is the most patient, unsuspecting, 
long-suffering subject we have had yet. We shall be sorry 
to part with him. We have enjoyed his society very 
much. We trust he has enjoyed ours, but we are harassed 
with doubts. 



A GARLAND OF FLOWER-POEMS. 

We might fairly look upon flowers as created for the use of the 
poets, when we consider their lack of adaptation to life's practical 
uses, and their beauty and delicacy of form and color, which make 
each flower almost a poem in itself. Or we might rather view the 
flowers as brilliant similes in Nature's great poem, into which they 
flash new meanings, as a poet's simile often lights up a weary length 
of verse. Though the varied charms of the flower-kingdom have lent 



430 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LONGFELLOW 

their grace to long epochs of poetry, they still reveal new and deeper 
beauties and relations to the imaginative intellect, and the modern 
bard finds them as indispensable to his song as did old Chaucer, or 
remote singers far older than Chaucer. As the bee still finds new 
honey in the flower-cup, so the poet never fails to discover fresh mean 
ing in rose and lily, daisy and violet. As an introduction to our floral 
garland, we may give in full Longfellow's charming tribute to the 
flowers. In his verses they seem to gain new significance, and to fill 
as wide and brilliant a r6le in the world of thought as they do in 
the world of facts. 

FLOWERS. 

SPAKE full well, in language quaint and olden, 
One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine, 

When he called the flowers, so blue and golden, 
Stars, that in earth's firmament do shine. 

Stars they are, wherein we read our history, 

As astrologers and seers of eld ; 
Yet not wrapped about with awful mystery, 

Like the burning stars which they beheld. 

Wondrous truths, and manifold as wondrous, 
God hath written in those stars above ; 

But not less in the bright flowerets under us 
Stands the revelation of his love. 

Bright and glorious is that revelation, 
Written all over this great world of ours, 

Making evident our own creation 

In these stars of earth, these golden flowers. 

And the Poet, faithful and far-seeing, 

Sees, alike in stars and flowers, a part 
Of the self-same, universal being 

Which is throbbing in his brain and heart. 



LONGFELLOW] A GARLAND OF FLOWER-POEMS. 

Gorgeous flowerets in the sunlight shining, 
Blossoms flaunting in the eye of day, 

Tremulous leaves with soft and silver lining, 
Buds that open only to decay ; 

Brilliant hopes, all woven in gorgeous tissues, 
Flaunting gayly in the golden light ; 

Large desires, with most uncertain issues, 
Tender wishes, blossoming at night ! 

These in flowers and men are more than seeming ; 

Workings are they of the self-same powers 
Which the Poet, in no idle dreaming, 

Seeth in himself and in the flowers. 

Everywhere about us are they glowing, 
Some like stars, to tell us Spring is born ; 

Others, their blue eyes with tears o'erflowing, 
Stand like Euth amid the golden corn. 

Not alone in Spring's armorial bearing, 
And in Summer's green-emblazoned field, 

But in arms of brave old Autumn's wearing, 
In the centre of his brazen shield. 

Not alone in meadows and green alleys, 
On the mountain-top, and by the brink 

Of sequestered pools in woodland valleys, 
Where the slaves of Nature stoop to drink. 

Not alone in her vast dome of glory, 
Not on graves of bird and beast alone, 

But in old cathedrals, high and hoary, 
On the tombs of heroes, carved in stone ; 



432 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FRENEAU 

In the cottage of the rudest peasant, 

In ancestral homes, whose crumbling towers, 

Speaking of the Past unto the Present, 
Tell us of the ancient Games of Flowers ; 

In all places, then, and in all seasons, 
Flowers expand their light and soul-like wings, 

Teaching us, by most persuasive reasons, 
How akin they are to human things. 

And with childlike, credulous affection 
We behold their tender buds expand, 

Emblems of our own great resurrection, 
Emblems of the bright and better land. 

A poet of the last century thus sings the beauty and grace of one 
of the gems of the woodland depths : 

THE WILD HONEYSUCKLE. 

Fair flower, that dost so comely grow, 

Hid in this silent, dull retreat, 
Untouched thy honeyed blossoms blow, 

Unseen thy little branches greet : 
No roving foot shall crush thee here, 
No busy hand provoke a tear. 

By Nature's self in white arrayed, 
She bade thee shun the vulgar eye, 

And planted here the guardian shade, 
And sent soft waters murmuring by : 

Thus quietly thy summer goes, 

Thy days declining to repose. 

Smit with those charms, that must decay, 
I grieve to see your future doom ; 



TERRY] A GARLAND OF FLOWER-POEMS. 433 

They died, nor were those flowers more gay, 

The flowers that did in Eden bloom ; 
Unpi tying frosts and Autumn's power 
Shall leave no vestige of this flower. 

From morning suns and evening dews 

At first thy little being came : 
If nothing once, you nothing lose, 

For when you die you are the same ; 
The space between is but an hour, 
The frail duration of a flower. 

PHILIP FRENEAU. 

The trailing arbutus, one of the earliest, and certainly the most 
fragrant and delicately beautiful, of the wild flowers of spring, is thus 
harmoniously wrought into verse by Rose Terry : 

Darlings of the forest ! 

Blossoming alone 
When Earth's grief is sorest 

For her jewels gone, 
Ere the last snow-drift melts, your tender buds have blown. 

Tinged with color faintly, 

Like the morning sky, 
Or, more pale and saintly, 

Wrapped in leaves ye lie, 
Even as children sleep in faith's simplicity. 

There the wild wood-robin 

Hymns your solitude, 
And the rain comes sobbing 

Through the budding wood, 

While the low south wind sighs, but dare not be morn 
rude. 
T cc 87 



434 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

Were your pure lips fashioned 

Out of air and dew, 
Starlight unimpassioned, 

Dawn's most tender hue, 
And scented by the woods that gathered sweets for you ? 

Fairest and most lonely, 

From the world apart, 
Made for beauty only, 

Yeiled from Nature's heart 
With such unconscious grace as makes the dream of Art I 

Were not mortal sorrow 

An immortal shade, 
Then would I to-morrow 
Such a flower be made, 

And live in the dear woods where my lost childhood 
played. 



Next in our garland of verse, as it is among the next to bloom in 
Nature's floral garland, comes the blue-eyed violet, the darling of 
spring. It calls up old and sad memories in the soul of our poet, 
reminiscences of vanished hopes and days of happiness long since 
flown. 

O faint, delicious, spring-time violet, 

Thine odor, like a key, 
Turns noiselessly in memory's wards to let 

A thought of sorrow free. 

The breath of distant fields upon my brow 

Blows through that open door 
The sound of wind-borne bells, more sweet and low, 

And sadder, than of yore. 



WHITNEY] A GARLAND OF FLOWER-POEMS. 435 

It comes afar, from that beloved place, 

And that beloved hour, 
When Life hung ripening in Love's golden grace, 

Like grapes above a bower. 

A spring goes singing through its reedy grass ; 

The lark sings o'er my head, 
Drowned in the sky Oh, pass, ye visions, pass ! 

I would that I were dead ! 

Why hast thou opened that forbidden door 

From which I ever flee ? 
O vanished Joy ! O Love that art no more, 

Let my vexed spirit be ! 

O violet ! thy odor through my brain 

Hath searched, and stung to grief 
This sunny day, as if a curse did stain 

Thy velvet leaf. 

W. W. STORX. 

To another of our poets the violet brings hopeful aspirations, and 
comes as a harbinger of a higher promise. 

A VIOLET. 

God does not send us strange flowers every year. 
When the spring winds blow o'er the pleasant places, 
The same dear things lift up the same fair faces. 
The violet is here. 

It all comes back : the odor, grace, and hue ; 
Each sweet relation of its life repeated ; 
No blank is left, no looking-for is cheated : 
It is the thing we knew. 



436 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ALDRICH 

So after the death- winter it must be. 
God will not put strange signs in the heavenly places : 
The old love shall look out from the old faces. 
Yeilchen ! I shall have thee ! 

A. D. T. WHITNEY. 

One of our most melodious and suggestive poets thus gracefully 
niiigs for us the song of 

THE BLUEBELLS OF NEW ENGLAND. 

The roses are a regal troop, 

And modest folk the daisies ; 
But, Bluebells of New England, 

To you I give my praises, 

To you, fair phantoms in the sun, 

Whom merry Spring discovers, 
With bluebirds for your laureates 

And honey-bees for lovers. 

The south wind breathes, and, lo ! you throng 

This rugged land of ours : 
I think the pale-blue clouds of May 

Drop down, and turn to flowers ! 

By cottage doors along the roads 

You show your winsome faces, 
And, like the spectre lady, haunt 

The lonely woodland places. 

All night your eyes are closed in sleep, 

Kept fresh for day's adorning : 
Such simple faith as yours can see 

God's coming in the morning ! 



EMERSON] A GARLAND OF FLOWER-POEMS. 437 

You lead me, by your holiness, 

To pleasant ways of duty ; 
You set my thoughts to melody, 

You fill me with your beauty. 

Long may the heavens give you rain, 

The sunshine its caresses ; 
Long may the woman that I love 

Entwine you in her tresses. 

T. B. ALDRICH. 



In his tribute to the rhodora, Emerson gives us one of the most 
thoughtfully conceived and suggestive of his songs. It is like a well- 
cut jewel, all sparkle and beauty. 

In May. when sea-winds pierced our solitudes, 
I found the fresh Bhodora in the woods, 
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook, 
To please the desert and the sluggish brook. 
The purple petals, fallen in the pool, 

Made the black water with their beauty gay ; 
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool, 

And court the flower that cheapens his array. 
Bhodora! if the sages ask thee why 
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky, 
Tell them, dear, that if eyes were made for seeing, 
Then Beauty is its own excuse for being. 
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose ! 

I never thought to ask, I never knew. 
But, in my simple ignorance, suppose 

The self-same Power that brought me there brought you. 

In conclusion we may offer the reader one of the most beautiful 
poems that Bryant ever wrote. It is the epitaph of the dying flowers, 

37* 



438 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BRYANT 

and is a worthy successor to the bright forms whose passing away it 
chronicles. 

The melancholy days are come, the saddest of the year, 
Of wailing winds, and naked woods, and meadows brown 

and sere. 
Heaped in the hollows of the grove, the autumn leaves lie 

dead ; 

They rustle to the eddying gust, and to the rabbit's tread. 
The robin and the wren are flown, and from the shrubs 

the jay, 
And from the wood-top calls the crow through all the 

gloomy day. 

Where are the flowers, the fair young flowers, that lately 

sprang and stood 

In brighter light and softer airs, a beauteous sisterhood ? 
Alas ! they all are in their graves ; the gentle race of 

flowers 
Are lying in their lowly beds, with the fair and good of 

ours. 
The rain is falling where they lie, but the cold November 

rain 
Calls not from out the gloomy earth the lovely ones again. 

The wind-flower and the violet, they perished long ago, 
And the brier-rose and the orchis died amid the summer 

glow; 

But on the hill the golden-rod, and the aster in the wood, 
And the yellow sunflower by the brook in autumn beauty 

stood, 
Till fell the frost from the clear, cold heaven, as falls the 

plague on men, 
And the brightness of their smile was gone, from upland, 

glade, and glen. 



PARKMAN] BRADDOCK'S DEFEAT. 439 

And now, when comes the calm, mild day, as still such 

days will come, 
To call the squirrel and the bee from out their winter 

home; 
When the sound of dropping nuts is heard, though all the 

trees are still, 

And twinkle in the smoky light the waters of the rill, 
The south wind searches for the flowers whose fragrance 

late he bore, 
And sighs to find them in the wood and by the stream no 

more. 

And then I think of one who in her youthful beauty died, 
The fair, meek blossom that grew up and faded by my 

side. 
In the cold, moist earth we laid her, when the forests cast 

the leaf, 

And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief; 
Yet not unmeet it was that one like that young friend of 

ours, 
So gentle and so beautiful, should perish with the flowers. 



BRADDOCK'S DEFEAT. 

FRANCIS PAKKMAN. 

[Of our later historians none have attained a more deservedly high 
position than Francis Parkman, whose literary life-theme has been the 
relations of the French colonists of North America with the English 
and Indians. His works on this subject are almost exhaustive, and 
now comprise seven distinct historical essays, bringing the subject 
down from the first steps of colonization in Canada to the story of 
the French and Indian war, as detailed in his recently-published 



440 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PARKMA* 

* Montcalm and "Wolfe." From the latter we extract an account of 
Braddock's defeat, presenting a clearly-detailed picture of the locality 
and incidents of the fight. Mr. Parkman is a native of Boston, where 
he was born in 1823.] 

THE garrison consisted of a few companies of the reg 
ular troops stationed permanently in the colony, and to 
these were added a considerable number of Canadians. 
Contreco3ur still held the command. Under him were 
three other captains, Beaujeu, Dumas, and Ligneris. Be 
sides the troops and Canadians, eight hundred Indian war 
riors. mustered from far and near, had built their wigwams 
and camp-sheds on the open ground, or under the edge of 
the neighboring woods, very little to the advantage of 
the young corn. Some were baptized savages settled in 
Canada, Caughnawagas from Saut St. Louis, Abenakis 
from St. Francis, and Hurons from Lorette, whose chief 
bore the name of Anastase, in honor of that Father of the 
Church. The rest were unmitigated heathen, Pottawat- 
tamies and Ojibwas from the northern lakes under Charles 
Langlade, the same bold partisan who had led them, three 
years before, to attack the Miamis.at Pickawillany ; Shawa- 
noes and Mingoes from the Ohio ; and Ottawas from De 
troit, commanded, it is said, by that most redoubtable of 
savages, Pontiac. The law of the survival of the fittest 
had wrought on this heterogeneous crew through count 
less generations ; and with the primitive Indian the fittest 
was the hardiest, fiercest, most adroit, and most wily. 
Baptized and heathen alike, they had just enjoyed a di 
version greatly to their taste. A young Pennsylvanian 
named James Smith, a spirited and intelligent boy of 
eighteen, had been waylaid by three Indians on the west 
ern borders of the province and led captive to the fort. 
When the party came to the edge of the clearing, his cap 
tors, who had shot and scalped his companion, raised the 



PARKMAN] BRADDOCK'S DEFEAT. 441 

scalp-yell; whereupon a din of responsive whoops and 
firing of guns rose from all the Indian camps, and their 
inmates swarmed out like bees, while the French in the 
fort shot off muskets and cannon to honor the occasion. 
The unfortunate boy, the object of this obstreperous re 
joicing, presently saw a multitude of savages, naked, 
hideously bedaubed with red, blue, black, and brown, and 
armed with sticks or clubs, ranging themselves in two 
long parallel lines, between which he was told that he 
must run, the faster the better, as they would beat him 
all the way. He ran with his best speed, under a shower 
of blows, and had nearly reached the end of the course, 
when he was knocked down. He tried to rise, but was 
blinded by a handful of sand thrown into his face ; and 
then they beat him till he swooned. On coming to his 
senses he found himself in the fort, with the surgeon open 
ing a vein in his arm and a crowd of French and Indians 
looking on. In a few days he w r as able to w r alk with the 
help of a stick ; and, coming out from his quarters one 
morning, he saw a memorable scene. 

Three days before, an Indian had brought the report 
that the English were approaching; and the Chevalier 
de la Perade was sent out to reconnoitre. He returned 
on the next day, the seventh, with news that they were 
not far distant. On the eighth the brothers Normanville 
went out, and found that they were within six leagues 
of* the fort. The French were in great excitement and 
alarm ; but Contrecceur at length took a resolution, which 
seems to have been inspired by Beaujeu. It was deter 
mined to meet the enemy on the march, and ambuscade 
them, if possible, at the crossing of the Monongahela, or 
some other favorable spot. Beaujeu proposed the plan to 
the Indians, and offered them the war-hatchet; but they 
would not take it. " Do you want to die, my father, and 



442 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

sacrifice us besides?" That night they held a council, 
and in the morning again refused to go. Beaujeu did not. 
despair. " I am determined," he exclaimed, " to meet the 
English. What ! will you let your father go alone ?" The 
greater part caught fire at his words, promised to follow 
him, and put on their war-paint. Beaujeu received the 
communion, then dressed himself like a savage and joined 
the clamorous throng. Open barrels of gunpowder and 
bullets were set before the gate of the fort, and James 
Smith, painfully climbing the rampart with the help of 
his stick, looked down on the warrior rabble as, huddling 
together, wild" with excitement, they scooped up the con 
tents to fill their powder-horns and pouches. Then, band 
after band, they filed off along the forest track that led 
to the ford of the Monongahela. They numbered six 
hundred and thirty- seven ; and with them went thirty-six 
French officers and cadets, seventy-two regular soldiers, 
and a hundred and forty-six Canadians, or about nine 
hundred in all. At eight o'clock the tumult was over. 
The broad clearing lay lonely and still, and Contrecceur, 
with what was left of his garrison, waited in suspense for 
the issue. 

