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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 




Tamtei iy G Stuart 



Engraved, iy J. Cliattn? 



THOMAS JJ]S1PFIE]ESM 1 



HALF-HOURS 



WITH THE 



BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 



SELECTED AND ARRANGED BY 

CHARLES MORRIS. 



VOL. II. 



PHILADELPHIA: 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 
1891. 



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



IISTEPFmYPERSANDPRINTERS^ 



CONTENTS. 



SUBJECT. AUTHOR. PAGK 

Pompeii and Herculaneum W. D. HOWELLS 7 

Nancy Blynn's Lovers J. T. TROWBRIDGE 18 

Baby Bell . . . THOMAS BAILEY ALDKICH . 35 

Ascending Ktaadn HENRY DAVID THOREAU . . 39 

Impressions of Niagara MARGARET FULLER OSSOLI . 47 

Poe THOMAS W. HIGGINSON ... 57 

Review of the History of Slavery .... GEORGE BANCROFT 64 

Sam Lawson, the Village Do-Nothing . . HARRIET BEECHER SiOwE . 74 

The Courtin' JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL . . 87 

Primitive Forms of the Ordeal HENRY C. LEA 90 

The Progress and Prospects of Literature 

in America R. W. GRISWOLD 99 

Crocodiles on the St. John's WILLIAM BARTRAM .... 108 

Life in Philadelphia in 1800 JOHN B. MCMASTER .... 115 

Seeds and Swine FREDERICK S. COZZENS . . . 129 

Among the Laurels ELIZABETH AKERS ALLEN . 138 

Author-Worship HENRY T. TUCKERMAN ... 142 

Religious Experience JONATHAN EDWARDS .... 146 

Resolutions for Conduct of Life ..... " " .... 147 

The Freedom of the Will " " .... 150 

The Times that Tried Men's Souls .... THOMAS PAINE 152 

The Maiden and the Rattlesnake W. G. SIMMS 163 

The Sheriff of Calaveras BRET HARTE 170 

Prelude to " Among the Hills" J. G. WHITTIER 181 

Second Inaugural Address ABRAHAM LINCOLN .... 185 

Gettysburg Oration " " .... 188 

Winter Life and Scenery in Siberia . . . . GEORGE KENNAN 189 

A Siberian Aurora " " 196 

The Bluebird ALEXANDER WILSON .... 20T 

A. Sojourn in Arcady ABBA G. WOOLSON C 07 

3 



4 CONTENTS. 

SUBJECT. AUTHOR. PAOB 

Sunshine and Hope VARIOUS 217 

Happiness J. R. LOWELL 217 

Boyhood Days WASHINGTON ALLSTON . . . 219 

Betrothed Anew E. C. STEDMAN 219 

The Wine-Cup C. F. HOFFMAN 220 

The Toast MARY KYLE DALLAS . . . 221 

Dolce Far Niente CHARLES G. HALPINE ... 222 

The Basking Soul ANONYMOUS 223 

Sunshine " 224 

A Successful Ruse JOHN P. KENNEDY 226 

The Moon in the Mill-Pond JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS . . 238 

Life and Scenery on the Congo HENRY M. STANLEY .... 244 

The Conditions of English Thought . . . GEORGE S. MORRIS .... 255 

The Culprit Fay JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE . . 265 

The Origin of Language W. D. WHITNEY 272 

A Declaration of Love W. D. HOWELLS 284 

Life in Brushland " JOHN DARBY" 292 

The American Revolution JARED SPARKS 302 

Interview o Hadad and Tamar J. A. HILLHOUSE 307 

Outwitting a Lawyer J. G. HOLLAND 312 

Why I Left the Anvil . ELIHU BURRITT 326 

Our Debt to our Ancestors T. D. WOOLSEY 331 

Don Quixote GEORGE TICKNOR 339 

Kit Carson's Ride JOAQUIN MILLER 346 

Through the Lines G. W. CABLE 351 

The Light of the Harem SUSAN E. WALLACE .... 361 

The Heat and Light of the Sun C. A. YOUNG 375 

A Banquet at Aspasia's LYDIA MARIA CHILD . . . 380 

The Owl-Critic JAMES T. FIELDS 388 

Aunt Quimby ELIZA LESLIE 391 

Tommy MARY A. DODGE 407 

Farewell Address GEORGE WASHINGTON . . . 416 

Winter Pleasures E. H. ROLLINS 420 

Shadow and Grief VARIOUS 431 

The Flight of Youth . R. H. STODDARD 431 

Resignation H. W. LONGFELLOW .... 431 

The Death-Bed JAMES ALDRICH 432 

Perdita ANONYMOUS 433 

Nearer Home PH<EBE CARY 433 

The Voiceless 0. W. HOLMES 434 

The Haunted Palace E. A. POE . .435 



CONTENTS. 



Pomp's Religious Experience ANONYMOUS = . 437 

My Notion of Music S. P. PARTON ..... .442 

Boston Blessings and Beans " " 445 

Unknown Acquaintances " " 446 

Life and its Mysteries " " 449 

The Ruins of Uxmal FELIX L. OSWALD ..... 451 

Care of the Body M. V. TERHUNE 467 

Spring-Time and Boyhood DONALD G. MITCHELL . . . 476 

The Notch of the White Mountains . . . TIMOTHY DWIGHT . . . . . 483 

Song of the Redwood-Tree WALT WHITMAN 489 

Josiah Allen's Wife calls on the President . MARIETTA HOLLEY .... 494 

Deacon Quirk's Opinions E. S. PHELPS 503 



HALF-HOURS 



WITH THE 



BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 



POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM. 

W. D. HOWELLS. 

[William Dean Howells, who has recently risen into distinguished 
prominence as an American novelist of the first order of ability, is a 
native of Ohio, where he was horn in 1837. His works are somewhat 
wide in scope, embracing novels, travels, and poems. There are no 
more delicate bits of word-painting than some of the scenes in " Vene 
tian Life" and " Italian Journeys," from the latter of which we offer 
a selection. These are among his earlier works. More recently his 
attention has been given to fiction, in which he has attained a position 
of great popularity. His method is to depict life as it actually exists, 
devoid of all romance, and wearing its every -day garb. Yet he has a 
shrewd insight into character, and analyzes it with effective clearness. 
He has written several plays and short character-dramas.] 

POMPEII is, in truth, so full of marvel and surprise that 
it would be unreasonable to express disappointment with 
Pompeii in fiction. And yet I cannot help it. An exu 
berant carelessness of phrase in most writers and talkers 
who describe it had led me to expect much more than it 
was possible to find there. In my Pompeii I confess that 
the houses had no roofs : in fact, the rafters which sus- 

7 



8 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [How ELLS 

tained the tiles being burnt, how could the roofs help foil 
ing in? But otherwise my Pompeii was a very complete 
affair : the walls all rose to their full height ; door-ways 
and arches were perfect ; the columns were all unbroken 
and upright; putting roofs on my Pompeii, you might 
have lived in it very comfortably. The real Pompeii is 
different. It is seldom that any wall is unbroken ; most 
columns are fragmentary ; and, though the ground-plan? 
are always distinct, very few rooms in the city are per 
feet in form, and the whole is much more ruinous than 1 
thought. 

But this ruin once granted, and the idle disappoint 
ment at its greatness overcome, there is endless material 
for study, instruction, and delight. It is the revelation of 
another life, and the utterance of the past is here more 
perfect than anywhere else in the world. Indeed, I think 
that the true friend of Pompeii should make it a matter 
of conscience, on entering the enchanted city, to cast out 
of his knowledge all the rubbish that has fallen into it 
from novels and travels, and to keep merely the facts of 
the town's luxurious life and agonizing death, with such 
incidents of the eruption as he can remember from the 
description of Pliny. These are the spells to which the 
sorcery yields, and with these in your thought you can 
rehabilitate the city until Yentisei seems to be a valet de 
place of the first century, and yourselves a set of blond 
barbarians to whom he is showing off the splendors of 
one of the most brilliant towns of the empire of Titus. 
Those sad furrows in the pavement become vocal with 
the joyous rattle of chariot-wheels on a sudden, and you 
prudently step up on the narrow sidewalks and rub along 
by the little shops of wine, and grain, and oil, with which 
the thrifty voluptuaries of Pompeii flanked their street- 
doors. The counters of these shops run across their fronts, 



HOWELLS] POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM. 9 

and are pierced with round holes on the top, through 
which you see dark depths of oil in the jars below, and 
not sullen lumps of ashes ; those stately amphorce behind 
are full of wine, and in the corners are bags of wheat. 

" This house, with a shop on either side, whose is it, 
XXYL?" 

"It is the house of the great Sallust, my masters. 
Would you like his autograph? I know one of his slaves 
who would sell it." 

You are a good deal stared at, naturally, as you pass by. 
for people in Pompeii have not much to do, and, besides, 
a Briton is not an every-day sight there, as he will be 
one of these centuries. The skins of wild beasts are little 
worn in Pompeii ; and those bold-eyed Roman women 
think it rather odd that we should like to powder our 
shaggy heads with brick-dust. However, these are mat 
ters of taste. We, for our part, cannot repress a feeling 
of disgust at the loungers in the street, who, XXYI. tells 
us, are all going to soak themselves half the day in the 
baths yonder; for, if there is in Pompeii one thing more 
offensive than another to our savage sense of propriety, 
it is the personal cleanliness of the inhabitants. We little 
know what a change for the better will be wrought in 
these people with the lapse of time, and that they will 
yet come to wash themselves but once a year, as we do. 

(The reader may go on doing this sort of thing at some 
length for himself, and may imagine, if he pleases, a boast 
ful conversation among the Pompeians at the baths, in 
which the barbarians hear how Agricola has broken the 
backbone of a rebellion in Britain, and in which all the 
speakers begin their observations with " Ho ! my Lepi- 
dus!" and "Ha! my Diomed!" In the mean time we 
return to the present day, and step down the Street of 
Plenty along with Yentisei.) . . . 



10 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

The cotton whitens over two-thirds of Pompeii yet in 
terred : happy the generation that lives to learn the won 
drous secrets of that sepulchre ! For, when you have once 
been at Pompeii, this phantasm of the past takes deeper 
hold on your imagination than any living city, and becomes 
and is the metropolis of your dream-land forever. O mar 
vellous city ! who shall reveal the cunning of your spell ? 
Something not death, something not life, something that 
is the one when you turn to determine its essence as the 
other ! What is it comes to me at this distance of that 
which I saw in Pompeii ? The narrow and curving, but 
not crooked, streets, with the blazing sun of that Nea 
politan November falling into them, or clouding their 
wheel-worn lava with the black, black shadows of the 
many-tinted walls ; the houses, and the gay columns of 
white, yellow, and red ; the delicate pavements of mosaic ; 
the skeletons of dusty cisterns and dead fountains ; in 
animate garden-spaces with pygmy statues suited to their 
littleness ; suites of fairy bedchambers, painted with ex 
quisite frescos ; dining-halls with joyous scenes of hunt 
and banquet on their walls ; the ruinous sites of tem 
ples ; the melancholy emptiness of booths and shops and 
jolly drinking-houses ; the lonesome tragic theatre, with 
a modern Pompeian drawing water from a well there j 
the baths with their roofs perfect yet, and the stucco 
bass-reliefs all but unharmed ; around the whole, the city 
wall crowned with slender poplars ; outside the gates, the 
long avenue of tombs, and the Appian Way stretching 
on to Stabise ; and, in the distance, Vesuvius, brown and 
bare, with his fiery breath scarce visible against the cloud 
less heaven; these are the things that float before my 
fancy as I turn back to look at myself walking those en 
chanted streets, and to wonder if I could ever have been 
BO blest. 



HOWELLS] POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM. \\ 

For there is nothing on the earth, or under it, like 
Pompeii. ... 

The plans of nearly all the houses in the city are alike : 
the entrance-room next the door ; the parlor or drawing- 
room next that ; then the impluvium, or unroofed space in 
the middle of the house, where the rains were caught and 
drained into the cistern, and where the household used to 
come to wash itself, primitively, as at a pump ; the little 
garden, with its painted columns, behind the impluvium. 
and, at last, the dining-room. There are minute bed 
chambers on either side, and, as I said, a shop at one side 
in front, for the sale of the master's grain, wine, and oil. 
The pavements of all the houses are of mosaic, which, in 
the better sort, is very delicate and beautiful, and is found 
sometimes perfectly uninjured. An exquisite pattern, often 
repeated, is a ground of tiny cubes of white marble with 
dots of black dropped regularly into it. Of course there 
were many picturesque and fanciful designs, of which the 
best have been removed to the Museum in Naples: but 
several good ones are still left, and (like that of the Wild 
Boar) give names to the houses in which they are found. 

But, after all, the great wonder, the glory, of these 
Pompeian houses is in their frescos. If I tried to give 
an idea of the luxury of color in Pompeii, the most gor 
geous adjectives would be as poorly able to reproduce a 
vivid and glowing sense of those hues as the photography 
which now copies the drawing of the decorations : so I do 
not try. 

I know it is a cheap and feeble thought, and yet, let 
the reader please to consider: A workman nearly two 
thousand years ago laying upon the walls those soft lines 
that went to make up fauns and satyrs, nymphs and naiads, 
heroes and gods and goddesses ; and getting weary and 
lying down to sleep, and dreaming of an eruption of the 



12 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HowELLS 

mountain; of the city buried under a fiery hail, and slum 
bering m its bed of ashes seventeen centuries ; then of its 
being slowly exhumed, and, after another lapse of years, 
of some one coming to gather the shadow of that dreamer's 
work upon a plate of glass, that he might infinitely re 
produce it and sell it to tourists at from five francs to fifty 
centimes a copy, I say, consider such a dream, dreamed 
in the hot heart of the day, after certain cups of Vesuvian 
wine ! What a piece of Katzenjdmmer (I can use no milder 
term) would that workman think it when he woke again ! 
Alas ! what is history and the progress of the arts and 
sciences but one long Katzenjdmmer? 

Photography cannot give, any more than I, the colors 
of the frescos, but it can do the drawing better, and, 1 
suspect, the spirit also. I used the word workman, and 
not artist, in speaking of the decoration of the walls, for 
in most cases the painter was only an artisan, and did his 
work probably by the yard, as the artisan who paints 
walls and ceilings in Italy does at this day. But the old 
workman did his work much more skilfully and tastefully 
than the modern, threw on expanses of mellow color, 
delicately panelled off the places for the scenes, and pen 
cilled in the figures and draperies (there are usually more 
of the one than the other) with a deft hand. Of course 
the houses of the rich were adorned by men of talent ; 
but it is surprising to see the community of thought and 
feeling in all this work, whether it be from cunninger or 
clumsier hands. The subjects are nearly always chosen 
from the fables of the gods, and they are in illustration 
of the poets, Homer and the rest. To suit that soft, lux 
urious life which people led in Pompeii, the themes are 
commonly amorous, and sometimes not too chaste : there 
is much of Bacchus and Ariadne, much of Venus and 
Adonis, and Diana bathes a good deal with her nymphs, 



HOWELLS] POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM. 13 

not to mention frequent representations of the toilet of 
that beautiful monster which the lascivious art of the 
time loved to depict. One of the most pleasing of all 
the scenes is that in one of the houses, of the Judgment 
of Paris, in which the shepherd sits upon a bank in an 
attitude of ineffable and flattered importance, with one 
leg carelessly crossing the other, and both hands resting 
lightly on his shepherd's crook, while the goddesses before 
him await his sentence. Naturally, the painter has done 
his best for the victress in this rivalry, and you see 

"Idalian Aphrodite beautiful," 

as she should be, but with a warm and piquant spice of 
girlish resentment in her attitude, that Paris should pause 
for an instant, which is altogether delicious. 

" And I beheld great Here's angry eyes." 

Awful eyes! How did the painter make them? The 
wonder of all these pagan frescos is the mystery of the 
eyes, still, beautiful, unhuman. You cannot believe that 
it is wrong for those tranquil-eyed men and women to do 
evil, they look so calm and so unconscious in it all ; and 
in the presence of the celestials, as they bend upon you 
those eternal orbs, in whose regard you are but a part of 
space, you feel that here art has achieved the unearthly. 
I know of no words in literature which give a sense (noth 
ing gives the idea) of the stare of these gods, except that 
magnificent line of Kingsley's, describing the advance 
over the sea toward Andromeda of the oblivious and 
unsympathizing Nereids. They floated slowly up, and 
their eyes 

"Stared on her, silent and still, like the eyes in the house of the 
idols." 

ii. 2 



14 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOWELLS 

The colors of this fresco of the Judgment of Paris are 
still so fresh and bright that it photographs very well ; 
but there are other frescos wherein there is more visible 
perfection of line, but in which the colors are so dim that 
they can only be reproduced by drawings. One of these 
is the wounded Adonis cared for by Yenus and the Loves ; 
in which the story is treated with a playful pathos won 
derfully charming. The fair boy leans in the languor of 
his hurt toward Yenus, who sits utterly disconsolate be 
side him, while the Cupids busy themselves with such 
slight surgical offices as Cupids may render : one prepares 
a linen bandage for the wound, another wraps it round 
the leg of Adonis, another supports one of his heavy arms, 
another finds his own emotions too 'much for him and 
pauses to weep. It is a pity that the colors of this beau 
tiful fresco are grown so dim, and a greater pity that most 
of the other frescos in Pompeii must share its fate, and 
fade away. The hues are vivid when the walls are first 
uncovered and the ashes washed from the pictures, but 
then the malice of the elements begins anew, and rain and 
sun draw the life out of tints which the volcano failed to 
obliterate. In nearly all cases they could be preserved by 
throwing a roof above the walls; and it is a wonder that 
the government does not take this slight trouble to save 
them. 

Among the frescos which told no story but their own, 
we were most pleased with one in a delicately-painted 
little bedchamber. This represented an alarmed and fur 
tive man, whom we at once pronounced The Belated Hus 
band, opening a door with a night-latch. Nothing could 
have been better than this miserable wretch's cowardly 
.haste and cautious noiselessness in applying his key: ap 
prehension sat upon his brow, confusion dwelt in his guilty 
eye. He had been out till two o'clock in the morning, 



HOWELLS] POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM. 15 

electioneering for Pansa, the friend of the people ("Pansa, 
and Koman gladiators," "Pansa, and Christians to the 
Beasts," was the platform), and he had left his placens 
uxor at home alone with the children, and now within this 
door that placens uxor awaited him ! . . . 

The afternoon on which we visited Herculaneum was 
in melancholy contrast to the day we spent in Pompeii. 
The lingering summer had at last saddened into something 
like autumnal gloom, and that blue, blue sky of Naples 
was overcast. So, this second draught of the spirit of the 
past had not only something of the insipidity of custom, 
but brought rather a depression than a lightness to our 
hearts. There was so little of Herculaneum : only a few 
hundred yards square are exhumed, and we counted the 
houses easily on the fingers of one hand, leaving the 
thumb to stand for the few rods of street that, with its 
flagging of lava and narrow border of foot-walks, lay be 
tween ; and though the custodian, apparently moved at 
our dejection, said that the excavation was to be resumed 
the very next week, the assurance did little to restore our 
cheerfulness: Indeed, I fancy that these old cities must 
needs be seen in the sunshine by those who would feel 
what gay lives they once led : by dimmer light they are 
very sullen spectres, and their doom still seems to brood 
upon them. I know that even Pompeii could not have 
been joyous that sunless afternoon, for what there was to 
see of mournful Herculaneum was as brilliant with colors 
as anything in the former city. Nay, I believe that the 
tints of the frescos and painted columns were even brighter, 
and that the walls of the houses were far less ruinous, than 
those of Pompeii. But no house was wholly freed from 
lava, and the little street ran at the rear of the buildings, 
which were supposed to front on some grander avenue not 
yet exhumed. It led down, as the custodian pretended, 



16 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOWELLS 

to a wharf, and he showed an iron ring in the wall of the 
House of Argo, standing at the end of the street, to which, 
he said, his former fellow-citizens used to fasten their boats, 
though it was all dry enough there now. 

There is evidence in Herculaneum of much more ambi 
tious architecture than seems to have been known in Pom 
peii. The ground-plan of the houses in the two cities is 
alike ; but in the former there was often a second story, as 
was proven by the charred ends of beams still protruding 
from the walls, while in the latter there is only one house 
which is thought to have aspired to a second floor. The 
House of Argo is also much larger than any in Pompeii, 
and its appointments were more magnificent. Indeed, we 
imagined that in this more purely C4reek town we felt an 
atmosphere of better taste in everything than prevailed 
in the. fashionable Roman watering-place, though this, too, 
was a summer resort of the "best society" of the empire. 
The mosaic pavements were exquisite, and the little bed 
chambers dainty and delicious in their decorations. The 
lavish delight in color found expression in the vividest 
hues upon the walls, and not only were the columns oi 
the garden painted, but the foliage of the capitals was 
variously tinted. The garden of the House of Argo was 
vaster than any of the classic world which we had yet 
seen, and was superb with a long colonnade of unbroken 
columns. Between these and the walls of the houses was 
a pretty pathway of mosaic, and in the midst once stood 
marble tables, under which the workmen exhuming the 
city found certain crouching skeletons. At one end was* 
the dining-room, of course, and painted on the wall was a 
lady with a parasol. 

I thought all Herculaneum sad enough, but the prolu 
sion of flowers growing wild in this garden gave it a yet 
more tender and pathetic charm. Here where so long 



HOWELLS] POMPEII AND HERCULANEUM. 17 

ago the flowers had bloomed, and perished in the terrible 
blossoming of the mountain that sent up its fires in the 
awful similitude of Nature's harmless and lovely forms, 
and showered its destroying petals all abroad was it not 
tragic to find again the soft tints, the graceful shapes, the 
sweet perfumes, of the earth's immortal life? Of them 
that planted and tended and plucked and bore in their 
besoms and twined in their hair these fragile children of 
the summer, what witness in the world ? Only the crouch 
ing skeletons under the tables. Alas and alas ! 

The skeletons went with us throughout Herculaneum, 
and descended into the cell, all green with damp, under 
the basilica, and lay down, fettered and manacled, in the 
place of those found there beside the big bronze kettle 
in which the prisoners used to cook their dinners. How 
ghastly the thought of it was ! If we had really seen this 
kettle and the skeletons there as we did not we could 
not have suffered more than we did. They took all the 
life out of the House of Perseus, and the beauty from his 
pretty little domestic temple to the Penates, and this was 
all there was left in Herculaneum to see. 

" Is there nothing else ?" we demand of the custodian. 

" Signori, this is all." 

" It is mighty little." 

" Perdoni, signori ! ma " 

11 Well," we say sourly to each other, glancing round at 
the walls of the pit on the bottom of which the bit of 
city stands, " it is a good thing to know that Herculaneum 
amounts to nothing." 



ii. b 2* 



18 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TROWBRIDQE 

NANCY BLYNN'S LOVERS. 

J. T. TROWBRIDGE. 

[The lists of American humor are well and ably filled. It is ques 
tionable if any European literature can vie with that of the United 
States in the variety of its humorous productions. And of our pure 
humorists, both in prose and in verse, none holds a higher position than 
John Townsend Trowbridge. In the amusing short tale he is an artist 
of great ability, and some of his situations are uproariously funny. 
From his volume entitled " Coupon Bonds" we select, not the most 
amusing of its stories, but the one we can give in the most complete 
form. Mr. Trowbridge was born in Monroe County, New York, in 
1827. He has contributed much to periodicals, and several volumes 
of his contributions, in prose and in verse, have been published.] 

WILLIAM TANSLEY, familiarly called Tip, having finished 
his afternoon's work in Judge Boxton's garden, milked 
the cows, and given the calves and pigs their sapper, 
not forgetting to make sure of his own, stole out of the 
house with his Sunday jacket and the secret intention of 
going " a-sparking." 

Tip's manner of setting about this delicate business was 
characteristic of his native shrewdness. He usually went 
well provided with gifts ; and on the present occasion, 
before quitting the Judge's premises, he " drew upon" a 
certain barrel in the barn, which was his bank, where he 
had made, during the day, frequent deposits of green corn, 
of the diminutive species called tucket, smuggled in from 
the garden, and designed for roasting and eating with the 
Widow Elynn's pretty daughter. Stealthily, in the dusk, 
stopping now and then to listen, Tip brought out the little 
milky ears from beneath the straw, crammed his pockets 
with them, and packed full the crown of his old straw 
hat; then, with the sides of his jacket distended, his trou 
sers bulged, and a toppling weight on his head, he peeped 



TROWBRIDGE] NANCY BLYNN'S LOVERS. 19 

cautiously from the door to see that the way was clear 
for an escape to the orchard, and thence, " 'cross lots," to 
the Widow Blynn's house. 

Tip was creeping furtively behind a wall, stooping, with 
one hand steadying his hat and the other his pockets, when 
a voice called his name. 

It was the voice of Cephas Boxton. Now, if there was 
a person in the world whom Tip feared and hated, it was 
" that Cephe," and this for many reasons, the chief of 
which was that the Judge's son did, upon occasions, flirt 
with Miss Nancy Blynn, who, sharing the popular preju 
dice in favor of fine clothes and riches, preferred, appar 
ently, a single passing glance from Cephas to all Tip's 
gifts and attentions. 

Tip dropped down behind the wall. 

" Tip Tansley I" again called the hated voice. 

But the proprietor of that euphonious name, not choos 
ing to answer to it, remained quiet, one hand still support 
ing his hat, the other his pockets, while young Boxton, to 
whom glimpses of the aforesaid hat, appearing over the 
edge of the wall, had previously been visible, stepped 
quickly and noiselessly to the spot. Tip crouched, with 
his unconscious eyes in the grass ; Cephas watched him 
good-humoredly, leaning over the wall. 

" If it isn't Tip, what is it ?" And Cephas struck one 
side of the distended jacket with his cane. An ear of 
corn dropped out. He struck the other side, and out 
dropped another ear. A couple of smart blows across the 
back succeeded, followed by more corn ; and at the same 
time Tip, getting up, and endeavoring to protect his 
pockets, let go his hat, which fell off, spilling its contents 
in the grass. 

" Did you call ?" gasped the panic-stricken Tip. 

The rivals stood with the wall between them, as ludi- 



20 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TROWBRIDQB 

crous a contrast, I dare assert, as ever two lovers of one 
woman presented. 

Tip, abashed and afraid, brushed the hair out of his 
eyes and made an unsuccessful attempt to look the hand 
some and smiling Cephas in the face. 

"Do you pretend you did not hear with all these 
ears ?" said the Judge's son. 

I I wa s a-huntin' for a shoe-string," murmured Tip, 
casting dismayed glances along the ground. " I lost one 
here some'eres." 

" Tip," said Cephas, putting his cane under Master Tans- 
ley's chin to assist him in holding up his head, " look me in 
the eye, and tell me, what is the difference 'twixt you 
and that corn ?" 

" I d'n' know what ?" And, liberating his chin, Tip 
dropped his head again, and began kicking again in the 
grass in search of the imaginary shoe-string. 

" That is lying on the ground, and you are lying on 
your feet," said Cephas. 

Tip replied that he was going to the woods for bean 
poles, and that he took the corn to feed the cattle in the 
"back pastur', 'cause they hooked." 

" I wish you were as innocent of hooking as the cattle 
are !" said the incredulous Cephas. " Go and put the sad 
dle on Pericles." 

Tip proceeded in a straight line to the stable, his 
pockets dropping corn by the way ; while Cephas, laugh 
ing quietly, walked up and down under the trees. 

" Hoss's ready," muttered Tip from the barn door. 

Instead of leading Pericles out, he left him in the stall, 
and climbed up into the hay-loft to hide, and brood over 
his misfortune until his rival's departure. It was not 
alone the affair of the stolen corn that troubled Tip ; but 
from the fact that Pericles was ordered, he suspected that 



TROWBRIDGE] NANCY BLYNN.'S LOVERS. 21 

Cephas likewise purposed paying a visit to Nancy Blynn. 
Resolved to wait and watch, he lay under the dusty roof, 
chewing the bitter cud of envy, and now and then a stem 
of new-mown timothy, till Cephas entered the stalls be 
neath, and said, " Be still !" in his clear, resonant tones, to 
Pericles. 

Pericles uttered a quick, low whinny of recognition, and 
ceased pawing the floor. 

" Are you there, Cephas ?" presently said another voice. 

It was that of the Judge, who had followed his son into 
the barn. Tip lay with his elbows on the hay, and lis 
tened. 

" Going to ride, are you ? Who saddled this horse ?" 

" Tip," replied Cephas. 

"He didn't half curry him. Wait a minute. I'm 
ashamed to let a horse go out looking so." 

And the Judge began to polish off Pericles with wisps 
of straw. 

" Darned ef I care I" muttered Tip. 

" Cephas," said the Judge, " I don't want to make you 
vain, but I must say you ride the handsomest colt in the 
county. I'm proud of Pericles. Does his shoe pinch him 
lately ?" 

"Not since 'twas set. He looks well enough, father. 
Your eyes are better than mine," said Cephas, " if you can 
see any dust on his coat." 

" I luf to rub a colt, it does 'em so much good," re 
joined the Judge. " Cephas, if you are going by 'Squire 
Stedman's, I'd like to have you call and get that mort 
gage." 

" I don't think I shall ride that way, father. I'll go for 
it in the morning, however." 

" Never mind, unless you happen that way. Just hand 
me a wisp of that straw, Cephas." 



22 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TROWBKIDQT, 

Cephas handed his father the straw. The Judge rubbed 
away some seconds longer, then said, carelessly, " If you 
are going up the mountain, I wish you would stop and 
tell Colby I'll take those lambs, and send for 'em next 
week." 

" I'm not sure that I shall go as far as Colby's," replied 
Cephas. 

"People say" the Judge's voice changed slightly 
"you don't often get farther than the Widow Blynn's 
when you travel that road. How is it ?" 

" Ask the widow," said Cephas. 

"Ask her daughter, more like," rejoined the Judge. 
* * * * . * #* * * 

Tip Tansley, more excited than he had ever been in his 
life, waited until the two had left the barn ; then, creeping 
over the hay, hitting his head in the dark against the low 
rafters, he slid from his hiding-place, carefully descended 
the stairs, gathered up what he could find of the scattered 
ears of tucket, and set out to run through the orchard 
and across the fields to the Widow Elynn's cottage. The 
evening was starry, and the edges of the few dark clouds 
that lay low in the east predicted the rising moon. Halt 
ing only to climb fences, or to pick up now and then the 
corn that persisted in dropping from his pockets, or to 
scrutinize some object that he thought looked " pokerish" 
in the dark, prudently shunning the dismal woods on one 
side, and the pasture where the " hooking" cattle were on 
the other, Tip kept on, 'and arrived, all palpitating and 
perspiring, at the widow's house, just as the big red moon 
was coming up amidst the clouds over the hill. He had 
left a good deal of his corn and all his courage behind him 
in his flight ; for Tip, ardently as he loved the beautiful 
Nancy, could lay no claim to her on the poetical ground 
that "the brave deserve the fair." 



TROWBRIDGK] NANCY BLYNN'S LOVERS. 23 

With uncertain knuckles Tip rapped on the humble 
door, having first looked through the kitchen window 
and seen the widow sitting within, sewing by the light of 
a tallow candle. 

" Good-evening, William," said Mrs. Blynn, opening the 
door, with her spectacles on her forehead, and her work 
gathered up in her lap under her bent figure. " Come in ; 
take a chair." 

" Guess I can't stop," replied Tip. sidling into the room 
with his hat on. " How's all the folks ? Nancy to hum ?" 

" Nancy's up-stairs ; I'll speak to her. Nancy," called 
the widow at the chamber door, "Tip is here! 'Better 
take a chair while you stop," she added, smiling upon the 
visitor, who always, on arriving, " guessed he couldn't 
stop," and usually ended by remaining until he was sent 
away. 

" Wai, may as well ; jest as cheap settin' as standin'," 
said Tip, depositing the burden of his personality weight, 
one hundred and forty-six pounds upon one of the creaky, 
splint-bottomed chairs. " Pooty warm night, kind o'," 
raising his arm to wipe his face with his sleeve ; upon 
which an ear of that discontented tucket took occasion 
to tumble upon the floor. " Hello ! what's that ? By gra 
cious, if 'ta'n't green corn 1 Got any fire ? Guess we'll 
have a roast." 

And Tip, taking off his hat, began to empty his stuffed 
pockets into it. 

"Law me!" said the widow, squinting over her work. 
" I thought your pockets stuck out amazin' ! I ha'n't had 
the first taste of green corn this year. It's real kind o' 
thoughtful in you, Tip ; but the fire's all out, and we can't 
think of roastin' on't to-night, as I see." 

" Mebby Nancy will," chuckled Tim. " Ain't she cornin' 
down ? Any time to-night, Nancy !" cried Tip, raising his 



24 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TROWHRIDGK 

voice, to be heard by his beloved in her retreat. " You 
do'no what I brought ye !" 

Now, sad as the truth may sound to the reader sympa 
thizing with Tip, Nancy cared little what he had brought, 
and experienced no very ardent desire to come down and 
meet him. She sat at her window, looking at the stars, 
and thinking of somebody who she had hoped would visit 
her that night. But that somebody was not Tip ; and 
although the first sound of his footsteps had set her hea-rt 
fluttering with expectation, his near approach, breathing 
fast and loud, had given her a chill of disappointment, 
almost of disgust, and she now much preferred her own 
thoughts, and the moonrise through the trees in the di 
rection of Judge Boxton's house, to all the green corn and 
all the green lovers in New England. Her mother, how 
ever, who commiserated Tip, and believed as much in 
being civil to neighbors as she did in keeping the Sabbath, 
called again, and gave her no peace until she had left the 
window, the moonrise, and her romantic dreams, and de 
scended into the prosaic atmosphere of the kitchen and 
of Tip and his corn. 

How lovely she looked, to Tip's eyes ! Her plain, neat 
calico gown, enfolding a wonderful little rounded embodi 
ment of grace and beauty, seemed to him an attire fit for 
any queen or fairy that ever lived. But it was the same 
old tragic story over again : although Tip loved Nancy, 
Nancy loved not Tip. However he might flatter himself, 
her regard for him was on the cool side of sisterly, sim 
ply the toleration of a kindly heart for one who was not 
to blame for being less bright than other people. 

She took her sewing and sat by the table, oh, so beau 
tiful ! Tip thought, and enveloped in a charmed atmos 
phere which seemed to touch and transfigure every 
object except himself. The humble apartment, the splint- 



TROWBRIDGE] NANCY BLYNN'S LOVERS. 25 

bottomed chairs, the stockings drying on the pole, even 
the widow's cap and gown, and the old black snuffers on 
the table, all, save poor, homely Tip, stole a ray of grace 
from the halo of her loveliness. 

Nancy discouraged the proposition of roasting corn, 
and otherwise deeply grieved her visitor by intently work 
ing and thinking, instead of taking part in the conversa 
tion. At length a bright idea occurred to him. 

" Got a slate and pencil ?" 

The widow furnished the required articles. He then 
found a book, and, using the cover as a rule, marked out 
the plan of a game. 

" Fox and geese, Nancy ; ye play ?" And, having 
pricked off a sufficient number of kernels from one of the 
ears of corn, and placed them upon the slate for geese, he 
selected the largest he could find for a fox, stuck it upon 
a pin, and proceeded to roast it in the candle. 

" Which'll ye have, Nancy ?" pushing the slate toward 
her : " take your choice, and give me the geese ; then beat 
me if you can ! Come, won't ye play ?" 

" Oh, dear, Tip, what a tease you are !" said Nancy. " I 
don't want to play. I must work. Get mother to play 
with you, Tip." 

"She don't wanter!" exclaimed Tip. "Come, Nancy; 
then I'll tell ye suthin' I heard jest 'fore I come away, 
suthin' 'bout you !" 

And Tip, assuming a careless air, proceeded to pile up 
the ears of corn, log-house fashion, upon the table, while 
Nancy was finishing her seam. 

" About me ?" she echoed. 

"You'd ha' thought so!" said Tip, slyly glancing over 
the corn as he spoke, to watch the effect on Nancy. 
" Cephe and the old man had the all-firedest row, tell 
you I" 

II. B 3 



26 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TROWBRIDQE 

He hitched around in his chair, and, resting his elbows 
on his knees, looked up, shrewd and grinning, into her 
face. 

" William Tansley, what do you mean ?" 

" As if you couldn't guess I Cephe was comin' to see 
you to-night; but he won't," chuckled Tip. "Say I ye 
^eady for fox and geese ?" 

*' How do you know that ?" demanded Nancy. 

" 'Cause I heard ! The old man stopped him, and Cephe 
was goin' to ride over him, but the old man was too much 
for him ; he jerked him off the hoss, and there they had 
it, lickety-switch, rough-and-tumble, till Cephe give in, and 
told the old man, ruther'n have any words, he'd promise 
never to come and see you ag'in if he'd give him three 
thousand dollars ; and the old man said 'twas a bargain !" 

"Is that true, Tip?" cried the widow, dropping her 
work and raising her hands. 

" True as I live and breathe, and draw the breath of life, 
and have a livin' bein' !" Tip solemnly affirmed. 

"Just as I always told you, Nancy!" exclaimed the 
widow. "I knew how it would be. I felt sartin Cephas 
couldn't be depended upon. His father never'd hear a 
word to it, I always said. Now don't feel bad, Nancy ; 
don't mind it. It'll be all for the best, I hope. Now, 
don't, Nancy ; don't, I beg and beseech." 

She saw plainly by the convulsive movement of the 
girl's bosom and the quivering of her lip that some pas 
sionate demonstration was threatened. Tip meanwhile 
had advanced his chair still nearer, contorting his neck 
and looking up with leering malice into her face until his 
nose almost touched her cheek. 

" What do ye think now of Cephe Boxton ?" he asked, 
tauntingly ; " hey ?" 

A stinging blow upon the ear rewarded his impertinence, 



TROWBRIDGE] NANCY BLYNN 1 S LOVERS. 27 

and he recoiled so suddenly that his chair went over and 
threw him sprawling upon the floor. 

" Gosh all hemlock !" he muttered, scrambling to his 
feet, rubbing first his elbow, then his ear. "What's that 
fur, I'd like to know, knockin' a feller down?" 

" What do I think of Cephas Boxton ?" cried Nancy. 
" I think the same I did before, why shouldn't I ? 
Your slander is no slander. Now sit down and behave 
yourself, and don't put your face too near mine, if you 
don't want your ears boxed !" 

" Why, Nancy, how could you ?" groaned the widow. 

Nancy made no reply, but resumed her work very much 
as if nothing had happened. 

" Hurt you much, William ?" 

"Not much; only it made my elbow sing like all Je- 
rewsalem ! Never mind ; she'll find out ! Where's my 
hat ?" 

" You ain't going, be ye ?" said Mrs. Blynn, with an air 
of solicitude. 

" I guess I ain't wanted here," mumbled Tip, pulling his 
hat over his ears. He struck the slate, scattering the fox 
and geese, and demolished the house of green corn. " You 
can keep that ; I don't want it. Good-night, Miss Blynn." 

Tip placed peculiar emphasis upon the name, and fum 
bled a good while with the latch, expecting Nancy would 
say something ; but she maintained a cool and dignified 
silence, and, as nobody urged him to stay, he reluctantly 
departed, his heart full of injury, and his hopes collapsed 
like his pockets. 

For some minutes Nancy continued to sew intently and 
fast, her flushed face bowed over the seam ; then suddenly 
her eyes blurred, her fingers forgot their cunning, the 
needle shot blindly hither and thither, and the quickly- 
drawn thread snapped in twain. 



28 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TROWBRIDGE 

" Nancy ! Nancy ! don't !" pleaded Mrs. Blynn ; " I beg 
of ye, now don't!" 

" Oh, mother," burst forth the young girl, with sobs, 
" I am so unhappy ! What did I strike poor Tip for ? He 
did not know any better. I am always doing something 
so wrong ! He could not have made up the story. Cephas 
would have come here to-night, I know he would." 

"Poor child! poor child!" said Mrs. Blynn. "Why 
couldn't you hear to me ? I always told you to be careful 
and not like Cephas too well. But maybe Tip didn't un 
derstand. Maybe Cephas will come to-morrow, and then 
all will be explained." 

"Cephas is true, I know, I know!" wept Nancy, "but 

his father " 

********* 

One evening it was stormy, and Nancy and her mother 
were together in the plain, tidy kitchen, both sewing and 
both silent; gusts of rain lashing the windows, and the 
cat purring in a chair. Nancy's heart was more quiet 
than usual ; for, although expectation was not quite ex 
tinct, no visitor surely could be looked for on such a night. 
Suddenly, however, amidst the sounds of the storm, she 
heard footsteps and a knock at the door. Yet she need 
not have started and changed color so tumultuously, for 
the visitor was only Tip. 

" Good-evenin'," said young Master Tansley, stamping, 
pulling off his dripping hat, and shaking it. " I'd no idee 
it rained so! I was goin' by, and thought I'd stop in. 
Ye mad, Nancy ?" And he peered at the young girl from 
beneath his wet hair with a bashful grin. 

Nancy's heart was too much softened to cherish any 
resentment, and with suffused eyes she begged Tip to for 
give the blow. 

" Wai, I do'no' what I'd done to be knocked down fur," 



TROWBRIDGE] NANCY BLYNN' S LOVERS. 29 

began Tip, with a pouting and aggrieved air ; " though I 
s'pose I dew, tew. But I guess what I told ye turned out 
about so, after all ; didn't it, hey ?" 

At Nancy's look of distress, Mrs. Blynn made signs for 
Tip to forbear. But he had come too far through the 
darkness and rain with an exciting piece of news to be 
thus easily silenced. 

" I ha'n't brought ye no corn this time, for I didn't know 
as you'd roast it if I did. Say, Nancy ! Cephe and the 
old man had it ag'in to-day ; and the Judge forked over 
the three thousand dollars; I seen him! He was only 
waitin' to raise it. It's real mean in Cephe, I s'pose you 
think. Mebby 'tis; but, by gracious! three thousand 
dollars is a 'tarnal slue of money !" 

Hugely satisfied with the effect this announcement pro 
duced, Tip sprawled upon a chair and chewed a stick, 
like one resolved to make himself comfortable for the 
evening. 

" Saxafrax, ye want some ?" he said, breaking off with 
his teeth a liberal piece of the stick. " Say, Nancy ! ye 
needn't look so mad. Cephe has sold out, I tell ye ; and 
when I offer ye saxafrax ye may as well take some." 

Not without effort Nancy held her peace ; and Tip, ex 
tending the fragment of the sassafras-root which his teeth 
had split off, was complacently urging her to accept it, 
" 'Twas real good," when the sound of hoofs was heard ; 
a halt at the gate ; a horseman dismounting, leading his 
animal to the shed; a voice saying, "Be still, Pericles!" 
and footsteps approaching the door. 

"Nancy! Nancy!" articulated Mrs. Blynn, scarcely less 
agitated than her daughter, " he has come!" 

" It's Cephe !" whispered Tip, hoarsely. " If he should 
ketch me here ! I I guess I'll go ! Confound that Cephe, 
anyhow !" 

n. 3* 



30 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TROWBRIDQE 

Bap, rap ! two light, decisive strokes of a riding-whip 
on the kitchen door. 

Mrs. Blynn glanced around to see if everything was tidy ; 
and Tip, dropping his sassafras, whirled about and wheeled 
about like Jim Crow in the excitement of the moment. 

"Mother, go!" uttered Nancy, pale with emotion, hur 
riedly pointing to the door. 

She made her escape by the stairway ; observing which, 
the bewildered Tip, who had indulged a frantic thought 
of leaping from the window to avoid meeting his dread 
rival, changed his mind and rushed after her. Unadvised 
of his intention, and thinking only of shutting herself from 
the sight of young Boxton, Nancy closed the kitchen door 
rather severely upon Tip's fingers ; but his fear rendered 
him insensible to pain, and he followed her, scrambling up 
the dark staircase just as Mrs. Blynn admitted Cephas. 

Nancy did not immediately perceive what had occurred ; 
but presently, amidst the sounds of the rain on the roof 
and of the wind about the gables, she heard the unmis 
takable perturbed breathing of her luckless lover. 

" Nancy," whispered Tip, " where be ye ? I've 'most 
broke my head ag'in' this blasted beam !" 

" What are you here for ?" demanded Nancy. 

" 'Cause I didn't want him to see me. He won't stop 
but a minute ; then I'll go down. I did give my head the 
all-firedest tunk!" said Tip. 

Mrs. Blynn opened the door to inform Nancy of the 
arrival of her visitor, and the light from below, partially 
illuminating the fugitive's retreat, showed Tip in a sitting 
posture on one of the upper stairs, diligently rubbing that 
portion of his cranium which had come in collision with 
the beam. 

" Say, Nancy, don't go 1" whispered Tip ; " don't leave 
me here in the dark !" 



TROWUKIDGE] NANCY BLYNN'S LOVERS. 31 

Nancy had too many tumultuous thoughts of her own 
to give much heed to his distress; and, having hastily 
arranged her hair and dress by the sense of touch, she 
glided by him, bidding him keep quiet, and descended the 
stairs to the door, which she closed after her, leaving 
him to the wretched solitude of the place, which ap 
peared to him a hundredfold more dark and dreadful than 
be! ore. 

Cephas in the mean time had divested himself of his 
oil-cloth capote, and entered the neat little sitting-room, 
to which he was civilly shown by the widow. " Nancy'll 
be down in a minute." And, placing a candle upon the 
mantel-piece, Mrs. Blynn withdrew. 

Nancy, having regained her self-possession, appeared 
mighty dignified before her lover; gave him a passive 
hand ; declined, with averted head, his proffered kiss; and 
seated herself at a cool and respectable distance. 

"Nancy, what is the matter?" said Cephas, in mingled 
amazement and alarm. " You act as though I was a ped 
dler and you didn't care to trade." 

" You can trade, sir, you can make what bargains you 
please, with others ; but- " Nancy's aching and swelling 
heart came up and choked her. 

" Nancy ! what have I done ? What has changed you 
so ? Have you forgotten the last time I was here ?" 

" 'Twould not be strange if I had, it was so long ago !" 

Poor Nancy spoke cuttingly ; but her sarcasm was as a 
tiword with two points, which pierced her own heart quite 
as much as it wounded her lover's. 

" Nancy," said Cephas, and he took her hand again, so 
tenderly that 4t was like putting heaven away to with 
draw it, "couldn't you trust me? Hasn't your heart as 
sured you that I could never stay away from you so with 
out good reasons ?" 



32 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TROWBRIDGE 

" Oh, I don't doubt but you had reasons !" replied 
Nancy, with a bursting anguish in her tones. " But such 
reasons !" 

" Such reasons ?" repeated Cephas, grieved and repelled. 
" Will you please inform me what you mean ? For, as I 
live, I am ignorant." 

" Ah, Cephas ! it is not true, then," cried Nancy, with 
sudden hope, " that your father " 

"What of my father?" 

" That he has offered you money " 

A vivid emotion flashed across the young man's face. 

" I would have preferred to tell you without being ques 
tioned so sharply," he replied. " But, since hearsay has 
got the start of me and brought you the news, I can only 
answer he has offered me money." 

" To buy you to hire you " 

"Not to marry any poor girl: that's the bargain, 
Nancy," said Cephas, with the tenderest of smiles. 

" And you have accepted ?" cried Nancy, quickly. 

" I have accepted," responded Cephas. 

Nancy uttered not a word. 

"I came to tell you all this; but I should have told 
you in a different way, could I have had my choice,* 4 
said Cephas. " What I have done is for your happiness 
as much as my own. My father threatened to disin 
herit me if I married a poor girl ; and how could I bear 
the thought of subjecting you to such a lot? He has 
given me three thousand dollars ; I only received it to 
day, or I should have come to you before; for, Nancy, 
do not look so strange ! it is for you, this money, do 
you hear ?" 

He attempted to draw her towards him, but she sprang 
indignantly to her feet. 

'' Cephas ! you offer me money !" 



TROWBRIDGE] NANCY BLYNN'S LOVERS. 33 

"Nancy!" Cephas caught her and folded her in his 
arms, " don't you understand ? It is your dowry ! You 
are no longer a poor girl. I promised not to marry any 
poor girl, but I never promised not to marry you. Accept 
the dowry; then you will be a rich girl, and my wife, 
ray wife, Nancy !" 

" Oh, Cephas ! is it true ? Let me look at you !" She 
held him firmly, and looked into his face, and into his deep, 
tender eyes. " It is true !" 

What more was said or done I am unable to relate ; for 
about this time there came from another part of the house 
a dull, reverberating sound, succeeded by a rapid series of 
concussions, as of some ponderous body descending in a 
Swift but irregular manner from the top to the bottom of 
the stairs. It was Master William Tansley, who, groping 
about in the dark with intent to find a stove-pipe hole at 
which to listen, had lost his latitude and his equilibrium, 
and tumbled from landing to landing, in obedience to the 
dangerous laws of gravitation. Mrs. Blynn flew to open 
the door ; found him helplessly kicking on his back, with 
his head in the rag-bag ; drew him forth by one arm ; as 
certained that he had met with no injuries which a little 
salve would not heal ; patched him up almost as good as 
new ; gave him her sympathy and a lantern to go home 
with ; and kindly bade him good-night. 

So ended Tip Tansley's unfortunate love-affair; and I 
am pleased to relate that his broken heart recovered from 
its hurt almost as speedily as his broken head. 

A month later the village clergyman was- called to ad 
minister the vows of wedlock to a pair of happy lovers 
in the Widow Blynn's cottage; and the next morning 
there went abroad the report of a marriage which sur 
prised the good people of the parish generally, and Judge 
Boxton more particularly. 

II. C 



34 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TROWBRIDGE 

In the afternoon of that day, Cephas rode home to pay 
his respects to the old gentleman and ask him if he would 
like an introduction to the bride. 

" Cephas !" cried the Judge, filled with wrath, smiting 
his son's written agreement with his angry hand, "look 
here ! your promise ! Have you forgotten ?" 

" Eead it, please," said Cephas. 

"In consideration," began the Judge, running his 
troubled eye over the paper, . . . " I do hereby pledge 
myself never, at any time, or in any place, to marry any 
poor girl." 

"You will find," said Cephas, " that I have acted accord 
ing to the strict terms of our agreement. And I have the 
honor to inform you, sir, that I have married a person 
who, with other attractions, possesses the handsome trifle 
of three thousand dollars." 

The Judge fumed, made use of an oath or two, and 
talked loudly of disinheritance and cutting off with a 
shilling. 

" I should be very sorry to have you do such a thing," 
rejoined Cephas, respectfully; "but, after all, it isn't as 
though I had not received a neat little fortune by the 
way of my wife." 

A retort so happy that the Judge ended with a hearty 
acknowledgment of his son's superior wit, and an invita 
tion to come home and lodge his lovely encumbrance be 
neath the parental roof. 

Thereupon Cephas took a roll of notes from his pocket. 
" All jesting aside," said he, " I must first square a little 
matter of business with which my wife has commissioned 
me. She is more scrupulous than the son of my father, 
and she refused to receive the money until I had promised 
to return it to you as soon as we should be married. And 
here it is." 



ALDBICH] EAEY BELL. 35 

"Fie, fie!" cried the Judge. " Keep the money. She's 
a noble girl, after all, too good for a rogue like you !" 

" I know it 1" said Cephas, humbly, with tears in his 
eyes ; for recollections of a somewhat wild and wayward 
youth, mingling with the conscious possession of so much 
love and happiness, melted his heart with unspeakable 
contrition and gratitude. 



BABY BELL. 

THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH. 

[The author of the beautiful selection which we give below was 
born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in 1836. His life has been spent 
in literary pursuits, he having been editorially connected with several 
newspapers and having contributed largely to the magazines. His 
poetry has not been great in quantity, but is exquisite in quality, every 
verse being worked into form with the care which a gem-cutter ex 
pends upon a precious stone. To Mr. Aldrich we are indebted for 
some of the choicest bits of lyric poetry in the language. He has also 
written several prose works, of which " The Story of a Bad Boy" be 
came at once a favorite with the reading public.] 

HAVE you not heard the poets tell 
How came the dainty Baby Bell 

Into this world of ours ? 
The gates of heaven were left ajar : 
With folded hands and dreamy eyes, 
Wandering out of Paradise, 
She saw this planet, like a star, 

Hung in the glistening depths of even, 
Its bridges, running to and fro, 
O'er which the white-winged Angels go, 

Bearing the holy Dead to heaven. 



36 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ALDKICH 

She touched a bridge of flowers, those feet, 
So light they did not bend the bells 
Of the celestial asphodels, 
They fell like dew upon the flowers : 
Then all the air grew strangely sweet I 
And thus came dainty Baby Bell 
Into this world of ours. 

She came and brought delicious May. 

The swallows built beneath the eaves ; 

Like sunlight, in and out the leaves 
The robins went, the livelong day ; 
The lily swung its noiseless bell ; 

And o'er the porch the trembling vine 

Seemed bursting with its veins of wine. 
How sweetly, softly, twilight fell ! 
Oh, earth was full of singing birds 
And opening springtide flowers, 
When the dainty Baby Bell 

Came to this world of ours ! 

Oh, Baby, dainty Baby Bell, 
How fair she grew from day to day ! 
What woman-nature filled her eyes, 
What poetry within them lay, 
Those deep and tender twilight eyes, 

So full of meaning, pure and bright 

As if she yet stood in the light 
Of those oped gates of Paradise. 
And so we loved her more and more : 
Ah, never in our hearts before 

Was love so lovely born ! 
We felt we had a link between 
This real world and that unseen, 

The land beyond the morn ; 



ALDBICH] BABY BELL. 37 

And for the love of those dear eyes, 
For love of her whom God led forth 
(The mother's being ceased on earth 
When Baby came from Paradise), 
For love of Him who smote our lives 

And woke the chords of joy and pain, 
We said, Dear Christ ! our hearts bent down 

Like violets after rain. 

And now the orchards, which were white 
And red with blossoms when she came, 
Were rich in autumn's mellow prime : 
The clustered apples burnt like flame, 
The soft-cheeked peaches blushed and fell, 
The folded chestnut burst its shell, 
The grapes hung purpling in the grange ; 
And time wrought just as rich a change 

In little Baby Bell. 
Her lissome form more perfect grew, 

And in her features we could trace, 

In softened curves, her mother's face. 
Her angel-nature ripened too : 
We thought her lovely when she came, 

But she was holy, saintly now : 

Around her pale angelic brow 
We saw a slender ring of flame ! 

God's hand had taken away the seal 

That held the portals of her speech ; 
And oft she said a few strange words 

Whose meaning lay beyond our reach. 
She never was a child to us, 

We never held her being's key ; 
We could not teach her holy things : 

She was Christ's self in purity, 
ii. 4 



BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ALDRICII 

It came upon us by degreed, 

We saw its shadow ere it fell, 
The knowledge that our God had sent 

His messenger for Baby Bell. 
"We shuddered with unlanguaged pain, 
And all our hopes were changed to fears, 
And all our thoughts ran into tears 

Like sunshine into rain. 
We cried aloud in our belief, 
" Oh, smite us gently, gently, God ! 
Teach us to bend and kiss the rod, 
And perfect grow through grief." 
Ah ! how we loved her, God can tell ; 
Her heart was folded deep in ours. 

Our hearts are broken, Baby Bell ! 

At last he came, the messenger, 

The messenger from unseen lands : 
And what did dainty Baby Bell ? 
She only crossed her little hands, 
She only looked more meek and fair ! 
We parted back her silken hair, 
We wove the roses round her brow, 
White buds, the summer's drifted snow, 
Wrapt her from head to foot in flowers. . . . 
And thus went dainty Baby Bell 

Out of this world of ours 1 



THOREAU] ASCENDING KTAADN. 39 

ASCENDING KTAADN. 

HENRY DAVID THOREAU. 

[A devoted lover of nature, with whom he lived in close and ardent 
intimacy, Thoreau avoided man with a seeming eccentricity, which 
arose less from actual dislike to human companionship than from a 
greater attraction to the study of nature in her most secret haunts 
and recesses. For two years he lived a hermit life on the shores of 
Lake Walden, near Concord, his native town. The result of his com 
munion with nature we have in " Walden," in which the finer aspects 
of the woods, the fields, and the skies are delineated with wonderful 
truth and delicacy of appreciation. In the words of Hawthorne, " Mr 
Thoreau dedicated his genius with such entire love to the fields, hills, 
and waters of his native town, that he made them known and interest 
ing to all reading Americans and to people over the sea. . . . While 
he used in his writings a certain petulance of remark in reference to 
churches and churchmen, he was a person of rare, tender, and absolute 
religion, a person incapable of any profanation." It is said thai 
he never went to church, never voted, and never paid a tax to the 
State, a form of eccentricity that is certainly not to be commended. 
Thoreau was well versed in classical and Oriental literature, but lived 
a sort of vagrant life, without profession or declared aim in exist 
ence. In the following selection, taken from his " Maine Woods," 
are clearly displayed the workings of an original mind, which occu 
pies the position of an envoy from nature to man, rather than that 
of one from man to nature. He was born in 1817, and died in 
1862.] 

AT length we reached an elevation sufficiently bare 
to afford a view of the summit, still distant and blue, 
almost as if retreating from us. A torrent, which proved 
to be the same we had crossed, was seen tumbling down 
in front, literally from out of the clouds. But this glimpse 
at our whereabouts was soon lost, and we were buried in 
the woods again. The wood was chiefly yellow birch, 
spruce, fir, mountain-ash, or round-wood, as the Maine 



40 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [THOREAD 

people call it, and moose-wood. It was the worst kind of 
travelling; sometimes like the densest scrub-oak patches 
with us. The cornel, or bunch-berries, were very abun 
dant, as well as Solomon's seal and moose-berries. Blue 
berries were distributed along our whole route ; and in 
one place the bushes were drooping with the weight of 
the fruit, still as fresh as ever. It was the 7th of Septem 
ber. Such patches aiforded a grateful repast, and served 
to bait the tired party forward. When any lagged behind, 
the cry of " blueberries" was most effectual to bring them 
up. Even at this elevation we passed through a moose- 
yard, formed by a large, flat rock, four or five rods square, 
where they tread down the snow in winter. At length, 
fearing that if we held the direct course to the summit 
we should not find any water near our camping-ground, 
we gradually swerved to the west, till, at four o'clock, we 
struck again the torrent which I have mentioned, and 
here, in view of the summit, the weary party decided to 
camp that night. 

While my companions were seeking a suitable spot for 
this purpose, I improved the little daylight that was left 
in climbing the mountain alone. We were in a deep and 
narrow ravine, sloping up to the clouds at an angle of 
nearly forty-five degrees, and hemmed in by walls of rock, 
which were at first covered with low trees, then with im 
penetrable thickets of scraggy birches and spruce-trees, 
and with moss, but at last bare of all vegetation but li 
chens, and almost continually draped in clouds. Follow 
ing up the course of the torrent which occupied this, and 
I mean to lay some emphasis on this word up, pulling 
myself up by the side of perpendicular falls of twenty 01 
thirty feet, by the roots of firs and birches, and then, per 
haps, walking a level rod or two in the thin stream, for 
it took up the whole road, ascending by huge steps, as it 



THOKEAU] ASCENDING KTAADN. 41 

were, a giant's stairway, down which a river flowed, I had 
soon cleared the trees, and paused on the successive shelves, 
to look back over the country. The torrent was from fif 
teen to thirty feet wide, without a tributary, and seem 
ingly not diminishing in breadth as I advanced ; but still 
it came rushing and roaring down, with a copious tide, 
over and amidst masses of bare rock, from the very clouds, 
as though a waterspout had just burst over the mountain. 
Leaving this at last, I began to work my way, scarcely 
less arduous than Satan's anciently through Chaos, up the 
nearest, though not the highest, peak, at first scrambling 
on all-fours over the tops of ancient black spruce-trees 
(Abies nigra), old as the flood, from two to ten or twelve 
feet in height, their tops flat and spreading, and their foli 
age blue, and nipt with cold, as if for centuries they had 
ceased growing upward against the bleak sky, the solid 
cold. I walked some good rods erect upon the tops of 
these trees, which were overgrown with moss and moun 
tain-cranberries. It seemed that in the course of time 
they had filled up the intervals between the huge rocks, 
and the cold wind had uniformly levelled all over. Here 
the principle of vegetation was hard put to it. There was 
apparently a belt of this kind running quite round the 
mountain, though, perhaps, nowhere so remarkable as 
here. Once, slumping through, I looked down ten feet, 
into a dark and cavernous region, and saw the stem of a 
spruce, on whose top I stood as on a mass of coarse basket- 
work, fully nine inches in diameter at the ground. These 
holes were bears' dens, and the bears were even then at 
home. This was the sort of garden I made my way over, 
for an eighth of a mile, at the risk, it is true, of treading 
on some of the plants, not seeing any path through it, 
certainly the most treacherous and porous country I ever 
travelled. 

ii. 4* 



42 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [THOREAU 

" Nigh foundered, on he fares, 
Treading the crude consistence, half on foot, 
Half flying." 

But nothing could exceed the toughness of the twigs : not 
one snapped under my weight, for they had slowly grown. 
Having slumped, scrambled, rolled, bounced, and walked, 
by turns, over this scraggy country, I arrived upon a side- 
hill, or rather side-mountain, where rocks, gray, silent 
rocks, were the flocks and herds that pastured, chewing a 
rocky cud at sunset. They looked at me with hard gray 
eyes, without a bleat or a low. This brought me to the 
skirt of a cloud, and bounded my walk that night. But 
I had already seen that Maine country when I turned 
about, waving, flowing, rippling, down below. 

When I returned to my companions, they had selected 
a camping-ground on the torrent's edge, and were resting 
on the ground : one was on the sick-list, rolled in a blanket, 
on a damp shelf of rock. It was a savage and dreary 
scenery enough ; so wildly rough, that they looked long 
to find a level and open space for the tent. We could not 
well camp higher, for want of fuel ; and the trees here 
seemed so evergreen and sappy that we almost doubted 
if they would acknowledge the influence of fire ; but fire 
prevailed at last, and blazed here too, like a good citizen 
of the world. Even at this height we met with frequent 
traces of moose, as well as of bears. As here was no 
cedar, we made our bed of coarser-feathered spruce ; but 
at any rate the feathers were plucked from the live tree. 
It was, perhaps, even a more grand and desolate place for 
a night's lodging than the summit would have been, being 
in the neighborhood of those wild trees, and of the tor 
rent. Some more aerial and finer-spirited winds rushed 
and roared through the ravine all night, from time to time 
arousing our fire and dispersing the embers about. It 



THOREATT] ASCENDING KTAADN. 43 

was as if we lay in the very nest of a young whirlwind. 
At midnight, one of my bedfellows, being startled in his 
dreams by the sudden blazing up to its top of a fir-tree 
whose green boughs were dried by the heat, sprang up, 
with a cry, from his bed, thinking the world on fire, and 
drew the whole camp after him. 

In the morning, after whetting our appetite on some 
raw pork, a wafer of hard bread, and a dipper of con 
densed cloud or waterspout, we all together began to make 
our way up the falls which I have described, this time 
choosing the right-hand or highest peak, which was not 
the one I had approached before. But soon my compan 
ions were lost to my sight behind the mountain-ridge in 
my rear, which still seemed ever retreating before me, and 
I climbed alone over huge rocks, loosely poised, a mile or 
more, still edging toward the clouds ; for, though the day 
was cl'oar elsewhere, the summit was concealed by mist. 
The mountain seemed a vast aggregation of loose rocks, 
as if some time it had rained rocks, and they lay as they 
fell on the mountain-sides, nowhere fairly at rest, but 
leaning on each other, all rocking-stones, with cavities 
between, but scarcely any soil or smoother shelf. They 
were the raw materials of a planet, dropped from an un 
seen quarry, which the vast chemistry of nature would 
anon work up, or work down, into the smiling and ver 
dant plains and valleys of earth. This was an undono 
extremity of the globe ; as in lignite we see coal in the 
process of formation. 

At length I entered within the skirts of the cloud which 
seemed forever drifting over the summit, and yet would 
never be gone, but was generated out of that pure air as 
fast as it flowed away; and when, a quarter of a mile 
farther, I reached the summit of the ridge, which those 
who have seen in clearer weather say is about five miles 



44 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [THORKAU 

long, and contains a thousand acres of table-land, I was 
deep within the hostile ranks of clouds, and all objects 
were obscured by them. ISTow the wind would blow me 
out a yard of clear sunlight, wherein I stood ; then a gray, 
dawning light was all it could accomplish, the cloud-line 
ever rising and falling with the wind's intensity. Some 
times it seemed as if the summit would be cleared in a 
few moments, and smile in sunshine ; but what was gained 
on one side was lost on another. It was like sitting in a 
chimney and waiting for the smoke to blow away. It 
was, in fact, a cloud-factory : these were the cloud-works, 
and the wind turned them off done from the cool, bare 
rocks. Occasionally, when the windy columns broke in 
to me, I caught sight of a dark, damp crag to the right or 
left, the mist driving ceaselessly between it and me. It 
reminded me of the creations of the old epic and dramatic 
poets, of Atlas, Yulcan, the Cyclops, and Prometheus. 
Such was Caucasus and the rock where Prometheus was 
bound. JEschylus had no doubt visited such scenery as 
this. It was vast, Titanic, and such as man never inhabits. 
Some part of the beholder, even some vital part, seems to 
escape through the loose grating of his ribs as he ascends. 
He is more lone than you can imagine. There is less of 
substantial thought and fair understanding in him than 
in the plains where men inhabit. His reason is dispersed 
and shadowy, more thin and subtle, like the air. Yast, 
Titanic, inhuman Nature has got him at disadvantage, 
caught him alone, and pilfers him of some of his divine 
faculty. She does not smile on him as in the plains. She 
seems to say sternly, Why came ye here before your time ? 
This ground is not prepared for ^ou. Is it not enough 
that I smile in the valleys? I have never made this soil 
for thy feet, this air for thy breathing, these rocks for thy 
neighbors. I cannot pity nor fondle th.ee here, but forever 



THOREAU] ASCENDING KTAADN. 45 

relentlessly drive thee hence to where I am kind. Why 
seek me where I have not called thee, and then complain 
because you find me but a stepmother ? Shouldst thou 
freeze or starve, or shudder thy life away, here is no shrine, 
nor altar, nor any access to my ear. 

" Chaos and ancient Night, I come no spy 
With purpose to explore or to disturb 
The secrets of your realm, but . . . 

... as my way 
Lies through your spacious empire up to light." 

The tops of mountains are among the unfinished parts 
of the globe, whither it is a slight insult to the gods to 
climb and pry into their secrets and try their effect on 
our humanity. Only daring and insolent men, perchance, 
go there. Simple races, as savages, do not climb moun 
tains-; their tops are sacred and mysterious tracts never 
visited by them. Pomola is always angry with those who 
climb to the summit of Ktaadn. . . . 

Perhaps I most fully realized that this was primeval, 
untamed, and forever untamable Nature, or whatever else 
men call it, while coming down this part of the mountain. 
We were passing over " Burnt Lands," burnt by lightning, 
perchance, though they showed no recent marks of fire, 
hardly so much as a charred stump, but looked rather like 
a natural pasture for the moose and deer, exceedingly wild 
and desolate, with occasional strips of timber crossing 
them, and low poplars springing up, and patches of blue 
berries here and there. I found myself traversing them 
familiarly, like some pasture run to waste, or partially 
reclaimed by man ; but when I reflected what man, what 
brother or sister or kinsman of our race, made it and 
claimed it, I expected the proprietor to rise up and dis 
pute my passage. It is difficult to conceive of a region 



46 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [THOREAU 

uninhabited by man. "We habitually presume his pres 
ence and influence everywhere. And yet we have not 
seen pure Nature, unless we have seen her thus vast and 
drear and inhuman, though in the midst of cities. Nature 
has here something savage and awful, though beautiful. 
I looked with awe at the ground I trod on, to see what 
the Powers had made there, the form and fashion and 
material of their work. This was that Earth of which 
we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night. Here 
was no man's garden, but the unhandselled globe. It was 
not lawn, nor pasture, nor mead, nor woodland, nor lea, 
nor arable, nor waste-land. It was the fresh and natural 
surface of the planet Earth, as it was made for ever and 
ever, to be the dwelling of man, we say, so Nature 
made it, and man may use it if he can. Man was not to 
be associated with it. It was Matter, vast, terrific, not 
his Mother Earth that we have heard of, not for him to 
tread on, or be buried in, no, it were being too familiar 
even to let his bones lie there, the home, this, of Neces 
sity and Fate. There was there felt the presence of a 
force not bound to be kind to man. It was a place for 
heathenism and superstitious rites, to be inhabited by 
men nearer of kin to the rocks and to wild animals than 
we. We walked over it with a certain awe, stopping, 
from time to time, to pick the blueberries which grew 
there and had a smart and spicy taste. Perchance where 
our wild pines stand, and leaves lie on their forest floor, in 
Concord, there were once reapers, and husbandmen planted 
grain ; but here not even the surface had been scarred by 
man, but it was a specimen of what God saw fit to make 
this world. What is it to be admitted to a museum, to 
see a myriad of particular things, compared with being 
shown some star's surface, some hard matter in its home ! 
I stand in awe of my body, this matter to which I am 



OSSOLI] IMPRESSIONS OF NIAGARA. 47 

bound has become so strange to me. I fear not spirits, 
gbosts, of which I am one, that my body might, but I 
fear bodies, I tremble to meet them. What is this Titan 
that has possession of me ? Talk of mysteries ! Think 
of our life in nature, daily to be shown matter, to come 
in contact with it, rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks ! the 
solid earth ! the actual world ! the common sense I Contact I 
Contact! Who are we? where are we? 



IMPRESSIONS OF NIAGARA. 

MARGARET FULLER OSSOLI. 

[Margaret Fuller was born at Cambridgeport, Massachusetts, in 1810. 
She displayed remarkable precocity as a student, and while yet quite 
young was looked upon as a prodigy of learning, in those days in 
which few learned women had as yet appeared in America. Brilliant 
conversational powers, and excellent ability as a lecturer, brought her 
prominently before the literary world, while her writings were received 
with high favor by some of the leading critics, though they have since 
greatly declined in public estimation, and seem to our eyes of secondary 
value as literary efforts. We append one of the most attractive of her 
descriptive essays. In 1846 she went to Europe, and in December, 
1847, was married, at Kome, to the Marquis Ossoli, an Italian noble 
man. On her return to her native country she perished, with her hus 
band and child, in the wreck of the brig Elizabeth, July 19, 1850.] 

NIAGARA, June 10, 1843. 

SINCE you are to share with me such foot-notes as may 
be made on the pages of my life during this summer's 
wanderings, I should not be quite silent as to this magnifi 
cent prologue to the, as yet, unknown drama. Yet I, like 
others, have little to say, where the spectacle is, for once, 
great enough to fill the whole life, and supersede thought, 



48 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OssoLi 

giving us only its own presence. " It is good to be here," 
is the best, as the simplest, expression that occurs to the 
mind. 

We have been here eight days, and I am quite willing 
to go away. So great a sight soon satisfies, making us 
content with itself, and with what is less than itself. Our 
desires, once realized, haunt us again less readily. Having 
" lived one day," we would depart, and become worthy to 
live another. 

We have not been fortunate in weather, for there cannot 
be too much or too warm sunlight for this scene, and the 
skies have been lowering, with cold, unkind winds. My 
nerves, too much braced up by such an atmosphere, do not 
well bear the continual stress of sight and sound. For 
here there is no escape from the weight of a perpetual 
creation ; all other forms and motions come and go, the 
tide rises and recedes, the wind, at its mightiest, moves 
in gales and gusts, but here is really an incessant, an in 
defatigable motion. Awake or asleep, there is no escape, 
still this rushing round you and through you. It is in this 
way I have most felt the grandeur, somewhat eternal, if 
not infinite. 

At times a secondary music rises ; the cataract seems to 
seize its own rhythm and sing it over again, so that the 
ear and soul are roused by a double vibration. This is 
some effect of the wind, causing echoes to the thundering- 
anthem. It is very sublime, giving the effect of a spirit 
ual repetition through all the spheres. 

When I first came, I felt nothing but a quiet satisfaction. 
I found that drawings, the panorama, etc., had given me 
a clear notion of the position and proportions of all ob 
jects here; I knew where to look for everything, and 
everything looked as I thought it would. 

Long ago, I was looking from a hill-side with a friend 



OSSOLI] IMPRESSIONS OF NIAGARA. 49 

at one of the finest sunsets that ever enriched this world. 
A little cow-boy, trudging along, wondered what we could 
be gazing at. After spying about some time, he found 
it could only be the sunset, and looking, too, a moment, 
he said, approvingly, " That sun looks well enough ;" a 
speech worthy of Shakespeare's Cloten, or the infant Mer- 
cury, up to everything from the cradle, as you please to 
take it. 

Even such a familiarity, worthy of Jonathan, our na 
tional hero, in a prince's palace, or "stumping," as he 
boasts to have done, "up the Vatican stairs, into the 
Pope's presence, in my old boots," I felt here ; it looks 
really well enough, I felt, and was inclined, as you sug 
gested, to give my approbation as to the one object in the 
world that would not disappoint. 

But all great expression, which, on a superficial survey 
seems so easy as well as so simple, furnishes, after a while. 
to the faithful observer, its own standard by which to 
appreciate it. Daily these proportions widened and tow 
ered more and more upon my sight, and I got, at last, a 
proper foreground for these sublime distances. Before 
coming away, I think I really saw the full wonder of the 
scene. After a while it so drew me into itself as to inspire 
an undefined dread, such as I never knew before, such as 
may be felt when death is about to usher us into a new 
existence. The perpetual trampling of the waters seized 
my senses. I felt that no other sound, however near, 
could be heard, and would start and look behind me for 
a foe. I realized the identity of that mood of nature in 
which these waters were poured down with such absorb 
ing force, with that in which the Indian was shaped on 
the same soil. For continually upon my mind came, un 
sought and unwelcome, images, such as never haunted it 
before, of naked savages stealing behind me with uplifted 
ii. c d 5 



50 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OSSOLT 

tomahawks ; again and again this illusion recurred, and 
even after I had thought it over, and tried to shake it off. 
I could not help starting and looking behind me. 

As picture, the falls can only be seen from the British 
side. There they are seen in their veils, and at sufficient 
distance to appreciate the magical effects of these, and the 
light and shade. From the boat, as you cross, the effects 
and contrasts are more melodramatic. On the road back 
from the whirlpool we saw them as a reduced picture with 
delight. But what I liked best was to sit on Table Bock, 
close to the great fall. There all power of observing de 
tails, all separate consciousness, was quite lost. 

Once, just as I had seated myself there, a man came to 
take his first look. He walked close up to the fall, and, 
after looking at it a moment, with an air as if thinking 
how he could best appropriate it to his own use, he spat 
into it. 

This trait seemed wholly worthy of an age whose love 
of utility is such that the Prince Puckler Muskau suggests 
the probability of men coming to put the bodies of their 
dead parents in the fields to fertilize them, and of a 
country such as Dickens has described ; but these will 
not, I hope, be seen on the historic page to be truly the 
age or truly the America. A little leaven is leavening 
the whole mass for other bread. 

The whirlpool I like very much. It is seen to advantage 
after the great falls ; it is so sternly solemn. The river 
cannot look more imperturbable, almost sullen, in its mar 
ble green, than it does just below the great fall ; but the 
slight circles that mark the hidden vortex seem to whisper 
mysteries the thundering voice above could not proclaim, 
a meaning as untold as ever. 

It is fearful, too, to know, as you look, that whatever 
has been swallowed by the cataract is like to rise suddenly 



OSSOLI] IMPRESSIONS OF NIAGARA. 51 

to light here, whether uprooted tree, or body of man or 
bird. 

The rapids enchanted me far beyond what I expected ; 
they are so swift that they cease to seem so; you can 
think only of their beauty. The fountain beyond the 
Moss Islands I discovered for myself, and thought it for 
some time an accidental beauty which it would not do to 
leave, lest I might never see it again. After I found it 
permanent, I returned many times to watch the play of 
its crest. In the little water-fall beyond, Nature seems, as 
she often does, to have made a study for some larger de 
sign. She delights in this, a sketch within a sketch, a 
dream within a dream. TVherever we see it, the lines of 
the great buttress in the fragment of stone, the hues of 
the water-fall copied in the flowers that star its bordering 
mosses, we are delighted ; for all the lineaments become 
fluent, and we mould the scene in congenial thought with 
its genius. 

People complain of the buildings at Niagara, and feai 
to see it further deformed. I cannot sympathize with 
such an apprehension : the spectacle is capable of swallow 
ing up all such objects; they are not seen in the great 
whole, more than an earthworm in a wide field. 

The beautiful wood on Goat Island is full of flowers ; 
many of the fairest love to do homage here. The wake- 
robin and May-apple are in bloom now ; the former, white, 
pink, green, purple, copying the rainbow of the fall, and 
fit to make a garland for its presiding deity when he 
walks the land, for they are of imperial size, and shaped 
like stones for a diadem. Of the May-apple, I did not 
raise one green tent without finding a flower beneath. 

And now farewell, Niagara. I have seen thee, and I 
think all who come here must in some sort see thee ; thou 
art not to be got rid of as easily as the stars. I will be 



J2 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OssoLi 

here again beneath some flooding July moon and sun. 
Owing to the absence of light, I have seen the rainbow 
)nly two or three times by day ; the lunar bow not at all. 
EEowever, the imperial presence needs not its crown, 
.hough illustrated by it. 

General Porter and Jack Downing were not unsuitable 
figures here. The former heroically planted the bridges 
by which we cross to Goat Island, and the wake-robin- 
crowned genius has punished his temerity with deafness, 
which must, I think, have come upon him when he sunk 
the first stone in the rapids. Jack seemed an acute and 
entertaining representative of Jonathan, come to look at 
his great water-privilege. He told us all about the Ameri 
canisms of the spectacle ; that is to say, the battles that 
have been fought here. It seems strange that men could 
fight in such a place ; but no temple can still the personal 
griefs and strifes in the breasts of its visitors. 

No less strange is the fact that, in this neighborhood, 
an eagle should be chained for a plaything. When a child, 
I used often to stand at a window from which I could see 
an eagle chained in the balcony of a museum. The peo 
ple used to poke at it with sticks, and my childish heart 
would swell with indignation as I saw their insults, and 
the mien with which they were borne by the monarch - 
bird. Its eye was dull, and its plumage soiled and shabby, 
yet in its form and attitude all the king was visible, though 
sorrowful and dethroned. I never saw another of the 
family till, when passing through the Notch of the White 
Mountains, at that moment glowing before us in all the 
panoply of sunset, the driver shouted, "Look there!" and, 
following with our eyes his upward-pointing finger, we 
saw, soaring slow in majestic poise above the highest sum 
mit, the bird of Jove. It was a glorious sight, yet I know 
not that I felt more on seeing the bird in all its natural 



OSSOLI] IMPRESSIONS OF NIAGAIt .. 53 

freedom and royalty than when, imprisoned and insulted, 
he had filled my early thoughts with the Byronic "silent 
rages" of misanthropy. 

Now, again, I saw him a captive, and addressed by the 
vulgar with the language they seem to find most ap 
propriate to such occasions, that of thrusts and blows. 
Silently, his head averted, he ignored their existence, as 
Plotinus or Sophocles might that of a modern reviewer. 
Probably he listened to the voice of the cataract, and felt 
that congenial powers flowed free, and was consoled, 
though his own wing was broken. 

The story of the Eecluse of Niagara interested me a 
little. It is wonderful that men do not oftener attach 
their lives to localities of great beauty, that, when once 
deeply penetrated, they will let themselves so easily be 
borne away by the general stream of things, to live any 
where and anyhow. But there is something ludicrous in 
being the hermit of a show-place, unlike St. Francis in his 
mountain-bed, where none but the stars and rising sun 
ever saw him. 

There is also a " guide to the falls," who wears his title 
labelled on his hat ; otherwise, indeed, one might as soon 
think of asking for a gentleman usher to point out the 
moon. Yet why should we wonder at such, when we 
have Commentaries on Shakespeare, and Harmonies of 
the Gospels? 

And now you have the little all I have to write. Can 
it interest you? To one who has enjoyed the full life of 
any scene, of any hour, what thoughts can be recorded 
about it seem like the commas and semicolons in the para 
graph, mere stops. Yet I suppose it is not so to the ab 
sent. At least, I have read things about Niagara, music, 
and the like, that interested me. Once I was moved by 
Mr. Greenwood's remark, that he could not realize this 
ii. 5* 



54 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OssoLi 

marvel till, opening his eyes the next morning after he 
had seen it, his doubt as to the possibility of its being still 
there taught him what he had experienced. I remember 
this now with pleasure, though, or because, it is exactly 
the opposite to what I myself felt. For all greatness 
affects different minds, each in "its own particular kind," 
and the variations of testimony mark the truth of feel 
ing.* 

I will here add a brief narrative of the experience of 
another, as being much better than anything I could 
write, because more simple and individual : 

"Now that I have left this 'Earth-wonder,' and the 
emotions it excited are past, it seems not so much like 
profanation to analyze my feelings, to recall minutely and 
accurately the effect of this manifestation of the Eternal. 
But one should go to such a scene prepared to yield en 
tirely to its influences, to forget one's little self and one's 
little mind. To see a miserable worm creep to the brink 
of this falling world of waters, and watch the trembling 
of its own petty bosom, and fancy that this is made alone 
to act upon him, excites derision ? "No, pity." 

As I rode up to the neighborhood of the falls, a solemn 
awe imperceptibly stole over me, and the deep sound of 
the ever-hurrying rapids prepared my mind for the lofty 
emotions to be experienced. When I reached the hotel, 
I felt a strange indifference about seeing the aspiration 
of my life's hopes. I lounged about the rooms, read the 

* "Somewhat avails, in one regard, the mere sight of beauty with 
out the union of feeling therewith. Carried away in memory, it hangs 
there in the lonely hall as a picture, and may some time do its mes 
sage. I trust it may be so in my case, for I saw every object far moro 
clearly than if I had been moved and filled with the presence, and 
my recollections are equally distinct and vivid." Extracted from 
Manuscript Notes of this Journey left by Margaret Fuller. ED. 



OSSOLI] IMPRESSIONS OF NIAGARA. 55 

stage-bills upon the walls, looked over the register, and. 
finding the name of an acquaintance, sent to see if he was 
still there. What this hesitation arose from, I know not : 
perhaps it was a feeling of my unworthiness to enter this 
temple which nature has erected to its God. 

At last, slowly and thoughtfully I walked down to the 
bridge leading to Goat Island, and when I stood upon this 
frail support, and saw a quarter of a mile of tumbling, 
rushing rapids, and heard their everlasting roar, my emo 
tions overpowered me, a choking sensation rose to my 
throat, a thrill rushed through my veins, " my blood ran 
rippling to my fingers' ends." This was the climax of 
the effect which the falls produced upon me. Neither 
the American nor the British fall moved me as did these 
rapids. For the magnificence, the sublimity, of the lat 
ter, I was prepared by descriptions and by paintings. 
When I arrived in sight of them I merely felt, " Ah, yes ! 
here is the fall, just as I have seen it in a picture." When 
I arrived at the Terrapin Bridge, I expected to be over 
whelmed, to retire trembling from this giddy eminence, 
and gaze with unlimited wonder and awe upon the im 
mense mass rolling on and on ; but, somehow or other, I 
thought only of comparing the effect on my mind with 
what I had read and heard. I looked for a short time, 
and then, with almost a feeling of disappointment, turned 
to go to the other points of view, to see if was not mis 
taken in not feeling any surpassing emotion at this sight. 
But from the foot of Biddle's Stairs, and the middle of the 
river, and from below the Table Eock, it was still " barren, 
barren all." 

Provoked with my stupidity in feeling most moved in 
the wrong place, I turned away to the hotel, determined 
to set off for Buffalo that afternoon. But the stage did 
not go, and after nightfall, as there was a splendid moon, 



56 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OssoLi 

I went down to the bridge, and leaned over the parapet, 
where the boiling rapids came down in their might. It 
was grand, and it was also gorgeous ; the yellow rays of 
the moon made the broken waves appear like auburn 
tresses twining around the black rocks. But they did not 
inspire me as before. I felt a foreboding of a mightier 
emotion to rise up and swallow all others, and I passed on 
to the Terrapin Bridge. Everything was changed ; the 
misty apparition had taken off its many-colored crown 
which it had worn by day, and a bow of silvery white 
spanned its summit. The moonlight gave a poetical in- 
definiteness to the distant parts of the waters, and, while 
the rapids were glancing in her beams, the river below 
the falls was black as night, save where the reflection of 
the sky gave it the appearance of a shield of blued steel. 
No gaping tourists loitered, eying with their glasses or 
sketching on cards the hoary locks of the ancient river- 
god. All tended to harmonize with the natural grandeur 
of the scene. I gazed long. I saw how here mutability 
and unchangeablcness were united. I surveyed the con 
spiring waters rushing against the rocky ledge to over 
throw it at one mad plunge, till, like toppling ambition, 
o'erleaping themselves, they fall on t'other side, expanding 
into foam ere they reach the deep channel where they 
creep submi sively away. 

Then arose in my breast a genuine admiration, and a 
humble adoration of the Being who was the architect of 
this and of all. Happy were the first discoverers of Ni 
agara, those who could come unawares upon this view and 
upon that, whose feelings were entirely their own. With 
what gusto does Father Hennepin describe " this great 
downfall of water," " this vast and prodigious cadence of 
water, which falls down after a surprising and astonishing 
manner, insomuch that the universe does not afford its 



HJGQINSON] POE. 57 

parallel. "Tis true Italy and Swedeland boast of some 
such things, but we may well say that they be sorry pat 
terns when compared with this of which we do now speak." 



POE. 

THOMAS W. HIGGINSON. 

[We make the following selection from one of our most genial es 
sayists, whose nature-studies are not surpassed in poetical grace and 
delicacy of discernment by any in the language, while his critical 
essays on authors show a mind in intimate rapport with his subject. 
Poe has never been treated with more felicity than in the essay given 
below. Mr. Higginson is the author of several volumes of essays, 
vigorous in thought and graceful in style ; of " Malbone, an Oldport 
Romance," in which life in Newport is delineated with a happy power 
which John G. Saxe has compared to that of Hawthorne ; and of 
"Army Life in a Black Kegiment," describing actual experiences of 
the author, who commanded a regiment of colored soldiers in the civil 
war. Mr. Higginson was born in 1823, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 
where he still resides. ] 

IT happens to us rarely in our lives to come consciously 
into the presence of that extraordinary miracle we call 
genius. Among the many literary persons whom I have 
happened to meet, at home or abroad, there are not half a 
dozen who have left an irresistible sense of this rare qual 
ity ; and, among these few, Poe stands next to Hawthorne 
in the vividness of personal impression he produced. I 
saw him but once ; and it was on that celebrated occasion, 
in 1845, when he startled Boston by substituting his boy 
ish production, " Al Aaraaf," for the more serious poem 
which he was to have delivered before the Lyceum. There 
was much curiosity to see him ; for his prose- writings had 



58 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HIGGINSON 

been eagerly read, at least among college-students, and his 
poems were just beginning to excite still greater atten 
tion. After a rather solid and very partisan address by 
Caleb Gushing, then just returned from his Chinese em 
bassy, the poet was introduced. I distinctly recall his 
face, with its ample forehead, brilliant eyes, and narrow 
ness of nose and chin ; an essentially ideal face, not noble, 
yet anything but coarse ; with the look of over-sensitive 
ness which when uncontrolled may prove more debasing 
than coarseness. It was a face to rivet one's attention in 
any crowd, yet a face that no one would feel safe in loving. 
It is not perhaps strange that I find or fancy in the por 
trait of Charles Baudelaire, Poe's French admirer and 
translator, some of the traits that are indelibly associated 
with that one glimpse of Poe. 

I remember that when introduced he stood with a sort 
of shrinking before the audience, and then began, in a thin, 
tremulous, hardly musical voice, an apology for his poem, 
and a deprecation of the expected criticism of the Boston 
public ; reiterating this in a sort of persistent, querulous 
way, which did not seem like satire, but impressed me at 
the time as nauseous flattery. It was not then generally 
known, nor was it established for a long time after, even 
when he had himself asserted it, that the poet was him 
self born in Boston ; and no one can now tell, perhaps, 
what was the real feeling behind the apparently syco 
phantic attitude. When, at the end, he abruptly began 
the recitation of his rather perplexing poem, everybody 
looked thoroughly mystified. The verses had long since 
been printed in his youthful volume, and had reappeared 
within a few days, if I mistake not, in Wiley & Putnam's 
edition of his poems ; and they produced no very distinct 
impression on the audience until Poe began to read the 
maiden's song in the second part. Already his tones had 



HIGGINSON] POE. 59 

been softening to a finer melody than at first, and when 
he came to the verse, 

" Ligeia I Ligeia ! 

My beautiful one ! 
"Whose harshest idea 

Will to melody run, 
Oh, is it thy will 

On the breezes to toss ? 
Or capriciously still, 

Like the lone albatross, 
Incumbent on night 

(As she on the air), 
To keep watch with delight 

On the harmony there ?" 

his voice seemed attenuated to the finest golden thread ; 
the audience became hushed, and, as it were, breathless ; 
there seemed no life in the hall but his ; and every sylla 
ble was accentuated with such delicacy, and sustained with 
such sweetness, as I never heard equalled by other lips. 
When the lyric ended, it was like the ceasing of the gypsy's 
chant in Browning's " Flight of the Duchess ;" and I re 
member nothing more, except that in walking back to 
Cambridge my comrades and I felt that we had been under 
the spell of some wizard. Indeed, I feel much the same 
in the retrospect, to this day. 

The melody did not belong, in this case, to the poet's 
voice alone : it was already in the words. His verse, when 
he was willing to give it natural utterance, was like that 
of Coleridge in rich sweetness, and, like that, was often 
impaired by theories of structure and systematic experi 
ments in metre. Never in American literature, I think, 
was such a fountain of melody flung into the air as when 
" Lenore" first appeared in " The Pioneer ;" and never did 
fountain so drop downward as when Poe rearranged it in 






60 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

its present form. The irregular measure had a beauty as 
original as that of " Christabel ;" and the lines had an 
ever-varying, ever-lyrical cadence of their own, until their 
author himself took them and cramped them into couplets. 
What a change from 

" Peccavimus! 
But rave not thus ! 

And let the solemn song 
Go up to God so mournfully that she may feel no wrong !" 

to the amended version, portioned off in regular lengths, 
thus: 

" Peccavimus ! but rave not thus ! and let a Sabbath song 
Go up to God so solemnly, the dead may feel no wrong." 

Or, worse yet, when he introduced that tedious jingle of 
slightly-varied repetition which in later years reached its 
climax in lines like these : 

" Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride, 
Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my smiling bride." 

This trick, caught from Poe, still survives in our litera 
ture, made more permanent, perhaps, by the success of 
his " Raven." This poem, which made him popular, seems 
to me far inferior to some of his earlier and slighter effu 
sions; as those exquisite verses "To Helen," which are 
among our American classics, and have made 

" The glory that was Greece, 
And the grandeur that was Rome," 

a permanent phrase in our language. 

Poe's place in purely imaginative prose-writing is as 
unquestionable as Hawthorne's. He even succeeded, 



HIGGINSON] POE. tfl 

which Hawthorne did not, in penetrating the artistic in 
difference of the French mind ; and it was a substantial 
triumph, when we consider that Baudelaire put himself 
or his friends to the trouble of translating even the pro 
longed platitudes of " Eureka" and the wearisome narra 
tive of "Arthur Gordon Pym." Neither Poe nor Haw 
thorne has ever been fully recognized in England; and 
yet no Englishman of our time, not even De Quincey, has 
done any prose imaginative work to be named with theirs. 
But in comparing Poe with Hawthorne we see that the 
genius of the latter has hands and feet as well as wings, 
so that all his work is solid as masonry, while Poe's is 
broken and disfigured by all sorts of inequalities and imi 
tations ; he not disdaining, for want of true integrity, to 
disguise and falsify, to claim knowledge that he did not 
possess, to invent quotations and references, and even, as 
Griswold showed, to manipulate and exaggerate puffs of 
himself. . . . 

But, making all possible deductions, how wonderful re 
mains the power of Poe's imaginative tales, and how im 
mense is the ingenuity of his puzzles and disentangle- 
ments ! The conundrums of "Wilkie Collins never renew 
their interest after the answer is known ; but Poe's can 
be read again and again. It is where spiritual depths are 
to be touched, that he shows his weakness ; where he at 
tempts it, as in " William Wilson," it seems exceptional ; 
where there is the greatest display of philosophic form, 
he is often most trivial, whereas Hawthorne is often pro- 
foundest when he has disarmed you by his simplicity. 
The truth is, that Poe lavished on things comparatively 
superficial those great intellectual resources which Haw 
thorne reverently husbanded and used. That there is 
something behind even genius to make or mar it, this is 
the lesson of the two lives, 
ii. 6 



62 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

Poe makes one of his heroes define another as "that 
monstrum horrendum, an unprincipled man of genius." It 
is in the malice and fury of his own critical work that his 
low moral tone most betrays itself. No atmosphere can 
be more belittling than that of his "New York Literati:" 
it is a mass of vehement dogmatism and petty personali 
ties, opinions warped by private feeling, and varying from 
page to page. He seemed to have absolutely no fixed 
standard of critical judgment, though it is true that there 
was very little anywhere in America during those acrimo 
nious days, when the most honorable head might be cov 
ered with insult or neglect, while any young poetess who 
smiled sweetly on Poe or G-riswold or Willis might find 
herself placed among the Muses. Poe complimented and 
rather patronized Hawthorne, but found him only "pecu 
liar, and not original ;" saying of him, " He has not half the 
material for the exclusiveness of literature that he has for 
its universality," whatever that may mean ; and finally he 
tried to make it appear that Hawthorne had borrowed 
from himself. He returned again and again to the attack 
on Longfellow as a wilful plagiarist, denouncing the trivial 
resemblance between his " Midnight Mass for the Dying 
Year" and Tennyson's " Death of the Old Year" as " be 
longing to the barbarous class of literary piracy." To 
make this attack was, as he boasted, "to throttle the 
guilty ;" and while dealing thus ferociously with Long 
fellow, thus condescendingly with Hawthorne, he was 
claiming a foremost rank among American authors for 
obscurities now forgotten, such as Mrs. Amelia B. Welby 
and Estelle Anne Lewis. No one ever did more than Poe 
to lower the tone of literary criticism in this country ; and 
the greater his talent, the greater the mischief. 

As a poet he held for a time the place earlier occupied 
by "Byron, and later by Swinburne, as the patron saint of 



HIGGINSON] POE. 53 

all wilful boys suspected of genius and convicted a least 
of its infirmities. He belonged to the melancholy class 
of wasted men, like the German Hoffmann, whom per 
haps of all men of genius he most resembled. No doubt, 
if we are to apply any standard of moral weight or sanity 
to authors, a proposal which Poe would doubtless have 
ridiculed, it can only be in a very large and generous 
way. If a career has only a manly ring to it, we can for 
give many errors, as in reading, for instance, the auto 
biography of Benvenuto Cellini, carrying always his life 
in his hand amid a brilliant and reckless society. But 
the existence of a poor Bohemian, besotted when he has 
money, angry and vindictive when the money is spent, 
this is a dismal tragedy, for which genius only makes the 
footlights burn with more lustre. There is a passage in 
Keats's letters, written from the haunts of Burns, in 
which he expresses himself as filled with pity for the 
poet's life : " he drank with blackguards, he was miser 
able ; we can see horribly clear in the works of such a 
man his life, as if we were God's spies." Yet Burns's 
sins and miseries left his heart unspoiled, and this cannot 
be said of Poe. After all, the austere virtues the virtues 
of Emerson, Hawthorne, Whittier are the best soil for 
genius. 

I like best to think of Poe as associated with his be 
trothed, Sarah Helen Whitman, whom I saw sometimes 
in her later years. That gifted woman had outlived her 
early friends and loves and hopes, and perhaps her liter 
ary fame, such as it was : she had certainly outlived her 
recognized ties with Poe, and all but his memory. There 
she dwelt in her little suite of rooms, bearing youth still 
in her heart and in her voice, and on her hair also, and in 
her dress. Her dimly-lighted parlor was always decked, 
here and there, with scarlet ; and she sat, robed in white, 



64 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BANCROFT 

with "her back always turned to the light, thus throwing 
a discreetly-tinted shadow over her still thoughtful and 
noble face. She seemed a person embalmed while still 
alive : it was as if she might dwell forever there, prolong 
ing into an indefinite future the tradition of a poet's love ; 
and when we remembered that she had been Poe's be 
trothed, that his kisses had touched her lips, that she still 
believed in him and was his defender, all criticism might 
well, for her sake, be disarmed, and her saintly life atone 
for his stormy and sad career. 



REVIEW OF THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY. 

GEORGE BANCROFT. 

[A biographical notice of the distinguished author of " The History 
of the United States" is hardly called for. We need only say that he 
was born at Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1800, studied in the Univer 
sities of Harvard and Gottingen, and commenced his historical labors 
by the " History of the Colonization of the United States," of which 
the first volume appeared in 1834. The tenth and concluding volume 
of his great historical work was published in 1874. As an historian 
"Bancroft occupies an exalted position, his work being noted alike for 
conscientiousness in the study of authorities, critical judgment in 
selection of materials, fluency of style, picturesque descriptive powers, 
acute reasoning, and great erudition. It takes its place among the 
great histories of the world.] 

WHILE Virginia, by the concession of a representative 
government, was constituted the asylum of liberty, it be 
came the abode of hereditary bondsmen. 

Slavery and the slave-trade are older than the records of 
human society : they are found to have existed wherever 
the savage hunter began to assume the habits of pas- 



BANCROFT] REVIEW OF THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY. 65 

toral or agricultural life ; and, with the exception of Aus 
tralasia, they have extended to every portion of the globe. 
The oldest monuments of human labor on the Egyptian 
soil are the results of slave-labor. The founder of the 
Jewish people was a slave-holder and a purchaser of 
slaves. The Hebrews, when they broke from their own 
thraldom, planted slavery in the promised land. Tyre, 
the oldest commercial city of Phoenicia, was, like Baby 
lon, a market " for the persons of men." 

Old as are the traditions of Greece, slavery is older. 
The wrath of Achilles grew out of a quarrel for a slave ; 
Grecian dames had servile attendants ; the heroes before 
Troy made excursions into the neighboring villages and 
towns to enslave the inhabitants Greek pirates, roving, 
like the corsairs of Barbary, in quest of men, laid the 
foundations of Greek commerce ; each commercial town 
was a slave-mart ; and every cottage near the sea-side was 
in danger from the kidnapper. Greeks enslaved each 
other. The language of Homer was the mother-tongue 
of the Helots ; the Grecian city that warred on its neigh 
bor city made of its captives a source of profit ; the hero 
of Macedon sold men of his own kindred and language 
into hopeless slavery. More than four centuries before 
the Christian era, Alcidamas, a pupil of Gorgias, taught 
that " God has sent forth all men free ; nature has made 
no man slave." While one class of Greek authors of that 
period confounded the authority of master and head of a 
family, others asserted that the relation of master and 
slave is conventional ; that freedom is the law of nature, 
which knows no difference between master and slave ; 
that slavery is the child of violence, and inherently un 
just. " A man, O my master," so speaks the slave in a 
comedy of Philemon, "because he is a slave, does not 
cease to be a man. He is of the same flesh with you. 
ii. e 6* 



66 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BANCROFT 

Mature makes no slaves." Aristotle, though he recognizes 
"living chattels" as a part of the complete family, has 
left on record his most deliberate judgment, that the prize 
of freedom should be placed within the reach of every 
slave. Yet the idea of universal free labor was only a 
dormant bud, not to be quickened for many centuries. 

Slavery hastened the fall of the commonwealth of Rome. 
The power of the father to sell his children, of the cred 
itor to sell his insolvent debtor, of the warrior to sell his 
captive, carried it into the bosom of every family, into 
the conditions of every contract, into the heart of every 
unhappy land that was invaded by the Roman eagle. The 
slave-markets of Rome were filled with men of various 
nations and colors. " Slaves are they !" writes Seneca ; 
"say that they are men." The golden-mouthed orator 
Dion inveighs against hereditary slavery as at war with 
right. " By the law of nature, all men are born free," are 
the words of Ulpian. The Roman digests pronounce 
slavery " contrary to nature." 

In the middle age the pirate and the kidnapper and the 
conqueror still continued the slave-trade. The Saxon race 
carried the most repulsive forms of slavery to England, 
where not half the population could assert a right to free 
dom, and where the price of a man was but four times the 
price of an ox. In defiance of severe penalties, the Saxons 
long continued to sell their own kindred into slavery on 
the continent. Even after the conquest, slaves were ex 
ported from England to Ireland, till, in 1102, a national 
synod of the Irish, to remove the pretext for an invasion, 
decreed the emancipation of all their English slaves. 

The German nations made the shores of the Baltic the 
scenes of the same traffic ; and the Dnieper formed the 
highway on which Russian merchants conveyed slaves 
from the markets of Russia to Constantinople. The 



BANCROFT] REVIEW OF THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY. 67 

wretched often submitted to bondage as the only refuge 
from. want. But it was the long wars between German 
and Slavonic tribes which imparted to the slave-trade so 
great activity that in every country of Western Europe 
the whole class of bondmen took and still retain the name 
( f Slaves. 

In Sicily, natives of Asia and Africa were exposed for 
sale. From extreme poverty the Arab father would pawn 
even his children to the Italian merchant. Eome itself 
long remained a mart where Christian slaves were exposed 
for sale, to supply the market of Mahometans. The Ve 
netians purchased alike infidels and Christians, and sold 
them again to the Arabs in Sicily and Spain. Christian 
and Jewish avarice supplied the slave-market of the Sara 
cens. The trade, though censured by the church and pro 
hibited by the laws of Yenice, was not effectually checked 
till the mere presence in a Venetian ship was made the 
sufficient evidence of freedom. 

In the twelfth century, Pope Alexander III. had writ 
ten that, " nature having made no slaves, all men have an 
equal right to liberty." Yet, as among Mahometans the 
captive Christian had no alternative but apostasy or ser 
vitude, the captive infidel was treated in Christendom with 
corresponding intolerance. In the camp of the leader 
whose pious arms redeemed the sepulchre^of Christ from 
the mixed nations of Asia and Libya, the price of a wai- 
horse was three slaves. The Turks, whose law forbade 
the enslaving of Mussulmans, continued to sell Christian 
and other captives; and Smith, the third President of 
Virginia, relates that he was himself a runaway from 
Turkish bondage. 

All this might have had no influence on the destinies 
of America but for the long and doubtful struggles be 
tween Christians and Moors in the west of Europe, where. 



68 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BANCROFT 

for more than seven centuries, the two religions were ar 
rayed against each other, and bondage was the reciprocal 
doom of the captive. France and Italy were filled with 
Saracen slaves ; the number of them sold into Christian 
bondage Exceeded the number of all the Christians ever 
sold by the pirates of Barbary. The clergy felt no sym 
pathy for the unbeliever. The final victory of the Span 
iards over the Moors of Granada, an event contemporary 
with the discovery of America, was signalized by a great 
emigration of the Moors to the coasts of Northern Africa, 
where each mercantile city became a nest of pirates, and 
every Christian the wonted booty of the corsair: an in 
discriminate and retaliating bigotry gave to all Africans 
the denomination of Moors, and without scruple reduced 
them to bondage. 

The clergy had broken up the Christian slave-markets 
at Bristol and at Hamburg, at Lyons and at Borne. In 
language addressed half to the courts of law and half to 
the people, Louis X., by the advice of the jurists of France, 
in July, 1315, published the ordinance that, by the law of 
nature, every man ought to be born free ; that serfs were 
held in bondage only by a suspension of their early and 
natural rights; that liberty should be restored to them 
throughout the kingdom so far as the royal power ex 
tended ; and every master of slaves was invited to follow 
his example by bringing them all back to their original 
state of freedom. Some years later, John de Wycliffe 
asserted the unchristian character of slavery. At the 
epoch of the discovery of America the moral opinion of 
the civilized world had abolished the trade in Christian 
slaves, and was demanding the emancipation of the serfs ; 
but the infidel was not yet included within the pale of 
humanity. 

Yet negro slavery is not an invention of the white man. 



BANCROFT] REVIEW OF THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY. 69 

As Greeks enslaved Greeks, as Anglo-Saxons dealt in An 
glo-Saxons, so the earliest accounts of the land of the black 
men bear witness that negro masters held men of their 
own race as slaves, and sold them to others. This the 
oldest Greek historian commemorates. Negro slaves were 
geen in classic Greece, and were known at Rome and in 
the Roman Empire. About the year 990, Moorish mer 
chants from the Barbary coast reached the cities of Ni- 
gritia, and established an uninterrupted exchange of Sar 
acen and European luxuries for the gold and slaves of 
Central Africa. 

Not long after the conquests of the Portuguese in Bar 
bary, their navy frequented the ports of Western Africa; 
and the first ships, which, in 1441, sailed so far south as 
Cape Blanco, returned not with negroes, but with Moors. 
These were treated as strangers, from whom information 
respecting their native country was to be derived. An 
tony Gonzalez, who had brought them to Portugal, was 
commanded to restore them to their ancient homes. He 
did so ; and the Moors gave him as their ransom not gold 
only, but " black Moors" with curled hair. Negro slaves 
immediately became an object of commerce. The historian 
of the maritime discoveries of Spain even claims that she 
anticipated the Portuguese. The merchants of Seville 
imported gold dust and slaves from the western coast of 
Africa ; so that negro slavery was established in Anda 
lusia, and "abounded in the city of Seville," before the 
first voyage of Columbus. 

The adventurers of 'those days by sea, joining the creed 
of bigots with the designs of pirates and heroes, esteemed 
as their rightful plunder the wealth of the countries 
which they might discover, and the inhabitants, if Chris 
tians, as their subjects ; if infidels, as their slaves. There 
was hardly a convenient harbor on the Atlantic frontier 



70 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BANCROFT 

of the United States which was not entered by slavers. 
The red men of the wilderness, unlike the Africans, among 
whom slavery had existed from immemorial time, would 
never abet the foreign merchant in the nefarious traffic. 
Fraud and force remained, therefore, the means by which, 
near Newfoundland or Florida, on the shores of the At 
lantic, or among the Indians of the Mississippi valley, 
Cortereal and Vasquez de Ayllon, Porcallo and Soto, and 
private adventurers, transported the natives of North 
America into slavery in Europe and the Spanish West 
Indies. Columbus himself, in 1494, enslaving five hundred 
native Americans, sent them to Spain, that they might be 
publicly sold at Seville. The generous Isabella, in 1500, 
commanded the liberation of the Indians held in bondage 
in her European possessions. Yet her active benevolence 
extended neither to the Moors nor to the Africans ; and 
even her compassion for the men of the New World was 
but transient. The commissions for making discoveries, 
issued a few days before and after her interference to 
rescue those whom Columbus had enslaved, reserved for 
herself and Ferdinand a fourth part of the slaves which 
the new kingdoms might contain. The slavery of Indians 
was recognized as lawful. 

A royal edict of 1501 permitted negro slaves, born in 
slavery among Christians, to be transported. Within two 
years there were such numbers of Africans in Hispani- 
ola that Ovando, the governor of the island, entreated 
tl.at their coming might be restrained. For a short time 
the Spanish government forbade the' introduction of negro 
slaves who had been bred in Moorish families, and allowed 
only those who were said to have been instructed in the 
Christian faith to be transported to the West Indies, under 
the plea that they might assist in converting infidel na 
tions. But, after the culture of sugar was begun, the 



BANCROFT] REVIEW OF THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY. 71 

system of slavery easily overcame the scruples of men in 
power. King Ferdinand himself sent from Seville fifty 
slaves to labor in the mines, and promised to send more ; 
and, because it was said that one negro could do the work 
of four Indians, the direct transportation of slaves from 
Guinea to Hispaniola was, in 1511, enjoined by a royal 
ordinance, and deliberately sanctioned by successive de 
crees. Was it not natural that Charles V., a youthful 
monarch, at his accession in 1516, should have readily 
granted licenses to the Flemings to transport negroes to 
the colonies? The benevolent Las Casas, who felt for the 
native inhabitants of the New World all that the purest 
missionary zeal could inspire, and who had seen them 
vanish away like dew before the cruelties of the Spaniards 
while the African thrived under the tropical sun, in 1517 
suggested that negroes might still further be employed to 
perform the severe toils which they alone could endure. 
The board of trade at Seville was consulted, to learn how 
many slaves would be required ; four for each Spanish 
emigrant had been proposed ; deliberate calculation fixed 
the number at four thousand a year. In 1518 the mo 
nopoly, for eight years, of annually importing four thou 
sand slaves into the West Indies was granted by Charles 
Y. to La Bresa, one of his favorites, and was sold to the 
Genoese. The buyers of the contract purchased their 
slaves of the Portuguese, to whom a series of papal bulls 
had indeed granted the exclusive commerce with Western 
Africa ; but the slave-trade between Africa and America 
was never expressly, sanctioned by the see of Rome. Leo 
X. declared that " not the Christian religion only, but 
Nature herself, cries out against the state of slavery." 
Paul III., two years after he had given authority to make 
slaves of every English person who would not assist in 
the expulsion of Henry VIII., in two separate briefs im- 



72 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BANCROFT 

precated a curse on the Europeans who should enslave 
Indians, or any other class of men. Ximenes, the stern 
grand-inquisitor, the austere but ambitious Franciscan, 
refused to sanction the introduction of negroes into His- 
paniola, believing that the favorable climate would in 
crease their numbers and infallibly lead them to a success 
ful revolt. Hayti, the first spot in America that received 
African slaves, was the first to set the example of African 
liberty. 

The odious distinction of having first interested England 
in the slave-trade belongs to Sir John Hawkins. In 1562 
he transported a large cargo of Africans to Hispaniola; 
the rich returns of sugar, ginger, and pearls attracted the 
notice of Queen Elizabeth ; and five years later she took 
shares in a new expedition, though the commerce, on the 
part of the English, in Spanish ports, was by the law of 
Spain illicit, as well as by the law of morals detestable. 

Conditional servitude, under indentures or covenants, 
had from the first existed in Virginia. Once at least 
James sent over convicts, and once at least the city of 
London a hundred homeless children from its streets. 
The servant stood to his master in the relation of a 
debtor, bound to discharge by his labor the costs of 
emigration. White servants came to be a usual article 
of merchandise. They were sold in England to be trans 
ported, and in Virginia were to be purchased on ship 
board. Not the Scots only, who were taken in the field 
of Dunbar, were sold into servitude in New England, but 
the royalist prisoners of the battle of Worcester. The 
leaders in the insurrection of Penruddoc, in spite of the 
remonstrance of Haselrig and Henry Vane, were shipped 
to America. At the corresponding period, in Ireland, the 
exportation of Irish Catholics was frequent. In 1672, the 
average price in the colonies, where five years of service 



BANCROFT] REVIEW OF THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY. 73 

were due, was about ten pounds, while a negro was worth 
twenty or twenty-five pounds. 

The condition of apprenticed servants in Virginia dit- 
fered from that of slaves chiefly in the duration of their 
bondage ; the laws of the colony favored their early en 
franchisement. But this state of labor easily admitted 
the introduction of perpetual servitude. In the month 
of August, 1619, five years after the commons of Franco 
had petitioned for the emancipation of every serf in every 
fief, a Dutch man-of-war entered James Biver and landed 
twenty negroes for sale. This is the sad epoch of the 
introduction of negro slavery ; but the traffic would have 
been checked in its infancy had it remained with the 
Butch. Thirty years after this first importation of Afri 
cans, Virginia to one black contained fifty whites; and, 
after seventy years of its colonial existence, the number 
of its negro slaves was proportion ably much less than in 
several Northern States at the time of the war of inde 
pendence. Had no other form of servitude been known 
in Virginia than of men of the same race, every difficulty 
would have been promptly obviated. But the Ethiopian 
and Caucasian races were to meet together in nearly 
equal numbers beneath a temperate zone. Who could 
foretell the issue ? The negro race, from its introduction, 
was regarded with disgust, and its union with the whites 
forbidden under ignominious penalties. 



II. D 



74 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [Sxows 

SAM LAWSON, THE VILLAGE DO-NOTHING. 

HARRIET BEECHER STOWE. 

[The author of the celebrated " Uncle Tom's Cabin,'' daughter of 
the Kev. Lyman Beecher, and sister of the noted pulpit-orator Henry 
Ward Beecher, was born at Litchfield, Connecticut, in 1812. The im 
mediate and extraordinary popularity of the work above named is one 
of the curiosities of literature, and its total sale was unprecedented] y 
large. Mrs. Stowe has written many other novels, in all of which she 
displays an insight into human nature, rich powers of description, 
earnest pathos, and a command of language unsurpassed by those of 
any other American novelist. " Oldtown Folks," from which we take 
our selection, is a more polished and finished work than " Uncle Tom's 
Cabin," and as a character-picture of New England life in a past gen 
eration it must be viewed as a work of high art. It has not its equal, 
in this respect, in American literature.] 

" WAL, naow, Horace, don't ye cry so. Why, I'm railly 
consarned for ye. Why, don't you s'pose your daddy's 
better off? Why, sartin I do. Don't cry, there's a good 
boy, now. I'll give ye my jack-knife, now." 

This was addressed to me the day after my father's 
death, while the preparations for the funeral hung like a 
pall over the house, and the terror of the last cold mys 
tery, the tears of my mother, and a sort of bustling dreari 
ness on the part of my aunts and grandmother, all con 
spired to bear down on my childish nerves with fearful 
power. It was a doctrine of those good old times, no less 
than of many in our present days, that a house invaded 
by death should be made a*s forlorn as hands could make 
it. It should be rendered as cold and stiff, as unnatural, as 
dead and corpse-like, as possible, by closed shutters, looking- 
glasses pinned up in white sheets, and the locking up and 
hiding out of sight of any pleasant little familiar object 
which would be thought out of place in a sepulchre. This 



STOWE] SAM LAWSON, THE VILLAGE DO-NOTHING. 75 

work had been driven through with unsparing vigor by 
Aunt Lois, who looked like one of the Fates as she remorse 
lessly cleared away every little familiar object belonging 
to my father, and reduced every room to the shrouded 
stillness of a well-kept tomb. 

Of course no one thought of looking after me. It was 
not the fashion of those days to think of children, if only 
they would take themselves off out of the way of the 
movements of the grown people ; and so I had run out 
into the orchard back of the house, and, throwing myself 
down on my face under an apple-tree in the tall clover, I 
gave myself up to despair, and was sobbing aloud in a 
nervous paroxysm of agony, when these words were ad 
dressed to me. The speaker was a tall, shambling, loose- 
jointed man, with a long, thin visage, prominent watery 
blue eyes, very fluttering and seedy habiliments, who oc 
cupied the responsible position of first do-nothing-in-ordi- 
nary in our village of Oldtown, and as such I must intro 
duce him to my readers' notice. 

Every New England village, if you only think of it, 
must have its do-nothing as regularly as it has its school- 
house or meeting-house. Nature is always wide awake 
in the matter of compensation. Work, thrift, and indus 
try are such an incessant steam-power in Yankee life, that 
society would burn itself out with intense friction were 
there not interposed here and there the lubricating power 
of a decided do-nothing, a man who won't be hurried, 
and won't work, and will take his ease in his own way, in 
spite of the whole protest of his neighborhood to the con 
trary. And there is on the face of the whole earth no do- 
nothing whose softness, idleness, general inaptitude to 
labor, and everlasting, universal shiftlessness can compare 
with that of this worthy, as found in a brisk Yankee 
village. 



76 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STOWE 

Sam Lawson filled this post with ample honor in Old- 
town. He was a fellow dear to the souls of all " us boys" 
in the village, because, from the special nature of his po 
sition he never had anything more pressing to do than 
croon and gossip with us. He was ready to spend hours 
in tinkering a boy's jack-knife or mending his skate, or 
start at the smallest notice to watch at a woodchuck's 
hole, or give incessant service in tending a dog's sprained 
paw. He was always on hand to go fishing with us on 
Saturday afternoons ; and I have known him to sit hour 
after hour on the bank, surrounded by a troop of boys, 
baiting our hooks and taking off our fish. He was a soft 
hearted old body, and the wrigglings and contortions of our 
prey used to disturb his repose, so that it was a regular 
part of his work to kill the fish by breaking their necks 
when he took them from the hooks. 

""Why, lordy massy, boys," he would say, "I can't bear 
to see no kind o' critter in torment. These 'ere pouts 
ain't to blame for bein' fish, and ye ought to put 'em out 
of their misery. Fish hes their rights as well as any 
on us." 

Nobody but Sam would have thought of poking through 
the high grass and clover on our back lot to look me up, 
as I lay sobbing under the old apple-tree, the most in 
significant little atom of misery that ever bewailed the 
inevitable. 

Sam was of respectable family, and not destitute of 
education. He was an expert in at least five or six differ 
ent kinds of handicraft, in all of which he had been pro 
nounced by the knowing ones to be a capable workman, 
" if only he would stick to it." He had a blacksmith's shop, 
where, when the fit was on him, he would shoe a horse 
better than any man in the county. No one could supply 
a missing screw, or apply a timely brace, with more adroit- 



STOWE] SAM LA WSON, THE VILLAGE DO-NOTHING. 77 

ness. He could mend cracked china so as to be almost as 
good as new ; he could use carpenter's tools as well as a 
born carpenter, and would doctor a rheumatic door or a 
shaky window better than half the professional artisans 
in wood. No man could put a refractory clock to rights 
with more ingenuity than Sam, that is, if you would 
give him his time to be about it. 

I shall never forget the wrath and dismay which he 
roused in my aunt Lois's mind by the leisurely way in 
which, after having taken our own venerable kitchen 
clock to pieces, and. strewn the fragments all over the 
kitchen, he would roost over it in endless incubation, tell 
ing stories, entering into long-winded theological discus 
sions, smoking pipes, and giving histories of all the other 
clocks in Oldtown, with occasional memoirs of those in 
Needmore, the North Parish, and Podunk, as passively 
indifferent to all her volleys of sarcasm and contempt, her 
stinging expostulations and philippics, as the sailing old 
moon is to the frisky, animated barking of some puppy 
dog of earth. 

" Why, ye see, Miss Lois," he would say, " clocks can't 
be druv; that's jest what they can't. Some things can be 
druv, and then ag'in some things can't, and clocks is that 
kind. They's jest got to be humored. Now, this 'ere's a 
'mazin' good clock ; give me my time on it, and I'll have 
it so 'twill keep straight on to the Millennium." 

" Millennium !" says Aunt Lois, with a snort of infinite 
contempt. 

" Yes, the Millennium," says Sam, letting fall his work 
in a contemplative manner. "That 'ere's an interestin' 
topic, now. Parson Lothrop he don't think the Millennium 
will last a thousand years. What's your 'pinion on that 
pint, Miss Lois?" 

" My opinion is," said Aunt Lois, in her most nipping 
n. 7* 



78 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

tones, " that if folks don't mind their own business, and 
do with their might what their hand finds to do, the Mil 
lennium won't come at all." 

" Wai, you see, Miss Lois, it's just here, one day is 
with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years 
as one day." 

" I should think you thought a day was a thousand 
years, the way you work," said Aunt Lois. 

" "Wai," said Sam, sitting down with his back to his 
desperate litter of wheels, weights, and pendulums, and 
meditatively caressing his knee as he watched the sailing 
clouds in abstract meditation, "ye see, ef a thing's or 
dained, why it's got to be, ef you don't lift a finger. That 
'ere's so now, ain't it ?" 

" Sam Lawson, you are about the most aggravating 
creature I ever had to do with. Here you've got our 
clock all to pieces, and have been keeping up a perfect 
hurrah's nest in our kitchen for three days, and there you 
sit maundering and talking with your back to your work, 
fussing about the Millennium, which is none of your busi 
ness, or mine, as I know of! Do either put that clock 
together or let it alone !" 

" Don't you be a grain uneasy, Miss Lois. Why, I'll 
have your clock all right in the end, but I can't be druv. 
Wai, I guess I'll take another spell on't to-morrow or 
Friday." 

Poor Aunt Lois, horror-stricken, but seeing herself ac 
tually in the hands of the imperturbable enemy, now es 
sayed the tack of conciliation. " Now do, Lawson, just, 
finish up this job, and I'll pay you down, right on the 
spot ; and you need the money." 

" I'd like to 'blige ye, Miss Lois ; but ye see money ain't 
everything in this world. Ef I work tew long on one 
thing, my mind kind o' gives out, ye see ; and, besides, 



STOWE] SAM LAWSON, THE VILLAGE DO-NOTHING. 79 

I've got some 'sponsibilities to 'tend to. There's Mrs. 
Captain Brown, she made me promise to come to-day and 
look at the nose o' that 'ere silver teapot o' hern ; it's kind 
o' sprung a leak. And then I 'greed to split a little oven- 
wood for the Widdah Pedee, that lives up on the Shelburn 
road. Must visit the widdahs in their affliction, Scriptur' 
says. And then there's Hepsy : she's allers a-castin' it up 
at me that I don't do nothing for her and the chil'en ; but 
then, lordy massy, Hepsy hain't no sort o' patience. Why, 
jest this mornin' I was a-tellin' her to count up her mar- 
cies, and I 'clare for't if I didn't think she'd 'a' throwed 
the tongs at me. That 'ere woman's temper railly makes 
me consarned. Wai, good-day, Miss Lois. I'll be along 
igain to-morrow or Friday, or the first o' next week." 
And away he went with long, loose strides down the vil 
lage street, while the leisurely wail of an old fuguing tune 
floated back after him, 

" Thy years are an 
Etarnal day, 
Thy years are an 
Etarnal day." 

"An eternal torment," said Aunt Lois, with a snap. 
"I'm sure, if there's a mortal creature on this earth that 
I pity, it's Hepsy Lawson. Folks talk about her scold 
ing: that Sam Lawson is enough to make the saints in 
heaven fall from grace. And you can't do anything with 
him : it's like charging bayonet into a wool-sack." 

Now, the Hepsy thus spoken of was the luckless woman 
whom Sam's easy temper, and a certain youthful reputa 
tion for being a capable fellow, had led years before into 
the snares of matrimony with him, in consequence of 
which she was encumbered with the bringing-up of six 
children on very short rations. She was a gnarly, com- 



80 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [Srows 

pact, efficient little pepper-box of a woman, with snapping 
black eyes, pale cheeks, and a mouth always at half-cock, 
ready to go off with some sharp crack of reproof at the 
shoreless, bottomless, and tideless inefficiency of her hus 
band. It seemed to be one of those facts of existence 
that she could not get used to, nor find anywhere in her 
brisk, fiery little body a grain of cool resignation for. 
Day after day she fought it with as bitter and intense a 
vigor, and with as much freshness of objurgation, as if it 
had come upon her for the first time, just as a sharp, 
wiry little terrier will bark and bark from day to day, 
with never-ceasing pertinacity, into an empty squirrel-hole. 
She seemed to have no power within her to receive and as 
similate the great truth that her husband was essentially, 
and was to be and always would be, only a do-nothing. 

Poor Hepsy was herself quite as essentially a do-some 
thing, an early-rising, bustling, driving, neat, efficient, 
capable little body, who contrived, by going out to day's 
works, washing, scrubbing, cleaning, by making vests 
for the tailor, or closing and binding shoes for the shoe 
maker, by hoeing corn and potatoes in the garden at most 
unseasonable hours, actually to find bread to put into the 
mouths of the six young ravens aforesaid, and to clothe 
them decently. This might all do very well ; but when 
Sam who believed with all his heart in the modern doc 
trines of woman's rights so far as to have no sort of ob 
jection to Hepsy's sawing wood or hoeing potatoes if she 
chose would make the small degree of decency and pros 
perity the family had attained by these means a text on 
which to preach resignation, cheerfulness, and submission, 
then Hepsy's last cobweb of patience gave out, and she 
often became, for the moment, really dangerous, so that 
Sam would be obliged to plunge hastily out of doors to 
avoid a strictly personal encounter. 



STOWE] SAM LAWSON, THE VILLAGE DO-NOTHING. 81 

It was not to be denied that poor Hepsy really was a 
scold, in the strong old Saxon acceptation of the word. 
She had fought life single-handed, tooth and nail, with all 
the ferocity of outraged sensibilities, and had come out of 
the fight scratched and dishevelled, with few womanly 
graces. The good-wives of the village, versed in the outs 
and ins of their neighbors' affairs, while they admitted 
that Sam was not all he should be, would sometimes roll 
up the whites of their eyes mysteriously, and say, " But 
then, poor man, what could you expect, when he hasn't a 
happy home ? Hepsy's temper is, you know," etc., etc. 

The fact is, that Sam's softly easy temper and habits of 
miscellaneous handiness caused him to have a warm corner 
in most of the households. No mothers ever are very 
hard on a man who always pleases the children ; and 
every one knows the welcome of a universal gossip, who 
carries round a district a wallet of choice bits of neigh 
borhood information. 

Now, Sam knew everything about everybody. He 
could tell Mrs. Major Broad just what Lady Lothrop gave 
for her best parlor carpet, that was brought over from Eng 
land, and just on what occasions she used the big silver 
tankard, and on what they were content with the little 
one, and how many pairs of long silk stockings the min 
ister had, and how many rows of stitching there were 
on the shoulders of his Sunday shirts. He knew just all 
that was in Deacon Badger's best room, and how many 
silver tablespoons and teaspoons graced the beaufet in the 
corner, and when each of his daughters was born, and 
just how Miss Susy came to marry as she did, and who 
wanted to marry her and couldn't. He knew just the 
cost of Major Broad's scarlet cloak and shoe-buckles, and 
how Mrs. Major had a real Ingy shawl up in her " cam- 
phire" trunk, that cost nigh as much as Lady Lothrop's 
n / 



82 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

Nobody had made love, or married, or had children born, 
or been buried, since Sam was able to perambulate the 
country, without his informing himself minutely of every 
available particular; and his unfathomable knowledge on 
these subjects was an unfailing source of popularity. 

Besides this, Sam was endowed with no end of idle ac 
complishments. His indolence was precisely of a turn 
that enjoyed the excitement of an occasional odd bit of 
work with which he had clearly no concern, and which 
had no sort of tendency toward his own support or that 
of his family. Something so far out of the line of practi 
cal utility as to be in a manner an artistic labor would 
awaken all the energies of his soul. His shop was a per 
fect infirmary for decayed articles of virtu from all the 
houses for miles around. Cracked china, lame teapots, 
broken shoe-buckles, rickety tongs, and decrepit fire-irons, 
all stood in melancholy proximity, awaiting Sam's happy 
hours of inspiration ; and he was always happy to sit down 
and have a long, strictly confidential conversation concern 
ing any of these with the owner, especially if Hepsy were 
gone out washing, or on any other work which kept her 
at a safe distance. 

Sam could shave and cut hair as neatly as any barber, 
and was always in demand up and down the country 
to render these offices to the sick. He was ready to go 
for miles to watch with invalids, and a very acceptable 
watcher he made, beguiling the night hours with endless 
stories and legends. He was also an expert in psalmody, 
having in his youth been the pride of the village singing- 
school. In those days he could perform reputably on the 
bass-viol in the choir of a Sunday with a dolefulness and 
solemnity of demeanor in the highest degree edifying, 
though he was equally ready of a week-evening in scrap 
ing on a brisk little fiddle, if any of the thoughtless ones 



STOWE] SAM LAWSON, THE VILLAGE DO-NOTHING. 83 

wanted a performer at a husking- or a quilting frolic. 
Sam's obligingness was many-sided, and he was equally 
prepared at any moment to raise a funeral psalm or whis 
tle the time of a double-shuffle. 

But the more particular delight of Sam's heart was in 
funerals. He would walk miles on hearing the news of 
a dangerous illness, and sit roosting on the fence of the 
premises, delighted to gossip over the particulars, but 
ready to come down at any moment to do any of the odd 
turns which sickness in a family makes necessary; and 
when the last earthly scene was over, Sam was more than 
ready to render those final offices from which the more 
nervous and fastidious shrink, but in which he took almost 
a professional pride. 

The business of an undertaker is a refinement of modern 
civilization. In simple old days neighbors fell into one 
another's hands for all the last wants of our poor mortal 
ity ; and there were men. and women of note who took a 
particular and solemn pride in these mournful offices. 
Sam had in fact been up all night in our house, and, hav 
ing set me up in the clover, and comforted me with a jack- 
knife, he proceeded to inform me of the particulars. 

" Why, ye see, Horace, I ben up with 'em pretty mucn 
all night ; and I laid yer father out myself, and I never 
see a better^lookin' corpse. It's a 'mazin' pity your daddy 
hed such feelin's 'bout havin' people come to look at him, 
'cause he does look beautiful, and it's ben a long time 
since we've hed a funeral, anyway, and everybody was 
expectin' to come to his'n, and they'll all be dissap'inted 
if the corpse ain't show'd ; but then, lordy massy, folks 
oughtn't to think hard on't ef folks hes their own way 
? bout their own funeral. That 'ere's what I've ben a- 
tellin' on 'em all, over to the tavern and round to the store. 
Why, you never see sich a talk as there was about it. 



84 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STOWK 

There was Aunt Sally Morse, and Betsey and Patsy Sawin, 
and Mis' Zeruiah Bacon, come over early to look at the 
corpse, and when they wasn't let in, you never heerd sich 
a jawin'. Betsey and Patsy Sawin said that they allers 
suspected your father was an infidel, or some sich, and 
now they was clear ; and Aunt Sally she asked who made 
his shroud, and when she heerd there wasn't to be none. 
he was laid out in his clothes, she said she never heerd 
such unchristian doin's. that she always had heerd he 
had strange opinions, but she never thought it would come 
to that." 

" My father isn't an infidel ; and I wish I could kill 'em 
for talking so," said I, clinching my jack-knife in my 
small fist, and feeling myself shake with passion. 

" Wai, wal, I kind o' spoke up to 'em about it. I wasn't 
a-goin' to hear no sich jaw ; and says I, ' I think ef there 
is anybody that knows what's what about funerals I'm 
the man, fur I don't s'pose there's a man in the county 
that's laid out more folks, and set up with more corpses, 
and ben sent for fur and near, than I have, and my opin 
ion is that mourners must always follow the last directions 
gi'n to 'em by the person. Ef a man hesn't a right to 
have the say about his own body, what hes he a right to ?' 
Wal, they said that it was putty well of me to talk so, 
when I had the privilege of settin' up with him, and seein' 
all that was to be seen. ' Lordy massy,' says I, ' I don't see 
why ye need envi me ; 'tain't my fault that folks thinks 
it's agreeable to have me round. As to bein' buried in 
his clothes, why, lordy massy, 'tain't nothin' so extraor 
dinary. In the old country great folks is very often laid 
out in their clothes. 'Member, when I was a boy, old Mr. 
Sanger, the minister in Deerbrook, was laid out in his 
gown and bands, with a Bible in his hands, and he looked 
as nateral as a pictur'. I was at Parson Rider's funeral, 



STOWE] SAM LAWSON, THE VILLAGE DO-NOTHING. 85 

down to Wrentham. He was laid out in white flannel. 
But then there was old Captain Bigelow, down to the Pint 
there, he was laid out regular in his rigimentals, jest as 
he wore 'em in the war, epaulets and all.' Wai, now, 
Horace, your daddy looks jest as peaceful as a psalm-tune. 
Now, you don't know, jest as nateral as if he'd only jest 
gone to sleep. So ye may set your heart at rest 'bout 
him." 

It was one of those beautiful serene days of October, 
when the earth lies as bright and still as anything one 
can dream of in the New Jerusalem, and Sam's homely 
expressions of sympathy had quieted me somewhat. Sam, 
tired of his discourse, lay back in the clover, with his 
hands under his head, and went on with his moralizing : 

" Lordy massy, Horace, to think on't, it's so kind o' 
solemnizin' 1 It's one's turn to-day, and another's to-mor 
row. We never know when our turn'll come." And Sam 
raised a favorite stave, 

" And must these active limbs of mine 
Lie mouldering in the clay ?" 

" Active limbs ! I guess so !" said a sharp voice, whicn 
came through the clover-heads like the crack of a rifle. 
" Well, I've found you at last. Here you be, Sam Lawson, 
lyin' flat on your back at eleven o'clock in the morning, 
and not a potato dug, and not a stick of wood cut to get 
dinner with ; and I won't cut no more, if we never have 
dinner. It's no use a-humorin' you, doin' your work for 
you. The more I do, the more I may do : so come home, 
won't you ?" 

" Lordy massy, Hepsy," said Sam, slowly erecting him 
self out of the grass, and staring at her with white eyes, 
" you don't ought to talk so. I ain't to blame. I hed to 
ii 8 



AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

sit up with Mr. Holyoke all night, and help 'em lay him 
out at four o'clock this mornin'." 

" You're always everywhere but where you've business 
to be," .said Hepsy, " and helpin' and doin' for everybody 
but your own. For my part, I think charity ought to 
begin at home. You're everywhere, up and down and 
round, over to Shelbun, down to Podunk, up to North 
Parish ; and here Abram and Kiah. Stebbins have been 
waitin' all the morning with a horse they brought all the 
way from Boston to get you to shoe." 

" Wai, now, that 'ere shows they know what's what. I 
told Kiah that ef they'd bring that 'ere horse to me I'd 
tend to his huffs." 

" An be off lying in the mowing, like a pat-ridge, when 
they come after ye. That's one way to do business," said 
Hepsy. 

" Hepsy, I was just a miditatin'. Ef we don't miditate 
sometimes on all these 'ere things, it'll be wus for us by 
and by." 

" Meditate ! I'll help your meditations in a way you 
won't like, if you don't look out. So now you come home, 
and stop your meditatin', and go to doin' somethin'. I 
told 'em to come back this afternoon, and I'd have you on 
the spot if 'twas a possible thing," said the very practical 
Hepsy, laying firm hold of Sam's unresisting arm and 
leading him away captive. 



LOWELL] THE COURTIN*. 87 

THE COURTIN 1 . 

JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL. 

[The humorous pastoral was never more neatly conceived ana 
amusingly executed than in Lowell's " Courtin'," one of those in 
imitable bits of poetry which appear but once in a generation an* 1 
form in themselves a fame for their authors.] 

GOD makes sech nights, all white an' still 

Pur'z you. can look or listen, 
Moonshine an' snow on field an' hill, 

All silence an' all glisten. 

Zekle crep' up quite unbeknown 

An' peeked in thru' the winder, 
An' there sot Huldy all alone, 

'ith no one nigh to hender. 

A fireplace filled the room's one side 

With half a cord o' wood in, 
There warn't no stoves (tell comfort died) 

To bake ye to a puddin'. 

The wa'nut logs shot sparkles out 

Towards the pootiest, bless her, 
An' leetle flames danced all about 

The chiny on the dresser. 

Agin the chimbley crook-necks hung, 

An' in amongst 'em rusted 
The old queen's-arm thet gran'ther Young 

Fetched back from Concord busted. 



88 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LOWELL 

The very room, coz she was in, 
Seemed warm from floor to ceilin', 

An' she looked full ez rosy ag'in 
Ez the apples she was peelin'. 

'Twas kin' o' kingdom-come to look 

On sech a blessed cretur ; 
A dog-rose blushin' to a brook 

Ain't modester nor sweeter. 

He was six foot o' man, A 1, 

Clear grit an' human natur' ; 
None couldn't quicker pitch a ton 

Nor dror a furrer straighter. 

He'd sparked it with full twenty gals, 
Hed squired 'em, danced 'em, druv 'em, 

Fust this one, an' then thet, by spells, 
All is, he couldn't love 'em. 

But long o' her his veins 'ould run 

All crinkly like curled maple ; 
The side she breshed felt full o' sun 

Ez a south slope in Ap'il. 

She thought no v'ice bed sech a swing 

Ez hisn in the choir ; 
My ! when he made Ole Hunderd ring, 

She knowed the Lord was nigher. 

An' she'd blush scarlit, right in prayer, 

When her new meetin'-bunriet 
Felt somehow thru' its crown a pair 

O' blue eyes sot upon it. 



LOWELL] THE COURTING 89 

Thet night, I tell ye, she looked some 1 
She seemed to've got a new soul, 

For she felt sartin-sure he'd come, 
Down to her very shoe-sole. 

She heered a foot, an' knowed it tu, 

A-raspin' on the scraper; 
All ways to once her feelin's flew, 

Like sparks in burnt-up paper. 

He kin' o' 1'itered on the mat, 

Some doubtfle o' the sekle ; 
His heart kep' goin' pity-pat, 

But hern went pity Zekle. 

An' yit she gin her cheer a jerk 
Ez though she wished him furder, 

An' on her apples kep' to work, 
Parin' away like murder. 



" fou want to see my Pa, I s'pose ?" 
" Wai. ... no .... I come designin' " 

" To see my Ma ? She's sprinklin' clo'es 
Ag'in' to-morrer's i'nin'." 

To say why gals acts so or so, 

Or don't, 'ould be presumin' ; 
Mebby to mean yes an' say no 

Comes nateral to women. 

He stood a spell on one foot fust, 
Then stood a spell on t'other, 

An' on which one he felt the wust 
He couldn't ha' told ye nuther. 
ii. 8* 



90 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LEA 

Says he, " I'd better call ag'in ;" 
Says she, "Think likely, Mister;" 

Thet last word pricked him like a pin, 
An' .... Wai, he up an' kist her. 

When Ma bimeby upon 'em slips, 

Huldy sot pale ez ashes, 
All kin' o' smily roun' the lips 

An' teary roun' the lashes. 

For she was jes' the quiet kind 

Whose naturs never vary, 
Like streams that keep a summer mind 

Snow-hid in Jenooary. 

The blood clost roun' her heart felt glued 

Too tight for all expressing 
Tell mother see how metters stood, 

An' gin 'em both her blessin'. 

Then her red come back like the tide 

Down to the Bay o' Fundy, 
An' all I know is, they was cried 

In meetin' come nex' Sunday. 



PRIMITIVE FORMS OF THE ORDEAL. 

HENRY C. LEA. 

[Mr. Lea comes from a family of high intelligence and literary 
standing. He is the grandson of Mathew Carey, one of our earliest 
writers on Political Economy, and a son of Isaac Lea, of high note as 
an American naturalist. Mr. Lea was born in Philadelphia in 1825. 



LEA] PRIMITIVE FORMS OF THE ORDEAL. 91 

As a publisher he succeeded to the business of the celebrated publish 
ing-house of Mathew Carey & Sons, established in the last century. As 
an author he has devoted himself to certain phases of history hereto 
fore but imperfectly treated. His "Superstition and Force," "His 
torical Sketch of Sacerdotal Celibacy in the Christian Church," and 
" Studies in Church History" are works of great learning and value. 
From the first-named we offer an illustrative extract.] 

TURNING to the still savage races of the Old World, we 
everywhere find these superstitions in full force. Africa 
furnishes an ample store of them, varying from the cru 
dest simplicity to the most deadly devices. Among the 
Kalabarese, for instance, the afia-edet-ibom is administered 
with the curved fang of a snake, which is dexterously 
inserted under the lid and around the ball of the eye of 
the accused ; if innocent, he is expected to eject it by 
rolling the eye, while, if unable to do so, it is removed 
with a leopard's tooth, and he is condemned. Even ruder, 
and more under the control of the operator, is the afia- 
ibnot-idiok, in which a white and a black line are drawn on 
the skull of a chimpanzee : this is held up before the de 
fendant, when an apparent attraction of the white lino 
towards him demonstrates his innocence, or an inclination 
of the black line in his direction pronounces his guilt. 
More formidable than these is the ordeal-nut, containing 
a deadly poison which causes frothing at the mouth, con 
vulsions, paralysis, and speedy death. In capital cases, or 
even when sickness is attributed to hostile machinations, 
the abiadiong, or sorcerer, decides who shall undergo the 
trial ; and, as the active principle of the nut can be ex 
tracted by preliminary boiling, judicious liberality on the 
part of the individual selected is supposed to render the 
ordeal comparatively harmless. 

Throughout a wide region of Western Africa, one of the 
most popular forms of ordeal is that of the red water, or 



92 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LEA 

" sassy-bark." In the neighborhood of Sierra Leone, as 
described by Dr. Winterbottom, it is administered by re 
quiring the accused to fast for twelve hours and then to 
swallow a small quantity of rice. After this the infusion 
of the bark is taken in large quantities, as much as a gal 
lon being sometimes employed : if it produces emesia, so 
us to eject all of the rice, the proof of innocence is com 
plete, but if it fails in this, or if it acts as a purgative, the 
accused is pronounced guilty. It has narcotic properties, 
also, a manifestation of which is likewise decisive against 
the sufferer. Among some of the tribes this is determined 
by placing on the ground small sticks about eighteen 
inches apart, or by forming an archway of limbs of trees 
bent to the ground, and requiring the patient to pick his 
way among them, a feat rendered difficult by the vertigi 
nous effects of the poison. Although death not infre 
quently results from the ordeal itself, yet the faith reposed 
in these trials i so absolute that, according to Dr. Living 
stone, they are demanded with eagerness by those accused 
of witchcraft, confident in their own innocence, and be 
lieving that the guilty alone can suffer. When the red 
water is administered for its emetic effects, the popular 
explanation is that the fetish enters with the draught, 
examines the heart of the accused, and, on finding him 
innocent, returns with the rice as evidence. A system 
directly the reverse of all this is found in Ashantee, where 
sickness in the ordeal is a sign of innocence, and the lex 
talionis is strictly observed. When evidence is insufficient 
to support a charge, the accuser is made to take an oath 
as to the truth of his accusation, and the defendant is then 
required to chew a piece of odum wood and drink a pitcher 
of water. If no ill effects ensue, he is deemed guilty, and 
is put to death ; while if he becomes sick, he is acquitted, 
and the accuser suffers in his stead. 



LEA] PRIMITIVE FORMS OF THE ORDEAL. 93 

Further to the east in the African continent, the Niam- 
Niam and the neighboring tribes illustrate the endless 
variety of form of which the ordeal is susceptible. These 
savages resort to various kinds of divination, which are 
equally employed as a guidance for the future in all im 
portant undertakings and as means to discover the guilt 
or the innocence of those accused of crime. The principal 
of these is the borru, in which two polished pieces of 
damma wood are rubbed together, after being moistened 
with a few drops of water. If they glide easily on each 
other, the sign is favorable ; if they adhere together, it is 
unfavorable. Life and death are also brought in play, but 
vicarious victims are made the subject of experiment. 
Thus, a cock is taken and its head is repeatedly immersed 
in water until the creature is rigid and insensible ; if it 
recovers, the indication is favorable, if it dies, adverse. 
Or an oil extracted from the bengye wood is administered 
to a hen, and the same conclusions are drawn from its 
survival or death. 

In Madagascar the poison ordeal is less humanely ad 
ministered, with a decoction of the deadly nut of the Tan- 
gena (TangJiinia venenifera). One of the modes of its 
application is evidently based on the same theory as the 
ordeal of red water and rice, to which it bears a notable 
resemblance. A fowl is boiled, and three pieces of its skin 
are placed in the broth. Then a cupful of the decoction 
of the Tangena nut is given to the accused, followed by 
the same quantity of the broth, with the pieces of skin. 
Unless the poison speedily causes vomiting, it soon kills 
the patient, which is a satisfactory proof of his guilt. If 
vomiting ensues, it is kept up by repeated doses of the 
broth and warm water, and if the bits of skin are ejected 
the accused is declared innocent ; but if they are retained 
he is deemed convicted and is summarily despatched with 



94 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LEA 

another bowl of the poison. In the persecutions of 1836 
and 1849 directed against the Malagasy Christians, many 
of the converts were tried with the Tangena nut, and 
numbers of them perished. 

Springing from the same belief is the process used in 
Tahiti for discovering the criminal in cases of theft. The 
priest, when applied to, digs a hole in the clay floor of his 
hut, fills it with water, and stands over it with a young 
plantain in his hand, while invoking his god. The deity 
thereupon conducts the spirit of the thief over the water, 
and his reflection is recognized by the priest. 

The races of the Indian Archipelago are fully equipped 
with resources of the same kind for settling doubtful cases. 
Among the Dyaks of Borneo questions for which no other 
solution is apparent are settled by giving to each litigant 
a lump of salt, which they drop simultaneously into water, 
and he whose lump dissolves soonest is adjudged the loser; 
or each takes a living shell and places it on a plate, when 
lime-juice is squeezed over them, and the one whose shell 
first moves under his gentle stimulant is declared the 
winner. 

The black Australioid Khonds of the hill-districts of 
Orissa confirm the universality of these practices by 
customs peculiar to themselves which may be assumed as 
handed down by tradition from prehistoric times. Not 
only do they constantly employ the ordeals of boiling 
water and oil and red-hot iron, which they may have bor 
rowed from their Hindu neighbors, but they administer 
judicial oaths with imprecations that are decidedly of the 
character of ordeals. Thus, an oath is taken on a tiger's 
skin, with an invocation of destruction from that animal 
upon the perjured ; or upon a lizard's skin, whose scalinesg 
is invited upon him who may forswear himself; or over 
an ant-hill, with an imprecation that he who swears falsely 



LEA] PRIMITIVE FORMS OF THE ORDEAL. 95 

may be reduced to powder. A more characteristic ordeal 
is that used in litigation concerning land, when a portion 
of earth from the disputed possession is swallowed by 
each claimant, in the belief that it will destroy him whose 
pretensions are false. On very solemn occasions, a sheep 
is killed in the name of Tari Pennu, the dreadful earth- 
goddess ; rice is then moistened with its blood, and this is 
administered, in the full conviction that she will slay the 
rash litigant who insults her power by perjury. 

The hill-tribes of Eajmahal, who represent another of 
the pre- Aryan Indian races, furnish us with further de 
velopments of the same principle, in details bearing a 
marked analogy to those practised by the most diverse 
families of mankind. Thus, the process by which the 
guilt of Achan was discovered (Joshua vii. 16-18), and 
that by which, as we shall see hereafter, Master Anselm 
proposed to identify the thief of the sacred vessels of Laon, 
are not unlike the ceremony used when a district is rav 
aged by tigers or by pestilence, which is regarded as a 
retribution for sin committed by some inhabitant, whose 
identification thus becomes all-important for the salvation 
of the rest. In the process known as Satane a person sits 
on the ground with a branch of the bale-tree planted op 
posite to him ; rice is handed to him to eat in the name 
of the village of the 'district, and when the one is named 
in which the culprit lives, he is expected to throw up the 
rice. Having thus determined the village, the same plan 
is adopted with respect to each family in it, and when the 
family is identified, the individual is discovered in the 
same manner. Another form, named Cherreen, is not un 
like the ordeal of the Bible and key, not as yet obsolete 
among Christians. A stone is suspended by a string, and 
the names of the villages, families, and individuals are 
repeated, when it indicates the guilty by its vibrations. 



96 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LEA 

Thieves are also discovered and convicted by these pro 
cesses, and by another mode known as G-obereen, which is 
a modification of the hot-water ordeal. A mixture of cow- 
dung, oil, and water is made to boil briskly in a pot. A 
ring is thrown in, and each suspected person, after in 
voking the Supreme Deity, is required to find and bring 
out the ring with his hand, the belief being that the in 
nocent will not be burned, while, the guilty will not be 
able to put his hand into the pot, as the mixture will rise 
up to meet it. 

Reverting to the older races, we find no trace of formal 
ordeals in the fragmentary remains out of which Egyp 
tologists thus far have succeeded in reconstructing the 
antique civilization of the Nile valley ; but the intimate 
dependence of man on the gods, and the daily interposi 
tion of the latter in human affairs, taught by the prophets 
of the temples and reverently accepted by the people, 
render it almost certain that in some shape or other the 
divine judgment was frequently consulted in judicial pro 
ceedings where human wisdom was at fault. This prob 
ably took the form of reference to the oracles which 
abounded in every Egyptian nome. Indeed, a story re 
lated by Herodotus would seem to show that such an 
interpellation of the divine power was habitual in prose 
cutions when evidence of guilt was deficient. Aames II., 
before he gained the crown, was noted for his reckless and 
dissolute life, and was frequently accused of theft and 
carried to the nearest oracle, when he was convicted or 
acquitted according to the response. On ascending the 
throne, he paid great respect to the shrines where he had 
been condemned, and neglected altogether those where he 
had been absolved, saying that the former gave true and 
the latter lying responses. 

The Semitic races, while not giving to the ordeal the 



LEA] PRIMITIVE FORMS OF THE ORDEAL. 97 

development which it has received among the Aryans, 
still afford sufficient manifestation of its existence among 
them. Chaldean and Assyrian institutions have not as 
yet been sufficiently explored for us to state with positive- 
ness whether or not the judgment of G-od was a recognized 
i esource of the puzzled dispenser of justice ; but the prob- 
abilities are strongly in favor of some processes of the kind 
being discovered when we are more fully acquainted with 
their judicial system. The constant invocation of the 
gods, which forms so marked a feature of the cuneiform 
inscriptions, indicates a belief in the divine guidance of 
human aifairs which could hardly fail to find expression 
in direct appeals for light in the administration of justice. 
The nearest approach, however, to the principle of the 
ordeal which has thus far been deciphered is found in the 
imprecations commonly expressed in contracts, donations, 
and deeds, by which the gods are invoked to shed all the 
curses that can assail humanity on the heads of those who 
shall evade the execution of their plighted faith, or seek 
to present false claims. Akin to this, moreover, was the 
penalty frequently expressed in contracts, whereby their 
violation was to be punished by heavy fines, the greater 
part of which was payable into the treasury of some 
temple. 

Among the Hebrews, as a rule, the interposition of 
Y'ahveh was expected directly, without the formulas 
which human ingenuity has invented to invite and ascer 
tain the decisions of the divine will. Still, the combat of 
David and Goliath has been cited as a model and justifica 
tion of the judicial duel ; and there are some practices 
described in Scripture which are strictly ordeals, and 
which were duly put forth by the local clergy throughout 
Europe when struggling to defend the system against the 
prohibitions of the Papacy. When the man who blas- 

II E </ 9 



98 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LEA 

phemed the Lord (Levit. xxiv. 11-16) was kept in ward 
" that the mind of the Lord might be showed them," and 
the Lord ordered Moses to have him stoned by the whole 
congregation, we are not told the exact means adopted to 
ascertain the will of Yahveh, but the appeal was identical 
in principle with that which prompted the mediaeval judg 
ment of God. The use of the lot, moreover, which was 
so constantly employed in the most important and sacred 
matters, was not a mere appeal to chance, but was a sacred 
ceremony performed " before the Lord at the door of the 
tabernacle of the congregation" to learn what was the 
decision of Yahveh. The lot was also used, if not as a 
regular judicial expedient, at all events in unusual cases 
as a mode of discovering criminals, and its results were 
held to be the undoubted revelation of Omniscience. It 
is more than probable that the Urim and Thummim were 
lots, and that they were not infrequently used, as in the 
cases of Achan and Jonathan. And the popular belief in 
the efficacy of the lot is manifested in Jonah's adventure 
(Jonah i. 7), when the sailors cast lots to discover the sin 
ner whose presence brought the tempest upon them. The 
most formal and absolute example of the ordeal, however, 
was the Bitter Water by which conjugal infidelity was 
convicted and punished {Numb. v. 11-31). This curious 
and elaborate ceremony, which bears so marked an anal 
ogy to the poison ordeals, was abandoned by order of E. 
Johanan ben Saccai about the time of the Christian era, 
and is too well known to require more than a passing al 
lusion to the wealth of Haggadistic legend and the inter 
minable controversies and speculations to which it has 
given rise. I may add, however, that Aben Ezra and 
other Jewish commentators hold that when Moses burnt 
the golden calf and made the Israelites drink the water 
in which its ashes were cast (Exod. xxxii. 20), he admin- 



GRISWOLD] PROGRESS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. 99 

istered an ordeal, like that of the Bitter Water, which in 
some way revealed those who had been guilty of idolatry, 
so that the Levites could slay them ; and Selden explains 
this by reference to a tradition according to which the 
gold of the calf reddened the beards of those who had 
worshipped it, and thus rendered them conspicuous. 



THE PROGRESS AND PROSPECTS OF LITERATURE IN 
AMERICA. 

R. W. GRISWOLD. 

[Rufus Wilmot Griswold is best known as the editor of several valu 
able compilations of American literature, entitled " The Prose "Writers 
of America," " The Poets and Poetry of America," and " The Female 
Poets of America." In these works he shows excellent judgment and 
discrimination in his biographical and critical notices of the authors 
treated, and displays an attractive literary style of his own. From his 
introduction to " The Prose "Writers of America," in which the con 
ditions and prospects of American literature are treated at considerable 
length, we select a statement of his general views on the subject. He 
was born in Benson, Rutland County, Vermont, in 1815, and died in 
New York City in 1857.] 

I NEED not dwell upon the necessity of Literature and 
Art to a people's glory and happiness. History with all 
her voices joins in one judgment upon this subject. Our 
legislators, indeed, choose to consider them of no conse 
quence, and while the States are convulsed by claims from 
the loom and the furnace for protection, the demands of the 
parents of freedom, the preservers of arts, the dispensers 
of civility, are treated with silence. But authors and 
artists have existed and do exist here in spite of such 



100 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GKISWOLD 

outlawry ; and, notwithstanding the obstacles in our con 
dition, and the discouragements of neglect, the Anglo- 
Saxon race in the United States have done as much in the 
fields of Investigation, Keflection, Imagination, and Taste, 
in the present century, as any other twelve millions of 
people about our average number for this period in the 
world. 

Doubtless there are obstacles, great obstacles, to the 
successful cultivation of letters here ; but they are not so 
many nor so important as is generally supposed. The 
chief difficulty is a want of patriotism, mainly proceeding 
from and perpetuated by the absence of a just law of 
copyright. There is indeed no lack of that spurious love 
of country which is ever ready to involve us in aimless 
and disgraceful war ; but there is little genuine and lofty 
national feeling; little clear perception of that which 
really deserves aifection and applause ; little intelligent 
and earnest effort to foster the good we possess or acquire 
the good we need. 

It has been the fate of colonists in all ages to consider 
the people from among whom they made their exodus 
both morally and intellectually superior to themselves, 
and the parent state has had thus a kind of spiritual 
added to her political sovereignty. The American prov 
inces quarrelled with England, conquered, and became a 
separate nation ; and we have since had our own Presi 
dents and Congresses ; but England has continued to do 
the thinking of a large class here, of men who have 
arrogated to themselves the title of critics, of our sham 
sort of men, in all departments. We have had no confi 
dence in ourselves ; and men who lack self-reliance are 
rarely successful. We have not looked into our own hearts. 
We have not inquired of our own necessities. When we 
have written, instead of giving a free voice to the spirit 



GRISWOLD] PROGRESS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. 101 

within us, we have endeavored to write after some foreign 
model. We have been so fearful of nothing else as of 
an Americanism, in thought or expression. He has been 
deemed greatest who has copied some transatlantic author 
with most successful servility. The noisiest demagogue 
who affects to despise England will scarcely open a book 
which was not written there. And if one of our country 
men wins some reputation among his fellows, it is gener 
ally because he has been first praised abroad. 

The commonly urged barriers to literary advancement 
supposed to exist in our form of government, the nature 
of our institutions, the restless and turbulent movements 
of our democracy, and the want of a wealthy and privi 
leged class among us, deserve little consideration. Tumult 
and strife, the clashing of great interests and high excite 
ments, are to be regarded rather as aids than as obstacles 
to intellectual progress. From Athens came the choicest 
literature and the finest art. Her philosophers, so calm 
and profound, her poets, the dulcet sounds of whose lyres 
still charm the ears of succeeding ages, wrote amid con 
tinual upturnings and overthrows. The best authors of 
Eome also were senators and soldiers. Milton, the great 
est of the prose writers as well as the greatest of the 
poets of England, lived in the Commonwealth, and par 
ticipated in all its political and religious controversies. 
And what repose had blind Mseonides, or Camoens, or 
Dante, or Tasso? In the literature of Germany and 
France, too, the noblest works have been produced amid 
the shocks of contending elements. 

Nor is the absence of a wealthy class, with leisure for 
such tranquil pursuits, to be much lamented. The privi 
leged classes of all nations have been drones. We have, 
in the Southern States of this republic, a large class, with 
ample fortunes, leisure, and quiet; but they have done 
ii. 9* 



102 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GKISWOLD 

comparatively nothing in the fields of intellectual exer 
tion, except when startled into spasmodic activity by con 
flicts of interest with the North. 

To say truth, most of the circumstances usually set 
down as barriers to sesthetical cultivation here are directly 
or indirectly advantageous. The real obstacles are gener 
ally of a transient kind. Many of them are silently dis 
appearing; and the rest would be soon unknown if we 
had a more enlightened love of country, and the making 
of our laws were not so commonly confided to a sort of 
men whose intellects are too mean or whose principles are 
too wicked to admit of their seeing or doing what is just 
and needful in the premises. That property which is most 
actual, the only property to which a man's right is posi 
tive, unquestionable, indefeasible, exclusive, his genius, 
conferred as by letters patent from the Almighty, is held 
to be not his, but the public's, and therefore is not brought 
into use. . . . Nevertheless, much has been accomplished ; 
great advancement has been made against the wind and 
tide; and at this time the aspects and prospects of our 
aifairs are auspicious of scarcely anything more than 
of the successful cultivation of National Literature and 
National Art. 

I use the word National because whatever we do well 
must be done in a national spirit. The tone of a great 
work is given or received by the people among whom it 
is produced, and so is national, as an eifect or as a cause. 
While the spirit which animates the best literature of any 
country must be peculiar to it, its subjects may.be chosen 
from the world. It is absurd to suppose that Indian chiefs 
or republican soldiers must be the characters of our works 
of imagination, or that our gloomy forests, or sea-like 
prairies, or political committee rooms must be their scenes. 
Paradise Lost and Utopia are as much portions of British 



GUIS WOLD] PROGRESS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. 103 

Literature as Alfred, or London Assurance. It may be 
regarded as one of the greatest dangers to which our lit 
erature is exposed, indeed, that so many are mistaken as 
to what should distinguish it. Some writers, by no means 
destitute of abilities, in their anxiety to be national have 
merely ceased to be natural. Their works may be origi 
nal, but the men and manners they have drawn have no 
existence. Least of all do they exist in America. The 
subjects for the novelist and the poet in our own country 
are to be preferred because they are striking from their 
freshness, and because the physical condition of a country, 
having a powerful influence upon the character of its in 
habitants, naturally furnishes the most apposite illustra 
tions of their feelings and habits ; but a " national work" 
may as well be written about the builders of the Pyramids 
as about the mound-builders. In our literature we must 
regard all mew as equal in point of privilege, the church 
as the whole 'company of God's acceptable worshippers, 
the state as a jomt stock in which every one holds a share. 
It must be addressed to the national feelings, vindicate 
the national principles, support the national honor, be 
animated by an expansive sympathy with humanity. It 
must teach that the interests of man are the highest con 
cern of men. . . . 

There is an absurd notion abroad that we are to create 
an entirely new literature. Some critics in England ex 
pect us, who write the same language, profess the same 
religion, and have in our intellectual firmament the same 
Bacon, Sidney, and Locke, the same Spenser, Shakespeare, 
and Milton, to differ more from themselves than they 
differ from the Greeks and the Romans, or from any of 
the moderns. This would be harmless, but that many 
persons in this country, whose thinking is done abroad, are 
constantly echoing it, and wasting their little productive 



104 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GKISWOLD 

energy in efforts to comply with the demand. But there 
never was and never can be an exclusively national litera 
ture. All nations are indebted to each other and to pre 
ceding ages for the means of advancement ; and our own, 
which from our various origin may be said to be at the 
confluence of the rivers of time which have swept through 
every country, can with less justice than any other be 
looked to for mere novelties in art and fancy. The ques 
tion between us and other nations is not who shall most 
completely discard the Past, but who shall make best use 
of it. The Past belongs not to one people, but to those 
who best- understand it. It cannot be studied too deeply, 
for unless men know what has been accomplished they 
will exhaust themselves in unfolding enigmas that have 
been solved, or in pursuing ignes-fatui that have already 
disappointed a thousand expectations. The Reformation 
had an extraordinary influence upon the literatures of the 
world, and some such influence has been exerted by our 
Revolution and the establishment of our institutions. The 
intellectual energy of America has been felt far more in 
Europe than its own, for the period of our national ex 
istence, has been felt here; and with all the enslaving 
deference to foreign authority and all the imitation of 
foreign models of which we have had to complain in our 
inferior authors, there has been no want of the truest 
nationality in our Franklin, Webster, Channing, Cooper, 
Prescott, Bancroft, Bryant, Whittier, and others, in almost 
every department, who have written with an integrity of 
understanding and feeling. 