It was near one o'clock when Braddock crossed the 
Monongahela for the second time. If the French made 
a stand anywhere, it would be, he thought, at the fording- 
place ; but Lieutenant-Colonel Gage, whom he sent across 
with a strong advance-party, found no enemy, and quietly 
took possession of the farther shore. Then the main body 
followed. To impose on the imagination of the French 
scouts, who were doubtless on the watch, the movement 
was made with studied regularity and order. The sun 
was cloudless, and the men were inspirited by the pros 
pect of near triumph. Washington afterwards spoke with 
admiration of the spectacle. The music, the banners, the 



PAKKMAN] SHADDOCK'S DEFEAT. 443 

mounted officers, the troop of light cavalry, the naval de 
tachment, the red-coated regulars, the blue-coated Virgin 
ians, the wagons and tumbrils, cannon, howitzers, and 
coehorns, the train of pack-horses, and the droves of cattle, 
passed in long procession through the rippling shallows, 
and slowly entered the bordering forest. Here, when 
all were over, a short halt was ordered for rest and re 
freshment. 

Why had not Beaujeu defended the ford ? This was 
his intention in the morning; but he had been met by 
obstacles, the nature of which is not wholly clear. His 
Indians, it seems, had proved refractory. Three hundred 
of them left him, went off in another direction, and did 
not rejoin him till the English had crossed the river. 
Hence perhaps it was that, having left Fort Duquesne at 
eight o'clock, he spent half the day in marching seven 
miles, and was more than a mile from the fording-place 
when the British reached the eastern shore. The delay, 
from whatever cause arising, cost him the opportunity of 
laying an ambush either at the ford or in the gullies and 
ravines that channelled the forest through which Braddock 
was now on the point of marching. 

Not far from the bank of the river, and close by the 
British line of march, there was a clearing and a deserted 
house that had once belonged to the trader Fraser. Wash 
ington remembered it well. It was here that he found 
rest and shelter on the winter journey homeward from 
his mission to Fort Le Boeuf. He was in no less need of 
rest at this moment ; for recent fever had so weakened 
him that he could hardly sit his horse. From Fraser's 
house to Fort Duquesne the distance was eight miles by a 
rough path, along which the troops were now beginning 
to move after their halt. It ran inland for a little, then 
curved to the left and followed a course parallel to the 



444 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PARKMAN 

river along the base of a line of steep hills that here bor 
dered the valley. These and all the country were buried 
in dense and heavy forest, choked with bushes and the 
carcasses of fallen trees. Braddock has been charged with 
marching blindly into an ambuscade j but it was not so. 
There was no ambuscade; and had there been one he 
would have found it. It is true that he did not recon 
noitre the woods very far in advance of the head of tho 
column ; yet, with this exception, he made elaborate dis 
positions to prevent surprise. Several guides, with six 
Virginian light-horsemen, led the way. Then, a musket- 
shot behind, came the vanguard ; then three hundred 
soldiers, under Gage ; then a large body of axe men, under 
Sir John Sinclair, to open the road ; then two cannon, 
with tumbrils and tool-wagons ; and lastly the rear-guard, 
closing the line, while flanking-parties ranged the woods 
on both sides. This was the advance-column. The main 
body followed with little or no interval. The artillery 
and wagons moved along the road, and the troops filed 
through the woods close on either hand. Numerous 
flanking-parties were thrown out a hundred yards and 
more to right and left ; while, in the space between them 
and the marching column, the pack-horses and cattle, with 
their drivers, made their way painfully among the trees 
and thickets ; since, had they been allowed to follow the 
road, the line of march would have been too long for 
mutual support. A body of regulars and provincials 
brought up the rear. 

Gage, with his advance-column, had just passed a wide 
and bushy ravine that crossed their path, and the van of 
the main column was on the point of entering it, when 
the guides and light-horsemen in the front suddenly fell 
back ; and the engineer, Gordon, then engaged in mark 
ing out the road, saw a man, dressed like an Indian, but 



PARKMAN] BRADDOCK'S DEFEAT. 445 

wearing the gorget of an officer, bounding forward along 
the path. He stopped when he discovered the head of 
the column, turned, and waved his hat. The forest be 
hind was swarming with French and savages. At the 
signal of the officer, who was probably Beaujeu, they 
yelled the war-whoop, spread themselves to right and 
left, and opened a sharp fire under cover of the trees. 
Gage's column wheeled deliberately into line, and fired 
several volleys with great steadiness against the now in 
visible assailants. Few of them were hurt; the trees 
caught the shot, but the noise was deafening under the 
dense arches of the forest. The greater part of the 
Canadians, to borrow the words of Dumas, " fled shame 
fully, crying, " Sauve qui peut !' " Volley followed volley, 
and at the third Beaujeu dropped dead. Gage's two can 
non were now brought to bear, on which the Indians, 
like the Canadians, gave way in confusion, but did not, 
like them, abandon the field. The close, scarlet ranks of 
the English were plainly to be seen through the trees and 
the smoke ; they were moving forward, cheering lustily, 
and shouting, "God save the King!" Dumas, now chief 
in command, thought that all was lost. " I advanced." 
he says, "with the assurance that comes from despair, 
exciting by voice and gesture the few soldiers that re 
mained. The fire of my platoon was so sharp that the 
enemy seemed astonished." The Indians, encouraged, 
began to rally. The French officers who commanded 
them showed admirable courage and address ; and while 
Dumas and Ligneris, with the regulars and what was left 
of the Canadians, held the ground in front, the savage 
warriors, screeching their war-cries, swarmed through the 
forest along both flanks of the English, hid behind trees, 
bushes, and fallen trunks, or crouched in gullies and ra 
vines, and opened a deadly fire on the helpless soldiery, 

38 



446 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PARKMAN 

who, themselves completely visible, could see no enemy, 
and wasted volley after volley on the impassive trees. 
The most destructive fire came from a hill on the English 
right, where the Indians lay in multitudes, firing from 
their lurking-places on the living target below. But the 
invisible death was everywhere, in front, flank, and rear. 
The British cheer was heard no more. The troops broke 
their ranks and huddled together in a bewildered mass, 
shrinking from the bullets that cut them down by scores. 
When Braddock heard the firing in the front, he pushed 
forward with the main body to the support of G-age, leav 
ing four hundred men in the rear, under Sir Peter Halket, 
to guard the baggage. At the moment of his arrival 
Gage's soldiers had abandoned their two cannon, and were 
falling back to escape the concentrated fire of the Indians. 
Meeting the advancing troops, they tried to find cover be 
hind them. This threw the whole into confusion. The 
men of the two regiments became mixed together ; and in 
a short time the entire force, except the Virginians and 
the troops left with Halket, were massed in several dense 
bodies within a small space of ground, facing some one 
way and some another, and all alike exposed without 
shelter to the bullets that pelted them like hail. Both 
men and officers were new to this blind and frightful war 
fare of the savage in his native woods. To charge the 
Indians in their hiding-places would have been useless. 
They would have eluded pursuit with the agility of wild 
cats, and swarmed back, like angry hornets, the moment 
that it ceased. The Virginians alone were equal to the 
emergency. Fighting behind trees like the Indians them 
selves, they might have held the enemy in check till order 
could be restored, had not Braddock, furious at a proceed 
ing that shocked all his ideas of courage and discipline, 
ordered them, with oaths, to form into line. A body of 



PABKMAN] 



BRADDOCK 1 S DEFEAT. 



447 



them under Captain Waggoner made a dash for a fallen 
tree lying in the woods, far out towards the lurking-places 
of the Indians, and, crouching behind the huge trunk, 
opened fire; but the regulars, seeing the smoke among 
the bushes, mistook their best friends for the enemy, shot 
at them from behind, killed many, and forced the rest to 
return. A few of the regulars also tried in their clumsy 
way to fight behind trees ; but Braddock beat them with 
his sword, and compelled them to stand with the rest, an 
open mark for the Indians. The panic increased ; the 
soldiers crowded together, and the bullets spent them 
selves in a mass of human bodies. Commands, entreaties, 
and threats were lost upon them. " We would fight," 
some of them answered, " if we could see anybody to 
fight with." Nothing was visible but puffs of smoke. 
Officers and men who had stood all the afternoon under 
fire afterwards declared that they could not be sure they 
had seen a single Indian. Braddock ordered Lieutenant- 
Colonel Burton to attack the hill where the puffs of smoke 
were thickest, and the bullets most deadly. With infinite 
difficulty that brave officer induced a hundred men to 
follow him ; but he was soon disabled by a wound, and 
they all faced about. The artillerymen stood for some 
time by their guns, which did great damage to the trees 
and little to the enemy. The mob of soldiers, stupefied 
with terror, stood panting, their foreheads beaded with 
sweat, loading and firing mechanically, sometimes into 
the air, sometimes among their own comrades, many of 
whom they killed. The ground strewn with dead and 
wounded men, the bounding of maddened horses, the 
clatter and roar of musketry and cannon, mixed with 
the spiteful report of rifles and the yells that rose from 
the indefatigable throats of six hundred unseen savages, 
formed a chaos of anguish and terror scarcely paralleled 



448 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PARKMAN 

even in Indian war. " I cannot describe the horrors of 
that scene," one of Braddock's officers wrote three weeks 
after : " no pen could do it. The yell of the Indians is 
fresh on my ear, and the terrific sound will haunt me till 
the hour of my dissolution." 

Braddock showed a furious intrepidity. Mounted on 
horseback, he dashed to and fro, storming like a madman. 
Four horses were shot under him, and he mounted a fifth. 
Washington seconded . his chief with equal courage ; he 
too no doubt using strong language, for he did not measure 
words when the fit was on him. He escaped as by miracle. 
Two horses were killed under him, and four bullets tore 
his clothes. The conduct of the British officers was above 
praise. Nothing could surpass their undaunted self-devo 
tion ; and in their vain attempts to lead on the men, the 
havoc among them was frightful. Sir Peter Halket was 
shot dead. His son, a lieutenant in his regiment, stoop 
ing to raise the body of his father, was shot dead in turn. 
Young Shirley, Braddock's secretary, was pierced through 
the brain. Orme and Morris, his aides-de-camp, Sinclair, 
the quartermaster-general, Gates and Gage, both after 
wards conspicuous on opposite sides in the War of the 
Revolution, and Gladwin, who, eight years later, defended 
Detroit against Pontiac, were all wounded. Of eighty- 
six officers, sixty-three were killed or disabled ; while out 
of thirteen hundred and seventy-three non-commissioned 
officers and privates, only four hundred and fifty-nine 
came off unharmed. 

Braddock saw that all was lost. To save the wreck of 
his force from annihilation, he at last commanded a re 
treat ; and as he and such of his officers as were left strove 
to withdraw the half-frenzied crew in some semblance of 
order, a bullet struck him down. The gallant bull-dog 
fell from his horse, shot through the arm into the lungs. 



FROTHINGHAM] THE IDEA OF DEITY. 449 

It is said, though on evidence of no weight, that the bul 
let came from one of his own men. Be this as it may, 
there he lay among the bushes, bleeding, gasping, unable 
even to curse. He demanded to be left where he was. 
Captain Stewart and another provincial bore him between 
them to the rear. 

It was about this time that the mob of soldiers, having 
been three hours under fire, and having spent their am 
munition, broke away in a blind frenzy, rushed back to 
wards the ford, " and when," says Washington, " we en 
deavored to rally them, it was with as much success as 
if we had attempted to stop the wild bears of the moun 
tains." They dashed across, helter-skelter, plunging 
through the water to the farther bank, leaving wounded 
comrades, cannon, baggage, the military chest, and the 
general's papers, a prey to the Indians. About fifty of 
these followed to the edge of the river. Dumas and Li- 
gneris, who had now only about twenty Frenchmen with 
them, made no attempt to pursue, and went back to the 
fort, because, says Contrecoeur, so many of the Canadians 
had " retired at the first fire." The field, abandoned to the 
savages, was a pandemonium of pillage and murder. 



THE IDEA OF DEITY. 

0. B. FROTHINGHAM. 

[Octavius B. Frothingham may be regarded as the most radical and 
rationalistic of living Unitarian divines. In this religious position he 
succeeds Theodore Parker, though he differs from the latter both men 
tally and theologically. Intellectually he is of marked ability, while 
his culture has been broad and liberal. He was born in Boston in 
1822. His father, Nathaniel B. Frothingham, was a Unitarian clergy- 
dd 38* 



450 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FROTHINGHAM 

man, of note both as a divine and as an author. Mr. Frothingham has 
published a number of works, from one of which, " The Keligion of 
Humanity," we extract the following thoughtful essay on the persist 
ence of the idea of God in the mind of man :] 

AT the heart of all religions lie certain great ideas which 
they make it their business to interpret. They are the 
staple of religious thought. They are not the property of 
one faith, but are the common property of mankind ; no 
more prominent in one faith than in another, but central in 
all faiths. Whence they come we know not. They always 
have been, and they are. Buddha did not invent them, 
nor Zoroaster. They are not the discovery of Moses or 
of Jesus. Each found them, took them, used them, built 
upon them the system that bears his name. These ideas 
give life to all religious speculation, warmth to all religious 
feeling. They constitute the framework which the heart 
and soul clothe with flesh. There has never been a re 
ligion without them ; it is hard to conceive that there ever 
should be a religion without them. Science may rule 
them out of its province, philosophy may decline to deal 
with them ; but religion stakes on them its very existence. 
It may be that religion will one day decline and pass away, 
giving place to philosophy and science ; but until that day 
comes they will hold their ancient place and command 
their ancient respect, exercising thought and feeling and 
conviction as of old. What are these ideas which science 
disavows, of which philosophy takes no cognizance, and 
which religion claims as peculiarly its own? Here are 
some of them : God, Eevelation, Incarnation, Atonement, 
Providence, Immortality. There may be others, but these 
are vital and cardinal. These every religion interprets 
after its manner, but no religion has authority to interpret 
them finally, or for any save its own adherents. Chris 
tianity offers an interpretation of them, an interpretation 



FROTHINQHAM] THE IDEA OF DEITY. 451 

that has stood two thousand years and has gained the 
assent of the most intelligent portions of mankind, but 
the interpretation of Christianity is not the sole, authori 
tative, or final one. Though Christianity as a system of 
faith should pass away, these ideas would remain, to be 
set in new lights and loaded with fresh significance. Re 
ligions may succeed *one another for thousands of years 
to come, but till the heart that warms them with life 
grows cold, till the devout affections from which they 
spring dry up, till awe and reverence and fear and hope 
and love and aspiration cease, these ideas will excite and 
charm and exalt, will try the mind, and test experience, 
and sound the deeps of feeling, and put imagination on 
new quest after the secret of spiritual life. 

Let us look at the first-mentioned idea, the idea of God 
by the light of the Religion of Humanity. About a cen 
tury ago, in France and elsewhere in Europe the belief in 
God seemed passing away. The very name of God was 
spoken in derision, as a word that was no longer powerful 
to conjure by. A philosopher declined an article on God 
for his encyclopaedia, saying the question of God had no 
significance. He who professed belief in God wa^ black 
balled at the clubs. A distinguished philosopher I think 
it was David Hume remarking in a philosophical company 
in Paris that he never saw an atheist, and did not believe 
there was one, a gentleman replied, " Well, you may have 
that pleasure now. Every man here is an atheist." In 
fact, for a brief period the belief in God had lost its hold 
on cultivated minds ; materialism had the argument. But 
since then the ancient conviction has been taking heart, 
and has steadily pushed its antagonist to the wall. And 
this in the face of physical science, which has in these 
latter days attained prodigious growth, and has been 
sweeping gods and demi-gods out of the world as the 



452 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FROTHINGHAM 

housemaid sweeps chips and cobwebs from a parlor. Defi 
nitions of God have been vanishing, idols have been tum 
bling, symbols have been fading away, trinities have been 
dissolving, personalities have been waning and losing 
themselves in light or in shadow ; but the Being has been 
steadily coming forward from the background, looming 
up from the abyss, occupying the vacant spaces, flowing 
into the dry channels, and taking possession of every inch 
of matter and mind. The mystery of it deepens, but the 
conviction of it deepens also. The great John Newman, 
the English Catholic, says, " Of all points of faith, the 
being of a God is encompassed with most difficulty and 
borne in upon our minds with most power" Ernest Eenan, 
to whom the word " religion" means about as little as it 
does to anybody, writes in a somewhat similar strain : 
" Under one form or another, God will always stand for 
the full expression of our supersensual needs. He will 
ever be the category of the Ideal, the form under which 
things eternal and divine are conceived. The word may 
be a little clumsy, perhaps, it may need to be interpreted 
in senses more and more refined, but it will never be 
superseded." Etienne Yacherot, a scholar and a philoso 
pher of the finest intellectual grain, a man of pure intelli 
gence, who believes that religion under every form belongs 
to the childhood of mankind and is destined to pass away 
and be supplanted by philosophy, as it is already in edu 
cated minds, will not let go the thought of the absolutely 
perfect Being. Pantheism is to him the last impiety, be 
cause it identifies this Being with an imperfect, undevel 
oped universe, and so drags perfection down to mere con 
ditions. Atheism is intolerable because it abolishes the 
ideal world altogether, and leaves man nothing to aspire 
after. The personal God of the theist he will not accept, 
for He is too much like a man. His deity must be of the 



FBOTHIXGHAM] THE IDEA OF DEITY. 453 

most refined intellectuality, the most ethereal texture of 
spirit ; but so far from being unreal or attenuated, He is 
the most solid and positive entity there is. The avowed 
atheist for- there are such finds it harder to put his 
creed into words and to adjust it to the human mind than 
ever Athanasius did to define his doctrine of trinity. You 
cannot push him into a corner; you cannot make him 
avow his unbelief in unqualified terms ; you cannot com 
pel him to back out of the region of confessed divinity. 
He retires heyond the reach of definition, but not beyond 
the reach of thought. 

Comte says, " The principle of theology is to explain 
everything by supernatural wills. That principle can 
never be set aside until we acknowledge the search for 
causes to be beyond our reach, and limit ourselves to the 
knowledge of laws." And again, " The universal religion 
adopts as its fundamental dogma the fact of the existence 
of an order which admits of no variation, and to which 
all events of every kind are subject. That there is such 
an order can be shown as a fact, but it cannot be ex 
plained." How can a man who uses those tremendous 
words " law" and " order" hesitate to use the other tre 
mendous words " cause" and " God" ? What is law but 
steady, continuous, persistent, consistent power; cumula 
tive, urgent, regulated power ; power moving along even 
tracks and pressing towards distinct aims ; power with a 
past behind it and a future before ; power that is harmo 
nious, rhythmical, as he calls it himself, orderly ? Can he 
conceive of such a power as unintelligent ? Can he con 
ceive of it as intelligent and purposeless? Can he con 
ceive of it as purposeful and yet as uncausing ? Does not 
the very word " force," as science uses it, compel the asso 
ciation with mind and will ? And can we think of mind 
and will without thinking with the same brain-throb of 



454 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FROTHINQHAM 

wisdom and goodness ? It seems as if one must have 
completely suppressed in bis memory the constitution of 
the human mind, to help being dragged by such overbear 
ing words as " law" and "force" and " order" -upward out 
of all the meshes of materialism towards the Infinite and 
Perfect One. It is logical precision itself that lends wings. 
The very stones of fact become ethereal, and float us upon 
the eternal sea. 

Whither, cries the Psalmist, whither shall I go from thy 
spirit, whither shall I flee from thy presence ? Whither, 
indeed ! In the metaphysical as in the physical world the 
divine Omnipresence is inevitable. If we ascend up into 
the thin ether of thought, there, in the still, rarefied at 
mosphere of ideas, is He. If we make our bed in hell 
among coarse conceptions and wild, animal passions, there, 
among sensualists, scoffers, and blasphemers, a dark, 
shadowy, brooding terror, is He. If we take the wings 
of the morning and speed away to the uttermost parts of 
the sea, there, among fossil shells and petrified bones, the 
skeletons of monstrous creatures, the hideous wastes and 
wildernesses of the pre-Adamite world, there, in the form 
less void, there, in the writhing convolutions of the cool 
ing fire-mist, is He, leading and holding with his unseen 
but omnipotent hand. 

But, while thus with firm and eager asseveration we 
declare that God is, with asseveration equally firm and 
resolute we declare that He is unsearchable. This is as 
truly, as universally, a doctrine of religion as the other. 
The old Hebrew Bible is emphatic on this point : " Canst 
thou by searching find out God ?" " It is high as heaven: 
what canst thou do ? deeper than hell : what canst thou 
know?" "Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the 
great waters: thy footsteps are not known." The Chris 
tian Scriptures echo the strain : " The Light shone in 



FROTHINGHAM] THE IDEA OF DEITY. 455 

darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not." " !N"o 
man hath seen God at any time." " Eye hath not seen, 
nor ear heard." Job is dumb, lays his hand on his mouth, 
and says, penitently, " I have spoken what I did not un 
derstand, what I did not know." The Psalmist exclaims, 
" Such knowledge is too wonderful for me." The prophet 
hides his face before the Lord. 

Christian teachers have with one voice proclaimed the 
doctrine of a hidden God. It was the background of 
every other doctrine. The eloquent language of Hooker 
embodies in devout and tender phrase the thought of 
generations of theologians, divines, and mystics : " It is 
dangerous for the feeble brain of man to wade far into the 
doings of the Most High, whom although to know be life, 
and joy to make mention of his name, yet our soundest 
knowledge is to know that we know him not as indeed he 
is, neither can know him, and that our safest eloquence 
concerning him is our silence, whereby we confess with 
out confession that his glory is inexplicable, his greatness 
beyond our capacity and reach." Henry Mansell, the 
champion of the severest orthodoxy, writes, "The con 
ception of the Absolute and Infinite, from whatever side 
we view it, appears encompassed with contradictions. 
There is a contradiction in supposing such an object to 
exist, and there is a contradiction in supposing it not to 
exist. There is a contradiction in conceiving it as one, 
and there is a contradiction in conceiving it as many. 
There is a contradiction in conceiving it as personal, and 
there is a contradiction in conceiving it as impersonal. 
It cannot, without contradiction, be represented as active, 
nor, without equal contradiction, be represented as inac 
tive. It cannot be conceived as the sum of all existence; 
nor yet can it be conceived as a part only of that sum." 
With equal force and solemnity Herbert Spencer, whom 



456 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FROTHINGHAM 

the unreflecting call a foe to religion, writes, " In all direc 
tions, our investigations bring us face to face with an insol 
uble enigma ; and we ever more clearly perceive it to be an 
insoluble enigma. We learn at once the greatness and 
littleness of the human intellect, its power in dealing 
with all that comes within the range of experience, its 
impotence in dealing with all that transcends experience. 
We realize with a special vividness the utter incompre- 
hensibleness of the simplest fact considered in itself. The 
scientific man, more truly than any other, knows that in 
its essence nothing can be known." Thus from all sides 
comes the same confession. Thus in all places we see all 
sorts of men building altars to the unknown and unknow 
able God. From the orthodox dogmatist, who affirms that 
"a God understood would be no God at all," that "to 
think that God is, as we can think him to be, is blas 
phemy," to the Unitarian believer, who says, " Until we 
touch upon the mysterious we are not in contact with 
religion, nor are any objects reverently regarded by us 
except such as from their nature or their vastness are felt 
to transcend our comprehension," the testimony is unani 
mous. 

Every seeker brings back the same report. Science 
scales all heights and sounds all abysses, counts the stars, 
turns over the granite leaves of the globe's history, bathes 
in the light of the morning and broods amid the shadows 
of the evening, and comes back from ocean-caverns and 
mountain-peaks, from beds of fossils and from the silvery 
pavement of the Milky Way, with the same unvarying 
message : " There are footprints, but He that made them 
could not be found." 

Intellect takes up the quest. The designed shows the 
Designer. But what does the apparently undesigned 
show ? The watchmaker makes a watch ; but who makes 



FKOTHINGHAM] THE IDEA OF DEITY. 457 

the gold, the platinum, the steel, the diamond ? Who sets 
on foot the laws that bid its mechanism run ? The watch 
maker puts things nicely together; but whence came the 
things ? Whence came the properties in the metals and 
springs? Whence came the possibility of their doing 
anything when put together ? Whence came the watch 
maker ? Whence the watchmaker's brain? Whence the 
tingling sensation that he calls thought ? Again the hand 
is upon the mouth. 

The heart sends out over the waste of waters the dove 
of its tender feeling ; but the wearied wing finds no rest 
ing-place on the boundless billow. The timid bird hurries 
back to its home, in its mouth no message but an olive- 
branch, the symbol of peace. 

With sturdy resolution conscience goes forth to sound 
the dim and perilous way. But the scent is lost amidst the 
jungles and rocky passes of the world. Terrified by the 
glare of the tiger, the spring of the leopard, the coil of the 
serpent, the sting of the reptile, horror-stricken by trium 
phant iniquity and bleeding equity, shocked at seeing a 
Tiberius on the throne and a Jesus on the cross, Nero an 
emperor and Epictetus a slave, it loses the thread of the 
moral law, and recoils from problems it cannot confront. 
With the lamp of duty pressed faithfully against its bosom, 
it stands with bended head and waits. 

Boldest of all, the soul plumes her wings of faith for a 
flight to the very empyrean itself. Her pinions of aspi 
ration bear her above the earth ; she distances vision, out 
runs the calculations of the mathematician, leaves time 
and space behind, with open eye looks steadily at the sun. 
But the sun itself is a shadow. Light there is, a shoreless 
ocean of light, atmospheres glowing with its radiance, 
throbbing with its gracious undulations ; on its waves she 
floats serenely ; in its silence she rests at peace. But no 
u 39 



458 BES1 AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SCHOOLCRAFT 

voice breaks the silence, no form of creative godhead 
walks on the sea of glory. The soul must be content to 
find a home as wide as infinite thought, as warm as eter 
nal love, but never to see the fashioner of it, never to find 
the soft bosom of the mother in whose breast it can 
nestle. She dwells in a castle of air, built by the vapors 
exhaled from tears, and made gorgeous by the upward- 
slanting light of her hope. 



THE WHITE STONE CANOE. 

HENRY R. SCHOOLCRAFT. 

[Of the American authors who have dealt with the history, manners, 
and customs of the American Indians, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft stands 
first as a close and exhaustive student, and in his voluminous works 
has done more than any one man besides to preserve from loss the 
legends, conditions, and customs of the rapidly-vanishing and as 
rapidly-changing tribes of North America. Mr. Schoolcraft was born 
near Albany, New York, in 1793, and died in 1864. His life was spent 
in great part among the Indians, mainly in the employment of the 
government, his most important work being " On the Indian Tribes 
of the United States," in six quarto volumes, published by Congress, 
1851-57. From the first volume of this work we make the following 
extract. It must be admitted that in it we have the simplicity of the 
Indian legend translated into imaginative English and adorned with 
graces not native to the original. But it is certainly the more readable 
from this civilized new dressing.] 

THERE was once a beautiful girl, who died suddenly 
on the day she was to have been married to a handsome 
young hunter. He had also proved his bravery in war, 
so that he enjoyed the praises of his tribe; but his heart 
was not proof against this loss. From the hour she was 



SCHOOLCRAFT] THE WHITE STONE CANOE. 459 

buried, there was no more joy or peace for him. He went 
often to visit the spot where the women had buried her, 
and sat musing, there, when, it was thought by some of 
his friends, he would have done better to try to amuse 
himself in the chase, or by diverting his thoughts in the 
war-path. But war and hunting had lost their charms 
for him. His heart was already dead within him. He 
wholly neglected both his war-club and his bow and ar 
rows. 

He had heard the old people say that there was a path 
that led to the land of souls, and he determined to follow 
it. He accordingly set out, one morning, after having 
completed his preparations for the journey. At first he 
hardly knew which way to go. He was only guided by 
the tradition that he must go south. For a while he 
could see no change in the face of the country. Forests, 
and hills, and valleys, and streams had the same looks 
which they wore in his native place. There was snow on 
the ground when he set out, and it was sometimes seen 
to be piled and matted on the thick trees and bushes. 
At length it began to diminish, and, as he walked on, 
finally disappeared. The forest assumed a more cheerful 
appearance, the leaves put forth their buds, and before he 
was aware of the completeness of the change, he found 
he had left behind him the land of snow and ice. The 
air became pure and mild, the dark clouds had rolled 
away from the sky, a pure field of blue was above him, 
and as he went forward in his journey he saw flowers 
beside his path, and heard the song of birds. By these 
signs he knew that he was going the right way, for they 
agreed with the traditions of his tribe. At length he 
spied a path. It took him through a grove, then up a 
long and elevated ridge, on the very top of which he 
came to a lodge. At the door stood an old man, with 



460 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SCHOOLCRAFT 

white hair, whose eyes, though deeply sunk, had a fiery 
brilliancy. He had a long robe of ski us thrown loosely 
around his shoulders, and a staff in his hands. 

The young man began to tell his stoiy, but the venera 
ble chief arrested him before he had proceeded to speak 
ten words. " I have expected you," he replied, " and had 
just risen to bid you welcome to my abode. She whom 
you seek passed here but a short time since, and, being 
fatigued with her journey, rested herself here. Enter 
my lodge and be seated, and I will then satisfy your in 
quiries, and give you directions for your journey from 
this point." Having done this, and refreshed himself by 
rest, they both issued forth from the lodge door. " You 
see yonder gulf," said he, "and the wide-stretching plain 
beyond. It is the land of souls. You stand upon its 
borders, and my lodge is the gate of entrance. But you 
cannot take your body along. Leave it here with your 
bow and arrows, your bundle and your dog. You will 
find them safe upon your return." So saying, he re- 
entered the lodge, and the freed traveller bounded for 
ward, as if his feet had suddenly been endowed with the 
power of wings. But all things retained their natural 
colors and shapes. The woods and leaves, and streams 
and lakes, were only more bright and comely than he had 
ever witnessed. Animals bounded across his path with a 
freedom and a confidence which seemed to tell him there 
was no bloodshed there. Birds of beautiful plumage in 
habited the groves and sported in the waters. There was 
but one thing in which he saw a very unusual effect. He 
noticed that his passage was not stopped by trees or other 
objects. He appeared to walk directly through them. 
They were, in fact, but the images or shadows of material 
trees. He became sensible that he was in the land of 
souls. 



SCHOOLCRAFT] THE WHITE STONE CANOE. 461 

When he had travelled half a day's journey, through a 
country which was continually becoming more attractive, 
he came to the banks of a broad lake, in the centre of 
which was a large and beautiful island. He found a canoe 
of white shining stone, tied to the shore. He was now 
sure that he had come the right path, for the aged man 
had told him of this. There were also shining paddles. 
He immediately entered the canoe, and took the paddles 
in his hands, when, to his joy and surprise, on turning 
round he beheld the object of his search in another canoe, 
exactly its counterpart in everything. It seemed to be 
the shadow of his own. She had exactly imitated his 
motions, and they were side by side. They at once pushed 
out from the shore and began to cross the lake. Its waves 
seemed to be rising, and, at a distance, looked ready to 
swallow them up ; but just as they entered the whitened 
edge of them they seemed to melt away, as if they were 
but the images of waves. But no sooner was one wreath 
of foam passed than another, more threatening still, rose 
up. Thus they were in perpetual fear ; but what added 
to it was the clearness of the water, through which they 
could see heaps of bones of beings who had perished 
before. 