It has been objected to our society that it is too prac 
tical. It has been supposed that this national character 
istic forbids the expectation of great achievements in the 
highest domains of art. But the question Cui bono f should 
always be entertained. Utility is in everything the truest 



GRISWOLD] PROGRESS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. 105 

of principles, though more intelligence and liberality than 
belong to a low state of civilization are necessary to its 
just appreciation and application. Whatever contributes 
to the growth and satisfaction of the mind, whatever has 
in it any absolute beauty, is beginning to be regarded as 
not less useful than that which ministers to our physical 
necessities. All works, even of imagination, must have in 
them something of genuineness and earnestness. Poets, 
and novelists, and essayists, when they write, must look 
not only into their minds, but into their hearts. To per 
sons of the sensibility and refinement which are insepa 
rable from high cultivation, all truth is of a practical value, 
and in the most aerial creations it will be demanded by the 
first order of critics. 

The old sources of intellectual excitement seem to be 
wellnigh exhausted. Love will still be sung, but in no 
sweeter strains than those of Petrarch or Tasso ; Courage 
such as is celebrated by the old poets and romancers is 
happily in disrepute; Eeligion, as it has commonly ap 
peared in the more elegant forms of literature, has not 
been of a sort that ennobles man or pleases God ; and 
Ambition, for the most part, has been of a more grovelling 
kind than may be looked for under the new forms of 
society. Christian virtue is no longer the observance of 
senseless pagan forms that have been baptized, but "the 
love of truth, for its own beauty and sweetness ;" and the 
desire of man is not so much to win titles and power, as 
the consciousness or the reputation of doing something 
that shall entitle him to the general respect and gratitude. 
The materials among us for the externals of literature 
have been referred to. The elements of its vitality and 
power, which are most clearly apprehended in this century, 
though in their nature universal, for many reasons are 
likely to be most active with us. "Peace on earth, and 



106 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GRISWOLD 

good will to man," is here to be the principle of life and 
progress, in Letters, as in Religion and Politics. 

Considering the present condition of society, that new 
inventions are constantly releasing immense numbers from 
a portion of the toil required for the satisfaction of physi 
cal necessities, and giving to all more opportunity for in 
tellectual pursuits ; that steam and electricity are making 
of the world a common neighborhood, knitting its remotest 
parts together by interchange of fabrics and thoughts ; 
that the press, in the United States alone, scatters every 
hour more than the contents of the Alexandrian Library, 
and is increasing in refinement and energy with the ex 
pansion of its issues ; and that associations for moral and 
intellectual improvement were never more numerous or 
efficient, we cannot doubt that the Progress of Civiliza 
tion in the coming age will be rapid and universal. This 
country, which is the centre of the new order of things, 
is destined to be the scene of the greatest conflicts of 
opinion. Much as has been done here in literature and 
art, much as we have surpassed all reasonable expectation 
in the works of our philosophers, orators, historians, and 
poets, while clearing away the primeval forests, organizing 
society, and establishing the institutions of scientific and 
literary culture, we have not yet that distinct image of 
the feelings of the nation, in a great body of works in all 
the departments of reflection, imagination, and taste, of 
which the auspicious commencement of our literature, 
and our advantageous position with regard to the most 
important subjects of research and speculation, justify the 
hope. Schools may be well endowed, and individuals may 
labor with loving earnestness upon their life-poems, but 
the whole people, by recognizing the principle of beauty 
as a law of life, and cheering with their encouragement 
its teachers who shall deserve their best approval, and by 



GRISWOLD] PROGRESS OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. 107 

cherishing a hearty love of our country, and making 
ceaseless efforts to render it in all respects worthy of 
affection, must aid in rearing the noble structure of a 
National Literature that shall fulfil our promise to man 
kind, and realize the prophecy which nearly a century ago 
was made of our destiny by one of the wisest of the sons 
of Europe. 

The Muse, disgusted at an age and clime 

Barren of every glorious theme, 
In distant lands now waits a better time, 

Producing subjects worthy fame. 

In happy climes, where from the genial sun 

And virgin earth such scenes ensue, 
The force of art by nature seems outdone, 

And fancied beauties by the true ; 

In happy climes, the seat of innocence, 

Where nature guides and virtue rules ; 
"Where men shall not impose for truth and sense 

The pedantry of courts and schools, 

There shall be sung another golden age, 

The rise of empires and of arts, 
The good and great, inspiring epic rage, 

The wisest heads and noblest hearts. 

Not such as Europe breeds in her decay, 
Such as she bred when fresh and young, 

When heavenly flame did animate her clay, 
By future poets shall be sung. 

Westward the course of empire takes its way ; 

The first four acts already past, 
A fifth shall close the drama with the day : 

Time's noblest offspring is the last. 

BERKELEY. 



108 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BARTRAM 

CROCODILES ON THE ST. JOHN'S. 

WILLIAM BARTRAM. 

[The history of American science in the eighteenth century is con 
fined to a very few names, of which "by far the best known are those 
of Benjamin Franklin and the two Bartrams, father and son. John 
Bartram was born in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, in 1701. He 
and Franklin were the first Americans to gain a European reputation 
as scientists, Linnaeus pronouncing John Bartram " the greatest nat 
ural botanist in the world." He established a fine botanical garden 
near Philadelphia, enriched with many rare plants. This garden still 
remains, having in its centre the quaint old stone mansion built by 
Bartram with his own hands. He died in 1777. His son William, 
born in 1739, was equally active in botanical pursuits, and made a 
five-years' exploration of the natural productions of the region from 
the Carolinas to Florida. The work in which this expedition is de 
scribed, " Travels through North and South Carolina, Georgia, and 
East and West Florida," is full of interesting and valuable informa 
tion, descriptive of a state of nature which no longer exists. Croco 
dile-hunters in Florida, for instance, might not care to find their game 
in such profusion as is described in the following vivid narrative. 
William Bartram died in 1823.] 

THE evening was temperately cool and calm. The 
crocodiles began to roar and appear in uncommon num 
bers along the shores and in the river. I fixed my camp 
in an open plain, near the utmost projection of the prom 
ontory, under the shelter of a large live-oak, which 
stood on the highest part of the ground and but a few 
yards from my boat. From this open, high situation I 
had a, free prospect of the river, which was a matter 
of no trivial consideration to me, having good reason 
to dread the subtle attacks of the alligators, who were 
crowding about my harbor. Having collected a good 
quantity of wood for the purpose of keeping up a light 



BARTRAM] CROCODILES ON THE ST. JOHN'S. 109 

and smoke during the night, I began to think of pre 
paring my supper, when, upon examining my stores, I 
found but a scanty provision. I thereupon determined, as 
the most expeditious way of supplying my necessities, to 
take my bob and try for some trout. About one hundred 
yards above my harbor began a cove or bay of the river, 
out of which opened a large lagoon. The mouth or 
entrance from the river to it was narrow, but the waters 
soon after spread and formed a little lake, extending into 
the marshes : its entrance and shores within I observed 
to be verged with floating lawns of the pistia and nym- 
phea and other aquatic plants : these I knew were excel 
lent haunts for trout. 

The verges and islets of the lagoon were elegantly 
embellished with flowering plants and shrubs ; the laugh 
ing coots, with wings half spread, were tripping over the 
little coves and hiding themselves in the tufts of grass ; 
young broods of the painted summer teal, skimming the 
still surface of the waters, and following the watchful 
parent unconscious of danger, were frequently surprised 
by the voracious trout ; and he, in turn, as often by the 
subtle, greedy alligator. Behold him rushing forth from 
the flags and reeds. His enormous body swells. His 
plaited tail, brandished high, floats upon the lake. The 
waters like a cataract descend from his opening jaws. 
Clouds of smoke issue from his dilated nostrils. The 
earth trembles with his thunder. When immediately 
from the opposite coast of the lagoon emerges from the 
deep his rival champion. They suddenly dart upon each 
other. The boiling surface of the lake marks their rapid 
course, and a terrific conflict commences. They now sink 
to the bottom, folded together in horrid wreaths. The 
water becomes thick and discolored. Again they rise. 
Their jaws clap together, re-echoing through the deep 
ii. ' 10 



110 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BARTRAM 

surrounding forests. Again they sink, when the contest 
ends at the muddy bottom of the lake, and the vanquished 
makes a hazardous escape, hiding himself in the muddy, 
turbulent waters and sedge on a distant shore. The proud 
victor exulting returns to the place of action. The shores 
and forests resound his dreadful roar, together with the 
triumphing shouts of the plaited tribes around, witnesses 
of the horrid combat. 

My apprehensions were highly alarmed after being a 
spectator of so dreadful a battle. It was obvious that 
every delay would but tend to increase my dangers and 
difficulties, as the sun was near setting, and the alligators 
gathered around my harbor from all quarters. From 
these considerations I concluded to be expeditious in 
my trip to the lagoon in order to take some fish. Not 
thinking it prudent to take my fusee with me, lest I 
might lose it overboard in case of a battle, which I had 
every reason to dread before my return, I therefore fur 
nished myself with a club for my defence, went on board, 
and, penetrating the first line of those which surrounded 
my harbor, they gave way ; but, being pursued by several 
very large ones, I kept strictly on the watch, and paddled 
with all my might towards the entrance of the lagoon, 
hoping to be sheltered there from the multitude of my 
assailants ; but ere I had half-way reached the place I was 
attacked on all sides, several endeavoring to overset the 
canoe. My situation now became precarious to the last 
degree : two very large ones attacked me closely, at the 
same instant, rushing up with their heads and part of 
their bodies above the water, roaring terribly and belching 
floods of water over me. They struck their jaws together 
so close to my ears as almost to stun me, and I expected 
every moment to be dragged out of the boat and instantly 
devoured. But I applied my weapons so effectually about 



BARTRAM] CROCODILES ON THE ST. JOHN'S. HI 

me, though at random, that I was so successful as to beat 
them off a little ; when, finding that they designed to 
renew the battle, I made for the shore, as the only means 
left me for my preservation ; for by keeping close to it I 
should have my enemies on one side of me only, whereas 
I was before surrounded by them ; and there was a prob 
ability, if pushed to the last extremity, of saving myself 
by jumping out of the canoe on shore, as it is easy to out 
walk them on land, although comparatively as swift as 
lightning in the water. I found this last expedient alone 
could fully answer my expectations, for as soon as I 
gained the shore they drew off and kept aloof. This was 
a happy relief, as my confidence was in some degree re 
covered by it. On recollecting myself, I discovered that 
I had almost reached the entrance of the lagoon, and de 
termined to venture in, if possible, to take a few fish, and 
then return to my harbor, while daylight continued ; for 
I could now, with caution and resolution, make my way 
with safety along shore ; and indeed there was no other 
way to regain my camp, without leaving my boat and 
making my retreat through the marshes and reeds, which, 
if I could even effect, would have been in a manner 
throwing myself away, for then there would have been 
no hopes of ever recovering my bark and returning in 
safety to any settlements of men. I accordingly proceeded, 
and made good my entrance into the lagoon, though not 
without opposition from the alligators, who formed a line 
across the entrance, but did not pursue me into it ; nor 
was I molested by any there, though there were some 
very large ones in a cove at the upper end. I soon caught 
more trout than I had present occasion for, and the air 
was too hot and sultry to admit of their being kept for 
many hours, even though salted or barbecued. I now 
prepared for my return to camp, which I succeeded in 



112 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BAKTRAM 

with but little trouble, by keeping close to the shore ; yet 
I was opposed upon re-entering the river out of the lagoon. 
and pursued near to my landing (though not closely at 
tacked), particularly by an old daring one, about twelve 
feet in length, who kept close after me; and when I 
stepped on shore and turned about, in order to draw up 
my canoe, he rushed up near my feet, and lay there for 
some time, looking me in the face, his head and shoulders 
out of water. I resolved he should pay for his temerity, 
and, having a heavy load in my fusee, I ran to my camp, 
and, returning with my piece, found him with his foot on 
the gunwale of the boat, in search offish. On my coming 
up he withdrew sullenly and slowly into the water, but 
soon returned and placed himself in his former position, 
looking at me, and seeming neither fearful nor anyway 
disturbed. I soon despatched him by lodging the contents 
of my gun in his head, and then proceeded to cleanse and 
prepare my fish for supper, and accordingly took them out 
of the boat, laid them down on the sand close to the water, 
and began to scale them ; when, raising my head, I saw 
before me, through the clear water, the head and shoulders 
of a very large alligator, moving slowly towards me. I 
instantly stepped back, when, with a sweep of his tail, he 
brushed off several of my fish. It was certainly most 
providential that I looked up at that instant, as the mon 
ster would probably in less than a minute have seized and 
dragged me into the river. This incredible boldness of 
the animal disturbed me greatly, supposing there could 
now be no reasonable safety for me during the night but 
by keeping continually on the watch : I therefore, as soon 
as I had prepared the fish, proceeded to secure myself and 
effects in the best manner I could. In the first place, I 
hauled my bark up on the shore, almost clear out of the 
water, to prevent their oversetting or sinking her; after 



BARTRAM] CROCODILES ON THE ST. JOHN'S. H3 

this, every movable was taken out and carried to my camp, 
which was but a few yards off; then, ranging some dry 
wood in such order as was the most convenient, I cleared 
the ground round about it, that there might be no impedi 
ment in my way in case of an attack in the night, either 
from the water or the land ; for I discovered by this time 
that this small isthmus, from its remote situation and 
fruitfulness, was resorted to by bears and wolves. Hav 
ing prepared myself in the best manner I could, I charged 
my gun and proceeded to reconnoitre my camp and the 
adjacent grounds ; when I discovered that the peninsula 
and grove, at the distance of about two hundred yards 
from my encampment, on the land side, were invested by 
a cypress-swamp, covered with water, which below was 
joined to the shore of the little lake, and above to the 
marshes surrounding the lagoon : so that I was confined 
to an island exceedingly circumscribed, and I found there 
was no other retreat for me, in case of an attack, but by 
either ascending one of the large oaks or pushing off with 
my boat. 

It was by this time dusk, and the alligators had nearly 
ceased their roar, when I was again alarmed by a tumult 
uous noise that seemed to be in my harbor and therefore 
engaged my immediate attention. Eeturning to my camp, 
I found it undisturbed, and then continued on to the ex 
treme point of the promontory, where I saw a scene, new 
and surprising, which at first threw my senses into such 
u tumult that it was some time before I could comprehend 
what was the matter ; however, I soon accounted for the 
prodigious assemblage of crocodiles at this place, which 
exceeded everything of the kind I had ever heard of. 

How shall I express myself so as to convey an adequate 
idea of it to the reader and at the same time avoid raising 
suspicions of my veracity ? Should I say that the river 
u. A 10* 



114 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BARTRAM 

(in this place) from shore to shore, and perhaps near half 
a mile above and below me, appeared to be one solid bank 
of fish, of various kinds, pushing through this narrow 
pass of St. Juan's into the little lake, on their return down 
the river, and that the alligators were in such incredible 
numbers, and so close together from shore to shore, that 
it would have been easy to have walked across on their 
heads, had the animals been harmless ? What expressions 
can sufficiently declare the shocking scene that for some 
minutes continued, while this mighty army of fish were 
forcing the pass ? During this attempt, thousands, I may 
say hundreds of thousands, of them were caught and 
swallowed by the devouring alligators. I have seen an 
alligator take up out of the water several great fish at a 
time, and just squeeze them betwixt his jaws, while the 
tails of the great trout flapped about his eyes and lips ere 
he had swallowed them. The horrid noise of their closing 
jaws, their plunging amidst the broken banks of fish, and 
rising with their prey some feet upright above the water, 
the floods of water and blood rushing out of their mouths, 
and the clouds of vapor issuing from their wide nostrils, 
were truly frightful. This scene continued at intervals 
during the night, as the fish came to the pass. After this 
sight, shocking and tremendous as it was, I found myself 
somewhat easier and more reconciled to my situation, 
being convinced that their extraordinary assemblage here 
was owing to this annual feast of fish, and that they were 
so well employed in their own element that I had little 
occasion to fear their paying me a visit. 

It being now almost night, I returned to my camp, 
where I had left my fish broiling and my kettle of rice 
stewing; and, having with me oil, pepper, and salt, and 
excellent oranges hanging in abundance over my head (a 
valuable substitute for vinegar), I sat down and regaled 



MCMASTER] LIFE IN PHILADELPHIA IN 1800. H5 

myself cheerfully. Having finished my repast, I rekindled 
my fire for light, and, whilst I was revising the notes of 
my past day's journey, I was suddenly roused with a 
noise behind me toward the mainland. I sprang up on 
my feet, and, listening, I distinctty heard some creature 
wading in the water of the isthmus. I seized my gun 
and went cautiously from my camp, directing my steps 
towards the noise: when I had advanced about thirty 
yards, I halted behind a coppice of orange-trees, and soon 
perceived two very large bears, which had made their way 
through the water, and had landed in the grove, about one 
hundred yards' distance from me, and were advancing 
towards me. I waited until they were within thirty yards 
of me ; they there began to snuff and look towards my 
camp : I snapped my piece, but it flashed, on which they 
both turned about and galloped off, plunging through 
the water and swamp, never halting, as I suppose, until 
they reached fast land, as I could hear them leaping and 
plunging a long time. They did not presume to return 
again, nor was I molested by any other creature, except 
being occasionally awakened by the whooping of owls, 
screaming of bitterns, or the wood-rats running amongst 
the leaves. 



LIFE IN PHILADELPHIA IN 1800. 

JOHN B. McMASTER. 

[Of late historical works there are none which have attracted more 
attention, or have been more favorably received, than the " History of 
the People of the United States," by John Bach McMaster. The two 
volumes of this work so far issued are full of those minute details of 
social and industrial conditions, and matters of popular interest, which 



116 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [McMASTER 

readers now demand as an essential part of all true history. Mr. 
McMaster was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1852. Since 1883 he 
has been professor of history in the University of Pennsylvania.] 

THE law then required every householder to be a fire 
man. His name might not appear on the rolls of any of 
the fire-companies, he might not help to drag through the 
streets the lumbering tank which served as a fire-engine, 
but he must at least have in his hall-pantry, or beneath 
the stairs, or hanging up behid his shop door, four 
leathern buckets inscribed with his name, and a huge bag 
of canvas or of duck. Then, if he were aroused at the 
dead of night by the cry of fire and the clanging of every 
church-bell in the town, he seized his buckets and his bag, 
and, while his wife put a lighted candle in the window 
to illuminate the street, set oif for the fire. The smoke 
or the flame was his guide, for the custom of fixing the 
place of the fire by a number of strokes on a bell had not 
yet come in. When at last he arrived at the scene he 
found there no idle spectators. Each one was busy. 
Some hurried into the building and filled their sacks with 
such movable goods as came nearest to hand. Some joined 
the line that stretched away to the water, and helped to 
pass the full buckets to those who stood by the flames. 
Others took posts in a second line, down which the empty 
pails were hastened to the pump. The house would often 
be half consumed when the shouting made known that 
the engine had come. It was merely a pump mounted 
over a tank. Into the tank the water from the buckets 
was poured, and pumped thence by the efforts of a dozen 
men. No such thing as a suction-hose was seen in Phila 
delphia till 1794. A year later one was made which 
became the wonder of the city. The length was one 
hundred and sixty feet. The material was canvas, and, 
to guard against decay, was carefully steeped in brine. 



MCMASTER] LIFE IN PHILADELPHIA IN 1800. 117 

The fire-buckets, it was now thought, should be larger, 
and a motion to that effect was made in the Common 
Council. But when it was known that the new buckets, 
if ordered, must hold ten quarts, the people protested. 
Ten quarts would weigh twenty pounds, and the bucket 
five pounds more. This was too much ; for, as everybody 
knew, the lines at a fire were often made up of boys and 
lads not used to passing heavy weights. Eight quarts 
was enough. Much could also be accomplished by cutting 
the city into fire- wards and giving a different color to the 
buckets of each ward. They could then be quickly sorted 
when the fire was put out. At New London five fire 
wardens took charge of the engines and all who aided in 
putting out fires. To disobey a warden's order was to 
incur a fine of one pound. If a good leathern bucket was 
Dot kept hanging in some convenient place in the house, 
and shown to the warden when he called, six shillings a 
month was exacted as punishment. At New York, how 
ever, it was long before the buckets gave way to the hose. 
There, if a householder were old, or feeble, or rich, and 
not disposed to quit a warm bed to carry his buckets to 
the fire, he was expected at least to send them by his 
servant or his slave. When the flames had been extin 
guished, the buckets were left in the street, to be sought 
out and brought home again by their owners. If the 
constables performed this duty, the corporation exacted a 
six-shilling fine for each pail. This was thought excessive, 
and caused much murmuring and discontent. Some people 
undoubtedly, it was said, were careless in looking for their 
buckets after a fire. These could easily be made diligent 
by a small fine. A great one was a strong temptation to 
the constables to hide away the buckets to get the reward. 
Others, again, having come down the line empty, were 
tossed into the river so carelessly as to fill and sink in- 



118 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [McM ASTER 

stantly. Innocent people were thus put to needless ex 
pense. Let some one be appointed and paid to fill the 
buckets properly. While so disagreeable a part was vol 
untary, it was very hard to find a man to do it well. It 
would be wise, also, to renew the old custom of inspecting 
chimneys, stoves, and ash-houses. They were fruitful 
sources of fire. 

That nothing should be left undone that could lessen 
the chances of destruction by fire was most important. 
Few buildings and little property were at that time in 
sured. The oldest company in New York had existed but 
twelve years. Forty-five years had not gone by since the 
first fire-insurance policy in America began to run. Early 
in February, 1752, a notice came out in the Pennsylvania 
Gazette inviting such prudent citizens of Philadelphia as 
wished to insure their houses from loss by fire, to meet at 
the court-house. There, every seventh day, subscriptions 
would be taken till the thirteenth of April. Many came, 
and, on the April day named in the notice, chose twelve 
directors and a treasurer. At the head of the poll stood 
Benjamin Franklin. He has, therefore, often been sup 
posed to have founded the Philadelphia Contributorship 
for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire. But the 
father of fire-insurance in the United States is, beyond a 
doubt, John Smith. The contributors took risks in Phila 
delphia, and in so much of the country as lay within ten 
miles of the town. The rate was twenty shillings on a 
hundred pounds. The policy was for seven years. The 
premium was in the nature of a loan. Every man who 
insured his dwelling or his shop left a few shillings with 
the treasurer, had his property surveyed, and in a week's 
time, if all went well, deposited the premium. The con 
tributors then nailed their " mark" to the front of his 
building. When the seven years were out, the money was 



MCMA.STER] LIFE IN PHILADELPHIA IN 1800. H9 

returned without interest, or the insurance renewed. It 
was announced, however, that the company would take no 
risks on houses surrounded by shade-trees. They inter 
fered with the use of buckets, and the huge syringe which, 
at that time, every man carried to the fire with his pail. 
A rival, therefore, started up, took these dangerous risks, 
and assumed as the mark it fastened to patrons' houses 
the image of a green tree. 

The houses thus covered by insurance were, in general, 
of a comfortable but unpretentious sort. They were all 
alike, both without and within, and each had on the lower 
floor two connecting rooms. If the owner were a trades 
man, the front room was his shop. If he were a lawyer, 
it was his office. If a doctor, it was there he saw his pa 
tients, compounded his prescriptions, and kept his drugs ; 
for only the great practitioners then sent their patients to 
the apothecary. The rear room was for family use. There 
they met at meal-time, and in the evening there they sat 
and drank tea. Above-stairs the front room extended 
across the whole house. People of fashion spoke of it as 
the tea-room or the drawing-room ; but among those who 
affected no fashion it passed by the name of parlor. In 
it the tea-parties by invitation were held. On such occa 
sions the hostess alone sat at the table. The guests were 
scattered about the room, and to them the servants brought 
tea and rusks and cake, and sometimes fruit and wine. 
When the gathering was less formal, when some friends 
or neighbors, as the custom was, had come in unbidden to 
tea, the little room behind the office or the shop was used. 
Then all sat about the long table, and, tea over, listened 
to music and songs. Every man and woman who had 
even a fair voice w r as in turn called on to sing. The others, 
it was expected, could at least play. Among instruments 
the German flute was a favorite, and for women the four- 



120 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [McMASTE* 

stringed guitar; but not the violin. That was ungenteel, 
for Lord Chesterfield had pronounced it so. To the ac 
companiment of the guitar and flute the men sang hunt 
ing-songs, and the women Scotch ballads and English airs. 
" Water parted from the Sea," " Fair Aurora, pray thee 
Stay," " In Infancy our Hopes and Fears." " Bess of Bed 
lam," and " Queen Mary's Lament," were favorites every 
where. There were those who heard with delight " Hark, 
away to the. Downs," and " I love them All." 

There were others also who looked down on such inno 
cent amusement with contempt. To their ears no music 
was pleasing which did not form part of some French 
opera and was not to be heard at a concert in a tea-garden 
or a public hall. French manners had corrupted them. 
Since the fall of the Bastile, it was said complainingly, every 
Eepublican must dress like a Frenchman, and every Fed 
eralist like a subject of King George. If you happen to 
oppose the administration, you must go regularly to the 
shop of M. Sansculotte, before whose door is a flaring 
liberty-pole, painted tricolor and surmounted with a red 
cap of liberty, and have your hair cut a la Brutus ; your 
pantaloons must fit tight to the leg and come down to 
your yellow top-boots, or. better yet, your shoes. If you 
persist in wearing breeches and silk stockings and square- 
toecl boots, then are you an old fogy, or a Federalist, which 
is the same thing, and must inscribe your brass buttons, 
" Long live the President." 

The folly of the French dress was a source of never- 
ending amusement. Satire, raillery, invective, the lamen 
tations of the weeping philosopher, and the exhortations 
of the preacher, were exhausted in ^ain. Dress became 
every season more and more hideous, more and more 
uncomfortable, more and more devoid of good sense and 
good taste. Use and beauty ceased to be combined. The 



MCMASTER] LIFE IN PHILADELPHIA IN 1800. 121 

pantaloons of a beau went up to his armpits ; to get into 
them was a morning's work, and, when in, to sit down 
was impossible. His hat was too small to contain his 
handkerchief, and was not expected to stay on his head. 
His hair was brushed from the crown of his head toward 
his forehead, and looked, as a satirist of that day truly 
said, as if he had been fighting an old-fashioned hurricane 
backward. About his neck was a spotted linen necker 
chief; the skirts of his green coat were cut away to a 
mathematical point behind ; his favorite drink was brandy, 
and his favorite talk of the last French play. Then there 
was the "dapper beau," who carried a stick much too 
short to reach the ground, twisted his Brutus-cropped 
hair into curls, and, upon the very crown of his head, 
wore a hat of a snuff-box size. But the politest man on 
earth was the shopkeeping beau. He would jump over 
a counter four feet high to pick up a lady's handkerchief, 
made the handsomest bows, said the best things, and could 
talk on any subject, from the odor of a roll of pomatum 
to the vulgarity of not wearing wigs. 

Even these absurdities were not enough, and, when 1800 
began, fashion was more extravagant still. Then a beau 
was defined as anything put into a pair of pantaloons 
with a binding sewed round the top and called a vest. 
The skirts of the coat should be pared away to the width 
of a hat-band, and, if he was doomed to pass his time in 
the house, he would require a heavy pair of round-toed 
jack-boots with a tassel before and behind. These pro 
vided, lift him, said the satirist, lift him by the cape of the 
coat, pull his hair over his face, lay a hat on his forehead, 
put spectacles on his nose, and on no account let his hands 
escape from the pockets of his pantaloons. Women were 
thought worse than the men. To determine the style of 
their dress, Fashion, Decency, and Health, the statement 

II F 11 



122 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

was, ran a race. Decency lost her spirits, Health was 
bribed by a quack-doctor, so Fashion won. 

Such must drink tea in the alcoves, the arbors, the 
shady walks, of Gray's Garden. They must visit Bush 
Hill, hear the music, see the fireworks, and watch the 
huge figure walk about the grounds. For them, too, were 
the Assembly and the play. The Assembly-Koom was at 
Oeller's Tavern, and made one of the sights of the town. 
The length was sixty feet. The walls were papered in 
the French fashion, and adorned with Pantheon figures, 
festoons, pilasters, and groups of antique drawings. Across 
one end was a fine music-gallery. The rules of the As 
sembly were framed and hung upon the wall. The man 
agers had entire control. Without their leave, no lady 
could quit her place in the dance, nor dance out of her 
set, nor could she complain if they placed strangers or 
brides at the head of the dance. The ladies were to rank 
in sets and draw for places as they entered the room. 
Those who led might call the dances alternately. When 
each set had danced a country-dance, a cotillion might be 
had if eight ladies wished it. Gentlemen could not come 
into the room in boots, colored stockings, or undress. At 
Hanover gentlemen were forbidden to enter the ball-room 
" without breeches," or to dance " without coats." 

Equally fine in its decorations was the theatre. Travel 
lers were divided in their opinion as to whether the finest 
house was at Charleston, or Boston, or Philadelphia. But 
it seems to have been at Philadelphia. Great sums had 
been laid out on the building. Gilders and painters, fres- 
coers and carvers, had been brought from England to 
assist in the decoration, and, mindful of the opposition 
once made by the good people of the city, the managers 
put up over the stage the words, " The Eagle suffers the 
little Birds to sing." One who saw the place in 1794 



MCMASTER] LIFE IN PHILADELPHIA IN 1800. 123 

declares that it reminded him of an English playhouse. 
The scenes, the plays, the names of the actors ; the ladies 
in small hats of checkered straw, or with hair in full dress 
or put up in the French way, or, if the}^ chanced to be 
young, arranged in long ringlets that hung down their 
backs ; the men, in round hats and silk-striped coats 
with high collars of English make, might well have pro 
duced that effect. More than one of the players had 
often been seen by the crowds that frequented, the 
Haymarket Theatre at London. No seats were reserved. 
No tickets were sold at the door. No programmes were 
distributed. No ushers were present. Gentlemen who 
left the theatre during the play, to drink flip at a neigh 
boring tavern, were given printed checks as they passed 
out, which, if they came back, would admit them. Out 
of this custom grew three evils. Some, not intending to 
return, gave away their checks to idle boys and disorderly 
persons, who thus gained admittance and annoyed the 
audience. Again, crowds of half-grown lads hung about 
the doors and, as every one came out, beset him with de 
mands for a check. In this way the tickets passed into 
the hands of counterfeiters, and were sold for a shilling 
to persons of low character. All this, the proprietors de 
clared, was ruinous to good morals, and, in a public appeal, 
begged their patrons not to give their checks to loungers. 
The curtain went up at an hour when the men of our time 
have scarcely returned to their homes. The entertain 
ment was long and varied. Pieces now thought enough 
for one night's amusement were then commonly followed 
by farces and comedies, dances and tragedies, songs, pan 
tomimes, and acrobatic feats. These were called interlocu 
tory entertainments, and came in between the acts of the 
tragedy or before and just after the farce. Sometimes 
the jealousy of Othello would be relieved by the New 



124 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [McMASTEK 

Federal Bow- Wow, in which the singer would imitate in 
succession the surly dog, the knowing dog, the king dog, 
the sitting dog, the barking dog, till pit and gallery were 
convulsed with laughter. Again it would be a banjo dance, 
or a hornpipe by some actress of note. If " Qa ira" were 
sung, the Federalists would not be quiet till Yankee Doodle 
was given, whereupon the gallery would join in the chorus. 
On particular occasions the programme would be made to 
suit the day. On the twenty-second of February, 1797, 
the Federal Street Theatre at Boston made a great display 
of illuminations and transparencies, covered the pit, and 
spread a fine supper on a table which stretched from the 
boxes to the stage. The Haymarket Theatre, not to be 
outdone, decorated its walls, had an ode written for the oc 
casion, and played the tragedy of " Bunker Hill." A few 
months later, when, after many trials, the famous ship 
Constitution left her ways, the evening performance at the 
Haymarket closed with " The Launch, or Huzza for the 
Constitution," and a fine representation of the ship. As 
much as three thousand dollars are known to have been 
expended on the scenery of a single piece. The income of 
a single night reached sixteen hundred dollars. . . . 

The theatre was looked upon, and justly, as an insti 
tution of questionable morality. The playhouse was not 
then the quiet and well-ordered place it has since become. 
Both actors and audience took liberties that would now 
be thought intolerable. On one occasion, at Alexandria, 
whither a company always went in racing- season, some 
of the players forgot their parts. They supplied the 
omissions with lines of their own composition, and even 
went so far as to recite ribald passages. Thereupon they 
were threatened with a pelting of oranges, eggs, and 
hard apples. At another time, at Richmond, the actors 
came upon the stage with books in their hands and read 



McM ASTER] LIFE IN PHILADELPHIA IN 1800. 125 

their parts. Some ventured to appear before the audi 
ence in a state of gross intoxication. Much of the illusion 
of the scenery, it was said, was yet further destroyed by 
the voice of the prompter, which could be heard in all 
parts of the house. From Charleston came complaints 
of the misbehavior of the young men. They would enter 
the theatre carrying what might well be called bludgeons, 
but what they had named tippies, would keep up an in 
cessant rapping on the seats, and, when remonstrance was 
made, had been known to declare that a theatre, like a 
tavern, was a place where a man, having paid the price of 
admission, was free to do as he liked. One evening a fight 
took place in the gallery. The play was instantly stopped, 
the offender seized, brought upon the stage, and exposed 
to public view. The performance then went smoothly on, 
till a bottle was suddenly flung from the gallery to the 
pit. This was too much. The men in the pit went up 
into the gallery in a body, laid hold on the culprit, dragged 
him on the stage, and demanded that a public apology 
should be made. He refused, and was at once driven from 
the house. 

In the theatres at the North it often happened that the" 
moment a well-dressed man entered the pit he at once 
became a mark for the wit and insolence of the men in 
the gallery. They would begin by calling on him to doff 
his hat in mark of inferiority, for the custom of wearing 
hats in the theatre was universal. If he obeyed, he was 
loudly hissed and troubled no more. If he refused, abuse, 
oaths, and indecent remarks were poured out upon him. 
He was spit at, pelted with pears, apples, sticks, stones, 
and empty bottles, till he left the house. As " the blades 
in the gallery" were poor marksmen, the neighbors of the 
man aimed at were the chief sufferers. On one occasion 
the orchestra was put to flight and some instruments 
ii. 11* 



126 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [McMASTER 

broken. Then the manager came on the stage and begged 
" the men in the gallery to be quiet : if they were not, he 
should be compelled during all future performances to 
keep the gallery shut." . . . 

The stage-coach was little better than a huge covered 
box mounted on springs. It had neither glass windows, 
nor door, nor steps, nor closed sides. The roof was upheld 
by eight posts which rose from the body of the vehicle, 
and the body was commonly breast-high. From the top 
were hung curtains of leather, to be drawn up when the 
day was fine, and let down and buttoned when rainy and 
cold. Within were four seats. Without was the baggage. 
Fourteen pounds of luggage were allowed to be carried 
free by each passenger. But if his portmanteau or his 
brass-nail-studded hair trunk weighed more, he paid for it 
at the same rate per mile as he paid for himself. Under 
no circumstances, however, could he be permitted to take 
with him on the journey more than one hundred and fifty 
pounds. When the baggage had all been weighed and 
strapped on the coach, when the horses had been attached 
and the way-bill made out, the eleven passengers were 
summoned, and, clambering to their seats through the 
front of the stage, sat down with their faces toward the 
driver's seat. On routes where no competition existed 
progress was slow, and the travellers were subjected to all 
manner of extortion and abuse. " Brutality, negligence, 
and filching," says one, "are as naturally expected by 
people accustomed to travelling in America as a mouth, 
a nose, and two eyes are looked for in a man's face." 
Another set out one day in March, 1796, to go from 
Frenchtown to New Castle, on the Delaware. Seventeen 
miles separated the two towns, a distance which, he de 
clares, a good healthy man could have passed over in four 
hours and a half. The stage-coach took six. When it 






MCMASTER] LIFE IN PHILADELPHIA IN 1800. 127 

finally reached New Castle it was high noon, the tide was 
making, the wind was fair, and the boat for Philadelphia 
was ready at the wharf. Yet he was detained for an hour 
and a half, " that the innkeeper might scrub the passengers 
out of the price of a dinner." Dinner over, the boat set 
sail and ran up the river to within two miles of Gloucester 
Point. There, wind and tide failing, the vessel dropped 
anchor for the night. Some passengers, anxious to go on 
by land, were forced to pay half a dollar each to be rowed 
to the shore. At one in the morning the tide again turned. 
But the master was then drunk, and, when he could be 
made to understand what was said, the tide was again 
ebbing, and the boat aground. Evening carne before the 
craft reached Philadelphia. The passengers were forty- 
eight hours on board. Another came from New York by 
stage and by water. He was almost shipwrecked in the 
bay, lost some of his baggage at Amboy, was nearly left 
by the coach, and passed twenty hours going sixteen miles 
on the Delaware. The captain was drunk. The boat 
three times collided with vessels coming up the river. A 
gentleman set out in February to make the trip from 
Philadelphia to Baltimore. Just beyond Havre de Grace 
the axle broke. A cart was hired and the passengers 
driven to the next stage-inn. There a new coach was 
obtained, which, in the evening, overset in a wood. 
Toward daylight the whole party, in the midst of a 
shower of rain and snow, found shelter and breakfast at a 
miserable house three miles from Baltimore. But the host 
would not suifer one of them to dry his clothes by the 
kitchen stove. When an editor in the town was asked to 
publish an account of their trip he refused. The owners 
of the coach-line might, he said, hinder the circulation of 
his newspaper. To add to the vexation of such delays, 
" the Apostolic Assembly of the State of Delaware" had 



128 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

forbidden stage-coaches to cross their "hand's-breadth of 
territory" on the Sabbath. The worst bit of road in the 
country seems to have been between Elkton, in Maryland, 
and the Susquehanna Ferry. There the ruts were so deep 
that, as the wheels were about to enter one, the driver 
would call upon the passengers to lean out of the opposite 
side of the coach, to prevent the vehicle being overturned. 
" Now, gentlemen," he would say, " to the right." " Now, 
gentlemen, to the left." 

Yet another traveller had quitted Philadelphia for New 
York. All went smoothly till the coach drew near to the 
town of Brunswick. There one of a rival line was over 
taken, and a race begun. At Elizabethtown a young 
woman, well mounted, rode up behind the coach and at 
tempted to pass. In an instant half the men on the stage 
began to revile her most shamefully, raised a great shout, 
frightened her horse, and all but unseated her. One, 
indeed, ventured to expostulate. But he was quickly 
silenced by the question, "What! suffer anybody to take 
the road of us ?" At New York three of the passengers 
found lodgings in a single room at an inn. The custom 
was a general one, and of all customs was the most offen 
sive to foreigners. No such thing, it was said, was ever 
seen in the British Isles. There every decent person not 
only had a bed, but even a room, to himself, and, if he 
were so minded, might lock his door. In America, how 
ever, the traveller sat down at the table of his landlord, 
slept in the first bed he found empty, or, if all were taken, 
lay down on one beside its occupant without so much as 
asking leave or caring who the sleeper might be. If he 
demanded clean sheets, he was looked upon as an aristo 
crat, and charged well for the trouble he gave ; for the 
bedclothes were changed at stated times, and not to suit 
the whims of travellers. 



COZZENS] SEEDS AND SWINE. 129 

SEEDS AND SWINE. 

FREDERICK SPRAQUE COZZENS. 

[From the " Sparrowgrass Papers" of F. S. Cozzens, a volume in 
which shrewd observations on life in the country are mingled with 
much sprightly humor, we extract one of its most amusing portions. 
The author was a native of New York, where he was horn in 1818. 
He died in 1869. His writings were principally contributed to the 
Knickerbocker and Putnam 1 s Magazines. Several volumes of his 
works in prose and verse have been published.] 

IT is a good thing to have an old-fashioned fireplace 
in the country, a broad-breasted, deep-chested chimney- 
piece, with its old-fashioned fender, its old-fashioned and 
irons, its old-fashioned shovel and tongs, and a goodly 
show of cherry-red hickory, in a glow, with its volume 
of blue smoke curling up the thoracic duct. " Ah, Mrs. 
Sparrowgrass, what would the country be without a chim 
ney-corner and a hearth ? Do you know," said I, " the 
little fairies dance upon the hearth-stone when an heir is 
born in a house ?" Mrs. Sparrowgrass said she did not 
know it, but, she said, she wanted me to stop talking 
about such things. " And the cricket," said I, " how 
cheerful its carol on tbe approach of winter !" Mrs. S. 
said the sound of a cricket made her feel melancholy. 
" And the altar and the hearth-stone ; symbols of religion 
and of home! Before one the bride, beside the other 
the wife ! ]STo wonder, Mrs. Sparrowgrass, they are sacred 
things, that mankind have ever held them inviolable, 
and preserved them from sacrilege, in all times, and in all 
countries. Do you know," said I, " how dear this hearth 
is to me ?" Mrs. Sparrowgrass said, with hickory wood 
at eight dollars a cord, it did not surprise her to hear me 



130 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COZZENS 

grumble. " If wood were twenty dollars a cord I would 
not complain. Here we have everything, 

' content, 

Retirement, rural quiet, friendship, books, 
Ease and alternate labor, useful life ; ' 

and as I sit before our household altar," said I, placing my 
.hand upon the mantel, "with you beside me, Mrs. S.. I 
feel that all the beautiful fables of poets are only truths 
in parables when they relate to the hearth-stone, the 
heart-stone, I may say, of home !" 

This fine sentiment did not move Mrs. Sparrowgrass a 
whit. She said she was sleepy. After all, I begin to 
believe sentiment is a poor thing in the country. It does 
very well in books and on the stage, but it will not answer 
for the rural districts. The country is too genuine and 
honest for it. It is a pretty affectation, only fit for artifi 
cial life. Mrs. Peppergrass may wear it, with her rouge 
and diamonds, in a drawing-room, but it will not pass cur 
rent here, any more than the simulated flush of her cheeks 
can compare with that painted in the skin of a rustic 
beauty by the sun and air. 

" Mrs. Sparrowgrass," said I, " let us have some nuts 
and apples, and a pitcher of Binghamton cider : we have 
a good cheerful fire to-night, and why should we not 
enjoy it?" 

When Mrs. Sparrowgrass returned from giving direc 
tions about the fruit and cider, she brought with her a 
square paper box full of garden-seeds. To get good gar 
den-seeds is an important thing in the country. If you 
depend upon an agricultural warehouse you may be dis 
appointed. The way to do is, to select the best specimens 
from your own raising : then you are sure they are fresh, 
*t least. Mrs. Sparrowgrass opened the box. First she 



COZZENS] SEEDS AND SWINE. 131 

took out a package of seeds wrapped up in a newspaper ; 
then she took out another package tied up in brown paper ; 
then she drew forth a bundle that was pinned up, then 
another that was taped up, then another twisted up; 
then out came a bursted package of watermelon-seeds, 
then a withered ear of corn, then another package of 
watermelon-seeds from another melon, then a handful 
of split okra-pods, then handsful of beans, peas, squash- 
seeds, melon-seeds, cucumber-seeds, sweet corn, evergreen 
corn, and other germs. Then another bursted paper of 
watermelon-seeds. There were watermelon-seeds enough 
to keep half the county supplied with this refreshing arti 
cle of luxury. As the treasures were spread out on the 
table, there came over me a feeling that reminded me of 
Christmas times, when the young ones used to pant down 
stairs, before dawn, lamp in hand, to see the kindly toy- 
gifts of Santa Glaus. Then the Mental Gardener, taking 
Anticipation by the hand, went forth into the future gar 
den : peas sprouted out in round leaves ; tomato put forth 
his aromatic spread ; sweet corn thrust his green blades 
out of many a hillock ; lettuce threw up his slender 
spoons ; beans shouldered their way into the world, like 
JEneases, with the old beans on their backs ; and water 
melon and cucumber, in voluptuous play, sported over the 
beds like truant school-boys. 

" Here are sweet peas, on tiptoe for a flight, 
With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white, 
And taper fingers catching at all things, 
To bind them all about with tiny rings." 

" Now," said I, " Mrs. Sparrowgrass, let us arrange these 
in proper order : I will make a chart of the garden on a 
piece of paper, and put everything down with a date, to be 
planted in its proper time." Mrs. Sparrowgrass said she 



L 3% BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COZZENS 

thought that an excellent plan. " Yes," I replied, tasting 
the cider, " we will make a garden to-night on paper, a 
ground-plan, as it were, and plant from that. Now, Mrs. 
S., read off the different packages." 

Mrs, Sparrowgrass took up a paper, and laid it aside, 
and then another, and laid it aside. " I think," said she, 
as the third paper was placed upon the table, " I did not 
write any names on the seeds ; but I believe I can tell 
them apart. These," said she, " are watermelon." " Yery 
well ; what next ?" " The next," said Mrs. S., " is either 
muskmelon- or cucumber-seed." " My dear," said I, " we 
want plenty of melons, for the summer, but I do not wish 
to plant half an acre of pickles by mistake : can't you be 
sure about the matter?" Mrs. Sparrowgrass said she 
could not. " Well, then, lay the paper down and call off 
the next." " The next are not radishes, I know," said 
Mrs. S. ; "they must be summer cabbages." "Are you 
sure now, Mrs. Sparrowgrass?" said I, getting a little 
out of temper. Mrs. Sparrowgrass said she was sure of 
it, because cabbage-seed looked exactly like turnip-seed. 
" Did you save turnip-seed also ?" said I. Mrs. Sparrow 
grass replied that she had provided some, but they must 
be in another paper. " Then call off the next : we will 
plant them for cabbages, whether or no." " Here is a 
name," said Mrs. Sparrowgrass, brightening up. "Bead 
it," said I, pen in hand. " Watermelons, not so good," 
said Mrs. S. " Lay that paper with the rest, and proceed." 
" Corn," said Mrs. Sparrowgrass, with a smile. " Variety ?" 
" Pop, I am sure." " Good ! now we begin to see daylight." 
" Squash," said Mrs. Sparrowgrass. " Winter or summer ?" 
" Both." " Lay that paper aside, my dear." ' Tomato." 
" Bed or yellow ?" Mrs. Sparrowgrass said she had pinned 
up the one and tied up the other, to distinguish them, but 
it was so long ago she had forgot which was which. 



COZZENS] SEEDS AND SWINE. 133 

" Never mind," said I : " there is one comfort ; they can 
not bear without showing their colors. Now for the 
next." Mrs. Sparrowgrass said, upon tasting the tomato- 
seed, she was sure they were bell-peppers. " Very well ; 
so much is gained : we are sure of the capsicum. The 
next." " Beans," said Mrs. Sparrowgrass. 

There is one kind of bean in regard to which I have a 
prejudice. I allude to the asparagus bean, a sort of long- 
winded esculent, inclined to be prolific in strings. It does 
not climb very high on the pole, but crops out in an abun 
dance of pods, usually not shorter than a bill of extras 
after a contract, and, although interesting as a curious 
vegetable, still not exactly the bean to be highly com 
mended by your city guests when served up to them at 
table. When Mrs. Sparrowgrass, in answer to my question 
as to the particular species of bean referred to, answered, 
" Limas," I felt relief at once. " Put the Limas to the 
right with the sheep, Mrs. S. ; and as for the rest of the 
seeds, sweep them into the refuse-basket. I will add 
another stick to the fire, pare an apple for you and an 
apple for me, light a cigar, and be comfortable. What is 
the use of fretting about a few seeds more or less ? But 
next year we will mark all the packages with names, to 
prevent mistakes; won't we, Mrs. Sparrowgrass?" 

There has been a great change in the atmosphere within 
a few days. The maple twigs are all scarlet and yellow 
fringes ; the sod is verdurous and moist ; in the morning 
a shower of melody falls from the trees around us, where 
bluebirds and "pewees" are keeping an academy of music. 
Off on the river there is a long perspective of shad-poles, 
apparently stretching from shore to shore, and here and 
there a boat, with picturesque fishermen at work over the 
gill-nets. Now and then a shad is held up ; in the distance 
it has a starlight glitter against the early morning sun. 
IT. 12 



134 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

The fruit-trees are bronzed with buds. Occasionally a 
feeble fly creeps along, like a valetudinarian too early 
in the season at a watering-place. The marshes are all 
a-whistle with dissipated bull-frogs, who keep up their 
revelry at unseemly hours. Our great Polander is in 
high cluck, and we find eggs in the hens' nests. It is 
SPRING ! It is a good thing to have spring in the country. 
People grow young again in the spring in the country. 
The world, the old globe itself, grows young in the spring, 
and why not Mr. and Mrs. Sparrowgrass ? The city, in 
the spring, is like the apples of Sodom, " fair and pleasant 
to behold, but dust and ashes within." But who shall 
sing or say what spring is in the country ? 

" To what shall I compare it? 
It has a glory, and naught else can share it : 
The thought thereof is awful, sweet, and holy, 
Chasing away all worldliness and folly." 

" Mrs. Sparrowgrass," said I, " the weather is beginning 
to be very warm and spring-like ; how would you like to 
have a little festa ?" Mrs. Sparrowgrass said that, in her 
present frame of mind, a fester was not necessary for her 
happiness. I replied, " I meant a festa, not a fester ; a 
little fete, a few friends, a few flowers, a mild sort of spring 
dinner, if you please; some music, claret, fresh lettuce, 
lamb and spinach, and a breakfast of eggs fresh laid in 
the morning, with rice-cakes and coffee." Mrs. Sparrow 
grass said she was willing. " Then," said I, " Mrs. S., I 
will invite a few old friends, and we will have an elegant 
time." So, from that day we watched the sky very 
closely for a week, to ascertain the probable course of the 
clouds, and consulted the thermometer to know what 
chance there was of having open windows for the occa 
sion. The only drawback that stood in the way of per- 



COZZENS] SEEDS AND SWINE. 135 

feet enjoyment was, our lawn had been half rooted out 
of existence by an irruption of predatory pig8. It was 
vexatious enough to see our lawn bottom-side up on a 
festive occasion. But I determined to have redress for it. 
Upon consulting with the best legal authority in the vil 
lage, I was told that I could obtain damages by identify 
ing the animals and commencing suit against the owners. 
As I had not seen the animals, I asked Mrs. Sparrowgrass 
if she could identify them. She said she could not. 
" Then," said I to my legal friend, " what can I do ?" He 
replied that he did not know. " Then," said I, " if they 
come again, and I catch them in the act, can I fire a gun 
among them?" He said I could, but that I would be 
liable for whatever damage was done them. " That," said 
I, " would not answer : my object is to make the owner 
suffer, not the poor quadrupeds." He replied that the only 
sufferers would probably be the pigs and myself. Then I 
asked him, if the owner recovered against me, whether I 
could bring a replevin suit against him. He said that, 
under the Constitution of the United States, such a suit 
could be brought. I asked him if I could recover. He 
said I could not. Then I asked him what remedy I could 
have. He answered that if I found the pigs on my grounds 
I could drive them to the pound, then call upon the fence- 
viewers, get them to assess the damages done, and by this 
means mulct the owner for the trespass. This advice 
pleased me highly : it was practical and humane. I de^ 
termined to act upon it, and slept soundly upon the reso 
lution. The next day our guests came up from town. I 
explained the lawn to them, and, having been fortified on 
legal points, instructed them as to the remedy for tres 
pass. The day was warm and beautiful ; our doors and 
windows were thrown wide open. By way of offset to the 
appearance of the lawn, I had contrived, by purchasing 



136 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COZZENS 

an expensive little bijou of a vase and filling it with sweet- 
breathing flowers, to spread a rural air of fragrance 
throughout the parlor. The doors of the bay-window 
open on the piazza ; in one door-way stood a tray of deli 
cate confections, upon two slender quartette-tables. These 
were put in the shade to keep cool. I had suborned an 
Italian to bring them up by hand, in pristine sharpness 
and beauty of outline. I was taking a glass of sherry 
with our old friend Captain Bacon, of the U. S. Navy, 
when suddenly our dogs commenced barking. We keep 
our dogs chained up by daylight. Looking over my glass 
of sherry, I observed a detachment of the most villanous- 
looking pigs rooting up my early-pea-patch. " Now," said 
I, " captain," putting down my glass deliberately, " I will 
show you some fun ; excuse me for a few minutes ;" and 
with that I bowed significantly to our festal guests. They 
understood at once that etiquette must give way when 
pea-patch was about being annihilated. I then went out, 
unchained the dogs, and commenced driving the pigs out 
of the garden. After considerable trampling of all my 
early vegetables, under the eyes of my guests, I managed 
to get the ringleader of the swinish multitude into my 
parlor. He was a large, powerful-looking fellow, with a 
great deal of comb, long legs, mottled complexion, and 
ears pretty well dogged. He stood for a moment at bay 
against the sofa, then charged upon the dogs, ran against 
the centre-table, which he accidentally upset, got headed 
off by Captain Bacon, who came to the rescue, darted 
under our quartette-tables, making a general distribu 
tion of confectionery, and finally got cornered in the 
piazza. 

By this time I was so much exasperated that I was 
capable of taking the life of the intruder, and probably 
should have done so had my gun not been at the gun- 



COZZENS] SEEDS AND SWINE. 137 

smith's. In striking at him with a stick, I accidentally hit 
one of the dogs such a blow as to disable him. But I was 
determined to capture the destroyer and put him in the 
pound. After some difficulty in getting him out of the 
piazza, I drove him into the library and finally out in the 
ground. The rest of his confederates were there, quietly 
feeding on the remains of the garden. Finally I found 
myself on the hot high-road, with all my captives and one 
dog, in search of the pound. Not knowing where the 
pound was, after driving them for a quarter of a mile I 
made inquiry of a respectable-looking man, whom I met, 
in corduroy breeches, on the road. He informed me that 
he did not know. I then fell in with a colored boy, who 
told me the only pound was at Dobb's Ferry. Dobb's 
Ferry is a thriving village about seven miles north of the 
Nepperhan. I made a bargain with the colored boy for 
three dollars, and by his assistance the animals were safely 
lodged in the pound. By this means I was enabled to re 
turn to my guests. Next day I found out the owner. I 
got the fence-viewers to estimate the damages. 

The fence- viewers looked at the broken mahogany and 
estimated. I spoke of the vase, the flowers (green-house 
flowers), and the confectionery. These did not appear to 
strike them as damageable. I think the fence-viewers 
are not liberal enough in their views. The damages done 
to a man's temper and constitution shall be included, if 
ever I get to be fence-viewer ; to say nothing of exotics 
trampled under foot, and a beautiful dessert ruthlessly 
destroyed by unclean animals. Besides that, we shall 
not have a pea until everybody else in the village has 
done with peas. We shall be late in the season with our 
early peas. At last an advertisement appeared in the 
county paper, which contained the decision of the fence- 
viewers, to wit : 

ii. 12* 



138 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COZZENS 

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, "I 

V SS* 
TOWN OF YONKERS. J 

WE, THE SUBSCRIBERS, FENCE-VIEWERS of said town, having been 
applied to by Samson Sparrowgrass, of said town, to appraise the dam 
ages done by nine hogs, five wintered (four spotted and one white) 
and four spring pigs (two white), distrained by him deing damage on 
his lands, and having been to the place, and viewed and ascertained 
the damages, do hereby certify the amount thereof to be three dollars, 
and that the fees for our services are two dollars. Given under our 
hands, this day of , 185-. 

DANIEL MALMSEY, j Fence-viewers. 

PETER ASSMANSHAUSER, J 
The above hogs are in the Pound at Dobb's Ferry. 

CORNELIUS CORKWOOD, Pound-Master 

" Under the circumstances," said I, " Mrs. Sparrowgrass, 
what do you think of the pound as a legal remedy ?" Mrs. 
S. said it was shameful. " So I think, too ; but why should 
we repine ? The birds sing, the sky is blue, the grass is 
green side up, the trees are full of leaves, the air is balmy, 
and the children, God bless them ! are happy. Why should 
we repine about trifles ? If we want early peas we can 
buy them ; and as for the vase, flowers, and confectionery, 
they would have been all over with by this time if the 
pigs had not been here. There is no use to cry, like 
Alexander, for another world: let us enjoy the one we 
have, Mrs. Sparrowgrass." 



AMONG THE LAURELS. 

ELIZABETH AKEKS ALLEN. 

[The poetess from whom we select the following thoughtful and 
gracefully-written poem is best known under her pseudonyme of 
" Florence Percy," and as the author of the favorite poem, " Kock me 






ALLEN] AMONG THE LAURELS. 139 

to Sleep, Mother." She was born at Strong, Maine, in 1832, and was 
first married to Mr. Paul Akers, the sculptor, and afterwards to Mr. 
E. M. Allen, of New York.] 

The sunset's gorgeous dyes 

Paled slowly from the skies, 
And the clear heaven was waiting for the stars, 

As side by side we strayed 

Along a sylvan glade, 
And found our pathway crossed by rustic bars. 

Beyond the barrier lay 

A green and tempting way, 
Arched with fair laurel-trees, a-bloom and tall, 

Their cups of tender snow 

Edged with a rosy glow, 
And warm, sweet shadows trembling over all. 

The chestnuts sung and sighed, 

The solemn oaks replied, 
And distant pine-trees crooned in cradling tones j 

While music low and clear 

Gushed from the darkness near, 
Where a shy brook went tinkling over stones. 

Soft mosses, damp and sweet, 

Allured our waiting feet, 

And brambles veiled their thorns with treacherous 
bloom ; 

While tiny flecks of flowers, 

Which owned no name of ours, 
Added their mite of beauty and perfume. 

And hark! a hidden bird, 
To sudden utterance stirred. 



140 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ALLEN 

As by a wondrous love too great to bear 

With voiceless silence long, 

Burst into passionate song, 
Filling with his sweet trouble all the air. 

Then one, whose eager soul 

Could brook no small control, 
Said, " Let us thread this* pleasant path, dear friend : 

If thus the way can be 

So beautiful to see, 
How much more beautiful must be the end I 



"'Follow! this solitude 

May shrine the haunted wood, 

Storied so sweetly in romance and rhyme, 
Secure from human ill, 
And rarely peopled still 

By Fauns and Dryads of the olden time, 

" A spot of hallowed ground, 
By mortal yet unfound, 

Sacred to nymph and sylvan deity, 
Where foiled Apollo glides, 
And bashful Daphne hides 

Safe in the shelter of her laurel-tree I" 



" Forbear !" the other cried ; 

" Oh, leave the way untried ! 
Those joys are sweetest which we only guess ; 

And the impatient soul 

That seeks to grasp the whole 
Defeats itself by its own eagerness. 



ALLEN] AMONG- THE LAURELS. 141 

" Let us not rudely shake 

The dew-drop from the brake 
Fringing the borders of this haunted dell : 

All the delights which are 

The present and the far 
Lose half their charm by being known too well! 

" And he mistakes who tries 

To search all mysteries, 
"Who leaves no cup undrained, no path untracked : 

Who seeks to know too much 

Brushes with ruthless touch 
The bloom of Fancy from the brier of Fact. 

" Keep one fair myth aloof 

From hard and actual proof, 
Preserve some dear delusions as they seem ; 

Since the reality, 

How bright soe'er it be, 
Shows dull and tame beside our marvellous dream. 

" Leave this white page unscored, 

This rare realm unexplored, * 
And let dear Fancy roam there as she will : 

Whatever page we turn, 

However much we learn, 
Let there be something left to dream of still I" 

Wherefore, for aught we know, 

The golden apples grow 
In the green vale to which that pathway leads, 

The spirits of the wood 

Still haunt its solitude, 
And Pan sits piping there among the reeds 1 



142 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

AUTHOR-WORSHIP. 

HENRY THEODORE TUCKERMAN. 

[The author here named was born in Boston in 1813. He died in 
1871. His literary work was mainly of a critical character, and was 
marked by fine discernment and much delicacy of appreciation. In 
art-criticism he occupied a high rank, his works in this field being 
"Artist Life, or Sketches of American Painters," and "Book of the 
Artists." He also wrote "Thoughts on the Poets," "Characteristics 
of Literature," " Biographical Essays," etc. The selection given 
below probably repeats the experience of many college students of 
literature.] 

" High is our calling, friend ! Creative Art, 

Whether the instrument of words she use, 

Or pencil pregnant with ethereal hues, 
Demands the service of a mind and heart, 
Though sensitive, yet in their weakest part 

Heroically fashioned, to infuse 

Faith in the whispers of the lonely muse, 
While the whole world seems adverse to desert." 

WOBDSWOBTH. 

SOME of the fondest illusions of our student life and 
companionship were based on literary fame. The only 
individuals of the male gender who then seemed to us 
(indiscriminate and mutual lovers of literature) worthy 
of admiration and sympathy were authors. Our ideal of 
felicity was the consciousness of distributing ideas of vital 
significance and causing multitudes to share a sentiment 
born in a lonely heart. The most real and permanent 
sway of which man is capable we imagined that of ruling 
and cheering the minds of others through the medium of 
literature. Our herbals were made up of flowers from the 
graves of authors ; their signatures were our only auto 
graphs. The visions that haunted us were little else than 
a boundless panorama that displayed scenes in their lives. 
We used continually to see, in fancy, Petrarch beside a 



TUCKEEMAN] AUTHOR- WORSHIP. 143 

fountain, under a laurel, with the sweet penseroso look 
visible in his portraits ; Dante in the corridor of a monas 
tery, his palm laid on a friar's breast, and his stern feat 
ures softened as he craved the only, blessing life retained 
for him, peace ; rustic Burns, with his dark eye proudly 
meeting the curious stare of an Edinburgh coterie; Ca- 
moens breasting the waves with the Lusiad between his 
teeth ; Johnson appalling Boswell with his emphatic " Sir;" 
Milton his head like that of a saint encircled with rays 
seated at the organ; Shakespeare walking serenely, 
and with a benign and majestic countenance, beside the 
Avon; Steele jocosely presiding at table with liveried 
bailiffs to pass the dishes ; the bright face of Pope loom 
ing up from his deformed body in the cool twilight of a 
grotto ; Yoltaire's sneer withering an auditor through a 
cloud of snuff; Moliere reading his new comedy to the 
old woman ; Landor standing in the ilex path of a Tuscan 
villa ; Savage asleep on a bulk at midnight in one of the 
London parks ; Dryden seated in oracular dignity in his 
coffee-house arm-chair ; Metastasio comparing notes with a 
handsome prima donna at Vienna ; Alfieri with a magnifi 
cent steed in the midst of the Alps ; Swift stealing an in 
terview with Miss Johnson, or chuckling over a chapter 
of Gulliver; the funeral pyre of Shelley lighting up a 
solitary crag on the shores of the Mediterranean ; and 
Byron, with marble brow and rolling eye, guiding the 
helm of a storm-tossed boat on the Lake of Geneva! 
Such were a few only of the tableaux that haunted our 
imaginations. We echoed heartily Akenside's protest 
against the sermon on Glory : 

" Come, then, tell me, sage divine, 

Is it an offence to own 
That our bosoms e'er incline 
Towards immortal Glory's throne? 



144 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TUOKERMAN 

For with me nor pomp nor pleasure, 
Bourbon's might, Braganza's treasure, 
So can fancy's dream rejoice, 
So conciliate reason's choice, 
As one approving word of her impartial voice. 

" If to spurn at noble praise 

Be the passport to thy heaven, 
Follow thou those gloomy ways ; 
No such law to me was given ; 
Nor, I trust, shall I deplore me, 
Faring like my friends before me ; 
Nor a holier place desire 
Than Timoleon's arms acquire, 
And Tully's curule chair, and Milton's golden lyre." 

In our passion for native authors we revered the mem 
ory of Brockden Brown, and detected in his romantic 
studies the germs of the supernatural school of fiction ; 
we nearly suffocated ourselves in the crowded gallery of 
the old church at Cambridge, listening to Sprague's Phi 
Beta Kappa poem ; and often watched the spiritual figure 
of the " Idle Man," and gazed on the white locks of our 
venerable painter, with his " Monaldi" and " Paint King" 
vividly remembered. We wearied an old friend of Brain- 
ard's by making him repeat anecdotes of the poet, and 
have spent hours in the French coffee-house which Halleck 
once frequented, eliciting from him criticisms, anecdotes, 
or recitations of Campbell. New Haven people that came 
in our way were obliged to tell all they could remember of 
the vagaries of Percival and the elegant hospitality of Hill- 
house. We have followed Judge Hopkinson through the 
rectangular streets of his native metropolis, with the tune 
of " Hail Columbia" humming in our ears, and kept a 
curious eye on Howard Payne through a whole evening 
party, fondly cognizant of " Sweet Home." Beaumont 



Tu CKE RMAN] A UTHOR- WORSHIP. ] ( 5 

and Fletcher were our Damon and Pythias. The mem 
orable occurrence of our childhood was the advent of a 
new Waverley novel, and of our youth a fresh Edinburgh 
Eeview. We loved plum color, because poor Goldy was 
vain of his coat of that hue, and champagne, partly be 
cause Schiller used to drink it when writing; we saved 
orange-peel because the author of the " Eambler" liked it, 
and put ourselves on a course of tar- water, in imitation of 
Berkeley. Roast pig had a double relish for us after we 
had read Elia's dissertation thereon. We associated gold 
fish and china jars with Gray, skulls with Dr. Young, the 
leap of a sturgeon in the Hudson with Drake's " Culprit 
Fay," pine-trees with Ossian, stained-glass windows with 
Keats (who set one in an immortal verse), fortifications 
with Uncle Toby, literary breakfasts with Rogers, water 
fowl with Bryant, foundlings with Rousseau, letter- writing 
with Madame de Sevigne, bread-and-butter with the author 
of Werther, daisies with Burns, and primroses with Words 
worth. Mrs. Thrale's acceptance of Piozzi was a serious 
trouble to our minds ; and whether " little Burney" would 
be happy after her marriage with the noble emigre was 
a problem that made us really anxious until the second 
part of her Diary was procurable and relieved our solici 
tude. An unpatriotic antipathy to the Pilgrim Fathers 
was quelled by the melodious pamn of Mrs. Hemans ; 
and we kept vigils before a portrait of Mrs. Norton, at 
an artist's studio, with a chivalric desire to avenge her 
w rongs. 

ii. G k 13 



146 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EDWARDS 

RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 

JONATHAN EDWARDS. 

[It is a somewhat surprising fact that America should produce, in 
its pioneer days, a metaphysical thinker who for logical power and 
mental ability has never been surpassed in this country, if in the world. 
Such a thinker was Jonathan Edwards, born at Windsor, Connecticut, 
October 5, 1703. His celebrated work on " The Freedom of the Will" 
exhibits a subtilty of thought and an exhaustive accuracy of reasoning 
which no philosophical logician has ever exceeded. His doctrine that 
the principle of necessity is compatible with freedom of the will and 
with human responsibility is worked out with the closest and most 
searching logic, and proves its point as clearly as anything can be 
proved which depends upon an ideal conception as its basis. We select 
a short passage from this notable argument, together with some extracts 
which show the unusual precocity of Edwards as a thinker. He began 
to study Latin at six, was writing philosophical essays at ten, and is 
said to have completely reasoned out his doctrine of the freedom of the 
will at seventeen years of age. The passage on his religious feelings 
was written before his seventeenth year, and his remarkable series of 
Resolutions, seventy in number, of which we give but a portion, were 
written before he was twenty years old. He died in 1758.] 



long after I first began to experience these things 
[namely, new apprehensions and ideas of Christ, of the 
work of redemption, and of the way of salvation by him], 
I gave an account to my fatber of some tbings tbat had 
passed in my mind. I was pretty much affected by tbe 
discourse we had together; and, when tbe discourse was 
ended, I walked abroad alone, in a solitary place in my 
father's pasture, for contemplation. And as I was walk 
ing there, and looking upon the sky and clouds, there 
came into my mind so sweet a sense of the glorious majesty 
and grace of God, as I know not how to express. I seemed 
to see them both in a sweet conjunction ; majesty and 



E D WARDS] RESOL UT10NS. 1 47 

meekness joined together. It was a sweet, and gentle, 
and holy majesty ; and also a majestic meekness ; an awful 
sweetness ; a high, and great, and holy gentleness. 

After this my sense of divine things gradually increased, 
and became more and more lively, and had more of that 
inward sweetness. The appearance of everything was 
altered ; there seemed to be, as it were, a calm, sweet cast 
or appearance of divine glory in almost everything. God's 
excellency, his wisdom, his purity, and love, seemed to 
appear in everything; in the sun, moon, and stars ; in the 
clouds and blue sky ; in the grass, flowers, trees ; in the 
water and all nature ; which used greatly to fix my mind. 
I often used to sit and view the moon for a long time ; and, 
in the day, spent much time in viewing the clouds and 
sky, to behold the sweet glory of God in these things ; in 
the mean time singing forth, with a low voice, my con 
templations of the Creator and Redeemer. And scarce 
anything, among all the works of nature, was so sweet to 
me as thunder and lightning : formerly nothing had been 
so terrible to me. Before, I used to be uncommonly ter 
rified with thunder, and to be struck with terror when I 
saw a thunder-storm rising ; but now, on the contrary, it 
rejoiced me. I felt God, if I may so speak, at the first ap 
pearance of a thunder-storm, and used to take the oppor 
tunity, at such times, to fix myself in order to view the 
clouds, and see the lightnings play, and hear the majestic 
and awful voice of God's thunders, which oftentimes was 
exceedingly entertaining, leading me to sweet contempla 
tions of my great and glorious God. 

RESOLUTIONS. 

1. Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be 
most to the glory of God and my own good, profit, and 
pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any con- 



148 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EDWARDS 

sideration of the time, whether now, or never so many 
myriads of ages hence. 

2. Resolved, To do whatever I think to be my duty, and 
most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. 

3. Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to 
improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can. 

4. Resolved. To live with all my might while I do live. 

5. Resolved, Never to do anything which I should be 
afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life. 

6. Resolved, To be endeavoring to find out fit objects of 
liberality and charity. 

7. Resolved, Never to do anything out of revenge. 

8. Resolved, Never to suffer the least motions of anger 
towards irrational beings. 

9. Resolved, Never to speak evil of any one so that it 
shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account 
except for some real good. 

10. Resolved, That I will live so as I shall wish I had 
done when I come to die. 

11. Resolved, To live so, at all times, as I think is best 
in my most devout frames, and when I have the clearest 
notions of the things of the gospel and another world. 

12. Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in 
eating and drinking. 

13. Resolved, Never to do anything which, if I should 
see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise 
him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him. 

14. Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, con 
stantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly 
perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same. 

15. Resolved, Never to count that a prayer, nor to let that 
pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which 
is so made that I cannot hope that God will answer it ; nor 
that as a confession which I cannot hope God will accept. 



EDWARDS] RESOLUTIONS. 149 

16. Resolved, Never to say anything at all against any 
body, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest de 
gree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable 
to the lowest humility and sense of my own faults and 
failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I 
have said anything against any one, to bring it to. and 
try it strictly by, the test of this resolution. 

17. Resolved, In narrations, never to speak anything but 
the pure and simple verity. 

18. Resolved, Never to speak evil of any, except I have 
some particular good call to it. 

19. Resolved, To inquire every night, as I am going to 
bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have com 
mitted, and wherein I have denied myself; also, at the 
end of every week, month, and year. 

20. Resolved, Never to do anything of which I so much 
question the lawfulness, as thatI intend, at the same time, 
to consider and examine afterwards whether it be lawful 
or not ; unless I as much question the lawfulness of the 
omission. 

21. Resolved, To inquire every night, before I go to bed, 
whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, 
with respect to eating and drinking. 

22. Resolved, Never to allow the least measure of an;y 
fretting or uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved t 
to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration 
of speech, or motion of my eye ; and to be especially care 
ful of it with respect to any of our family. 

23. On the supposition that there never was to be but 
one individual in the world, at any one time, who was 
properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right 
stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true lus 
tre, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever 
part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to 

ir. 13* 



150 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EDWARDS 

act just as I would do if I strove with all my might to be 
that one, who should live in my time. 

THE FREEDOM OF THE WILL. 

If the Will, which we find governs the members of the 
body, and determines their motions, does also govern 
itself, and determines its own actions, it doubtless deter 
mines them the same way, even by antecedent volitions. 
The Will determines which way the hands and feet shall 
move, by an act of choice ; and there is no other way of 
the Will's determining, directing, or commanding anything 
at all. Whatsoever the Will commands, it commands by 
an act of the Will. And if it has itself under its com 
mand, and determines itself in its own actions, it doubtless 
does it the same way that it determines other things 
which are under its command. So that if the freedom of 
the Will consists in this, <fchat it has itself and its own 
actions under its command and direction, and its own 
volitions are determined by itself, it* will follow, that every 
free volition arises from another antecedent volition, di 
recting and commanding that : and if that directing voli 
tion be also free, in that also the Will is determined: 
that is to say, that directing volition is determined by 
another going before that ; and so on, till we come to the 
first volition in the whole series ; and if that first volition 
be free, and the Will self-determined in it, then that is 
determined by another volition preceding that. Which 
is a contradiction; because, by the supposition, it can have 
none before it, to direct or determine it, being the first in 
the train. But if that first volition is not determined by 
any preceding act of the Will, then that act is not deter 
mined by the Will, and so is not free in the Arminian 
notion of freedom, which consists in the Will's self-deter 
mination. And if that first act of the Will which deter- 



EDWARDS] FREEDOM OF THE WILL. 15 J 

mines and fixes the subsequent acts be not free, none of 
the following acts which are determined by it can be free. 
If we suppose there are five acts in the train, the fifth and 
last determined by the fourth, and the fourth by the third, 
the third by the second, and the second by the first ; if 
the first is not determined by the Will, and so not free, 
then none of them are truly determined by the Will: that 
is, that each of them are as they are, and not otherwise. 
is not first owing to the Will, but to the determination of 
the first in the series, which is not dependent on the Will, 
and is that which the Will has no hand in determining. 
And this being that which decides what the rest shall be, 
and determines their existence ; therefore the first deter 
mination of their existence is not from the Will. The 
case is just the same if, instead of a chain of five acts of 
the Will, we should suppose a succession of ten, or an 
hundred, or ten thousand. If the first act be not free, 
being determined by something out of the Will, and this 
determines the next to be agreeable to itself, and that the 
next, and so on ; none of them are free, but all originally 
depend on, and are determined by, some, cause out of the 
Will ; and so all freedom in the case is excluded, and no 
act of the Will can be free, according to this notion of 
freedom. If we should suppose a long chain of ten thou 
sand links, so connected, that if the first link moves, it 
will move the next, and that the next; and so the whole 
chain must be determined to motion, and in the direction 
of its motion, by the motion of the first link ; and that is 
moved by something else; in this case, though all the 
links, but one, are moved by other parts of the sara 
chain, yet it appears that the motion of no one. nor the 
direction of its motion, is from any self-moving or, self- 
determining power in the chain, any more than if every 
link were immediately moved by something that did not 



152 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PAINE 

belong to the chain. If the Will be not free in the first 
act, which causes the next, then neither is it free in the 
next, which is caused by that first act ; for though indeed 
the Will caused it, yet it did not cause it freely ; because 
the preceding act, by which it was caused, was not free. 
And again, if the Will be not free in the second act, so 
neither can it be in the third, which is caused by that ; 
because, in like manner, that third was determined by an 
act of the Will that was not free. And so we may go on 
to the next act, and from that to the next; and how long 
soever the succession of acts is, it is all one ; if the first 
on which the whole chain depends, and which determines 
all the rest, be not a free act, the Will is not free in causing 
or determining any one of those acts ; because the act by 
which it determines them all is not a free act; and there 
fore the Will is no more free in determining them, than if 
it did not cause them at all. Thus, this Arminian notion 
of Liberty of the Will, consisting in the Will's Self-deter 
mination, is repugnant to itself, and shuts itself wholly 
out of the world. 



THE TIMES THAT TRIED MEN'S SOULS. 

THOMAS PAINE. 

[Among the literary artists of the Kevolutionary period of American 
history Paine occupied a very high rank, through his vigor of thought 
and peculiar vividness of expression, his fearless patriotism and "broad 
grasp of the true political relations and rights of mankind. Born in 
England in 1737, it was not until 1774 that he emigrated to America. 
Yft he must have been deeply imbued from his youth with the revo 
lutionary sentiment apd with hatred of kingcraft, for he very soon 
afterwards issued his famous pamphlet " Common Sense," which is full 



PAINE] THE TIMES THAT TRIED MEN'S SOULS. 153 

of original democratic thought and performed a valuable work in 
teaching the principles of republicanism to the American people. The 
depressed feeling which prevailed in the winter of 1776-77 was met 
hy him with the stirring appeals of " The Crisis," a periodical which 
appeared irregularly and had a highly beneficial influence. We copy 
the most famous of the papers of the " Crisis." For vigor, fearless 
ness, and patriotism no Revolutionary document surpasses it, while it 
paints the situation with a vividness which seems to take us back in 
person to " the times that tried men's souls." In 1791 Paine wrote his 
" Eights of Man," in reply to Burke's " Reflections on the French 
Revolution." This also was a highly valuable addition to democratic 
literature, and attained great popularity. He lived in Paris during 
the French Revolution, and narrowly escaped the guillotine. In 1795 
he published his deistical work, " The Age of Reason." The religious 
radicalism of this book gave great offence, and has covered Paine 's 
name with an obloquy through which his important aid to the cause 
of human liberty has been almost lost sight of. He returned to the 
United States in 1802, and died in New York in 1809.] 

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer 
soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink 
from the service of his country ; but he that stands it NOW, 
deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, 
like hell, is not easily conquered ; yet we have this con 
solation with us, that the 'harder the conflict, the more 
glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we 
esteem too lightly : 'tis dearness only that gives everything 
its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon 
its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial 
an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. Brit 
ain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared 
that she has a right (not only to TAX, but) " to BIND us in 
ALL CASES WHATSOEVER;" and if being bound in that manner 
is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery 
upon earth. Even the expression is impious, for so un 
limited a power can belong only to GOD. 

Whether the independence of the continent was de- 



154- BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PAINE 

clared too soon, or delayed too long, I will not now enter 
into as an argument : my own simple opinion is, that had 
it been eight months earlier it would have been much 
better. We did not make a proper use of last winter, 
neither could we, while we were in a dependent state. 
However, the fault, if it were one, was all our own : we 
have none to blame but ourselves. But no great deal is 
lost yet : all that Howe has been doing for this month 
past is rather a ravage than a conquest, which the spirit 
of the Jerseys a year ago would have quickly repulsed, 
and which time and a little resolution will soon recover. 

I have as little superstition in me as any man living, 
but my secret opinion has ever been, and still is, that God 
Almighty will not give up a people to military destruction, 
or leave them unsupportedly to perish, who had so ear 
nestly and so repeatedly sought to avoid the calamities of 
war by every decent method which wisdom could invent. 
Neither have I so much of the infidel in me as to suppose 
that He has relinquished the government of the world, 
and given us up to the care of devils ; and, as I do not, I 
cannot see on what grounds the king of Britain can look 
up to heaven for help against us : a common murderer, a 
highwayman, or a housebreaker has as good' a pretence 
as he. 