The Master of Life had, however, decreed to let them 
pass, for the thoughts and acts of neither of them had 
been bad. But they saw many others struggling and 
sinking in the waves. Old men and young men, males 
and females, of all ages and ranks, were there : some passed 
and some sank. It was only the little children whose 
canoes seemed to meet no waves. At length every diffi 
culty was gone, as in a moment, and they both leaped out 
on the happy island. They felt that the very air was 
food. It strengthened and nourished them. They wan 
dered together over the blissful fields, where everything 

39* 



462 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SCHOOLCRAFT 

was formed to please the eye and the ear. There- were 
no tempests ; there was no ice, nor chilly winds ; no one 
shivered for the want of warm clothes ; no one suffered 
for hunger ; no one mourned for the dead. They saw no 
graves. They heard of no wars. Animals ran freely 
about, but there was no blood spilled in hunting them ; 
for the air itself nourished them. Gladly would the young 
warrior have remained there forever, but he was obliged 
to go back for his body. He did not see the Master of 
Life, but he heard his voice, as if it were a soft breeze. 
" Go back," said the voice, " to the land from whence you 
came. Your time has not yet come. The duties for which 
I made you, and which you are to perform, are not yet 
finished. Eeturn to your people, and accomplish the acts 
of a good man. You will be the ruler of your tribe for 
many days. The rules you will observe will be told you 
by my messenger, who keeps the gate. When he surren 
ders back your body, he will tell you what to do. Listen 
to him, and you shall afterwards rejoin the spirit which 
you have followed, but whom you must now leave behind. 
She is accepted, and will be ever here, as young and as 
happy as she was when I first called her from the land of 
snows." 

When this voice ceased, the narrator awoke. It was 
the fancy-work of a dream, and he was still in the bitter 
land of snows and hunger, death and tears. 



CLAY] MILITARY INSUBORDINATION. 463 

MILITARY INSUBORDINATION. 

HENRY CLAY. 

[Political oratory in America displayed a more rapid development 
than any other field of thought, and in this direction the New World 
had attained to the full European standard while yet its literary evolu 
tion had scarcely begun. This is mainly due to the fact of the freedom 
of opinion in politics, and the rapid succession of new and vital ques 
tions in American statesmanship, through which thought was irre 
sistibly drawn in this direction, while the audience for purely literary 
labors was yet unborn. Of the celebrated orators of the first half of 
this century Henry Clay shared with Webster the honor of being the 
"first in place," though his etForts have not gained the standing in 
literature attained by the vigorously logical orations of his great con 
temporary. Clay's power lay largely in his faculty of pleasing his 
audiences, almost of fascinating them, a quality in which no other 
American orator has equalled him. His orations, as read, do not show 
the source of his entrancing power, which was personal rather than 
logical. Yet he had great knowledge of human nature, and quickness 
in perceiving salient points, with a brilliancy of language and a charm 
of manner which won him many senatorial victories. We can say 
little here of his political life. He was always a strong advocate of 
protection of American industries, and originated the Whig party of 
a generation ago. He early, also, sought to relieve Kentucky, his 
adopted State, from the stain of slavery. Yet he was the great advocate 
of "Compromises," and succeeded for years in checking the spirit of 
conflict which broke out in irrepressible fury after his death. He was 
born in 1777, and died in 1852.] 

I WILL not trespass much longer upon the time of the 
committee ; but I trust I shall be indulged with some few 
reflections upon the danger of permitting the conduct on 
which it has been my painful duty to animadvert, to pass 
without a solemn expression of the disapprobation of this 
House. Recall to your mind the free nations which have 
gone before us. Where are they now ? 



464 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS [CLAY 

" Gone glimmering through the dream of things that were, 
A school-boy's tale, the wonder of an hour." 

And how have they lost their liberties? If we could 
transport ourselves back to the ages when Greece and 
Rome flourished in their greatest prosperity, and, min 
gling in the throng, should ask a Grecian whether he did 
not fear that some daring military chieftain, covered with 
glory, some Philip or Alexander, would one day overthrow 
the liberties of his country, the confident and indignant 
Grecian would exclaim, No I no ! we have nothing to fear 
from our heroes ; our liberties shall be eternal. If a Ro 
man citizen had been asked whether he did not fear that 
the conqueror of Gaul might establish a throne upon the 
ruins of public liberty, he would have instantly repelled 
the unjust insinuation. Yet Greece fell ; Caesar passed 
the Rubicon, and the patriotic arm even of Brutus could 
not preserve the liberties of his devoted country 1 The 
celebrated Madame de Stael, in her last and perhaps her 
best work, has said that in the vary year, almost the very 
month, when the president of the Directory declared that 
monarchy would never show its frightful head in France, 
Bonaparte with his grenadiers entered the palace of St. 
Cloud, and, dispersing with the bayonet the deputies of 
the people, deliberating on the affairs of the state, laid the 
foundation of that vast fabric of despotism which over 
shadowed all Europe. 

I hope riot to be misunderstood ; I am far from inti 
mating that General Jackson cherishes any designs inimi 
cal to the liberties of the country. I believe his intentions 
to be pure and patriotic. I thank God that he would not, 
but I thank Him still more that he could not if he would, 
overturn the liberties of the Republic. But precedents, if 
bad, are fraught with the most dangerous consequences. 
Man has been described, by some of those who have treated 



CLAY] MILITARY INSUBORDINATION. 465 

of his nature, as a bundle of habits. The definition is 
much truer when applied to governments. Precedents 
are their habits. There is one important difference be 
tween the formation of habits by an individual and by 
government. He contracts it only after frequent repeti 
tion. A single instance fixes the habit and determines the 
direction of governments. 

Against the alarming doctrine of unlimited discretion 
in our military commanders, when applied even to pris 
oners of war, I must enter my protest. It begins upon 
them ; it will end on us. I hope our happy form of gov 
ernment is to be perpetual. But if it is to be preserved, 
it must be by the practice of virtue, by justice, by moder 
ation, by magnanimity, by greatness of soul, by keeping a 
watchful and steady eye on the executive ; and, above all, 
by holding to a strict accountability the military branch 
of the public force. 

We are fighting a great moral battle, for the benefit not 
only of our country, but of all mankind. The eyes of the 
whole world are in fixed attention upon us. One, and the 
largest, portion of it, is gazing with contempt, with jeal 
ousy, and with envy ; the other portion, with hope, with 
confidence, and with affection. Everywhere the black 
cloud of legitimacy is suspended over the world, save only 
one bright spot, which breaks out from the political hemi 
sphere of the west, to enlighten and animate and gladden 
the human heart. Obscure that, by the downfall of 
liberty here, and all mankind are enshrouded in a pall of 
universal darkness. 

To you, Mr. Chairman, belongs the high privilege of 
transmitting unimpaired to posterity the fair character 
and liberty of our country. Do you expect to execute 
this high trust by trampling or suffering to be trampled 
down, law, justice, the Constitution, and the rights of the 



466 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLAY 

people? by exhibiting examples of inhumanity and cruelty 
and ambition ? When the minions of despotism heard, in 
Europe, of the seizure of Pensacola, how did they chuckle, 
and chide the admirers of our institutions, tauntingly 
pointing to the demonstration of a spirit of injustice and 
aggrandizement made by our country in the midst of an 
amicable negotiation! "Behold," said they, "the conduct 
of those who are constantly reproaching kings !" You saw 
how those admirers were astounded and hung their heads. 
You saw, too, when that illustrious man who presides over 
us adopted his pacific, moderate, and just course, how they 
once more lifted up their heads, with exultation and de 
light beaming in their countenances. And you saw how 
those minions themselves were finally compelled to unite 
in the general praises bestowed upon our government. 
Beware how you forfeit this exalted character. Beware 
how you give a fatal sanction, in this infant period of our 
republic, scarcely yet twoscore years old, to military in 
subordination. Remember that Greece had her Alexander, 
Rome her Caesar, England her Cromwell, France her Bo 
naparte, and that, if we would escape the rock on which 
they split, we must avoid their errors. 

I hope gentlemen will deliberately survey the awful 
isthmus on which we stand. They may bear down all 
opposition ; they may even vote the general the public 
thanks; they may carry him triumphantly through this 
House. But, if they do, in my humble judgment, it will 
be a triumph of the principle of insubordination, a tri 
umph of the military over the civil authority, a triumph 
over the powers of this House, a triumph over the Con 
stitution of the land ; and I pray most devoutly to heaven 
that it may not prove, in its ultimate effects and conse 
quences, a triumph over the liberties of the people. 



JACKSON] A RIDE IN A PALACE-CAR. 467 

A RIDE IN A PALACE-CAR. 

HELEN HUNT JACKSON. 

[Mrs. Jackson, long known in literature only by the anonymous 
title of H. H., gained under that alphabetic designation a high posi 
tion in American authorship, both for the thoughtful character of her 
poetry and for the grace and beauty of her prose. Her two volumes of 
" Bits of Travel" are of high excellence as artistic works of literature, 
while their picturesque descriptions are exceedingly interesting. She 
subsequently gained fame as a novelist of the higher class, and as a 
defender of the Indians against persecution. Two of the most notable 
of her recent works are u A Century of Dishonor" and " Ramona," in 
the latter of which the Indian question is vigorously dealt with in a 
character-novel of unusual brilliancy. Mrs. Jackson was born at Am- 
herst, Massachusetts, in 1831, and was the daughter of Professor N. 
W. Fiske. She died in 1885.] 

" THREE nights and four days in the cars !" These 
words haunted us and hindered our rest. What should 
we eat and drink, and wherewithal should we be clothed ? 
No scripture was strong enough to calm our anxious 
thoughts ; no friend's experience of comfort and ease on 
the journey sounded credible enough to disarm our fears. 
" Dust is dust," said we, " and railroad is railroad. All 
restaurant cooking in America is intolerable. We shall 
be wretched. Nevertheless, we go." 

There is a handsome black boy at the Sherman House, 
Chicago, who remembers, perhaps, how many parcels of 
" life-preservers" of one kind and another were lifted into 
our drawing-room on the Pullman cars. But nobody else 
will ever know. 

Our drawing-room ? Yes, our drawing-room ; and this 
is the plan of it. A small, square room, occupying the 
whole width of the car, excepting a narrow passage-way 
on one side ; four windows, two opening on this passage- 



468 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [JACKSON 

way and two opening out of doors ; two doors, one open 
ing into the car and one opening into a tiny closet, which 
held a washstand-basin. This closet had another door, 
opening into another drawing-room beyond. No one but 
the occupants of the two drawing-rooms could have access 
to the bath -closet. On one side of our drawing-room a 
long sofa ; on the other two large arm-chairs, which could 
be wheeled so as to face the sofa. Two shining spittoons 
and plenty of looking-glass, hooks high up on the sides, 
and silver-plated rods for curtains overhead, completed the 
list of furniture. Boom on the floor for bags and bundles 
and baskets; room, too, for a third chair, and a third 
chair we had for a part of the way, an easy- chair, with a 
sloping back, which belonged to another of these luxurious 
Pullman cars. A perplexing sense of domesticity crept 
over us as we settled into corners, hung up our cologne- 
bottles, and missed the cat ! Then we shut both our doors, 
and smiled triumphantly into each other's faces, as the 
train glided out of the station. No one can realize until 
he has journeyed in the delightful quiet and privacy of 
these small drawing-rooms on the Pullman cars how much 
of the wear and tear of railroad travel is the result of the 
contact with people. Be as silent, as unsocial, as surly 
as you please, you cannot avoid being more or less im 
pressed by the magnetism of every human being in the 
car. Their faces attract or repel ; you like, you dislike, 
you wonder, you pity, you resent, you loathe. Tn the 
course of twenty-four hours you have .expended a great 
amount of nerve-force, to no purpose ; have borne hours 
of vicarious suffering, by which nobody is benefited. 
Adding to this hardly calculable amount of mental wear 
and tear the physical injury of breathing bad air, we sum 
up a total of which it is unpleasant to think. Of the two 
evils the last is the worst. The heart may, at least, try 



JACKSON] A RIDE IN A PALACE-CAR. 469 

to turn away from unhappy people and wicked people 
to whom it can do no good. But how is the body to steel 
itself against unwashed people and diseased people with 
whom it is crowded, elbow to elbow, and knee to knee, for 
hours ? Our first day in our drawing-room stole by like 
a thief. The noon surprised us, and the twilight took us 
unawares ! By hundreds of miles the rich prairie-lands 
had unrolled themselves, smiled, and fled. On the very 
edges of the crumbling, dusty banks of our track stood 
pink, and blue, and yellow flowers, undisturbed. The 
homesteads in the distances looked like shining green for 
tresses, for nearly every house has a tree wall on two sides 
of it. The trees looked like poplars, but we could not bo 
sure. Often we saw only the solid green square, the 
house being entirely concealed from view. As we drew 
near the Mississippi River, soft, low hills came into view 
on each side ; tangled skeins of little rivers, shaded by tall 
trees, wound and unwound themselves side by side with 
us. A big bridge lay ready, on which we crossed ; every 
body standing on the platform of the cars, at their own 
risk, according to the explicit prohibition of the railroad 
company. Burlington looked well, high up on red bluffs ; 
fine large houses on the heights, and pleasant little ones 
in the suburbs, with patches of vineyard in the gardens. 

" Make your beds now, ladies ?" said the chamber-man, 
whose brown face showed brighter brown for his gray 
uniform and brass buttons. 

" Yes," we replied. " That is just what we most desire 
to see." 

Presto ! The seats of the arm-chairs pull out, and meet 
in the middle. The backs of the arm-chairs pull down, 
and lie flat on a level with the seats. The sofa pulls out, 
and opens into double width. The roof of our drawing- 
room opens and lets down, and makes two more bedsteads, 

40 



470 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [JACKSON 

which we, luckily, do not want ; but from under their 
eaves come mattresses, pillows, sheets, pillow-cases, and 
curtains. The bed's are made ; the roof shut up again ; 
the curtains hung across the glass part of the door ; the 
curtains drawn across the passage-way windows ; the 
doors shut and locked ; and we undress as entirely and 
safely as if we were in the best bedroom of a house not 
made with wheels. Because we are so comfortable we lie 
awake a little, but not long ; and that is the whole story 
of nights on the cars when the cars are built by Pullman 
and the sleeping is done in drawing-rooms. 

Next morning, more prairie, unfenced now, undivided, 
unmeasured, unmarked save by the different tints of dif 
ferent growths of grass or grain ; great droves of cattle 
grazing here and there ; acres of willow saplings, palo 
yelLo wish-green ; and solitary trees, which look like her 
mits in a wilderness. These, and now and then a shape 
less village, which looks even lonelier than the empty 
loneliness by which it is surrounded, these are all for 
hours and hours. We think, " Now we are getting out 
into the great spaces." " This is what the word 'West' 
has sounded like." At noon we come to a spot where 
railway-tracks cross each other. The eye can follow 
their straight lines out and away, till they look like fine 
black threads flung across the green ground, purposeless, 
accidental. A train steams slowly off to the left ; the 
passengers wave handkerchiefs to us, and we to them. 
They are going to Denver ; but it seems as if they might 
be going to any known or unknown planet.' One man 
alone short, fat is walking rapidly away into the wide 
Southern hemisphere. He carries two big, shining brass 
trombones. Where can he be going, and what can be the 
use of trombones ? He looks more inexplicable than ten 
comets. 



JACKSON] A RIDE IN A PALACE-CAR. 471 

Wo cross the Missouri at Council Bluffs ; begin grum 
bling at the railroad corporations for forcing us to take 
a transfer-train across the river ; but find ourselves 
plunged into the confusion of Omaha before we have 
finished railing at the confusion of her neighbor. Now 
\ve see for the first time the distinctive expression of 
American overland travel. Here all luggage is weighed 
and rechecked for points further west. An enormous 
shed is filled with it. Four and five deep stand the anx 
ious owners, at a high wooden wall, behind which nobody 
may go. Everybody holds up checks, and gesticulates 
and beckons. There seems to be no system ; but undoubt 
edly there is. Side by side with the rich and flurried 
New-Yorker stands the poor and flurried emigrant. 
Equality rules. Big bundles of feather-beds, tied up in 
blue check, red chests, corded with rope, get ahead of 
Saratoga trunks. Many languages are spoken. German, 
Irish, French, Spanish, a little English, and all varieties 
of American, I heard during thirty minutes in that lug 
gage-shed. Inside the wall was a pathetic sight, a poor 
German woman on her knees before a chest which had 
burst open on the journey. It seemed as if its whole 
contents could not be worth five dollars, so old, so faded, 
so coarse were the clothes and so battered were the 
utensils. But it was evidently all she owned; it was the 
home she had brought with her from the Fatherland, and 
would be the home she would set up in the prairie. The 
railroad men were good to her. and were helping her with 
ropes and nails. This comforted me somewhat ; but it 
seemed almost a sin to be journeying luxuriously on the 
same day and train with that poor soul. 

" Lunches put up for people going West." This sign 
was out on all corners. Piles of apparently ownerless bun 
dles were stacked all along the platforms ; but everybody 



472 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [JACKSON 

was too busy to steal. Some were eating hastily, with 
looks of distress, as if they knew it would be long before 
they ate again. Others, wiser, were buying whole chick 
ens, loaves of bread, and filling bottles with tea. Provi 
dent Germans bought sausage by the yard. German 
babies got bits of it to keep them quiet. Murderous-look 
ing rifles and guns, with strapped rolls of worn and muddy 
blankets, stood here and there ; murderous but jolly-looking 
miners, four-fifths boots and the rest beard, strode about, 
keeping one eye on their weapons and bedding. Well- 
dressed women and men with polished shoes, whose goods 
were already comfortably bestowed in palace-cars, lounged 
up and down, curious, observant, amused. Gay placards, 
advertising all possible routes ; cheerful placards, setting 
forth the advantages of travellers' insurance policies ; in 
sulting placards, assuming that all travellers have rheu 
matism and should take " Unk Weed ;" in short, just such 
placards as one sees everywhere, papered the walls. 
But here they seemed somehow to be true and merit 
attention, especially the " Unk Weed." There is such a 
professional croak in that first syllable : it sounds as if 
the weed had a diploma. 

All this took two or three hours ; but they were short. 
" All aboard I" rung out like the last warning on Jersey 
City wharves when steamers push off for Europe; and 
in the twinkling of an eye we were out again in the still, 
soft, broad prairie, which is certainly more like sea than 
like any other land. 

Again flowers and meadows, and here and there low 
hills, more trees, too, and a look of greater richness. 
Soon the Platte Biver, which seems to be composed o^ 
equal parts of sand and water, but which has too solemn 
a history to be spoken lightly of. It has been the silent 
guide for so many brave men who are dead ! The old 



JACKSON] A RIDE IN A PALACE-CAR. 473 

emigrant road, over which they went, is yet plainly to be 
seen ; at many points it lies near the railroad. Itn still, 
grass-grown track is strangely pathetic. Soon it will be 
smooth prairie again, and the wooden head-boards at the 
graves of those who died by the way will have fallen and 
Crumbled. 

Dinner at Fremont. The air was sharp and clear. The 
disagreeable guide-book said we were only eleven hundred 
and seventy-six feet above the sea ; but we believed we 
were higher. The keeper of the dining-saloon apologized 
for not having rhubarb-pie, saying that he had just sent 
fifty pounds of rhubarb on ahead to his other saloon. 
" You'll take tea there to-morrow night." 

" But how far apart are your two houses ?" said we. 

" Only eight hundred miles. It's considerable tronble 
to go back an' forth an' keep things straight ; but I do the 
best I can." 

Two barefooted little German children, a boy and girl, 
came into the cars here, with milk and coifee to sell. The 
boy carried the milk, and was sorely puzzled when I held 
out my small tumbler to be filled. It would hold only 
half as much as his tin measure, of which the price was 
five cents. 

" Donno's that's quite fair," he said, when I gave him 
five cents. But he pocketed it, all the same, and ran on, 
swinging his tin can and pint cup, and calling out, " Nice 
fresh milk. Last you'll get ! No milk any further west." 
Little rascal ! We found it all the way ; plenty of it, too, 
such as it was. It must be owned, however, that sage 
brush and prickly pear (and if the cows do not eat these, 
what do they eat ?) give a singularly unpleasant taste to 
milk ; and the addition of alkali water does not improve it. 

Toward night of this day, we saw our first Indian 
woman. We were told it was a woman. It was, appar 

40* 



474 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [JACKSON 

entry, made of old india-rubber, much soaked, seamed, and 
torn. It was thatched at top with a heavy roof of black 
hair, which hung down from a ridge-like line in the middle. 
It had sails of dingy -brown canvas, furled loosely around 
it, confined and caught here and there irregularly, flutter 
ing and falling open wherever a rag of a different color 
could be shown underneath. It moved about on brown, 
bony, stalking members, for which no experience furnishes 
name ; it mopped, and mowed, and gibbered, and reached 
out through the air with more brown, bony, clutching 
members ; from which one shrank as from the claws of a 
bear. " Muckee ! muckee !" it cried, opening wide a mouth 
toothless, but red. It was the most abject, loathly living 
thing I ever saw. I shut my eyes and turned away. 
Presently I looked again. It had passed on ; and I saw 
on its back, gleaming out from under a ragged calash-like 
arch of basket-work, a smooth, shining, soft, baby face, 
brown as a brown nut, silken as silk, sweet, happy, inno 
cent, confiding, as if it were babe of a royal line, born in 
royal state. All below its head was helpless mummy, 
body, legs, arms, feet bandaged tight, swathed in a solid 
roll, strapped to a flat board, and swung by a leathern 
band going around the mother's breast. Its great, soft, 
black eyes looked fearlessly at everybody. It wae as gen 
uine and blessed a baby as any woman ever bore. Idle 
and thoughtless passengers jeered the squaw, saying, 
" Sell us the pappoose." " Give you greenbacks for the 
pappoose." Then, and not till then, I saw a human look 
in the india-rubber face. The eyes could flash, and the 
mouth could show scorn, as well as animal greed. The 
expression was almost malignant, but it bettered the face ; 
for it made it the face of a woman, of a mother. 

At sunset, the clouds, which had been lying low and 
heavy all the afternoon, lifted and rolled away from the 



JACKSON] A RIDE IN A PALACE-CAR. 475 

outer edge of the world. Thunder-storms swept around 
the horizon, followed by broken columns of rainbow, 
which lasted a second and then faded into gray. When 
we last looked out, before going to bed, we seemed to be 
whirling across the middle of a gigantic green disk, with 
a silver rim turned up all around, to keep us from falling 
off in case we should not put down the brakes quick 
enough on drawing near the edge. 

********* 

On the morning of the fourth day we looked out on a 
desert of sage-brush and sand ; but the desert had infinite 
beauties of shape and the sage had pathos of color. Why 
has the sage-brush been so despised, so held up to the scorn 
of men ? It is simply a miniature olive-tree. In tint, in 
shape, the resemblance is wonderful. Travellers never 
tire of recording the sad and subtle beauty of Mediter 
ranean slopes, gray with the soft, thick, rounded tops of 
olive-orchards. The stretches of these sage-grown plains 
have the same tints, the same roundings and blendings of 
soft, thick foliage ; the low sand-hills have endless variety 
of outline, and all strangely suggestive. There are for 
tresses, palisades, roof-slopes with dormer windows, hol 
lows like cradles, and here and there vivid green oases. 
In these oases cattle graze. Sometimes an Indian stands 
guarding them, his scarlet legs gleaming through the sage, 
as motionless as the cattle he watches. A little further 
on we come to his home, a stack of bare bean-poles, ap 
parently on fire at the top ; his family sitting by, in a 
circle, cross-legged, doing nothing. Then comes a tract 
of stony country, where the rocks seem also as significant 
and suggestive as the sand-hills, castles, and pillars, and 
altars, and spires : it is impossible to believe that human 
hands have not wrought them. 

For half of a day we looked out on such scenes as these, 



476 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [JACKSOM 

and did not weary. It is monotonous ; it is desolate ; but 
it is solemn and significant. The day will come when 
this gray wilderness will be red with roses, golden with 
fruit, glad and rich and full of voices. 

At noon, at Evanstown, the observation-car was attached 
to the train : (when will railroad companies be wise enough 
to know that no train ought to be run anywhere without 
such an open car?) Twice too many passengers crowded 
in ; everybody opened his umbrella in somebody else's eye 
and unfolded his map of the road on other knees than his 
own ; but after a few miles the indifferent people and those 
who dreaded cinders, smoke, and the burning of skin 
drifted back again into the other cars, leaving the true 
lovers of sky, air, and out-door room to enjoy the canons 
in peace. 

What is a canon ? Only a valley between two high 
hills ; that is all, though the word seems such a loud and 
compound mystery of warfare, both carnal and spiritual. 
But when the valley is thousands or tens of thousands of 
feet deep, and so narrow that a river can barely make its 
way through by shrinking and twisting and leaping ; when 
one wall is a mountain of grassy slope and the other wall 
is a mountain of straight, sharp stone ; when from a peril 
ous road, which creeps along on ledges of the wall which 
is a mountain of stone, one looks across to the wall which 
is grassy slope, and down at the silver line of twisting, 
turning, leaping river, the word canon seems as inadequate 
as the milder word valley ! This was Echo Canon. We 
drew near it through rocky fields almost as grand as the 
canon itself. Eocks of red and pale-yellow color were 
piled up and strewn on either hand in a confusion so wild 
that it was majestic ; many of them looked like gateways 
and walls and battlements of fortifications ; many of them 
seemed poised on points, just ready to fall ; others rose mas- 



JACKSON] A RIDE IN A PALACE-CAR. 477 

sive and solid, from terraces which stretched away beyond 
our sight. The railroad-track is laid (is hung would 
seem a truer phrase) high up on the right-hand wall of 
the canon, that is, on the wall of stone. The old emi 
grant road ran at the base of the opposite wall (the wall 
of grassy slopes), close on the edge of the river. Just 
after we entered the canon, as we looked down to the 
river, we saw an emigrant party in sore trouble on that 
road. The river was high and overflowed the road ; the 
crumbling, gravelly precipice rose up hundreds of feet 
sheer from the water; the cattle which the poor man was 
driving were trying to run up the precipice, 'but all to no 
purpose ; the wife and children sat on logs by the wagon, 
apathetically waiting, nothing to be done but to wait 
there in that wild and desolate spot till the river chose to 
give them right of way again. They were so many hun 
dred feet below us that the cattle seemed calves and the 
people tiny puppets, as we looked over the narrow rim of 
earth and stone which upheld us in the air. But I envied 
them. They would see the canon, know it. To us it- 
would be only a swift and vanishing dream. Even while 
we are whirling through, it grows unreal. Flowers of 
blue, yellow, purple, are flying past, seemingly almost 
under our wheels. We look over them down into broader 
spaces, where there are homesteads and green meadows. 
Then the canon walls close in again, and, looking down, 
we see only a silver thread of river ; looking up, we see 
only a blue belt of sky. Suddenly we turn a sharp corner 
and come out on a broad plain. The canon walls have 
opened like arms, and they hold a town named after their 
own voices, Echo City. The arms are mighty, for they 
are snow-topped mountains. The plain is green, and the 
river is still. On each side are small cafions, with green 
threads in their centres, showing where the streams come 



478 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [JACKSON 

down. High up on the hills are a few little farm-houses, 
where Americans live and make butter, like the men of 
the Tyrol. A few miles further the mountains narrow 
again, and we enter a still wider gorge. This is Weber 
Canon. Here are still higher walls and more wonderful 
rocks. Great serrated ledges crop out lengthwise the hills, 
reaching from top to bottom, high and thin and sharp. 
Two of these, which lie close together, with apparently 
only a pathway between (though they are one hundred 
feet apart), are called the Devil's Slide. Why is there so 
much unconscious tribute to that person in the unculti 
vated minds of all countries ? One would think him the 
patron saint of pioneers. The rocks still wear shapes of 
fortifications, gateways, castle-fronts, and towers, as in 
Echo Canon ; but they are most exquisitely lined, hol 
lowed, grooved, and fretted. 

. As we whirl by, they look as the fine Chinese carvings 
in ivory would chiselled on massive stones by tools of 
giants. 

The canon opens suddenly into a broad, beautiful 
meadow, in which the river seems to rest rather than to 
run. A line of low houses, a Mormon settlement, marks 
the banks ; fields of grain and grass glitter in the early 
green ; great patches of blue lupine on every hand look 
blue as blue water at a distance, the flowers are set so 
thick. Only a few moments of this, however, and we are 
again in a rocky gorge, where there is barely room for the 
river, and no room for us, except on a bridge. This, too. 
is named for that same popular person, " Devil's Grate." 
The river foams and roars under our feet as we go through. 
Now comes another open plain, wide, sunny, walled 
about by snow mountains, and holding a town. This is 
Ogden, and the shining water which lies in sight to the 
left is the Great Salt Lake ! 



SYMPHONY. 479 

SYMPHONY, 

SIDNEY LANIER. 

[Among recent American poets Sidney Lanier has attained a high 
position, despite his somewhat strained and frequently abstruse manner. 
His mental ability is sufficiently high to atone for his mannerisms, 
though greater simplicity of diction would doubtless have added much 
<o his popularity. Our extract is from one of the most earnest and 
eloquent of his musical odes. He was born in Georgia in 1842, and 
died in 1881. fie served in the Confederate army from 1861 to 1865, 
and afterwards published several prose works of an historical char 
acter, and numerous poems, of which his " Centennial Ode" first 
brought him into prominence as a poet.] 

" O TRADE! O Trade! would thou wert dead ! 

The age needs heart 'tis tired of head : 

We're all for love," the violins said. 

" Of what avail the rigorous tale 

Of coin for coin and box for bale ? 

Grant thee, O Trade ! thine uttermost hope, 

Level red gold with blue sky-slope, 

And base it deep as devils grope, 

When all's done, what hast thou won 

Of the only sweet that's under the sun ? 

Ay, canst thou buy a single sigh 

Of true love's least, least ecstasy ?" 

Then, like a bridegroom's heart-beats trembling, 

All the mightier strings assembling 

Ranged them on the violins' side, 

As when the bridegroom leads the bride, 

And, heart in voice, together cried, 

" Yea, what avail the endless tale 

Of gain by cunning and plus by sale ? 

Look up the land, look down the land, 

The poor, the poor, the poor, they stand 



480 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. (_ LAN IBB 

Wedged by the pressing of Trade's hand 

Against an inward-opening door 

That pressure tightens evermore : 

They sigh a monstrous foul-air sigh 

For the outside leagues of liberty, 

Where Art, sweet lark, translates the sky 

Into a heavenly melody. 

4 Each day, all day' (these poor folks say), 

* In the same old year-long, drear-long way, 

We weave in the mills and heave in the kilns, 

We sieve mine-meshes under the hills, 

And thieve much gold from the Devil's bank tills, 

To relieve, O God, what manner of ills ? 

Such manner of ills as brute-flesh thrills. 

The beasts they hunger, eat, sleep, die, 

And so do we ; our world's a sty ; 

And, fellow-swine, why nuzzle and cry? 

Swinehood hath never a remedy, 

Say many men, and pass us by, 

With nostril clamped and blinking eye. 

Did God say once, in marvellous tone, 

Man shall not live by bread alone, 

But all that cometh from his throne ? 

Yea : God said so, 

But Trade saith No : 

And the kilns and the curt-tongued mills say No : 
There's plenty that can, if you can't : Go to : 
Move out, if you think you're underpaid. 
The poor are prolific ; we're not afraid ; 
Business is business ; a. trade is a trade, 
Over and over they have said.' " 

And then these passionate pretestings 
Merged in grieving moods, until 



LANTEB] SYMPHONY. 481 

They sank to sad requestings 

And suggestings sadder still : 

" And oh, if men might some time see 

How piteous-false the poor decree 

That trades just naught but trades must be! 

Does business mean, Die you live If 

Then ' Trade is trade,' but sings a lie : 

'Tis only war grown miserly. 

If traffic is battle, name it so : 

"War-crimes less will shame it so, 

And victims less will blame it so. 

But oh for the poor to have some part 

In yon sweet living lands of Art, 

Makes problem not for head, but heart. 

Vainly might Plato's brain revolve it : 

Plainly the heart of a child could solve it." 

And then, as when from words that seem but rude 

We pass to pain that dimly sits abrood 

Back in our heart's great dark and solitude, 

So sank the strings to gentle throbbing 

Of long chords change-marked with sobbing 

Motherly sobbing, not distinctlier heard 

Than half wing-openings of the sleeping bird 

Some dream of danger to her young hath stirred. 

Then stirring and demurring ceased, and, lo ! 
Every least ripple of the string's song-flow 
Died to a level with each level bow 
And made a great chord tranquil-surfaced so, 
As a brook beneath his curving bank doth go 
To linger in the sacred dark and green 
Where many boughs the still pool overlean 
And many leaves make shadow with their sheen, 
v // 41 



482 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LANIER 

But presently 

A velvet flute-note fell down pleasantly 
Upon the bosom of that harmony, 
And sailed and sailed incessantly, 
As if a petal from a wild-rose blown 
Had fluttered down upon that pool of tone 
And boatwise dropped o' the convex side 
And floated down the glassy tide 
And clarified and glorified 
The solemn spaces where the shadows bide. 
From the warm concave of that fluted note ' 
Somewhat, half song, half odor, forth did float, 
As if a rose might somehow be a throat : 
"When Nature from her far-off glen 
Flutes her soft messages to men, 
The flute can say them o'er again ; 
Yes, Nature, singing sweet and lone, 
Breathes through life's strident polyphone 
The flute- voice in the world of tone. 