'Tis surprising to see how rapidly a panic will some 
times run through a country. All nations and ages have 
been subject to them : Britain has trembled like an ague 
at the report of a French fleet of flat-bottomed boats ; 
and in the fourteenth century the whole English army, 
after ravaging the kingdom of France, was driven back 
like men petrified with fear; and this brave exploit was 
performed by a few broken forces collected and headed 
by a woman, Joan of Arc. Would that heaven might 
inspire some Jersey maid to spirit up her countrymen, 



PAINE] THE TIMES THAT TRIED MEN'S SOULS. 155 

and save her fair fellow-sufferers from ravage and ravish 
ment !* Yet panics, in some cases, have their uses : they 
produce as much good as hurt. Their duration is always 
short ; the mind soon grows through them, and acquires 
a firmer habit than before. But their peculiar advantage- 
is, that they are the touchstones of sincerity and hypoc 
risy, and bring things and men to light which might 
otherwise have lain forever undiscovered. In fact, they 
have the same effect on secret traitors which an imaginary 
apparition would have upon a private murderer. They 
eift out the hidden thoughts of man, and hold them up in 
public to the world. Many a disguised tory has lately 
shown his head, that shall penitentially solemnize with 
curses the day on which Howe arrived upon the Delaware. 
As I was with the troops at Fort Lee, and marched 
vvith them to the edge of Pennsylvania, I am well ac 
quainted with many circumstances which those who lived 
at a distance know but little or nothing of. Our situa 
tion there was exceedingly cramped, the place being on a 
narrow neck of land between the North River and the 
Hackensack. Our force was inconsiderable, being not 
one-fourth so great as Howe could bring against us. We 
had no army at hand to have relieved the garrison, had 
we shut ourselves up and stood on the defence. Our 
ammunition, light artillery, and the best part of our 
stores had been removed, upon the apprehension that 
Howe would endeavor to penetrate the Jerseys, in which 
case Fort Lee could be of no use to us ; for it must occur 
to every thinking man, whether in the army or not, that 
these kind of field forts are only for temporary purposes, 
and last in use no longer than the enemy directs his force 
against the particular object which such forts are raised 
to defend. Such was our situation and condition at Fort 
Lee on the morning of the 20th of November, when an 



i:,q REST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

officer arrived with information that the enemy, with two 
hundred boats, had landed about seven or eight miles 
above. Major-General Greene, who commanded the gar 
rison, immediately ordered them under arms, and sent 
express to his Excellency General Washington at the 
town of Hackensack, distant by the way of the ferry six 
miles. Our first object was to secure the bridge over the 
Hackensack, which laid up the river between the enemy 
and us, about six miles from us and three from them. 
General Washington arrived in about three-quarters of an 
hour, and marched at the head of the troops towards the 
bridge, which place I expected we should have a brush 
for: however, they did not choose to dispute it with us, 
and the greatest part of our troops went over the bridge, 
the rest over the ferry, except some which passed at a 
mill on a small creek, between the bridge and the ferry, 
and made their way through some marshy grounds up to 
the town of Hackensack, and there passed the river. We 
brought off as much baggage as the wagons could contain, 
the rest was lost. The simple object was to bring off the 
garrison, and to march them on till they could be strength 
ened by the Jersey or Pennsylvania militia, so as to be 
enabled to make a stand. We stayed four days at Newark, 
collected in our outposts, with some of the Jersey militia, 
and marched out twice to meet the enemy, on information 
of their being advancing, though our numbers were greatly 
inferior to theirs. Howe, in my little opinion, committed 
a great error in generalship in not throwing a body of 
forces off from Staten Island through Amboy, by which 
means he might have seized all our stores at Brunswick 
and intercepted our march into Pennsylvania. But, if 
we believe the powers of hell to be limited, we must like 
wise believe that their agents are under some providential 
control. 



PAINE] THE TIMES THAT TRIED MEN'S SOULS. 157 

I shall not now attempt to give all the particulars of 
our retreat to the Delaware ; suffice it for the "present to 
say that both officers and men. though greatly harassed 
and fatigued, frequently without rest, covering, or pro 
vision, the inevitable consequences of a long retreat, bore 
it with a manly and martial spirit. All their wishes were 
one. which was that the country would turn out and help 
them to drive the enemy back. Yoltaire has remarked 
that King William never appeared to full advantage but 
in difficulties and in action : the same remark may be 
made of General Washington, for the character fits him. 
There is a natural firmness in some minds which can 
not be unlocked by trifles, but which, when unlocked, dis 
covers a cabinet of fortitude ; and I reckon it among 
those kind of public blessings, which we do not imme 
diately see, that God hath blest him with uninterrupted 
health, and given him a mind that can even flourish upon 
care. 

I shall conclude this paper with some miscellaneous 
remarks on the state of our affairs, and shall begin with 
asking the following question : Why is it that the enemy 
have left the New England provinces, and made these 
middle ones the seat of war ? The answer is easy : New 
England is not infested with tories, and we are. I have 
been tender in raising the cry against these men, and used 
numberless arguments to show them their danger; lut 
it will not do to sacrifice a world to either their folly or 
their baseness. The period is now arrived in which either 
they or we must change our sentiments, or one or both 
must fall. And what is a tory ? Good God ! what is he ? 
I should not be afraid to go with an hundred whigs against 
a thousand tories, were they to attempt to get into arms. 
Every tory is a coward ; for a servile, slavish, self-inter 
ested fear is the foundation of toryism ; and a man under 
IT. 14 



138 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PAINTS 

such influence, though he may be cruel, never can be 
brave. 

But, before the line of irrecoverable separation be drawn 
between us, let us reason the matter together. Your con 
duct is an invitation to the enemy, yet not one in a thotf- 
sand of you has heart enough to join him. Howe is as 
much deceived by you as the American cause is injured 
by you. He expects you will all take up arms, and flock 
to his standard with muskets on your shoulders. Your 
opinions are of no use to him, unless you support him 
personally ; for 'tis soldiers, and not tories, that he wants. 

I once felt all that kind of anger, which a man ought 
to feel, against the mean principles that are held by the 
tories. A noted one, who kept a tavern at Amboy, was 
standing at his door, with as pretty a child in his hand, 
about eight or nine years old, as 'most I ever saw, and, 
after speaking his mind as freely as he thought was pru 
dent, finished with this unfatherly expression, " Well ! give 
me peace in my day" Not a man lives on the continent 
but fully believes that a separation must some time or 
other finally take place, and a generous parent should have 
said, "Jf there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my 
child may have peace" And this single reflection, well 
applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty. Not 
a place upon earth might be so happy as America. Her 
situation is remote from all the wrangling world, and she 
had nothing to do but to trade with them. A man may 
easily distinguish in himself between temper and principle, 
and I am as confident, as I am that God governs the world, 
that America will never be happy till she gets clear of 
foreign dominion. Wars, without ceasing, will break out 
till that period arrives, and the continent must in the end 
be conqueror; for though the flame of liberty may some 
times cease to shine, the coal can never expire. 



PAINE] THE TIMES THAT TRIED MEN'S SOULS. 159 

America did not, nor does not, want force ; but she wanted 
a proper application of that force. Wisdom is not the 
purchase of a day, and it is no wonder that we should err 
at the first setting off. From an excess of tenderness, we 
were unwilling to raise an army, and trusted our cause 
to the temporary defence of a well-meaning militia. A 
summer's experience has now taught us better ; yet with 
those troops, while they were collected, we were able to 
set bounds to the progress of the enemy, and, thank God 1 
they are again assembling. I always considered a militia 
as the best troops in the world for a sudden exertion, but 
they will not do for a long campaign. Howe, it is prob 
able, will make an attempt on this city : should he fail on 
this side the Delaware, he is ruined ; if he succeeds, our 
cause is not ruined. He stakes all on his side against a 
part on ours ; admitting he succeeds, the consequence will 
be, that armies from both ends of the continent will march 
to assist their suffering friends in the middle States ; for 
he cannot go everywhere, it is impossible. I consider 
Howe as the greatest enemy the tories have; he is bring 
ing a war into their country, which, had it not been for 
him and partly for themselves, they had been clear of. 
Should he now be expelled, I wish, with all the devotion 
of a Christian, that the names of whig and tory may 
never more be mentioned ; but should the tories give him 
encouragement to come, or assistance if he come, I as sin 
cerely wish that our next year's arms may expel them 
from the continent, and the Congress appropriate their 
possessions to the relief of those who have suffered in 
well-doing. A single successful battle next year will set 
tle the whole. America could carry on a two-years' war 
by the confiscation of the property of disaffected persons, 
and be made happy by their expulsion. Say not that this 
is revenge; call it rather the soft resentment of a suffer- 



]60 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PAINE 

ing people, who, having no object in view but the good of 
all, have staked their own all upon a seemingly doubtful 
event. Yet it is folly to argue against determined hard 
ness ; eloquence may strike the ear, and the language of 
sorrow draw forth the tear of compassion, but nothing 
can reach the heart that is steeled with prejudice. 

Quitting this class of men, I turn with the warm ardor 
of a friend to those who have nobly stood, and are yet de 
termined to stand the matter out. 1 call not upon a few, 
but upon all ; not on this State or that State, but on every 
State ; up and help us ; lay your shoulders to the wheel ; 
better have too much force than too little, when so great 
an object is at stake. Let it be told to the future world, 
that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and 
virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed 
at one common danger, came forth to meet and to repulse 
it. Say not that thousands are gone ; turn out your tens 
of thousands ; throw not the burden of the day upon 
Providence, but "show your faith by your works" that God 
may bless you. It matters not where you live, or what 
rank of life you hold, the evil or the blessing will reach 
you all. The far and the near, the home counties and the 
back, the rich and the poor, will suffer or rejoice alike. 
The heart that feels not now is dead : the blood of his 
children will curse his cowardice, who shrinks back at a 
time when a little might have saved the whole, and made 
them happy. I love the man that can smile in trouble, 
that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave 
by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink ; 
but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves 
his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death. My 
own line of reasoning is to myself as straight and clear 
as a ray of light. Not all the treasures of the world, so 
far as I believe, could have induced me to support an offen- 



PAINE] THE TIMES THAT TRIED MEN'S SOULS. 161 

Bive war, for I think it murder ; but if a thief break into 
my house, burn and destroy my property, and kill or 
threaten to kill me, or those that are in it, and to " bind 
me in all cases whatsoever" to his absolute will, am I to 
suffer it ? What signifies it to me whether he who does it 
is a king or a common man ; my countryman or not my 
countryman ; whether it is done by an individual villain 
or an army of them ? If we reason to the root of things 
we shall find no difference ; neither can any just cause 
be assigned why we should punish in the one case and 
pardon in the other. Let them call me rebel, and welcome, 
I feel no concern from it; but I should suffer the misery 
of devils were I to make a whore of my soul by swear 
ing allegiance to one whose character is that of a sottish, 
stupid, stubborn, worthless, brutish man. I conceive like 
wise a horrid idea in receiving mercy from a being who 
at the last day shall be shrieking to the rocks and moun 
tains to cover him, and fleeing with terror from the orphan, 
the widow, and the slain of America. 

There are cases which cannot be overdone by language, 
and this is one. There are persons too who see not the 
full extent of the evil which threatens them ; they solace 
themselves with hopes that the enemy, if they succeed, 
will be merciful. It is the madness of folly to expect 
mercy from those who have refused to do justice ; and 
even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick 
of war : the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the 
violence of the wolf; and we ought to guard equally 
against both. Howe's first object is, partly by threats 
and partly by promises, to terrify or seduce the people to 
deliver up their arms and receive mercy. The ministry 
recommended the same plan to Gage, and this is what the 
tories call making their peace ; " a peace which passeth all 
understanding" indeed ! A peace which would be the im- 
ii. I 14* 



162 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PAINE 

mediate forerunner of a worse ruin than any we have 
yet thought of. Ye men of Pennsylvania, do reason upon 
these things ! Were the back counties to give up their 
arms, they would fall an easy prey to the Indians, who 
are all armed. This perhaps is what some tories would 
not be sorry for. Were the home counties to deliver up 
their arms, they would be exposed to the resentment of 
the back counties, who would then have it in their power 
to chastise their defection at pleasure. And were any one 
State to give up its arms, that State must be garrisoned 
by all Howe's army of Britons and Hessians to preserve 
it from the anger of the rest. Mutual fear is a principal 
link in the chain of mutual love, and woe be to that State 
that breaks the compact. Howe is mercifully inviting you 
to barbarous destruction, and men must be either rogues 
or fools that will not see it. I dwell not upon the vapors 
of imagination ; I bring reason to your ears ; and in lan 
guage as plain as A, B, C, hold up truth to your eyes. 

I thank God that I fear not. I see no real cause for 
fear. I know our situation well, and can see the way 
out of it. While our army was collected, Howe dared not 
risk a battle, and it is no credit to him that he decamped 
from the White Plains, and waited a mean opportunity to 
ravage the defenceless Jerseys ; but it is great credit to 
us, that, with an handful of men, we sustained an orderly 
retreat for near an hundred miles, brought off our ammu 
nition, all our field-pieces, the greatest part of our stores, 
and had four rivers to pass. None can say that our retreat 
was precipitate, for we were near three weeks in perform 
ing it, that the country might have time to come in. 
Twice we marched back to meet the enemy, and remained 
out till dark. The sign of fear was not seen in our camp, 
and had not some of the cowardly and disaffected inhabi 
tants spread false alarms through the country, the Jerseys 






SIMMS] THE MAIDEN AND THE RATTLESNAKE. 163 

had never been ravaged. Once more we are again col 
lected and collecting ; our new army at both ends of the 
continent is recruiting fast, and we shall be able to open 
the next campaign with sixty thousand men, well armed 
and clothed. This is our situation, and who will may 
know it. By perseverance and fortitude we have the 
prospect of a glorious issue : by cowardice and submission, 
the sad choice of a variety of evils, a ravaged country 
a depopulated city habitations without safety, and slavery 
without hope our homes turned into barracks and bawdy- 
houses for Hessians, and a future race to provide for whose 
fathers we shall doubt of. Look on this picture, and weep 
over it ! and if there yet remains one thoughtless wretch 
who believes it not, let him suffer it unlamented. 

PHILADELPHIA, December 23, 1776. 



THE MAIDEN AND THE RATTLESNAKE. 

W. G. SIMMS. 

[William Gilmore Simms, the most prolific and popular novelist Ox 
the South, was a native of Charleston, South Carolina, where he was 
born in 1806. He died in 1870. He wrote in all some thirty novels, 
fourteen volumes of poetry, and many miscellaneous works. Of his 
poems the best is " Atalantis, a Drama of the Sea." " The Partisan," 
" The Yemassee," and " Beauchampe" are considered his best novels. 
Their literary value is not of the higher grade, though his works havo 
considerable merit and are often interestingly written. Our selec 
tion is from u The Yemassee." The heroine meets with her startling 
adventure while in the woods waiting the coming of her lover.] 

" HE does not come, he does not come," she murmured, 
as she stood contemplating the thick copse spreading be 
fore her, and forming the barrier which terminated the 



164 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SIMMS 

beautiful range of oaks which constituted the grove. How 
beautiful was the green and garniture of that little copse 
of wood ! The leaves were thick, and the grass around 
lay folded over and over in bunches, with here and there 
a wild flower gleaming from its green and making of it a 
beautiful carpet of the richest and most various texture. 
A small tree rose from the centre of a clump around which 
a wild grape gadded luxuriantly ; and, with an incoherent 
sense of what she saw, she lingered before the little clus 
ter, seeming to survey that which, though it seemed to 
fix her eye, yet failed to fill her thought. Her mind 
wandered, her soul was far away ; and the objects in her 
vision were far other than those which occupied her im 
agination. Things grew indistinct beneath her eye. The 
eye rather slept than saw. The musing spirit had given 
holiday to the ordinary senses, and took no heed of the 
forms that rose, and floated, or glided away, before them. 
In this way, the leaf detached made no impression upon 
the sight that was yet bent upon it ; she saw not the bird, 
though it whirled, untroubled by a fear, in wanton circles 
around her head ; and the black snake, with the rapidity 
of an arrow, darted over her path without arousing a 
single terror in the form that otherwise would have shiv 
ered at its mere appearance. And yet, though thus indis 
tinct were all things around her to the musing mind of 
the maiden, her eye was yet singularly fixed, fastened, 
as it were, to a single spot, gathered and controlled by a 
single object, and glazed, apparently, beneath a curious 
fascination. 

Before the maiden rose a little clump of bushes, bright 
tangled leaves flaunting wide in glossiest green, with vines 
trailing over them, thickly decked with blue and crimson 
flowers. Her eye communed vacantly with these; fast 
ened by a star-like shining glance, a subtle ray, that shot 



SIMMS] THE MAIDEN AND THE RATTLESNAKE. 165 

out from the circle of green leaves, seeming to be their 
very eye, and sending out a fluid lustre that seemed to 
stream across the space between and find its way into her 
own eyes. Very piercing and beautiful was that subtle 
brightness, of the sweetest, strangest power. And now 
the leaves quivered and seemed to float away, only to re 
turn, and the vines waved and swung around in fantastic 
mazes, unfolding ever-changing varieties of form and color 
to her gaze ; but the star-like eye was ever steadfast, 
bright and gorgeous gleaming in their midst, and still 
fastened, with strange fondness, upon her own. How 
beautiful, with wondrous intensity, did it gleam, and di 
late, growing larger and more lustrous with every ray 
which it sent forth ! And her own glance became intense, 
fixed also ; but with a dreaming sense that conjured uj> 
the wildest fancies, terribly beautiful, that took her soul 
away from her, and wrapt it about as with a spell. She 
would have fled, she would have flown ; but she had not 
power to move. The will was wanting to her flight. She 
felt that she could have bent forward to pluck the gem- 
like thing from the bosom of the leaf in which it seemed 
to grow, and which it irradiated with its bright white 
gleam ; but ever as she aimed to stretch forth her hand 
and bend forward, she heard a rush of wings and a shrill 
scream from the tree above her, such a scream as the 
mock-bird makes when angrily it raises its dusky crest 
and flaps its wings furiously against its slender sides. 
Such a scream seemed like a warning, and, though yet un- 
awakened to full consciousness, it startled her and forbade 
her effort. More than once, in her survey of this strange 
object, had she heard that shrill note, and still had it car 
ried to her ear the same note of warning, and to her mind 
the same vague consciousness of an evil presence. But the 
star-like eye was yet upon her own, a small, bright eye, 



166 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SIMMS 

quick like that of a bird, now steady in its place and ob 
servant seemingly only of hers, now darting forward with 
all the clustering leaves about it, and shooting up towards 
her, as if wooing her to seize. At another moment, riveted 
to the vine which lay around it, it would whirl round and 
round, dazzlingly bright and beautiful, even as a torch 
waving hurriedly by night in the hands of some playful 
boy ; but in all this time the glance was never taken 
from her own : there it grew, fixed, a very principle of 
light, and such a light, a subtle, burning, piercing, fas 
cinating gleam, such as gathers in vapor above the old 
grave and binds us as we look, shooting, darting directly 
into her eye, dazzling her gaze, defeating its sense of dis 
crimination, and confusing strangely that of perception. 
She felt dizzy ; for, as she looked, a cloud of colors bright, 
gay, various colors floated and hung like so much drapery 
around the single object that had so secured her attention 
and spellbound her feet. Her limbs felt momently more 
and more insecure, her blood grew cold, and she seemed 
to feel the gradual freeze of vein by vein throughout her 
person. 

At that moment a rustling was heard in the branches 
of the tree beside her, and the bird, which had repeatedly 
uttered a single cry above her, as it were of warning, flew 
away from his station with a scream more piercing than 
ever. This movement had the effect, for which it really 
seemed intended, of bringing back to her a portion of the 
consciousness she seemed so totally to have been deprived 
of before. She strove to move from before the beautiful 
but terrible presence, but for a while she strove in vain. 
The rich, star-like glance still riveted her own, and the 
subtle fascination kept her bound. The mental energies, 
however, with the moment of their greatest trial, now 
gathered suddenly to her aid; and, with a desperate 



SIMMS] THE MAIDEN AND THE RATTLESNAKE. 167 

effort, but with a feeling still of most annoying uncer 
tainty and dread, she succeeded partially in the attempt, 
and threw her arms backwards, her hands grasping the 
neighboring tree, feeble, tottering, and depending upon 
it for that support which her own limbs almost entirely 
denied her. With her movement, however, came the 
full development of the powerful spell and dreadful mys 
tery before her. As her feet receded, though but a 
single pace, to the tree against which she now rested, 
the audibly-articulated ring, like that of a watch when 
wound up with the verge broken, announced the nature 
of that splendid yet dangerous presence, in the form of 
the monstrous rattlesnake, now but a few feet before her, 
lying coiled at the bottom of a beautiful shrub, with 
which, to her dreaming eye, many of its own glorious 
hues had become associated. She was at length con 
scious enough to perceive and to feel all her danger ; but 
terror had denied her the strength necessary to fly from 
her dreadful enemy. There still the eye glared beauti 
fully bright and piercing upon her own ; and, seemingly 
in a spirit of sport, the insidious reptile slowly unwound 
himself from his coil, but only to gather himself up again 
into his muscular rings, his great flat head rising in the 
midst, and slowly nodding, as it were, towards her, the 
eye still peering deeply into her own,, the rattle still 
slightly ringing at intervals, and giving forth that para 
lyzing sound which, once heard, is remembered forever. 

The reptile all this while appeared to be conscious of, 
and to sport with, while seeking to excite, her terrors. 
Now, with its flat head, distended mouth, and curving 
neck, would it dart forward its long form towards her, 
its fatal teeth, unfolding on either side of its upper jaw, 
seeming to threaten her with instantaneous death, while 
its powerful eye shot forth glances of that fatal power 



168 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SIMMS 

of fascination, malignantly bright, which, by paralyzing, 
with a novel form of terror and of beauty, may readily 
account for the spell it possesses of binding the feet of 
the timid and denying to fear even the privilege of flight. 
Could she have fled I She felt the necessity ; but the 
power of her limbs was gone ; and there still it lay, coil 
ing and uncoiling, its arching neck glittering like a ring 
:>f brazed copper, bright and lurid, and the dreadful 
beauty of its eye still fastened, eagerly contemplating the 
victim, while the pendulous rattle still rang the death- 
note, as if to prepare the conscious mind for the fat 
which is momently approaching to the blow. Meanwhile, 
the stillness became death-like with all surrounding ob 
jects. The bird had gone with its scream and rush. The 
breeze was silent. The vines ceased to wave. The leaves 
faintly quivered on their stems. The serpent once more 
lay still ; but the eye was never once turned away from 
the victim. Its corded muscles are all in coil. They have 
but to unclasp suddenly, and the dreadful folds will be 
upon her, its full length, and the fatal teeth will strike, 
and the deadly venom which they secrete will mingle 
with the life-blood in her veins. 

The terrified damsel, her full consciousness restored, 
but not her strength, feels all the danger. She sees that 
the sport of the terrible reptile is at an end. She cannot 
now mistake the horrid expression of its eye. She strives 
to scream, but the voice dies away, a feeble gurgling in 
her throat. Her tongue is paralyzed ; her lips are sealed ; 
once more she strives for flight, but her limbs refuse their 
office. She has nothing left of life but its fearful conscious 
ness. It is in her despair that, a last effort, she succeeds 
to scream, a single wild cry, forced from her by the accu 
mulated agony ; she sinks down upon the grass before her 
enemy, her eyes, however, still open, and still looking 



SIMMS] THE MAIDEN AND THE RATTLESNAKE. 169 

upon those which he directs forever upon them. She sees 
him approach, now advancing, now receding, now swell 
ing in every part with something of anger, while his 
neck is arched beautifully like that of a wild horse under 
the curb ; until, at length, tired, as it were, of play, like 
the cat with its victim, she sees the neck growing larger 
and becoming completely bronzed as about to strike, 
the huge jaws unclosing almost directly above her, the 
long, tubulated fang, charged with venom, protruding from 
the cavernous mouth, and she sees no more! Insensi 
bility came to her aid, and she lay almost lifeless under 
the very folds of the monster. 

In that moment the copse parted, and an arrow, 
piercing the monster through and through the neck, bore 
his head forward to the ground, alongside of the maiden, 
while his spiral extremities, now unfolding in his own 
agony, were actually, in part, writhing upon her person. 
The arrow came from the fugitive Occonestoga, who had 
fortunately reached the spot in season on his way to the 
Block House. He rushed from the copse as the snake 
fell, and, with a stick, fearlessly approached him where he 
lay tossing in agony upon the grass. Seeing him advance, 
the courageous reptile made an effort to regain his coil, 
shaking the fearful rattle violently at every evolution 
which he took for that purpose ; but the arrow, completely 
passing through his neck, opposed an unyielding obstacle 
to the endeavor; and, finding it hopeless, and seeing the 
new enemy about to assault him, with something of the 
spirit of the white man under like circumstances, he 
turned desperately round, and, striking his charged fangs, 
so that they were riveted in the wound they made, into 
a susceptible part of his own body, he threw himself over 
with a single convulsion, and, a moment after, lay dead 
beside the utterly unconscious maiden. 

II. H 15 



170 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HARTB 

THE SHERIFF OF CALAVERAS. 

BRET HARTE. 

[Francis Bret Harte was born at Albany, New York, in 1839. He 
went to California in 1854, where he soon entered the journalistic pro 
fession, and quickly acquired reputation as a skilful humorist, poet, 
and novelist, his work embodying the peculiar flavor of Western life 
and character to a degree unequalled by any of his competitors in this 
field. His short stories, such as " The Luck of Roaring Camp," are 
strongly original in plot and incident, and are excellent renderings 
of the peculiarities of life in the mining districts, while his poems, 
though mainly dependent for popularity on their dialectical oddity 
and their burlesque humor, often reach a much higher level of poetic 
merit. He is a keen delineator of the pioneer character, and repre 
sents the varieties of individuals in the mining camps with photo 
graphic correctness. We offer an illustrative selection from his novel 
of " Gabriel Conroy." It must be premised that Gabriel is a simple- 
minded, thoroughly honest and upright giant of the mining districts, 
who has been suspected of the murder of a Mexican sharper. He is 
under arrest, and a vigilance committee has determined to make short 
work of him. Their plans are overheard by Jack Hamlin, a noted 
gambler, who rides in all haste to the rescue of his friend Gabriel. It 
is, however, mainly to display the well-drawn picture of the Sheriff of 
Calaveras that we present this selection.] 

AT nine o'clock half a dozen men lounged down the 
main street and ascended the upper loft of Briggs' ware 
house. In ten or fifteen minutes a dozen more from 
different saloons in the town lounged as indifferently 
in the direction of Briggs', until at half-past nine the 
assemblage in the loft numbered fifty men. During this 
interval a smaller party had gathered, apparently as 
accidentally and indefinitely as to purpose, on the steps 
of the little two-story brick court-house in which the 
prisoner was confined. At ten o'clock a horse was furi 
ously ridden into town, and dropped exhausted at the 



HAUTE] THE SHERIFF OF CALAVERAS. 171 

outskirts. A few moments later a man hurriedly crossed 
the plaza toward the court-house. It was Mr. Jack 
Hamlin. But the Three Voices had preceded him, and 
from the steps of the court-house were already uttering 
the popular mandate. 

It was addressed to a single man, a man who, deserted 
by his posse and abandoned by his friends, had for the 
last twelve hours sat beside his charge, tireless, watchful, 
defiant, and resolute, Joe Hall, the Sheriff of Calaveras ! 
He had been waiting for this summons, behind barricaded 
doors, with pistols in his belt, and no hope in his heart ; 
a man of limited ideas and restricted resources, constant 
to only one intent, that of dying behind those bars, in 
defence of that legal trust which his office and an extra 
fifty votes at the election only two months before had put 
into his hands. It had perplexed him for a moment that 
he heard the voices of some of these voters below him 
clamoring against him, but above their feebler pipe always 
rose another mandatory sentence, " We command you to 
take and safely keep the body of Gabriel Conroy," and, 
being a simple man, the recollection of the quaint phrase 
ology strengthened him and cleared his mind. Ah me! 
I fear he had none of the external marks of a hero ; as I 
remember him, he was small, indistinctive, and fidgety, 
without the repose of strength ; a man who at that ex 
treme moment chewed tobacco and spat vigorously on the 
floor ; who tweaked the ends of his scanty beard, paced 
the floor, and tried the locks of his pistols. Presently he 
stopped before Gabriel, and said, almost fiercely, 

" You hear that ? they are coming !" 

Gabriel nodded. Two hours before, when the contem 
plated attack of the Vigilance Committee had been re 
vealed to him, he had written a few lines to Lawyer 
Maxwell, which he intrusted to the sheriff. He had 



172 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HARTB 

then relapsed into his usual tranquillity, serious, simple, 
and, when he had occasion to speak, diffident and apolo 
getic. 

" Are you going to help me ?" continued Hall. 

" In course," said Gabriel, in quiet surprise, " ef you 
say so. But don't ye do nowt ez would be gettin' your 
self into troubil along o' me. I ain't worth it. Maybe 
it 'ud be jest as square ef ye handed me over to them 
chaps out yer. allowin' I was a heep o' troubil to you, and 
reckonin' you'd about hed your sheer o' the keer o' me, 
and kinder passin' me round. But ef you do feel obli 
gated to take keer o' me, ez hevin' promised the jedges 
and jury" (it is almost impossible to convey the gentle 
deprecatoriness of Gabriel's voice and accent at this junc 
ture), " why," he added, " I'm with ye. I'm thar ! You 
understand me!" 

He rose slowly, and with quiet but powerfully signifi 
cant deliberation placed the chair he had been sitting on 
back against the wall. The tone and act satisfied the 
sheriff'. The seventy -four-gun ship, Gabriel Conroy, was 
clearing the decks for action. 

There was an ominous lull in the outcries below, and 
then the solitary lifting up of a single voice, the Potential 
Voice of the night before! The sheriff walked to a 
window in the hall and opened it. The besieger and be 
sieged measured each other with a look. Then came the 
Homeric chaff: 

" Git out o' that, Joe Hall, and run home to your mother 
She's getting oneasy about ye !" 

" The h 11 you say !" responded Hall, promptly, " and 
the old woman in such a hurry she had to borry Al. 
Barker's hat and breeches to come here! Run home, old 
gal, and don't parse yourself off for a man ag'in I" 

" This ain't no bluff, Joe Hall I Why don't ye call ? 



HARTK] THE SHERIFF OF CALAVERAS. 173 

Yer's fifty men ; the returns are ag'in' ye, and two pre 
cincts yet to hear from." (This was a double thrust, at 
Hall's former career as a gambler, and the closeness of his 
late election vote.) 

" All right ! send 'em up by express, mark 'em C. O. D " 
(The previous speaker was the expressman.) 

"Blank you! Git!" 

" Blank you! Come on !" 

Here there was a rush at the door, the accidental dis 
charge of a pistol, and the window was slammed down. 
Words ceased, deeds began. 

A few hours before, Hall had removed his prisoner trom 
the uncertain tenure and accessible position of the cells 
below to the open court-room of the second floor, inacces 
sible by windows, and lit by a skylight in the roof, above 
the reach of the crowd, whose massive doors were barri 
caded by benches and desks. A smaller door at the side, 
easily secured, was left open for reconnoitring. The ap 
proach to the court-room was by a narrow stairway, half 
way down whose length Gabriel had thrust the long court 
room table as a barricade to the besiegers. The lower 
outer door, secured by the sheriff after the desertion of 
his underlings, soon began to show signs of weakening 
under the vigorous battery from without. From the 
landing the two men watched it eagerly. As it slowly 
yielded, the sheriff drew back toward the side-door and 
beckoned Gabriel to follow ; but with a hasty sign Gabriel 
suddenly sprang forward and dropped beneath the table 
as the door with a crash fell inward, beaten from its 
hinges. There was a rush of trampling feet to the stair 
way, a cry of baffled rage "over the impeding table, a sud 
den scramble up and upon it, and then, as if on its own 
volition, the long table suddenly reared itself on end, and, 
staggering a moment, toppled backward with its clinging 
ii. 15* 



174 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HARTTJ 

human burden on the heads of the thronging mass below. 
There was a cry, a sudden stampede of the Philistines to 
the street, and Samson, rising to his feet, slowly walked 
to the side-door and re-entered the court-room. But at 
the same instant an agile besieger who, unnoticed, had 
crossed the Rubicon, darted from his concealment, and 
dashed by Gabriel into the room. There was a shout from 
the sheriff, the door was closed hastily, a shot, and the 
intruder fell. But the next moment he staggered to his 
knees, with outstretched hands : " Hold up ! I'm yer to 
help ye!" 

It was Jack Hamlin ! haggard, dusty, grimy ; his gay 
feathers bedraggled, his tall hat battered, his spotless shirt 
torn open at the throat, his eyes and cheeks burning with 
fever, the blood dripping from the bullet-wound in his 
leg, but still Jack Hamlin, strong and audacious. By a 
common instinct both men dropped their weapons, ran and 
lifted him in their arms. 

"There! shove that chair under me! that'll do," said 
Hamlin, coolly. " We're even now, Joe Hall : that shot 
wiped out old scores, even if it has crippled me and lost 
ye my valuable aid. Dry up ! and listen to me, and then 
leave me here ! There's but one way of escape. It's up 
there !" (he pointed to the skylight.) " The rear wall 
hangs over the Wingdam ditch and gully. Once on the 
roof, you can drop over with this rope, which you must 
unwind from my body, for I'm d d if I can do it myself. 
Can you reach the skylight ?" 

" There's a step-ladder from the gallery," said the sheriff, 
joyously. " But won't they see us, and be prepared ?" 

" Before they can reach the gully by going round, you'll 
be half a mile away in the woods. But what in blank are 
you waiting for? Go! You can hold on here for ten 
minutes more if they attack the same point ; but if they 



HAUTE] THE SHERIFF OF CALAVERAS. 175 

think of the skylight, and fetch ladders, you're gone in ! 
Go." 

There was another rush on the staircase without ; the 
surging of an immense wave against the heavy folding 
doors, the blows of pick and crowbar, the gradual yield 
ing of the barricade a few inches, and the splintering of 
benches by a few pistol-shots fired through the springing 
crevices of the doors. And yet the sheriff hesitated. Sud 
denly Gabriel stooped down, lifted the wounded man to 
his shoulder as if he had been an infant, and, beckoning 
to the sheriff, started for the gallery. But he had not 
taken two steps before he staggered and lapsed heavily 
against Hall, who, in his turn, stopped and clutched the 
railing. At the same moment the thunder of the be 
siegers seemed to increase ; not only the door, but the 
windows rattled, the heavy chandelier fell with a crash, 
carrying a part of the plaster and the elaborate cornice 
with it, a shower of bricks fell through the skylight, 
and a cry, quite distinct from anything heard before, rose 
from without. There was a pause in the hall, and then 
the sudden rush of feet down the staircase, and all was 
still again. The three men gazed in each other's whitened 
faces. 

" An earthquake," said the sheriff. 

" So much the better," said Jack. " It gives us time. 
Forward !" 

They reached the gallery and the little step-ladder 
that led to a door that opened upon the roof, Gabriel pre 
ceding with his burden. There was another rush up 
the staircase without the court-room, but this time there 
was no yielding in the door : the earthquake that had 
shaken the foundations and settled the walls had sealed 
it firmly. 

Gabriel was first to step out on the roof, carrying Jack 



176 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HARTK 

Hamlin. But as he did so another thrill ran through the 
building, and he dropped on his knees to save himself from 
falling, while the door closed smartly behind him. In 
another moment the shock had passed, and Gabriel, put 
ting down his burden, turned to open the door for the 
sheriff. But, to his alarm, it did not yield to his pressure : 
the earthquake had sealed it as it had the door below, and 
Joe Hall was left a prisoner. 

It was Gabriel's turn to hesitate and look at his com 
panion. But Jack was gazing into the street below. Then 
he looked up and said, "We must go on now, Gabriel ; for 
for they've got a ladder /" 

Gabriel rose again to his feet and lifted the wounded 
man. The curve of the domed roof was slight. In the 
centre, on a rough cupola or base, the figure of Justice, 
fifteen feet high, rudely carved in wood, towered above 
them with drawn sword and dangling scales. Gabriel 
reached the cupola and crouched behind it, as a shout 
rose from the street below that told he was discovered. 
A few shots were fired. One bullet embedded itself in 
the naked blade of the Goddess, and another, with cruel 
irony, shattered the equanimity of her balance. " Un 
wind the cord from me," said Hamlin. Gabriel did so. 
"Fasten one end to the chimnej^ or the statue." But the 
chimney was levelled by the earthquake, and even the 
statue was trembling on its pedestal. Gabriel secured 
the rope to an iron girder of the skylight, and, crawling 
on the roof, dropped it cautiously over the gable. But 
it was several feet too short, too far for a cripple to 
drop ! Gabriel crawled back to Hamlin. " You must go 
first," he said, quietly. " I will hold the rope over the 
gable. You can trust me." 

Without waiting for Hamlin's reply, he fastened the 
rope under his arms and half lifted, half dragged him to 



II ART E] THE SHERIFF OF CA LAYER AS. 177 

the gable. Then, pressing his hand silently, he laid him 
self down and lowered the wounded man safely to the 
ground. He had recovered the rope again, and, crawling 
to the cupola, was about to fasten the line to the iron 
girder, when something slowly rose above the level of the 
roof beyond him. The uprights of a ladder! 

The Three Yoices had got tired of waiting a reply to 
their oft-reiterated question, and had mounted the ladder 
by way of forcing an answer at the muzzles of their 
revolvers. They reached the level of the roof, one after 
another, and again propounded their inquiry. And then, 
as it seemed to their awe-stricken fancy, the only figure 
there the statue of Justice awoke to their appeal. 
Awoke! leaned towards them, advanced its awful sword 
and shook its broken balance, and then, toppling forward 
with one mighty impulse, came down upon them, swept 
them from the ladder, and silenced the Yoices forever! 
And from behind its pedestal Gabriel arose, panting, pale, 
but triumphant. 

[The night was spent by the fugitives in a secret hiding-place, and 
the next morning, accompanied by Gabriel's young sister Oily and by 
Hamlin's negro servant Pete, who had joined them in the mean time, 
they resumed their flight. What followed we give in the narrative 
of the author. ] 

Gabriel rose, and, lifting Mr. Hamlin in his arms with 
infinite care and tenderness, headed the quaint procession. 
Mr. Hamlin, perhaps recognizing some absurdity in the 
situation, forbore exercising his querulous profanity on 
the man who held him helpless as an infant, and Oily and 
Pete followed slowly behind. 

Their way led down Reservoir Canon, beautiful, hope 
ful, and bracing in the early morning air. A few birds, 
awakened by the passing tread, started into song a mo 
ment, and then were still. With a cautious gentleness 
ii. m 



178 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HARTE 

habitual to the man, Gabriel forbore, as he strode along, 
to step upon the few woodland blossoms yet left to the dry 
summer woods. There was a strange fragrance in the air, 
the light odors liberated from a thousand nameless herbs, 
the faint, melancholy spicing of dead leaves. There was, 
moreover, that sense of novelty which Nature always 
brings with the dawn in deep forests ; a fancy that during 
the night the earth had been created anew, and was fresh 
from the Maker's hand, as yet untried by burden or tribu 
lation, and guiltless of a Past. And so it seemed to the 
little caravan albeit fleeing from danger and death that 
yesterday and its fears were far away, or had, in some 
unaccountable way, shrunk behind them in the west with 
the swiftly-dwindling night. Oily once or twice strayed 
from the trail to pick an opening flower or lingering berry ; 
Pete hummed to himself the fragment of an old camp- 
meeting song. 

And so they walked on, keeping the rosy dawn and its 
promise before them. From time to time the sound of 
far-off voices came to them faintly. Slowly the light 
quickened ; morning stole down the hills upon them stealth 
ily, and at last the entrance of the canon became dimly 
outlined. Oily uttered a shout and pointed to a black ob 
ject moving backward and forward before the opening. 
It was the wagon and team awaiting them. Olly's shout 
was answered by a whistle from the driver, and they 
quickened their pace joyfully; in another moment they 
would be beyond the reach of danger. 

Suddenly a voice that seemed to start from the ground 
before them called on Gabriel to stop ! He did so uncon 
sciously, drawing Hamlin closer to him with one hand, 
and with the other making a broad protecting sweep 
toward Oily. And then a figure rose slowly from the 
ditch at the road-side and barred their passage. 



HARTE] THE SHERIFF OF CALAVERAS. 179 

It was only a single man! A small man, bespattered 
with the slime of the ditch and torn with brambles ; a 
man exhausted with fatigue and tremulous with nervous 
excitement, but still erect and threatening. A man whom 
Gabriel and Hamlin instantly recognized, even through 
his rags and exhaustion. It was Joe Hall, the sheriff 
of Calaveras. He held a pistol in his right hand, even 
while his left exhaustedly sought the support of a tree. 
By a common instinct both men saw that, while the hand 
was feeble, the muzzle of the weapon covered them. 

" Gabriel Conroy, I want you," said the apparition. 

" He's got us lined ! Drop me," whispered Hamlin, 
hastily ; " drop me ! I'll spoil his aim." 

But Gabriel, by a swift, dexterous movement that seemed 
incompatible with his usual deliberation, instantly trans 
ferred Hamlin to his other arm, and, with his burden com 
pletely shielded, presented his own right shoulder squarely 
to the muzzle of Hall's revolver. 

" Gabriel Conroy, you are my prisoner," repeated the 
voice. 

Gabriel did not move. But over his shoulder as a rest 
dropped the long, shining barrel of Jack's own favorite 
duelling-pistol, and over it glanced the bright eye of its 
crippled owner. The issue was joined ! 

There was a death-like silence. 

" Go on !" said Jack, quietly. " Keep cool, Joe. For 
if you miss him, you're gone in ; and, hit or miss, I've got 
you sure !" 

The barrel of Hall's pistol wavered a moment, from 
physical weakness, but not from fear. The great heart 
behind it, though broken, was undaunted. 

" It's all right," said the voice, fatefully. " It's all right, 
Jack ! Ye'll kill me, I know ! But ye can't help sayin', 
arter all, that I did my duty to Calaveras as the sheriff, 



180 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HAUTE 

and 'specially to them twenty-five men ez elected me over 
Boggs ! I ain't goin' to let ye pass. I've been on this yer 
hunt, up and down this caiion, all night. Hevin' no possy, 
I reckon I've got to die yer in my tracks. All right! 
But ye'll git into thet wagon over my dead body, Jack, 
over my dead body, sure." 

Even as he spoke these words he straightened himself 
to his full height, which was not much, I fear. and 
steadied himself by the tree, his weapon still advanced and 
pointing at Gabriel, but with such an evident and hope 
less contrast between his determination and his evident 
inability to execute it that his attitude impressed his 
audience less with his heroism than its half-pathetic ab 
surdity. 

Mr. Hamlin laughed. But even then he suddenly felt 
the grasp of Gabriel relax, found himself slipping to his 
companion's feet, and the next moment was deposited 
carefully but ignominiously on the ground by Gabriel, 
who strode quietly and composedly up to the muzzle of 
the sheriff's pistol. 

"I am ready to go with ye, Mr. Hall," he said, gently, 
putting the pistol aside with a certain large, indifferent 
wave of the hand, " ready to go with ye, now, at onct ! 
But I've one little favor to ax ye. This yer pore young 
man, ez yur wounded unbeknownst," he said, pointing to 
Hamlin, who was writhing and gritting his teeth in help 
less rage and fury, " ez not to be tuk with me, nor for 
me! Thar ain't nothin' to be done to him. He hez been 
dragged inter this fight. But I'm ready to go with ye 
now, Mr. Hall, and am sorry you got into the troubi] 
along o' me." 



WHITTIER] PRELUDE TO "AMONG THE HILLS.' 1 181 

PRELUDE TO "AMONG THE HILLS." 

JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER. 

[Whittier stands too high in the ranks of American poets to require 
more than a passing comment at our hands ; and as a philanthropist 
and reformer he occupies as elevated a position hefore the American 
people. Of wholly estimable modern characters the " Quaker Poet" 
and Ralph Waldo Emerson may be named in connection, as men who 
stand at the high-tide mark of moral elevation. But, while Emerson 
dwelt to some extent in the clouds, and looked down on the world from 
afar, Whittier has always lived on the human level, with a heart 
overflowing with sympathy and touched by all the woes and wants 
of man. His best poems are all marked by deep feeling, while in 
poetic power they are often of the highest grade of merit. There is 
nowhere in poetry a more clean-cut and sharply-outlined word-picture 
than that of the " Life without an Atmosphere," in the poem given 
below. Whittier was born at Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1808. His 
family belonged to the denomination of Friends, in which religious 
community he has always remained. He early identified himself 
with the anti-slavery party, edited a newspaper in its interest, and 
was one of the most earnest advocates of the cause, in favor of which 
many of his poems were written. His poems are nearly all of a lyrical 
character, and are instinct with the true spirit of the lyric.] 

ALONG the road-side, like the flowers of gold 
The tawny Incas for their gardens wrought, 
Heavy with sunshine droops the golden-rod, 
And the red pennons of the cardinal-flowers 
Hang motionless upon their upright staves. 
The sky is hot and hazy, and the wind, 
Wing-weary with its long flight from the south, 
Unfelt ; yet, closely scanned, yon maple leaf 
With faintest motion, as one stirs in dreams, 
Confesses it. The locust by the wall 
Stabs the noon-silence with his sharp alarm. 
A single hay-cart down the dusty road 
n. 16 



182 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITTIER 

Creaks slowly, with its driver fast asleep 
On the load's top. Against the neighboring hill, 
Huddled along the stone wall's shady side, 
The sheep show white, as if a snow-drift still 
Defied the dog-star. Through the open door 
A drowsy smell of flowers gray heliotrope, 
And white sweet clover, and shy mignonette 
Comes faintly in, and silent chorus lends 
To the pervading symphony of peace. 

No time is this for hands long overworn 

To task their strength ; and (unto Him be praise 

Who giveth quietness !) the stress and strain 

Of years that did the work of centuries 

Have ceased, and we can draw our breath once more 

Freely and full. So, as yon harvesters 

Make glad their nooning underneath the elms 

With tale and riddle and old snatch of song, 

I lay aside grave themes, and idly turn 

The leaves of memory's sketch-book, dreaming o'er 

Old summer pictures of the quiet hills, 

And human life, as quiet, at their feet. 

And yet not idly all. A farmer's son, 

Proud of field-lore and harvest-craft, and feeling 

All their fine possibilities, how rich 

And restful even poverty and toil 

Become when beauty, harmony, and love 

Sit at their humble hearth as angels sat 

At evening in the patriarch's tent, when man 

Makes labor noble, and his farmer's frock 

The symbol of a Christian chivalry 

Tender and just and generous to her 

Who clothes with grace all duty, still, I know 



WHITTIER] PRELUDE TO "AMONG THE HILLS." 183 

Too well the picture has another side, 

How wearily the grind of toil goes on 

Where love is wanting, how the eye and ear 

And heart are starved amidst the plenitude 

Of nature, and how hard and colorless 

Is life without an atmosphere. I look 

Across the lapse of half a century, 

And call to mind old homesteads, where no flower 

Told that the spring had come, but evil weeds, 

.Nightshade and rough-leaved burdock, in the place 

Of the sweet door- way greeting of the rose 

And honeysuckle, where the house-walls seemed 

Blistering in sun, without a tree or vine 

To cast the tremulous shadow of its leaves 

Across the curtainless windows from whose panes 

Fluttered the signal rags of shiftlessness ; 

Within, the cluttered kitchen-floor, unwashed 

(Broom-clean I think they called it) ; the best rooin 

Stifling with cellar damp, shut from the air 

In hot midsummer, bookless, pictureless 

Save the inevitable sampler hung 

Over the fireplace, or a mourning piece, 

A green-haired woman, peony-cheeked, beneath 

Impossible willows ; the wide-throated hearth 

Bristling with faded pine boughs half concealing 

The piled-up rubbish at the chimney's back ; 

And, in sad keeping with all things about them, 

Shrill, querulous women, sour and sullen men, 

Untidy, loveless, old before their time, 

With scarce a human interest save their own 

Monotonous round of small economies, 

Or the poor scandal of the neighborhood ; 

Blind to the beauty everywhere revealed, 

Treading the May-flowers with regardless feet ; 



184 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WIIITTIEH 

For them the song-sparrow and the bobolink 
Sang not, nor winds made music in the leaves ; 
For them in vain October's holocaust 
Burned, gold and crimson, over all the hills, 
The sacramental mystery of the woods ; 
Church-goers, fearful of the unseen Powers, 
But grumbling over pulpit-tax and pew-rent, 
Saving, as shrewd economists, their souls 
And winter pork with the least possible outlay 
Of salt and sanctity ; in daily life 
Showing as little actual comprehension 
Of Christian charity and love and duty 
As if the Sermon on the Mount had been 
Outdated like a last year's almanac : 
Rich in broad woodlands and in half-tilled fields, 
And yet so pinched and bare and comfortless, 
The veriest straggler limping on his rounds, 
The sun and air his sole inheritance, 
Laughed at a poverty that paid its taxes, 
And hugged his rags in self-complacency ! 

Not such should be the homesteads of a land 
Where whoso wisely wills and acts may dwell 
As king and lawgiver, in broad-acred state, 
With beauty, art, taste, culture, books, to make 
His hours of leisure richer than a life 
Of fourscore to the barons of old time. 
Our yeoman should be equal to his home 
Set in the fair, green valleys, purple-walled, 
A man to match his mountains, not to creep 
Dwarfed and abased below them. I would fain 
In this light way (of which I needs must own, 
With the knife-grinder of whom Canning sings, 
" Story, God bless you ! I have none to tell you !") 



LINCOLN] SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS. 185 

Invite the eye to see and heart to feel 

The beauty and the joy within their reach, 

Home, and home loves, and the beatitudes 

Of nature free to all. Haply in years 

That wait to take the places of our own, 

Heard where some breezy balcony looks down 

On happy homes, or where the lake in the moon 

Sleeps dreaming of the mountains, fair as Euth, 

In the old Hebrew pastoral, at the feet 

Of Boaz, even this simple lay of mine 

May seem the burden of a prophecy, 

Finding its late fulfilment in a change 

Slow as the oak's growth, lifting manhood up 

Through broader culture, finer manners, love, 

And reverence, to the level of the hills. 



SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS. 

ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 

[The reputation of Abraham Lincoln is not based upon ability in 
literature, yet he occupies a recognized position in this field by his 
orations, which are characterized by a forcible directness of thought, 
and a grasp of the true nature and spirit of democratic institutions, 
which will give them a long life in the history of American oratory, 
We refer in particular to the two short orations given below, the 
"Second Inaugural" and the "Gettysburg Address," which contain 
sentiments well worthy to become the accepted mottoes of the Ameri 
can republic.] 

FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN, At this second appearing to take 
the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion 
for an extended address than there was at the first. Then, 
ii. 16* 



186 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LINCOLN 

a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued 
seemed very fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration 
of four years, during which public declarations have been 
constantly called forth on every point and phase of the 
great contest which still absorbs the attention and en 
grosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could 
be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all 
else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to 
myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and en 
couraging to all. With high hope for the future, no pre 
diction in regard to it is ventured. 

On the occasion corresponding to this, four years ago, 
all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil 
war. All dreaded it, all sought to avoid it. While the 
inaugural address was being delivered from this place, de 
voted altogether to saving the Union without war, insur 
gent agents were in the city, seeking to destroy it without 
war, seeking to dissolve the Union, and divide the effects 
by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of 
them would make war rather than let the nation survive, 
and the other w T ould accept war rather than let it perish ; 
and the war came. 

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, 
not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in 
the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a pecu 
liar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest 
was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, per 
petuate, and extend this interest was the object for which 
the insurgents would rend the Union by war, while the 
government claimed no right to do more than to restrict 
the territorial enlargement of it. 

Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or 
the duration which it has already attained. Neither an 
ticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with. 



LINCOLN] SECOND INAUGURAL ADDRESS. 187 

or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each 
looked for an easier triumph, and a result less funda 
mental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and 
pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against 
the other. It may seem strange that any men should 
dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread 
from the sweat of other men's faces. But let us judge 
not, that we be not judged. The prayer of both could 
not be answered. That of neither has been answered 
fully. The Almighty has his own purposes. " Woe unto 
the world because of offences, for it must needs be that 
offences come ; but woe to that man by whom the offence 
cometh." 

If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of 
these offences, which, in the providence of God, must 
needs come, but which, having continued through his ap 
pointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to 
both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to 
those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein 
any departure from those divine attributes which the be 
lievers in a living God always ascribe to him ? 

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this 
mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if 
God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the 
bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited 
toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn 
with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the 
sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it 
must be said that " the judgments of the Lord are true 
and righteous altogether." 

With malice towards none, with charity for all, with 
firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right', let 
us strive on, to finish the work we are in, to bind up the 
nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the 



188 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LTNCOLN 

battle, and for his widow and his orphans, to do all which 
may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among 
ourselves and with all nations. 



GETTYSBURG ORATION. 

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought 
forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in Lib 
erty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are 
created equal. 

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing 
whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so 
dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle 
field of that war. We are met to dedicate a portion of it 
as the final resting-place of those who here gave their 
lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting 
and proper that we should do this. 

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot 
consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave 
men, living and dead, who struggled here, have conse 
crated it far above our power to add or detract. The world 
will little note nor long remember what we say here, but 
it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the 
living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work 
that they have thus far so nobly carried on. It is rather 
for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining 
before us ; that from these honored dead we take increased 
devotion to the cause for which they here gave the last 
full measure of devotion ; that we here highly resolve that 
the dead shall not have died in vain, that the nation shall, 
under God, have a new birth of freedom, and that govern 
ment of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall 
not perish from the earth. 



KENNAN] WINTER LIFE AND SCENERY IN SIBERIA. 189 
WINTER LIFE AND SCENERY IN SIBERIA. 

GEORGE KENNAN. 

[The failure of the first Atlantic telegraph cable led the Western 
Union Telegraph Company to attempt the arduous undertaking of 
reaching Europe by a telegraphic line through British America and 
Siberia, and a party of engineers was sent to the latter country in 1865 
to make the preliminary explorations. The adventures of these pio 
neers are described in a highly interesting manner by George Kennan, 
one of their number, in his " Tent Life in Siberia," which is perhaps 
the best description extant of the dreary northwest of that country. 
It may be stated here that, after two or three years of hard engineering 
labor, the enterprise was abandoned. We copy the author's graphic 
narrative of a sleighing expedition in search of a party of Americans 
who had been landed in Northwestern Siberia months before, and had 
been snowed in. To this we add a spirited account of a remarkably 
brilliant display of the Arctic aurora.] 

ON the eleventh day after our departure from Anadyrsk, 
toward the close of the long twilight which succeeds an 
Arctic day, our little train of eleven sledges drew near the 
place where, from Chookchee accounts, we expected to 
find the long-exiled party of Americans. The night was 
clear, still, and intensely cold, the thermometer at sunset 
marking forty-four degrees below zero, and sinking rap 
idly to 50 as the rosy flush in the west grew fainter 
and fainter and darkness settled down upon the vast 
steppe. Many times before, in Siberia and Kamtchatka, 
I had seen Nature in her sterner moods and winter garb ; 
but never before had the elements of cold, barrenness, and 
desolation seemed to combine into a picture so dreary as 
the one which was presented to us that night near Behr- 
ing's Straits. Far as the eye could pierce the gathering 
gloom in every direction lay the barren steppe, like a 
boundless ocean of snow, blown into long wave-like ridges 



190 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

by previous storms. There was not a tree, nor a bush, 
nor any sign of animal or vegetable life, to show that we 
were not travelling on a frozen ocean. All was silence 
and desolation. The country seemed abandoned by God 
and man to the Arctic Spirit, whose trembling banners of 
auroral light flared out fitfully in the north in token of 
his conquest and dominion. About eight o'clock the full 
moon rose huge and red in the east, casting a lurid glare 
over the vast field of snow ; but, as if it too were under 
the control of the Arctic Spirit, it was nothing more than 
the mockery of a moon, and was constantly assuming the 
most fantastic and varied shapes. Now it extended itself 
laterally into a long ellipse, then gathered itself up again 
into the semblance of a huge red urn, lengthened out to a 
long, perpendicular bar with rounded ends, and finally be 
came triangular. It can hardly be imagined what added 
wildness and strangeness this blood-red distorted moon 
gave to a scene already wild and strange. We seemed to 
have entered upon some frozen, abandoned world, where 
all the ordinary laws and phenomena of nature were sus 
pended, where animal and vegetable life were extinct, and 
from which even the favor of the Creator had been with 
drawn. The intense cold, the solitude, the oppressive 
silence, and the red, gloomy moonlight, like the glare of 
a distant but mighty conflagration, all united to excite in 
the mind feelings of awe, which were perhaps intensified 
by the consciousness that never before had any human 
being, save a few Wandering Chookchees, ventured in 
winter upon these domains of the Frost King. There was 
none of the singing, joking, and hallooing with which our 
drivers were wont to enliven a night-journey. Stolid and 
unimpressible though they might be, there was something 
in the scene which even they felt and were silent. Hour 
after hour wore slowly and wearily away until midnight. 



KENNAN] WINTER LIFE AND SCENERY IN SIBERIA. 191 

We had passed by more than twenty miles the point on 
the river where the party of Americans was supposed to 
be ; but no sign had been found of the subterranean house 
or its projecting stove-pipe, and the great steppe still 
stretched away before us, white, ghastly, and illimitable 
as ever. For nearly twenty-four hours we had travelled 
without a single stop, night or day, except one at sunrise 
to rest our tired dogs ; and the intense cold, fatigue, anxiety, 
and lack of warm food began at last to tell upon our silent 
but suffering men. We realized for the first time the haz 
ardous nature of the adventure in which we were en 
gaged, and the almost absolute hopelessness of the search 
which we were making for the lost American party. We 
had not one chance in a hundred of finding at midnight 
on that vast waste of snow a little buried hut, whose loca 
tion we did not know within fifty miles, and of whose very 
existence we were by no means certain. Who could tell 
whether the Americans had not abandoned their subter 
ranean house two months before, and removed with some 
friendly natives to a more comfortable and sheltered situ 
ation ? We had heard nothing from them later than De 
cember 1, and it was now February. They might iii 
that time have gone a hundred miles down the coast look 
ing for a settlement, or have wandered far back into the 
interior with a band of Reindeer Chookchees. It was not 
probable that they would have spent four months in that 
dreary, desolate region without making an effort to escape. 
Even if they were still in their old camp, however, how 
were we to find them ? We might have passed their little 
underground hut unobserved hours before, and might now 
be going farther and farther away from it, from wood, and 
from shelter. It had seemed a very easy thing, before we 
left Anadyrsk, to simply go down the river until we came 
to a house on the bank or saw a stove-pipe sticking out 



192 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

of a snow-drift ; but now, two hundred find fifty or three 
hundred miles from the settlement, in a temperature of 
fifty degrees below zero, when our lives perhaps depended 
upon finding that little buried hut, we realized how wild 
had been our anticipations and how faint were our pros 
pects of success. The nearest wood was more than fifty 
miles behind us, and in our chilled and exhausted condi 
tion we dared not camp without a fire. We must go either 
forward or back, find the hut within four hours, or aban 
don the search and return as rapidly as possible to the 
nearest woo<}. Our dogs were beginning already to show 
unmistakable signs of exhaustion, and their feet, swollen 
with long travel, had cracked open between the toes and 
were now spotting the white snow with blood at every 
step. Unwilling to give up the search while there re 
mained any hope, we still went on to the eastward, along 
the edges of high, bare bluffs skirting the river, separating 
our sledges as widely as possible, and extending our line 
so as to cover a greater extent of ground. A full moon, 
now high in the heavens, lighted up the vast, lonely plain 
on the north side of the river as brilliantly as day ; but its 
whiteness was unbroken by any dark object, save here 
and there little hillocks of moss and swamp grass from 
which the snow had been swept by furious winds. 

We were all suffering severely from cold, and our fuT 
hoods and the breasts of our fur coats were masses of 
white frost which had been formed by our breaths. I had 
put on two heavy reindeer-skin kookhlankas, weighing 
in the aggregate about thirty pounds, belted them tightly 
about the waist with a sash, drawn their thick hoods up 
over my head and covered my face with a squirrel-skin 
mask, but, in spite of all, I could only keep from freezing 
by running beside my sledge. Dodd said nothing, but 
was evidently disheartened and half frozen; while the 



KENNAN] WINTER LIFE AND SCENERY IN SIBERIA. 193 

natives sat silently upon their sledges, as if they expected 
nothing and hoped for nothing. Only Gregorie and an 
old Chookchee whom we had brought with us as a guide 
showed any energy or seemed to have any confidence in 
the ultimate discovery of the party. They went on in 
advance, digging everywhere in the snow for wood, ex 
amining carefully the banks of the river, and making 
occasional detours into the snowy plain to the northward. 
At last Dodd, without saying anything to me, gave his 
spiked stick to one of the natives, drew his head and arms 
into the body of his fur coat, and lay down upon his 
sledge to sleep, regardless of my remonstrances, and pay 
ing no attention whatever to my questions. He was 
evidently becoming stupefied by the deadly chill, which 
struck through the heaviest furs, and which was con 
stantly making insidious advances from the extremities 
to the seat of life. He probably would not live through 
the night unless he could be roused, and might not live 
two hours. Discouraged by his apparently hopeless con 
dition, and exhausted by the constant struggle to keep 
warm, I finally lost all hope, and reluctantly decided to 
abandon the search and camp. By stopping where we 
were, breaking up one of our sledges for firewood, and 
boiling a little tea, I thought that Dodd might be revived ; 
but to go on to the eastward seemed to be needlessly 
risking the lives of all without any apparent prospect of 
discovering the party or of finding wood. I had just 
given the order to the natives nearest me to camp, when 
I thought I heard a faint halloo in the distance. All the 
blood in my veins suddenly rushed with a great throb 
to the heart as I threw back my fur hood and listened. 
Again a faint, long-drawn cry came back through the 
still atmosphere from the sledges in advance. My dogs 
pricked up their ears at the startling sound and dashed 
IT. i n 17 



194 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KENNAN 

eagerly forward, and in a moment I came upon several 
of our leading drivers gathered in a little group around 
what seemed to be an old overturned whale-boat which 
lay half buried in snow by the river's bank. The foot 
print in the sand was not more suggestive to Bobinson 
Crusoe than was this weather-beaten, abandoned whale- 
boat to us, for it showed that somewhere in the vicinity 
there was shelter and life. One of the men a few 
moments before had driven over some dark, hard object 
in the snow, which he at first supposed to be a log of 
drift-wood ; but, upon stopping to examine it, he found it 
to be an American whale-boat. If ever we thanked God 
from the bottom of our hearts, it was then. Brushing 
away with my mitten the long fringe of frost which hung 
to my eyelashes, I looked eagerly around for a house; 
but Gregorie had been quicker than I, and a joyful shout 
from a point a little farther down the river announced 
another discovery. I left my dogs to go where they chose, 
threw away my spiked stick, and started at a run in the 
direction of the sound. In a moment I saw Gregorie and 
the old Chookchee standing beside a low mound of snow, 
about a hundred yards back from the river-bank, exam 
ining some dark object which projected from its smooth 
white surface. It was the long-talked-of, long-looked- for 
stove-pipe ! The Anadyr Eiver party was found. 

The unexpected discovery late at night of this party 
of countrymen, when we had just given up all hope of 
shelter, and almost of life, was a godsend to our disheart 
ened spirits, and I hardly knew in my excitement what I 
did. I remember now walking hastily back and forth in 
front of the snow-drift, repeating softly to myself at every 
step, "Thank God! thank God!" but at the time 1 was 
not conscious of anything except the great fact of our 
safety. Dodd, who had been roused from his half-frozen 



WINTER LIFE AND SCENERY IN SIBERIA. 195 

lethargy by the strong excitement of the discovery, now 
suggested that we try and find the entrance to the house 
and get in as quickly as possible, as he was nearly dead 
with the cold and exhaustion. There was no sound of 
life in the lonely snow-drift before us, and the inmates, if 
it had any, were evidently asleep. Seeing no sign any 
where of a door, I walked up on the drift, and shouted 
down through the stove-pipe, in tremendous tones, " Halloo 
the house!" A startled voice from under my feet de 
manded, "Who's there?" 

" Come out and see ! Where's the door ?" 
My voice seemed to the astounded Americans inside to 
come out of the stove, a phenomenon which was utterly 
unparalleled in all their previous experience; but they 
reasoned very correctly that any stove which could ask 
in good English for the door in the middle of the night 
had an indubitable right to be answered; and they re 
plied in a hesitating and half- frightened tone that the 
door was " on the southeast corner." This left us about 
as wise as before. In the first place, we did not know 
which way southeast was ; and in the second, a snow 
drift could not properly be described as having a corner. 
I started around the stove-pipe, however, in a circle, with 
the hope of finding some sort of an entrance. The in 
mates had dug a deep ditch or trench about thirty feet 
in length for a door-way, and had covered it over with 
sticks and reindeer-skins to keep out the drifting snow. 
Stepping incautiously upon this frail roof, I fell through, 
just as one of the startled men was coming out in his 
shirt and drawers, holding a candle above his head, and 
peering through the darkness of the tunnel to see who 
would enter. The sudden descent through the roof of 
such an apparition as I knew myself to be, was not cal 
culated to restore the steadiness of startled nerves. I 



196 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

had on two heavy " kookhlankas," which swelled out my 
figure to gigantic proportions, two thick reindeer-skin 
hoods with long, frosty fringes of hlack bear-skin were 
pulled up over my head, a squirrel-skin mask frozen into 
a sheet of ice concealed my face, and nothing but the eyes 
peering out through tangled masses of frosty hair showed 
that the furs contained a human being. The man took 
two or three frightened steps backward and nearly dropped 
his candle. I came in such a " questionable shape" that 
he might well demand " whether my intents were wicked 
or charitable." As I recognized his face, however, and 
addressed him again in English, he stopped ; and, tearing 
off my mask and fur hoods, I spoke my name. Never 
was there such rejoicing as that which then took place in 
that little underground cellar, as I recognized in the ex 
iled party two of my old comrades and friends, to whom 
eight months before I had bid good-by as the Olga sailed 
out of the Golden Gate of San Francisco. I little thought, 
when I shook hands with Harder and Robinson then, that 
I should next meet them at night in a little snow-covered 
cellar on the great lonely steppes of the lower Anadyr. 



A SIBERIAN AURORA. 

Among the few pleasures which reward the traveller 
for the hardships and dangers of life in the far north, 
there are none which are brighter or longer remembered 
than the magnificent auroral displays which occasionally 
illumine the darkness of the long polar night and light 
up with a celestial glory the whole blue vault of heaven. 
No other natural phenomenon is so grand, so mysterious, 
so terrible in its unearthly splendor, as this: the veil 
which conceals from mortal eyes the glory of the eternal 
throne seems drawn aside, and the awed beholder is lifted 



KENNAN] WINTER LIFE AND SCENERY IN SIBERIA. 197 

out of the atmosphere of his daily life into the immediate 
presence of God. 

On the 26th of February, while we were all yet living 
together at Anadyrsk, there occurred one of the grandest 
displays of the Arctic aurora which had been observed 
there for more than fifty years, and which exhibited such 
unusual and extraordinary brilliancy that even the natives 
were astonished. It was a cold, dark, but clear winter's 
night, and the sky in the earlier part of the evening 
showed no signs of the magnificent illumination which 
was already being prepared. A few streamers wavered 
now and then in the north, and a faint radiance like that 
of the rising moon shone above the dark belt of shrubbery 
which bordered the river; but this was a common occur 
rence, and it excited no notice or remark. Late in the 
evening, just as we were preparing to go to bed, Dodd 
happened to go out of doors for a moment to look after 
his dogs ; but no sooner had he reached the outer door of 
the entry than he came rushing back, his face ablaze with 
excitement, shouting, "Kennan! Eobinson! Come out, 
quick!" With a vague impression that the village must 
be on fire, I sprang up, and, without stopping to put on 
any furs, ran hastily out, followed closely by Robinson, 
Harder, and Smith. As we emerged into the open air 
there burst suddenly upon our startled eyes the grandest 
exhibition of vivid, dazzling light and color of which the 
mind can conceive. The whole universe seemed to be on 
fire. A broad arch of brilliant prismatic colors spanned 
the heavens from east to west like a gigantic rainbow, 
with a long fringe of crimson and yellow streamers 
stretching up from its convex edge to the very zenith. 
At short intervals of one or two seconds, wide, luminous 
bands, parallel with the arch, rose suddenly out of the 
northern horizon and swept with a swift, steady majesty 
ii. 17* 



198 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

across the whole heavens, like long breakers of phospho 
rescent light rolling in from some limitless ocean of space 
Every portion of the vast arch was momentarily wa 
vering, trembling, and changing color, and the brilliant 
streamers which fringed its edge swept back and forth in 
great curves, like the fiery sword of the angel at the gate 
of Eden. In a moment the vast auroral rainbow, with all 
its wavering streamers, began to move slowly up towards 
the zenith, and a second arch of equal brilliancy formed 
directly under it, shooting up another long, serried row of 
slender colored lances toward the North Star, like a bat 
talion of t ne celestial host presenting arms to its com 
manding angel. Every instant the display increased in 
unearthly grandeur. The luminous bands revolved swiftly, 
like the spokes of a great wheel of light, across the 
heavens ; the streamers hurried back and forth with swift, 
tremulous motion from the ends of the arches to the centre, 
and now and then a great wave of crimson would surge 
up from the north and fairly deluge the whole sky with 
color, tingeing the white, snowy earth far and wide with 
its rosy reflection. But as the words of the prophecy, 
" And the heavens shall be turned to blood," formed them 
selves upon my lips, the crimson suddenly vanished, and 
a lightning flash of vivid orange startled us with its wide, 
all-pervading glare, which extended even to the southern 
horizon, as if the whole volume of the atmosphere had 
suddenly taken fire. I even held my breath a moment, 
as I listened for the tremendous crash of thunder which 
it seemed to me must follow this sudden burst of vivid 
light ; but in heaven or earth there was not a sound to 
break the calm silence of night, save the hastily-muttered 
prayers of the frightened native at my side, as he crossed 
himself and kneeled down before the visible majesty of 
God. I could not imagine any possible addition which 



KENNAN] WINTER LIFE AND SCENERY IN SIBERIA. 199 

even Almighty power could make to the grandeur of the 
aurora as it now appeared. The rapid alternations of 
crimson, blue, green, and yellow in the sky were reflected 
so vividly from the white surface of the snow that the 
whole world seemed now steeped in blood, and then quiv 
ering in an atmosphere of pale, ghastly green, through 
which shone the unspeakable glories of the mighty crim 
son and yellow arches. But the end was not yet. As we 
watched with upturned faces the swift ebb and flow of 
these great celestial tides of colored light, the last seal 
of the glorious revelation was suddenly broken, and both 
arches were simultaneously shivered into a thousand par 
allel perpendicular bars, every one of which displayed in 
regular order, from top to bottom, the seven primary 
colors of the solar spectrum. From horizon to horizon 
there now stretched two vast curving bridges of colored 
bars, across which we almost expected to see, passing and 
repassing, the bright inhabitants of another world. Amid 
cries of astonishment and exclamations of " God have 
mercy !" from the startled natives, these innumerable bars 
began to move, with a swift dancing motion, back and 
forth along the whole extent of both arches, passing each 
other from side to side with such bewildering rapidity 
that the eye was lost in the attempt to follow them. The 
whole concave of heaven seemed transformed into one 
great revolving kaleidoscope of shattered rainbows. Never 
had I even dreamed of such an aurora as this ; and I am 
not ashamed to confess that its magnificence at that mo 
ment overawed and frightened me. The whole sky, from 
zenith to horizon, was " one molten mantling sea of color 
and fire, crimson and purple, and scarlet and green, and 
colors for which there are no words in language and no 
ideas in the mind, things which can only be conceived 
while they are visible." The " signs and portents" in the 



200 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

heavens were grand enough to herald the destruction of a 
world : flashes of rich, quivering color, covering half the 
sky for an instant and then vanishing like summer light 
ning ; brilliant green streamers shooting swiftly but si 
lently up across the zenith ; thousands of variegated bars 
sweeping past each other in two magnificent arches, and 
great luminous waves rolling in from the interplanetary 
spaces and breaking in long lines of radiant glory upon 
the shallow atmosphere of a darkened world. 

With the separation of the two arches into component 
bars it reached its utmost magnificence, and from that 
time its supernatural beauty slowly but steadily faded. 
The first arch broke up, and soon after it the second ; the 
flashes of color appeared less and less frequently; the 
luminous bands ceased to revolve across the zenith ; and 
in an hour nothing remained in the dark starry heavens 
to remind us of the aurora, except a few faint Magellan 
clouds of luminous vapor. 

I am painfully conscious of my inability to describe as 
they should be described the splendid phenomena of a 
great polar aurora; but such magnificent effects cannot 
be expressed in a mathematical formula, nor can an inex 
perienced artist reproduce with a piece of charcoal the 
brilliant coloring of a Turner landscape. I have given 
only faint hints, which the imagination of the reader must 
fill up. But be assured that no description, however faith 
ful, no flight of the imagination, however exalted, can 
begin to do justice to a spectacle of such unearthly gran 
deur. Until man drops his vesture of flesh and stands 
in the presence of Deity, he will see no more striking 
manifestation of the " glory of the Lord, which is terri 
ble," than that presented by a brilliant exhibition of the 
Arctic aurora. 



WILSON] THE BLUEBIRD. 201 

THE BLUEBIRD. 

ALEXANDER WILSON. 

[Alexander Wilson, the father of American ornithology, was born 
at Paisley, Scotland, in 1766. He acquired some reputation in his 
native land as a poet, before coming to America in 1794. His first 
employment in this country was as a weaver, and afterwards as a 
school-teacher, near Philadelphia. The advice and instruction of 
"William Bartram the botanist induced him to study the birds of 
America. In this pursuit he made a pedestrian tour through Western 
New York, then a primeval wilderness. This tour was described by 
him in a lively poem entitled " The Foresters." The result of his 
labors was a valuable work on ornithology, issued by him in seven 
volumes, which was completed in 1813. It was admirably done, the 
birds being pictured with great care and exactness, and was the true 
pioneer of Audubon's later and magnificent work. Worn out with 
his excessive labor, Wilson died in 1813. Two additional volumes of 
his work were edited after his death. His descriptive passages are 
written in a lively and imaginative style, and possess value from the 
close observation of nature which they manifest. In his mind the 
instincts of the poet and the man of science were united.] 

THE pleasing manners and sociable disposition of this 
little bird entitle him to particular notice. As one of the 
first messengers of spring, bringing the charming tidings 
to our very doors, he bears his own recommendation 
always along with him, and meets with a hearty wel 
come from everybody. 

Though generally accounted a bird of passage, yet so 
early as the middle of February, if the weather be open, 
he usually makes his appearance about his old haunts, 
the barn, orchard, and fence-posts. Storms and deep 
snows sometimes succeeding, he disappears for a time, 
but about the middle of March is again seen, accompanied 
by his mate, visiting the box in the garden, or the hole in 



202 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WILSON 

the old apple-tree, the cradle of some generations of his 
ancestors. " When he first begins his amours," says a 
curious and correct observer, " it is pleasing to behold his 
courtship, his solicitude to please and to secure the favor 
of his beloved female. He uses the tenderest expressions, 
sits close by her, caresses and sings to her his most en 
dearing warblings. When seated together, if he espies 
an insect delicious to her taste, he takes it up, flies with 
it to her, spreads his wing over her, and puts it in her 
mouth." If a rival makes his appearance, for they are 
ardent in their loves, he quits her in a moment, attacks 
and pursues the intruder as he shifts from place to place, 
in tones that bespeak the jealousy of his affection, con 
ducts him, with many reproofs, beyond the extremities of 
his territory, and returns to warble out his transports of 
triumph beside his beloved mate. The preliminaries being 
thus settled, and the spot fixed on, they begin to clean 
out the old nest and the rubbish of the former year, and 
to prepare for the reception of their future offspring. 
Soon after this, another sociable little pilgrim (Motacilla 
domestica, house wren) also arrives from the south, and, 
finding such a snug berth preoccupied, shows his spite by 
watching a convenient opportunity and, in the absence of 
the owner, popping in and pulling out sticks, but takes 
special care to make off as fast as possible. 

The female lays five, and sometimes six, eggs, of a pale 
blue color, and raises two, and sometimes three, broods in 
a, season ; the male taking the youngest under his particu 
lar care while the female is again sitting. Their princi 
pal food are insects, particularly large beetles, and others 
of the coleopterous kinds that lurk among old, dead, and 
decaying trees. Spiders are also a favorite repast with 
them. In fall they occasionally regale themselves on the 
berries of the sour gum, and, as winter approaches, on 



WILSON] THE BLUEBIRD. 203 

those of the red cedar, and on the fruit of a rough, hairy 
vine that runs up and cleaves fast to the trunks of trees. 
Ripe persimmons is another of their favorite dishes ; and 
many other fruits and seeds which I have found in their 
stomachs at that season, which, being no botanist, I am 
unable to particularize. They are frequently pestered 
with a species of tape-worm, some of which I have taken 
from their intestines of an extraordinary size, and, in 
Borne cases, in great numbers. Most other birds are also 
plagued with these vermin ; but the bluebird seems more 
subject to them than any I know, except the woodcock. 
An account of the different species of vermin, many of 
which, I doubt not, are nondescripts, that infest the plu 
mage and intestines of our birds, would of itself form an 
interesting publication ; but, as this belongs more prop 
erly to the entomologist, I shall only, in the course of this 
work, take notice of some of the most remarkable, and 
occasionally represent them on the same plate with those 
birds upon which they are usually found. 

The usual spring and summer song of the bluebird is a 
soft, agreeable, and oft-repeated warble, uttered with open, 
quivering wings, and is extremely pleasing. In his mo 
tions and general character he has great resemblance to 
the robin-redbreast of Britain, and had he the brown 
olive of that bird, instead of his own blue, could scarcely 
be distinguished from him. Like him, he is known to 
almost every child, and shows as much confidence in man 
by associating with him in summer, as the other by his 
familiarity in winter. He is also of a mild and peaceful 
disposition, seldom fighting or quarrelling with other 
birds. His society is courted by the inhabitants of the 
country, and few farmers neglect to provide for him, in 
some suitable place, a snug little summer-house, ready 
fitted and rent-free. For this he more than sufficiently 



204 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WILSON 

repays them by the cheerfulness of his song and the mul 
titude of injurious insects which he daily destroys. To 
wards fall that is, in the month of October his song 
changes to a single plaintive note, as he passes over the 
yellow, many-colored woods ; and its melancholy air re 
calls to our minds the approaching decay of the face of 
nature. Even after the trees are stripped of their leaves, 
he still lingers over his native fields, as if loath to leave 
them. About the middle or end of November few or 
none of them are seen ; but with every return of mild 
and open weather we hear his plaintive note amidst the 
fields, or in the air, seeming to deplore the devastations 
of winter. Indeed, he appears scarcely ever totally to 
forsake us, but to follow fair weather through all its jou^ 
neyings till the return of spring. . . . 

The bluebird is six inches and three-quarters in length, 
the wings remarkably full and broad; the whole upper 
parts are of a rich sky-blue, with purple reflections ; the 
bill and legs are black ; inside of the mouth, and soles of 
the feet, yellow, resembling the color of a ripe persimmon ; 
the shafts of all the wing- and tail-feathers are black ; 
throat, neck, breast, and sides, partially under the wings, 
chestnut ; wings, dusky black at the tips ; belly and vent, 
white ; sometimes the secondaries are exteriorly light 
brown, but the bird has in that case not arrived at his ful) 
color. The female is easily distinguished by the dullei 
cast of the back, the plumage of which is skirted with 
light brown, and by the red on the breast being much 
fainter, and not descending nearly so low as in the male ; 
the secondaries are also more dusky. This species is 
found over the whole United States; in the Bahama 
Islands, where many of them winter; as also in Mexico, 
Brazil, and Guiana. 

Mr. Edwards mentions that the specimen of this bird 



WILSON] THE BLUEBIRD. 205 

which he was favored with was sent from the Bermudas ; 
and, as these islands abound with the cedar, it is highly 
probable that many of those birds pass from our con 
tinent thence, at the commencement of winter, to enjoy 
the mildness of that climate as well as their favorite food. 
As the bluebird is so regularly seen in winter after the 
continuance of a few days of mild and open weather, it 
has given rise to various conjectures as to the place of his 
retreat ; some supposing it to be in close, sheltered thick 
ets lying to the sun ; others the neighborhood of the sea, 
where the air is supposed to be more temperate, and where 
the matters thrown up by the waves furnish him with a 
constant and plentiful supply of food. Others trace him 
to the dark recesses of hollow trees and subterraneous 
caverns, where they suppose he dozes away the winter, 
making, like Robinson Crusoe, occasional reconnoitring 
excursions from his castle whenever the weather happens 
to be favorable. But amidst the snows and severities of 
winter I have sought for him in vain in the most favorable 
sheltered situations of the Middle States, and not only in 
the neighborhood of the sea, but on both sides of the 
mountains. I have never, indeed, explored the depths of 
caverns in search of him, because I would as soon expect 
to. meet with tulips and butterflies there, as bluebirds , 
but among hundreds of woodmen, who have cut down 
trees of all sorts and at all seasons, I have never heard 
one instance of these birds being found so immured in 
winter; while in the whole of the Middle and Eastern 
States the same general observation seems to prevail, that 
the bluebird always makes his appearance in winter after 
a few days of mild and open weather. On the other hand, 
I have myself found them numerous in the woods of North 
and South Carolina in the depth of winter, and I have 
also been assured by different gentlemen of respectability, 
IT. 18 



206 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ WILSON 

who have resided in the islands of Jamaica, Cuba, and the 
Bahamas and Bermudas, that this very bird is common 
there in winter. We also find, from the works of Her 
nandez, Piso, and others, that it is well known in Mexico, 
Guiana, and Brazil ; and, if so, the place of its winter re 
treat is easily ascertained, without having recourse to all 
the trumpery of holes and caverns, torpidity, hibernation, 
and such ridiculous improbabilities. 

Nothing is more common in Pennsylvania than to see 
large flocks of these birds, in spring and fall, passing at 
considerable heights in the air, from the south in the 
former and from the north in the latter season. I have 
seen, in the month of October, about an hour after sunrise, 
ten or fifteen of them descend from a great height and 
settle on the top of a tall detached tree, appearing, from 
their silence and sedateness, to be strangers, and fatigued. 
After a pause of a few minutes, they began to dress and 
arrange their plumage, and continued so employed for ten 
or fifteen minutes more ; then, on a few warning notes 
being given, perhaps by the leader of the party, the whole 
remounted to a vast height, steering in a direct line for 
the southwest. In passing along the chain of the Bahamas 
towards the West Indies, no great difficulty can occur, 
from the frequency of these islands ; nor even to the Ber 
mudas, which are said to be six hundred miles from the 
nearest part of the continent. This may seem an extraor 
dinary flight for so small a bird ; but it is nevertheless a 
fact that it is performed. If we suppose the bluebird in 
this case to fly only at the rate of a mile per minute, 
which is less than I have actually ascertained him to do 
overland, ten or eleven hours would be sufficient to ac 
complish the journey, besides the chances he would have 
of resting-places by the way, from the number of vessels 
that generally navigate those seas. In like manner, two 



WOOLSON] A SOJOURN IN ARCADY. 207 

days at most, allowing for numerous stages for rest, would 
conduct him from the remotest regions of Mexico to any 
part of the Atlantic States. When the natural history of 
that part of the continent and its adjacent isles is better 
known, and the period at which its birds of passage arrive 
and depart are truly ascertained, I have no doubt but these 
suppositions will be fully corroborated. 



A SOJOURN IN ARCADY. 

ABBA G. WOOLSON. 

[Abba Goold Woolson was born at Windham, Maine, in 1838. She 
has lectured on English literature, and is the author of " Woman in 
American Society," " Dress Reform," " Browsings among Books," etc. 
We offer a characteristic selection from the first-named of these works. 
Its vein of humor is an agreeable addition to the good sense with 
which the whole book is replete.] 

WHEN the ornamental young lady leaves her city nome 
to indulge for a while in the sweets of a country life, she 
is in a fair way to study one phase of American society 
hitherto unknown to her, and to learn from it a few pro 
saic truths. Poets and romancers have made her familiar 
with the scenery of their pastorals ; and though she has 
no hope of finding the hill-sides of her new resort sprinkled 
with coy little shepherdesses, who sit with crooks and 
garlanded hats amid flocks of sleepy sheep, while love 
sick swains blow oaten pipes at their feet, yet she does 
fancy that something not altogether alien to the pretty, 
idyllic existence that had got into books will be possible 
to her there. 

After a few weeks she will realize that nowhere are the 



208 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WOOLSON 

hard, bare facts of material life so squarely faced as in our 
own country towns, where not only the beauty of poetry 
and art, but even the charms of Nature herself, find little 
or no recognition. She will learn, too, that between her 
own occupation and amusements and those of her country 
sisters there is scarcely more correspondence than if she 
bad been born on the opposite side of the globe. 

These thoughts could not but arise when my friend 
Madge came in this morning to bid us good-by. She is 
off to-day for her summer campaign ; this time neither to 
the sea-side, the Springs, nor the White Hills, but to an 
old-fashioned farm-house somewhere in Vermont. The 
town is charming and retired, she tells me ; the house a 
roomy old mansion, neat and quiet, and embowered under 
great elms ; and the family an independent farmer and 
wife, who never had a boarder before, and who consent to 
take her only as a favor. It promises a novel existence to 
this city maiden, who has spent her summer days among 
the crowds at fashionable watering-places ; and she is en 
chanted at the prospect of so complete a change. 

In a burst of friendly confidence, she declared herself 
sick of the world, this poor little nun, just turned of 
eighteen, and as fine a butterfly as one would wish to see. 
Great hotels have become to> her stupid abodes, where 
there is nothing to be done, from morning till night, but 
to dress, and eat, and drift about the piazzas. Flirting 
to which, I grieve to say, she is not averse she asserts to 
be impossible in such places, for there is not a young man 
to be met there nowadays, at least nobody worth killing. 
And so it is that she decides to turn her back upon all 
vain pomps and vanities, arid betake herself to utter se 
clusion ; though, in spite of her sighs, she intends, no 
doubt, to emerge in time for next winter's round of parties 
and balls. 



WOOLBON] A SOJOUEN IN ARCADY. 209 

You should have heard her rhapsodize so gloriously 
over the delights she is to find in this new retreat. Such 
feasting on fruits and berries and cream, such rambles 
through wood and meadow, such sound, refreshing slum 
ber at night, and such siestas at noonday ! One would 
think she was to live, like the butterflies, by sipping 
nectar from flower-cups and sleeping in the cool, rocking 
tents of the lilies. Especially was she rejoiced that she 
would not have to spend her days in dressing and adorn 
ing herself, as if there were a place where Madge would 
not do that ! Were she to be cast away on a desert island, 
she could no more keep from braiding her crimps and 
looping up her overskirts in the latest style than a bird 
could keep from singing in a wilderness. Wherever she 
goes she must take her finery and her fashions. Trains 
of vaporous muslin will float over the sanded floors of 
that old farm-house, crisp, pale silks rustle in the rush- 
bottomed chairs, and the prim front chamber be turned 
into a bewildered boudoir, with French gewgaws run 
ning riot over the tall bureau-tops, and bournous and In 
dian mantles littering the straight tables. Somewhere 
among the hay-makers will wander a jaunty hat and a 
scarlet cloak ; for it is much to be feared lest this pretty 
charmer may seek to astound the natives with her gay 
adornments, and even to get up desperate flirtations with 
the farmers' sons, if only, like Lady Clara Yere de Yere, 
" to break a country heart for pastime, ere she goes to 
town." i 

JSTow that my friend is gone, and her pleasant laugh 
and merry stories will be heard no more for so many 
weeks, I fall to dreaming over all that she has said. She 
is a winsome little body, and one would fain believe that 
she is to walk straight into the lovely Arcady that she 
has pictured for herself. It would have been cruel to 
IT. o 18* 



210 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WOOLSON 

throw even a sprinkle of cold water over her rosy expec 
tations ; though countless fears beset me when she averred 
that this worthy couple knew nothing of boarders and 
took her only out of kindness. And their farm-house 
may prove, after all, the abode of a neat-handed Phyllis 
and an obliging Corydon, who shall consult her city tastes 
and provide all things her soul can desire. 

It is to be hoped that Madge will have her feasting, at 
least; she is so weary of sherbets and ices and oyster- 
pies, and had such glowing visions of her country fare. 
She was to breakfast, she said, on fresh eggs and broiled 
chicken ; revel, at dinner, on half a dozen kinds of vege 
tables just pulled from the vines ; and sup on great bowls 
of cream and dishes of berries, cooler and sweeter than 
any she ever ate before. Stamped cakes of butter, hard 
as stone and yellow as gold, loomed vaguely in her talk ; 
there was to be bread, light and snowy and piled in wafer 
slices ; sugary cakes filled with caraway-seeds ; custards 
and jellies, and curds of new cheese. All this she was to 
eat in some breezy room, looking out under vine-sprays 
upon a blossoming garden. 

But, oh, what if Phyllis gives her fried steak for break 
fast, as no doubt Phyllis will, and not sirloin at that, and 
would no more think of broiling a chicken, nor of broil 
ing anything, than if such a mode of cooking was never 
invented? What if the eggs be sent to market; and 
omelettes unknown ; and the cream skimmed off for 
churning ; and th& bread heavy and green and odorous 
with saleratus? What if fried pork be served for her 
dinner ; and fish never seen ; and vegetables and berries 
be few, for lack of fingers to pick them ; and dried cake 
and underdone pies hold the places of honor at the rural 
teas ? What if ice is a myth ; and the butter melts with 
fervent heat ; and water simmers in the pitcher ? What 






WOOLSON] A SOJOURN IN ARCADY. 211 

if Corydon sits down to table in his shirt-sleeves, nevei 
dreaming that he thus commits the unpardonable sin ; and 
the blinds be shut close in the face of the flies, so that no 
glimpse of leaf or garden can be had ? Such things have 
been ; but it would be cruel for Madge to find them in the 
paradise of her dreams. 

What visions she conjured up of sound, unbroken sleep 
the whole night long ! for she was " to rise with the lark 
and with the lark to bed," as she told us in her pretty 
bravura, and was sure she should sleep like a top. Just 
how a top sleeps, or what precise hours the larks keep, 
she would be puzzled to tell ; but it is plain she means to 
atone thoroughly for last winter's revelries. A cricket 
on the hearth was to sing her to sleep ; and she revealed 
a dim notion that the sheets were to smell of lavender, 
like those in the inn where Ik. "Walton lodged so comfort 
ably when he went a-fishing. Madge thinks that all the 
world goes to bed by gaslight, reposes on hair mattresses 
under fleecy blankets, and has an exhaustless supply of 
fresh water pouring into marble basins. But in that best 
chamber there is a bed of live geese-feathers, the pride of 
Phyllis's heart ; and over that a layer of cotton coverlets, 
and pillows so small that she must set them on end to 
keep her head on a breathing-level. In place of her bath 
room, one pitcher of water holds the odor of a decayed 
cistern in its yellow depths; and towels are limited in 
supply, and fine as cambric handkerchiefs. She thought 
to lean on her window-sill after twilight, gazing at the 
midsummer moon and inhaling the dewy fragrance of the 
fields ; but that window goes up with a jerk, and stops 
midway where no button exists to hold it ; and a full 
canopy of cloth enshrouds its panes, and sends its fringed 
edges flapping into her eyes. Then a shade of green 
paper most unmanageable of things that be rattles 



2 '2 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WOOLSON 

under it at every wind-stir, and submits to be rolled up 
only after Madge has resolved never to succumb. . 

Vexations, indeed, abound ; but it is not her part to 
complain, nor to give orders to a hostess who does not 
suspect that there can be a change for the better in any 
part of her house. So, when the kerosene lamp which 
Madge takes to her room has gone through all its amiable 
tricks of smoking fiercely against the chimney, exhaling 
pestiferous odors, and finally succumbing altogether to a 
sudden whiff of air, she will pick her way about by star 
light, like a little owl, or will secretly purloin a tallow 
candle, and set it ablaze before the mirror where she 
braids her tresses. And this mirror must be reckoned 
among her troubles, for it is fixed to the wall so that it 
cannot be swung, and deigns to reveal only the tops of 
her crimps to her upturned gaze. 

Moreover, Madge likes to sleep in the morning as long 
as she pleases, and is wont to indulge in delicious naps 
after the rest of her city, household are astir. This repre 
hensible habit will find no countenance in the new abode. 
No one calls her, to be sure ; but, at what seems the mid 
dle of the night, robins begin noisy chatterings in the 
great elms, so that she is wide awake before dawn. A 
little later, and all the chickens, ducks, and geese gather 
for a parade under her window and clamor for their 
rations. Stealing up from the kitchen comes a clatter of 
pots and pans, dread fore warnings of breakfast at hand ; 
and the adjoining yard resounds with the whetting of 
Corydon's scythes. Sound sleeping in Arcady after day 
break Madge finds to be an impossible thing. 

But nothing deprives her of her delightful rambles ; 
though she is aware that strolling about is not a favorite 
pastime in that region, and that scaling stone walls is 
regarded as highly unbecoming in a young lady. She 



WOOLSON] A SOJOURN IN ARCADY. 213 

discovers, also, that her raptures over the beauty of 
whiteweed, clover, and potato-blossoms are looked upon 
as evidences of a disordered mind ; but she ties them into 
bouquets for the tea-table, nevertheless, and is fond of ar 
ranging them in her hair. Corydon is too kind to tell her 
that she treads down his tall grass most wofully when 
she hunts for strawberries, and that he would rather have 
a hail-storm lodge in his wheat than to see her wandering 
through it ; so she roams everywhere at will. All other 
exercise is denied her ; for no one has any time to spend 
in driving about for sight-seeing, and as for riding horse 
back, there is not a lady's saddle to be found in the town. 

Madge considers the best parlor a dark and gloomy 
cave ; and she makes a sitting-room of the steps of the 
piazza, in the shade of the lilac-trees, much to the surprise 
of Phyllis, who never sits down outside the four walls of 
her domain. As the little gypsy leans her head back 
against the clapboards of the house, and looks up into 
the great horse-chestnut before her, she sees, in her mind's 
eye, a light hammock swinging within the shade and the 
coolness, and she fancies how entrancing it would be to 
lie there and read her novel, with the sweet breeze stirring 
the leaves. 

But she has an instinctive sense that it would not do to 
mention this dream, and that such indolence with malice 
prepense would meet with little favor here. For the first 
time in her life she feels that she is an incongruity amid 
her surroundings. It seems, somehow, to be a crime for 
her to have journeyed hither only to be idle and to enjoy 
herself. She does imagine, however, that the young hay 
maker who comes up to dinner with Corydon, and who 
blushes so violently when she passes him the butter, must 
be wonder-struck and delighted by her delicate beaut ' 
and strange, rich attire. And that he surely ought to \y 



214 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WOOLSON 

When he finds himself served by such a wondrous little 
goddess, with speech more silvery and courteous than he 
ever heard before, he should feel tempted to go down on 
his knees before her, mentally at least, and be willing to 
prove himself her abject slave. Her crimped tresses 
should be threads of spun gold to his dazed vision, her 
eyes soft, luminous stars, her Greek brow and chin for 
Madge has a Greek brow and chin should set him to 
thinking of that divine stranger whom ^Eneas and his 
comrade met in the woods beyond Carthage. 

But, alas ! the young haymaker never read the poets, 
ancient or modern ; and he entertains no chivalric non 
sense about woman. He regards her as a wise provision 
of nature for getting dinners ready when men are hungry 
and for taking care of the house when they are gone ; and, 
provided she can put a meal of victuals upon the table in 
good shape when the clock strikes twelve, do a smart 
churning before breakfast, have the family wash out on 
the line in advance of her neighbors, knit blue woollen 
stockings in the evening without a waste of kerosene, and 
spend no time in gadding or gossiping, he has nothing to 
say against her, anyhow. But our Madge does not know 
how to do anything like this; she is, at best, but one of 
the idle lilies that neither toil nor spin. And such beings, 
though they may embarrass him with their finery and 
manners, appear to him useless drones. It is to be feared 
that he even calls her a lazy lounger, good for nothing 
but to spend money and to make folks wait upon her. 
So, when she crosses the field in her white morning-dress, 
with its fluted ruffles and bright, flying sash-ends, it is 
well that she does not hear what the young haymaker is 
saving, as he stands there wiping his scythe with grass, 
for it is not at all gallant or complimentary. 

Madge is on her way to the wood when she passes the 



WOOLSON] A SOJOURN IN ARCADY. 215 

field ; and she means to find there a pleasant spot for 
reading the novel she has under her arm. I see her 
making off toward the hill in the hot sun, and even hear 
the pale, silvery lichens crunch beneath her footsteps. 
Startled sheep bound away before the apparition of this 
gorgeous little fairy, as she heaves into sight over the 
pasture-hill ; and long branches bend and rustle behind 
her, as she disappears within the wood, into the realm of 
ferns and cool mosses. There are snakes sometimes in 
those woods ; their glassy eyes watch her now from under 
damp leaves, and her skirt-hem almost brushes against 
their forked tongues as she moves along. Overhead, 
bead-like eyes look down upon her, in hushed observance, 
from silent boughs. She seats herself within the spread 
ing roots of an old tree, and thinks she has at last realized 
one of her dreams. Leaf-shadows shimmer over the pages 
that she spreads before her ; and the trickle of the brook 
near by sounds infinitely sweet. Through half-shut eyes 
she takes in the full beauty of the scene, and then turns to 
her book, and is lost to all but the adventures of Angelina 
and her noble knight. The inhabitants of the wood dare 
to breathe and to move about as before. Birds twitter 
faintly from the boughs ; a couple of daddy-long-legs start 
out on a race around the broad brim of her Leghorn hat ; 
and sundry strange bugs go prospecting over the folds of 
her flowing skirt. Soon a grasshopper climbs to her 
shoulder, to wink his long horns under her very eyes; 
and a score of mosquitoes begin their mazy dance before 
her face. A little jewelled hand waves them away, and 
finally plucks a fern-leaf to beat about in self-defence. 

Just then Madge starts to hear a great rustling and 
trampling behind her, and the near breathing of some 
dreadful creature whom she does not stop to see. Had 
she turned, she would have beheld only a pair of soft, 



216 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

liquid eyes peering through the bushes, such eyes as Juno 
herself was said to have, and a pair of budding horns 
amid the leaves ; for a young heifer has come upon the 
scene of action, and is wondering who this visitor may be. 
But Madge does chance to discern the snake in his covert ; 
and fearful is the smothered cry and sudden the plunges 
with which she departs headlong from her paradise. She 
snatches the Leghorn hat by its ribbon, thereby finishing 
the race of the daddy-long-legs at the second heat, and 
bringing the explorations of insect scouting-parties to an 
untimely end. The birds, the heifer, the bugs, the mos 
quitoes, the snakes, all pause to stare once more as she 
departs ; and once more the scarlet-cloaked fairy is seen 
upon the top of the pasture-hill. Eough scrambling it 
has proved for the French slippers ; their rosettes are 
filled with sticks and grasses ; and the train of vaporous 
muslin has caught on a tree-stump, and its hem is rent in 
twain. Madge will never again venture within that wood ; 
it is to her, ever after, the fearsome home of snakes and 
goblins ; an enchanted forest, haunted by shapes upon 
which she dares not look. 

Will Madge tell us of these her troubles in Arcady when 
she returns in the fall, and we are so glad to look once 
more into her face and to hear the cheery carol of her 
greeting ? Whatever her sorrows may be, and they shall 
be heard with decorous patience, it will delight us to 
behold that in spite of them all she has grown to be a full- 
faced, nut-brown maid, with a fresh sparkle in her eyes 
and a stronger love of home in her heart. 



LOWELL] SUNSHINE AND HOPE. 217 



SUNSHINE AND HOPE. 

The brightness and the shadow of life, the hopes that beacon us 
onward with their rainbowed light, and the griefs that cloud the path 
way of our years, have alike given inspiration to the poet, whose song 
now sparkles with gayety, now touches our hearts with its affecting 
pathos. It is our present purpose to group some of the light-hearted 
and hopeful strains, which we may follow, farther on, with a sim 
ilar cluster of songs of the shadow-land. The opening stanzas of 
Lowell's " Ode to Happiness" will serve as a fitting introduction to 
our theme. 

SPIRIT, that rarely comest now, 

And only to contrast my gloom, 

Like rainbow-feathered birds that bloom 
A moment on some autumn bough 
That, with the spurn of their farewell, 
Sheds its last leaves, thou once didst dwell 

With me year-long, and make intense 
To boyhood's wisely vacant days 
Their fleet but all-sufficing grace 

Of trustful inexperience 

While soul could still transfigure sense, 
And thrill, as with love's first caress 
At life's mere unexpectedness. 
Days when my blood would leap and run, 

As full of sunshine as a breeze, 

Or spray tossed up by summer seas 
That doubts if it be sea or sun ; 
Days that flew swiftly, like the band 

That played in Grecian games at strife 
And passed from eager hand to hand 

The onward-dancing torch of life. 
IT. -K 19 



218 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LOWELL 

Wing-footed ! thou abid'st with him 
Who asks it not ; but he who hath 
Watched o'er the waves thy waning path 
Shall nevermore behold returning 
Thy high-heaped canvas shoreward yearning ! 
Thou first reveal'st to us thy face 
Turned o'er the shoulder's parting grace, 

A moment glimpsed, then seen no more, 
Thou whose swift footsteps we can trace 
Away from every mortal door. 

Nymph of the unreturning feet, 

How may I win thee back ? But no, 

I do thee wrong to call thee so ; 
'Tis I am changed, not thou art fleet : 
The man thy presence feels again, 
Not in the blood, but in the brain, 
Spirit, that lov'st the upper air, 
Serene and passionless and rare, 
Such as on mountain-heights we find 
And wide-viewed uplands of the mind, 
Or such as scorns to coil and sing 
Eound any but the eagle's wing 

Of souls that with long upward beat 

Have won an undisturbed retreat, 
Where, poised like winged victories, 
They mirror in relentless eyes 

The life broad-basking 'neath their feet,- - 
Man ever with his Now at strife, 

Pained with first gasps of earthly air, 

Then praying Death the last to spare, 
Still fearful of the ampler life. 

Memory is an essential element of the happiness of mature lite, as 
hope is of our youthful joys, and we look back to boyhood with eyes 



STEDMAN] SUNSHINE AND HOPE. 219 

that lose signt of its griefs and regret its vanished pleasures. This 
feeling has been charmingly expressed by Washington Allston, the 
artist-poet. 

Ah ! then how sweetly closed those crowded days, 
The minutes parting one by one like rays 

That fade upon a summer's eve ! 
But oh ! what charm, or magic numbers, 
Can give me back the gentle slumbers 

Those weary, happy days did leave, 
When by my bed I saw my mother kneel, 

And with her blessing took her nightly kiss ? 

Whatever Time destroys, he cannot this: 
E'en now that nameless kiss I feel. 



The sunshine of the outer world beautifully illustrates the sunshine 
of the heart in the " Betrothed Anew" of Edmund Clarence Stedman. 

The sunlight fills the trembling air, 
And balmy days their guerdons bring ; 

The Earth again is young and fair, 
And amorous with musky spring. 

The golden nurslings of the May 

In splendor strew the spangled green, 

And hues of tender beauty play, 
Entangled where the willows lean. 

Mark how the rippled currents flow ; 

What lustres on the meadows lie ! 
And, hark ! the songsters come and go, 

And trill between the earth and sky. 

Who told us that the years had fled, 
Or borne afar our blissful youth ? 



220 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOFFMAN 

Such joys are all about us spread, 
We know the whisper was not truth. 

The birds that break from grass and grove 

Sing every carol that they sung 
When first our veins were rich with love 

And May her mantle round us flung. 

O fresh-lit dawn ! immortal life ! 

Earth's betrothal, sweet and true, 
With whose delights our souls are rife, 

And aye their vernal vows renew ! 

Then, darling, walk with me this morn ; 

Let your brown tresses drink its sheen ; 
These violets, within them worn, 

Of floral fays shall make you queen. 

What though there comes a time of pain 
When autumn winds forebode decay ? 

The days of love are born again ; 
That fabled time is far away ! 

And never seemed the land so fair 

As now, nor birds such notes to sing, 
Since first within your shining hair 

1 wove the blossoms of the spring. 



The flowing gayety of the following song must serve as excuse for 
its praise of the wine-cup, happily no longer one of the essentials of 
joyous occasions. 

Sparkling and bright in liquid light 
Does the wine our goblets gleam in, 



DALLAS] SUNSHINE AND HOPE. 221 

With hue as red as the rosy bed 

Which a bee would choose to dream in. 
Then fill to-night, with hearts as light, 

To loves as gay and fleeting 
As bubbles that swim on the beaker's brim 
And break on the lips while meeting. 

Oh, if Mirth might arrest the flight 

Of Time through Life's dominions, 
We here awhile would now beguile 
The graybeard of his pinions, 

To drink to-night, with hearts as light, 

To loves as gay and fleeting 
As bubbles that swim on the beaker's brim 
And break on the lips while meeting. 

But since Delight can't tempt the wight, 

Nor fond Eegret delay him, 
Nor Love himself can hold the elf, 
Nor sober Friendship stay him, 

We'll drink to-night, with hearts as light, 

To loves as gay and fleeting 
As bubbles that swim on the beaker's brim 
And break on the lips while meeting. 

CHARLES FENNO HOFFMAN. 

We may offer as antidote to the subtle poison of the preceding strain 
" The Toast" of Mary Kyle Dallas. 

Pop ! went the gay cork flying, 

Sparkled the gay champagne ; 
By the light of a day that was dying 

He filled up their goblets again. 
" Let the last, best toast be ' Woman, 

Woman, dear woman !' " said he : 
n 19* 



222 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HALPINB 

" Empty your glass, my darling, 

When you drink to your sex with me." 

But she caught his strong brown fingers, 

And held them tight as in fear, 
And through the gathering twilight 

Her voice fell on his ear : 
" Nay, ere you drink, I implore you, 

By all that you hold divine, 
Pledge a woman in tear-drops 

Rather by far than in wine ! 

" By the woes of the drunkard's mother, 

By his children who beg for bread, 
By the fate of her whose beloved one 

Looks on the wine when 'tis red, 
By the kisses changed to curses, 

By the tears more bitter than brine, 
By many a fond heart broken, 

Pledge no woman in wine." 

From the joy of sunshine, hope, love, and wine, we come to that of 
blissful laziness, under skies without a cloud, and with a heart empty 
of care, other than that the sun may always shine. The utter idleness 
of the Italian dolce far niente is thus neatly paraphrased by Charles 
G-. Halpine, the "Miles O'Reilly" of war times. 

My friend, my chum, my trusty crony, 
We were designed, it seems to me, 

To be two happy lazzaroni, 

On sunshine fed and macaroni, 
Far off by some Sicilian sea. 

From dawn to eve in the happy land 
No duty on us but to lie 



ANONYMOUS] SUNSHINE AND HOPE. 223 

Straw-hatted on the shining sand, 
With bronzing chest and arm and hand, 
Beneath the blue Italian sky. 

There, with the mountains idly glassing 

Their purple splendors in the sea, 
To watch the white-winged vessels passing 
(Fortunes for busier fools amassing), 
This were a heaven to you and me ; 

Our meerschaums coloring cloudy brown, 
Two young girls coloring with a blush, 
The blue waves with a silver crown, 
The mountain-shadows dropping down, 
And all the air in perfect hush : 

Thus should we lie in the happy land, 

Nor fame, nor power, nor fortune miss, 
Straw-hatted on the shining sand, 
With bronzing chest and arm and hand, 
Two loafers couched in perfect bliss. 

Halpine's picture of the dolce far niente of the body may be fitly 
followed by a peculiarly original poetic rendering of the " sweet do- 
nothing" of the soul, by an unknown writer. 

My soul lies out like a basking hound, 

A hound that dreams and dozes ; 

Along my life my length I lay, 

I fill to-morrow and yesterday, 

I am warm with the suns that have long since set, 

I am warm with the summers that are not yet, 

And like one that dreams and dozes, 

Softly afloat on a sunny sea, 

Two worlds are whispering over me, 



224 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ANONYMOUS 

And there blows a wind of roses 

From the backward shore to the shore before, 

From the shore before to the backward shore, 

And, like two clouds that meet and pour 

Each through each, till core in core 

A single self reposes, 

The nevermore and evermore 

Above me mingles and closes ; 

As my soul lies out like a basking hound, 

And wherever it lies seems happy ground, 

And when, awakened by some sweet sound, 

A dreamy eye uncloses, 

I see a blooming world around, 

And lie amid primroses, 

Years of sweet primroses, 

Springs to be, and springs for me, 

Of distant dim primroses. 

With the following verses from another anonymous author, to whom 
the sunshine of life is a more vital and persistent element than its 
shadow, we close this poetic symposium. 

SUNSHINE. 

Our griefs are soon forgot ; 
They were, and they are not, 
And the happy-hearted world little cares for vanished 

pains ; 

But we fill the cup of pleasure 
To so deep and brimming measure 
That the subtle overflowing spirit all our being stains. 

E'en perils dark and frightful 
Yield memories delightful, 

From the granite cliffs of trouble golden grains of pleas 
ure won : 



ANONYMOUS] SUNSHINE AND HOPE. 225 

Through life's midnight we grope 
Unto many a starry hope, 

And the deepest, drearest shadow hides the glad beams 
of the sun. 

In passionate ebb and flow 
The sullen waves of woe 
Gushing on us in a torrent sweep our warm hearts bare 

of love, 

But on the deepest tide 
The ark of hope will ride, 

And an earth green through the deluge greets the white 
wings of our dove. 

With tender lips, relief 
Smiles down the pang of grief; 
On a mist of falling tear-drops is our bow of promise 

built ; 

And the cruel hand of death 
Unto Eden openeth, 
Heaven drinks the rare rich wine of life from Earth's 

rent goblet spilt. 
* 

Lapt in a sunny dream 
We float adown life's stream, 
Though the chilling winter winds blow across a dismal 

wold ; 

Summer fancies swim and dart 
Through the sunshine of the heart, 

While the world without us shivers in the bleak December 
cold. 



226 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KENNEDY 

A SUCCESSFUL RUSE. 

JOHN P. KENNEDY. 

[Among the novels of the last generation those of John Pendleton 
Kennedy occupied an important place in public favor, from the liveli 
ness of their descriptions and their historical accuracy. Of these we 
may name "Swallow Barn," " Rob of the Bowl," and " Horse Shoe 
Robinson," from the latter of which we make our extract. The 
author was born in Baltimore, in 1795. He served in the war of 1812, 
and was afterwards a member of the Maryland legislature, and of the 
United States House of Representatives. He was made Secretary of 
the Navy in 1852, and died in August, 1870.] 

ON the morning that succeeded the night in which 
Horse Shoe Eobinson arrived at Musgrove's, the stout 
and honest sergeant might have been seen, about eight 
o'clock, leaving the main road from Ninety-Six at the 
point where that leading to David Ramsay's separated 
from it, and cautiously urging his way into the deep forest 
by the more private path into which he had entered. The 
knowledge that Innis was encamped along the Ennoree, 
within a short distance of the mill, had compelled him to 
make an extensive circuit to reach Ramsay's dwelling, 
whither he was now bent ; and he had experienced con 
siderable delay in his morning journey, by finding him 
self frequently in the neighborhood of small foraging- 
parties of Tories, whose motions he was obliged to watch 
for fear of an encounter. He had once already been com 
pelled to use his horse's heels in what he called "fair 
flight," and once to ensconce himself a full half-hour under 
cover of the thicket afforded him by a swamp. He now, 
therefore, according to his own phrase, "dived into the 
little road that scrambled down through the woods 
towards Ramsay's, with all his eyes about him, looking 



KENNEDY] A SUCCESSFUL RUSE. 227 

out as sharply as a fox on a foggy morning;" and, with 
this circumspection, he was not long in arriving within 
view of Eamsay's house. Like a practised soldier, whom 
frequent frays have taught wisdom, he resolved to recon 
noitre before he advanced upon a post that might be in pos 
session of an enemy. He therefore dismounted, fastened 
his horse in a fence-corner, where a field of corn concealed 
him from notice, and then stealthily crept forward until 
he came immediately behind one of the out-houses. 

The barking of a house-dog brought out a negro boy, 
to whom Eobinson instantly addressed the query, 

" Is your master at home ?" 

" No, sir. He's got his horse, and gone off more than 
an hour ago." 

" Where is your mistress ?" 

" Shelling beans, sir." 

" I didn't ask you," said the sergeant, " what she ia 
doing, but where she is." 

" In course, she is in the house, sir," replied the negro, 
with a grin. 

" Any strangers there ?" 

" There was plenty on 'em a little while ago, but they've 
been gone a good bit." 

Robinson, having thus satisfied himself as to the safety 
of his visit, directed the boy to take his horse and lead 
him up to the door. He then entered the dwelling. 

" Mistress Ramsay," said he, walking up to the dame, who 
was occupied at a table, with a large trencher before her, 
in which she was plying that household thrift which the 
negro described, " luck to you, ma'am, and all your house ! 
I hope you haven't none of these clinking and clattering 
bullies about you, that are as thick over this country as 
the frogs in the kneading-troughs, that they tell of." 

" Good lack, Mr. Horse Shoe Robinson !" exclaimed the 



,38 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KENNEDY 

matron, offering the sergeant her hand. "What has 
brought you here? What news? Who are with you? 
For patience' sake, tell me !" 

" I am alone," said Eobinson, " and a little wettish, 
mistress," he added, as he took off his hat and shook the 
water from it ; " it has just sot up a rain, and looks as if 
it was going to give us enough on't. You don't mind 
doing a little dinner- work of a Sunday, I see : shelling of 
beans, I s'pose, is tantamount to dragging a sheep out of 
a pond, as the preachers allow on the Sabbath, ha, ha ! 
Where's Davy ?" 

"He's gone over to the meeting-house on Ennoree, 
hoping to hear something of the army at Camden. Per 
haps you can tell us the news from that quarter?" 

" Faith, that's a mistake, Mistress Eamsay. Though I 
don't doubt that they are hard upon the scratches by this 
time. But at this present speaking I command the flying 
artillery. We have but one man in the corps, and that's 
myself; and all the guns we have got is this piece of ord 
nance that hangs in this old belt by my side" (pointing 
to his sword), " and that I captured from the enemy at 
Blackstock's. I was hoping I mought find John Ramsay 
at home : I have need of him as a recruit." 

" Ah, Mr. Robinson, John has a heavy life of it over 
there with Sumter. The boy is often without his nat 
ural rest or a meal's victuals ; and the general thinks so 
much of him that he can't spare him to come home. I 
haven't the heart to complain, as long as John's service is 
of any use, but it does seem, Mr. Eobinson, like needless 
tempting of the mercies of Providence. We thought that 
he might have been here to-day ; yet I am glad he didn't 
come, for he would have been certain to get into trouble. 
Who should come in this morning, just after my husband 
bad cleverly got away on his horse, but a young cock-a- 



KENNEDY] A SUCCESSFUL RUSE. 229 

whoop ensign that belongs to Ninety-Six, and four great 
Scotchmen with him, all in red coats ; they had been out 
thieving, I warrant, and were now going home again. 
And who but they ! Here they were, swaggering all 
about my house, and calling for this and calling for that, 
as if they owned the fee-simple of everything on the 
plantation. And it made my blood rise, Mr. Horse Shoe, 
to see them run out in the yard and catch up my chickens 
and ducks and kill as many as they could string about 
them, and I not daring to say a word : though I did give 
them a piece of my mind, too." 

"Who is at home with you?" inquired the sergeant, 
eagerly. 

" Nobody but my youngest boy, Andrew," answered the 
dame. " And then the filthy toping rioters " she con 
tinued, exalting her voice. 

" What arms have you in the house ?" asked Robinson, 
without heeding the dame's rising anger. 

" We have a rifle, and a horseman's pistol that belongs 
to John. They must call for drink, too, and turn my 
house, of a Sunday morning, into a tavern " 

"They took the route towards Ninety-Six, you said, 
Mistress Ramsay ?" 

" Yes, they went straight forward upon the road. But, 
look you, Mr. Horse Shoe, you're not thinking of going 
after them ?" 

"Isn't there an old field, about a mile from this, on 
that road?" inquired the sergeant, still intent upon his 
own thoughts. 

" There is," replied the dame,: " with the old school 
house upon it." 

" A lop-sided, rickety log cabin in the middle of the field. 
Am I right, good woman ?" 

" Yes." 
IT 20 



230 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KENNED? 

" And nobody lives in it ? It has no door to it ?" 

" There ha'n't been anybody in it these seven years." 

" I know the place very well," said the sergeant, thought 
fully : " there is woods just on this side of it." 

" That's true," replied the dame. " But what is it you 
are thinking about, Mr. Eobinson ?" 

"How long before this rain began was it that they 
quitted this house ?" 

" Not above fifteen minutes." 

" Mistress Bamsay, bring me the rifle and pistol, both, 
and the powder-horn and bullets." 

"As you say, Mr. Horse Shoe," answered the dame, as 
she turned round to leave the room; "but I am sure I 
can't suspicion what you mean to do." 

In a few moments the woman returned with the weap 
ons, and gave them to the sergeant. 

" Where is Andy ?" asked Horse Shoe. 

The hostess went to the door and called her son ; and 
almost immediately afterwards a sturdy boy, of about 
twelve or fourteen years of age, entered the apartment, 
his clothes dripping with rain. He modestly and shyly 
seated himself on a chair near the door, with his soaked 
hat flapping down over a face full of freckles, and not less 
rife with the expression of an open, dauntless hardihood 
of character. 

" How would you like a scrummage, Andy, with them 
Scotchmen that stole your mother's chickens this morn- 
tng ?" asked Horse Shoe. 

t " I'm agreed," replied the boy, " if you will tell me what 
to do." 

" You are not going to take the boy out on any of your 
desperate projects, Mr. Horse Shoe?" said the mother, 
with the tears starting instantly into her eyes. "You 
wouldn't take such a child as that into danger!" 



KENNEDY] A SUCCESSFUL RUSE. 231 

"Bless your soul, Mistress Kamsay, there aren't no 
danger about it ! Don't take on so. It's a thing that is 
either done at a blow, or not done ; and there's an end 
of it. I want the lad only to bring home the prisoners- 
for me, after I have took them." 

" Ah, Mr. Robinson, I have one son already in these 
wars, God protect him ! and you men don't know how a 
mother's heart yearns for her children in these times. I 
cannot give another," she added, as she threw her arms 
over the shoulders 'of the youth and drew him to her 
bosom. 

" Oh, it ain't nothing," said Andrew, in a sprightly tone. 
" It's only snapping of a pistol, mother. Pooh ! If I'm 
not afraid, you oughtn't to be." 

" I give you my honor, Mistress Ramsay," said Robin 
son, "that I will bring or send your son safe back in one 
hour, and that he shan't be put in any sort of danger 
whatsomedever. Come, that's a good woman !" 

" You are not deceiving me, Mr. Robinson ?" asked the 
matron, wiping away a tear. " You wouldn't mock the 
sufferings of a weak woman in such a thing as this ?" 

" On the honesty of a sodger, ma'am," replied Horse 
Shoe, " the lad shall be in no danger, as I said before, 
whatsomedever." 

" Then I will say no more," answered the mother. 
" But, Andy, my child, be sure to let Mr. Robinson keep 
before you." 

Horse Shoe now loaded the fire-arms, and, having slung 
the pouch across his body, he put the pistol into the hands 
of the boy ; then, shouldering his rifle, he and his young 
ally left the room. Even on this occasion, serious as it 
might be deemed, the sergeant did not depart without 
giving some manifestation of that light-heartedness which 
110 difficulties ever seemed to have the power to conquer. 



232 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KENNEDY 

He thrust his head back into the room, after he had 
crossed the threshold, and said, with an encouraging 
laugh, " Andy and me will teach them, Mistress Ramsay, 
Pat's point of war : we will surround the ragamuffins." 

" Now, Andy, my lad," said Horse Shoe, after he had 
mounted Captain Peter, "you must get up behind me. 
Turn the lock of your pistol down," he continued, as tho 
boy sprang upon the horse's rump, " and cover it with tho 
flap of your jacket, to keep the rain off. It won't do to 
hang fire at such a time as this." 

The lad did as he was directed, and Horse Shoe, having 
secured his rifle in the same way, put his horse up to a 
gallop and took the road in the direction that had been 
pursued by the soldiers. 

As soon as our adventurers had gained a wood, at the 
distance of about half a mile, the sergeant relaxed his 
speed and advanced at a pace a little above. a walk. 

" Andy," he said, " we have got rather a ticklish sort of 
a job before us : so I must give you your lesson, which 
you will understand better by knowing something of my 
plan. As soon as your mother told me that these thiev 
ing villains had left her house about fifteen minutes before 
the rain came on, and that they had gone along upon 
this road, I remembered the old field up hero and the little 
log hut in the middle of it ; and it was natural to suppose 
that they had just got about near that hut when this rain 
came up ; and then it was the most supposable case in the 
world that they would naturally go into it, as the dryest 
place they could find. So now you see it's my calculation 
that the whole batch is there at this very point of time. 
We will go slowly along until we get to the other end of 
this wood, in sight of the old field ; and then, if there is 
no one on the lookout, we will open our first trench : you 
know what that means, Andy ?" 



KENNEDY] A SUCCESSFUL RUSE. 233 

" It means, I s'pose, that we'll go right smack at them," 
replied Andrew. 

" Pretty exactly," said the sergeant. " But listen to 
me. Just at the edge of the woods you will have to get 
down and put yourself behind a tree. I'll ride forward, 
as if I had a whole troop at my heels ; and if I catch 
them, as I expect, they will have a little fire kindled, and, 
as likely as not, they'll be cooking some of your mother's 
fowls." 

" Yes, I understand," said the boy, eagerly. 

"No, you don't," replied Horse Shoe; "but you will 
when you hear what I am going to say. If I get at them 
onawares they'll be mighty apt to think they are sur 
rounded, and will bellow like fine fellows for quarters. 
And thereupon, Andy, I'll cry out, 'Stand fast!' as if I 
was speaking to my own men ; and when you hear that, 
you must come up full tilt, because it will be a signal to 
you that the enemy has surrendered. Then it will be 
your business to run into the house and bring out the 
muskets as quick as a rat runs through a kitchen ; and 
when you have done that, why, all's done. But if you 
should hear any popping of fire-arms, that is, more than 
one shot, which I may chance to let off, do you take that 
for a bad sign, and get away as fast as you can heel it. 
You comprehend ?" 

" Oh, yes," replied the lad, " and I'll do what you want, 
and more too, maybe, Mr, Eobinson." 

" Captain Robinson, remember, Andy : you must call rne 
captain, in the hearing of these Scotsmen." 

" I'll not forget that, neither," answered Andrew. 

By the time that these instructions were fully impressed 

upon the boy, our adventurous forlorn hope, as it may 

fitly be called, had arrived at the place which Horse Shoe 

had designated for the commencement of active operations. 

IT 20* 



234 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

They bad a olear view of the old field ; and it afforded 
them a strong assurance that the enemy was exactly 

Where they \visl.r.l |,,ln to IM-. w I . e | . ih-'V < 1 1 -ro\ .- IV 1 Bltioko 

.itf fVom tin Thin. n. -\ oi tlio hovel. Andrew was soon 

|... led hehmd :i I iv. and I!., I. ins,, n only tarried a moment 

to make the boy repeat the signals agreed on, in order to 
ascertain that he had them correctly in his memory. 
g satisfied from this experiment that the intelligence 
of bis young companion might be depended upon, he 
galloped across the intervening space, and in a few seconds 
abruptly reined up his steed in the very door-way of the 
I, ML The pariv within \\usgatheredaroundafireatthe 
i MI i her end; and in the corner near the door were four 
muskets thrown together against the wall. To spring 
from bis saddle and thrust himself one pace inside of the 
door was a movement which the sergeant executed in an 
instant, shouting at the same time, 
" Halt t File off right and left to both sides of the house, 

:ni<l unit orders. I demand the surrender of nil here." 

he said, as be planted himself between the party and their 
weapons. " I will shoot down the first man who budges a 
foot." 

" Leap to your arms'" eried the \ oun- nllirrr who com- 

manded the little party inside of the house. " Why do 
yon stand?" 

" I don't want to do you or your men any harm, youmr 
num." said Kobinson, as be brought his rifle to a level, 
14 but, by my father's son, I will not leave one of you to 

lu- put upon : , . . . :, r mil. if you raise n hand at \\n- 

moment !" 
Both parties now stood for a brief space eying each 

other, in n funrful BUSpense .luriinr which there was 

an expression of doubt and irresolution visible on the 

countenanr, ,,f th.- soldiers as they surveyed the hroad 



A SUCCESSFUL RUSE. 235 

proponioi3 and met the stern glance of the sergeant; 
whilst tbo delay, also, began to raise an apprehension in 
the mind of Robinson that his stratagem would be dis 
covered. 

"Shall I let loose upon them, captain?" said Andrew 
Hamsay, now appearing, most unexpectedly to Robinson, 
at the door of the hut. " Come on, boys 1" he shouted, as 
he turned his face towards the field. 

"Keep them outside of the door. Stand fast!" cried 
the doughty sergeant, with admirable promptitude, in the 
new and sudden posture of his affairs caused by this op 
portune appearance of the boy. " Sir, you see that it's 
not worth while fighting five to one ; and I should be 
sorry to be the death of any of your brave fellows : so 
take my advice, and surrender to the Continental Congress 
and this scrap of its army which I command." 

During this appeal the sergeant was ably seconded by 
the lad outside, who was calling out first on one name and 
then on another, as if in the presence of a troop. The 
device succeeded, and the officer within, believing the 
forbearance of Robinson to be real, at length said, 

" Lower your rifle, sir. In the presence of a superior 
force, taken by surprise and without arms, it is my duty 
to save bloodshed. With the promise of fair usage and 
the rights of prisoners of war, I surrender this little for- 
aging-party under my command." 

" I'll make the terms agreeable," replied the sergeant. 
" Never doubt me, sir. Right-hand file, advance, and re 
ceive the arms of the prisoners !" 

" I'm here, captain," said Andrew, in a conceited tone, 
as if it were a mere occasion of merriment ; and the lad 
quickly entered the house and secured the weapons, re 
treating with them some paces from the door. 

" Now, sir," said Horse Shoe to the ensign, " your sword, 



236 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KENNEDY 

and whatever else you mought have about you of the 
ammunitions of war!" 

The officer delivered up his sword and a pair of pocket- 
pistols. 

As Horse Shoe received these tokens of victory, ho 
asked, with a lambent smile, and what he intended to be 
an elegant and condescending composure, "Your name? 
if I mought take the freedom." 

" Ensign St. Jermyn, of his majesty's seventy-first regi 
ment of light infantry." 

"Ensign, your sarvent," added Horse Shoe, still pre 
serving this unusual exhibition of politeness. " You have 
defended your post like an old sodger, although you ha'n't 
much beard on your chin ; but, seeing you have given up, 
you shall be treated like a man who has done his duty. 
You will walk out now, and form yourselves in line at the 
door. I'll engage my men shall do you no harm: they 
are of a marciful breed." 

When the little squad of prisoners submitted to this 
command, and came to the door, they were stricken with 
equal astonishment and mortification to find, in place of 
the detachment of cavalry which they expected to see, 
nothing but a man, a boy, and a horse. Their first emo 
tions were expressed in curses, which were even succeeded 
by laughter from one or two of the number. There seemed 
to be a disposition, on the part of some, to resist the au 
thority that now controlled them, and sundry glances 
were exchanged which indicated a purpose to turn upon 
their captors. The sergeant no sooner perceived this than 
he halted, raised his rifle to his breast, and at the same 
instant gave Andrew Ramsay an order to retire a few 
paces and to fire one of the captured pieces at the first 
man who opened his lips. 

" By my hand," he said, " if I find any trouble in taking 



KENNEDY] A SUCCESSFUL RUSE. ^37 

you, all five, safe away from this here house, I will thin 
your numbers with your own muskets! And that's as 
good as if I had sworn to it." 

" You have my word, sir," said the ensign. " Lead on." 

" By your leave, my pretty gentleman, you will lead, 
and I'll follow," replied Horse Shoe. " It may be a new 
piece of drill to you, but the custom is to give the prisoners 
the post of honor." 

" As you please, sir," answered the ensign. " Where do 
you take us to ?" 

" You will march back by the road you came," said the 
sergeant. 

Finding the conqueror determined to execute summary 
martial law upon the first who should mutiny, the prison 
ers submitted, and marched in double file from the hut 
back towards Eamsay's, Horse Shoe, with Captain Peter's 
bridle dangling over his arm, and his gallant young auxil 
iary, Andrew, laden with double the burden of Eobinsoi, 
Crusoe (having all the fire-arms packed upon his shoul 
ders), bringing up the rear. In this order victors and 
vanquished returned to David Eamsay's. 

" Well, I have brought you your ducks and chickens 
back, mistress," said the sergeant, as he halted the prison 
ers at the door, " and, what's more, I have brought home 
a young sodger that's worth his weight in gold." 

" Heaven bless my child ! my boy, my brave boy !" 
cried the mother, seizing the lad in her arms, and unheed 
ing anything else in the present perturbation of her feel 
ings. "I feared ill would come of it; but Heaven has 
preserved him. Did he behave handsomely, Mr. Eobinson ? 
But I am sure he did." 

" A little more venturesome, ma'am, than I wanted him 
to be," replied Horse Shoe. " But he did excellent sarvice. 
These are his prisoners, Mistress Eamsay : I should never 



238 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HARRIS 

have got them if it hadn't been for Andy. In these drum 
ming and fifing times the babies suck in quarrel with their 
mothers' milk. Show me another boy in America that's 
made more prisoners than there was men to fight them 
with, that's all !" 



THE MOON IN THE MILL-POND. 

JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS. 

[The " Uncle Remus" sketches of Joel C. Harris opened up a new 
field in American literature, which has been thoroughly worked by its 
first discoverer. Until these sketches were published, no idea was en 
tertained of the rich stores of folk-lore among the negroes of the South. 
These stories undoubtedly owe something to their editor, and Uncle 
Remus himself is a unique creation. Yet no one questions that they 
are in the main due to the negro imagination. And it is of interest, 
in this connection, to find that the fox of European folk-lore is here 
replaced by Brother Rabbit, who acts as the cunning mischief-maker 
throughout this whole range of fable-literature.] 

ONE night when the little boy made his usual visit to 
Uncle Remus, he found the old man sitting up in his chair 
fast asleep. The child said nothing. He was prepared to 
exercise a good deal of patience upon occasion, and the 
occasion was when he wanted to hear a story. But, in 
making himself comfortable, he aroused Uncle Remus 
from his nap. 

" I let you know, honey," said the old man, adjusting 
his spectacles, and laughing rather sheepishly, " I let 
you know, honey, w'en I gits my head r'ar'd back dat 
awa} r , en my eyeleds shot, en my mouf open, en my chin 
p'intin' at de rafters, den dey's some mighty quare gwines- 
on in my min'. Dey is dat, des ez sho ez youer settin' dar. 
Wen I fus year you comin' down de paf," Uncle Remus 



HARRIS] THE MOON IN THE MILL-POND. 239 

continued, rubbing his beard thoughtfully, " I 'uz sorter 
fear'd you mought 'spicion dat I done gone off on my 
journeys fer ter see ole man Nod." 

This was accompanied by a glance of inquiry, to which 
the little boy thought it best to respond. 

"Well, Uncle Kemus," he said, "I did think I heard 
you snoring when I came in." 

" Now you see dat !" exclaimed Uncle Remus, in a tone 
of grieved astonishment ; "you see dat! Man can't lean 
hisse'f 'pun his 'membunce, 'ceppin' dey's some un fer ter 
come high-primin' roun' en 'lowin' dat he done gone ter 
sleep. Shoo ! Wen you stept in dat do' dar I 'uz right 
in 'mungs some mighty quare notions, mighty quare 
notions. Dey ain't no two ways ; ef I 'uz ter up en let 
on 'bout all de notions w'at I gits in 'mungs, folks 'ud 
hatter come en kyar me off ter de place where dey puts 
'stracted people. 

"Atter I sop up my supper," Uncle Remus went on, 
" I tuck'n year some flutterments up dar 'mungs de rafters, 
en I look up, en dar wuz a Bat sailin' 'roun'. 'Roun' en 
'roun', en 'roun' she go, und' de rafters, 'bove de rafters, 
en ez she sail she make noise lak she grittin' 'er toofies. 
Now, w'at dat Bat atter, I be bless ef I kin tell you, but 
dar she wuz ; 'roun' en 'roun', over en under. I ax 'or 
w'at do she want up dar, but she ain't got no time fer 
ter tell ; 'roun' en 'roun', en over en under. En bimeby, 
out she flip, en I boun' she grittin' 'er toofies en gwine 
'roun' en 'roun' out dar, en dodgin' en flippin' des lak de 
elements wuz full er rafters en cobwebs. 

"Wen she flip out I le'nt my head back, I did, en 
'twa'n't no time 'fo' I git mix up wid my notions. Dat 
Bat wings so limber en 'er will so good dat she done done 
'er day's work dar 'fo' you could 'er run ter de big house 
en back. De Bat put me in min' er folks," continued 



240 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HARRIS 

Uncle Bemus, settling himself back in his chair, " en folks 
put me in min' er de creeturs." 

Immediately the little boy was all attention. 

"Dey wuz times," said the old man, with something 
like a sigh, "w'en de creeturs 'ud segashuate tergedder 
des like dey ain't had no fallin' out. Dem wuz de times 
w'en old Brer Babbit 'ud 'ten' lak he gwine quit he 
'havishness, en dey'd all go 'roun' des lak dey b'long ter 
de same fambly connection. 

" One time atter dey bin gwine in cohoots dis away, 
Brer Eabbit 'gun ter feel his fat, he did, en dis make 'im 
git projecky terreckly. De mo' peace w'at dey had, de 
mo' wuss Brer Eabbit feel, twel bimeby he git restless in 
de min'. W'en de sun shine he'd go en lay off in de grass 
en kick at de gnats, en nibble at de mullen-stalk, en wal 
ler in de san'. One night atter supper, w'iles he 'uz ro- 
mancin' 'roun', he run up wid ole Brer Tarrypin, en atter 
dey shuck han's dey sot down on de side er de road en 
run on 'bout ole times. Dey talk en dey talk, dey did, en 
bimeby Brer Eabbit say it done come ter dat pass whar 
he bleedz ter have some fun, en Brer Tarrypin 'low dat 
Brer Eabbit des de ve'y man he bin lookin' fer. 

" * Well, den,' sez Brer Eabbit, sezee, c we'll des put 
Brer Fox, en Brer Wolf, en Brer B'ar on notice, en ter- 
morrer night we'll meet down by de mill-pon' en have a 
little fishin'-frolic. I'll do de talkin',' sez Brer Eabbit, 
sezee, ' en you kin set back en say yea,' sezee. 

" Brer Tarrypin laugh. 

" ' Ef I ain't dar,' sezee, ' den you may know de grass 
hopper done fly 'way wid me,' sezee. 

" ' En you neenter bring no fiddle, n'er,' sez Brer Eabbit, 
sezee, ' kaze dey ain't gwine ter be no dancin' dar,' sezee. 

" Wid dat," continued Uncle Eemus, " Brer Eabbit put 
out fer home, en went ter bed, en Brer Tarrypin bruise 



HARRIS] THE MOON IN THE MILL-POND. 241 

'roun' en make his way todes de place so he kin be dar 
'gin de 'p'inted time. 

" Nex' day Brer Rabbit sont wud ter de yuther creeturs, 
en dey all make great 'miration, kaze dey ain't think 'bout 
dis deyse'f. Brer Fox he 'low, he did, dat he gwine atter 
Miss Meadows en Miss Motts, en de yuther gals. 

" Sho nuff, w'en de time come dey wuz all dar. Brer 
B'ar he fotch a hook en line ; Brer Wolf he fotch a hook 
en line ; Brer Fox he fotch a dip-net ; en Brer Tarrypin, 
not ter be outdone, he fotch de bait." 

" What did Miss Meadows and Miss Motts bring ?" the 
little boy asked. 

Uncle Eemus dropped his head slightly to one side, and 
looked over his spectacles at the little boy. 

" Miss Meadows en Miss Motts," he continued, " dey 
tuck'n stan' way back fum de aidge er de pon' en squeal 
eve'y time Brer Tarrypin shuck de box er bait at um. 
Brer B'ar 'low he gwine ter fish fer mud-cats ; Brer Wolf 
'low he gwine ter fish fer horneyheads ; Brer Fox 'low he 
gwine ter fish fer peerch fer de ladies ; Brer Tarrypin 'low 
he gwine ter fish fer minners ; en Brer Rabbit wink at 
Brer Tarrypin' en 'low he gwine ter fish fer suckers. 

" Dey all git ready, dey did, en Brer Rabbit march up 
'ter de pon' en make fer ter th'ow he hook in de water, 
but des 'bout dat time hit seem lak he see sump'n. De 
t'er creeturs, dey stop en watch his motions. Brer Rab 
bit he drap he pole, he did, en he stan' dar scratchin' he 
head en lookin' down in de water. 

" De gals dey 'gun ter git oneasy w'en dey see dis, en 
Miss Meadows she up en holler out, she did, 

" ' Law, Brer Rabbit, w'at de name er goodness de marter 
in dar?' 

"Brer Rabbit scratch he head an look in de water. 
Miss Motts she hilt up 'er petticoats, she did, en 'low she 

II. L q 21 



242 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HARRIS 

monstus fear'd er snakes. Brer Eabbit keep on scratchin' 
en lookin'. 

" Bimeby he fetch a long bref, he did, en he 'low, 

" ' Ladies en gentermuns all, we des might ez well make 
tracks fum dish yer place, kaze dey ain't no fishin' in dat 
pon' fer none er dish yer crowd.' 

" Wid dat, Brer Tarrypin he scramble up ter de aidge 
en look over, en he shake he head, en 'low, 

" ' Tooby sho', tooby sho' ! Tut-tut-tut !' en den he 
crawl back, he did, en do lak he wukkin' he min.' 

" ' Don't be skeert, ladies, kaze we'er boun' ter take keer 
un you, let come w'at will, let go w'at mus',' sez Brer 
Eabbit, sezee. 'Accidents got ter happen unter we all, 
des same ez dey is unter yuther folks ; en dey ain't nuth- 
in' much de marter, 'ceppin' dat de Moon done drap in de 
water. Ef you don't b'leeve me you kin look fer yo'se'f,' 
sezee. 

" Wid dat dey all went ter de bank en lookt in ; en, sho' 
miff, dar lay de Moon, a-swingin' en a-swayin' at de bot 
tom er de pon'." 

The little boy laughed. He had often seen the reflec 
tion of the sky in shallow pools of water, and the start 
ling depths that seemed to lie at his feet had caused him 
to draw back with a shudder. 

" Brer Fox he look in, he did, en he 'low, ' Well, well, 
well!' Brer Wolf he look in, en he 'low, '' Mighty bad, 
mighty bad !' Brer B'ar he look in, en he 'low, ' Turn, 
turn, turn !' De ladies dey look in, en Miss Meadows sho 
squall out, 'Ain't dat too much ?' Brer Eabbit he look in 
ag'in, en he up en 'low, he did, 

" ' Ladies en gentermuns, you all kin hum en haw, but 
less'n we gits dat Moon out er de pon' dey ain't no fish 
kin be ketch 'roun' yer dis night ; en ef you'll ax Brer 
Tarrypin he'll tell you de same.' 



HARRIS] THE MOON IN THE MILL-POND. 243 

u Den dey ax how kin dey git de Moon out er dar, en 
Brer Tarrypin 'low dey better lef ' dat wid Brer Eabbit. 
Brer Eabbit he shot he eyes, he did, en make lak he wuk- 
kin he min'. Bimeby he up V 'low, 

" ' De nighes' way out'n dish yer diffikil is fer ter sen' 
roun' yer too ole Mr. Mud-Turkle en borry his sane, en 
drag dat Moon up fum dar,' sezee. 

" { I 'clar ter gracious I mighty glad you mention dat,' 
says Brer Tarrypin, sezee. ' Mr. Mud-Turkle is setch clos't 
kin ter me dat I calls 'im Unk Muck, en I lay ef you sen' 
dar atter dat sane you won't fine Unk Muck so mighty 
disaccomerdatin.' 

"Well," continued Uncle Remus, after one of his tan 
talizing pauses, " dey sont atter de sane, en w'iles Brer 
Rabbit wuz gone, Brer Tarrypin he 'low dat he done year 
tell time en time ag'in dat dem w'at fine de Moon in de 
water en fetch 'im out, lakwise dey ull fetch out a pot er 
money. Dis make Brer Fox, en Brer Wolf, en Brer B'ar 
feel mighty good, en dey 'low, dey did, dat long ez Brer 
Rabbit been so good ez ter run atter de sane, dey ull do 
de sanein'. 

" Time Brer Rabbit git back, he see how de Ian' lay, en 
he make lak he wanter go in atter de Moon. He pull off 
he coat, en he 'uz fixin' fer ter shuck he wescut, but de 
yuther creeters dey 'low dey wan't gwine ter let dry-foot 
man lak Brer Rabbit go in de water. So Brer Fox he 
tuck holt er one staff er de sane, Brer Wolf he tuck holt 
er de yuther staff, en Brer B'ar he wade 'long behime fer 
ter lif de sane 'cross logs en snags. 

" Dey make one haul no Moon ; n'er haul no Moon , 
n'er baul no Moon. Den bimeb} 7 dey git out furder fum 
de bank. Water run in Brer Fox year, he shake he head ; 
water run in Brer Wolf year, he shake he head ; water 
run in Brer B'ar year, he shake he head. En de fus news 



244 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STANLEI 

you know, w'iles dey wuz a-shakin', dey come to whar de 
bottom shelfed off. Brer Fox he step off en duck hisse'f ; 
den Brer Wolf duck hisse'f; en Brer B'ar he make a 
splunge en duck hisse'f; en, bless gracious, dey kick en 
splatter twel it look lak dey 'uz gwine ter slosh all de 
water outer de mill-pon'. 

" Wen dey come out, de gals 'uz all a-snickerin' en a- 
gigglin', en dey well mought, 'kaze, go whar you would, 
dey wan't no wuss-lookin' creeturs dan dem ; en Brer 
Rabbit he holler, sezee, 

" ' I speck you all, gents, better go home en git some 
dry duds, en n'er time we'll be in better luck,' sezee. ' I 
hear talk dat de Moon'll bite at a hook ef you take fools 
fer baits, en I lay dat's de onliest way fer ter ketch 'er,' 
eezee. 

" Brer Fox en Brer Wolf en Brer B'ar went drippin' 
off, en Brer Babbit en Brer Tarrypin dey went home wid 
de gals." 



LIFE AND SCENERY ON THE CONGO. 

HENRY M. STANLEY. 

[Among the numerous adventurous explorers of modern times it 
would be difficult to find one with so interesting a personal history, 
and with such indomitable perseverance and ready shrewdness and 
energy, as Henry M. Stanley. He was born in Wales in 1840, reared 
in a poor-house, and went to sea at fifteen-. Eeaching New Orleans, 
he changed his original name of John Rowlands for that of a gentle 
man who had befriended him. During the war he entered the Con 
federate service, was taken prisoner, and afterwards served in the 
United States navy. He accompanied the British army to Abyssinia 
in 1867 as correspondent of the New York Herald, penetrated Africa 
in search of Livingstone in 1871-72, and crossed the continent in the 



STANLEY] LIFE AND SCENERY ON THE CONGO. 245 

the region of the Congo from 1874 to 1878. His work on " The Congo,'' 
from which we select, is the result of a later expedition to that region, 
undertaken in the interests of commerce and civilization, and as agent 
of the African International Association and of the King of Belgium.] 

BEYOND the village was low forested land, which either 
came in dense black towering masses of impenetrable 
vegetation to the water-side, or else ran in great semi 
circles half enclosing grassy flats, whereon the hippo 
potami fed at night-time. 

The Congo was now enormously wide; from five to 
eight channels separated one from another by as many 
lines of islets (some of which were miles in length), on 
which the Landolfia florida, or rubber-plant, flourished, of 
the value of which the natives as yet know nothing. 
Tamarinds, baobab, bombax, redwood, Mais guineensis, 
palm-tree, wild date-palm, Calamus indicus, with the hardy 
stink-wood, made up a dense mass of trees and creepers 
of such formidable thickness that no one was even inspired 
to examine what treasures of plants might be revealed by 
a closer investigation of the vegetable life thriving on 
these humps of dark alluvium in mid-Congo. 

Few could imagine that a slow ascent up the Congo in 
steamers going only two and a half knots against the 
current of the great river could be otherwise than monot 
onous. Taken as a whole, the scenery of the Uppei 
Congo is uninteresting; perhaps the very slow rate of 
ascent has left that impression. But we were also tired 
of the highland scenery in the Lower Congo. We de 
clared, ourselves tired of looking at naked rock cliffs, and 
rufous ragged slopes six hundred feet in height. Before 
we were through the circular enlargement of the Congo 
at Stanley Pool we also confessed ourselves wearied ; when 
we voyaged up along the base of the massive mountain- 
lines above it to Chumbiri we sighed for a change ; and 
ii. 21* 



246 BESr AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STANLEY 

now, when we have a month's journey by islets, low 
shores, of grassy levels, and banks of thick vegetation 
and forest, we are menaced with the same ennui. But let 
us be just. Our feeling of weariness arises from the fact 
that our accommodations are so limited that we are 
obliged to sit down or stand up all the long way. The 
eyes, the only organs exercised, are easily sated. The 
weariness is only created by our compulsory inactivity. 
Our eyes are feasting continually upon petty details, oi 
the nature of which we are scarcely conscious. The flit 
ting of a tiny sun-bird ; the chirping weavers at their 
nests ; the despondent droop of a long calamus which 
cannot find support, and which, like the woodbine, flour 
ishes best when it has a tall stem to cling to ; the bamboo- 
like reeds; the swaying tufted head of an overgrown 
papyrus ; the floating by of a Pistia stratiotes ; a flock 
of screeching parrots hurrying by overhead; that great 
yawning hippopotamus lazily preparing for a plunge into 
his watery bed ; that log-like form of the crocodile, roused 
from his meditations, loath to go, but compelled by the 
whirr of paddle-wheels to submerge himself; those 
springing monkeys, skurrying in their leafy homes away 
from the increasing noise ; that white-collared fish-eagle 
outspreading his wings for flight ; that darting diver and 
little kingfisher hurrying ahead, heralding our approach ; 
yonder flock of black ibis alarmingly screaming their 
harsh cries ; that little blue-throated fantail which has 
just hopped away from the yellow-blossomed acacia-bush ; 
those little industrious wagtails pecking away so briskly 
on the sandy strip by the edge of the forest ; there is a 
jay which has just fled into the woods ; look at those 
long-legged flamingoes at that spit of land; and but the 
details are endless, for every minute of time has its inci 
dent. As for your own fancies, during this day-trance, 



STANLEY] LIFE AND SCENERY ON THE CONGO. 247 

created mainly by what you see as the banks glide 
steadity past, who will dare to fathom them ? They come 
in rapid succession on the mind, in various shapes, rank 
after rank. Unsteadfast as the gray clouds which you 
see to the westward, they pile into cities, and towns, and 
mountains, growing ever larger, more intense, but still 
ever wavering and undergoing quick transitions of form. 
The flowing river; the vast dome of sky; the aspiring 
clouds on the horizon ; the purpling blue, as well as the 
dark spectral isles of the stream; the sepulchral gloom 
beneath the impervious forest foliage; those swaying 
reeds ; that expanse of sere -colored grassy plain ; that 
gray clay bank, speckled with the red roots of some 
shrub ; that narrow pathway through the forest all sug 
gest some new thought, some fancy which cannot be long 
pursued, since it is constantly supplanted by other ideas 
suggested by something new, which itself is but a mo 
mentary flash. 

But supposing that a steamer similar to those we have 
on the Mississippi bore you up the Congo, rushing up 
stream at the rate of twelve knots an hour against the 
current, while you could travel up and down a long, broad 
deck protected by a suh-proof awning, with luxurious 
board and lodging at your command, your view of the 
Congo would be very different. I do believe you would 
express a preference for it to any river known to you. 
You would naturally think of comparisons. The Ehine ? 
Why, the Rhine, even including its most picturesque 
parts, is only a microscopic miniature of the Lower 
Congo ; but we must have the Ehine steamer, and its 
wine and food and accommodations, to be able to see it 
properly. The Mississippi? The Congo is one and a 
half times larger than the Mississippi, and certainly from 
eight to ten times broader. You may take your choice 



248 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STANLEY 

of nearly a dozen channels, and you will see more beauti 
ful vegetation on the Congo than on the American river. 
The latter lacks the palm and the calamus, while the 
former has a dozen varieties of the palm. Besides, it 
possesses herds of hippopotami, crocodiles innumerable; 
monkeys are gleefully romping on the islands and the 
main ; elephants are standing sentry-like in the twilight 
of the dark forests by the river-side; buffaloes red and 
black are grazing on the rich grass-plains; there are 
flocks of ibis, black and white parrots, paroquets, and 
guinea-fowl. The Mississippi is a decent grayish-colored 
stream, confined between two low banks, with here and 
there a town of frame houses and brick. The Congo is 
of a tea-color on its left half, and on its right half it is 
nearly chalky white. You take your choice, tea or milk, 
red or Rhine wine. And as for the towns, why, I hope 
the all-gracious Providence will bless our labor, and they 
will come by and by: meantime there is room enough, 
and to spare, to stow the half of Europe comfortably on 
its spacious borders. The Nile? Ask any of those gal 
lant English soldiers who have tugged their way among 
the Nile cataracts, what they think of the Nile to spend 
a holiday upon. The Danube ? Ah, it is not to be men 
tioned with the Congo for scenery. The Yolga? Still 
worse. The Amazon ? By no means. You will have to 
ascend very far up the Amazon before you will see any 
thing approaching Congo scenery. 

Well, you must admit, then, that if the Congo could be 
seen from the deck of a commodious steamer, this feeling 
of weariness which we have to contend against now while 
ascending at this snail's pace against the current, because 
we have no room to move about, would be replaced by a 
more grateful and a cheerier mood. 

At 5 P.M. we generally camp, after an advance of from 



STANLEY] LIFE AND SCENERY ON THE CONGO. 249 

twenty to thirty miles up river. Thirty miles would be 
unusually good progress, because there is fuel to be cut 
with axes and saws, and it will take till nine o'clock at 
night to cut sufficient for next day's steaming. From 5 
to 6.30 P.M. all hands excepting the cooks are engaged in 
gathering wood, half-dead logs, or dead trees, which have 
to be cut into portable sizes for transport to the camp. 
When darkness falls, a great fire is lit, under the light of 
which the wood-choppers fall to and cut the logs into foot 
lengths for the boilers. The sound of smiting axes rings 
through the dark grove, to be re-echoed by the opposite 
forest and borne along the face of the river to a great 
distance. It is varied by the woodman's chant ; a chorus 
is struck up, and under its stirring vocal notes a new im 
petus is given, and the axes are struck stirringly rapid. 
What a moral lesson for vapid-minded white men might 
be drawn from these efforts of untutored blacks to get 
through their tasks ! 

Meantime, at dusk, each steamer's crew of white officers 
and passengers will be found around their dinner-tables 
on deck, or on the bank if the camp has permitted it, 
the lamplight tingeing their faces with a rosier hue than 
the sallow complexion which the sun has bestowed on 
them. 

Of food there is abundance, but not much variety. It 
may comprise soup of beans or vegetables, followed by 
toasted chikwanga (cassava bread), fried or stewed fowl, 
a roast fowl, or a roast leg of goat-meat, a dish of desic 
cated potatoes, and, if we have been fortunate in our pur 
chases, some sweet potatoes, or yams, roast bananas, 
boiled beans, rice and curry, or rice with honey, or rice 
and milk, finishing with tea, or coffee, or palm-wine. 

It is insipid food for breakfast and dinner throughout 
a term of three years. A few months of this diet makes 



250 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STANLEY 

the European sigh for his petit verre, Astrachan caviar, 
mock-turtle, salmon, with sauce Hollandaise, filet de 
bceuf, with perhaps a pastete and poularde mit compote und 
salat. For, if a German, how ever can he live without his 
dear compote? Then, how nice, he thinks, would fruit, 
cheese, and dessert be on the Congo ! How glorious a 
view of Congo life one could take when exhilarated by 
half a pint of champagne ! 

I think, indeed, that the eternal " fowl" of the Congo, 
and the unvarying slices of chikwanga, with which oui 
young officers are fed, deserve three-fourths of the blame 
now lavished on " murderous Africa." It is only a grand 
moral manhood like Livingstone's that rises above these 
petty vanities of a continental stomach. Think of his 
thirty-two years' life in Africa, and of the unsophisticated 
manikins who to-day are digging their eyes out with 
weeping at the memories of a European restaurant before 
they have been scarcely three months out ! 

There is not much to converse about on the Congo after 
our stomachs are full of the heavy chikwanga, and, as we 
all know that 

" The time of life is short ; 
To spend that little basely were too long," 

we retire early, to spend it well in sleeping, that we may 
be better fitted for the next day's weary voyaging up the 
great African river. 

Ungende was our first night's camp above Bolobo. 
The By-yanzi were very friendly at first, but at sunset 
their fears made them hostile, and they were not quieted 
until all our people were ordered to make their reedy 
couches near the steamers. 

The next day we travelled up by very pleasant hills. 
We passed villages, banana-groves, palmy groups, and 



STANLEY] LIFE AND SCENERY ON THE CONGO. 251 

deep-green forest in agreeable alternations. These are 
the Levy Hills, and end at the magnificent and airy red 
bluffs of lyumbi. The people looked out upon us in 
stupid wonder from under the shade of their bananas, 
seemingly saying, " What curious phase of existence have 
we entered upon now? Yerily, an epoch has dawned 
upon our lives ; but what it signifies let those answer who 
can !" 

And we, looking out from under our awnings, appear 
to say, "Ay, gaze, O men and women, upon these three 
symbols of civilization. Ye see things to-day which the 
oldest and wisest inhabitant of your land never heard or 
dreamed of; and yet they are but tiny types of self- 
moving leviathans that plough the raging sea by night as 
well as by day !" 

Two hours above lyumbi we lost our way. The chan 
nels were numerous. A reedy flat had appeared above 
lyumbi, to which we clung in order not to lose sight of 
the mainland ; and coming to a narrow creek we ran in, 
expecting, although its direction was a little too easterly, 
that perhaps we should emerge on the Congo. There was 
a sluggish current in it, and we kept on, but after seven 
teen miles it narrowed, and reeds finally stopped furthei 
passage, and we had to return, opposite the village of 
Ikulu. 

We had not perceived many villages as we had steamed 
along ; but in coming back we sighted about twenty canoes 
in the creek advancing towards us. They had appeared 
from some direction through the reeds. These, on seeing 
us, hastily turned back ; but, wishing to know from them 
which route to take, the En Avant cast oif the whale- 
boat which she had been towing, and steamed after them 
at full speed. 

Not until we had run five miles could we overtake the 



252 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STANLEY 

flying flotilla, and then we found that their crews were 
women, who, to escape us, dashed into the reeds and 
splashed clumsily with water up to their necks to reach 
the shore. Not a word would they answer, but stood, on 
reaching the shore, sulkily regarding us. As we steamed 
six knots an hour, an idea may be gained of the speed 
which the natives when pressed in their canoes attain. 
These also were mere fishing-pirogues. Had they been 
war-canoes it is likely our steamer would have been beaten 
in the race. 

On the 31st of May we had a tolerably fair journey, but 
the wind blew down river, and impeded us. Two trading- 
canoes, with twenty paddlers in each, were overtaken, 
which kept pace with us the rest of the day, and camped 
sociably with us on a park-like terrace, which showed soft 
young grass, while the forest ran in a deep black semi 
circle behind us. The By-yanzi canoe-men were bound 
for TJbangi. 

On the 1st of June, after following a dense forest for 
nine hours, we drew near another settlement. Our pro 
visions were running exceedingly low. Eighty colored 
men and seven Europeans consume at least two hundred 
and fifty pounds' weight of food daily. Since leaving Bo- 
lobo, nearly half a ton weight of provisions had been eaten. 
It behooved us then to prepare ourselves for barter with 
the community in view, which our guides called Lukolela 

The settlement ran along a crescented bend of the river 
above a steep clay bank ranging from five feet to twenty- 
five feet above the water, in a clearing cutout of the finest 
forest I had yet seen. The trees had not been much 
thinned, so that from a distance, but for the gray gleam 
of huts and the green sheen of bananas, it would have 
been difficult to tell that a settlement so large as Lukolela 
existed here. The islands also showed glorious growths 



STANLEY] LIFE AND SCENERY ON THE CONGO. 253 

of timber. We began steaming slowly the while, to in 
itiate acquaintance at the very lowest village. There 
was no answer rendered, but the groups of bronze-bodied 
people grew larger and more numerous. We unrolled crim 
son savelist, bright-red royal handkerchiefs, striped floren- 
tines, lengths of blue baft, held out fistfuls of brass rods, 
and suspended long necklaces of brightest beads. Msenne 
of Mswata stood up on the cabin-deck of the En Avant, 
the observed of all observers, admired for his pose and his 
action, and delivered his oration with a voice which might 
be envied by an auctioneer : 

" Ho, Wy-yanzi, tribesmen of Lukolela, sons of luka and 
Mungawa, whose names are beloved by my lord and chief 
Gobila ! Ho, you men ! Know you not Gobila, Gobila 
of Mswata, the friend of Wy-yanzi ? Said Gobila to me, 
' Here, take Bula Matari, the only Bula Matari, the good 
BulaMatariF" 

"Hush, Msenne! that is not the way to speak. You 
are laughing at me," I urged, for my modesty was 
shocked. 

" Never mind ; Msenne knows the way into the heart 
of the Wy-yanzi. Ha ! it takes me to conquer their ob 
duracy. 

" Wy-yanzi of Lukolela, here sits Bula Matari ! He has 
come here to make friends with you. He wants food. He 
is prepared to pay well. Now is the time for luka and 
Mungawa to show themselves kind friends to Bula Matari." 

Then up and spoke Ibaka's slaver : 

" See here, men of Lukolela, we are the servants of 
Ibaka, Ibaka of Bolobo ! Ibaka has made brotherhood 
with Bula Matari. Ibaka commanded us to take him to 
you. Let your chiefs, luka and Mungawa, come out and 
give the good word." 

The steamers held on their way. The stentorian accents 
n. 22 



254 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STANLEY 

of Msenne were heard far above the escape of waste steam. 
The cloths were unrolled before every village. At the 
third village, however, a reply came that all the chiefs 
were dead, and that small-pox had decimated the inhab 
itants, and that famine was killing the people that were 
left! 

" Frightful !" we exclaimed. " But those men on the 
hanks look too fat to be suffering from famine." 

We came to the upper extremity of the community, 
which occupied about five miles of the left bank, and half 
an hour later we came to where the Congo contracted and 
issued out a stately united flood one and a half miles wide 
from the right bank to the left bank. Hoping that if we 
camped in the neighborhood we should be followed, we 
prepared to put up for the night in the forest. 

As we anticipated, the natives soon came up, and fowls, 
goats, ripe and green plantains and bananas, cassava rolls, 
cassava flour, sweet potatoes, yams, eggs, and palm oil 
were bartered so speedily that by sunset we had sufficient 
to last two or three days. Still, as we were ignorant how 
far we might have to proceed before meeting with another 
market so well supplied as this, we agreed to resume the 
marketing next morning. 

At sunrise the following day canoe after canoe appeared, 
and the barter was so successfully conducted that we had 
soon secured three dozen fowls, four goats, a sheep, and eight 
days' rations for each member of the colored force. The 
fear the natives entertained of the strange steamer was 
now changed for liveliest admiration. We were no longer 
supposed to be laden with mischief, but full of "good 
things." They had informed us that they were dying of 
famine yesterday, but this day plenty had come back to 
them, their chiefs lived, and no plague or pest decimated 
the people ! 



MORRIS] THE CONDITIONS OF ENGLISH THOUGHT. 255 

We asked them slyly what was the cause of this re 
markable change. 

" Oh," they replied, " why do you remember what we 
said in our fear of you ? Neither our oldest people nor 
their fathers before them ever saw or heard of such things 
as these/' pointing to the steamers. 



THE CONDITIONS OF ENGLISH THOUGHT. 

GEORGE S. MOKRIS. 

[America, like England, has few thinkers of a philosophical curn 
of mind, if we accept the word "philosophy" in its metaphysical 
interpretation. "VVe are too practical a people for that, and by no 
means inclined, like so many of the Germans, to evolve a universe out 
of the purely ideal, very pretty to look at, hut with no more solid 
substratum than the tail of a comet. Yet we are not quite without 
writers of a metaphysical turn of thought, and our present extract is 
from one of these, Mr. G-. S. Morris, late professor of philosophy 
in Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, author of " British Thought 
and Thinkers," and editor of an American edition of the works of th6 
principal German philosophers, now in course of publication.] 