Sweet friends, 

Man's love ascends 
To finer .and diviner ends 
Than man's mere thought e'er comprehends. 

For I, e'en I, 

As here I lie, 
A petal on a harmony, 
Demand of Science whence and why 
Man's tender pain, man's inward cry, 
When he doth gaze on earth and sky? 
I am not overbold : 

I hold 

Full powers from Nature manifold. 
I speak for each no-tongued tree 
That, spring by spring, doth nobler be, 



LANIER] SYMPHONY. 483 

And dumbly and most wistfully 

His mighty prayerful arms outspreads 

Above men's oft-unheeding heads, 

And his big blessing downward sheds. 

I speak for all-shaped blooms and leaves, 

Lichens on stones and moss on eaves, 

Grasses and grains in ranks and sheaves, 

Broad-fronded ferns and keen-leaved canes, 

And briery mazes bounding lanes, 

And marsh-plants, thirsty-cupped for rains, 

And milky stems and sugary veins ; 

For every long-armed woman-vine 

That round a piteous tree doth twine ; 

For passionate odors, and divine 

Pistils, and petals crystalline ; 

All purities of shady springs, 

All shynesses of film- winged things 

That fly from tree-trunks and bark-rings ; 

All modesties of mountain-fawns 

That leap to covert from wild lawns, 

And tremble if the day but dawns ; 

All sparklings of small beady eyes 

Of birds, and sidelong glances wise 

Wherewith the jay hints tragedies; 

All piquancies of prickly burs, 

And smoothnesses of downs and furs 

Of eiders and of minevers ; 

All limpid honeys that do lie 

At stamen-bases, nor deny 

The humming-birds' fine roguery, 

Bee-thighs, nor any butterfly ; 

All gracious curves of slender wings, 

Bark-mottlings, fibre-spiralings, 

Fern-wavings and leaf-flickerings ; 



484 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LANIEH 

Each dial-marked leaf and flower-bell 

Wherewith in every lonesome dell 

Time to himself his hours doth tell ; 

All tree-sounds, rustlings of pine-cones, 

Wind-sighings, doves' melodious moans, 

And night's unearthly under-tones ; 

All placid lakes and waveless deeps, 

All cool reposing mountain-steeps, 

Yale-calms and tranquil lotos-sleeps ; 

Yea, all fair forms, and sounds, and lights, 

And warmths, and mysteries, and mights, 

Of Nature's utmost depths and heights, 

These doth my timid tongue present, 

Their mouthpiece and leal instrument 

And servant, all love-eloquent. 

I heard, when ' All for love' the violins cried : 

So, Nature calls through all her system wide, 

Give me thy love, man, so long denied. 

Much time is run, and man hath changed his ways, 

Since Nature, in the antique fable-days, 

Was hid from man's true love by proxy fays, 

False fauns and rascal gods that stole her praise. 

The nymphs, cold creatures of man's colder brain, 

Chilled Nature's streams till man's warm heart was 

fain 

Never to lave its love in them again. 
Later, a sweet Yoice Love thy neighbor said ; 
Then first the bounds of neighborhood outspread 
Beyond all confines of old ethnic dread. 
Yainly the Jew might wag his covenant head : 
1 AII men are neighbors,' so the sweet Yoice said. 
So, when man's arms had circled all man's race, 
The liberal compass of his warm embrace 
Stretched bigger yet in the dark bounds of space ; 



LANIER] SYMPHONY. 485 

With hands a-grope he felt smooth Nature's grace. 

Drew her to breast and kissed her sweetheart face : 

His heart found neighbors in great hills and trees 

And streams and clouds and suns and birds and bees, 

And throbbed with neighbor-loves in loving these. 

But oh, the poor! the poor! the poor! 

That stand by the inward-opening door 

Trade's hand doth tighten ever more, 

And sigh their monstrous foul-air sigh 

For the outside hills of liberty, 

Where Nature spreads her wild blue sky 

For Art to make into melody ! 

Thou Trade ! thou king of the modern days ! 

Change thy ways, 

Change thy ways ; 
Let the sweaty laborers file 

A little while, 

A little while, 

Where Art and Nature sing and smile. 
Trade ! is thy heart all dead, all dead ? 
And hast thou nothing but a head ? 
I'm all for heart," the flute-voice said, 
And into sudden silence fled, 
Like as a blush that while 'tis red 
Dies to a still, still white instead. 

Thereto a thrilling calm succeeds, 
Till presently the silence breeds 
A little breeze among the reeds 
That seems to blow by sea-marsh weeds ; 
Then from the gentle stir and fret 
Sings out the melting clarionet, 
Like as a lady sings while yet 
Her eyes with salty tears are wet. 
41* 



486 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

"O Trade! O Trade!" the lady said, 
" I too will wish thee utterly dead 
If all thy heart is ID thy head. 
For O my God ! and O my God ! 
What shameful ways have women trod 
At beckoning of Trade's golden rod ! 
Alas when sighs are traders' lies, 
And heart's-ease and violet eyes 

Are merchandise ! 

O purchased lips that kiss with pain ! 
O cheeks coin-spotted with smirch and stain ! 

trafficked hearts that break in twain ! 

And yet what wonder at my sisters' crime ? 

So hath Trade withered up Love's sinewy prime, 

Men love not women as in olden time. 

Ah, not in these cold, merchantable days 

Deem men their life an opal gray, where plays 

The one red Sweet of gracious ladies' praise. 

Now, comes a suitor with sharp prying eye, 

Says, Here, you Lady, if you'll sell, I'll buy : 

Come, heart for heart a trade f What ! weeping f why f 

Shame on such wooer's dapper mercery ! 

1 would my lover kneeling at my feet 

In humble manliness should cry, sweet I 

I know not if thy heart my heart will greet : 

I ask not if thy love my love can meet : 

Whatever thy worshipful soft tongue shall say, 

Til kiss thine answer, be it yea or nay : 

I do but know I love thee, and I pray 

To be thy knight until my dying day. 

Woe him that cunning trades in hearts contrives I 

Base love good women to base loving drives. 

If men loved larger, larger were our lives ; 

And wooed they nobler, won they nobler wives." 



HOLMES] THE AUTOCRAT'S OPINIONS. 487 

THE AUTOCRAT'S OPINIONS. 

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES. 

[As " good wine needs no bush," so Dr. Holmes needs no introduc 
tion to American readers. His sparkling humor, his felicity of expres 
sion and illustration, and his striking powers of analyzation of the 
deeper relations of human life and the human soul, place him at a 
high level both as a writer and as a thinker. His humorous poetry is 
admirable, his novels are characterized by a clear and vigorous han 
dling of psychologically abstruse themes, and in his " Autocrat of the 
Breakfast-Table" there is a combination of humor, wit, and deep in 
sight which has given this work an enduring popularity. "We extract 
from the "Autocrat" some of its most incisive and neatly-rendered 
passages.] 

THE UNDERSTONE WORLD. 

, DID you never, in walking in the fields, come across a 
large flat stone, which had lain, nobody knows how long, 
just where you found it, with the grass forming a little 
hedge, as it were, all round it, close to its edges, and have 
you not, in obedience to a kind of feeling that told you it 
had been lying there long enough, insinuated your stick 
or your foot or your fingers under its edge and turned it 
over, as a housewife turns a cake when she says to her 
self, " It's done brown enough by this time" ? What an 
odd revelation, and what an unforeseen and unpleasant sur 
prise to a small community, the very existence of which 
you had not suspected, until the sudden dismay and scat 
tering among its members produced by your turning the 
old stone over! Blades of grass flattened down, colorless, 
matted together, as if they had been bleached and ironed ; 
hideous crawling creatures, some of them coleopterous or 
horny-shelled, turtle-bugs one wants to call them, some 
of them softer, but cunningly spread out and compressed 



488 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLMES 

like lepine watches ; black, glossy crickets, with their 
long filaments sticking out like the whips of four-horse 
stage-coaches ; motionless, slug-like creatures, young larvae, 
perhaps more horrible in their pulpy stillness than even 
in the infernal wriggle of maturity ! But no sooner is the 
stone turned and the wholesome light of day let upon this 
compressed and blinded community of creeping things, 
than all of them which enjoy the luxury of legs and 
some of them have a good many rush round wildly, but 
ting each other and everything in their way, and end in a 
general stampede for underground retreats from the region 
poisoned by sunshine. Next year you will find the grass 
growing tall and green where the stone lay ; the ground- 
bird builds her nest where the beetle had his hole ; the 
dandelion and the buttercup are growing there, and the 
broad fans of insect-angels open and shut over their golden 
disks, as the rhythmic waves of blissful consciousness pul 
sate through their glorified being. . . . 

There is meaning in each of those images, the butter 
fly as well as the others. The stone is ancient error. The 
grass is human nature borne down and bleached of all its 
color by it. The shapes which are found beneath are the 
crafty beings that thrive in darkness, and the weaker 
organisms kept helpless by it. He who turns the stone 
over is whosoever puts the staff of truth to the old lying 
incubus, no matter whether he do it with a serious face 
or a laughing one. The next year stands for the coming 
time. Then shall the nature which had lain blanched and 
broken rise in its full stature and native hues in the sun 
shine. Then shall God's minstrels build their nests in the 
hearts of a new-born humanity. Then shall beauty 
Divinity taking outlines and color light upon the souls 
of men, as the butterfly, image of the beatified spirit rising 
from the dust, soars from the shell that held a poor grub, 



HOLMES] THE AUTOCRAT'S OPINIONS. 489 

which would never have found wings had not the stone 
been lifted. 

You never need think you can turn over any old false 
hood without a terrible squirming and scattering of the 
horrid little population that dwells under it. 

TRUTH AND FALSEHOOD. 

When we are as yet small children, long before the time 
when those two grown ladies offer us the choice of Her 
cules, there comes up to us a youthful angel, holding in 
his right hand cubes like dice, and in his left spheres like 
marbles. The cubes are of stainless ivory, and on each is 
written, in letters of gold TRUTH. The spheres are veined 
and streaked and spotted beneath, with a dark crimson 
flush above, where the light falls on them, and in a certain 
aspect you can make out upon every one of them the three 
letters L, I, E. The child to whom they are offered very 
probably clutches at both. The spheres are the most con 
venient things in the world : they roll with the least pos 
sible impulse just where the child would have them. The 
cubes will not roll at all ; they have a great talent for stand 
ing still, and always keep right side up. But very soon the 
young philosopher finds that things which roll so easily 
are very apt to roll into the wrong corner, and to get out 
of his way when he most wants them, while he always 
knows where to find the others, which stay where they 
are left. Thus he learns thus we learn to drop the 
Ktreaked and speckled globes of falsehood and to hold fast 
the white, angular blocks of truth. But then comes Ti 
midity, and after her Good-nature, and last of all Polite- 
behavior, all insisting that truth must roll, or nobody can 
do anything with it ; and so the first with her coarse rasp, 
and the second with her broad file, and the third with her 
silken sleeve, do so round off and smooth and polish the 



490 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HoLMEa 

snow-white cubes of truth, that, when they have got t, 
little dingy by use, it becomes hard to tell them from the 
rolling spheres of falsehood. 

THE SIDE-DOOR TO THE HEART. 

Every person's feelings have a front-door and a side- door 
by which they may be entered. The front-door is on the 
street. Some keep it always open ; some keep it latched ; 
some, locked ; some, bolted, with a chain that will let 
you peep in, but not get in ; and some nail it up, so that 
nothing can pass its threshold. This front-door leads 
into a passage which opens into an anteroom, and this 
into the interior apartments. The side -door opens at once 
into the sacred chambers. 

There is almost always at least one key to this side-door. 
This is carried for years hidden in a mother's bosom. 
Fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends, often, but by no 
means so universally, have duplicates of it. The wedding- 
ring conveys a right to one ; alas, if none is given with it ! 

If nature or accident has put one of these keys into the 
hands of a person who has the torturing instinct, I can 
only solemnly pronounce the words that Justice utters 
over its doomed victim, The Lord have mercy on your 
soul ! You will probably go mad within a reasonable 
time, or, if you are a man, run off, and die with your 
head on a curbstone in Melbourne or San Francisco, or, 
if you are a woman, quarrel and break your heart, or turn 
into a pale, jointed petrifaction that moves about as if it 
were alive, or play some real life-tragedy or other. 

Be very careful to whom you trust one of these keys of 
the side-door. The fact of possessing one renders those 
even who are dear to you very terrible at times. You 
can keep the world out from your front-door, or receive 
visitors only when you are ready for them ; but those of 



HOLMES] THE AUTOCRATS OPINIONS. 491 

your own flesh and blood, or of certain grades of intimacy, 
can come in at the side-door, if they will, at-any hour and 
in any mood. Some of them have a scale of your whole 
nervous system, and can play all the gamut of your sensi 
bilities in semitones, touching the naked nerve-pulps as 
a pianist strikes the keys of his instrument. I am satis 
fied that there are as great masters of this nerve-playing 
as Yieuxtemps or Thalberg in their lines of performance. 
Married life is the school in which the most accomplished 
artists in this department are found. A delicate woman 
is the best instrument ; she has such a magnificent com 
pass of sensibilities ! From the deep inward moan which 
follows pressure on the great nerves of right, to the sharp 
cry as the filaments of taste are struck with a crashing 
sweep, is a range which no other instrument possesses. 
A few exercises on it daily at home fit a man wonderfully 
for his habitual labors, and refresh him immensely as he 
returns from them. No stranger can get a great many 
notes of torture out of a human soul ; it takes one that 
knows it well, parent, child, brother, sister, intimate. 
Be very careful to whom you give a side-door key ; too 
many have them already. 

THE CLOCK OP LIFE. 

Our brains are seventy-year clocks. The Angel of Life 
winds them up once for all, then closes the case, and gives 
the key into the hand of the Angel of the Resurrection. 

Tic-tac ! tic-tac ! go the wheels of thought ; our will 
cannot stop them ; they cannot stop themselves, sleep 
cannot still them; madness only makes them go faster; 
death alone can break into the case, and, seizing the ever- 
swinging pendulum, which we call the heart, silence at 
last the clicking of the terrible escapement we have car 
ried so long beneath our wrinkled foreheads. 



492 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLMES 

If we could only get at them, as we lie on our pillows 
and count the dead beats of thought after thought and 
image after image jarring through the overtired organ ! 
Will nobody block those wheels, uncouple that pinion, cut 
the string that holds those weights, blow up the infernal 
machine with gunpowder? What a passion comes over 
us sometimes for silence and rest! that this dreadful 
mechanism, unwinding the endless tapestry of time, em 
broidered with spectral figures of life and death, could 
have but one brief holiday ! Who can wonder that men 
swing themselves off from beams in hempen lassos ? that 
they jump off from parapets into the swift and gurgling 
waters beneath ? that they take counsel of the grirn 
friend who has but to utter his one peremptory monosyl 
lable and the restless machine is shivered as a vase that is 
dashed upon a marble floor? Under that building which 
we pass every day there are strong dungeons, where 
neither hook, nor bar, nor bed-cord, nor drinking-vessel 
from which a sharp fragment may be shattered, shall by 
any chance be seen. There is nothing for it, when the 
brain is on fire with the whirling of its wheels, but to 
spring against the stone wall and silence them with one 
crash. Ah, they remembered that, the kind city fathers, 
and the walls are nicely padded, so that one can take 
such exercise as he likes without damaging himself on the 
very plain and serviceable upholstery. If anybody would 
only contrive some kind of a lever that one could thrust 
in among the works of this horrid automaton and check 
them, or alter their rate of going, what would the world 
give for the discovery ! 

GROWING BEYOND. 

I find the great thing in this world is not so much 
where we stand, as in what direction we are moving. To 



WHITE] CONDITIONS OF LANGUAGE-VARIATION. 493 

reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the 
wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and 
not drift, nor lie at anchor. There is one very sad thing 
in old friendships, to every mind that is really moving 
onward. It is this : that one cannot help using his early 
friends as the seaman uses the log, to mark his progress. 
Every now and then we throw an old school-mate over the 
stern with a string of thought tied to him, and look 
I am afraid with a kind of luxurious and sanctimonious 
compassion to see the rate at which the string reels off, 
while he lies there bobbing up and down, poor fellow! 
and we are dashing along with the white foam and bright 
sparkle at our bows ; the ruffled bosom of prosperity and 
progress, with a sprig of diamonds stuck in it ! But this 
is only the sentimental side of the matter ; for grow we 
must, if we outgrow all that we love. 



CONDITIONS OF LANGUAGE-VARIATION. 

RICHARD GRANT WHITE. 

[From." Words and their Uses" we select tlie following study ot 
some of the growth-characteristics of English speech. Its author, 
Richard Grant White, was horn in the city of New York in 1822, and 
died there in 1885. He was an active worker in the philological field, 
and the learning evinced in his "Shakespeare's Scholar" early gave 
him a prominent position among critical writers. His anonymous 
political satire, " The New Gospel of Peace," issued in 1863, had an 
enormous sale. Besides the above-mentioned works, he published an 
" Essay on the Authorship of Henry VI.," two editions of Shake 
speare's collected works (one in twelve volumes, and one in three), and 
u Everyday English." Not long before his death there appeared from 
his pen a work of marked interest, descriptive of English character 
and scenery. His style is characterized by great clearness and purity, 

42 



494 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

and his works have had a powerful influence in all the various fields of 
thought tc which his attention was turned.] 

WHAT the phrase so often heard, " pure English," really 
means, it would, probably, puzzle those who use it to ex 
plain. For our modern tongues are like many buildings 
that stand upon sites long swept over by the ever-ad 
vancing, though backward and forward shifting, tide of 
civilization. They are built out of the ruins of the work 
of previous generations ; to which we and our immediate 
predecessors have added something of our own. This 
process has been going on since the disappearance of the 
first generation of speaking men ; and it will never cease. 
But there will be a change in its mode and rate. The 
change has begun already. The invention of printing, 
the instruction of the mass of the people, and the ease of 
popular intercommunication, will surely prevent any such 
corruption and detrition of language as that which has 
resulted in the modern English, German, French, Spanish, 
and Italian tongues. Phonetic degradation will play a 
less important part than it has heretofore played in the 
history of language. Changes in the forms and variation 
in the meanings of words will be slow, and, if not deliber 
ate, at least half conscious ; and the corruptions that we 
have to guard against are chiefly those consequent upon 
pretentious ignorance and aggressive vulgarity. 

It may be reasonably doubted whether there ever was 
a pure language two generations old ; that is, a language 
homogeneous, of but one element. All tongues known to 
philology show, if not the mingling in considerable and 
nearly determinable proportions of two or three linguistic 
elements, at least the adoption and adaptation of numerous 
foreign words. English has for many centuries been far 
from being a simple language. Chaucer's " well of Eng 
lish undefiled" is very pleasant and wholesome drinking ; 



WHITE] CONDITIONS OF LANGUAGE-VARIATION. 495 

but, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, and " auxiliary" 
verbs aside, it is a mixture in which Normanized, Galli 
cized Latin is mingled in large proportion with a base of 
degraded Anglo-Saxon. And yet the result of this hy- 
bridity and degradation is the tongue in which Shake 
speare wrote, and the translators of the Bible, and Milton, 
and Bunyan, and Burke, and Goldsmith, and Irving, and 
Hawthorne ; making in a language without a superior 
a literature without an equal. 

But the presence in our language of two elements, both 
of which are essential to its present fulness and force, no 
less than to its fineness and flexibility, does not make it 
sure that these are of equal or of nearly equal importance. 
Valuable as the Latin adjuncts to our language are, in the 
appreciation of their value it should never be forgotten 
that they are adjuncts. The frame, the sinews, the nerves, 
the heart's blood, in brief, the body and soul of our lan 
guage is English ; Latin and Greek furnish only its limbs 
and outward flourishes. If what has come to us through 
the Normans, and since their time from France and Italy 
and the Latin lexicon, were turned out of our vocabulary, 
we could live, and love, and work, and talk, and sing, and 
have a folk-lore and a higher literature. But take out the 
former, the movement of our lives would be clogged, and 
the language would fall to pieces for lack of framework 
and foundation, and we could do none of those things. 
We might teach in the lecture-room, and formulate the 
results of our work in the laboratory, but we should be 
almost mute at home, and our language and our literature 
would be no more ours than it would be France's, or 
Spain's, or Italy's. 

To the Latin we owe, as the most cursory student of 
our language must have observed, a great proportion of 
the vocabulary of philosophy, of art, of science, and of 



496 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITE 

morals ; and by means of words derived from the Latin 
we express, as it is assumed, shades of thought and of 
feeling finer than those of which our simple mother-tongue 
is capable. But it may at least be doubted whether we 
do not turn too quickly to the Latin lexicon when we 
wish a name for a new thought or a new thing, and 
whether out of the simples of our ancient English, or 
Anglo-Saxon, so called, we might not have formed a lan 
guage copious enough for all the needs of the highest civ 
ilization and subtle enough for all the requisitions of phi 
losophy. For instance, what we call, in Latinish phrase, 
remorse of conscience, our forefathers called againbite of 
in wit ; and in using the former we express exactly the same 
ideas as are expressed by the latter. As the corresponding 
compounds and the corresponding elements have the same 
meaning, what more do we gain by putting together re 
and morse, con and science, than by doing the same with 
again and bite, in and wit f The English words now sound 
uncouth and provoke a smile, but they do so only because 
we are accustomed to the Latin derivatives. No advan 
tage seems likely to be pleaded for the use of the latter, 
other than that they produce a single impression on the 
mind of the English-speaking man, causing him to accept 
remorse and conscience as simple words, expressing simple 
things, without the suggestion of a biting again and an 
inner witting. But it may first be doubted whether this 
thoughtless, unanalytic acceptance of a word is without 
some drawback of dissipating and enfeebling disadvantage ; 
and next, and chiefly, it may be safely asserted that the 
English compounds would produce, if in common use, as 
single and as strong an impression as the Latin do. Who 
that does not stop to think and take to pieces receives 
other than a single impression from such words as insight 
(bereaved twin of inwit}, gospel, falsehood, worship, homely, 



WHITE] CONDITIONS OF LANGUAGE-VARIATION. 497 

breakfast, truthful, boyhood, household, brimstone, twilight, 
acorn, chestnut, instead, homestead, and the like, of which 
our common current English would furnish numberless 
examples ? 

In no way is our language more wronged than lay the 
weak readiness with which many of those who, having 
neither a hearty love nor a ready mastery of it, or lacking 
both, fly to the Latin tongue or to the Greek for help in 
the naming of a new thought or thing, or the partial con 
cealment of an old one, calling, for instance, nakedness 
nudity, and a bathing-tub a lavatory. By so doing they 
help to deface the characteristic traits of our mother- 
tongue, and to mar and stunt its kindly growth. 

No one denies certainly I do not deny the value of 
the Latin element of our modern English in the expres 
sion of abstract ideas and general notions. It also gives 
amplitude and ease and grace to a language which with 
out it might be admirable only for compact and rugged 
strength. All which being granted, it still remains to be 
shown that there is not in simple English that is, Anglo- 
Saxon without inflections the power of developing a 
vocabulary competent to all the requirements of philoso 
phy, of science, of art, no less than of society and of sen 
timent. I believe that pure English has, in this respect at 
least, the full capacity of the German language. Never 
theless, one of the advantages of English over German, 
in form and euphony, is in this very introduction of An 
glicized Latin and Greek words for the expression of ab 
stract ideas, which relieves us of such quintuple com 
pounds, for instance, as sprachwissenschaftseinheit. With 
the expression of abstract ideas and scientific facts, how 
ever, the Latinization of our language should stop, or it 
will lose its home character and kin traits, and become 
weak, flabby, and inflated, and, thus, ridiculous. 
9ff 42* 



498 ' BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITE 

One of the changes to which language is subject during 
the healthy intellectual condition of a people, and in its 
progress from rudeness to refinement, is the casting off 
of rude, clumsy, and insufficiently worked-out forms of 
speech, sometimes mistakenly honored under the name of 
idioms. Speech, the product of reason, tends more and 
more to conform itself to reason; and when grammar, 
which is the formulation of usage, is opposed to reason, 
there arises, sooner or later, a conflict between logic, or 
the law of reason, and grammar, -the law of precedent, 
in which the former is always victorious. And this has 
been notably the case in the history of the English lan 
guage. Usage, therefore, is not, as it is often claimed to 
be, the absolute law of language ; and it never has been 
so with any people, could not be, or we should have an 
example of a language which had not changed from what 
it was in its first stage, if indeed under such a law there 
could be a first stage in language. Horace, indeed, in a 
passage often quoted, seems to have accepted usage as the 
supreme authority in speech : 

" si volet usus, 
Quern penes arbitrium est, et jus, et norma loquendi." 

But if this dictum were unconditional, and common usage 
were the absolute and rightful arbiter in all questions of 
language, there would be no hope of improvement in the 
speech of an ignorant and degraded society, no rightful 
protest against its mean and monstrous colloquial phrases, 
which, indeed, would then be neither mean nor monstrous, 
the fact that they were in iise being their full justifica 
tion. The truth is, however, that the authority of general 
usage, or even of the usage of great writers, is not abso 
lute in language. There is a misuse of words which can 



WHITE] CONDITIONS OF LANGUAGE-VARIATION. 499 

be justified by no authority, however great, by no usage, 
however general. 

And, as usage does not justify that which is essentially 
unreasonable, so in the fact that a word or a phrase is an 
innovation, a neologism, there .s nothing whatever to deter 
a bold, clear-headed thinker from its use. Otherwise lan 
guage would not grow. New words, when they are 
needed, are rightly formed, and so clearly discriminated 
that they have a meaning peculiarly their own, enrich a 
language, while the use of one word to mean many things, 
more or less unlike, is the sign of poverty in speech, and 
the source of ambiguity, the mother of confusion. For 
these reasons the objection on the part of a writer upon 
language to a word or a phrase should not be that it is 
new, but that it is inconsistent with reason, incongruous 
in itself, or opposed to the genius of the tongue into 
which it has been introduced. Something must and surely 
will be sacrificed in language to convenience ; but too 
much may be sacrificed to brevity. A periphrasis which 
is clear and forcible is not to be abandoned for a shorter 
phrase, or even a single word, which is ambiguous, bar 
barous, grotesque, or illogical. Unless much is at stake, 
it is always better to go clean and dry-shod a little way 
about than to soil our feet by taking a short cut. 

For two centuries and a half, since thtj time whon King 
Lear was written and our revised translation of the Bible 
made, the English language has suffered little change, 
either by loss or gain. Excepting that which was slang, 
or cant, or loose colloquialism in his day, there is little in 
Shakespeare's plays which is not heard now, more or less, 
from the lips of English-speaking men ; and to his vocabu 
lary they have added little except words which are names 
for new things. The language has not sensibly improved, 
nor has it deteriorated. In the latter part of the last cen- 



500 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITE 

tury it was in some peril. We ran the risk, then, of the 
introduction of a scholarly diction and a formal style into 
our literature, and of a separation of our colloquial speech, 
the language of common folk and common needs, from 
that of literary people and grand occasions. That danger 
we happily escaped, and we still speak and write a com 
mon, if not a homogeneous, language, in which there is no 
word which is excluded by its commonness or its mean 
ness from the highest strain of poetry. ' 

Criticism, however, is now much needed to keep our 
language from deterioration, to defend it against the as 
saults of presuming half-knowledge, always bolder than 
wisdom, always more perniciously intrusive than conscious 
ignorance. Language must always be made by the mass 
of those who use it ; but when that mass is misled by a 
little learning, a dangerous thing only as edge-tools are 
dangerous to those who will handle them without under 
standing their use, and undertakes to make language 
according to knowledge rather than by instinct, confusion 
and disaster can be warded oif only by criticism. Criti 
cism is the child and handmaid of reflection. It works 
by censure ; and censure implies a standard. As to words 
and the use of words, the standard is either reason, whose 
laws are absolute, or analogy, whose milder sway hinders 
anomalous, barbarous, and solecistic changes, and helps 
those which are in harmony with the genius of a lan 
guage. Criticism, setting at naught the assumption of 
any absolute authority in language, may check bad usage 
and reform degraded custom. It may not only resist the 
introduction of that which is debasing or enfeebling, but 
it may thrust out vicious words and phrases which through 
carelessness or perverted taste may have obtained a foot- 
Ing. It is only by such criticism that our language can 
now be restrained from license and preserved from corrup- 



WHITE] CONDITIONS OF LANGUAGE-VARIATION. 501 

tion. Criticism cannot at once with absolute and omnipo 
tent voice banish the bad and establish or introduce thb 
good ; but by watchfulness and reason it may gradually 
form such a taste in those who are, if not the framers, at 
least the arbiters, of linguistic law, that thus, by indirec 
tion finding direction out, it may insure the effectual con 
demnation of that which itself could not exclude. 

Until comparatively late years language was formed by 
the intuitive sense of those who spoke it ; but now, among 
highly-civilized peoples, the element of consciousness is 
entering into its production. If consciousness must be 
present, it should be, at least in the last resort, the con 
sciousness of trained and cultivated minds ; and such con 
sciousness is critical, indeed, is criticism. And those who 
feel the need of support in giving themselves to the study 
of verbal criticism may find it in the comfortable words 
of Scaliger the younger, who says, " The sifting of these 
subtleties, although it is of no use to machines for grind 
ing corn, frees the mind from the rust of ignorance, and 
sharpens it for other matters." * And it may reassure us 
to remember that in the crisis of the great struggle be 
tween Caesar and Pompey, Cicero, being then in the 
zenith of his power, turned aside, in a letter to Atticua 
upon weighty affairs of state, to discuss a point of gram 
mar with that eminent critic. 



* "Harum indagatio subtilitatum, etsi non est utilis ad machinas 
farinarias conficiendas, exuit animum tamen inscitiaa rubigine, acuit- 
que ad alia." 



502 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [IsviNO 

AN HEROIC COMBAT. 

WASHINGTON IKYING. 

[The great versatility of Irving 7 s genius is admirably illustrated in 
his burlesque " History of New York, by Diedrich Knickerbocker," 
as compared with the classical elegance of his " Sketch-Book" and 
other works and the graceful ease and polish of his historical writings. 
The selection we make, describing the terrible battle between the Dutch 
and the Swedes, is a ludicrous parody of the combats of the Greeks 
and Trojans on the plain of Troy, with the interferences of the deities, 
which excellently displays one phase of American humor.] 

Now had the Dutchmen snatched a huge repast, and, 
finding themselves wonderfully encouraged and animated 
thereb}^, prepared to take the field. Expectation, says 
the writer of the Stuyvesant manuscript, Expectation 
now stood on stilts. The world forgot to turn round, or 
rather stood still, that it might witness the affray, like a 
round-bellied alderman watching the combat of two chiv 
alrous flies upon his jerkin. The eyes of all mankind, as 
usual in such cases, were turned upon Fort Christina. 
The sun, like a little man in a crowd at a puppet-show, 
scampered about the heavens, popping his head here and 
there, and endeavoring to get a peep between the unman 
nerly clouds that obtruded themselves in his way. The 
historians filled their inkhorns ; the poets went without 
their dinners, either that they might buy paper and goose- 
quills, or because they could not get anything to eat. 
Antiquity scowled sulkily out of its grave, to see itself 
outdone; while even Posterity stood mute, gazing in 
gaping ecstasy of retrospection on the eventful field. 

The immortal deities, who whilom had seen service at 
the "affair" of Troy, now mounted their feather-bed 
clouds, and sailed over the plain, or mingled among the 



IRVING] AN ^ HEROIC COMBAT. 503 

combatants in different disguises, all itching to have a 
finger in the pie. Jupiter sent off his thunderbolt to a 
noted coppersmith, to have it furbished up for the direful 
occasion. Yenus vowed by her chastity to patronize the 
Swedes, and in semblance of a blear-eyed trull paraded 
the battlements of Fort Christina, accompanied b}^ Diana, 
as a sergeant's widow, of cracked reputation. The noted 
bully, Mars, stuck two horse-pistols into his belt, shoul 
dered a rusty firelock, and gallantly swaggered at their 
elbow, as a drunken corporal ; while Apollo trudged in 
their rear, as a bandy-legged fifer, playing most villa- 
nously out of tune. 