SCHOPENHAUER made a familiar thought famous by 
putting it in a simple but striking and epigrammatic 
form. Die Welt ist meine Vorstellung, said he. The world 
is for me an idea. It is a representation in my mind. To 
how many of us has not this thought occurred, with some 
thing of a dazing, dreamy effect, as we have mused on 
the complete dependence of our idea of the universe, or 
all that therein may be, on our own minds! I can re 
member how, as a mere boy, more than once, in an even 
ing revery, an experience somewhat in this vein came to 



256 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MORRIS 

me. All my boyish ideas of things seemed, as pure crea 
tions of my own fancy, to melt away, and there remained, 
as the whole sum and substance of the universe, only the 
abstract, but otherwise empty and uninstructive, and, by 
any law of sufficient reason, inexplicable, necessity of being, 
plus a dull, confused, and yet thoroughly unique, and for 
this reason indescribable, sensation, as of a chaos of shape 
less elements, moving noiselessly among each other, a 
plenum of scarcely greater value than an absolute vacuum. 
Then came the return to what is termed the literal fact 
of experience, or, better, to the world such as, under the 
influence of a dawning mental activity, guided by sensi 
tive experience and by instruction, it had actually shaped 
itself in my imagination, the earth, with its green fields 
and forest-covered mountains, the world-inhabited heavens, 
the changing seasons, man and his past history and unre- 
vealed earthly destiny, not to mention the myriad little 
and familiar things which would necessarily crowd the 
foreground of such a picture in a boy's mind. The view 
which a moment before had demonstrated so signally its 
capability of dissolving, recovered its relative consistency 
and became again a slowly-changing panorama of a world, 
or of " the world," as it was for me. It was into such a 
conception of a world a conception kaleidoscopic, ap 
parently half arbitrary, half accidental that I, following 
unwittingly a bent common to the universal mind of man, 
was more or less blindly seeking to introduce order and 
permanence. What must be ? Why must anything be ? 
Why must all things be ? Such a rock of rational necessity 
as a successful answer to these questions would have fur 
nished I was (though unconscious of the full significance 
of my striving) seeking, in order to arrest and fix the 
quicksands of a Vorstellung, or idea of the universe, of 
which I only knew (with Schopenhauer) that it was mine. 



MORRIS] THE CONDITIONS OF ENGLISH THOUGHT. 257 

T need hardly say that the immediate result of my reflec 
tions was tolerably negative. I have indicated, however, 
in the narration of this experience, the elements of a 
problem which presents itself to mankind in all climes 
and ages. It is, if I may so express it, to effectuate a sort 
of rational anatomy of existence, or, at least, of our ideas 
of it. The sea itself would not move in billowy motions 
if it had no fixed boundaries. The blood flows in tracks 
marked out in veins and arteries. The soft and yielding 
flesh adheres to a firm framework of bone. So man would 
find in his whole conception of things the skeleton of 
rational necessity, about which the multifarious or appar 
ently fortuitous elements of that conception may group 
themselves, or the rather by which the order of their 
grouping is determined. The "idea" which was but a 
changing picture in the imagination a representation 
must change to an idea which shall be a rational type, 
a self-evidencing law, an all-sufficient, all-explaining, all- 
necessitating reason. The varying and inexplicable ele 
ment furnished in sense and sensuous imagination must 
crystallize in the majestic forms of eternal thought, of 
reason divine. It is this mental work which Goethe, in 
noble lines, attributes to the angels who constitute the 
" heavenly hosts." The gracious benediction and command 
which the Divine Being addresses to them runs thus : 

" Das "Werdende, das ewig wirkt und lebt, 

Umfass' euch mit der Liebe holden Schranken, 
Und was in schwankender Erscheinung schwebt, 
Befestiget mit dauernden Gedanken !" 

Prolog im Himmel : Faust. 

Thus the world which was "my idea" (in Schopen 
hauer's phrase) is to be transformed, in its measure, into 
the image, or rather into a participation, of the divine 
IT. r 22* 



258 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MoRiiis 

idea of the world. The evanescent is to give way to the 
permanent. The passive reception of appearances is to 
give place to an active apprehension of realities. 

I have thus stated, in outline, the grand and compre 
hensive motive which underlies all finite thought as such, 
and which therefore reveals itself, clearly or obscurely, in 
all the thought of man. It were easy to show, in detail, 
how it governs at once the systematic inquiries of philo 
sophical speculation, the exact inquiries of physical science, 
and the freer intuitions of poetic fancy, as well as, also, 
the sober contemplations of history. Nor would it be 
more difficult to show that in this presupposed ideal of 
stable Truth believed to be attainable for man : else why 
and how strive after it? moral and aesthetic elements 
are intrinsically involved. But to attempt this here would 
be to go aside from the purpose of our present inquiry, as 
well as to repeat a labor already well performed by others. 
My object now is only to direct attention to the uni 
versally observable fact that men, finding themselves in, 
or in possession of, a mental world, which is at first (as re 
gards their own insight) so largely, or exclusively, subject 
ive, variable, phenomenal (and so, to use Kant's metaphor, 
like a restless ocean), believe in a continent of objective, 
stable Truth, think that they have glimpses of it, seek to 
approach it and set up way-marks (in their literature and 
institutions) of their progress toward it, and by their 
notion (or knowledge) of it form their judgments as to 
the significance and value of human life and history, 
and of the physical universe itself. And it is through 
the different notions which the men, the thinkers, of an 
epoch, a race, a clime, a great nation, form and express 
concerning the geography of this continent, through the 
spiritual colors of which they profess to have caught 
glimpses, the maxims of hope, of conviction, or of despair, 



MORRIS] THE CONDITIONS OF ENGLISH THOUGHT. 250 

sorrowful, reckless, or even blasphemous, which they have 
inscribed upon the guide-posts set up by them, it is 
through all these, and through other signs flowing from, 
or otherwise necessarily connected with, these, that the 
peculiar complexion, the special attitude or tendency, of 
the thought of a particular epoch or nation is known and 
judged. . . . 

I say, then, that the question as to the peculiar complex- 
tion or tendency of a nation's thought is a question as to 
the peculiar stripe of its idealism. A materialistic habit 
of thought is not native to the human or to any other 
full-grown mind, for mind is simply deceived when it 
thinks it sees and understands in or concerning matter 
anything but the reflection (however dim) of its own per 
fections. Further, a nation's, like an individual's, thought 
is judged by the conceptions current in it concerning the 
world, life, and man. Without the interest, perennial, in 
exhaustible, which attaches to such conceptions, imagina 
tion itself would lose its glow, and the subtler hues of 
thought and feeling would become fitful, fatuous, unmean 
ing, or rather would sink into a dull and leaden monotone 
of lifeless color. Nor does it make matters any clearer 
the rather it confuses them to disguise, or seek to dis 
guise, the fact that the questions which revolve about 
these conceptions are strictly philosophical ones, and that 
every characteristically spiritual activity of man, in its 
products in literature, art, polity, social organism, civiliza 
tion, strictly imply, and in their measure exhibit, a phi- 
losophy of human life and of the whole universe of human 
thought or knowledge. At the same time I scarcely need 
to say that the individual men, or even nations, in whose 
thought and works the foregoing truths are illustrated, 
may have no definite consciousness of the fact that they 
are virtually philosophizing. They may even feel and 



260 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MORRIS 

profess a decided repugnance to philosophical speculation, 
strictly and technically so called. 

Precisely this is the case with the English mind, whose 
first and most prominent characteristic may perhaps be 
described as consisting in this, namely, that its interest is 
far more concentrated upon the vital and practical side of 
truth than upon the abstract or theoretical side. Truth, 
in its living, effective power, so absorbs its attention that 
little care is left for inquiries concerning its ultimate grounds 
and guarantees, or for laborious exactness in the statement 
of it. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. The English 
nation possess genuine character. Character is vitalized 
truth. In their national character the English possess a 
body of such truth, in the power and through the inspira 
tion of which they have been enabled to work out (during 
a period of twelve hundred yearsX an historical destiny 
of the most honorable and glorious kind. Faith in this 
truth is faith in themselves. To relinquish it would be 
moral suicide ; to doubt of it, moral treason. Its warrant 
is found in its historic power, in its present vitality. This 
truth the English possess, or perhaps it were truer to say 
that it possesses them ; and possession, I repeat, is nine- 
tenths of the law. Under these circumstances, inquiry 
concerning the remaining one-tenth, the validity of title 
by which possession is held, may naturally appear to a 
" practical people" idle, and almost frivolous. 

The only other nation known to Occidental history 
which has possessed anything like so palpable and con 
sistent a character as the English, namely, the Romans, 
in like manner, and even in a more marked degree, were 
remarkable for their almost absolute neglect of abstract 
speculation. Their old-fashioned reverence for law and 
duty, and their self-respect, were ideal forces which 
Bought in them and through them and fitted them for 



MORRIS] THE CONDITIONS OF ENGLISH THOUGHT. 261 

the rough and solid work of world-subjugation. No 
wonder that they felt a greater interest in the practical 
solution of living, flesh-and-blood problems, which the 
progress of events forced upon them, than in their theo 
retical explanation. If the ideal, which is the only essen 
tial, side of human nature has a really sustaining support 
and source of constant nourishment in a sterling national 
character, it is by no means an obviously superficial ques 
tion to ask why human nature should bother itself con 
tinually about such subtilties as the ultimate constitution 
and ground of existence, the abstract conditions and laws 
of perfect humanity, the sources of moral obligation, the 
meaning of beauty's charms, the intrinsic value of human 
life. Certainly, to err through neglect of such matters 
for such a reason and not, for example, like the Span 
iards of the last two centuries, by reason of mental indo 
lence and effeminacy is a noble error. . . . 

If the record of the English, namely, in the history of 
philosophy proper is not a shining one, if indeed they 
have no properly national philosophy at all which can be 
called either deeply and thoroughly or even brilliantly 
reasoned, yet they have solid endowments, which have 
been influential, and in some directions splendid, in their 
past fruit, and which are quite sufficient to justify sub 
stantial hopeful expectations for the future. The strong 
or marked sides of the English mind are three, the re 
ligious, the scientific, and the poetic. Eeligion and sci 
ence, in different ways, furnish problems to philosophy. 
The poetic faculty, the power of creative imagination, is 
the pledge of speculative ability. 

On the religious side the English share with their Teu 
tonic ancestors and neighbors in a certain depth and sin 
cerity of spirit, which is opposed to all sham, is never 
long satisfied with mere appearance, admits no separation 



262 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MoRRia 

of substance from form, and demands, along with a formal 
assent to the doctrines proposed to faith, an inward ex 
perience of the power of truth, accompanied by appro 
priate works. In other words, the English are genuinely 
religious. This appears throughout their whole history. 
The tone of aspiration, of adoration, of deep, sometimes 
fierce, religious earnestness, which is struck in what Mr. 
Stopford Brooke terms " the first true English poem," the 
poem of Caedmon, reappears in all the critical epochs of 
the development of English life, and has thoroughly per 
meated English manners and literature. The key-note of 
the Reformation was struck in England in the fourteenth 
century, and no nation has been more tenacious in main 
taining its fruits than the English. But, it need not be 
said, a genuine religious spirit is necessarily idealistic. It 
carries with it the habit of referring actions to moral 
standards of judgment, of seeing in events a providential 
agency, of regarding the universe as an outcome of the di 
vine will and in some sense a constant manifestation of di 
vine reason. Only, in the matter of religion, the intensely 
practical attitude of the English, their sense, perhaps, of 
the substance of religion as a vital element absolutely es 
sential to individual and national life, and as something 
already safely in their grasp, in their possession, seems to 
me to render them impatient of inquiries relative to the 
ultimate warrant of faith. The immediate, practical war 
rant of religious faith may indeed be found in vital expe- 
rience and in historic power. Such a faith is not to bo 
stigmatized as absolutely blind and unreasonable. Yet it 
is far short of insight. It is not faith resting on and illu 
minated by intelligence. If reasonable, it is not wholly 
rational. It implies a childhood in understanding, against 
which the Apostle of Christianity to the Gentiles utters 
an express warning. A conseouence of the religious at- 



MORRIS] THE CONDITIONS OF ENGLISH THOUGHT. 263 

titude of the English mind to which I am now referring is, 
or has often been, a disposition to cut short inquiry and 
to cleave knots of difficulty with the oracular utterance, 
" Thus it is written," forgetting that, legitimate as this 
course may be under given circumstances, it cannot al 
ways be pursued without inducing a fatal bondage to the 
letter, "which killeth," in distinction from the spirit, 
which, illuminating and giving sight, also "giveth life." 
This is, in its measure, precisely such a substitution of 
mechanism for intelligence and life as, in other fields of 
exploration, English science-philosophy has sought to ef 
fectuate. Another and a related consequence of the same 
mental attitude has been a disposition to restrict the 
sphere of human reason by emphasizing the existence of a 
sphere of mysterious and essentially unintelligible truth, 
somehow made known to man in terms, but for the rest 
only to be unquestioningly received by him as an uncon 
ditional prerequisite for the restoration and preservation 
of his soul's health. . . . 

On the whole, both in religion and in science, I think 
we may say with obvious truth that the characteristic 
disposition of the English mind is to lay hold upon al 
leged revealed or natural laws of fact, in their immediate, 
practical relation to the life and interests of men, and as 
narrowly observable in detail with the microscopic vision 
of sense. With this goes a tendency to neglect that more 
comprehensive and penetrative mental labor which traces 
the rational connection of all law with its birthplace in 
the mind and will of an Absolute Spirit. Religion and 
Science (by which latter I understand all results of the 
application of the mathematico-mechanical method, or all 
systematic knowledge of phenomena) occupy, on the whole, 
exclusively the theoretical interests of the English mind. 
Philosophy (stigmatized often as metaphysical jargon") i 



264 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MORRIS 

their common waste-basket. (I shall have more fitting 
occasion hereafter to examine and characterize more in 
detail the scientific attitude of the English mind.) 

This, however, is only one, and that the least inspiring, 
half of our picture. Along with and in spite of this to 
a philosophic mind exasperating self-limitation and self- 
obfuscation of the English upon those lines of theoretical 
inquiry which would lead directly to philosophy, we find 
that this nation possesses, in the language of a German 
historian, " a pre-eminent gift for poetry, perhaps the 
most perfect that has ever fallen to the lot of any people." 
And this poetic gift is not a mere talent, it is real genius. 
It is not satisfied with pleasing outward forms and tones 
alone. It is all-penetrating. It ranges over the whole 
scale of the heart's emotions. It does not shrink back 
from any flights of intellect. For it nature is peaceful 
and gay, or wild and darkly significant. With it human 
life is an idyl, or more frequently a drama, in which in 
visible powers are the actors. Human life is a theatre of 
actions heroic, comical, or tragic, or the portal to an 

" Undiscovered country, from whose bourn 
No traveller returns," 

and from which, it is fully recognized, no just soul would 
fain return. " Among all the nations which participate in 
our modern civilization," says, further, the author above 
quoted, " the classical nation in poetry is the English." 

Now, I have spoken above of the poetic faculty of tht 
English, their power of creative imagination, as the pledge 
of their speculative ability. And indeed the close relation 
between poetic and philosophic endowment has long been 
recognized, since Plato's time, for example, before whom 
it had been amply illustrated in notable instances. The 
difference between the poet and the philosopher is one of 



DRAKE] THE CULPRIT FAY. 265 

system and of systematic intelligence, rather than of in 
spiration. The leading interpreters, even of scientific 
method, among the English of to-day recognize the es 
sential necessity of a certain poetic gift, a " scientific im 
agination," as it is called, for the purposes of scientific 
discovery. In the British poets, accordingly, we find the 
best British philosophy. What English moralist, for ex 
ample, is equal to William Shakespeare, who is not only 
the real historian of the modern mind (an office which of 
itself implies profound philosophic insight), but also, in 
the language of the title-page of a recent German publi 
cation, " der Philosoph der sittlichen Weltordnung" " the 
philosopher of the moral order of the world" ? What 
professed English philosopher has possessed so profound 
an appreciation of the idealistic philosophy of nature as 
Wordsworth ? What religious philosopher in England 
has approached the subtlest problems of religious thought 
with more sympathetic and discerning insight than Cole 
ridge? What living English thinker has fathomed in 
well-reasoned, systematic prose the dark questions of 
theodicy, and illuminated them more brilliantly with the 
light of rational faith and insight, than Tennyson ? Not 
to mention many others, whose poetic flights have been 
ballasted with solid weights of thought. 



THE CULPRIT FAY. 

JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE. 

[" The Culprit Fay" is the most purely imaginative poem in Ameri 
can literature, and displays a depth of fancy that has seldom been sur 
passed. It is the principal work of the author, though his shorter 
poem " To the American Flag" is the one by which he is best known, 
ii. M 23 



266 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DRAKE 

Joseph Kodman Drake was born in New York in 1795, and his firsi 
literary work consisted of humorous and satirical verses, published in 
the Evening Post, under the signature of "Croaker." The "Cul 
prit Fay" is too long to give here in full, and we extract some of its 
more prettily-conceived verses, as an illustration of the whole. In 
the opening verses the fays are seen assembling, in countless numbers. 
" in the middle watch of a summer's night."] 

THEY come from beds of lichen green, 
They creep from the mullein's velvet screen ; 
Some on the backs of beetles fly 

From the silver tops of moon-touched trees, 
Where they swung in their cobweb hammocks high 

And rocked about in the evening breeze ; 
Some from the hum-bird's downy nest, 

They had driven him out by elfin power, 
And, pillowed on plumes of his rainbow breast, 

Had slumbered there till the charmed hour ; 
Some had lain in the scoop of the rock, 

"With glittering ising-stars inlaid, . 
And some had opened the four-o'clock 

And stole within its purple shade. 

And now they throng the moonlight glade, 
Above below on every side, 

Their little minim forms arrayed 
In the tricksy pomp of fairy pride ! 

[The purpose of the assembly is thus given :] 

For an ouphe has broken his vestal vow ; 

He has loved an earthly maid, 

And left for her his woodland shade ; 

He has lain upon her lip of dew, 

And sunned him in her eye of blue, 

Fanned her cheek with his wing of air, 

Played in the ringlets of her hair, 



DRAKE] THE CULPRIT FAT. 267 

And, nestling on her snowy breast, 
Forgot the lily-king's behest. 
For this the shadowy tribes of air 

To the elfin court must haste away : 
And now they stand expectant there, 

To hear the doom of the culprit fay. 

[The fairy tribunal condemns the criminal ouphe to perform the fol 
lowing difficult labors :] 

" Thou shalt seek the beach of sand 

Where the water bounds the elfin land ; 

Thou shalt watch the oozy brine 

Till the sturgeon leaps in the bright moonshine, 

Then dart the glistening arch below, 

And catch a drop from his silver bow. 

The water-sprites will wield their arms 

And dash around, with roar and rave, 
And vain are the woodland spirits' charms, 

They are the imps that rule the wave. 
Yet trust thee in thy single might : 
If thy heart be pure and thy spirit right, 
Thou shalt win the warlock fight. 

" If the spray -bead gem be won, 

The stain of thy wing is washed away : 

But another errand must be done 
Ere thy crime be lost for aye ; 

Thy flame-wood lamp is quenched and dark, 

Thou must re-illume its spark. 

Mount thy steed and spur him high 

To the heavens' blue canopy ; 

And when thou seest a shooting star, 

Follow it fast, and follow it far : 

The last faint spark of its burning train 

Shall light the elfin lamp again. 



268 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DRAKE 

Thou hast heard our sentence, fay : 
Hence ! to the water-side away !" 



[The fay plunges into the wave in quest of the sturgeon, but is met 
by a host of the thorny and prickly inhabitants of the waters.] 

Up spring the spirits of the waves, 

From the sea-silk beds in their coral caves ; 

With snail-plate armor snatched in haste, 

They speed their way through the liquid waste : 

Some are rapidly borne along 

On the mailed shrimp or the prickly prong, 

Some on the blood-red leeches glide, 

Some on the stony star-fish ride, 

Some on the back of the lancing squab, 

Some on the sideling soldier-crab, 

And some on the jellied quarl, that flings 

At once a thousand streamy stings. 

They cut the wave with the living oar, 

And hurry on to the moonlight shore, 

To guard their realms and chase away 

The footsteps of the invading fay. 

[The activity of the army of the waves is described with much 
vigor.] 

Fearlessly he skims along ; 
His hope is high, and his limbs are strong, 
He spreads his arms like the swallow's wing, 
And throws his feet with a frog-like fling ; 
His locks of gold on the waters shine, 

At his breast the tiny foam-bees rise, 
His back gleams bright above the brine, 

And the wake-line foam behind him lies. 



DRAKE] THE CULPRIT FAY. 269 

But the water-sprites are gathering near 

To check his course along the tide ; 
Their warriors come in swift career 

And hem him round on every side. 
On his thigh the leech has fixed his hold, 
The quarl'8 long arms are round him rolled, 
The prickly prong has pierced his skin, 
And the squab has thrown his javelin, 
The gritty star has rubbed him raw, 
And the crab has struck with his giant claw ; 
He howls with rage, and he shrieks with pain, 
He strikes around, but his blows are vain j 
Hopeless is the unequal fight. 
T^airy ! naught is left but flight. 

He turned him round, and fled amain 

With hurry and dash to the beach again ; 

He twisted over from side to side, 

And laid his cheek to the cleaving tide. 

The strokes of his plunging arms are fleet, * 

And with all his might he flings his feet ; 

But the water-sprites are round him still, 

To cross his path and work him ill. 

They bade the wave before him rise, 

They flung the sea-fire in his eyes, 

And they stunned his ears with the scallop-stroke, 

With the porpoise heave and the drum-fish croak. 

Oh, but a weary wight was he 

When he reached the foot of the dog- wood tree ! 

[Healing his wounds with fairy remedies, he essays the task again, 
this time taking a purple mussel-shell as a boat. The " drop from the 
silver bow" of the darting sturgeon is caught, and the fay gains the 
shore again, triumphant. He now arms for his second emprise. The 
tinning is beautifully described :] 

ii. 23* 



270 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DRAKE 

He put his acorn helmet on ; 

It was plumed of the silk of the thistle-down. 

The corslet plate that guarded his breast 

Was once the wild bee's golden vest ; 

His cloak, of a thousand mingled dyes, 

Was formed of the wings of butterflies ; 

His shield was the shell of a lady-bug queen, 

Studs of gold on a ground of green ; 

And the quivering lance which he brandished bright 

Was the sting of a wasp he had slain in fight. 

Swift he bestrode his fire-fly steed ; 

He bared his blade of the bent-grass blue ; 
He drove his spurs of the cockle-seed, 

And away like a glance of thought he flew, 
To skim the heavens, and follow far 
The fiery trail of the rocket-star. . . . 

Up to the vaulted firmament 

His path the fire-fly courser bent, 

And at every gallop on the wind 

He flung a glittering spark behind : 

He flies like a feather in the blast 

Till the first light cloud in heaven is past. . . 

Up to the cope careering swift, 

In breathless motion fast, 
Fleet as the swallow cuts the drift 

Or the sea-roc rides the blast, 
The sapphire sheet of eve is shot, 

The sphered moon is past, 
The earth but seems a tiny blot 

On a sheet of azure cast. 
Oh, it was sweet, in the clear moonlight, 

To tread the starry plain of even, 



DRAKE] THE CULPRIT FAY. 271 

To meet the thousand eyes of night 

And feel the cooling breath of heaven 1 
But the elfin made no stop or stay 
Till he came to the bank of the milky- way ; 
Then he checked his courser's foot, 
And watched for the glimpse of the planet-shoot. 



[He is successful in his object, and on his return the joyous sprites 
thus welcome him:] 

Ouphe and goblin! imp and sprite! 

Elf of eve ! and starry fay ! 
Ye that love the moon's soft light, 

Hither hither wend your way ; 
Twine ye in a jocund ring, 

Sing and trip it merrily, 
Hand to hand, and wing to wing, 

Bound the wild witch-hazel tree. 

Hail the wanderer again 

With dance and song, and lute and lyre ; 
Pure his wing, and strong his chain, 

And doubly bright his fairy fire. 
Twine ye in an airy round, 

Brush the dew and print the lea ; 
Skip and gambol, hop and bound, 

Bound the wild witch-hazel tree. 

The beetle guards our holy ground ; 

He flies about the haunted place, 
And if mortal there be found 

He hums in his ears and flaps his face ; 
The leaf-harp sounds our roundelay, 

The owlet's eyes our lanterns be : 



272 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITNEY 

Thus we sing, and dance, and play, 
Round the wild witch-hazel tree. 

But hark ! from tower on tree-top high 

The sentry elf his call has made : 
A streak is in the eastern sky. 

Shapes of moonlight ! flit and fade ! 
The hill-tops gleam in morning's spring, 
The skylark shakes his dappled wing, 
The day-glimpse glimmers on the lawn, 
The cock has' crowed, and the fays are gone. 



THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE. 

W. D. WHITNEY. 

[The science of philology, which has elicited so many profound 
and admirable treatises in recent times from the scholars of Europe, 
has also had ardent students in America, whose work bears fair com 
parison with that of their European competitors. Among these Pro 
fessor Whitney stands at the head, his philological labors being nowhere 
surpassed 'n depth, accuracy, and scientific value. We append a short 
extract from his " Language and the Study of Language," mainly 
as illustrative of his style. William Dwight Whitney was born at 
Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1827. His diligent philological labors 
in American and German universities brought him the professorship 
of Sanskrit and comparative philology at Yale College, which he still 
holds. He has written several works and many periodical articles, 
all marked by learning, judgment, and clear insight into his subject.] 

WE may fairly claim, in the first place, that the subject 
has been very greatly simplified, stripped of no small part 
of its difficulty and mystery, by what has already been 
proved as to the history of speech. Did we find no traces 



WHITNEY] THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE. 273 

of a primitive condition of language different from its 
later manifestations, did it appear to us as from the very 
beginning a completely-developed apparatus, of compli 
cated structure, with distinct signs for objects, qualities, 
activities, and abstract conceptions, with its mechanism 
for the due expression of relations, and with a rich vocab 
ulary, then might we well shrink back in despair from 
the attempt to explain its origin, and confess that only a 
miracle could have produced it, that only a superhuman 
agency could have placed it in human possession. But 
we have seen that the final perfection of the noblest lan 
guages has been the result of a slow and gradual devel 
opment, under the impulse of tendencies and through the 
instrumentality of processes which are even yet active in 
every living tongue ; that all this wealth has grown by 
long accumulation out of an original poverty ; and that 
the actual germs of language were a scanty list of form 
less roots, representing a few of the most obvious sensible 
acts and phenomena appearing in ourselves, our fellow- 
creatures, and the nature by which we are surrounded. 
We have now left us only the comparatively easy task 
of satisfying ourselves how men should have come into 
possession of these humble rudiments of speech. 

And our attention must evidently first be directed to 
the inquiry whether those same inventive and shaping 
powers of man which have proved themselves capable of 
creating out of monosyllabic barrenness the rich abun 
dance of inflective speech were not also equal to the task 
of producing the first poor hoard of vocables. There are 
those who insist much on what they are pleased to term 
the divine origin of language ; who think it in some way 
derogatory to the honor of the Creator to deny that he 
devised roots, and words, and, by some miraculous and ex 
ceptional agency, put them ready-made into the mouths 

II. 8 



274 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITNEY 

of the first human beings. Of such we would ask whether, 
after all, language can be in this sense only a divine gift 
to man ; whether the hand of the Creator is any the less 
clearly to be seen, and need be any the less devoutly 
acknowledged, in its production, if we regard man him 
self as having been created with the necessary impulses 
and the necessary capacities for forming language, and 
then as having possessed himself of it through their 
natural and conscious workings. Language, articulate 
speech, is a universal and exclusive characteristic of man ; 
no tribe of human kind, however low, ignorant, and 
brutish, fails to speak; no race of the lower animals, 
however highly endowed, is able to speak : clearly, it was 
just as much a part of the Creator's plan that we should 
talk as that we should breathe, should walk, should eat 
and drink. The only question is, whether we began to 
talk in the same manner as we began to breathe, as our 
blood began to circulate, by a process in which our own 
will had no part ; or, as we move, eat. clothe, and shelter 
ourselves, by the conscious exertion of our natural powers, 
by using our divinely-given faculties for the satisfaction 
of our divinely-implanted necessities. 

That the latter supposition is fully sufficient to account 
for our possession of speech cannot with any show of 
reason be denied. Throughout its whole traceable his 
tory, language has been in the hands of those who have 
spoken it, for manifold modification, for enrichment, for 
adaptation to the varying ends of a varying knowledge 
and experience ; nineteenth-twentieths, at the least, of the 
speech we speak is demonstrably in this sense our own 
work : why should the remaining twentieth be thought 
otherwise? It is but a childish philosophy which can 
see no other way to make out a divine agency in human 
language than by regarding that agency as specially and 



WHITNEY] THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE. 275 

miraculously efficient in the first stage of formation of 
language. We may fairly compare it with the wisdom of 
the little girl who, on being asked who made her, replied, 
" God made me a little baby so high" (dropping her hand 
to within a foot of the floor), " and I grew the rest." The 
power which originates is not to be separated from that 
which maintains and develops : both are one, one in their 
essential nature, one in their general mode of action. We 
might as well claim that the letters of the alphabet, that 
the simple digits, must have been miraculously revealed, 
for elements out of which men should proceed to develop 
systems of writing and of mathematical notation, as that 
the rudiments of spoken speech, the primitive signs of 
mental conceptions, must have had such an origin. 

In short, our recognition of language as an institution, 
as an instrumentality, as no integral system of natural 
and necessary representatives of thought, inseparable 
from thought or spontaneously generated by the mind, 
but, on the contrary, a body of conventional signs, de 
riving their value from the mutual understanding of one 
man with another ; and, farther, our recognition of the 
history of this institution as being not a mere succession 
of changes wrought upon something which still remains 
the same in essential character, but a real development, 
effected by human forces, whose operations we can trace 
and understand, these take away the whole ground on 
which the doctrine of the divine origin of language, as 
formerly held, reposed. The origin of language is divine, 
in the same sense in which man's nature, with all its ca 
pacities and acquirements, physical and moral, is a divine 
creation ; it is human, in that it is brought about through 
that nature, by human instrumentality. 

It is hardly necessary to make any farther reference to 
an objection, already once alluded to, which some minds 



276 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITNEY 

may be tempted to raise against our whole construction 
of the course of linguistic history out of the evidences of 
composition, phonetic corruption, transfer of meaning, and 
the other processes of linguistic growth, which we find in 
all the material of human speech. The inquiry, namely, 
has sometimes been raised, whether it was not perfectly 
possible for the Creator to frame and communicate to 
mortals a primitive language filled with such apparent 
signs of previous development, as well as one which 
should have the aspect of a new creation. Of course, 
must be our reply ; nothing is theoretically impossible to 
Omnipotence : but to suppose that it has pleased God to 
work thus is to make the most violent and inadmissible 
of assumptions, one which imputes to him a wholly de 
grading readiness to trifle with, even to deliberately mis 
lead and deceive, the reason which he has implanted in 
his creatures. It is precisely of a piece with the sugges 
tion once currently thrown out, when the revelations of 
geology were first beginning to be brought to light, that 
fossils and stratifications and such like facts proved noth 
ing; since God, when he made the rocks, could just as 
well have made them in this form and with these con 
tents as otherwise. With men who can seriously argue 
upon such assumptions it is simply impossible to discuss 
a historical question : all the influences of historical sci 
ence are thrown away upon them ; they are capable of be 
lieving that a tree which they have not themselves seen 
spring up from the seed was created whole in the state in 
which they find it, without gradual growth ; or even that 
a house, a watch, a picture, were produced just as they 
are, by the immediate action of almighty power. 

We may here fittingly follow out a little farther an 
analogy more than once suggested in our preceding dis 
cussions, and one which, though some may deem it homely 



WHITNEY] THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE. 277 

and undignified, is genuine and truly illustrative, and there 
fore not wanting in instruction : it is the analogy between 
language and clothing and shelter, as alike results of 
men's needs and men's capacities. Man was not created, 
like the inferior races, with a frame able to bear all the 
vicissitudes of climate to which he should be subjected ; 
nor yet with a natural protective covering of hair or wool, 
capable of adapting itself to the variety of the seasons : 
every human being is born into the world naked and 
cringing, needing protection against exposure and defence 
from shame. Gifted is man, accordingly, with all the 
ingenuity which he requires in order to provide for this 
need, and placed in the midst of objects calculated to 
answer to his requirements, suitable materials for his 
ingenuity to work upon ready to his hand. And hence it 
is hardly less distinctively characteristic of man to be 
clad than to speak; nor is any other animal so univer 
sally housed as he. Clothing began with the simplest 
natural productions, with leaves and bark, with skins of 
wild animals, and the like ; as shelter with a cave, a hole 
in the ground, the hollow of a tree, a nest of interwoven 
branches. But ingenuity and taste, with methods per 
fected and handed down from generation to generation, 
made themselves, more and more, ministers to higher and 
less simple needs : the craving after comfort, ease, variety, 
grace, beauty, sought satisfaction ; and architecture by 
degrees became an art, and dress-making a handicraft, 
each surrounded by a crowd of auxiliary arts and handi 
crafts, giving occupation to no insignificant part of the 
human race, calling into action some of its noblest endow 
ments, and bringing forth forms of elegance and beauty, 
embodiments of conceptions, realizations of ideals, pro 
duced by long ages of cultivation, and capable neither of 
being conceived nor realized until after a protracted course 

TT 24 



278 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITNEY 

of training. So was it also with language. Man was not 
created with a mere gamut of instinctive cries, nor yet 
with a song like the bird's, as the highest expression of 
his love and enjoyment of life: he had wants, and capaci 
ties of indefinite improvement, which could be satisfied 
and developed only through means of speech ; nor was he 
treated by nature with a disappointing and baffling nig 
gardliness in respect to them ; he was furnished also with 
organs of speech, and the power to apply their products 
to use in the formation of language. His first beginnings 
were rude and insufficient, but the consenting labor of 
generations has perfected them, till human thought has 
been clothed in garments measurably worthy of it, and 
an edifice of speech has been erected, grander, more beau 
tiful, and more important to our race than any other 
work whatever of its producing. There are races yet 
living whose scanty needs and inferior capacities have 
given them inferior forms of speech, as there are races 
which have not striven after, or been able to contrive, 
any but the rudest raiment, the meanest shelter. But the 
child now born among us is dressed in the products of 
every continent and every clime, and housed, it may be, 
in an edifice whose rules of construction have come down 
from Egypt and Greece, through generations of archi 
tects and craftsmen ; as he is also taught to express him 
self in words and forms far older than the pyramids, and 
elaborated by a countless succession of thinkers and 
speakers. 

This comparison might profitably be drawn out in yet 
fuller detail, but I forbear to urge it farther, or to call 
attention to any other of the aspects in which it may 
be made to cast light upon the development of speech. 
Enough has been said, as I hope, to make plain that the 
assumption of miraculous intervention, of superhuman 



WHITNEY! THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE. 279 

agency, in the first production of speech, is, so far as 
linguistic science is concerned, wholly gratuitous, called 
for by nothing which is brought to light by our study of 
language and of its relations to the nature and history 
of man. 

It is next of primary and fundamental importance that 
we make clear to ourselves what is the force directly 
and immediately impelling to the production of speech. 
Speech, we know, is composed of external audible signs 
for internal acts, for conceptions, for ideas, taking that 
word in its most general sense. But why create such 
signs? The doctrine, now, is by no means uncommon, 
that thought seeks expression by an internal impulse ; 
that it is even driven to expression by an inward neces 
sity ; that it cannot be thought at all without incorpora 
tion in speech ; that it tends to utterance as the fully- 
matured embryo tends to burst its envelop and to come 
forth into independent life. This doctrine is, in my view, 
altogether erroneous : I am unable to see upon what it 
is founded, if not upon arbitrary assumption, combined 
with a thorough misapprehension of the relation between 
thought and its expression. It is manifestly opposed to 
all the conclusions to which we have been thus far led by 
our inquiries into the nature and office of speech. Speech 
is not a personal possession, but a social ; it belongs, not 
to the individual, but to the member of society. No item 
of existing language is the work of an individual ; for 
what we may severally choose to say is not language 
until it be accepted and employed by our fellows. The 
whole development of speech, though initiated by the 
acts of individuals, is wrought out by the community. 
That is a word, no matter what may be its origin, its 
length, its phonetic form, which is understood in any com 
munity, however limited, as the sign of an idea ; and their 



280 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITNEY 

mutual understanding is the only tie which connects it 
with that idea. It is a sign which each one has acquired 
from without, from the usage of others; and each has 
learned the art of intimating by such signs the internal 
acts of his mind. Mutual intelligibility, we have seen, is 
the only quality which makes the unity of a spoken 
tongue ; the necessity of mutual intelligibility is the only 
force which keeps it one ; and the desire of mutual intel 
ligibility is the impulse which called out speech. Man 
speaks, then, primarily, not in order to think, but in 
order to impart his thought. His social needs, his social 
instincts, force him to expression. A solitary man would 
never frame a language. Let a child grow up in utter 
seclusion, and, however rich and suggestive might be the 
nature around him, however full and appreciative his 
sense of that which lay without and his consciousness of 
that which went on within him, he would all his life re 
main a mute. On the other hand, let two children grow 
up together, wholly untaught to speak, and they would 
inevitably devise, step by step, some means of expression 
for the purpose of communication ; how rudimentary, of 
what slow growth, we cannot tell, and, however interest 
ing and instructive it would be to test the matter by ex 
periment, humanity forbids us ever to hope or desire to 
do so: doubtless the character of the speech produced 
would vary with difference of capacity, with natural or 
accidental difference of circumstances ; but it is incon 
ceivable that human beings should abide long in each 
other's society without efforts, and successful efforts, at in 
telligent interchange of thought. Again, let one who had 
grown up even to manhood among his fellows, in full and 
free communication with them, be long separated from 
them and forced to live in solitude, and he would unlearn 
his native speech by degrees through mere disuse, and be 



WHITNEY] THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE. 281 

found at last unable to converse at all, or otherwise than 
lamely, until he had recovered by new practice his former 
facility of expression. While a Swiss Family Eobinson 
keep up their language, and enrich it with names for all 
the new and strange places and products with which their 
novel circumstances bring them in contact, a Eobinson 
Crusoe almost loses his for lack of a companion with 
whom to employ it. We need not, however, rely for this 
conclusion upon imaginary cases alone. It is a well- 
known fact that children who are deprived of hearing 
even at the age of four or five years, after they have 
learned to speak readily and well, and who are thus cut 
off from vocal communication with those around them, 
usually forget all they had learned, and become as mute 
as if they had never acquired the power of clothing their 
thoughts in words. The internal impulse to expression 
is there, but it is impotent to develop itself and produce 
speech : exclusion from the ordinary intercourse of man 
with man not only thwarts its progress, but renders it 
unable to maintain itself upon the stage at which it had 
already arrived. 

Language, then, is the spoken means whereby thought 
is communicated ; and it is only that. Language is not 
thought, nor is thought language; nor is there a mys 
terious and indissoluble connection between the two, as 
there is between soul and body, so that the one cannot 
exist and manifest itself without the other. There can 
hardly be a greater and more pernicious error, in linguis 
tics or in metaphysics, than the doctrine that language 
and thought are identical. It is, unfortunately, an error 
often committed, both by linguists and by metaphysicians. 
" Man speaks because he thinks," is the dictum out of 
which more than one scholar has proceeded to develop his 
system of linguistic philosophy. The assertion, indeed, is 
ii. 24* 



282 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITNEY 

not only true, but a truism ; no one can presume to claim 
that man would speak if he did not think ; but no fair 
logical process can derive any momentous conclusions from 
so loose a premise. So man would not wear clothes if be 
had not a body; he would not build spinning mules and 
jennies if cotton did not grow on bushes, or wool on sheep's 
backs : yet the body is more than raiment, nor do cotton- 
bushes and sheep necessitate 'wheels and water-power. 
The body would be neither comfortable nor comely, if 
not clad ; cotton and wool would be of little use, but for 
machinery making quick and cheap their conversion into 
cloth; and, in a truly analogous way, thought would be 
awkward, feeble, and indistinct, without the dress, the 
apparatus, which is afforded it in language. Our denial 
of the identity of thought with its expression does not 
compel us to abate one jot or tittle of the exceeding value 
of speech to thought : it only puts that value upon its 
proper basis. 

That thought and speech are not the same is a direct 
and necessary inference, I believe, from more than one of 
the truths respecting language which our discussions have 
already established ; but the high importance attaching to 
a right understanding of the point will justify us in a brief 
review of those truths in their application to it. In the 
first place, we have often had our attention directed to the 
imperfection of language as a full representation of thought. 
Words and phrases are but the skeleton of expression, 
hints of meaning, light touches of a skilful sketcher's pen 
cil, to which the appreciative sense and sympathetic mind 
must supply the filling up and coloring. Our own mental 
acts and states we can review in our consciousness in mi 
nute detail, but we can never perfectly disclose them to 
another by speech ; nor will words alone, with whatever 
sincerity and candor they may be uttered, put us in pos- 



WHITNEY] THE ORIGIN OF LANGUAGE. 283 

session of another's consciousness. In anything but the 
most objective scientific description, or the dryest reason 
ing on subjects the most plain and obvious, we want more 
or less knowledge of the individuality of the speaker or 
writer, ere we can understand him intimately, his style 
of thought and sentiment must be gathered from the to 
tality of our intercourse with him, to make us sure that 
we penetrate to the central meaning of any word he utters; 
and such study may enable us to find deeper and deeper 
significance in expressions that once seemed trivial or 
commonplace. A look or tone often sheds more light upon 
character or intent than a flood of words could do. Humor, 
banter, irony, are illustrations of what tone, or style, or 
perceived incongruity can accomplish in the way of im 
pressing upon words a different meaning from that which 
they of themselves would wear. That language is impo 
tent to express our feelings, though often, perhaps, pleaded 
as a form merely, is also a frequent genuine experience ; 
nor is it for our feelings alone that the ordinary conven 
tional phrases, weakened in their force by insincere and 
hyperbolical use, are found insufficient : apprehensions, 
distinctions, opinions, of every kind, elude our efforts at 
description, definition, intimation. How often must we 
labor, by painful circumlocution, by gradual approach and 
limitation, to place before the minds of others a concep 
tion which is clearly present to our own consciousness! 
How often, when we have the expression nearly complete, 
we miss a single word that we need, and must search for 
it, in our memories or our dictionaries, perhaps not finding 
it in either ! How different is the capacity of ready and 
distinct expression in men whose power of thought is not 
unlike ! he whose grasp of mind is the greatest, whose re 
view of the circumstances that should lead to a judgment 
is most comprehensive and thorough, whose skill of in- 



284 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOWELLS 

ference is most unerring, may be, much more than anothei 
of far weaker gifts, awkward and clumsy of speech. HOTV 
often we understand what one says better than he himself 
says it, and correct his expression, to his own gratification 
and acceptance! And if all the resources of expression 
are not equally at the command of all men of equal men 
tal force and training, so neither are they, at their best, 
adequate to the wealth of conception of him who wields 
them: that would be but a poorly-stored and infertile 
mind which did not sometimes feel the limited capacity 
of language and long for fuller means of expression. 



A DECLARATION OF LOVE. 

W. D. HOWELLS. 

[To understand the following scene, which we extract from " Thts 
Rise of Silas Lapham," one of the most characteristic of Howells's 
novels, some preliminary remarks are needed. Silas Lapham, a rich, 
honest, but unrefined paint-manufacturer, is desirous of gaining an en 
trance for himself, his wife, and his two daughters into the aristocratic 
circles of Boston society. Mainly for this purpose he takes into his 
employment a youthful member of the bluest blood of Boston, with 
whom both the daughters at once fall in love, though one of them 
closely conceals this fact. The other, the beauty of the family, makes 
no secret of her feelings, and has every reason to believe that the 
young man is paying his addresses to her. But he is really in love 
with the plain and witty sister, and astounds her with a declaration of 
his affection in the scene which we give below. Her strange behavior 
is in anticipation of the awkward family complication which she fore 
sees, and of which her lover has no prevision.] 

HE took the chair she gave him, and looked across at 
her, where she sat on the other side of the hearth, in a 
chair lower than his, with her hands dropped in her lap, 



HOWELLS] A DECLARATION OF LOVE. 285 

and the back of her head on her shoulders as she looked 
up at him. The soft-coal fire in the grate purred and 
flickered ; the drop-light cast a mellow radiance on her 
face. She let her eyes fall, and then lifted them for an 
irrelevant glance at the clock on the mantel. 

" Mother and Irene have gone to the Spanish Students' 
concert." 

" Oh, have they ?" asked Corey ; and he put his hat, 
which he had been holding in his hand, on the floor beside 
his chair. 

She looked down at it, for no reason, and then looked 
up at his face, for no other, and turned a little red. Corey 
turned a little red himself. She who had always been so 
easy with him now became a little constrained. 

* Do you know how warm it is out-of-doors ?" he asked. 

" No ; is it warm ? I haven't been out all day." 

" It's like a summer night." 

She turned her face towards the fire, and then started 
abruptly. " Perhaps it's too warm for you here ?" 

" Oh, no ; it's very comfortable." 

" I suppose it's the cold of the last few days that's still 
in the house. I was reading with a shawl on when you 
came." 

" I interrupted you ?" 

" Oh, no. I had finished the book. I was just looking 
over it again." 

" Do you like to read books over ?" 

" Yes ; books that I like at all." 

" What was it ?" asked Corey. 

The girl hesitated. " It has rather a sentimental name. 
Did you ever read it ? ' Tears, Idle Tears.' " 

" Oh, yes ; they were talking of that last night : it's t* 
famous book with ladies. They break their hearts over 
it. Did it make you cry?" 



286 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOWELLS 

" Oh, it's pretty easy to cry over a book." said Penel 
ope, laughing ; " and that one is very natural till you 
come to the main point. Then the naturalness of all the 
rest makes that seem natural too ; but I guess it's rather 
forced." 

" Her giving him up to the other one ?" 

"Yes, simply because she happened to know that the 
other one had cared for him first. Why should she have 
done it ? What right had she ?" 

" I don't know. I suppose that the self-sacrifice " 

" But it wasn't self-sacrifice, or not self-sacrifice alone. 
She was sacrificing him too, and for some one who couldn't 
appreciate him half as much as she could. I'm provoked 
with myself when I think how I cried over that book, 
for I did cry. It's silly it's wicked for any one to do 
what that girl did. Why can't they let people have a 
chance to behave reasonably in stories ?" 

" Perhaps they couldn't make it so attractive," sug 
gested Corey, with a smile.. 

" It would be novel, at any rate," said the girl. " But 
HO it would in real life, I suppose," she added. 

" I don't know. Why shouldn't people in love behave 
sensibly ?" 

" That's a very serious question," said Penelope, gravely. 
" I couldn't answer it." And she left him the embarrass 
ment of supporting an inquiry which she had certainly 
instigated herself. She seemed to have finally recovered 
her own ease in doing this. " Do you admire oui 
autumnal display, Mr. Corey?" 

" Your display ?" 

" The trees in the square. We think it's quite equal to 
an opening at Jordan & Marsh's." 

"Ah, I'm afraid you wouldn't let me be serious even 
about your maples." 



HOWELLS] A DECLARATION OF LOVE. 287 

" Oh, yes, I should, if you like to be serious." 

"Don't you?" 

" Well, not about serious matters. That's the reason 
that book made me cry." 

" You make fun of everything. Miss Irene was telling 
me last night about you." 

" Then it's no use for me to deny it so soon. I must 
give Irene a talking to." 

" I hope you won't forbid her to talk about you !" 

She had taken up a fan from the table, and held it, now 
between her face and the fire, and now between her face 
and him. Her little visage, with that arch, lazy look in 
it, topped by its mass of dusky hair, and dwindling from 
the full cheeks to the small chin, had a Japanese effect in 
the subdued light, and it had the charm which comes to 
any woman with happiness. It would be hard to say how 
much of this she perceived that he felt. They talked 
about other things awhile, and then she came back to 
what he had said. She glanced at him obliquely round 
her fan, and stopped moving it. " Does Irene talk about 
me?" she asked. 

" I think so, yes. Perhaps it's only I who talk about 
you. You must blame me if it's wrong," he returned. 

" Oh, I didn't say it was wrong," she replied. " But I 
hope if you said anything very bad of me you'll let me 
know what it was, so that I can reform " 

" No, don't change, please !" cried the young man. 

Penelope caught her breath, but went on resolutely, 
" or rebuke you for speaking evil of dignities." She 
looked down at the fan, now flat in her lap, and tried to 
govern her hand, but it trembled, and she remained look 
ing down. Again they let the talk stray, and then it was 
he who brought it back to themselves, as if it had not 
left them. 



288 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOWELLS 

" I have to talk of you," said Corey, " because I get to 
talk to you so seldom." 

"You mean that I do all the talking when we're 
together?" She glanced sidewise at him; but she red 
dened after speaking the last word. 

" We're so seldom together," he pursued. 

" I don't know what you mean " 

"Sometimes I've thought I've been afraid that you 
avoided me." 

" Avoided you ?" 

" Yes ! Tried not to be alone with me." 

She might have told him that there was no reason why 
she should be alone with him, and that it was very 
strange he should make this complaint of her. But she 
did not. She kept looking down at the fan, and then she 
lifted her burning face and looked at the clock again. 
"Mother and Irene will be sorry to miss you," she 
gasped. 

He instantly rose and came towards her. She rose too, 
and mechanically put out her hand. He took it as if to 
say good-night. " I didn't mean to send you away," she 
besought him. 

" Oh, I'm not going," he answered, simply. " I wanted 
to say to say that it's I who make her talk about you 

to say I There is something I want to say to you ; 

I've said it so often to myself that I feel as if you must 
know it." She stood quite still, letting him keep her 
hand, and questioning his face with a bewildered gaze. 
" You must know she must have told you she must 

have guessed " Penelope turned white, but outwardly 

quelled the panic that sent the blood to her heart. " I 
I didn't expect I hoped to have seen your father but I 
must speak now, whatever I love you !" 

She freed her hand from both of those he had closed 



HOWELLS] A DECLARATION OF LOVE. 289 

upon it, and went back from him across the room with a 
flinuous spring. "Me /" Whatever potential complicity 
.had lurked in her heart, his words brought her only 
immeasurable dismay. 

He came towards her again. " Yes, you. Who else ?" 

She fended him off with an imploring gesture. " I 
thought I it was " 

She shut her lips tight, and stood looking at him where 
lie remained in silent amaze. Then her words came again, 
shudderingly. " Oh, what have you done ?" 

" Upon my soul," he said, with a vague smile, " I don't 
know. I hope no harm ?" 

"Oh, don't laugh!" she cried, laughing hysterically 
herself. " Unless you want me to think you the greatest 
wretch in the world !" 

" I ?" he responded. " For heaven's sake, tell me what 
you mean !" 

" You know I can't tell you. Can you say can you 
put your hand on your heart and say that you say you 
never meant that you meant me all along ?" 

"Yes! yes! Who else? I came here to see youi 
father, and to tell him that I wished to tell you this to 

ask him But what does it matter ? You must have 

known it you must have seen and it's for you to answer 
me. I've been abrupt, I know, and I've startled you ; but, 
if you love me, you can forgive that to my loving you so 
long before I spoke." 

She gazed at him with parted lips. 

"Oh, mercy! What shall I do ? If it's true what 
you say you must go !" she said. " And you must never 
come any more. Do you promise that ?" 

" Certainly not," said the young man. " Why should I 
promise such a thing so abominably wrong? I could 

obey if you didn't love me " 

ii. N t 25 



290 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOWELLS 

" Oh, I don't ! Indeed I don't ! Now will you obey ?" 

" No. I don't believe you." 

" Oh !" 

He possessed himself of her hand again. 

" My love my dearest ! What is this trouble, that you 
can't tell it ? It can't be anything about yourself. If it 
is anything about any one else, it wouldn't make the least 
difference in the world, no matter what it was. I would 
be only too glad to show by any act or deed I could that 
nothing could change me towards you." 

" Oh, you don't understand !" 

" No, I don't. You must tell me." 

" I will never do that." 

" Then I will stay here till your mother comes, and ask 
her what it is." 

" Ask her ?" 

" Yes ! Do you think I will give you up till I know why 
I must ?" 

" You force me to it ! Will you go if I tell you, and 
never let any human creature know what you have said 
to me?" 

" Not unless you give me leave.' 

" That will be never. Well, then " She stopped, 

and made two or three ineffectual efforts to begin again. 
" No, no ! I can't. You must go !" 

"I will not go!" 

" You said you loved me. If you do, you will go." 

He dropped the hands he had stretched towards her, 
and she hid her face in her own. 

" There !" she said, turning it suddenly upon him. " Sit 
down there. And will you promise me on your honor 
not to speak not to try to persuade me not to touch 
me ? You won't touch me ?" 

" I will obey you, Penelope." 



HOWKLLS] A DECLARATION OF LOVE. 201 

" As if you were never to see me again ? As if I were 
dying ?" 

" I will do what you say. But I shall see you again , 
and don't talk of dying. This is the beginning of life " 

"No. It's the end," said the girl, resuming at last 
something of the hoarse drawl which the tumult of her 
feeling had broken into those half-articulate appeals. She 
sat down too, and lifted her face towards him. " It's the 
end of life for me, because I know now that I must have 
been playing false from the beginning. You don't know 
what I mean, and I can never tell you. It isn't my secret ; 
it's some one else's. You you must never come here 
again. I can't tell you why, and you must never try to 
know. Do you promise ?" 

" You can forbid me. I must do what you say." 

" I do forbid you, then. And you shall not think I am 
cruel " 

" How could I think that ?" 

" Oh, how hard you make it !" 

Corey laughed for very despair. " Can I make it easier 
by disobeying you ?" 

" I know I am talking crazily. But I'm not crazy." 

" No, no," he said, with some wild notion of comforting 
her ; " but try to tell me this trouble ! There is nothing 
under heaven no calamity, no sorrow that I wouldn't 
gladly share with you, or take all upon myself if I 
could!" 

" I know ! But this you can't. Oh, my " 

" Dearest ! Wait \ Think ! Let me ask your mother 
your father " 

She gave a cry. 

" No ! If you do that, you wilt make me hate you ! 
Will you " 

The rattling of a latch-key was heard in the outer door 



292 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DARBY 

" Promise !" cried Penelope. 

" Oh, I promise !" 

"Good-by!" She suddenly flung her arms round his 
neck, and, pressing her cheek tight against his, flashed 
out of the room by one door as her father entered it by 
another. 



LIFE IN BRUSHLAND. 

JOHN DARBY. 

["John Darby" is the nom-de-plume assumed by Dr. James E. 
Irarretson, a physician of Philadelphia, who has made the charms and 
advantages of country life the basis of several enthusiastic works. 
" Brushland," as will appear from our selection, is the sandy-soiled 
and forest-covered region of Southern New Jersey, at first sight seeming 
utterly unfitted for agriculture, yet which has proved remarkably pro 
lific in the growth of the vine, small fruits, and "garden-truck" in 
general. It has become a very important source of fruit and vege 
table supply to the two great neighboring cities of New York and 
Philadelphia, while German cultivators have succeeded in making parts 
of it a veritable " American Khine.." The following description of its 
two main vine-growing districts may be of interest to our readers.] 

IF the author of the "Deserted Tillage" be right in 
his assertion that "every rood of ground maintained its 
man," these Jersey barrens are capable of affording sup 
port to all the unemployed of the United States. Let 
the rood be changed for a twenty-acre farm, and homes 
are to be found in them for all the houseless in the two 
great cities bordering the region. 

Jersey brush is not a home in itself: quite the contrary. 
Many is the man who has come to grief amid its scrub- 
oaks. Many another will lay down the budget of his 
hopes among its brambles and briers, cursing the fate that 



DARBY] LIFE IN BRUSHLAND. 293 

led him to what he is to find a dreary disappointment. 
To flourish in Brushland is to carry into it common sense 
and energy. To starve in its woods is not to take into 
them judgment and industry. The man who would make 
for himself amid Brushland cheapness the results of Jo- 
hannisberg must be sure that, in locating his vine-hill, he 
buys red clay and gravel. He who would have a vintage 
smacking of the bouquet that lives about the Chateau- 
Margaux must not be uncertain as to the percentage of 
potash, iron, and soluble silicates to be analyzed from his 
Roil. 

Eeminded of wine-growing is to recall many pleasant 
experiences enjoyed with the growers. Egg Harbor and 
Yineland are the regions of this most delightful industry. 
The possibility of the whole brush country for the profit 
able raising of the vine, and of fruit generally, is some 
thing that home-seekers might wisely consider. Certainly 
it is the case that here growing weather comes earliest 
and stays latest. Undeniably, a seed dropped in the 
ground is sure to come to something if the ghost of a 
chance be allowed it. It happened the writer on an 
occasion to be invited to meet in the brush a commission 
of gentlemen appointed by the Legislature of New Jersey 
to make explorations of a character similar to some en 
gaging at the time his own attention. The day of meeting 
was a hot one, and after a long morning spent in digging 
out specimens of soil and in detouring here and there 
through trackless places, a ride was proposed to what, 
again using Carlyle's word, and adding to it, we will call 
" Weissnichtwozweitens." Assuredly, as one at least of 
the party was concerned, it was a ride having no objective 
point, but influenced solely by the accidents of roads that 
might be met with. It was certainly a narrow way in 
which we found ourselves immediately on leaving the 
ii. 25* 



294 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DARBY 

street of the village, so narrow as to beget at once the 
thought "Suppose we meet somebody?" Where did the 
road lead ? To see the most of the particular locality was 
the special object ; plenty of time was just then at the 
author's command. Where the single track went was not 
a matter of the slightest consequence ; it led somewhere, 
that was enough. 

What a surprise when a sudden turn in the road showed 
an ending of the brush, introducing a scene fair as e} r e 
could desire to look on ! Flatness was lost in undulation ; 
sterility replaced by fruitfulness. Along the sides of many 
hills of gentle elevation were seen the dressers tying up 
their vines. From every direction came songs from the 
lips of the workers, borne by a hazy atmosphere. The 
scene was not at all American. It was an involuntary 
motion of the eye that turned to look for the Eheinfluss. 
Vineyards in every direction. Houses exhibiting both 
means and taste. Here, perched on the top of the highest 
hill, a beer-brewery. One place, beautiful as a picture, 
showed a garden filled with long tables; evidently a 
pleasure-resort ; German, very German ; one on taking a 
seat would unconsciously have given his order in the 
Sprache des Vaterlandes. But the people to fill up these 
long tables ; where did the convivial ists come from ? Who 
could manage to find so out-of-the-way an Anpflanzung ? 

Turning up a lane, bordered on either side by rows of 
vines, our excursion found a terminus before what, at first 
eight, might readily enough have been mistaken for a 
house-roof lying upon the ground. This, however, was a 
wine-vault, the roof acting the part of a water-shed. 

It is not to qualify the hearty welcome given our little- 
party by any reference to the official character associated 
with it. The proprietor represented his vines, the vines 
expressed the proprietor. There was plenty of wine, 



DARBY] LIFE IN BRUSHLAND. 295 

there were plenty of vintages. " Would we inspect the 
vault ?" 

And we did inspect the vault ; we inspected the wine ; 
and as well we inspected the vintages. From sixty-eight 
to seventy-eight ; ten glorious gatherings poured into 
casks from the wine-bottles hung by God's creative power 
on the vines of the hill -side. It is our misfortune never 
to have been in Leipsic, consequently we have never sat 
among the mould-covered barrels where Faust sat. Here, 
however, was an Auerbach's in the woods. Over the bar 
rels were inches of mould ; over the walls were dark stains 
made by the flare of lamp and torch. The vault we were 
in is an oblong square, pillars of masonry supporting the 
roof at short intervals. In entering it we had passed 
through a small trap in the floor of the roof. Looking 
up from below, this floor-roof impressed us as being of 
stone. The barrels, of which there was row after row, 
were piled one upon the other, reaching almost to the 
ceiling. ISTo attempt seemed to have been made to keep 
them free from mould, cask after cask lying in a union 
which appeared not to have been disturbed for years. 
What the value of mould is in a wine-vault was not 
known to any of the visiting inspectors ; that, however, 
it is a something to be cherished and valued by the vint 
ner is a matter of which our entertainer did not leave us 
in doubt. In a picture of this same vault, shown in a 
little book published by the Camden & Atlantic Railway 
Company, the walls are painted white, and the place 
throughout is as light as a mid-day sun might possibly 
make it ; in reality, it is a cave full of twilight and of 
weird imaginations, and so full, withal, of ghostly hiding- 
places, that were it not that Goethe has so plainly and 
irrefutably exhibited that Mephistopheles differs nothing 
in his habits from a modern gentleman, one wouM incline. 



296 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DARBY 

when in it, to keep his wits about him out of fear of tho 
devil. 

" Sixty-eight," said the host, flowing into half a dozen 
glasses the holdings of a self-acting pump. Sixty-eight 
was drunk and pronounced excellent. " Sixty -nine !" 
Sixty-nine was a welcome draught. " Seventy !" " Sev 
enty-one! Seventy -two! Seventy -three!" Seventy- 
three needed a lesson for its appreciation. " So," said the 
vintner, putting a teaspoonful of the wine into his mouth 
and drawing bubbles of air through it. Half a dozen 
mouths received half a dozen teaspoonsful and made bub 
bles. This idea was new ; the result carried the day ; the 
declaration for the Franklin '73 was unanimous. 

" Jolhink!" said the vintner, brimming the pump with 
what evidently was his peculiar predilection. To see the 
expression of triumph on the face of the grower was to 
find reflected on one's self the flame of his enthusiasm. 
Did he feel a shade of disappointment that the Franklin 
'73 held the day ? One, at least, of the tasters must ex 
cuse the preference, in that he judged by tan nates and 
ferrum rather than by palate and nostril. Perhaps, how 
ever, after all, it was the result of a first experience at 
bubble-making. 

The door, as stated, through which our party had en- 
tered the place, was a small trap cut in the water-shed. 
Until after the trial of the vintages, when we came more 
leisurely to look about, it had not happened to any of us 
to inquire after a more roomy means of egress. The 
great tuns constituting the ground-floor of vessels cer 
tainly had never been brought through the trap, or if, as 
suggested by one of the party, an incoming had been in 
the shape of staves, how was there to be an outgoing in 
the form of hogsheads? Six speculating inquirers had 
repeated before them the problem of the English King : 



DARBY] LIFE IN BRUSHLAND. 297 

here was another dumpling with. an apple inside. How 
is an apple "got inside of a dumpling ? It was an attend 
ant, who had not partaken of the vintages, that somewhat 
later pointed out a door in one of the sides of the vault 
quite big enough to pass a brewer's distributing*- wagon. 

Auerbach's cellar had not only Mephistopheles, but as 
well its poet. But not Leipsic alone is the home of 
the muse. There, in the very midst of Jersey brush, 
in a gloomy vault under ground, Inspiration was found 
among wine-barrels, and Reflection, arms akimbo, sitting 
surrounded by mould. Poetry is not necessarily rhyme, 
nor is philosophy compulsorily long-drawn words. Who 
had composed the bars and who written the lines which 
the flare of the torch showed on the walls of a recess in 
which we found ourselves? One familiar with German 
might not fail to understand that the composition had 
been thought out in that tongue, and afterwards put into 
a language less familiar to the thinker. Whether it was 
the wine that had been drunk, the rich, full, adagio-timed 
voice of our host, or whether the vein of philosophy 
struck a responsive chord, it matters not to consider. 
JSTever was song or chant greeted more rapturously ; never 
certainly has that fungus-lined old cellar echoed with 
heartier encore. 

The writer would, like to put back into their native 
tongue the words chanted in the wine-vault. He would 
like to telephone into the ear of the reader the rich sturdi- 
ness of the voice that sang. He would like to mellow a 
critic's heart with draughts of the Franklin '73. More 
even than this : he would like that his reader might enjoy 
with him the associations that are, even at this moment, 
about him, of Weissnichtwozweitens. Divested of the 
frame of its charms, here follows what the wine-grower 
sang to his guests : 



298 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

" Here among my wine-barrels will I reflect on the meaning of evils 
escaped by me ; evils which lie in wait for dwellers in great cities. 

" Here, where it is never too hot or too cold, will I rest in thankful 
ness of my good ; good which is the heritage of him who eschews bad. 

"Here, distraction far removed from me, will I pause in my work 
to consider of wine ; wine, which while it cheers and lifts up, as well 
scourges and pulls down. 

"Here, beneath the face of the ground, will I consider of running 
streams ; streams which the God gives me in form of wine for my 
barrels. 

" I will account that I am not the maker but the gatherer of in 
spired water; water wherein is yearly repeated the miracle of the 
marriage-feast. 

" I will take to my heart consciousness that the God can do no evil ; 
evil I will teach myself to understand as the abuse of good. 

" I will join in no foolish hue and cry against the meaning of wine ; 
wine, when vilified, is as slops thrown in the face of its maker. 

" Leipsic I will not regret ; my vineyard shall be my Leipsic : 
Leipsic where if there be no Faust there is no Mephistopheles. 

"World! world! What is a man's world but his mind? Mind, 
which in its wisdom or folly makes or unmakes. 

" Toast ! I hold high the brimming beaker for a toast to the God : 
God who beautifies, but who denies not to man the power to desolate." 

Experiences quite as strange as those of the city are met 
with in the brush. Among those same vineyards of the 
Egg Harbor region the writer stopped on one occasion to 
ask for a draught of water, when a plainly-dressed dame 
presented the pitcher, who was found familiar with all. 
the modern languages of Southern Europe, and who, in 
her day, had called down the plaudits of so critical an 
audience as assembles in the Grand Opera-House at Milan. 
From Italy to the Jersey barrens is a long distance, but 
the lady seemed to have no regret for the change. It was 
a generous and delicious refreshment, not of water, but 



DARBY] LIFE IN BRVSHLAND. 299 

of wine, that was given by the retired prima donna, and 
it was bestowed with a grace not unbecoming a queen of 
song. An interview with the lady's husband showed a 
spouse not unworthy so accomplished a wife. There was 
limping and halting among the Latin and German verbs 
with which we endeavored to make ourselves understood, 
the one by the other ; the lameness was not, however, on 
the part of the farmer. 

But to find the odd things and oddities of the barrens 
go to Vineland. Miss Duhring, in her charming book, 
" Philosophers and Fools," classifies the articles. At 
Yineland she would be at fault. I am not at all prepared 
to commit myself as to the residents. I think them phi 
losophers ; people generally do not agree with me. At 
Yineland are found the men who grow long hair, and the 
women who cut it short ; males who wear petticoats, and 
females who have made the exchange for trousers. There 
is, about the locality, a monstrous amount of sense or 
nonsense. One paying his fare in the cars can go and see, 
deciding for himself. 

Searching for entertainment, I had over and again been 
in Yineland. To this day no one there knows my name. 
I stop and gossip with the specimen who has woman's 
rights at her tongue's end. She is a Yankee, you may be 
sure ; she " wants to know," she pronounces how " heow." 
She sniifs the air of the clouds when I inadvertently drop 
a word about the lord of creation. Dr. So-and-So, name 
unknown, not he, but a she, going by upon a wall-eyed 
horse, never mind the position, stops to learn the row ; 
the row is all on one side. I put the women by the ears 
and draw oif to a neighboring lot where Jonathan is 
framing a good-sized dry-goods-box kind of structure, 
designed to accommodate a front door and a pair of green- 
painted window-shutters. 



300 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DARBY 

I have had many a good talk with Jonathan, and have 
learned many valuable facts from him. He knows every 
thing. You can tell him nothing. Unfortunately, he 
knows too much. He sets up his packing-box too often 
upon the sand, mistaking it for rock. His sanguinity is 
refreshing. Although his ten-acre lot is only a brush- 
heap, next year he is to dig dollars out of it. You need 
not" suggest a market for this, or sale for that ; what he is 
after is strawberries. He expects to show after a " spell" 
a " tarnal site" better specimen of the fruit than Middle 
States people ever read about or " beared tell on." " He'll 
do it ; by the eternal Jehosbaphat he will." 

A curious place, truly. I am in earnest when I suggest 
that the people may be philosophers. Assuredly it would 
not be easy to find a region where so much is got out of 
so little. The settlement is a plain counting thousands 
of acres. Where drains are required you find ditches. 
Where fences are ordinarily used law is made to take 
their place. Yines and trees skirt the road-side. Fruit 
hangs over your head as you pass along. Nobody steals. 

The crates of berries sent by this community to the 
markets of the two great equidistant cities of Philadelphia 
and New York are fully fabulous as to number ; tons is 
what the people count their produce by. Besides raising 
the berries they make the boxes. Go to Yineland to learn 
economy. A shaving from a hoop-pole is made to sur 
round a quart of fruit. A pumpkin is hung up to dry, a 
dead tomato-vine saving the price of string. A boy's winter 
cap comes off a squirrel's back. A girl's summer head-gear 
is the twisting and twining of leaves and flowers. 

Not all the houses of Yineland are up-ended dry-goods 
boxes. Some are large. A few are very tasteful. The 
centre of the colony is a street a mile in length. Ambi 
tious stores have already commenced a process of dete- 



DARBY] LIFE IN J3RUSHLAND. 301 

rioration by hanging in their windows the fashion-plates 
of the day. From a fashion-plate to a woman's shoulders 
is not a long distance. From a Paris dress to extreme 
feminity is a shorter distance. Go soon if you want to 
see the woman in pantaloons. ... 

Discoursing of Yineland reminds of a place some few 
miles below it. There is a certain station squat down upon 
a sand-hill ; squat expresses the impression produced. 
That is all about the station. You leave the cars there. 

This brushland region is full of cedar-water streams. 
Cedar- water in its purity ! Do not set up your judgment 
on water until you have seen and tasted that found in the 
cedar regions of the Jersey barrens. Black, cold, sweet, 
it is unlike all -the fluids of the earth. Its blackness is 
not opacity, it is transparency. Obstruct its running by 
a handful of pebbles, and you have the peculiar sparkle 
of a diamond. Drink it, or perhaps it is the air you 
breathe in connection with the drink, and you are lifted 
up by some exhilaration unfelt ever before. Not very far 
from the station referred to' is a stream of this cedar- 
water that well deserves a poet's pen to write its praise. 
By the arbored banks of the runnel Hygeia may be as 
sumed to have set up one of her trysting-places. One 
stretches himself in the shade of the dense foliage, won 
dering if accident has not revealed to him the hiding- 
place of the fountain searched for so vainly and so long 
by Ponce de Leon. The place is not, however, without 
its drawback. 

" Mosquitoes !" 

I have been there often, and have yet to meet one. 
The drawback is getting to it. Tf you hire a wagon and 
ride, the road breaks you up. Bump, bump : a set of 
axles is good for one trip. To walk is well ; only ycu are 
not to have ankles too susceptible to the depressing in- 
ii. 26 



302 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SPARKS 

fluence of water-soaked pantaloon-legs. It waa an idea 
once seriously entertained by the writer to build for him 
self a summer box at the site of the beautiful stream, an 
idea which would undoubtedly have had a fruition had it 
not been for fear of an accidental spark from a passing 
locomotive, or of an ash carelessly thrown aside from a 
tramp's pipe. Not unique, it is yet anomalous, that here, 
within a stone-throw of a health-and-pleasure-seeking pop 
ulation, passing and repassing almost hourly to and from 
the sea, a place so beautiful exists known alone to the 
dryads and to a few peregrinating loiterers. Some time 
it will be discovered by Boniface; some time the sweet 
water will be polluted by beer-dregs. 



THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 

JARED SPARKS. 

[Jared Sparks, a distinguished biographer and historian, was born 
in Connecticut in 1789. He became a minister of the Unitarian de 
nomination in 1819. From 1823 to 1830 he was editor of the North 
American Review. His first biographical work was the " Life of John 
Ledyard" (1829). But his most important production in this field is 
" The Life and Writings of George Washington," in twelve volumes, a 
work which Griswold characterizes as " in all respects as nearly perfect 
as possible." He edited the complete works of Franklin, and wrote 
a large number of biographical essays. For several years before his 
death in 1866 he is said to have been engaged on a History of the 
American Revolution. As a writer he had an attractive style, and 
was very accurate, impartial, and exhaustive.] 

THE causes of the Revolution, so fertile a theme of 
speculation, are less definite than have been imagined 



SPARKS] THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 303 

The whole series of colonial events was a continued and 
accumulating cause. The spirit was kindled in England ; 
it went with Robinson's congregation to Holland ; it 
landed with them at Plymouth ; it was the basis of the 
first constitution of these sage and self-taught legislators ; 
it never left them nor their descendants. It extended to 
the other colonies, where it met with a kindred impulse, 
was nourished in every breast, and became rooted in the 
feelings of the whole people. 

The Eevolution was a change of forms, but not of sub 
stance ; the breaking of a tie, but not the creation of a 
principle; the establishment of an independent nation, 
but not the origin of its intrinsic political capacities. 
The foundations of society, although unsettled for the 
moment, were not essentially disturbed ; its pillars were 
shaken, but never overthrown. The convulsions of war 
subsided, and the people found themselves, in their local 
relations and customs, their immediate privileges and en 
joyments, just where they had been at the beginning. 
The new forms transferred the supreme authority from 
the King and Parliament of Great Britain to the hands 
of the people. This was a gain, but not a renovation ; a 
security against future encroachments, but not an exemp 
tion from any old duty, nor an imposition of any new 
one, farther than that of being at the trouble to govern 
themselves. 

Hence the latent cause of what has been called a revo 
lution was the fact that the political spirit and habits in 
America had waxed into a shape so different from those 
in England that it was no longer convenient to regulate 
them by the same forms. In other words, the people had 
grown to be kings, and chose to exercise their sovereign 
prerogatives in their own way. Time alone would have 
effected the end, probably without so violent an explosion, 



304 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SPARKS 

had it not been hastened by particular events, which may 
be denominated the proximate causes. 

These took their rise at the close of the French War, 
twelve years before the actual contest began. Believed 
from future apprehensions of the French power on the 
frontiers, the colonists now had leisure to think of them 
selves, of their political affairs, their numbers, their United 
States. At this juncture, the most inauspicious possible 
for the object in view, the precious device of taxing the 
colonies was resorted to by the British ministry, which, 
indeed, had been for some time a secret scheme in the 
cabinet, and had been recommended by the same saga 
cious governor of Yirginia who found the people in such 
a republican way of acting that he could not manage them 
to his purpose. 

The fruit of this policy was the Stamp Act, which has 
been considered a primary cause; and it was so, in the 
same sense that a torch is the cause of a conflagration, 

O 

kindling the flame, but not creating the combustible 
materials. Effects then became causes, and the trium 
phant opposition to this tax was the cause of its being 
renewed on tea and other articles, not so much, it was 
avowed, for the amount of revenue it would yield, as to 
vindicate the principle that Parliament had a right to tax 
the colonies. The people resisted the act, and destroyed 
the tea, to show that they likewise had a principle, for 
which they felt an equal concern. 

By these experiments on their patience, and theue 
struggles to oppose them, their confidence was increased, 
as the tree gains strength at its root by the repeated 
blasts of the tempest against its branches. From this 
time a mixture of causes was at work: the pride of 
power, the disgrace of defeat, the arrogance of office, on 
the one hand ; a sense of wrong, indignant feeling, and 



SPARKS] THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. 305 

enthusiasm for liberty, on the other. These were second 
ary, having slight connection with the first springs of 
the Revolution, or the pervading force by which it was 
kept up, although important filaments in the net-work of 
history. 

The acts of the Eevolution derive dignity and interest 
from the character of the actors and the nature and mag 
nitude of the events. It has been remarked that in all 
great political revolutions men have arisen possessed of 
extraordinary endowments adequate to the exigency of 
the time. It is true enough that such revolutions, or 
any remarkable and continued exertions of human power, 
must be brought to pass by corresponding qualities in the 
agents j but whether the occasion makes the men, or men 
the occasion, may not always be ascertained with exact 
ness. In either case, however, no period has been adorned 
with examples more illustrious, or more perfectly adapted 
to the high destiny awaiting them, than that of the Amer 
ican Eevolution. 

Statesmen were at hand, who, if not skilled in the art 
of governing empires, were thoroughly imbued with the 
principles of just government, intimately acquainted with 
the history of former ages, and, above all, with the con 
dition, sentiments, and feelings of their countrymen. If 
there were no Eichelieus nor Mazarins, no Cecils nor 
Chathams, in America, there were men who, like The- 
mistocles, knew how to raise a small state to glory ana 
greatness. 

The eloquence and the internal counsels of the Old 
Congress were never recorded ; we know them only in 
their results ; but that assembly, with no other power than 
that conferred by the suffrage of the people, with no other 
influence than that of their public virtue and talents, and 
without precedent to guide their deliberations, unsup- 
ii. u 26* 



306 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS 

ported even by the arm of law or of ancient usages, 
that assembly levied troops, imposed taxes, and for years 
not only retained the confidence and upheld the civil 
existence of a distracted country, but carried through a 
perilous war under its most aggravating burdens of sacri 
fice and suffering. Can we imagine a situation in which 
were required higher moral courage, more intelligence 
and talent, a deeper insight into human nature and the 
principles of social and political organizations, or, indeed, 
any of those qualities which constitute greatness of char 
acter in a statesman ? See, likewise, that work of wonder, 
the Confederation, a union of independent states, con 
structed in the very heart of a desolating war, but with 
a beauty and strength, imperfect as it was, of which the 
ancient leagues of the Amphictyons, the AchsBans, the 
Lycians, and the modern Confederacies of Germany, Hol 
land, Switzerland, afford neither exemplar nor parallel. 

In their foreign affairs these same statesmen showed no 
less sagacity and skill, taking their stand boldly in the 
rank of nations, maintaining it there, competing with the 
tactics of practised diplomacy, and extorting from the 
powers of the world not only the homage of respect, but 
the proffers of friendship. 

The American armies, compared with the embattled 
legions of the Old World, were small in numbers, but the 
soul of a whole people centred in the bosom of these more 
than Spartan bands, and vibrated quickly and keenly with 
every incident that befell them, whether in the feats of 
valor or the acuteness of their sufferings. The country 
was one wide battle-field, in which not merely the life- 
blood, but the dearest interests, the sustaining hopes, of 
every individual, were at stake. It was not a war of 
pride and ambition between monarchs, in which an island 
or a province . might be the award of success; it was a 



HILLHOUSE] INTERVIEW OF HAD AD AND TAMAR. 307 

contest for personal liberty and civil rights, coming down 
in its principles to the very sanctuary of home and the 
fireside, and determining for every man the measure of 
responsibility he should hold over his own condition, pos 
sessions, and happiness. The spectacle was grand and 
new, and may well be cited as the most glowing page in 
the annals of progressive man. 



INTERVIEW OF HADAD AND TAMAR. 

J. A. HILLHOUSE. 

[James A. Hillhouse was born in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1789. 
His first poem, "The Judgment, a Vision," appeared in 1812. He 
afterwards wrote three dramas, entitled " Percy's Masque," " Hadad," 
and " Demetria," which have been much admired. He died in 1841. 
"We select a portion of a scene from " Hadad." This drama is based on 
the assumed former intercourse between man and spirits, good and bad. 
Hadad is a fallen angel, in the guise of a Syrian prince, who visits 
Jerusalem in the time of King David and falls in love with Tamar, 
the sister of Absalom. As will be seen from our extract, the success 
of the suit of the seeming heathen prince is made dependent upon his 
conversion to a belief in Jehovah.] 

The garden of ABSALOM'S house on Mount Zion, near the palace, over 
looking the city. TAMAR sitting by a fountain. 

Tarn. How aromatic evening grows ! The flowers 
And spicy shrubs exhale like onycha ; 
Spikenard and henna emulate in sweets. 
Blest hour ! which He, who fashioned it so fair, 
So softly glowing, so contemplative, 
Hath set, and sanctified to look on man. 
And lo ! the smoke of evening sacrifice 



308 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HILLHOUSE 

Ascends from out the tabernacle. Heaven, 
Accept the expiation, and forgive 
This day's offences ! Ha ! the wonted strain, 
Precursor of his coming ! Whence can this 
It seems to flow from some unearthly hand 

[Enter HAD AD.] 

Had. Does beauteous Tamar view, in this clear fount, 
Herself, or heaven ? 

Tarn. Nay, Hadad, tell me whence 
Those sad, mysterious sounds. 

Had. What sounds, dear princess ? 

Tarn. Surely, thou know'st ; and now I almost think 
Some spiritual creature waits on thee. 

Had. I heard no sounds, but such as evening sends 
Up from the city to these quiet shades ; 
A blended murmur sweetly harmonizing 
With flowing fountains, feathered minstrelsy, 
And voices from the hills. 

Tarn. The sounds I mean 
Floated like mournful music round my head, 
From unseen fingers. 

Had. When? 

Tarn. Now, as thou earnest. 