On the other side, the ox-eyed Juno, who had gained a 
pair of black eyes overnight, in one of her curtain-lectures 
with old Jupiter, displayed her haughty beauties on a bag 
gage-wagon ; Minerva, as a brawny gin-sutler, tucked up 
her skirts, brandished her fists, and swore most heroically, 
in exceeding bad Dutch (having but lately studied the 
language), by way of keeping up the spirits of the sol 
diers ; while Yulcan halted as a club-footed blacksmith 
lately promoted to be a captain of militia. All was silent 
n,we, or bustling preparation : war reared his horrid front, 
gnashed loud his iron fangs, and shook his direful crest of 
bristling bayonets. 

And now the mighty chieftains marshalled out theii 
hosts. Here stood stout Bisingh, firm as a thousand 
rocks, incrusted with stockades, and intrenched to the 
chin in mud batteries. His valiant soldiery lined the 
breastwork in grim array, each having his mustachios 
fiercely greased, and his hair pomatumed back, and queued 
so stiffly that he grinned above the ramparts like a grisly 
death's-head. 

There came on the intrepid Peter, his brows knit, his 
teeth set, his fists clinched, almost breathing forth volumes 



504 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [IRVING 

of smoke, so fierce was the fire that raged within his 
bosom. His faithful squire Yan Corlear trudged valiantly 
at his heels, with his trumpet gorgeously bedecked with 
red and yellow ribbons, the remembrances of his fair mis 
tresses at the Manhattoes. Then came waddling on the 
sturdy chivalry of the Hudson. There were the Yan 
Wycks, and the Yan Dycks, and the Ten Eycks j the Yan 
Nesses, the Yan Tassels, the Yan Grolls ; the Yan Hoesens, 
the Yan Giesons, and the Yan Blarcoms ; the Yan Warts, 
the Yan Winkles, the Yan Dams; the Yan Pelts, the Yan 
Rippers, and the Yan Brunts. There were the Yan 
Homes, the Yan Hooks, the Yan Bunschotens ; the Yan 
Gelders, the Yan Arsdales, and the Yan Bummels ; the 
Yander Belts, the Yander Hoofs, the Yander Yoorts ; the 
Yander Lyns, the Yander Pools, and the Yander Spiegles ; 
then came the Hoffmans, the Hooghlands, the Hoppers, 
the Cloppers, the Eyckmans, the Dyckmans, the Hoge- 
booms, the Rosebooms, the Oothouts, the Quackenbosses, 
the Roerbacks, the Garrebrantzes, the Bensons, the Brou- 
wers, the Waldrons, the Onderdonks, the Yarra Yangers, 
the Schermerhorns, the Stoutenburghs, the Brinkerhoffs, 
the Bontecous, the Knickerbockers, the Hockstrasses, the 
Ten Breecheses and the Tough Breecheses, with a host 
more of worthies, whose names are too crabbed to be writ 
ten, or, if they could be written, it would be impossible 
for man to utter, all fortified with a mighty dinner, and, 
to use the words of a great Dutch poet, 

" Brimful of wrath and cabbage." 

For an instant the mighty Peter paused in the midst of 
his career, and, mounting on a stump, addressed his troops 
in eloquent Low Dutch, exhorting them to fight like duy- 
vels, and assuring them that if they conquered, they should 



IRVING] AN HEROIC COMBAT. 505 

get plenty of booty, if they fell, they should be allowed 
the satisfaction, while dying, of reflecting that it was in 
the service of their country, and, after they were dead, of 
seeing their names inscribed in the temple of renown, and 
handed down, in company with all the other great men 
of the year, for the admiration of posterity. Finally, he 
swore to them, on the word of a governor (and they knew 
him too well to doubt it for a moment), that if he caught 
any mother's son of them looking pale, or playing craven, 
he would curry his hide till he made him run out of it 
like a snake in spring-time. Then lugging out his trusty 
sabre, he brandished it three times over his head, ordered 
Yan Corlear to sound a charge, and, shouting the words 
"St. Nicholas and the Manhattoes!" courageously dashed 
forward. His warlike followers, who had employed the 
interval in lighting their pipes, instantly stuck them into 
their mouths, gave a furious puif, and charged gallantly 
under cover of the smoke. 

The Swedish garrison, ordered by the cunning Risingh 
not to fire until they could distinguish the whites of theii 
assailants' eyes, stood in horrid silence on the covert- way 
until the eager Dutchmen had ascended the glacis. Then 
did they pour into them such a tremendous volley, that 
the very hills quaked around. Not a Dutchman but would 
have bitten the dust beneath that dreadful fire, had not 
the protecting Minerva kindly taken care that the Swedes 
should, one and all, observe their usual custom of shutting 
their eyes and turning away their heads at the moment 
of discharge. 

The Swedes followed up their fire by leaping the coun 
terscarp and falling tooth and nail upon the foe with furi 
ous outcries. And now might be seen prodigies of valor, 
unmatched in history or song. Here was the sturdy Stoffel 
Brinkerhoff brandishing his quarter-staff, like the giant 
w 43 



506 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [IRVING 

Blanderon his oak-tree (for he scorned to carry any other 
weapon), and drumming a horrific tune upon the hard 
heads of the Swedish soldiery. There were the Yan 
Kortlandts, posted at a distance, like the Locrian archers 
of yore, and plying it most potently with the long-bow, 
for which they were so justly renowned. On a rising 
knoll were gathered the valiant men of Sing-Sing, assist 
ing marvellously in the fight by chanting the great song 
of St. Nicholas ; but as to the Gardeniers of Hudson, they 
were absent on a marauding party, laying waste the neigh 
boring watermelon-patches. 

In a different part of the field were the Yan Grolls of 
Antony's Nose, struggling to get to the thickest of the 
fight, but horribly perplexed in a defile between two hills, 
by reason of the length of their noses. So also the Yan 
Bunschotens of Nyack and Kakiat, so renowned for kick 
ing with the left foot, were brought to a stand for want 
of wind, in consequence of the hearty dinner they had 
eaten, and would have been put to utter rout but for the 
arrival of a gallant corps of voltigeurs, composed of the 
Hoppers, who advanced nimbly to their assistance on one 
foot. Nor must I omit to mention the valiant achieve 
ments of Antony Yan Corlear, who, for a good quarter of 
an hour, waged stubborn fight with a little pursy Swedish 
drummer, whose hide he drummed most magnificently, 
and whom he would infallibly have annihilated on the 
spot, but that he had come into the battle with no other 
weapon but his trumpet. 

But now the combat thickened. On came the mighty 
Jacobus Yarra Yanger and the fighting-men of the Wall- 
about ; after them thundered the Yan Pelts of Esopus, 
together with the Yan Kippers and the Yan Brunts, bear 
ing down all before them ; then the Suy Dams and the 
Yan Dams, pressing forward with many a blustering oath, 



IRVINO] AN' HEROIC COME A T. 507 

at the head of the warriors of Hellgate, clad in their 
thunder- and-lightning gaberdines; and, lastly, the stand 
ard-bearers and body-guard of Peter Stuyvesant, bearing 
the great beaver of the Manhattoes. 

And now commenced the horrid din, the desperate 
struggle, the maddening ferocity, the frantic desperation, 
the confusion and self-abandonment of war. Dutchman 
and Swede commingled, tugged, panted, and blowed. The 
heavens were darkened with a tempest of missives. Bang ! 
went the guns ; whack ! went the broadswords ; thump ! 
went the cudgels ; crash ! went the musket stocks ; blows, 
kicks, cuffs, scratches, black eyes, and bloody noses swell 
ing the horrors of the scene! Thick thwack, cut and 
hack, helter-skelter, higgledy-piggledy, hurly-burly, head- 
over-heels, rough-and-tumble ! Dunder and blixum ! swore 
the Dutchmen; splitter and splutter! cried the Swedes. 
Storm the works ! shouted Hardkoppig Peter. Fire the 
mine! roared stout Kisingh. Tanta-rar-ra-ra ! twanged 
the trumpet of Antony Yan Corlear, until all voice and 
sound became unintelligible, grunts of pain, yells of fury, 
and shouts of triumph mingling in one hideous clamor. 
The earth shook as if struck with a paralytic stroke; 
trees shrunk aghast, and withered at the sight ; rocks 
burrowed in the ground like rabbits ; and even Christina 
Creek turned from its course, and ran up a hill in breath 
less terror ! 

Long hung the contest doubtful ; for though a heavy 
shower of rain, sent by the " cloud-compelling Jove," in 
some measure cooled their ardor, as doth a bucket of 
water thrown on a group of fighting mastiffs, yet did they 
but pause for a moment, to return with tenfold fury to the 
charge. Just at this juncture a vast and dense column of 
smoke was seen slowly rolling toward the scene of battle. 
The combatants paused for a nxoment, gazing in m nte as- 



508 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [IRVING 

tonishment, until the wind, dispelling the murky cloud, 
revealed the flaunting banner of Michael Paw, the Patroon 
of Communipaw. That valiant chieftain came fearlessly 
on at the head of a phalanx of oyster-fed Pavonians and 
a corps de reserve of the Yan Arsdales and Yan Bummels, 
who had remained behind to digest the enormous dinner 
they had eaten. These now trudged manfully forward, 
ismoking their pipes with outrageous vigor, so as to raise 
the awful cloud that has been mentioned, but marching 
exceedingly slow, being short of leg, and of great rotun 
dity in the belt. 

And now, the deities who watched over the fortunes of 
the Nederlanders having unthinkingly left the field, and 
stepped into a neighboring tavern to refresh themselves 
with a pot of beer, a direful catastrophe had wellnigh 
ensued. Scarce had the myrmidons of Michael Paw at 
tained the front of battle, when the Swedes, instructed by 
the cunning Bisingh, levelled a shower of blows full at 
their tobacco-pipes. Astounded at this assault, and dis 
mayed at the havoc of their pipes, these ponderous war 
riors gave way, and like a drove of frightened elephants 
broke through the ranks of their own army. The little 
Hoppers were borne down in the surge ; the sacred banner 
emblazoned with the gigantic oyster of Communipaw was 
trampled in the dirt; on blundered and thundered the 
heavy-sterned fugitives, the Swedes pressing on their rear 
and applying their feet a parte poste of the Yan Arsdales 
and the Yan Bummels with a vigor that prodigiously ac 
celerated their movements ; nor did the renowned Michael 
Paw himself fail to receive divers grievous and dishonor 
able visitations of shoe-leather. 

But what, oh Muse ! was the rage of Peter Stuyvesant 
when from afar he saw his army giving way ! In the 
transports of his wrath he sent forth a roar, enough to 



IRVING] AN HEROIC COMBAT. 509 

shake the very hills. The men of the Manhattoes plucked 
up new courage at the sound, or, rather, they rallied at the 
voice of their leader, of whom they stood more in awe 
than of all the Swedes in Christendom. Without waiting 
for their aid, the daring Peter dashed, sword in hand, into 
the thickest of the foe. Then might be seen achievements 
worthy of the days of the giants. Wherever he went, the 
enemy shrank before him ; the Swedes fled to right and 
left, or were driven, like dogs, into their own ditch ; but 
as he pushed forward singly with headlong courage, the 
foe closed behind and hung upon his rear. One aimed a 
blow full at his heart ; but the protecting power which 
watches over the great and good turned aside the hostile 
blade and directed it to a side-pocket, where reposed an 
enormous iron tobacco-box, endowed, like the shield of 
Achilles, with supernatural powers, doubtless from bear 
ing the portrait of the blessed St. Nicholas. Peter Stuy- 
vesant turned like an angry bear upon the foe, and seizing 
him, as he fled, by an immeasurable queue, "Ah, whoreson 
caterpillar," roared he, "here's what shall make worms' 
meat of thee !" So saying, he whirled his sword, and dealt 
a blow that would have decapitated the varlet, but that 
the pitying steel struck short and shaved the queue for 
ever from his crown. At this moment an arquebusier 
levelled his piece from a neighboring mound, with deadly 
aim ; but the watchful Minerva, who had just stopped to 
tie up her garter, seeing the peril of her favorite hero, 
sent old Boreas with his bellows, who, as the match de 
scended to the pan, gave a blast that blew the priming 
from the touch-hole. 

Thus waged the fight, when the stout Blsingh, survey 
ing the field from the top of a little ravelin, perceived his 
troops banged, beaten, and kicked by the invincible Peter. 
Drawing his falchion and uttering a thousand anathemas, 

43* 



510 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [!BVINQ 

he strode down to the scene of combat with some such 
thundering strides as Jupiter is said by Hesiod to have 
taken when he strode down the spheres to hurl his thun 
derbolts at the Titans. 

When the rival heroes came face to face, each made a 
prodigious start in the style of a veteran stage-champion. 
Then did they regard each other for a moment with the 
bitter aspect of two furious ram-cats on the point of a 
clapper-clawing. Then did they throw themselves into 
one attitude, then into another, striking their swords on 
the ground, first on the right side, then on the left ; at 
last at it they went, with incredible ferocity. Words can 
not tell the prodigies of strength and valor displayed in 
this direful encounter, an encounter compared to which 
the far-famed battles of Ajax with Hector, of JEneas with 
Turnus, Orlando with Eodomont, Guy of Warwick with 
Colbrand the Dane, or of that renowned Welsh knight, 
Sir Owen of the Mountains, with the giant Gruylon, were 
all gentle sports and holiday recreations. At length the 
valiant Peter, watching his opportunity, aimed a blow, 
enough to cleave his adversary to the very chine ; but 
Risingh, nimbly raising his sword, warded it off so nar 
rowly that, glancing on one side, it shaved away a huge 
canteen in which he carried his liquor, thence pursuing 
its trenchant course, it severed off a deep coat-pocket, 
stored with bread and cheese, which provant rolling 
among the armies, occasioned a fearful scrambling between 
the Swedes and Dutchmen, and made the general battle 
to wax more furious than ever. 

Enraged to see his military stores laid waste, the stout 
Risingh, collecting all his forces, aimed a mighty blow full 
at the hero's crest. In vain did his fierce little cocked hat 
oppose its course. The biting steel clove through the 
stubborn ram beaver, and would have cracked the crown 



TRYING J AN HEROIC COMBAT. 511 

of any one not endowed with supernatural hardness of 
head ; but the brittle weapon shivered in pieces on the 
skull of Hardkoppig Piet, shedding a thousand sparks, 
like beams of glory, round his grizzly visage. 

The good Peter reeled with the blow, and, turning up 
his eyes, beheld a thousand suns, besides moons and stars, 
dancing about the firmament ; at length, missing his foot 
ing, by reason of his wooden leg, down he came on his 
seat of honor with a crash which shook the surrounding 
hills. . . . 

The furious Kisingh, in despite of the maxim, cherished 
by all true knights, that " fair play is a jewel," hastened 
to take advantage of the hero's fall ; but, as he stooped 
to give a fatal blow, Peter Stuyvesant dealt him a thwack 
over the sconce with his wooden leg which set a chime 
of bells ringing triple bob-majors in his cerebellum. The 
bewildered Swede staggered with the blow, and the wary 
Peter, seizing a pocket-pistol, which lay hard by, dis 
charged it full at the head of the reeling Eisingh. Let 
not my reader mistake ; it was not a murderous weapon 
loaded with powder and ball, but a little sturdy stone pot 
tle charged to the muzzle with a double dram of true 
Dutch courage, which the knowing Antony Yan Corlear 
carried about him by way of replenishing his valor, and 
which had dropped from his wallet during his furious en 
counter with the drummer. The hideous weapon sang 
through the air, and, true to its course as was the frag 
ment of a rock discharged at Hector by bully Ajax, en 
countered the head of the gigantic Swede with matchless 
violence. 

This heaven-directed blow decided the battle. The pon 
derous pericranium of General Jan Eisingh sank upon his 
breast ; his knees tottered under him ; a death-like torpor 
seized upon his frame, and he tumbled to the earth with 



512 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [lavnra 

such violence that old Pluto started with affright, lest he 
should have broken through the roof of his infernal 
palace. 

His fall was the signal of defeat and victory : the Swedes 
gave way, the Dutch pressed forward ; the former took to 
their heels, the latter hotly pursued. Some entered with 
them, pell-mell, through the sally-port ; others stormed the 
bastion, and others scrambled over the curtain. Thus in 
a little while the fortress of Fort Christina, which, like 
another Troy, had stood a siege of full ten hours, was car 
ried by assault, without the loss of a single man on either 
side. Victory, in the likeness of a gigantic ox-fly, sat 
perched upon the cocked hat of the gallant Stuyvesant ; 
and it was declared, by all the writers whom he hired to 
write the history of his expedition, that on this memo 
rable day he gained a sufficient quantity of glory to im 
mortalize a dozen of the greatest heroes in Christendom ! 



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