Had. 'Tis but thy fancy, wrought 
To ecstasy; or else thy grandsire's harp 
Eesounding from his tower at eventide. 
I've lingered to enjoy its solemn tones, 
Till the broad moon, that rose o'er Olivet, 
Stood listening in the zenith ; yea, have deemed 
Viols and heavenly voices answered him. 

Tarn. But these 

Had. Were we in Syria, I might say 
The Naiad of the fount, or some sweet Nymph, 



HILLHOUSE] INTERVIEW OF HAD AD AND TAMAR. 309 

The goddess of these shades, rejoiced in thee, 
And gave thee salutations ; but I fear 
Judah would call me infidel to Moses. 

Tarn. How like my fancy ! When these strains precede 
Thy steps, as oft they do, I love to think 
Some gentle being who delights in us 
Is hovering near, and warns me of thy coming , 
T3ut they are dirge-like. 

Had. Youthful fantasy, 

Attuned to sadness, makes them seem so, lady. 
So evening's charming voices, welcomed ever, 
As signs of rest and peace, the watchman's call, 
The closing gates, the Levite's mellow trump, 
Announcing the returning moon, the pipe 
Of swains, the bleat, the bark, the housing-bell, 
Send melancholy to a drooping soul. 

Tarn. But how delicious are the pensive dreams 
That steal upon the fancy at their call ! 

Had. Delicious to behold the world at rest. 
Meek labor wipes his brow, and intermits 
The curse, to clasp the younglings of his cot ; 
Herdsmen and shepherds fold their flocks, and hark! 
What merry strains they send from Olivet ! 
The jar of life is still ; the city speaks 
In gentle murmurs ; voices chime with lutes 
Waked in the streets and gardens ; loving pairs 
Eye the red west in one another's arms ; 
And nature, breathing dew and fragrance, yields 
A glimpse of happiness, which He, who formed 
Earth and the stars, had power to make eternal. 

Tarn. Ah, Hadad, meanest thou to reproach the Friend 
Who gave so much, because he gave not all ? 

Had. Perfect benevolence, methinks, had willed 
Unceasing happiness, and peace, and joy ; 



310 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HILLHOUSE 

Filled the whole universe of human hearts 
With pleasure, like a flowing spring of life. 

Tarn. Our Prophet teaches so, till man's rebellion. 

Had. Eebellion ! Had he 'leaguered Heaven itself 
With beings powerful, numberless, and dreadful, 
Mixed onset 'midst the lacerating hail, 
And snake-tongued thunderbolts, that hissed and stung 
Worse than eruptive mountains, this had fallen 
Within the category. But what did man ? 
Tasted an apple! and the fragile scene, 
Eden, and innocence, and human bliss, 
The nectar-flowing streams, life-giving fruits, 
Celestial shades, and amaranthine flowers, 
Yanish ; and sorrow, toil, and pain, and death. 
Cleave to him by an everlasting curse. 

Tarn. Ah ! talk not thus. 

Had. Is this benevolence ? 

Nay, loveliest, these things sometimes trouble me ; 
For I was tutored in a brighter faith. 
Our Syrians deem each lucid fount and stream, 
Forest and mountain, glade and bosky dell, 
Peopled with kind divinities, the friends 
Of man, a spiritual race allied 
To him by many sympathies, who seek 
His happiness, inspire him with gay thoughts, 
Cool with their waves, and fan him with their airs. 
O'er them, the Spirit of the Universe, 
Or Soul of Nature, circumfuses all 
With mild, benevolent, and sun-like radiance, 
Pervading, warming, vivifying earth, 
4,8 spirit does the body, till green herbs, 
And beauteous flowers, and branchy cedars rise ; 
And shooting stellar influence through her caves, 
Whence minerals and gems imbibe their lustre. 



HILLHOUSE] INTERVIEW OF HAD AD AND TAMAR. 311 

Tarn. Dreams, Hadad, empty dreams. 

Had. These deities 

They iDvocate with cheerful, gentle rites, 
Hang garlands on their altars, heap their shrines 
With Nature's bounties, fruits, and fragrant flowers. 
Not like yon gory mount that ever reeks 

Tarn. Cast not reproach upon the holy altar. 

Had. Nay, sweet. Having enjoyed all pleasures here 
That Nature prompts, but chiefly blissful love, 
At death, the happy Syrian maiden deems 
Her immaterial flies into the fields, 
Or circumambient clouds, or crystal brooks, 
And dwells, a deity, with those she worshipped, 
Till time or fate return her in its course 
To quaff, once more, the cup of human joy. 

Tarn. But thou believ'st not this ? 

Had. I almost wish 

Thou didst ; for I have feared, my gentle Tamar, 
Thy spirit is too tender for a law 
Announced in terrors, coupled with the threats 
Of an inflexible and dreadful Being, 
Whose word annihilates, who could arrest 
The sun in heaven, or, if he pleased, abolish 
Light from creation, and leave wretched man 
To darkness. . . . 

Nay, nay, I grieve thee : 'tis not for myself, 
But that I fear these gloomy things oppress 
Thy soul, and cloud its native sunshine. 

Tarn. (In tears, clasping her hands.') 
Witness, ye heavens ! Eternal Father, witness ! 
Blest God of Jacob ! Maker ! Friend ! Preserver I 
That with my heart, my undivided soul, 
I love, adore, and praise thy glorious name, 
Confess thee Lord of all, believe thy laws 



312 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLLAND 

Wise, just, and merciful, as they are true. 

Oh, Hadad, Hadad ! you misconstrue much 

The sadness that usurps me : 'tis for thee 

1 grieve, for hopes that fade, for your lost soul, 

And my lost happiness. 

Had. Oh, say not so, 
Beloved princess. Why distrust my faith ? 

Tarn. Thou know'st, alas! my weakness; but, remember, 
I never, never will be thine, although 
The feast, the blessing, and the song were past, 
Though Absalom and David called me bride, 
Till sure thou own'st with truth and love sincere 
The Lord Jehovah. 



OUTWITTING A LAWYER. 

J. G. HOLLAND. 

[Popular as have been the works of Josiah G. Holland, they have 
met with a severe reception from critics, and certainly do not merit a 
very high niche in the temple of literary fame. Yet Jim Fenton, the 
backwoodsman of "Sevenoaks," is a character that would do credit 
to any novelist, and stands as a redeeming feature in Holland's some 
what commonplace sensationalism. We give one of the numerous 
amusing scenes in which this racy character appears. In addition 
to his novels, Holland has attained a reputation by his Timothy Tit- 
comb letters, and his dramatic poem of " Bittersweet,'-' which gained 
a high degree of popularity, and is his most meritorious work.] 

HE spent a delightful week among his friends in the old 
village, learned about Jim Fenton and the way to reach 
him, and on a beautiful spring morning, armed with 
fishing-tackle, started from Sevenoaks for a fortnight's 
absence in the woods. The horses were fresh, the air 



HOLLAND] OUTWITTING A LAWYER. 313 

sparkling, and at mid-afternoon he found himself standing 
by the river-side, with a row of ten miles before him in a 
birch canoe, whose hiding-place Mike Conlin had revealed 
to him during a brief call at his house. To his unused 
muscles it was a serious task to undertake, but he was 
not a novice, and it was entered upon deliberately and 
with a prudent husbandry of his power of endurance. 
Great was the surprise of Jim and Mr. Benedict, as they 
sat eating their late supper, to hear the sound of the 
paddle down the river, and to see approaching them a 
city gentleman, who, greeting them courteously, drew up 
in front of their cabin, took out his luggage, and presented 
himself. 

""Where's Jim Fenton?" said Yates. 

" That's me. Them as likes me calls me Jim, and them 
as don't like me wall, they don't call." 

" Well, I've called, and I call you Jim." 

" All right ; let's see yer tackle," said Jim. 

Jim took the rod that Yates handed to him, looked it 
over, and then said, " When ye come to Sevenoaks ye 
didn't think o' goin' a-fishin'. This 'ere tackle wasn't 
brung from the city, and ye ain't no old fisherman. This 
is the sort they keep down to Sevenoaks." 

" No," said Yates, flushing ; " I thought I should find 
near you the tackle used here, so I didn't burden myself." 

" That seems reasonable," said Jim, " but it ain't. A 
trout's a trout anywhere, an' ye hain't got no reel. Ye 
never fished with anything but a white birch pole in yer 
life." 

Yates was amused, and laughed. Jim did not laugh. 
He was just as sure that Yates had come on some errand 
for which his fishing-tackle was a cover, as that he had 
come at all. He could think of but one motive that would 
bring the man into the woods, unless he came for sport, 
TT. o 27 



314 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLLAND 

and for sport he did not believe his visitor had come at 
all. He was not dressed for it. None but old sportsmen, 
with nothing else to do, ever earae into the woods at that 
season. 

" Jim, introduce me to your friend," said Yates, turning 
to Mr. Benedict, who had dropped his knife and fork and 
sat uneasily witnessing the meeting and listening to the 
conversation. 

" Well, I call 'im Number Ten. His name's Williams ; 
an' now, if ye ain't too tired, perhaps ye'll tell us what 
they call ye to home." 

" Well, I'm Number Eleven, and my name's Williams, 
too." 

" Then, if yer name's Williams, an' ye're Number 'leven, 
ye want some supper. Set down an' help yerself." 

Before taking his seat, Yates turned laughingly to Mr. 
Benedict, shook his hand, and " hoped for a better ac 
quaintance." 

Jim was puzzled. The man was no ordinary man ; he 
was good-natured ; he was not easily perturbed ; he was 
there with a purpose, and that purpose had nothing to do 
with sport. 

After Yates had satisfied his appetite with the coarse 
food before him, and had lighted his cigar, Jim drove 
directly at business. 

" What brung ye here ?" said he. 

tl A pair of horses and a birch canoe." 

' Oh ! I didn't know but 'twas a mule and a bandanncr 
hankercher," said Jim. "And whar be ye goin' to sleep 
to-night ?" 

" In the canoe, I suppose, if some hospitable man doesn't 
invite me to sleep in his cabin." 

"An' if ye sleep in his cabin, what be ye goin' to do to- 
morrer ?" 



HOLLAND] OUTWITTING A LAWYER. 315 

" Get up." 

" An' clear out ?" 

" Not a bit of it." 

"Well, I love to see folks make themselves to home; 
but ye don't sleep in no cabin o' mine till I know who ye 
be, an' what ye're arter." 

"Jim, did you ever hear of entertaining angels un 
aware?" And Yates looked laughingly into his face. 

" No, but I've hearn of angels entertainin' theirselves on 
tin-ware, an' I've had 'em here." 

" Do you have tin-peddlers here ?" inquired' Yates, look 
ing around him. 

" No, but we have paupers sometimes." And Jim looked 
Yates directly in the eye. 

"What paupers?" 

" From Sevenoaks." 

" And do they bring tin-ware ?" 

" Sartin they do ; leastways, one on 'em did, an' I never 
seen but one in the woods, an' he come here one night 
tootin' on a tin horn an' blowin' about bein' the angel 
Gabr'el. Do you see my bar ?" 

" Bather bushy, Jim." 

" Well, that's the time it come up, an' it's never been 
tired enough to lay down sence." 

" What became of Gabriel ?" 

"I skeered 'im, and he went off into the woods per- 
tendin' he was tryin' to catch a bullet. That's the kind 
o' ball I alters use when I have a little game with a rovin' 
angel that comes kadoodlin' round me." 

" Did you ever see him afterward ?" inquired Yates. 

" Yes, I seen him. He laid down one night under a tree, 
an' he wasn't called to breakfast, an' he never woke up. 
So I made up my mind he'd gone to play angel some- 
wheres else, an' I dug a hole an' put 'im into it, an' he 



316 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLLAND 

hain't never riz, if so be he wasn't Number 'leven an' his 
name was Williams." 

Yates did not laugh, but manifested the most eager 
in terest. 

" Jim," said he, " can you show me his bones, and swear 
to your belief that he was an escaped pauper ?" 

" Easy." 

" Was there a man lost from the poor-house about that 
time ?" 

" Yes, an' there was a row about it, an' arterward old 
Buffum was'took with knowin' less than he ever knowed 
afore. He always did make a fuss about breathin', so he 
give it up." 

"Well, the man you buried is the man I'm after." 

"Yes, an' old Belcher sent ye. I knowed it. I smelt 
the old feller when I heern yer paddle. When a feller 
works for the devil it ain't hard to guess what sort of a 
angel he is. Ye must feel mighty proud o' yer belongin's." 

" Jim, I'm a lawyer ; it's my business. I do what I'm 
hired to do." 

"Well," responded Jim, "I don't know nothin' about 
lawyers, but I'd rather be a natural-born cuss nor a hired 
one." 

Yates laughed, but Jim was entirely sober. The lawyer 
saw that he was unwelcome, and that the sooner he was 
out of Jim's way the better that freely-speaking person 
would like it. So he said, quietly, 

"Jim, I see that I am not welcome, but I bear you no 
ill will. Keep me to-night, and to-morrow show me this 
man's bones, and sign a certificate of the statements you 
have made to me, and I will leave you at once." 

The woodsman made no more objection, and the next 
morning after breakfast the three men went together and 
found the place of the pauper's burial. It took but a few 



HOLLAND] OUTWITTING A LAWYER. 317 

minutes to disinter the skeleton, and, after a silent look at 
it, it was again buried, and all returned to the cabin. 
Then the lawyer, after asking further questions, drew up 
a paper certifying to all the essential facts in the case, 
and Jim signed it. 

" Now, how be ye goin' to git back to Sevenoaks ?" 
inquired Jim. 

" I don't know. The man who brought me in is not to 
come for me for a fortnight." 

" Then ye've got to huff it," responded Jim. 

" It's a long way." 

" Ye can do it as fur as Mike's, an' he'll be glad to git 
back some o' the hundred dollars that old Belcher got out 
of him." 

" The row and the walk will be too much." 

" I'll take ye to the landing," said Jim. 

"I shall be glad to pay you for the job," responded 
Yates. 

" An' ef ye do," said Jim, " there'll be an accident, an' 
two men'll get wet, an' one on 'em'll stan' a chance to be 
drownded." 

" Well, have your own way," said Yates. 

It was not yet noon, and Jim hurried off his visitor. 
Yates bade good-by to Benedict, jumped into Jim's boat, 
and was soon out of sight down the stream. The boat 
fairly leaped through the water under Jim's strong and 
steady strokes, and it seemed that only an hour had 
passed when the landing was discovered. 

They made the whole distance in silence. Jim, sitting 
at his oars, with Yates in the stern, had watched the 
lawyer with a puzzled expression. He could not read 
him. The man had not said a word about Benedict. He 
had not once pronounced his name. He was evidently 
amused with something, and had great difficulty in sup- 
ii. 27* 



318 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLLAND 

pressing a smile. Again and again the amused expression 
suffused the lawyer's face, and still, by an effort of will, it 
was smothered. Jim was in torture. The man seemed 
to be in possession of some great secret, and looked as 
if he only waited an opportunity beyond observation to 
burst into a laugh. 

" What the devil be ye thinkin' on ?" inquired Jim, at 
last. 

Yates looked him in the eyes, and replied, coolly, 

" I was thinking how well Benedict is looking." 

Jim stopped rowing, holding his oars in the air. He was 
dumb. His face grew almost livid, and his hair seemed to 
rise and stand straight all over his head. His first im 
pulse was to spring upon the man and throttle him ; but 
a moment's reflection determined him upon another course. 
He let his oars drop into the water, and then took up the 
rifle, which he always carried at his side. liaising it to 
his eye, he said, 

" Now, Number 'leven, come an' take my seat. Ef ye 
make any fuss, I'll tip ye into the river, or blow yer brains 
out. Any man that plays traitor with Jim Fenton gits 
traitor's fare." 

Yates saw that he had made a fatal mistake, and that it 
was too late to correct it. He saw that Jim was danger 
ously excited, and that it would not do to excite him fur 
ther. He therefore rose, and, with feigned pleasantry, 
said he should be very glad to row to the landing. 

Jim passed him and took a seat in the stern of the boat. 
Then, as Yates took up the oars, Jim raised his rifle, and, 
pointing it directly at the lawyer's breast, said, 

" Now, Sam Yates, turn this boat round." 

Yates was surprised in turn, bit his lips, and hesitated. 

"Turn this boat round, or I'll fix ye so't I can see 
through ye plainer nor I do now." 



HOLLAND] OUTWITTING A LAWYER. 319 

" Surely, Jim, you don't mean to have me row back. I 
haven't harmed you." 

" Turn this hoat round, quicker nor lightnin'." 

" There, it's turned," said Yates, assuming a smile. 

" Now row back to Number Nine." 

" Come, Jim," said Yates, growing pale with vexation 
and apprehension, " this fooling has gone far enough." 

" Not by ten mile," said Jim. 

" You surely don't mean to take me back. You have no 
right to do it. I can prosecute you for this." 

" Not if I put a bullet through ye, or drown ye." 

" Do you mean to have me row back to Number Nine ?" 

" I mean to have you row back to Number Nine, or go 
to the bottom leakin'," responded Jim. 

Yates thought a moment, looked angrily at the deter 
mined man before him, as if he were meditating some rash 
experiment, and then dipped his oars and rowed up-stream. 

Great was the surprise of Mr. Benedict late in the 
afternoon to see Yates slowly rowing toward the cabin, 
and landing under cover of Jim's rifle, and the blackest 
face that he had ever seen above his good friend's shoul 
ders. 

When the boat touched the bank, Jim, still with his 
rifle pointed at the breast of Sam Yates, said, 

" Now git out, an' take a bee-line for the shanty, an' see 
how many paces you make on't." 

Yates was badly blown by his row of ten miles on the 
river, and could hardly stir from his seat ; but Mr. Bene 
dict helped him up the bank, and then Jim followed him 
on shore. 

Benedict looked from one to the other with mingled, 
surprise and consternation, and then said, 

" Jim, what does this mean ?" 

" It means," replied Jim, " that Number 'leven, an' his 



320 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLLAND 

name is Williams, forgot to 'tend to his feelin's over old 
Tilden's grave, an' I've axed Mm to come back an' use up 
his clean hankerchers. He was took with a fit o' knowin' 
Bornethin', too, an' I'm goin' to see if I can cure 'im. It's 
a new sort o' sickness for him, and it may floor 'im." 

" I suppose there is no use in carrying on this farce any 
longer," said Yates. " I knew you, Mr. Benedict, soon 
after arriving here, and it seems that you recognized me ; 
and now, here is my hand. I never meant you ill, and I 
did not expect to find you alive. I have tried my best to 
make you out a dead man, and so to report you ; but Jim 
has compelled me to come back and make sure that you 
are alive." 

" No, I didn't," responded Jim. " I wanted to let ye 
know that I'm alive, and that I don't 'low no hired cusses 
to come snoopin' round my camp, an' goin' off with a haw- 
haw buttoned up in their jackets, without a thrashin'." 

Benedict, of course, stood thunderstruck and irresolute. 
He was discovered by the very man whom his old perse 
cutor had sent for the purpose. He had felt that the dis 
covery would be made sooner or later, intended, indeed, 
that it should be made, but he was not ready. 

They all walked to the cabin in moody silence. Jim 
felt that he had been hasty, and was very strongly in 
clined to believe in the sincerity of Yates ; but he knew 
it was safe to be on his guard with any man who was in 
the employ of Mr. Belcher. Turk saw there was trouble, 
and whined around his master, as if inquiring whether 
there was anything that he could do to bring matters to 
an adjustment. 

"No, Turk; he's my game," said Jim. "Ye couldn't 
eat 'im, no more nor ye could a muss-rat." 

There were just three seats in the cabin, two camp- 
stools and a chest. 



HOLLAND] OUTWITTING A LAWYER. 321 

" That's the seat for ye," said Jim to Yates, pointing to 
the chest. " Jest plant yerself thar. Thar's somethin' in 
that 'ere chest as'll make ye tell the truth." 

Yates looked at the chest and hesitated. 

" It ain't powder," said Jim, " but it'll blow ye worse 
nor powder, if ye don't tell the truth." 

Yates sat down. He had not appreciated the anxiety 
of Benedict to escape discovery, or he would not have 
been so silly as to bruit his knowledge until he had left 
the woods. He felt ashamed of his indiscretion, but, as 
he knew that his motives were good, he could not but 
feel that he had been outraged. 

" Jim, you have abused me," said he. " You have mis 
understood me ; and that is the only apology that you can 
make for your discourtesy. I was a fool to tell you what 
I knew, but you had no right to serve me as you have 
served me." 

" P'raps I hadn't," responded Jim, doubtfully. 

Yates went on : 

" I have never intended to play you a trick. It may be 
:i base thing for me to do, but I intended to deceive Mr. 
Belcher. He is a man to whom I owe no good will. He 
has always treated me like a dog, and he will continue the 
treatment so long as I have anything to do with him ; but 
he found me when I was very low, and he has furnished 
me with the money that has made it possible for me to 
redeem myself. Believe me, the finding of Mr! Benedict 
was the most unwelcome discovery I ever made." 

" Ye talk reasonable," said Jim ; " but how be I goin' to 
know that ye're tellin' the truth ?" 

" You cannot know," replied Yates. " The circumstances 
are all against me, but you will be obliged to trust me. 
You are not going to kill me ; you are not going to harm 
me ; for you would gain nothing by getting my ill will. 



322 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLLAND 

I forgive your indignities, for it was natural for you to be 
provoked, and I provoked you needlessly, childishly, in 
fact; but, after what I have said, anything further in that 
line will not be borne." 

" I've a good mind to lick ye now," said Jim, on hearing 
himself defied. 

" You would be a fool to undertake it," said Yates. 

" "Well, what be ye goin' to tell old Belcher, anyway ?" 
inquired Jim. 

" I doubt whether I shall tell him anything. I have no 
intention of telling him that Mr. Benedict is here, and I 
do not wish to tell him a lie. I have intended to tell him 
that in all my journey to Sevenoaks I did not find the 
object of my search, and that Jim Fenton declared that 
but one pauper had ever come into the woods and died 
there." 

" That's the truth," said Jim. " Benedict ain't no pau 
per, nor hain't been since he left the poor-house." 

" If he knows about old Tilden," said Yates, " and I'm 
afraid he does, he'll know that I'm on the wrong scent. 
If he doesn't know about him, he'll naturally conclude 
that the dead man was Mr. Benedict. That will answer 
his purpose." 

" Old Belcher ain't no fool," said Jim. 

"Well," said Yates, "why doesn't Mr. Benedict come 
out like a man and claim his rights ? That would relieve 
me, and settle all the difficulties of the case." 

Benedict had nothing to say for this, for there was what 
he felt to be a just reproach in it. 

" It's the way he's made," replied Jim, " leastways, 
partly. When a man's be'n hauled through hell by the 
har, it takes 'im a few days to git over bein' dizzy an' find 
his legs ag'in ; an' when a man sells himself to old Belcher, 
ho mustn't squawk an' try to git another feller to help 



HOLLAND] OUTWITTING A LAWYER. 323 

'im out of 'is bargain. Ye got into't, an' ye must git out 
on't the best way ye can. " 

" What would you have me do ?" inquired Yates. 

" I want to have ye sw'ar, an' sign a Happy David." 

"A what?" 

" A Happy David. Ye ain't no lawyer if ye don't know 
what a Happy David is, and can't make one." 

Yates recognized, with a smile, the nature of the instru 
ment disguised in Jim's pronunciation and conception, 
and inquired, 

" What would you have me to swear to ?" 

" To what I tell ye." 

"Yery well. I have pen and paper with me, and am 
ready to write. Whether I will sign the paper will depend 
upon its contents." 

"Be ye ready?" 

"Yes." 

" Here ye have it, then. 1 1 solem-ny sw'ar, s'weip me ! 
that I hain't seen no pauper, in no woods, with his name 
as Benedict.' " 

Jim paused, and Yates, having completed the sentence, 
waited. Then Jim muttered to himself, 

" With his name as Benedict with his name is Benedict, 
with his name was Benedict." 

Then, with a puzzled look, he said, 

" Yates, can't ye doctor that a little ?" 

'' Whose name was Benedict," suggested Yates. 

"Whose name was Benedict," continued Jim. "Now 
read it over, as fur as ye've got." 

" ' I solemnly swear that I have seen no pauper in the 
woods whose name was Benedict.' " 

" Now look a-here, Sam Yates ; that sort o' thing won't 
do. Stop them tricks. Ye don't know me, an' ye don't 
know whar ye're settin', if you think that'll go down." 



324 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLLAND 

"Why, what's the matter?" 

" I telled ye that Benedict was no pauper, an' ye say 
that ye've seen no pauper whose name was Benedict. 
That's jest tellin' that he's here. Oh, ye can't come that 
game ! Now begin ag'in, an' write jest as I give it to ye. 
1 1 solem-ny sw'ar, s'welp me ! that I hain't seen no pauper, 
in no woods, whose name was Benedict.' " 

" Done," said Yates ; " but it isn't grammar." 

"Hang the grammar!" responded Jim: " what I want 
is sense. Now jine this on : 'An' I solem-ny sw'ar, s'welp 
me ! that I won't blow on Benedict, as isn't a pauper, no 
more nor Jim Fenton is ; an' if so be as I do blow on 
Benedict, I give Jim Fenton free liberty, out and out, to 
lick me without goin' to lor but takin' the privlidge 
of self-defence.' " 

Jim thought a moment. He had wrought out a large 
phrase. 

" I guess," said he, " that covers the thing. Ye under 
stand, don't ye, Yates, about the privlidge of self-defence ?" 

"You mean that I may defend myself if I can, don't you?" 

" Yes. With the privlidge of self-defence. That's fair, 
an' I'd give it to a painter. Now read it all over." 

Jim put his head down between his knees, the better to 
measure every word, while Yates read the complete doc 
ument. Then Jim took the paper, and, handing it to 
Benedict, requested him to see if it had been read cor 
rectly. Assured that it was all right, Jim turned his eyes 
severely on Yates, and said, 

" Sam Yates, do ye s'pose ye've any idee what it is to 
be licked by Jin? Fenton ? Do ye know what ye're sw'ariii' 
to ? Do ye reelize that I wouldn't leave enough on ye to 
pay for havin' a funeral ?" 

Yates laughed, and said that he believed he understood 
the nature of an oath. 



HOLLAND] OUTWITTING A LAWYER. 325 

" Then sign yer Happy David/' said Jim. 

Yates wrote his name, and passed the paper into Jim's 
hands. 

" Now," said Jim, with an expression of triumph on his 
face, " I s'pose ye don't know that ye've been settin' on a 
Bible j but it's right under ye, in that chest, and it's hearn 
and seen the whole thing. If ye don't stand by yer 
Happy David, there'll be somethin' worse nor Jim Fenton 
arter ye, an' when that comes ye can jest shet yer eyes 
and gi'en it up." 

This was too much for both Yates and Benedict. They 
looked into each other's eyes and burst into a laugh. But 
Jim was in earnest, and not a smile crossed his rough 
face. 

" Now," said he, " I want to do a little sw'arin' myself, 
and I want ye to write it." 

Yates resumed his pen, and declared himself to be in 
readiness. 

" I solem-ny sw'ar," Jim began, " s'welp me ! that I 
will lick Sam Yates as is a lawyer with the privlidge 
of self-defence if he ever blows on Benedict as is not a 
pauper no more nor Jim Fenton is an' I solem-ny 
sw'ar, s'welp me ! that I'll foller 'im till I find 'im, an' lick 
'im with the privlidge of self-defence." 

Jim would have been glad to work in the last phrase 
again, but he seemed to have covered the whole ground, 
and so inquired whether Yates had got it all down. 

Yates replied that he had. 

" I'm a-goin' to sign that, an' ye can take it along with 
ye. Swap seats." 

Yates rose, and Jim seated himself upon the chest. 

" I'm a-goin' to sign this, settin' over the Bible. I ain't 
goin' to take no advantage on ye. Now we're squar'," 
said he, as he blazoned the document with his coarse and 
ii 28 



326 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BURRITT 

clumsy sign-manual. " Put that in yer pocket, an' keep 
it foi* five year." 

" Is the business all settled ?" inquired Yates. 

" Clean," replied Jim. 

"When am I to have the liberty to go out of the 
woods ?" 

"Ye ain't goin' out o' the woods for a fortnight. Ye're 
a-goin' to stay here, an' have the best fishin' ye ever had 
in yer life. It'll do ye good, an' ye can go out when yer 
man comes arter ye. Ye can stay to the raisin,' an' gi'en 
us a little lift with the other fellers that's comin'. Ye'll 
be as strong as a hoss when ye go out." 

An announcement more welcome than this could not 
have been made to Sam Yates ; and, now that there was 
no secrecy between them, and confidence was restored, he 
looked forward to a fortnight of enjoyment. He laid 
aside his coat, and, as far as possible, reduced his dress to 
the requirements of camp life. Jim and Mr. Benedict 
were very busy, so that he was obliged to find his way 
alone, but Jim lent him his fishing-tackle, and taught him 
how to use it; and, as he was an apt pupil, he was soon 
able to furnish more fish to the camp than could be used. 



WHY I LEFT THE ANVIL. 

ELIHU BURRITT. 

[Elihu Burritt, the " Learned Blacksmith" of New England, is one 
of the several instances on record in which determined study has over 
come the most discouraging obstacles. In his early life, while work 
ing for his bread at the anvil, he pursued the study of language in the 
intervals of his labor, and by earnest application succeeded in learning 
numerous tongues. He became widely known for his linguistic ac 
quirements, and applied himself to literature, writing " Sparks from 



BURRITT] WHY I LEFT THE ANVIL. 327 

the Anvil," " Thoughts at Home and Abroad,' 1 and several other works. 
His writings are not very exact in thought and style, yet are written 
with a degree of enthusiasm, and possess a fair share of merit, if we 
consider the circumstances of their production. The author was born 
in Connecticut in 1810. He died in 1879.] 

T SEE it ; you would ask me what I have to say for my 
self for dropping the hammer and taking up the quill, as 
a member of your profession. I will be honest now, and 
tell you the whole story. I was transposed from the anvil 
to the editor's chair by the genius of machinery. Don't 
smile, friends : it was even so. I had stood and looked 
for hours on those thoughtless iron intellects, those iron- 
fingered, sober, supple automatons, as they caught up a 
bale of cotton, and twirled it in the twinkling of an eye 
into a whirlwind of whizzing shreds, and laid it at my 
feet in folds of snow-white cloth, ready for the use of our 
most voluptuous antipodes. They were wonderful things, 
these looms and spindles ; but they could not spin thoughts ; 
there was no attribute of divinity in them, and I admired 
them, nothing more. They were excessively curious, but 
I could estimate the whole compass of their doings and 
destiny in finger-power: so I came away, and left them 
spinning cotton. 

One day I was tuning my anvil beneath a hot iron, 
and busy with the thought that there was as much intel 
lectual philosophy in my hammer as any of the enginery 
a-going in modern times, when a most unearthly scream 
ing pierced my ears. I stepped to the door, and there it 
was, the great Iron Horse ! Yes, he had come, looking 
for all the world like the great Dragon we read of in 
Scripture, harnessed to half a living world and just landed 
on tbe earth, where he stood braying in surprise and in 
dignation at the " base use" to which he had been turned. 
I saw the gigantic hexaped move with a power that made 



328 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BURRITT 

the earth tremble for miles. I saw the army of human 
beings gliding with the velocity of the wind over the iron 
track, and droves of cattle travelling in their stables at 
the rate of twenty miles an hour toward their city 
Blaughter-house. It was wonderful. The little busy-bee 
machinery of the cotton-factory dwindled into insignifi 
cance before it. Monstrous beast of passage and burden ! 
it devoured the intervening distance and welded the cities 
together! But for its furnace heart and iron sinews it 
was nothing but a beast, an enormous aggregation of 
horse-power. And I went back to the forge with unim 
paired reverence for the intellectual philosophy of my 
hammer. 

Passing along the street one afternoon, I heard a noise 
in an old building, as of some one puffing a pair of bellows. 
So, without more ado, I stepped in, and there, in the cor 
ner of a room, I saw the chef-d'oeuvre of all the machinery 
that has ever been invented since the birth of Tubal Cain. 
In its construction it was as simple and unassuming as a 
cheese-press. It went with a lever, with a lever longer, 
stronger, than that with which Archimedes promised to 
lift the world. 

" It is a printing-press," said a boy standing by the ink- 
trough with a queueless turban of brown paper on his 
head. " A printing-press 1" I queried musingly to myself. 
" A printing-press ? What do you print ?" I asked. 
" Print ?" said the boy, staring at me doubtfully : " why, 
we print thoughts." "Print thoughts?" I slowly re 
peated after him ; and we stood looking at each other in 
mutual admiration, he in the absence of an idea, I in the 
pursuit of one. But I looked at him the hardest, and he 
left another ink-mark on his forehead from a pathetic 
motion of his left hand to quicken the apprehension of 
my meaning. "Why, yes," he reiterated, in a tone of 



BURRITT] WHY I LEFT THE ANVIL. 329 

forced confidence, as if passing an idea which, though 
having been current a hundred years, might still be coun 
terfeit, for all he could show on the spot, "we print 
thoughts, to be sure." " But, my boy," I asked, in honest 
soberness, " what are thoughts ? and how can you get 
hold of them to print them ?" " Thoughts are what como 
out of people's minds," he replied. " Get hold of them, 
indeed ? Why, minds aren't nothing you can get hold of, 
nor thoughts either. All the minds that ever thought, 
and all the thoughts that minds ever made, wouldn't make 
a ball as big as your fist. Minds, they say, are just like 
air ; you can't see them ; they don't make any noise, nor 
have any color ; they don't weigh anything. Bill Deep- 
cut, the sexton, says that a man weighs just as much when 
his mind has gone out of him as he did before. No, sir, all 
the minds that ever lived wouldn't weigh an ounce Troy." 

" Then how do you print thoughts ?" I asked. " If 
minds are as thin as air, and thoughts thinner still, and 
make no noise, and have no substance, shade, or color, 
and are like the winds, and more than the winds, any 
where in a moment, sometimes in heaven, sometimes on 
earth, and the waters under the earth, how can you get 
hold of them? how can you see them when caught, or 
show them to others ?" 

Ezekiel's eyes grew luminous with a new idea, and, 
pushing his ink-roller proudly across the metallic page of 
the newspaper, he replied, " Thoughts work and walk in 
things that make tracks; and we take them tracks and 
stamp them on paper, or iron, or wood, or stone, or what 
not. This is the way we print thoughts. Don't you 
understand ?" 

The pressman let go the lever and looked interrogatively 
at Ezekiel, beginning at the patch on his stringless bro- 
gans, and following up with his eye to the top of the boy's 
ii. 28* 



330 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

brown-paper buff cap. Ezekiel comprehended the felicity 
of his illustration, and, wiping his hands on his tow apron, 
gradually assumed an attitude of earnest exposition. I 
gave him an encouraging wink, and so he went on. 

"Thoughts make tracks," he continued, impressively, 
as if evolving a new phase of the idea by repeating it 
slowly. Seeing we assented to this proposition inquir 
ingly, he stepped to the type-case, with his eye fixed 
admonishingly upon us. "Thoughts make tracks," ho 
repeated, arranging in his left hand a score or two of 
metal slips, " and with these here letters we can take the 
exact impression of every thought that ever went out of 
the heart of a human man ; and we can print it, too," 
giving the inked form a blow of triumph with his fist ; 
" we can print it, too, give us paper and ink enough, till 
the great round earth is blanketed around with a coverlid 
of thoughts, as much like the pattern as two peas." 
Ezekiel seemed to grow an inch with every word, and the 
brawny pressman looked first at him, and then at the 
press, with evident astonishment. " Talk about the mind's 
living forever !" exclaimed the boy, pointing patronizingly 
at the ground, as if mind was lying there incapable of 
immortality until the printer reached it a helping hand ; 
" why, the world is brimful of live, bright, industrious 
thoughts, which would have been dead, as dead as stone, 
if it hadn't been for boys like me who have run the ink- 
rollers. Immortality, indeed! why, people's minds," he 
continued, with his imagination climbing into the pro 
fanely sublime, "people's minds wouldn't be immortal if 
it wasn't for the printers, at any rate in this here plan 
etary burying-ground. We are the chaps what manufac 
ture immortality for dead men," he subjoined, slapping the 
pressman graciously on the shoulder. The latter took it 
as if dubbed a knight of the legion of honor, for the boy 



WOOLSEY]. OUR DEBT TO OUR ANCESTORS. 331 

had put the mysteries of his profession in sublime apoca 
lypse. " Give us one good healthy mind," resumed Ezekiel, 
" to think for us, and we will furnish a dozen worlds as 
big as this with thoughts to order. Give us such a man, 
and we will insure his life ; we will keep him alive forever 
among the living. He can't die, no way you can fix it, 
when we once have touched him with these here bits of 
inky pewter. He shan't die nor sleep. We will keep his 
mind at work on all the minds that live on the earth, and 
all the minds that shall come to live here as long as the 
world stands." 

"Ezekiel," I asked, in a subdued tone of reverence, 
" will you print my thoughts, too ?" 

"Yes, that I will," he replied, "if you will think some 
of the right kind." 

" Yes, that we will," echoed the pressman. 

And I went home and thought, and Ezekiel has printed 
my " thought-tracks" ever since. 



OUR DEBT TO OUR ANCESTORS. 

T. D. WOOLSEY. 

[Theodore D wight "Woolsey was born in New York City in 1801. 
He early became eminent as a Greek scholar, and filled the position of 
professor of Greek language and literature in Yale College from 1831 
to 1846. He was then elected president of the college, which post he 
held, with high distinction, till his resignation in 1871. He is the 
author of several text-hooks on the Greek classics, and of other valua 
ble works. Our extract is from " The Keligion of the Past and the 
Future," a volume of excellently- written theological addresses.] 

IN any case, a principle of the widest application is 
brought before us, that no individual, in the strictest 



332 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. . [WOOLSEY 

sense, begins his own work ; that all enter into and carry 
out the labors of others ; and so, too, that all the genera 
tions of the world reap the fields their forefathers sowed ; 
that there is a dependence, a succession, in all the labors 
of men, a running account kept up by each present age to 
the credit of the whole past, and especially to the credit 
of its immediate predecessors. 

This is indeed a characteristic of man in which he differs 
almost wholly from the best-endowed animals. They, in 
their successive generations, reach the same point of 
maturity, act out the characters of their races to about 
the same degree of perfection, and die without advancing 
their kind or leaving any new store of power or enjoy 
ment to their posterity. If man, by taming and training 
them, can in a degree improve their breeds, even his action 
has the least effect upon their races as wholes. The indi 
viduals may be more graceful, or strong, or useful ; but no 
quality of self-improvement has entered into the species. 
Man, on the other hand, the feeblest of creatures at his 
birth and the most dependent, is able to retain, transmit, 
record, and plan; by his social and moral instincts he 
forms commonwealths and makes laws ; he learns from 
others ; he communicates to others ; he trains the young 
members of the community up to the measure of its 
knowledge and wisdom ; he invents and spreads inven 
tions ; he thus builds a tower of one platform upon an 
other, reaching toward the skies, from which, as its stories 
ascend, he holds nearer converse with heaven and casts 
his eye over ampler spaces of earth. 

Now, for all this the labor of one generation will not 
suffice ; but there must be constant, world- wide work and 
transmission. Human progress consists in this : that men 
have labored with body, with mind, and each next age 
has entered into their labors. It is possible, indeed, for a 



WOOLSEY] OUR DEBT TO OUR ANCESTORS. 333 

generation to send nothing of value down the stream of 
time: nay, it may obliterate or corrupt, and so put its 
successors into a worse position than if it had not existed. 
Such retrograde movements show that the law of prog 
ress is not a fatal one, nor dependent solely on the stores 
of knowledge that have been laid up ; but, on the other 
hand, there is no other law of progress aside from this 
which we have before us : that each generation, by the 
help of its predecessors' toil handed down and retained, 
adds something to the general stock for the benefit of 
coming ages. Nor does God, when He intervenes in 
human history by supernatural revelations, disturb this 
law, for forthwith the truth, the power, the moral ad 
vancement, are leaven thrown into an age or a people, or 
possibly into a single mind, to leaven the whole world 
afterward by the same process by which human improve 
ments produce their effect. And we ought not to separate 
progress from God, as some do, for He is in it all, whether 
it springs directly from something done by man, or from 
His own revelation. He is in all invention ; in all learn 
ing and science the plan throughout is His. Bezaleel, 
the ingenious artificer of the tabernacle, was animated by 
His spirit ; and so all genius, all power, that starts the 
world forward, is as truly a part of His world-plan as is 
the Christian scheme of redemption. 

I. Let us consider, in some of its particulars, this plan 
of God for the human race, that each generation enters 
into the labors of its predecessors, reaping what they 
have sown, while at the same time, if it is true to its ap 
pointed work, it hands over something more to posterity 
than it had received. Eeflect, then, first on the labors 
which the teachers of mankind have undergone in order that 
the world might reach its present state of advancement. 
The class of teachers may be divided into two portions, 



334 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WooLSE* 

into such as transmit only and such as also originate. 
The first act directly on those who are just following 
them in the order of time ; the others have a much wider 
field of direct action ; they are the teachers of all time, 
the " masters of all who know." To few is it given, out 
of the whole human race, thus to act over many ages 
and through many lands. The greatest portion either 
move the thought of their own times in new channels, 
or, in a more humble office still, simply make known to 
others what they themselves have learned. Yet all these 
teachers have labored, and men are entered into their 
labors. They have labored hard and long. Men, as they 
enjoy a work of art or give themselves to the study of a 
work of philosophy, must not suppose that everything 
flowed smoothly when the composition was going on, or 
that there were no difficulties in the preparation. " He 
that goeth forth weeping, bearing precious seed," is the fit 
motto for all who have employed their minds for the 
benefit of mankind. What agony of mind have inventors 
endured, what anxiety and heart-sickness, what unfruit 
ful experiments, reaching through long years, have they 
tried, before success crowned their efforts ! The same is 
true of any work of art which has long kept its place in 
the heart of a nation or of the world. A work of genius 
is the essence, it may be, of a whole life, the condensed 
knowledge, judgment, skill, that make up the man. So, 
too, in all the sciences, as in the philosophy of thought or 
of morals, what perplexities has a mind contended with, 
what hope and patience has it spent, what weighings of 
evidence, what reflection, what consultation, have been 
needed, before the painful work of composition began ! It 
must not be supposed that glimpses of truth are vouch 
safed to those that skim over the surface of things in the 
spirit of curiosity or amusement; nor that inventions 






WOOLSEY] OUR DEBT TO OUR ANCESTORS. 335 

enter vacant minds unsought and in full perfection ; nor 
that to the great poet or painter even the labor of compo 
sition or correction, severe as it is, at all compares with 
that preparatory thought and work on which the whole 
achievement depended. 

So, also, the other class of teachers, whose office it is to 
put knowledge derived from others into form, and to train 
the minds of their generations, they too have labored 
long and earnestly in order to fit themselves for their 
work. The conscientious instructor has gone through 
three series of toils : he has labored hard to learn as he 
would have his scholars labor, he has qualified himself by 
still severer toil for his special duty, and then comes the 
new office of imparting and guiding from day to day, the 
hardest labor of all, because the fruits of it do not at once 
appear. 

Now, into the labors of these classes of teachers and 
trainers each new generation of the educated enters. You, 
my friends, are debtors to the past, and, indeed, to the 
remote past. For you Aristotle thought his best thoughts, 
though they may have taken new shapes before they 
reached your minds ; for you the Greek poets and the 
English of high renown have sung their strains ; for you 
art has brought to light its treasures ; for you discoverers 
have ventured into untrodden seas ; a thousand forgotten 
names have lived and wrought for your benefit, without 
whom, it may be, society would have been far behind its 
present point of advancement. For you, too, the teacher 
of the present has spent the best hours of his life, has 
thought his best thought, has patiently drilled and incul 
cated, that you may enter into his labors and may, if you 
will, go beyond him in cultivation and in wisdom. Small, 
perhaps, is the proficiency which you may have seemed 
to yourselves to have made under his training, for the 



336 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WOOLSEY 

natural and one of the best fruits of a true education is to 
reveal to us how little we know, and how far we are from 
the heights of perfect science. But perhaps in the years 
to come, even although the knowledge and power gained 
here may be indistinguishable from that which other mas 
ters or yourselves have procured for you, you will grate 
fully attribute something of your culture and something 
of your success to those who have labored for you here. 
They will then, perhaps, be beyond the reach of your 
acknowledgments ; they may be little conscious of what 
they have done for you ; they can see but little fruit, of 
course, from the toils of each faithfully-spent *day ; but if 
it should appear that some good thought of theirs was 
fruitful in your minds, some ideal of patient, finished 
scholarship was awakened within you, some solid prep 
aration was given you for the work of a true life, then 
will they deserve to be remembered, and you will be called 
by such remembrances to hand down what they have im 
parted, and whatever else you shall have gained by your 
own labor, to the next generation. 

II. Other men have labored in the practical spheres of 
life, and we are entered into their labors. Here there 
arise before us all who have labored for the social, politi 
cal, moral, religious welfare of man, from the mother, into 
whose hands all the tender beginnings of practical life are 
committed, through every faithful teacher and faithful 
example, up to the founders of states, and the founders 
of religion, up, even, to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. 

It is to be observed in regard to these laborers both 
that their work is of all importance and that it is neces 
sary for the success of those other laborers who work in 
the fields of science. For life is more than thought, and 
without a well-ordered life there can be little progress in 
thought. Such is the action of the moral nature on the 



WOOLSEY] OUR DEBT TO OUR ANCESTORS. 337 

mind that a bad soul is unfitted for all the science that is 
directly concerned with life ; it is warped and blinded by 
selfish interests, it often falls into doubt, and is wanting 
in those higher impulses which are of such aid in in 
tellectual pursuits. Nor is the sway of society over the 
individual less marked. A corrupt society, a vicious gov 
ernment, are uncivilizing agents of the greatest power, 
not merely by their neglect or repression of what is good, 
but by their sympathy with positive evil. And above all 
the other influences rises religion in its power to ennoble 
or to degrade the soul, to fill it with fear and falsehood, 
or to raise it to a communion with God and with His 
thoughts. 

It is to be observed, further, in regard to these laborers 
in the vineyard of life, that their work never ends. The 
results of knowledge stay in the world, but society and 
government are ever changing; religion at one time 
reigns, at another is conquered by doubt or vice, so that 
there is an endless struggle here between the powers of 
corruption and the powers of progress, a struggle in 
which the interests of science also are involved. Had 
the race been good enough to have retained the faint 
primeval knowledge and faith of God, had it been able, 
by reason of its moral strength, to have instituted every 
where just societies and governments, in sympathy with 
all truth and goodness, centuries ago, without question, 
the point of advancement which we have now reached 
would have been left out of sight, and a state of mankind 
have been begun of which we only dream almost without 
hope. The path of the reformers, civilizers, purifiers, has 
been up-hill against reigning corruptions, against the 
hankering of man for a slothful, unthinking life ; in short, 
against that lapse of souls from God for which Christ 
furnishes the only all-sufficient remedy. . . . 
n. p w 29 



338 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WOOLSEI 

And we are entered into their labors. Your studies of 
history, my young friends, will have taught you what 
thanks you owe to the struggles and contests of good 
men in the past, nor need you go back beyond the few 
last years for one of the most striking illustrations. In 
order that a reign of justice in our land should be secured, 
that we should no longer be the reproach of the civilized 
world, as a nation of freemen holding four millions of 
slaves in perpetual bondage and justifying our curse as 
an institution of God, how many hundred thousands have 
given up their lives and how many cries of mourners have 
resounded through the land ! We have gained a precious 
inheritance, precious at its beginning, to be more precious 
as years roll on, but at what a cost ! So also the whole 
history of our land speaks of labor ; of labor the fruits of 
which we are now enjoying. The toil and agony of mind 
which the first pilgrims endured in their separation from 
their homes, in their contests with the wild men and the 
wilderness, in their want and uncertainty ; the struggles 
and sacrifices of the Eevolution, easily read on a few 
pages of history, but hard enough to bear, these have 
sent down to us an inheritance more precious than has 
fallen to any other people. Or, if you go farther back, 
and read the record of each important addition to English 
history, of every new charter or petition or declaration 
of right, of every resistance against tyranny and every 
bulwark of freedom, remember that each of these had its 
contest, its patience, and that your acknowledged rights 
of speech, of worship, of secure possession, of a share in 
the commonwealth, have cost many lives of men who 
have left no name, many sorrows of the unnoticed, and 
that thousands have been preparing the way for your era 
of light and freedom. Nor are the labors of reformers of 
less moment. You are in a better state of society than 






TICKNOR] DON QUIXOTE. 339 

fell to the lot of your fathers, because divinely-gifted men 
saw what were the evils that obstructed human progress, 
and had courage and patience enough to oppose them. 
Some one voice, perhaps, was lifted up amid derision and 
persecution, some one worked on hoping against hope, and 
died committing his cause to the few select ones who were 
as fearless and as loving as he. Then by slow degrees the 
stream widened and became a resistless flood to change 
the face of society. The fruits of all this belong to you. 
But you could not have these fruits, gathered by the 
patriot and the reformer, at your command, unless also a 
higher class of laborers in the spiritual field had co-oper 
ated with them and prepared the way for them. The 
preacher of righteousness and the martyr were the fore 
runners of freedom and of all improvement in society. 
The martyr did not think, perhaps, when he expressed 
his devotion to Christ by a painful death, that anything 
great was to grow out of it : he only acted out what he 
felt. But these religious laborers have changed the face 
of the world. They have brought into literature and art 
now ideas of purity and spirituality, into life another 
standard of character, by which all truthfulness, honor, 
justice, and benevolence are duly valued 



DON QUIXOTE. 

GEORGE TICKNOR. 

[From Ticknor's excellent " History of Spanish Literature" we ex 
tract his description of the celebrated Knight of La Mancha, as a very 
interesting treatment of a subject of great literary interest and impor 
tance. The history named is a work of high value, and on its publica 
tion at once gained a recognized place in historical literature. It has 



340 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

been highly eulogized by eminent critics of all countries. Mr. Ticknor 
was born in Boston in 1791. In 1863 he published a valuable "Life 
of William H. Prescott." He died in 1871.] 

AT the very beginning of the work [" Don Quixote"] 
he [Cervantes] announces it to be his sole purpose to break 
down the vogue and authority of books of chivalry, and 
at the end of the whole he declares anew, in his own 
person, that " he had had no other desire than to render 
abhorred of men the false and absurd stories contained in 
books of chivalry j" exulting in his success, as an achieve 
ment of no small moment. And such, in fact, it was ; for 
we have abundant proof that the fanaticism for these 
romances was so great in Spain during the sixteenth 
century as to have become matter of alarm to the more 
judicious. Many of the distinguished contemporary au 
thors speak of its mischiefs, and among the rest Fernandez 
de Oviedo, the venerable Luis de Granada, Luis de Leon, 
Luis Yives, the great scholar, and Malon de Chaide, who 
wrote the eloquent " Conversion of Mary Magdalen." 
Guevara, the learned and fortunate courtier of Charles 
the Fifth, declares that "men did read nothing in his 
time but such shameful books as 'Amadis de Gaula,' 
'Tristan,' 'Primaleon,' and the like;" the acute author 
of " The Dialogue on Languages" says that the ten years 
he passed at court he wasted in studying " Florisando," 
" Lisuarte," " The Knight of the Cross," and other such 
books, more than he can name ; and from different sources 
we know, what, indeed, we may gather from Cervantes 
himself, that many who read these fictions took them for 
true histories. At last they were deemed so noxious 
that in 1553 they were prohibited by law from being 
printed or sold in the American colonies, and in 1555 the 
same prohibition, and even the burning of all copies of 
them extant in Spain itself, was earnestly asked for by 



TICKNOB] DON QUIXOTE. 341 

the Cortes. The evil, in fact, had become formidable, and 
the .wise began to see it. 

To destroy a passion that had struck its roots so deeply 
in the character of all classes of men, to break up the 
only reading which at that time could be considered 
widely popular and fashionable, was certainly a bold 
undertaking, and one that marks anything rather than 
a scornful or broken spirit, or a want of faith in what 
is most to be valued in our common nature. The great 
wonder is, that Cervantes succeeded. But that he did 
there is no question. No book of chivalry was written 
after the appearance of Don Quixote, in 1605 ; and from 
the same date, even those already enjoying the greatest 
favor ceased, with one or two unimportant exceptions, to 
be reprinted ; so that from that time to the present they 
have been constantly disappearing, until they are now 
among the rarest of literary curiosities ; a solitary in 
stance of the power of genius to destroy by a single 
well-timed blow an entire department, and that, too, a 
flourishing and favored one, in the literature of a great 
and proud nation. 

The general plan Cervantes adopted to accomplish this 
object, without, perhaps, foreseeing its whole course, and 
still less all its results, was simple as well as original. In 
1605 he published the First Part of Don Quixote, in 
which a country gentleman of La Mancha full of genuine 
Castilian honor and enthusiasm, gentle and dignified in 
his character, trusted by his friends, and loved by his 
dependants is represented as so completely crazed by 
long reading the most famous books of chivalry that he 
believes them to be true, and feels himself called on to 
become the impossible knight-errant they describe, nay, 
actually goes forth into the world to defend the oppressed 
and avenge the injured, like the heroes of his romances. 
ii. 29* 



342 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

To complete his chivalrous equipment, which he had 
begun by fitting up for himself a suit of armor strange to 
his century, he took an esquire out of his neighborhood ; 
a middle-aged peasant, ignorant and credulous to excess, 
but of great good-nature; a glutton and a liar; selfish 
and gross, yet attached to his master; shrewd enough 
occasionally to see the folly of their position, but always 
amusing, and sometimes mischievous, in his interpreta 
tions of it. These two sally forth from their native village 
in search of adventures, of which the excited imagination 
of the knight, turning windmills into giants, solitary inns 
into castles, and galley-slaves into oppressed gentlemen, 
finds abundance wherever he goes; while the esquire 
translates them all into the plain prose of truth with an 
admirable simplicity quite unconscious of its own humor, 
and rendered the more striking by its contrast with the 
lofty and courteous dignity and magnificent illusions of 
the superior personage. There could, of course, be but 
one consistent termination of adventures like these. The 
knight and his esquire suffer a series of ridiculous discom 
fitures, and are at last brought home, like madmen, to 
their native village, where Cervantes leaves them, with 
an intimation that the story of their adventures is by no 
means ended. . . . 

The latter half of Don Quixote is a contradiction of the 
proverb Cervantes cites in it, that second parts were 
never yet good for much. It is, in fact, better than the 
first. It shows more freedom and vigor; and, if the 
caricature is sometimes pushed to the very verge of what 
is permitted, the invention, the style of thought, and, 
indeed, the materials throughout, are richer, and the 
finish is more exact. The character of Sanson Carrasco, 
for instance, is a very happy, though somewhat bold, 
addition to the original persons of the drama; and the 



TICKNOR] DON QUIXOTE. 343 

adventures at the castle of the Duke and Duchess, where 
Don Quixote is fooled to the top of his bent; the manage 
ments of Sancho as governor of his island ; the visions 
and dreams of the cave of Montesinos ; the scenes with 
Eoque (ruin art, the freebooter, and with Gines de Pas- 
samonte, the galley-slave and puppet-show man ; together 
with the mock-heroic hospitalities of Don Antonio Moreno 
at Barcelona, and the first defeat of the knight there, are 
all admirable. In truth, everything in this Second Part, 
especially its general outline and tone, shows that time 
and a degree of success he had not before known had 
ripened and perfected the strong manly sense and sure in 
sight into human nature which are visible in nearly all his 
works, and which here become a part, as it were, of his 
peculiar genius, whose foundations had been laid, dark and 
deep, amidst the trials and sufferings of his various life. 

But throughout both parts Cervantes shows the im 
pulses and instincts of an original power with most 
distinctness in his development of the characters of Don 
Quixote and Sancho, in whose fortunate contrast and 
opposition is hidden the full spirit of his peculiar humor, 
and no small part of what is most effective in the entire 
fiction. They are his prominent personages. He delights, 
therefore, to have them as much as possible in the front 
of his scene. They grow visibly upon his favor as he 
advances, and the fondness of his liking for them makes 
him constantly produce them in lights and relations as 
liltle foreseen by himself as they are by his readers. The 
knight, who seems to have been originally intended for a 
parody of the Amadis, becomes gradually a detached, 
separate, and wholly independent personage, into whom 
is infused so much of a generous and elevated nature, 
such gentleness and delicacy, such a pure sense of honor, 
and such a warm love for whatever is noble and good, 



344 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TICKNOR 

that we feel almost the same attachment to him that the 
barber and the curate did, arid are almost as ready as his 
family was to mourn over his death. 

The case of Sancho is, again, very similar, and perhaps 
in some respects stronger. At first he is introduced as 
the opposite of Don Quixote, and used merely to bring 
out his master's peculiarities in a more striking relief. It 
is not until we have gone through nearly half of the First 
Part that he utters one of those proverbs which form 
afterwards the staple of his conversation and humor ; and 
it is not till the opening of the Second Part, and, indeed, 
not till he comes forth, in all his mingled shrewdness and 
credulity, as governor of Barataria, that his character is 
quite developed and completed to the full measure of its 
grotesque yet congruous proportions. 

Cervantes, in truth, came at last to love these creations 
of his marvellous power as if they were real, familiar per 
sonages, and to speak of them and treat them with an 
earnestness and interest that tend much to the illusion 
of his readers. Both Don Quixote and Sancho are thus 
brought before us like such living realities that at this 
moment the figures of the crazed, gaunt, dignified knight 
and of his round, selfish, and most amusing esquire dwell 
bodied forth in the imaginations of more, among all con 
ditions of men throughout Christendom, than any other 
of the creations of human talent. The greatest of the 
great poets Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton have 
no doubt risen to loftier heights, and placed themselves in 
more imposing relations with the noblest attributes of 
our nature ; but Cervantes always writing under the 
unchecked impulse of his own genius, and instinctively 
concentrating in his fiction whatever was peculiar to the 
character of his nation has shown himself of kindred to 
all times and all lands; to the humblest degrees of culti- 



TICKNOR] DON QUIXOTE. 315 

vation as well as to the highest ; and has thus, beyond all 
other writers, received in return a tribute of sympathy 
and admiration from the universal spirit of humanity. . . . 
The romance, however, which he threw so carelessly 
from him, and which, I am persuaded, he regarded rather 
as a bold effort to break up the absurd taste of his time 
for the fancies of chivalry than as anything of more seri 
ous import, has been established by an uninterrupted and, 
it may be said, an unquestioned success ever since, both 
as the oldest classical specimen of romantic fiction, and as 
one of the most remarkable monuments of modern genius. 
But, though this may be enough to fill the measure of 
human fame and glory, it is not all to which Cervantes is 
entitled ; for, if we would do him the justice that would 
have been most welcome to his own spirit, and even if we 
would ourselves fully comprehend and enjoy the whole of 
his Don Quixote, we should, as we read it, bear in mind 
that this delightful romance was not the result of a youth 
ful exuberance of feeling and a happy external condition, 
nor composed in his best years, when the spirits of its 
author were light and his hopes high ; but that with all 
its unquenchable and irresistible humor, with its bright 
views of the world, and its cheerful trust in goodness and 
virtue it was written in his old age, at the conclusion of 
a life nearly every step of which had been marked with 
disappointed expectations, disheartening struggles, and 
sore calamities ; that he began it in a prison, and that 
it was finished when he felt the hand of death pressing 
heavy and cold upon his heart. If this be remembered 
as we read, we may feel, as we ought to feel, what admira 
tion and reverence are due not only to the living power 
of Don Quixote, but to the character and genius of Cer 
vantes ; if it be forgotten or underrated, we shall fail in 
regard to both. 



346 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MILLEK 

KIT CARSON'S RIDE. 

JOAQUIN MILLER. 

[Cincinnatus Heine Miller, who has adopted the nom-de-plume above 
given, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1842. His life, however, is 
identified with the Par "West, and his poetry is the embodiment in 
verse of the unconventional pioneer life. He accompanied Walker 
in his buccaneering invasion of Honduras in 1860, and his poetical 
description of this expedition has many beautiful and highly-animated 
passages. The poem which we quote below seems full of the spirit of 
the wild West, and the terrors of a prairie-fire could not be more 
graphically delineated.] 



lay in the grasses and the sunburnt clover 
That spread on the ground like a great brown cover 
Northward and southward, and west and away 
To the Brazos, to where our lodges lay, 
One broad and unbroken sea of brown, 
Awaiting the curtains of night to come down 
To cover us over and conceal our flight 
With my brown bride, won from an Indian town 

That lay in the rear the full ride of a night. 

##*###### 

We lay low in the grass on the broad plain levels, 

Old Revels and I, and my stolen brown bride ; 

And the heavens of blue and the harvest of brown 

And beautiful clover were welded as one, 

To the right and the left, in the light of the sun. 

" Forty full miles, if a foot, to ride, 

Forty full miles, if a foot, and the devils 

Of red Comanohes are hot on the track 

When once they strike it. Let the sun go down 

Soon, very soon," muttered bearded old Revels, 

As he peered at the sun, lying low on his back, 



MILLER] KIT CARSON'S RIDE. 347 

Holding fast to his lasso. Then lie jerked at his steed. 

And he sprang to his feet, and glanced swiftly around, 

And then dropped, as if shot, with his ear to the ground ; 

Then again to his feet, and to me, to my bride, 

While his eyes were like fire, his face like a shroud, 

His form like a king, and his beard like a cloud, 

And his voice loud and shrill, as if blown from a reed, 

" Pull, pull in your lassos, and bridle to steed, 

And speed you, if ever for life you would speed, 

And ride for your lives, for your lives you must ride ! 

For the plain is aflame, the prairie on fire, 

And feet of wild horses hard flying before 

I hear like a sea breaking high on the shore, 

While the buffalo come like a surge of the sea, 

Driven far by the flame, driving fast on us three, 

As a hurricane comes, crushing palms in his ire." 

We drew in the lassos, seized saddle and rein, 

Threw them on, sinched them on, sinched them over again, 

And again drew the girth, cast aside the macheers, 

Cut away tapidaros, loosed the sash from its fold, 

Cast aside the catenas red-spangled with gold, 

And gold-mounted Colt's, the companions of years, 

Cast the silken serapes to the wind in a breath, 

And so bared to the skin sprang all haste to the horse, 

As bare as when born, as when new from the hand 

Of God, without word, or one word of command ; 

Turned head to the Brazos in a red race with death, 

Turned head to the Brazos with a breath in the hair 

Blowing hot from a king leaving death in his course ; 

Turned head to the Brazos with a sound in the air 

Like the rush of an army, and a flash in the eye 

Of a red wall of fire reaching up to the sky, 

Stretching fierce in pursuit of a black rolling sea 



348 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MILLEH 

Bushing fast upon us, as the wind sweeping free 
And afar from the desert blew hollow and hoarse. 

Not a word, not a wail from a lip was let fall, 

Not a kiss from my bride, not a look nor low call 

Of love-note or courage ; but on o'er the plain 

So steady and still, leaning low to the mane, 

With the heel to the flank and the hand to the rein, 

Rode we on, rode we three, rode we nose and gray nose, 

Beaching long, breathing loud, as a creviced wind blows : 

Yet we broke not a whisper, we breathed not a prayer, 

There was work to be done, there was death in the air, 

And the chance was as one to a thousand for all. 

Gray nose to gray nose, and each steady mustang 

Stretched neck and stretched nerve till the arid earth rang, 

And the foam from the flank and the croup and the neck 

Flew around like the spray on a storm-driven deck. 

Twenty miles ! . . . thirty miles ... a dim distant speck . . . 

Then a long reaching line, and the Brazos in sight, 

And I rose in my seat with a shout of delight. 

I stood in my stirrup and looked to my right, 

But Bevels was gone ; I glanced by my shoulder 

And saw his horse stagger; I saw his head drooping 

Hard down on his breast, and his naked breast stooping 

Low down to the mane, as so swifter and bolder 

Ban reaching out for us the red-footed fire. 

To right and to left the black buffalo came, 

A terrible surf on a red sea of flame 

Bushing on in the rear, reaching high, reaching higher. 

And he rode neck to neck to a buffalo bull, 

The monarch of millions, with shaggy mane fall 

Of smoke and of dust, and it shook with desire 

Of battle, with rage and with bellowings loud 



MILLER] KIT CARSON'S RIDE, 349 

And unearthly, and up through its lowering cloud 

Came the flash of his eyes like a half-hidden fire, 

While his keen crooked horns, through the storm of his 

mane, 

Like black lances lifted and lifted again ; 
And I looked but this once, for the fire licked through, 
And he fell and was lost, as we rode two and two. 

I looked to my left then, and nose, neck, and shoulder 
Sank slowly, sank surely, till back to my thighs ; 
And up through the black blowing veil of her hair 
Did beam full in mine her two marvellous eyes, 
With a longing and love, yet a look of despair 
And of pity for me, as she felt the smoke fold her, 
And flames reaching far for her glorious hair. 
Her sinking steed faltered, his eager eyes fell 
To and fro and unsteady, and all the neck's swell 
Did subside and recede, and the nerves fall as dead. 
Then she saw sturdy Pache still lorded his head, 
With a look of delight ; for nor courage nor bribe, 
Nor naught but my bride, could have brought him to me. 
For he was her father's, and at South Santafee 
Had once won a whole herd, sweeping everything down 
In a race where the world came to run for the crown. 
And so when I won the true heart of my bride 
My neighbor's and deadliest enemy's child, 
And child of the kingly war-chief of his tribe 
She brought me this steed to the border the night 
She met Bevels and me in her perilous flight 
From the lodge of the chief to the North Brazos side; 
And said, so half guessing of ill as she smiled, 
As if jesting, that I, and I only, should ride 
The fleet-footed Pache, so if kin should pursue 
I should surely escape without other ado 
n. SO 



350 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MILLER 

Than to ride, without blood, to the North Brazos side, 
And await her, and wait till the next hollow moon 
Hung her horn in the palms, when surely and soon 
And swift she would join me, and all would be well 
Without bloodshed or word. And now, as she fell 
From the front, and went down in the ocean of fire, 
The last that I saw was a look of delight 
That I should escape, a love, a desire, 
Yet never a word, not one look of appeal, 
Lest I should reach hand, should stay hand or stay heel 
One instant for her in my terrible flight. 

Then the rushing of fire around me and under, 
And the howling of beasts, and a sound as of thunder, 
Beasts burning and blind and forced onward and over, 
As the passionate flame reached around them, and wove 

her 

Eed hands in their hair, and kissed hot till they died, 
Till they died with a wild and desolate moan, 
As a sea heart-broken on the hard brown stone. . . . 
And into the Brazos ... I rode all alone, 
All alone, save only a horse long-limbed 
And blind and bare and burnt to the skin. 
Then, just as the terrible sea came in 
And tumbled its thousands hot into the tide, 
Till the tide blocked up and the swift stream brimmed 
In eddies, we struck on the opposite side. 






CABLE] THROUGH THE LINES. 351 

THROUGH THE LINES. 

G. W. CABLE. 

[George W. Cable was "born in New Orleans in 1844. He served in 
the Confederate army, and for some time afterwards was engaged in 
business in his native city, but for several years he has devoted him 
self entirely to literary pursuits. His novels all of recent date have 
been widely read, and are highly popular from their freshness and 
vivacity and the novelty of the Creole life which they chronicle. 
Their dialect is something new and strange. Since 1884 Mr. Cable 
has become very popular as a reader and lecturer, his own works 
forming the basis of his readings. From " Dr. Sevier" we extract the 
following exciting description of the endeavor of a wife, who has been 
refused a pass, to make her way through the Confederate lines and 
join her husband, who is dangerously ill at New Orleans.] 

THE scene and incident now to be described are without 
date. As Mary recalled them, years afterward, they hung 
out against the memory a bold, clear picture, cast upon it 
as the magic-lantern casts its tableaux upon the darkened 
canvas. She had lost the day of the month, the day of 
the week, all sense of location, and the points of the com 
pass. The most that she knew was that she was some 
where near the meeting of the boundaries of three States. 
Either she was just within the southern bound of Ten 
nessee, or the extreme northeastern corner of Mississippi, 
or else the northwestern corner of Alabama. She was 
aware, too, that she had crossed the Tennessee Biver, that 
the sun had risen on her left and had set on her right, 
and that by and by this beautiful day would fade and pass 
from this unknown land, and the firelight and lamplight 
draw around them the home-groups under the roof-trees 
here where she was a homeless stranger, the same as in 
the home-lands where she had once loved and been be 
loved. 



352 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CABLE 

She was seated in a small, light buggy drawn by one 
good horse. Beside her the reins were held by a rather 
tall man, of middle age, gray, dark, round-shouldered, and 
dressed in the loose blue flannel so much worn by fol 
lowers of the Federal camp. Under the stiff brim of his 
soft-crowned black hat a pair of clear eyes gave a con 
tinuous playful twinkle. Between this person and Mary 
protruded, at the edge of the buggy- seat, two small 
bootees that have already had mention, and from his 
elbow to hers, and back to his, continually swayed 
drowsily the little golden head to which the bootees 
bore a certain close relation. The dust of the highway 
was on the buggy and the blue flannel and the bootees. 
It showed with special boldness on a black sun-bonnet 
that covered Mary's head, and that somehow lost all its 
homeliness whenever it rose sufficiently in front to show 
the face within. But the highway itself was not there : 
it had been left behind some hours earlier. The buggy 
was moving at a quiet jog along a u neighborhood road," 
with unploughed fields on the right and a darkling woods- 
pasture on the left. By the feathery softness and paleness 
of the sweet-smelling foliage you might have guessed it 
was not far from the middle of April, one way or another; 
and by certain allusions to Pittsburg Landing as a place 
of conspicuous note you might have known that Shiloh 
had been fought. There was that feeling of desolation in 
the land that remains after armies have passed over, let 
them tread never so lightly. 

"D'you know what them rails is put that way fur?" 
asked the man. He pointed down with his buggy-whip 
just oif the road-side, first on one hand and then on the 
other. 

"No," said Mary, turning the sun-bonnet's limp front 
toward the questioner and then to the disjointed fence on 






CABLE] THROUGH THE LINES. 353 

her nearer Bide : " that's what I've been wondering for 
days. They've been ordinary worm fences, haven't 
they ?" 

"Jess so," responded the man, with his accustomed 
twinkle. "But I think I see you oncet or twicet lookin' 
at 'em and sort o' tryin' to make out how come they got 
into that shape." The long-reiterated Ws of the rail- 
fence had been pulled apart into separate Y's, and the 
two sides of each of these had been drawn narrowly to 
gether, so that what had been two parallel lines of fence, 
with the lane between, was now a long double row of 
wedge-shaped piles of rails, all pointing into the woods 
on the left. 

"How did it happen?" asked Mary, with a smile of 
curiosity. 

" Didn't happen at all ; 'twas jess done by live men, and 
in a powerful few minutes at that. Sort o' shows what 
we're approachin' unto, as it were, eh ? Not but they's 
plenty behind us done the same way, all the way back 
into Kentuck', as you already done see ; but this's been 
done sence the last rain, and it rained night afore last." 

" Still I'm not sure what it means," said Mary. " Has 
there been fighting here ?" 

" Go up head," said the man, with a facetious gesture. 
" See ? The fight came through these here woods, here. 
'Tain't been much over twenty-four hours, I reckon, since 
every one o' them-ah sort o' shut-up-fan-shape sort o' fish- 
traps had a gray-jacket in it layin' flat down an' firin' 
through the rails, sort o' random-like, only not much so." 
His manner of speech seemed a sort of harlequin patch 
work from the bad English of many sections, the outcome 
of a humorous and eclectic fondness for verbal deformi 
ties. But his lightness received a sudden check. 

" Heigh-h-h ! " he gravely and softly exclaimed, gather- 
ii. x 30* 



354 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CABLE 

ing the reins closer, as the horse swerved and dashed 
ahead. Two or three buzzards started up from the road 
side, with their horrid flapping and whiff of quills, and 
circled low overhead. " Heigh-h-h ! " he continued, sooth 
ingly. " Ho-o-o-o ! Somebody lost a good nag there, a 
six-pound shot right through his head and neck. Who 
ever made that shot killed two birds with one stone, 
sho !" He was half risen from his seat, looking back. As 
he turned again, and sat down, the drooping black sun- 
bonnet quite concealed the face within. He looked at it 
a moment. " If you think you don't like the risks, we can 
still turn back." 

" No," said the voice from out the sun-bonnet : " go on." 
" If we don't turn back now we can't turn back at all." 
" Go on," said Mary. " I can't turn back." 
" You're a good soldier," said the man, playfully again. 
"You're a 'better one than me, I reckon : I kin turn back 
frequently, as it were. I've done it ' many a time and oft,' 
as the felleh says." 

Mary looked up with feminine surprise. He made a 
pretence of silent laughter, that showed a hundred crows'- 
feet in his twinkling eyes. 

###*#*##* 
About the middle of that night Mary Eichling was sit 
ting very still and upright on a large dark horse that stood 
champing his Mexican bit in the black shadow of a great 
oak. Alice rested before her, fast asleep against her bosom. 
Mary held by the bridle another horse, whose naked saddle 
tree was empty. A few steps in front of her the light of 
the full moon shone almost straight down upon a narrow 
road that just there emerged from the shadow of woods 
on either side and divided into a -main right fork and a 
much smaller one that curved around to Mary's left. Off 
in the direction of the main fork the sky was all aglow 



CABLE] THROUGH THE LINES. 355 

vrith camp-fires. Only just here on the left there was a 
cool and grateful darkness. 

She lifted her head alertly. A twig crackled under a 
tread, and the next moment a man came out of the bushes 
at the left, and without a word took the bridle of the led 
horse from her fingers and vaulted into the saddle. The 
hand that rested a moment on the cantle as he rose 
grasped a " navy six." He was dressed in dull homespun, 
but he was the same who had been dressed in blue. He 
turned his horse and led the way down the lesser road. 

" If we'd of gone three hundred yards further," he 
whispered, falling back and smiling broadly, u we'd 'a' run 
into the pickets. I went nigh enough to see the vedettes 
settin' on their hosses in the main road. This here ain't 
no road ; it just goes up to a nigger quarters. I've got 
one o' the niggers to show us the way." 

"Where is he?" whispered Mary; but, before her com 
panion could answer, a tattered form moved from behind 
a bush a little in advance and started ahead in the path, 
walking and beckoning. Presently they turned into a 
clear, open forest, and followed the long, rapid, swinging 
stride of the negro for nearly an hour. Then they halted 
on the bank of a deep, narrow stream. The negro made 
a motion for them to keep well to the right when they 
should enter the water. The white man softly lifted Alice 
to his arms, directed and assisted Mary to kneel in her 
saddle with her skirts gathered carefully under her, and 
so they went down into the cold stream, the negro first, 
with arms outstretched above the flood, then Mary, and 
then the white man, or, let us say plainly, the spy, with 
^he unawakened child on his breast. And so they rose 
out of it on the farther side without a shoe or garment 
wet save the rags of their dark guide. 

Again they followed him, along a line of stake-and- 



356 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CABLE 

rider fence, with the woods on one side and the bright 
moonlight flooding a field of young cotton on the other. 
Now they heard the distant baying of house-dogs, now 
the doleful call of the chiLck-will's- widow ; and once 
Mary's blood turned, for an instant, to ice, at the un 
earthly shriek of the hoot-owl just above her head. At 
length they found themselves in a dim, narrow road, and 
the negro stopped. 

"Dess keep dish yeh road fo' 'bout half-mile, an' you 
strak' 'pon de broad, main road. Tek de right, an' you 
go whah yo' fancy tek you." 

" Good-by," whispered Mary. 

" Good-by, miss," said the negro, in the same low voice. 
" Good-by, boss : don't you fo'git you promise tek me thoo 
to de Yankee' when you come back. I 'feered you gwine 
fo'git it, boss." 

The spy said he would not, and they left him. The 
half-mile was soon passed, though it turned out to be a 
mile and a half, and at length Mary's companion looked 
back, as they rode single file, with Mary in the rear, and 
said, softly, " There's the road," pointing at its broad, pale 
line with his six-shooter. 

As they entered it and turned to the right, Mary, with 
Alice again in her arms, moved somewhat ahead of her 
companion, her indifferent horsemanship having com 
pelled him to drop back to avoid a prickly bush. His 
horse was just quickening his pace to regain the lost 
position, when a man sprang up from the ground on tbe 
farther side of the highway, snatched a carbine from the 
earth, and cried, " Halt !" 

The dark, recumbent forms of six or eight others could 
be seen, enveloped in their blankets, lying about a few red 
coals. Mary turned a frightened look backward and met 
the eyes of her companion. 



CABLE] THROUGH THE LINES. 357 

" Move a little faster," said he, in a low, clear voice. As 
she promptly did so, she heard him answer the challenge 
His horse trotted softly after hers. 

" Don't stop us, my friend : we're taking a sick child to 
the doctor." 

" Halt, you hound !" the cry rang out ; and, as Mary 
glanced back, three or four men were just leaping into 
the road. But she saw, also, her companion, his face suf 
fused with an earnestness that was almost an agony, rise 
in his stirrups, with the stoop of his shoulders all gone, 
and wildly cry, 

Go !" 

She smote the horse and flew. Alice awoke and 
screamed. 

"Hush, my darling!" said the mother, laying on the 
withe ; " mamma's here. Hush, darling ! mamma's here. 
Don't he frightened, darling baby ! O God, spare my 
child !" and away she sped. 

The report of a carbine rang out and went rolling away 
in a thousand echoes through the wood. Two others fol 
lowed in sharp succession, and there went close by Mary's 
ear the waspish whine of a minie-ball. At the same mo 
ment she recognized once, twice, thrice, just at her 
back where the hoofs of her companion's horse were clat 
tering the tart rejoinders of his navy six. 

" Go !" he cried, again. " Lay low ! lay low ! cover the 
child !" But his words were needless. With head bowed 
forward and form crouched over the crying, clinging child, 
with slackened rein and fluttering dress, and sun-bonnet 
and loosened hair blown back upon her shoulders, with 
lips compressed and silent prayers, Mary was riding for 
life and liberty and her husband's bedside. 

" Oh, mamma ! mamma !" wailed the terrified little one. 

"Go on! Go on!" cried the voice behind: "they're 



358 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CABLE 

saddling up! Go! go! We're goin' to make it! We're 
goin' to make it ! Go-o-o !" 

Half an hour later they were again riding abreast, at a 
moderate gallop. Alice's cries had been quieted, but she 
still clung to her mother in a great tremor. Mary and 
her companion conversed earnestly in the subdued tone 
that had become their habit. 

" No, I don't think they followed us fur," said the spy. 
"Seem like they's jess some scouts, most likely a-comin' 
in to report, feelin' pooty safe and sort o' takin' it easy 
and careless ; ' dreamin' the happy hours away,' as the 
felleh says. I reckon they sort o' believed my story, too ; 
the little gal yelled so sort o' skilful. We kin slack up 
some more now ; we want to get our critters lookin 1 cool 
and quiet ag'in as quick as we kin, befo' we meet up with 
somebody." They reined into a gentle trot. He drew 
his revolver, whose emptied chambers he had already re 
filled. " D'd you hear this little felleh sing ' Listen to the 
mockin'-bird' ?" 

"Yes," said Mary; "but I hope it didn't hit any of 
them." 

He made no reply. 

" Don't you ?" she asked. 

He grinned. 

" D'you want a felleh to wish he was a bad shot ?" 

" Yes," said Mary, smiling. 

" Well, seein' as you're along, I do. For they wouldn't 
give us up so easy if I'd 'a' hit one. Oh, mine was only 
sort o' complimentary shots, much as to say, ' Same to 
you, gents,' as the felleh says." 

********* 

At an abrupt angle of the road Mary's heart leaped into 
her throat to find herself and her companion suddenly face 
to face with two horsemen in gray, journeying leisurely 



CABLE] THROUGH THE LINES. 359 

toward them on particularly good horses. One wore a 
slouched hat, the other a Federal officers cap. They 
were the first Confederates she had ever seen eye to eye. 

" Ride on a little piece and stop," murmured the spy. 
The strangers lifted their hats respectfully as she passed 
them. 

" (rents," said the spy, "good-morning!" He threw a 
leg over the pommel of his saddle, and the three men 
halted in a group. One of them copied the spy's atti 
tude. They returned the greeting in kind. 

" What command do you belong to ?" asked the lone 
stranger. 

" Simmons's battery," said one. " Whoa !" to his horse. 

" Mississippi ?" asked Mary's guardian. 

tl Rackensack," said the man in the blue cap. 

" Arkansas," said the other, in the same breath. " What 
is your command ?" 

" Signal service," replied the spy. " Reckon I look 
mighty like a citizen jess about now, don't I ?" He gav\, 
them his little laugh of self-depreciation, and looked 
toward Mary, where she had halted and was letting her 
horse nip the new grass of the road-side. 

" See any troops along the way you come ?" asked the 
man in the hat. 

" No ; on'y a squad o' fellehs back yonder who was all 
unsaddled and fast asleep, and jumped up worse scared'n 
a drove o' wile hogs. We both sort o' got a little mad, 
and jess swapped a few shots, you know, kind o' tit for 
tat, as it were. Enemy's loss unknown." He stooped 
more than ever in the shoulders, and laughed. The men 
were amused. " If you see 'em, I'd like you to mention 
me " He paused to exchange smiles again. " And tell 
'em the next time they see a man hurry in' 'along with a 
lady and sick child to see the doctor, they better hold 



360 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CABLE 

their fire till they sho he's on'y a citizen." He let his 
foot down into the stirrup again, and they all smiled 
broadly. "Good-morning!" The two parties went their 
ways. 

"Jess as leave not of met with them two buttermilk 
rangers," said the spy, once more at Mary's side ; " but, 
seein' as thah we was, the oniest thing was to put on all 
the brass I had." 

From the top of the next hill the travellers descended 
into a village lying fast asleep, with the morning star 
blazing over it, the cocks calling to each other from their 
roosts, and here and there a light twinkling from a kitchen 
window, or a lazy axe-stroke smiting the logs at a wood 
pile. In the middle of the village one lone old man, half 
dressed, was lazily opening the little wooden " store" that 
monopolized its commerce. The travellers responded to 
his silent bow, rode on through the place, passed over and 
down another hill, met an aged negro, who passed on the 
road-side, lifting his forlorn hat and bowing low, and, as 
soon as they could be sure they had gone beyond his 
sight and hearing, turned abruptly into a dark wood on 
the left. Twice again they turned to the left, going very 
warily through the deep shadows of the forest, and so re 
turned half round the village, seeing no one. Then they 
stopped and dismounted at a stable-door, on the outskirts 
of the place. The spy opened it with a key from his own , 
pocket, went in, and came out again with a great armful 
of hay, which he spread for the horses' feet to muffle their 
tread, led them into the stable, removed the hay again, 
and closed and locked the door. 

" Make yourself small," he whispered, " and walk fast." 
They passed by a garden-path up to the back porch and 
door of a small unpainted cottage. He knocked, three 
soft, measured taps. 



WALLACE] THE LIGHT OF THE HAREM. 361 

" Day's breakin'," be whispered, again, as he stood with 
Alice asleep in his arms, while somebody was heard stir 
ring within. 

" Sam ?" said a low, wary voice just within the un 
opened door. 

" Sister," softly responded the spy, and the door swung 
inward, and revealed a tall woman, with an austere but 
good face, that could just be made out by the dim light 
of a tallow candle shining from the next room. The 
travellers entered, and the door was shut. 



THE LIGHT OF THE HAREM.- 

SUSAN E. WALLACE. 

[" The Storied Sea," a vivacious description of a trip up the Medi 
terranean, and of life and incidents among its bordering peoples, 
is the source of the richly-colored picture of life in the harem which 
we give below. It reads like a chapter from the " Arabian Nights' 
Entertainments" written with a Western pen. The writer is Mrs. 
Susan E. Wallace, the wife of General Lew. Wallace, and the work is 
based on actual observations during her residence in Constantinople, 
where her husband was United States minister from 1881 to 1885.] 

IT was in the land of crumbling cities, strange religions, 
deserted fanes ; of quiet men, in twisted turbans and long 
beards ; of placid women, with faces shrouded like the 
faces of the dead, as pale and as calm. Tranquil prisoners, 
with respite to drive and walk about the streets, and for 
a brief space of time escape bolt and bars, in charge of 
armed attendants. A land silent as though Time him 
self had dropped to sleep and broken his emptied hour 
glass. 

II. Q 31 



362 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

By the bluest and clearest of seas there is a deep bay, 
where the navies of the world might ride at anchor. The 
sweeping curves of its shores are drawn as by an artist's 
hand, and from its margin rise terraced heights, like the 
hanging gardens of Babylon. Toward the west are hills, 
with capes of olive green, from which the breeze blow* 
deliciously cool in the hottest days. Away to the south 
tall, slim minarets point toward the glittering god of the 
ancient Persian, and dwarf the rounded domes below by 
the ethereal grace of their tapering spires. Close to the 
water's edge stands a palace worthy the golden prime of 
Haroun al Easchid, nobly built of white and pink marble, 
the latter brought from Egypt. In the distance, under a 
sky that would be dazzling were it not so soft, it shines 
like a temple of alabaster and silver. 

Its crowning glory is a central dome, rising in peerless 
beauty, like a globe of ice or of crystal, and seeming to 
hang in air. Mirrored in the glassy water, the plume-like 
pillars and slender turrets are a picture to make one in 
love with its builder. He had the soul of an artist who 
measured the span of its rhythmic arches and told the 
heights of its colonnades, harmonious to the eye as choice 
music to the ear. He must have toiled years to embody 
in this result his study of the beautiful. The architect 
was a Spaniard, and he had the same creative faculty 
(this man who worked in formless stone) that the poet' 
has who brings his idea out of hidden depths, polishes his 
work with elaborate care, nor leaves it till every line is 
wrought to perfect finish. Under a despotic government 
architecture that is magnificent flourishes, though all 
other arts languish. Among a semi-civilized people kings 
prefer this expression of power, because it is readily un 
derstood, demanding no instruction, no book or guide. 
He who runs may read, be it the stupendous monument 



WALLACE] THE LIGHT OF THE HAREM. 363 

of Cheops or the airy pinnacles of Solyman the Magnifi 
cent. The wish is to give form which shall compel the 
entire people to admiring astonishment of works they 
cannot hope to imitate. 

Let us call this the Palace of Delight, for there dwells 
in the luxury and aroma of the furthest East Nourmahal, 
the Light of the Harem, and we were invited to see her, 
the bulbul, the rose, the Pearl of the Orient, the bride 
of Prince Feramorz. Dear reader, do you know how 
come the brides in this strange country ? Do you think 
it a wooing of an innocent, laughing girl, who, as in lands 
of social freedom, lays her light hand, with her heart in 
it, in yours ? A prize won in an emulous game, where 
beauty is weighed against all beside which the world has 
to offer, and he who has the right divine may carry her 
off from Love's shining circle to be the centre of another 
of his own creation ? There was no flavor of American 
matches in this betrothal, no hint of golden afternoons in 
shady lanes, nights of moonlit silence, and dreams better 
than sleep, of wedding-bells in festal rooms, and orange- 
flowers that leave a sweetness outlasting the waste of 
years. Nor was it like European marriages, say the 
French or Italian, where a demure young girl is taken 
from the convent, and by her parents given to the most 
eligible parti, of whom she is not allowed an opinion, 
whom she sees not one hour alone till after the ceremony, 
in which her dot is the first, second, and third considera 
tion. 

Nor yet is it brought about like the weddings in kings' 
palaces, by negotiations for babies in the cradle, long, 
tedious betrothal, interviews at proper times, in proper 
places, and presences appointed, where exact proprieties 
are observed by the happy or unhappy pair. Nor was 
the contract made as of old, in plains not very far distant 



364 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

from this, when Abraham sent out his most trusted ser 
vant as a business agent a travelling man, if you please 
seeking a bride for his son Isaac. By no such devious 
windings did our princess come to the altar. The lovely 
Kourmahal was bought at private sale for ten thousand 
pieces of gold, and thus the marriage was accomplished. 
It is not our business to inquire whether the bargain was 
made in the shadow of the black tents of the Bedouin, or 
on the frosty heights of Caucasus, or in some verdant 
vale in Araby the Blest. It was to a better condition, 
came she from dissolute races, like the Georgian, or bar 
barian hordes, like the Tartar and Circassian, where the 
bride's portion is a sheepskin, a sack of barley, a hand- 
mill, and an earthen pan. It was a moment of melan 
choly disenchantment when I first learned how she had 
reached the rank and power of princess, by what means 
been lifted from desert sand and gypsy poverty to eider 
down and silken luxury, and made a true believer, walk 
ing in the paths of the faithful. To be young, beautiful, 
and beloved is heaven ; she was this, and, it was said, 
sweet as summer cherries withal. 

Our amiable inquiries about what is not our concern 
availed little. Her history was colorless till the fated 
hour came when its blank page should be illuminated and 
glow with tropic splendor. She was a chosen beauty ; 
princes seldom sigh in vain ; and, so long as men have 
eyes to see, fair women will wear purple and sit on thrones. 

Our names were sent in ten days before the date of the 
reception, a day which stands apart in memory in the 
year 1881, in the Time of the Scattering of Eoses, or, as 
we would say, in the month of August. 

The heaviest iron-clads might lie close to the quay 
where we landed. So pure is the water and so intensely 
clear that, at the depth of four fathoms, fish swim and 



WALLACE] THE LIGHT OF THE HAREM. 365 

bright stones lie as though close beneath the calm surface. 
Marble steps lead to the water ; and when our little boat 
neared them, two sentinels, moveless as statues, appeared, 
clad in the picturesque costume of the Tunisian kavasse, 
all gold embroidery and dazzling color, even to the holsters 
of pistols and the sides of the long-topped boots. A wall, 
perhaps thirty feet high, made of rough stone, was broken 
by a gate of iron, light as net- work, evidently of French 
construction. Its double valves flew open at our approach, 
and as quickly closed when we entered the garden. Two 
jet-black attendants were in waiting, from that degraded 
class of men to whom princes safely trust their treasures. 
The word " harem" means " the reserved," and these were 
part of the reserve-guard, hideous Ethiops of the ex- 
tremest type, with flattened nose and lips, swollen rolls 
of dingy flesh. Their misshapen skulls were hidden by 
that singular formation called a fez. When the Creator 
gave these creatures life, he denied them all else. Con 
demned by nature to a perpetual mourning suit, they had 
revenge in gorgeous costume, which must have been con 
soling. To perfect their ugliness, both were badly pitted 
with smallpox. After the long-continued obeisances of 
the East, they stood with folded arms and downcast eyes, 
fixed as the stone lions beside the gate. 

The garden was small, the narrow walks paved with 
black and white pebbles, laid in graceful arabesque pat 
terns, rimmed with a fanciful border of tiles. We had 
scented, out in the bay, the heavy fragrance of roses we 
call damask ; masses of bloom, crowded in beds or lining 
alleys reddened by their blossoms. The terraces were 
high and narrow, their sheer sides banks of ivy, honey 
suckle, and myrtle, a tangle of running vines, giving 
the feeling of wildness and seclusion in its untamed 
luxuriance. There the acacia " waved her yellow hair," 
ii. 31* 



366 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACK 

most exquisite of trees, delicate as some high-born lady, 
a frail beauty in her trembling lace- work of fine leaves. 
Beneath its branches was a swing of manilla cord, with a 
cushion tasselled and fringed with gold. Bees hummed, 
butterflies darted through the air like flying leaves, and 
humming-birds hovered over the purple bells of a creeper 
to me unknown. Up higher were dense shades of laurel 
and lemon, pomegranate, with scarlet buds, close thickets 
of bay and of citron, walks set with daisies and violets, 
bordered by heliotrope and lavender. Highest on the 
hill, accented with clear outline against the speckless 
sapphire, stood the round-topped cedars of the Orient, 
reminders of Lebanon, and the palm, swaying its green 
plumes. Most honored of trees, for, says the devout 
Moslem, " Thou must honor thy paternal aunt, the date- 
palm, for she was created of the earth of which Adam 
was made." In the centre of the garden a fountain threw 
a glancing column skyward and fell in an alabaster basin, 
where gold-fish swam among white lilies and the a^ure 
lotus of Persia. A tiny stream, brought from the snowy 
sides of some distant mountain, ran in wayward grace 
over vari-colored pebbles, laid with studied carelessness 
and nicest attention to effect, a copy of nature. On its 
rim a long-legged stork stood, intent on his prey. A 
miniature pavilion, a gracious retreat from the sun, was 
roofed with vines, from which hung pendent the scarlet 
passion-flower. Oh, it was beautiful! beautiful! All 
flowers consecrated by poetry, religion, and love grew 
there. Even the rough wall was covered like the verdu 
rous wall of the first garden, which lay eastward in Eden. 
Could it be possible the trail of the serpent is over it all? 
Rather let me believe it the Earthly Paradise of the 
Prophet or the Paradise Eegained of the Christian. 

We could not loiter, for Nourmahal was waiting. From 



WALLACE] THE LIGHT OF THE HAREM. 367 

the entrance-hall to which men are admitted, called "the 
place of greeting," slave-girls emerged to meet us and 
drew up in lines, through which we passed. We crossed 
an outer court, open to the sky, with cool marble pave 
ment, under an arched way, to a hall covered with India 
matting. Beyond was a spacious rotunda, a fountain 
dancing in the centre under the dome, which rested on 
pillars of lapis-lazuli. I counted eight fragile supporting 
columns of bright blue veined with white. Overhead 
were traceries in blue and gold, pendent stalactites, the 
" honeycomb ceilings" of the Moorish kings ; the tints of 
the Alhambra were in the inlaying of many colors, and 
gilt texts of the Koran on the walls. The builder had 
that most romantic of castles in heart and eye when he 
planned thre Palace of Delight. We slowly crossed the 
circular space (everything moves slowly here), stopping 
only to admire a sultana-bird, with purple breast, in an 
ivory cage, and a few white doves, that with many a flirt 
and flutter bathed in the bright water, or on the rim 
of the pool cooed and twined their beaks together, with 
outstretched wings, undisturbed by our approach. Be 
yond was the reception-room, called Dares-Saadet (Abode 
of Felicity), where the Pearl of the Orient was to be seen. 
It was screened by a portiere made of Lahore shawls fig 
ured with palm-leaves, elephants, and pagodas, a quaint 
and costly drapery, drawn back for us to pass under. As 
we entered, a crowd of slave-girls formed lines, between 
which we passed, young natives from the mountains of 
the Atlas, with vicious eyes and sidelong glances. One 
was a light mulatto, with crisp hair and downcast look 
reminding me of the old days of slavery. They were 
dressed in cheap, gay, checked silks, made like our morn 
ing wrappers, belts of tinsel, large silver ear-rings with 
grotesque heads of animals in front. White muslin tur- 



368 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

bans covered their heads, their hands were thin and wiry, 
and they bore the meek, passive manner of all women 
of the East. Two sides of the room were of glass, the 
one overlooking the bay latticed with iron, painted white, 
which banished the prison-look it would otherwise have. 
Yelvety rugs of Bochara and Korassan were laid here 
and there over the floor of blue and white mosaic. A 
broad, low divan of pale-blue silk ran around the apart 
ment. Voild tout. No pictures on the marble walls, no 
books, no bric-d-brac, no trumpery "collections," ceramics, 
aesthetic trash, grave or gay, nor muffling hangings, 
these are not "Oriental luxuries, but, instead, a cool, 
shady emptiness, plenty of space for the breeze to flutter 
the gauzy curtains and carry the echo of the plash and 
drip of the fountains. 

At the furthest end, reclining on pillows of silk and lace, 
rested the lady we sought. One little foot, in red velvet 
slipper, was first seen below wide trousers of yellow silk ; 
a loose robe of white silk, embroidered with gold thread, 
was partly covered by a sleeveless jacket of crimson, 
dotted with seed-pearl ; a broad, variegated sash wound 
the slender waist. Half concealing the arms was a light 
scarf, airy as the woven wind of the ancients. A head 
band, with diamond pendants, fringed her forehead ; a 
riviere of diamonds circled the bare throat ; and here and 
there solitary drops flashed in the braids of her night- 
black hair. Among the billowy cushions and vaporous 
veilings rose the young face, oh, what a revelation of 
beauty! uplifted in a curious, questioning way, to see 
what manner of women these are, who come from the 
ends of the earth, with unveiled faces, and go about the 
world alone, and have to think for themselves, poor 
things ! The expression was that of a lovely child wak 
ing from summer slumber in the happiest humor, ready 



WALLACE] THE LIGHT OF THE HAREM. 369 

for play. A sensitive, exquisite face, fair as the first of 
women while the angel was yet unfallen. A perfect oval, 
the lips a scarlet thread, and, oh, those wonderful Asiatic 
eyes! lustrous, coal-black, long rather than round, beam 
ing under the joined eyebrows of which the poet Hafiz 
sings. 

The edges of the eyelids were blackened with kohl, 
which Orientals use to intensify the brilliance of the bright 
est eyes under the sun. The most common kind is smoke- 
black, made by burning frankincense or shells of almonds. 
Sometimes an ore of lead is used in fine powder. Our 
American girls make a miserable bungle of it, smearing 
the whole eyelids, giving a ghastly and unnatural effect, 
very different from the thin line of antimony applied by 
a probe of ivory dipped in the powder and skilfully drawn 
on the tip edges of the lids. 

Nourmahal did not rise, but held out one jewelled hand, 
dimpled as a baby's, with nails and finger-ends dyed pink 
with henna, five clustering rose-buds. The magic of 
beauty made us her subjects. We kissed the little fingers 
loyally, and yielded ourselves willing captives, ready to 
be dragged at her chariot-wheels. My life-long notions 
of the subjection of women (see Stuart Mill) and the 
wretchedness of prisoners pining in palatial splendors 
vanished at the first glance ; went down at a touch, like 
the wounded knight in the lists of Templestowe. She 
smiled, and hoped we were well ; then followed suitable 
inquiries as to health and journeys, and expressions of 
the charm of finding it all out. Our interpreter was an 
Armenian lady with the gift of tongues. When con 
versation is filtered through three languages, it becomes 
very thin ; even such a bold and spirited remark as " This 
is a happy day for me ; I shall never forget it," was robbed 
of half its spice and flavor by the time it reached the ear 

II. y 



370 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

for which it was intended. I ventured the high assertion 
that we had sailed six thousand miles on purpose to lay 
our homage at her blessed feet ; which rhetorical flourish 
was received with a childish nod at about what it was 
worth. Somehow, she did not seem so enchanted with 
her new worshippers as they were with her. It appeared 
the Beauty had never seen the sea except from shore. 

"What is it like when you are in the middle of the 
dark water?" 

" Had she seen the Great Desert ?" 

" Yes, many times, and had trembled when awful col 
umns of dust swept across it, moved by the wings of evil 
genii." 

" It was like that ; wide, still, a desert of water more 
lonely than any land." 

"Do many people drown there?" she asked of the mys 
terious horror. 

" Yery few. You would have no fear." 

" Because I shall never go on it," she said, triumphantly, 
and laughed, showing teeth like pomegranate-seeds, and 
tihook the diamond drops on her forehead, so delighted 
was she with the simple wit. 

Suddenly changing her tone, she asked, " Why do you 
wear black dresses ?" 

I have never seen an Eastern woman, of high or low 
degree, in a black garment of any make. Even their 
shoes are gayly embroidered. Dismal and coarse three 
elderly women in the conventional black silks and poke- 
bonnets must appear to one clad in elegant draperies of 
various and brilliant dyes, whose eyes ever rested on tints 
to which the rainbow is dim. 

" It is the custom of our country for women to go out 
in black," we answered. 

" How sad I" said Beauty ; and it did seem sad in that 



WALLACE] THE LIGHT OF THE HAREM. 371 

light and lovely room, all sunshine and vivid color. We 
were in love with her, and again declared our love. She 
accepted the admiration as one well used to such extrava 
gance, and clapped her hands after the fashion of ladies 
of the " Arabian Nights." At the signal, the slaves dis 
appeared, except one old woman and the negroes, silent 
as ghosts, beside the Lahore drapery. In a few minutes 
five slaves returned, each carrying a small round table of 
cedar, inlaid with scraps of mother-of-pearl. Five others 
followed, with lighted cigarettes, lying each in a silver 
saucer, and coffee in tiny cups, about the size of a giant's 
thimble, resting in a silver filigree holder set round with 
diamonds. 

" My new friends have come so far," said Nourmahal, 
" they must be tired. Take a cigarette and refresh your 
selves." 

I rather awkwardly adjusted the holder of amber and 
ventured one faint whiff. Imagine my astonishment at 
seeing my friend, whose name with difficulty I suppress, 
puff away like a dissipated old smoker ! The Armenian 
was native and to the manner born. Nourmahal smoked, 
of course, and a lulling calm succeeded the excitement of 
the brilliant conversation reported above. While feeling 
round in my brain for a subject of common interest 
adapted to our hostess's capacity and mine, I tried a sip 
of the coffee. It was strong enough to bear up an egg, 
thick with grounds, and bitter as death. I pretended to 
deep enjoyment of the dose, and sipped it, drop by drop, 
to the bitter end. 

JSTourmahal clapped her hands again, and the ten virgins 
took away the saucers. I think none of them were fool 
ish, for they fell into line without effort, each one treading 
in the footsteps of her predecessor, at an interval to avoid 
her train. 



372 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

Presently they returned, with gold-fringed napkins, and 
silver cups of sherbet flavored with quince, and a con 
serve of rose-leaves. Wishing to appear easy as pos 
sible and thoroughly Oriental, I trifled with the delicious 
nectar, cooled with snow, and was not half through when 
the attendant picked up my table of cedar and pearl and 
disappeared with it. How I regret not having swallowed 
the Olympian food at railroad speed ! for it was the first 
ice I had seen for many months. It is not court etiquette 
to ask receipts, and, after a sigh of regret for what I shall 
never taste again, I returned to the fascination of a triple- 
tongued conversation. 

" In this charming palace you must be very happy. 
How do you pass the time ?" 

The dimples deepened in the cheeks of Beauty. " Pass 
the time ? pass the time?" she dreamily repeated, playing 
with the knotted fringes of her scarf. " I do not pass it ; 
it passes itself!" and again she laughed, and the laughter 
was sweet as the tenderest voice can make it. 

" Are you fond of music ?" 

Three ladies in black: "Oh! very!" "Oh! very!" 
"Oh! very!" 

"Then you shall be amused." She clapped the rose- 
leaf palms, and in marched eight women musicians (we 
daw no men that day but the harem-guard), bearing 
stringed instruments, curious-looking things, like over 
grown violins and half-finished guitars, and a round shell, 
with strings across, beaten with two sticks. 

Didst ever hear Arabic music, beloved ? 

No ? Then never hast thou known sorrow. 

Since Jubal first struck the gamut, there can have been 
no improvement in these compositions. How long the 
exercises lasted I am unable to record ; but I do know we 
grew old fast under the beat, beat, hammer, hammer, in 



WALLACE] THE LIGHT OF THE HAREM. 373 

the terse, unmeaning notes of the banjo. In the brief 
interval at the end of a peculiarly agonizing strain sung 
by the mulatto, I seized the moment to ask what were 
the words of the song, and was told it is a serenade, very 
ancient, dating back to the Times of Ignorance, before 
the coming of Mohammed, whose tomb is covered with 
the splendor of unceasing light. I afterward obtained a 
copy of the madrigal, and give it in rough translation. 
It is doubtful if the almond-eyed Juliet came down from 
her lattice after the anguish of that performance on the 
mna. 

On a steed shod with fire I come, 
And weary is my heart with waiting, 
Awakened it feels a vague unrest. 
Chorus : 

thou whose shape is that of the cypress, 
And whose mouth is the opening rose-bud, 

1 am here, faithful as thy shadow. 

Thy eyebrows are the form of an arch, 
The shafts of thy lashes are unsparing, 
And the scars which they leave are bleeding. 
O thou whose shape, etc. 

Queen rose, thy slave Kaschid is beggared. 

His whole heart is only one wound ; 

Smile but once, and his head will touch the stars. 

O thou whose shape, etc. 

********* 
As we passed out of the salon, each of us received a box 
of crimson andem* wood, wrapped in tissue-paper. " To 
be opened when you reach home," said the interpreter. 
The doves had gone to their nests, for the shades of 



* A precious perfumed wood of India. 
11. 32 



374 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WALLACE 

evening were in the rotunda ; the sultana bird, with head 
under its wing, was a purple ball ; the moon was high 
over the enchanted garden which the King of the Genii 
had made for Prince Feramorz. A tame gazelle, wearing 
a collar of silver bells, followed us to the gate, and in a 
fond, endearing way laid its pretty head on my arm and 
looked in my face, the most appealing glance of a weary 
prisoner, longing for the freedom of Judah's hills, the 
mild thyme of Hermon, and the mountains of spices. 
Those eyes had a human expression, which has never left 
my memory. I have seen it in the wistful gaze of young 
mothers, in the yearning eyes of those who have so long 
mourned that the grief has become a softened sorrow. 
Well do they name the love-song " gazelle." 

Before the gate we suddenly paused, at the same in 
stant, moved by the same impulse, and turned to look for 
one moment more on the Palace and Garden of Delight. 
We felt we should not see its like again, for there are few 
such gardens in the world. The Paradise palms were 
whispering their secrets, and the pines wailed in answer 
to the sea-breeze as harp-strings answer to the harper's 
hand. The moonlight tipped each leaf with silver; the 
flowers were pale, but not faded ; heaven and earth were 
still, breathless, as we grow when feeling most. A bird, 
a little brown thing, like a wren, flew out of a thicket of 
laurels and hid among the starry blossoms of the mag 
nolia. Then hark ! that wondrous note. I should have 
recognized it even if Thalia had not lifted a hushing 
finger and said, under her breath, "Believe me, love, it is 
the nightingale." 

It was the nightingale, and the voice (so sweet, so sweet 
I hear it yet, and shall hear it at intervals forever) was 
more stilling than very silence. That wild melody was 
not the legendary plaint of the love-lorn mate, leaning 



YOUNG] THE HEAT AND LIGHT OF THE SUN. 375 

her breast against a thorn, but rather an ecstatic strain 
from a soul so full it must tell its rapture or die. Its 
charm was past all telling, beyond the reach of words. 
Still, as I write, hundreds of miles away, after months of 
rapid travel, my heart thrills with the echo of its ineffable 
sweetness. The doe (the winsome thing, with the haunt 
ing eyes) leaned heavily against my arm while we stood 
and listened. Night was fallen, for in these latitudes it 
makes brief mingling with day. It is only to meet and 
kiss in a crimson blush and part again. " Good-by for 
ever," we said, as the lock snapped in the iron valves. 
The voice of the bulbul followed us through the perfumed 
dusk, like an invisible angel allowed to pass the guarded 
gates of Eden and cheer the homely pilgrims on their 
way. 

Freshly the breeze blew, and the briny smell of the sea 
was tonic, after the languors of the palace. The rich and 
balmy eve invited to silence. Under a trance we floated 
between blue and blue (whether in the body or out of the 
body I cannot tell) in the supreme delight of a day unreal 
in its poetic lights, so like the stuff which dreams are 
made of, I sometimes wonder which was dream and which 
reality. 



THE HEAT AND LIGHT OF THE SUN. 

C. A. YOUNG. 

[Charles Augustus Young, the astronomer, was born in New Hamp 
shire in 1834. He has been professor of mathematics and astronomy 
in several Western colleges, and in 1877 became professor of astronomy 
at Princeton College. His spectroscopic studies, and researches into 
the physics and chemistry of the sun, are of high scientific value. He 



376 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [YouNO 

has written much on scientific subjects, his principal work being :< The 
Sun," from which we extract some interesting passages.] 

SUNLIGHT is the intensest radiance at present known. 
It far exceeds the brightness of the calcium-light, and 
is not rivalled even by the most powerful electric arc. 
Either of these lights interposed between the eye and the 
surface of the sun appears as a black spot upon the disk 

We can measure with some accuracy the total quantity 
of sunlight, and state the amount in " candle-powder :" the 
figure which expresses the result is, however, so enormous 
that it fails to convey much of an idea to the mind : it is 
1,575,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ; fifteen hundred and 
seventy-five billions of billions, enumerated in the Eng 
lish manner, which requires a million million to make a 
billion ; or one octillion five hundred and seventy-five 
septillion, if we prefer the French enumeration. 

The " candle-power," which is the unit of light gener 
ally employed in photometry, is the amount of light given 
by a sperm-candle weighing one-sixth of a pound and 
burning a hundred and twenty grains an hour. An ordi 
nary gas-burner, consuming five feet of gas hourly, gives, 
if the gas is of standard quality, from twelve to sixteen 
times as much light. The total light of the sun is, there 
fore, about equivalent to one hundred billion billion of 
such gas-jets. . . . 

Thus far we have considered only the total light emitted 
by the sun. The question of the intrinsic brightness of 
his surface is a different though connected one, depending 
for its solution upon the same observations, combined with 
a determination of the light-radiating areas in the dif 
ferent cases. Since a candle-flame at the distance of ono 
metre looks considerably larger than the disk of the sun, 
it is evident that it must be a good deal more than severity 
thousand times less brilliant. In fact, it would have to be 



YOUNG] THE HEAT AND LIGHT OF THE SUN. 377 

at a distance of about 1.65 metres to cover the same area 
of the sky as the sun does, and therefore the solar surface 
must exceed by a hundred and ninety thousand times the 
average brightness of the candle-flame. . . . 

One of the most interesting observations upon the 
brightness of the sun is that of Professor Langley, who a 
tew years ago (in 18T8) made a careful comparison between 
the solar radiation and that from the blinding surface of 
the molten metal in a Bessemer " converter." The bril 
liance of this metal is so great that the dazzling stream 
of melted iron, which, at one stage of the proceedings, is 
poured in to mix with the metal already in the crucible, 
" is deep brown by comparison, presenting a contrast like 
that of dark coffee poured into a white cup." The com 
parison was so conducted that, intentionally, every advan 
tage was given to the metal in comparison with the sun 
light, no allowances being made for the losses encountered 
by the latter during its passage through the smoky air of 
Pittsburg to the reflector which threw its rays into the 
photometric apparatus. And yet, in spite of all this dis 
advantage, the sunlight came out Jive thousand three hundred 
times brighter than the dazzling radiance of the incandes 
cent metal. . . . 

If the amount of solar light is enormous, as compared 
with terrestrial standards, the same thing is still more 
true of the solar heat, which admits of somewhat more 
accurate measurement, since we are no longer dependent 
on a unit so unsatisfactory as the " candle-power," and 
can substitute thermometers and balances for the human 
eye. 

It is possible to intercept a beam of sunshine of known 

dimensions, and make it give up its radiant energy to a 

weighed mass of water or other substance, to measure 

accurately the rise of temperature produced in a given 

ii. 32* 



378 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [YouNQ 

time, and from these data to calculate the whole amount 
of heat given off by the sun in a minute or a day. 

Pouillet and Sir John Herschel seem to have been the 
first fairly to grasp the nature of the problem, and to in 
vestigate the subject in a rational manner. . . . 

Herschel preferred to express his results in terms of 
melting ice, and put it in this way : the amount of heat 
received on the earth's surface, with the sun in the zenith, 
would melt an inch thickness of ice in two hours and 
thirteen minutes nearly. 

Since there is every reason to believe that the sun's 
radiation is equal in all directions, it follows that, if the 
sun were surrounded by a great shell of ice, one inch 
thick and a hundred and eighty-six million miles in diam 
eter, its rays would just melt the whole in the same time. 
If, now, we suppose this shell to shrink in diameter, re 
taining, however, the same quantity of ice by increasing 
its thickness, it would still be melted in the same time. 
Let the shrinkage continue until the inner surface touches 
the photosphere, and it would constitute an envelope more 
than a mile in thickness, through which the solar fire 
would still thaw out its way in the same two hours and 
thirteen minutes, at the rate, according to HerschePs 
determinations, of more than forty feet a minute. Her 
schel continues that, if this ice were formed into a rod 
45.3 miles in diameter, and darted toward the sun with 
the velocity of light, its advancing point would be melted 
off as fast as it approached, if by any means the whole 
of the solar rays could be concentrated on the head. Or, 
to put it differently, if we could build up a solid column 
of ice from the earth to the sun, two miles and a quarter 
in diameter, spanning the inconceivable abyss of ninety- 
three million miles, and if then the sun should concentrate 
his power upon it, it would dissolve and melt, not in an 



YOUNG] THE HEAT AND LIGHT OF -THE SUN. 379 

hour, nor a minute, but in a single second : one swing of 
the pendulum, and it would be water ; seven more, and it 
would be dissipated into vapor. 

In formulating this last statement we have, however, 
employed, not HerscheJ's figures, but those resulting from 
later observations, which increase the solar radiation about 
twenty-five per cent., making the thickness of the ice 
crust which the sun would melt off of his own surface iu 
a minute to be much nearer fifty feet than forty. 

To put it a little more technically, expressing it in terms 
of the modern scientific units, the sun's radiation amounts 
to something over a million calories per minute for each 
square metre of his surface, the calory, or heat-unit, being 
the quantity of heat which will raise the temperature of 
a kilogramme of water one degree centigrade. 

An easy calculation shows that to produce this amount 
of heat by combustion would require the hourly burning 
of a layer of anthracite coal more than sixteen feet (five 
metres) thick over the entire surface of the sun, nine- 
tenths of a ton per hour on each square foot of surface, 
at least nine times as much as the consumption of the 
most powerful blast-furnace known to art. It is equiva 
lent to a continuous evolution of about ten thousand horse 
power on every square foot of the sun's whole area. As 
Sir William Thomson has shown, the sun, if it were com 
posed of solid coal and produced its heat by combustion, 
would burn out in less than six thousand years. 

Of this enormous outflow of heat the earth of course 
intercepts only a small portion, about T.yjnr.ihnr.inF'ff'. But 
even this minute fraction is enough to melt yearly, at the 
earth's equator, a layer of ice something over one hundred 
and ten feet thick. If we choose to express it in terms of 
"power," we find that this is equivalent, for each square 
foot of surface, to more than sixty tons raised to the 



380 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CHILD 

height of a mile ; and, taking the whole surface of the 
earth, the average energy received from the sun is over 
fifty mile-tons yearly, or one horse-power continuously 
acting, to eveiy thirty square feet of the earth's surface. 
Most of this, of course, is expended merely in maintain 
ing the earth's temperature; but a small portion, perhaps 
TT ^ nr of the whole, as estimated by Helmholtz, is stored 
away by animals and vegetables, and constitutes an abun 
dant revenue of power for the whole human race. 



A BANQUET AT ASPASIA'S. 

LYDIA MARIA CHILD. 

[The author from whom we select the following interesting repro 
duction of a scene from the life of ancient Greece was a well-known 
writer of novels and of juvenile literature, and an able advocate of 
the anti-slavery cause. Her " Progress of Keligious Ideas" (in three 
volumes) cannot be praised as manifesting the careful discrimination 
necessary to an historical work, and her reputation must rest on her 
other writings, which are of much literary value. The selection we 
give is from "Philothea: a Grecian Romance." The conversation at 
Aspasia's seems to possess the flavor of the genuine " Attic salt." Mrs. 
Child was born in Massachusetts in 1802. She died in 1880.] 

THE room in which the guests were assembled was 
furnished with less of Asiatic splendor than the private 
apartment of Aspasia ; but in its magnificent simplicity 
there was a more perfect manifestation of ideal beauty. 
It was divided in the middle by eight Ionic columns, 
alternately of Phrygian and Pentelic marble. Between 
the central pillars stood a superb statue from the hand 
of Phidias, representing Aphrodite guided by Love and 



CHILD] A BANQUET AT ASPASIA'S. 381 

crowned by Peitho, goddess of Persuasion. Around the 
walls were Phoebus and Hermes in Parian marble, and the 
nine Muses in ivory. A* fountain of perfumed water, from 
the adjoining room, diffused coolness and fragrance as it 
passed through a number of concealed pipes and finally 
flowed into a magnificent vase supported by a troop of 
Naiades. 

In a recess stood the famous lion of Myron, surrounded 
by infant Loves, playing with his paws, climbing his back, 
and decorating his neck with garlands. This beautiful 
group seemed actually to live and move in the clear light 
and deep shadows derived from a silver lamp suspended 
above. 

The walls were enriched with some of the choicest 
paintings of Apollodorus, Zeuxis, and Polygnotus. Near 
a fine likeness of Pericles, by Aristolaus, was Aspasia, 
represented as Chloris scattering flowers over the earth 
and attended by winged Hours. 

It chanced that Pericles himself reclined beneath his 
portrait, and, though political anxiety had taken from his 
countenance something of the cheerful freshness which 
characterized the picture, he still retained the same ele 
vated beauty, the same deep, quiet expression of intel 
lectual power. At a short distance, w T ith his arm resting 
on the couch, stood his nephew, Alcibiades, deservedly 
called the handsomest man in Athens. He was laughing 
with Hermippus, the comic writer, whose shrewd, sar 
castic, and mischievous face was expressive of his calling. 
Phidias slowly paced the room, talking of the current 
news with the Persian Artaphernes. Anaxagoras reclined 
near the statue of Aphrodite, listening and occasionally 
speaking to Plato, who leaned against one of the marble 
pillars, in earnest conversation with a learned Ethiopian. 

The gorgeous apparel of the Asiatic and African guests 



382 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CHILI; 

contrasted strongly with the graceful simplicity of Grecian 
costume. A saffron-colored mantle and a richly-embroid 
ered Median vest glittered on the person of the venerable 
Artaphernes. Tithonus, the Ethiopian, wore a skirt of 
ample folds, which scarcely fell below the knee. It was 
of the glorious Tyrian hue, resembling a crimson light 
shining through transparent purple. The edge of the 
garment was curiously wrought with golden palm-leaves. 
It terminated at the waist in a large roll, twined with 
massive chains of gold, and fastened by a clasp of the 
far-famed Ethiopian topaz. The upper part of his person 
was uncovered and un ornamented, save by broad brace 
lets of gold, which formed a magnificent contrast with the 
sable color of his vigorous and finely-proportioned limbs. 

As the ladies entered, the various groups came forward 
to meet them ; and all were welcomed by Aspasia with 
earnest cordiality and graceful self-possession. While the 
brief salutations were passing, Hipparete, the wife of 
Alcibiades, came from an inner apartment, where she had 
been waiting for her hostess. She was a fair, amiable 
young matron, evidently conscious of her high rank. The 
short blue tunic, which she wore over a lemon-colored 
robe, was embroidered with golden grasshoppers ; and on 
her forehead sparkled a jewelled insect of the same species. 
It was the emblem of unmixed Athenian blood ; and 
Hipparete alone of all the ladies present had a right to 
wear it. Her manners were an elaborate copy of Aspasia. 
but deprived of the powerful charm of unconsciousness, 
which flowed like a principle of life into every motion of 
that beautiful enchantress. . . . 

At a signal from Plato, slaves filled the goblets with 
wine, and he rose to propose the usual libation to the 
gods. Every Grecian guest joined in the ceremony, 
singing, in a recitative tone, 



CHILD] A BANQUET AT ASPASIA'S. 383 

11 Dionystis, this to thee, 
God of warm festivity 1 
Giver of the fruitful vine, 
To thee we pour the rosy wine !" 

Music from the adjoining room struck in with the 
chorus, and continued for some moments after it had 
ceased. 

For a short time the conversation was confined to the 
courtesies of the table, as the guests partook of the de 
licious viands before them. Plato ate olives and bread 
only ; and the water he drank was scarcely tinged with 
Lesbian wine. Alcibiades rallied him upon this abstemi 
ousness ; and Pericles reminded him that even his great 
pattern, Socrates, gave Dionysus his dues, while he wor 
shipped the heaven-born Pallas. 

The philosopher quietly replied, "I can worship the 
fiery god of Vintage only when married with Nymphs of 
the Fountain." 

"But tell me, O Anaxagoras and Plato," exclaimed 
Tithonus, " if, as Hermippus hath said, the Grecian phi 
losophers discard the theology of the poets? Do ye not 
believe in the gods ?" 

Plato would have smiled, had he not reverenced the 
simplicity that expected a frank and honest answer to a 
question so dangerous. Anaxagoras briefly replied, that 
the mind which did not believe in divine beings must be 
cold and dark indeed. 

"Even so," replied Artaphernes, devoutly: "blessed be 
Oromasdes, who sends Mithras to warm and enlighten 
the world! But what surprises me most is, that you 
Grecians import new divinities from other countries as 
freely as slaves, or papyrus, or marble. The sculptor 
of the gods will scarcely be able to fashion half their 
images." 



384 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CHILD 

"If the custom continues," rejoined Phidias, "it will 
indeed require a lifetime as long as that conferred upon 
the namesake of Tithonus." 

" Thanks to the munificence of artists, every deity has 
a representative in my dwelling," observed Aspasia. 

" I have heard strangers express their surprise that the 
Athenians have never erected a statue to the principle of 
Modesty," said Hermippus. 

" So much the more we need that we enshrine her image 
in our own hearts," rejoined Plato. 

The sarcastic comedian made no reply to this quiet re 
buke. Looking toward Artaphernes, he continued: "Tell 
me, O servant of the great king, wherein the people of 
your country are more Avise in worshipping the sun than 
we who represent the same divinity in marble." 

" The principles of the Persian religion are simple, 
steady, and uniform," replied Artaphernes; "but the 
Athenian are always changing. You not only adopt 
foreign gods, but sometimes create new ones, and admit 
them into your theology by solemn act of the great 
council. These circumstances have led me to suppose 
that you worship them as mere forms. The Persian 
Magi do indeed prostrate themselves before the rising sun ; 
but they do it in the name of Oromasdes, the universal 
Principle of Good, of whom that great luminary is the 
visible symbol. In our solemn processions, the chariot 
sacred to Oromasdes precedes the horse dedicated to 
Mithras ; and there is deep meaning in the arrangement. 
The Sun and the Zodiac, the Balance and the Etile, are 
but emblems of truths, mysterious and eternal. As the 
garlands we throw on the sacred fire feed the flame, rather 
than extinguish it, so the sublime. symbols of our religion 
are intended to preserve, not to conceal, the truths within 
them." 



CHILD] A BANQUET AT ASPASIA' S. 385 

" Though you disclaim all images of divinity," rejoined 
Aspasia, "yet we hear of your Mithras pictured like a 
Persian king, trampling on a prostrate ox." 

With a smile, Artaphernes replied, "I see, lady, that 
you would fain gain admittance to the Mithraic cave > but 
its secrets, like those of your own Eleusis, are concealed 
frum all save the initiated." 

" They tell us," said Aspasia, " that those who are ad 
mitted to the Eleusinian mysteries die in peace, and go 
directly to the Elysian fields, while the uninitiated wander 
about in the infernal abyss." 

" Of course," said Anaxagoras, " Alcibiades will go di 
rectly to Elysium, though Solon groped his way in dark 
ness." 

The old philosopher uttered this with imperturbable 
gravity, as if unconscious of satirical meaning ; but some 
of the guests could scarcely repress a smile, as they recol 
lected the dissolute life of the young Athenian. 

" If Alcibiades spoke his real sentiments," said Aspasia, 
" I venture to say he would tell us that the mystic baskets 
of Demeter, covered with long purple veils, contain nothing 
half so much worth seeing as the beautiful maidens who 
carry them." 

She looked at Pericles, and saw that he again cautioned 
her, by raising the rose toward his face, as if inhaling its 
fragrance. 

There was a brief pause, which Anaxagoras interrupted 
by saying, " The wise can never reverence images merely 
as images. There is a mystical meaning in the Athenian 
manner of supplicating the gods with garlands on their 
heads and bearing in their hands boughs of olive twined 
with wool. Pallas, at whose birth, we are told, gold rained 
upon the earth, was unquestionably a personification of 
wisdom. It is not to be supposed that the philosophers 
ii. R z 33 



386 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CHILD 

of any country consider the sun itself as anything more 
than a huge hall of fire ; but the sight of that glorious 
orb leads the contemplative soul to the belief in one Pure 
Intelligence, one Universal Mind, which in manifesting 
itself produces order in the material world and preserves 
the unconfused distinction of infinite varieties." 

" Such, no doubt, is the tendency of all reflecting minds,'" 
said Phidias ; " but, in general, the mere forms are wor 
shipped, apart from the sacred truths they represent. 
The gods we have introduced from Egypt are regarded by 
the priests of that learned land as emblems of certain 
divine truths brought down from ancient times. They 
are like the Hermae at our doors, which outwardly appear 
to rest on inexpressive blocks of stone, but when opened 
they are found to contain beautiful statues of the gods 
within them. It is not so with the new fables which the 
Greeks are continually mixing with their mythology. 
Pygmalion, as we all know, first departed from the rigid 
outline of ancient sculpture, and impressed life and motion 
upon marble. The poets, in praise of him, have told us 
that his ardent wishes warmed a statue into a lovely and 
breathing woman. The fable is fanciful and pleasing in 
itself; but will it not hereafter be believed as reality? 
Might not the same history be told of much that is be 
lieved ? It is true," added he, smiling, " that I might be 
excused for favoring a belief in images, since mortals are 
ever willing to have their own works adored." 

"What does Plato respond to the inquiries of Phidias?" 
asked Artaphernes. 

The philosopher replied, " "Within the holy mysteries of 
our religion is preserved a pure and deep meaning, as the 
waters of Arethusa flow uncontaminated beneath the earth 
and the sea. I do not presume to decide whether all that 
is believed has the inward significancy. I have over deemed 



<, 1 niLD] A BANQUET AT ASPASIA'S. 387 

such speculations unwise. If the chaste daughter of La- 
ton a always appears to my thoughts veiled in heavenly 
purity, it is comparatively unimportant whether I can 
prove that Acteon was torn by his dogs for looking or> 
the goddess with wanton eyes. Anaxagoras said wisely 
that material forms lead the contemplative mind to the 
worship of ideal good, which is in its nature immortal 
and divine. Homer tells us that the golden chain resting 
upon Olympus reaches even to the earth. Here we see 
but a few of the last links, and those imperfectly. We 
are like men in a subterranean cave, so chained that they 
can look only forward to the entrance. Far above and 
behind us is a glowing fire ; and beautiful beings, of every 
form, are moving between the light and us poor fettered 
mortals. Some of these bright beings are speaking, and 
others are silent. We see only the shadows cast on the 
opposite wall of the cavern by the reflection of the fire 
above ; and if we hear the echo of voices, we suppose it 
belongs to those passing shadows. The soul, in its present 
condition, is an exile from the orb of light ; its ignorance 
is forgetfulness ; and whatever we can perceive of truth, 
or imagine of beauty, is but a reminiscence of our former 
more glorious state of being. He who reverences the 
gods, and subdues his own passions, returns at last to the 
blest condition from which he fell. But to talk, or think, 
about these things with proud impatience, or polluted 
morals, is like pouring pure water into a miry trench : 
he who does it disturbs the mud, and thus causes the 
clear water to become defiled. When Odysseus removed 
his armor from the walls, and carried it to an inner 
apartment, invisible Pallas moved before him with her 
golden lamp, and filled the place with radiance divine 
Telemachus, seeing the light, exclaimed, ' Surely, my 
father, some of the celestial gods are preseqt.' With deep 



BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FIELD 

wisdom, the king of Ithaca replied, * Be silent. Eestrain 
your intellect, and speak not.' " 

" I am rebuked, O Plato," answered Phidias; " and from 
henceforth, when my mind is dark and doubtful, I will 
remember that transparent drops may fall into a 'turbid 
well. Nor will I forget that sometimes, when I have 
worked on my statues by torch-light, I could not perceive 
their real expression, because I was carving in the shadow 
of my own hand." 

" Little can be learned of the human soul and its con 
nection with the Universal Mind," said Anaxagoras : 
" these sublime truths seem vague and remote, as Phcea- 
cia appeared to Odysseus like a vast shield floating on the 
surface of the distant ocean. 

" The glimmering uncertainty attending all such specu 
lations has led me to attach myself to the Ionic sect, 
who devote themselves entirely to the study of outward 
nature." 

" And this is useful," rejoined Plato. " The man who is 
to be led from a cave will more easily see what the 
heavens contain by looking to the light of the moon and 
the stars than by gazing on the sun at noon-day." 



THE OWL-CRITIC. 

JAMES T. FIELDS. 

"Wno stuffed that white owl?" No one spoke in the 

shop; 

The barber was busy, and he couldn't stop ; 
The customers, waiting their turns, were all reading 
The Daily, the Herald, the Post, little heeding 



FIELD] THE OWL-CRITIC. 389 

The young man who blurted out such a blunt question ; 
"Not one raised a head, or even made a suggestion ; 

And the barber kept on shaving. 

" Don't you see, Mister Brown," 

Cried the youth, with a frown, 

" How wrong the whole thing is, 

How preposterous each wing is, 

How flattened the head is, how jammed down the neck 

is, 

In short, the whole owl, what an ignorant wreck 'tis ! 
I make no apology ; 
I've learned owl-eology, 

I've passed days and nights in a hundred collections, 
And cannot be blinded to any deflections 
Arising from unskilful fingers that fail 
To stuff a bird right, from his beak to his tail. 
Mister Brown ! Mister Brown ! 
Do take that bird down, 
Or you'll soon be the laughing-stock all over town !" 

And the barber kept on shaving. 

" I've studied owls, 
And other night fowls, 
And I tell you 
"What I know to be true : 
An owl cannot roost 
With his limbs so unloosed ; 
No owl in this world 
Ever had his claws curled, 
Ever had his legs slanted, 
Ever had his bill canted, 
Ever had his neck screwed 
Into that attitude. 

ii. 33* 



390 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FIELD 

He can't do it, because 
'Tis against all bird laws. 

Anatomy teaches, * 

Ornithology preaches, 
An owl has a toe 
That can't turn out so! 

I've made the white owl my study for years, 
And to see such a job almost moves me to tears ! - 
Mister Brown, I'm amazed 
You should be so gone crazed 
As to put up a bird 
In that posture absurd ! 

To look at that owl really brings on a dizziness ; 
The man who stuffed him don't half know his business I* 
And the barber kept on shaving 

" Examine those eyes. 
I'm filled with surprise 
Taxidermists should pass 
Off on you such poor glass ; 
So unnatural they seem 
They'd make Audubon scream, 
And John Burroughs laugh 
To encounter such chaff. 
Do take that bird down : 
Have him stuffed again, Brown !" 

And the barber kept on shaving 

" With some sawdust and bark 
I could stuff in the dark 
An owl better than that. 
I could make an old hat 
Look more like an owl 
Than that horrid fowl, 



LESLIE] AUNT QUIMBY. 391 

Stuck up there so stiff like a side of coarse leather. 
In fact, about Mm there's not one natural feather." 

Just then, with a wink and a sly normal lurch, 
The owl, very gravely, got down from his perch, 
Walked round, and regarded his fault-finding critic 
(Who thought he was stuffed) with a glance analytic, 
And then fairly hooted, as if he should say, 
" Your learning's at fault this time, anyway ; 
Don't waste it again on a live bird, I pray. 
I'm an owl ; you're another. Sir Critic, good-day 1" 

And the barber kept on shaving. 



AUNT QUIMBY. 

ELIZA LESLIE. 

[Fifty years ago Miss Leslie was a power in Philadelphia society, 
from the cutting satire of her highly-popular stories, .in which the 
mushroom aristocracy of the day were handled with little mercy, and 
in some oases their actual names used in narratives of no compli 
mentary character. Aunt Quimby, with her inconveniently exact 
memory, served as one of these whips for family pride, by relating 
incidents in the ancestral history of the aristocracy which had the in 
convenience of having actually occurred. Miss Leslie's style, though 
intensely practical, had marked humor, and her stories were widely 
read. In addition she was the author of a once noted " Cookery 
Book," and of other works of a similar character. She was born in 
Philadelphia in 1787, and died in 1858.] 

IN the mean time Mrs. Quimby continued to call on the 
attention of those around her. To some the old lady was 
a source of amusement, to others of disgust and annoy 
ance. By this time they all understood who she was, and 



392 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LESLIE 

how she happened to be there. Fixing her eyes on a 
very dignified and fashionable-looking young lady, whom 
she had heard addressed as Miss Lybrand, and who, with 
several others, was sitting nearly opposite, " Pray, miss," 
said Aunt Quimby, " was your grandfather's name Moses?" 

" It was," replied the young lady. 

" Oh ! then you must be a grand-daughter of old Moses 
Lybrand, who kept a livery-stable up in Race Street ; and 
his son Aaron always used to drive the best carriage, 
after the old man was past doing it himself. Is your 
father's name Aaron ?" 

"No, madam," said Miss Lybrand, looking very red. 
" My father's name is Richard." 

" Richard : he must have been one of the second wife's 
children. Oh ! I remember seeing him about when he 
was a little boy. He had a curly head, and on week-days 
generally wore a gray jacket and corduroy trousers ; but 
he had a nice bottle-green suit for Sunday. Yes, yes : 
they went to our church, and sat up in the gallery. And 
he was your father, was he? Then Aaron must have 
been your own uncle. He was a very careful driver for a 
young man. He learnt of his father. I remember just 
after we were first married, Mr. Quimby hiring Moses 
Lybrand's best carriage to take me and my bridesmaids 
and groomsmen on a trip to Germantown. It was a yel 
low coachee with red curtains, and held us all very well 
with close packing. In those days people like us took 
their wedding-rides to Germantown and Frankford and 
Darby, and ordered a dinner at a tavern with custards 
and whips, and came home in the evening. And the 
highfliers, when they got married, went as far as Chester 
or Dunks's Ferry. They did not then start off from the 
church door and scour the roads all the way to Niagara 
just because they were brides and grooms j as if that was 



LESLIE] AUNT QUIMBY. 393 

any reason for flying their homes directly. But pray 
what has hecome of your uncle Aaron ?" 

" I do not know," said the young lady, looking much 
displeased. " I never heard of him." 

"But did not you tell me your grandfather's name was 
Moses ?" 

" There may have been other Moses Lybrands." 

" Was not he a short, pock-marked man, that walked a 
little lame, with something of a cast in his right eye ? or, 
I won't be positive, maybe it was in the left ?" 

"I am very sure papa's father was no such looking 
person," replied Miss Lybrand; "but I never saw him: 
he died before I was born." 

" Poor old man," resumed Mrs. Quimby : " if I remem 
ber right, Moses became childish many years before his 
death." 

Miss Lybrand then rose hastily, and proposed to her 
immediate companions a walk farther into the woods ; 
and Myrtilla, leaving the vicinity of Mr. Smith, came 
forward and joined them, her friends making a private 
signal to her not to invite the aforesaid gentleman to 
accompany them. 

Aunt Quimby saw them depart, and, looking round, 
said, " Why, Mr. Smith, have the girls given you the slip ? 
But, to be sure, they meant you to follow them." 

Mr. Smith signified that he had no courage to do so 
without an invitation, and that he feared he had already 
been tiring Miss Cheston. 

" Pho, pho !" said Mrs. Quimby : " you are quite too 
humble. Pluck up a little spirit, and run after the girls." 

"I believe," replied he, "I cannot take such a liberty." 

" Then I'll call Captain Cheston to introduce you to 
some more gentlemen. Here, Bromley " 

" Ko, no," said Mr. Smith, stopping her apprehensively : 



394 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LESLIE 

" I would rather not intrude any farther upon his kind 
ness." 

" I declare, you are the shamefacedest man I ever saw 
in my life! Well, then, you can walk about, and look at 
the trees and bushes ; there's a fine large button wood, and 
there's a sassafras ; or you can go to the edge of the bank, 
and look at the river, and watch how the tide goes down 
and leaves the splatter-docks standing in the mud. See 
how thick they are at low water ! I wonder if you 
couldn't count them ? And maybe you'll see a wood- 
shallop pass along, or maybe a coal-barge. And who 
knows but a sturgeon may jump out of the water, and 
turn head over heels and back again ? It's quite a hand 
some sight." 

Good Mr. Smith did as he was bidden, and walked about 
and looked at things, and probably counted the splatter- 
docks, and perhaps saw a fish jump. 

" It's all bashfulness, nothing in the world but- bashful- 
ness," pursued Mrs. Quimby. "That's the only reason 
Mr. Smith don't talk." 

" For my part," said a very elegant-looking girl, " I am 
perfectly willing to impute the taciturnity of Mr. Smith 
(and that of all other silent people) to modesty. But yet 
I must say that, as far as I have had opportunities of ob 
serving, most men above the age of twenty have sufficient 
courage to talk, if they know what to say. When the 
head is well furnished with ideas, the tongue cannot habit 
ually refrain from giving them utterance." 

"That's a very good observation," said Mrs. Quimby, 
" and suits me exactly. But as to Mr. Smith, I do believe 
it's all bashfulness with him. Between ourselves (though 
the British consul warrants him respectable), I doubt 
whether he was ever in such genteel society before ; and 
maybe he thinks it his duty to listen and not to talk, poor 



LESLIE] AUNT QUIMBY. 395 

man. But then he ought to know that in our country ho 
need not be afraid of nobody, and that here all people are 
equal, and one is as good as another." 

" Not exactly," said the young lady. " We have in 
America, as in Europe, numerous gradations of mind, 
manners, and character. Politically we are equal, as far 
as regards the rights of citizens and the protection of the 
laws ; and also we have no privileged orders. But indi 
vidually it is difficult for the refined and the vulgar, the 
learned and the ignorant, the virtuous and the vicious, 
to associate familiarly and indiscriminately, even in a re 
public." 

The old lady looked mystified for a few moments, and 
then proceeded: "As you say, people's different. We 
can't be hail-fellow-well-met with Tom, Dick, and Harry ; 
but, for my part, I think myself as good as anybody." 

No one contradicted this opinion, and just then a gen 
tleman came up and said to the young lady, " Miss At- 
wood, allow me to present you with a sprig of the last 
wild roses of the season. I found a few still lingering op 
a bush in a shady lane just above." 

" ' I bid their blossoms in my bonnet wave,' " 

said Miss Atwood, inserting them amid one of the ribbon 
bows. 

" Atwood, Atwood," said Aunt Quimby : " I know the 
name very well. Is not your father Charles Atwood, who 
used to keep a large wholesale store in Front Street ?" 

" I have the happiness of being that gentleman's daugh 
ter," replied the young lady. 

" And you live up Chestnut now, don't you, among the 
fashionables ?" 

" My father's house is up Chestnut Street." 

" Your mother was a Eoss, wasn't she ?" 



396 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LESLIE 

" Her maiden name was Boss." 

" I thought so," proceeded Mrs. Quiinby. " I remem 
ber your father very well. He was the son of Tommy 
Atwood, who kept an ironmonger's shop down Second 
Street by the New Market. Your grandfather was a 
very obliging man, rather fat. I have often been in hia 
store when we lived down that way. I remember once 
of buying a waffle-iron of him, and when I tried it and 
found it did not make a pretty pattern on the waffles I 
took it back to him to change it; but, having no other 
pattern, he returned me the money as soon as I asked 
him. And another time he had the kitchen tongs mended 
for me without charging a cent, when I put him in mind 
that I had bought them there ; which was certainly very 
genteel of him. And no wonder he made a fortune, as 
all people do that are obliging to their customers and 
properly thankful to them." . . . 

When the last carriage drew up, there was a buzz all 
round: "There is the baron, there is the Baron von 
Klingenberg, as usual, with Mrs. Blake Bentley and her 
daughters." 

After the new arrivals had been conducted by the 
Chestons to the house, and adjusted their dresses, they 
were shown into what was considered the drawing-room 
part of the woods, and accommodated with seats. But it 
was very evident that Mrs. Blake Bentley's party were 
desirous of keeping chiefly to themselves, talking very 
loudly to each other, and seemingly resolved to attract 
the attention of every one around. 

" Bromley," said Mrs. Quimby, having called Captain 
Cheston to her," is that a baron ?" 

" That is the Baron von Klingenberg." 

" Well, between ourselves, he's about as ugly a man as 
ever I laid my eyes on. At least he looks so at that 



LESLIE] AUNT QUIMBY. 397 

distance. A clumsy fellow, with high shoulders and a 
round back, and his face all over hair, and as bandy as he 
can be, besides. And he's not a bit young, neither." 

"Barons never seem to me young," said Miss Turret- 
ville, a young lady of the romantic school, " but counts 
always do." 

" I declare, even Mr. Smith is better-looking," pursued 
Aunt Quimby, fixing her eyes on the baron. "Don't you 
think so, miss ?" 

"I think nothing about him," replied the fair Turret 
ville. 

" Mr. Smith," said Myrtilla, " perhaps is not actually 
ugly, and if properly dressed might look tolerably ; but 
he is too meek, and too weak. I wasted much time in 
trying to entertain him as I sat under the tree, but he 
only looked down and simpered, and scarcely ventured 
a word in reply. One thing is certain, I shall take no 
further account of him." 

" Now, Myrtilla, it's a shame to set your face against 
the poor man in this way. I dare say he is very good." 

" That is always said of stupid people." 

" No doubt it would brighten him wonderfully if you 
were to dance with him when the ball begins." 

"Dance!" said Myrtilla; "dance with him I Do you 
suppose he knows either. a step or a figure? No, no; I 
shall take care never to exhibit myself as Mr. Smith's 
partner; and I beg of you, Aunt Quimby, on no account 
to hint such a thing to him. Besides, I am already en 
gaged three sets deep." And she ran away on seeing that 
Mr. Smith was approaching. . . . 

" This assemblage," said the baron, " somewhat reminds 
me of the annual fetes I give to my serfs in the park that 
surrounds my castle at the cataract of the Ehine." 

Miss Turretville had just come up, leaning on the arm 
n. 34 



398 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LESLIE 

of Myrtilla Cheston. " Let us try to get nearer to the 
baron," said she : " he is talking about castles. Oh, I am 
so glad that I have been introduced to him ! I met him 
the other evening at Mrs. De Mingle's select party, and 
he took my fan out of my hand and fanned himself with 
it. There is certainly an elegant ease about European 
gentlemen that our Americans can never acquire." 

" Where is the ease and elegance of Mr. Smith ?" thought 
Myrtilla, as she looked over at that forlorn individual 
shrinking behind Aunt Quimby. 

" As I was saying," pursued the baron, lolling back in 
his chair and applying to his nose Mrs. Bentley's magnifi 
cent essence-bottle, " when I give these fetes to my serfs I 
regale them with Westphalia hams from my own hunting- 
grounds, and with hock from my own vineyards." 

"Dear me! ham and hock!" ejaculated Mrs. Quimby. 

" Baron," said Miss Turretville, " I suppose you have 
visited the Hartz Mountains?" 

" My castle stands on one of them." 

" Charming ! Then you have seen the Brocken ?" 

" It is directly in front of my ramparts." 

"How delightful! Do you never imagine that on a 
stormy night you hear the witches riding through the 
air, to hold their revels on the Brocken? Are there still 
brigands in the Black Forest ?" 

" Troops of them. The Black Forest is just back of 
my own woods. The robbers were once so audacious as 
to attack my castle, and we had a bloody fight. But we 
at length succeeded in taking all that were left alive." 

" What a pity I Was their captain anything like Charles 
de Moor ?" 

" Just such a man." 

" Baron," observed Myrtilla, a little mischievously, " the 
eituation of your castle must be unique, in the midst of 



LESLIE] AUNT QUIMBY. 399 

the Hartz Mountains, at the falls of the Khine, with the 
Brocken in front, and the Black Forest behind." 

" You dote on the place, don't you ?" asked Miss Tur~ 
retville. " Do you live there always ?" 

" No : only in the hunting-season. I am equally at 
home in all the capitals of the Continent. I might, per 
haps, be chiefly at my native place, Yienna, only my 
friend the emperor is never happy but when I am with 
him ; and his devotion to me is rather overwhelming. 
The truth is, one gets surfeited with courts and kings and 
princes : so I thought it would be quite refreshing to take 
a trip to America, having great curiosity to see what sort 
of a place it is. I recollect, at the last court ball, the em 
peror was teasing me to waltz with his cousin the Arch 
duchess of Hesse-Hoblingen, who he feared would be 
offended if I neglected her. But her serene highness 
dances as if she had a cannon-ball chained to each foot, 
and so I got off by flatly telling my friend the emperor 
that if women chose to go to balls in velvet and ermine 
and with coronets on their heads they might get princes 
or some such people to dance with them, as, for my part, 
it was rather excruciating to whirl about with persons in 
heavy royal robes." 

" Is it possible ?" exclaimed Miss Turretville. " Did 
you venture to talk so to an emperor? Of course befoie 
next day you were loaded with chains and immured in a 
dungeon, from which I suppose you escaped by a subter 
ranean passage." 

" Not at all. My old crony the emperor knows his man . 
so he only laughed, and slapped me on the shoulder, and I 
took his arm and we sauntered off together to the other 
end of the grand saloon. I think I was in my hussar uni 
form ; I recollect that evening I broke my quizzing-glass 
and had to borrow the Princess of Saxe-Blinkenberg's." 



400 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LESLIE 

"Was it very elegant? set round with diamonds?" 
asked Miss Matilda Bentley, putting up to her face a hand 
on which glittered a valuable brilliant. 

" Quite likely it was ; but I never look at diamonds ; 
one gets so tired of them. I have not worn any of mine 
these seven years. I often joke with my friend Prince 
Esterhazy about his diamond coat, that he will persist in 
wearing on great occasions. Its glitter really incommodes 
my eyes when he happens to be near me, as he generally 
is. Whenever ie moves you may track him by the gems 
that drop from it, and you may hear him far off by their 
continual tinkling as they fall." 

" Only listen to that. Mr. Smith !" said Aunt Quimby 
aside to her protege. " I do not believe there is such a 
man in the world as that Hester Hazy, with his diamond 
coat, that he's telling all this rigmarole about. It sound? 
like one of Mother Bunch's tales." 

"I rather think there is such a man," said Mr. Smith. 

"Nonsense, Mr. Smith! Why, you're a greater goose 
than I supposed." 

Mr. Smith assented by a meek bow. 

Dinner was now announced. The gentlemen conducted 
the ladies, and Aunt Quimby led Mr. Smith ; but she could 
not prevail on him to take a seat beside her, near the head 
of the table, and directly opposite to the baron and his 
party. He humbly insisted on finding a place for himself 
very low down, and seemed glad to get into the neighbor 
hood of Captain Cheston, who presided at the foot. . . . 

When the dessert was set on, and the flow of soul was 
succeeding to the feast which, whether of reason or not, 
had been duly honored, Mrs. Quimby found leisure to look 
around and resume her colloquy. 

" I believe, madam, your name is Bentley," said she to 
the lofty -looking personage directly opposite. 



LESLIE] AUNT QUIMBY. 401 

" I am Mrs. Blake Bentley," was the reply, with an im 
perious stare that was intended to frown down all further 
attempts at conversation. But Aunt Quimby did not 
comprehend repulsion, and had never been silenced in her 
life : so she proceeded, 

" I remember your husband very well. He was a son 
of old Benny Bentley, up Second Street, that used to keep 
the sign of the Adam and Eve, but afterwards changed it 
to the Liberty-Tree. His wife was a Blake : that was tho 
way your husband came by his name. Her father was an 
upholsterer, and she worked at the trade before she was 
married. She made two bolsters and three pillows for me 
at different times ; though I'm not quite sure it was not 
two pillows and three bolsters. He had a brother, Billy 
Blake, that was a painter : so he must have been your 
husband's uncle." 

" Excuse me," said Mrs. Blake Bentley, " I don't under 
stand what you are talking about. But I'm very sure 
there were never any artist people in the family." 

"Oh, Billy Blake was a painter and glazier both," re 
sumed Mrs. Quimby. " I remember him as well as if he 
was my own brother. We always sent for him to mend 
our broken windows. I can see him now, coming with 
his glass-box and his putty. Poor fellow ! he was em 
ployed to put a new coat of paint on Christ Church 
steeple, which we thought would be a good job for him , 
but the scaffold gave way, and he fell down and broke his 
leg. We lived right opposite, and saw him tumble. It's 
a mercy he wasn't killed right out. He was carried home 
on a hand-barrow. I remember the afternoon as well as 
if it were yesterday. We had a pot-pie for dinner that 
day ; and I happened to have on a new calico gown, a 
green ground with a yellow sprig in it : I have some of 
the pieces now in patchwork." 
n. aa 34* 



402 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LESLIE 

Mrs. Blake Bentley gave Mrs. Quimby a look of un 
qualified disdain, and then, turning to the baron, whis 
pered him to say something that might stop the mouth 
of that abominable old woman. And, by way of begin 
ning, she observed aloud, " fiaron, what very fine plums 
these are !" 

"Yes," said the baron, helping himself to them pro 
fusely; "and apropos to plums, one day when I happened 
to be dining with the King of Prussia there were some very 
fine peaches at table (we were sitting, you know, trifling 
over the dessert), and the king said to me, ' Klingen-berg, 
my dear fellow, let's try which of us can first break that 
large looking-glass by shooting a peach-stone at it.' " 

"Dear me! what a king!" interrupted Mrs. Quimby. 
" And now I look at you again, sir (there ! just now, with 
your head turned to the light), there's something in your 
face that puts me in mind of Jacob Stimbel, our Dutch 
young man that used to live with us and help to do the 
work. Mr. Quimby bought him at the wharf out of a 
redemptioner ship. He was to serve us three years ; but 
before his time was up he ran away (as they often do), 
and went to Lancaster, and set up his old trade of a car 
penter, and married a bricklayer's daughter, and got rich, 
and built houses, and had three or four sons. I think I 
heard that one of them turned out a pretty bad fellow. 
I can see Jake Stimbel now, carrying the market-basket 
after me, or scrubbing the pavement. Whenever I look 
at you I think of him. Maybe he was some relation of 
yours, as you both came from Germany." 

" A relation of mine, madam !" said the baron. 

" There now ! there's Jake Stimbel to the life ! He had 
just that way of stretching up his eyes and drawing down 
his mouth when he did not know what to say, which 
was usually the case after he stayed on errands." 



LESLIE] AUNT QUIMBY. 403 

The baron contracted his brows and bit his lips. 

" Fix your face as you will," continued Mrs. Quimby, 
" you are as like him as you can look. I am sure I ought 
to remember Jacob Stimbel, for I had all the trouble of 
teaching him to do his work, besides learning him to talk 
American ; and as soon as he had learnt, he cleared him 
self off, as I told you, and run away from us." 

The baron now turned to Matilda Bentley, and endeav 
ored to engage her attention by an arnest conversation 
in an undertone ; and Mrs. Bentley looked daggers at 
Aunt Quimby, who said, in a low voice, to a lady that sat 
next to her, 

" What a pity Mrs. Bentley has such a violent way with 
her eyes ! She'd be a handsome woman if it was not for 
that." . . . 

The dancers had just taken their places for the first set, 
when they were startled by the shrieks of a woman, which 
seemed to ascend from the river-beach below. The gen 
tlemen and many of the ladies ran to the edge of the bank 
to ascertain the cause ; and Aunt Quimby, looking down 
among the first, exclaimed, " Oh, mercy ! if there isn't Mr. 
Smith a-collaring the baron, and Miss Matilda a-screaming 
for dear life !" 

" The baron collaring Mr. Smith, you mean," said Myr- 
tilla, approaching the bank. 

" No, no ! I mean as I say. Why, who'd think it was 
in Mr. Smith to do such a thing ? Oh, see ! only look 
how he shakes him ! And now he gives him a kick. 
Only think of doing all that to a baron ! but I dare say 
he deserves it. He looks more like Jake Stimbel than 
ever." 

Captain Cheston sprung down the bank (most of the 
other gentlemen running after him), and, immediately 
reaching the scene of action, rescued the foreigner, who 



404 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LESLIE 

Beemed too frightened to oppose any effectual resistance 
to his assailant. 

" Mr. Smith," said Captain Cheston, " what is the mean 
ing of this outrage ? and in the presence of a lady, too !" 

" The lady must excuse me," replied Mr. Smith, " for it 
is in her behalf I have thus forgotten myself so far as to 
chastise on the spot a contemptible villain. Let us con 
vey Miss Bentley up the bank, for she seems greatly 
agitated, and I will then explain to the gentlemen the 
extraordinary scene they have just witnessed." 

" Only hear Mr. Smith, how he's talking out !" exclaimed 
Aunt Quimby. " And there's the baron fellow putting up 
his coat-collar and sneaking off round the corner of the 
bank. I'm so glad he's turned out a scamp !" 

Having reached the top of the bank, Matilda Bentley 
who had nearly fainted was laid on a bench and con 
signed to the care of her mother and sisters. A flood of 
tears came to her relief; and while she was indulging in 
them, Mrs. Bentley joined the group who were assembled 
round Mr. Smith and listening to his narrative. 

Mr. Smith explained that he knew this soi-disant Baron 
von Klingenberg to be an impostor and a swindler. That 
he had, some years since, under another name, made his 
appearance in Paris as an American gentleman of German 
origin and large fortune, but soon gambled away all his 
money. That he afterwards, under different appellations, 
visited the principal cities of the Continent, but always 
left behind the reputation of a swindler. That he had 
seen him last in London, in the capacity of valet to the 
real Baron von Klingenberg, who, intending a visit to the 
United States, had hired him as being a native of America 
and familiar with the country and its customs; but, an 
unforeseen circumstance having induced that gentleman 
to relinquish this transatlantic voyage, his American valet 



LESLIE] AUNT ^UIMBY. 405 

robbed him of a large sum of money and some valuable 
jewels, stole also the letters of introduction which had 
been obtained by the real baron, and with them had evi 
dently been enabled to pass himself for his master. To 
this explanation Mr. Smith added that while wandering 
among the trees on the edge of the bank he had seen the 
impostor on the beach below, endeavoring to persuade 
Miss Bentley to an elopement with him, proposing that 
they should repair immediately to a place in the neighbor 
hood where the railroad-cars stopped on their way to New 
York, and from thence proceed to that city, adding, " You 
know there is no overtaking a railroad-car: so all pursuit 
of us will be in vain ; besides, when once married all will 
be safe, as you are of age, and mistress of your own for 
tune." " Finding," continued Mr. Smith, " that he was 
likely to succeed in persuading Miss Bentley to accompany 
him, I could no longer restrain my indignation, which 
prompted me to rush down the bank and adopt summary 
measures in rescuing the young lady from the hands of so 
infamous a scoundrel, whom nothing but my unwilling 
ness to disturb the company prevented me from exposing 
as soon as I saw him." 

" Don't believe him !" screamed Mrs. Blake Bentley. 
"Mr. Smith, indeed! Who is to take his word? Who 
knows what Mr. Smith is ?" 

" I do !" said a voice from the crowd ; and there stepped 
forward a gentleman who had arrived in a chaise with a 
friend about half an hour before. " I had the pleasure of 
knowing him intimately in England, when I was minister 
to the court of St. James's." 

" Maybe you bought your tins at his shop ?" said Aunt 
Quimby. 

The ex-ambassador, in a low voice, exchanged a few 
words with Mr. Smith, and then, taking his hand, pre- 



406 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LESLIE 

Bented him as the Earl of Huntingford, adding, " The only 
tin he deals in is that produced by his extensive mines in 
Cornwall." 

The whole company were amazed into a silence of some 
moments, after which there was a general buzz of favor 
able remark; Captain Cheston shook hands with him, and 
all the gentlemen pressed forward to be more particularly 
introduced to Lord Huntingford. 

" Dear me !" said Aunt Quimby ; " to think that I 
should have been so sociable with a lord, and a real one, 
too ! And to think how he drank tea at Billy Fairfowl's 
in the back parlor, and ate bread-and-butter just like any 
other man ! And how he saved Jane and picked up 
Johnny ! I suppose I must not speak to you now, Mr. 
Smith, for I don't know how to begin calling you my 
lord. And you don't seem like the same man, now that 
you can look and talk like other people ; and excuse my 
saying so even your dress looks genteeler." 

" Call me still Mr. Smith, if you choose," replied Lord 
Huntingford; and, turning to Captain Cheston, he con 
tinued, "Under that name I have had opportunities of 
obtaining much knowledge of your unique and interesting 
country, knowledge that will be useful to me all the 
remainder of my life, and that I could not so well have 
acquired in my real character." , . . 

When the fete was over, Lord Huntingford returned to 
the city with his friend the ex-minister. At parting ho 
warmly expressed his delight at having had an opportunity 
of becoming acquainted with Captain Cheston and his 
ladies; and Aunt Quimby exclaimed, "It's all owing to 
me. If it had not been for me, you might never have 
known them. I always had the character of bringing 
good luck to people: so it's no wonder I'm so welcome 
everywhere." 



DODGE] TOMMY. 407 

TOMMY. 

MARY A. DODGE. 

[It is no easy matter to select from among the many witty and 
piquant paragraphs of the popular " Gail Hamilton." Her aggressive 
warfare upon things as they are has undoubtedly had a wholesome 
effect upon American society. In fact, common sense is the ruling 
characteristic of her writings, but this usually unpalatable food is so 
well spiced in them as to become a very agreeable mental provender. 
From her many works we select an amusing bit of " Country Living 
and Country Thinking." Miss Dodge is a native of Hamilton, Massa 
chusetts, where she was born in 1838.] 

SOMETIMES when I am sitting in my room I hear a 
prolonged " g-a-a-h !" Then I know that Tommy is out. 
Tommy has escaped from his keepers, and is pursuing his 
investigations in the world at large. So I go to the win 
dow, and a pink gleam flashes up from the grass, and 
there, sure enough, is Tommy, climbing up towards the 
house with slow, tottering, uncertain steps, but with a 
face indicative of a desperate resolve to get somewhere, 
and with both arms acting as balancing-poles. Then I 
call out, "Hul-\ol little Tom-mee/" and everything changes. 
The arms drop, the feet stop, the resolution fades out of 
his face. He looks blankly towards all points of the 
compass, and when finally his eyes alight on me, what a 
smile ! An ordinary curve of bis generous Irisb lips 
doesn't seem at all adequate to bis feelings. He smiles 
latitudinally and longitudinally, away round towards 
the back of bis head, up to his nose, and down into bid 
chin. Out goes bis right arm as far as it can stretch, 
with the fat forefinger extended towards me, and a more 
intense "g-a-a-h!" bursts from the little throat. Then, 
with renewed energy, he resumes his travels. He does 



408 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS, 

very well so long as the ascent is gradual, but when it 
becomes abrupt his troubles begin. It isn't the tumbling 
down, however, that hurts him ; like all the rest of us, 
he can do that very easily; but it is the getting up again 
that plays the mischief. He rears himself On his toes and 
fingers, and there he stands, a round-backed little quad 
ruped, utterly at a loss what to do next ; for Tommy does 
not yet understand the use of his knees. If he thinks I 
am looking at him, he will stand there and squeal till 
he becomes convinced that I have gone away and left him 
to his own resources, which I generally do; when he 
drops, or rolls, or squirms along, in some illegal and un- 
anatomical way, and at last stands radiant in the porch. 
Then he steers straightway to the side-lights. Those 
side-lights are an unfailing source of admiring wonder. 
If somebody is on the opposite side to play bo-peep, he is 
ecstatic. If nobody is there, he is calmly blissful. 

Tommy is a great nuisance during the " fall cleaning." 
He is always getting into the soapsuds and hot water 
generally. I volunteered once to take charge of him. I 
was going to tack down a carpet. Tommy looked on in 
amazement. Then he got down on the floor and tried to 
take the tacks in his soft fingers. I rapped the soft fingers 
with my carpet-hammer. He gave one yell, and drew 
them back. I kept on with my work. In a minute the 
soft fingers were creeping in among the tacks. Anothei 
rap, another yell, another creep, rap ! yell ! creep, till I 
grew tired of rapping, if he did not of being rapped. I 
suppose I didn't hit quite hard enough ; but one doesn't 
like to take liberties with other people's babies. Then I 
took hold of him by the back of his frock with one hand, 
carried him, with head and feet hanging, to the farthest 
side of the room, and deposited him in a corner. I had 
hardly driven one tack in, before the little rascal was 



DODGE] TOMMY. 409 

rounding up his back again under my very eyes. I 
gathered him up once more, and dumped him in the 
corner as before. Evidently it was fine fun for him. 
.Nothing could exceed the alacrity with which he crawled 
over to me. In despair, I at length put up the tacks, and 
proceeded to arrange some curtain-fixtures. Tommy was 
suspiciously still for several minutes, and when I went to 
ascertain the cause I found he had got a bucket of sea- 
sand that had been left in the room, had emptied it on 
the carpet, and was flinging it about in royal style. I 
regretted to stop his enjoyment, for I have a fondness for 
sand myself, but it did not seem to be appropriate under 
the circumstances, and I scooped it up as well as I could, 
and put it beyond his reach. The next time I looked at 
him, which was in about a quarter of a minute, he was ex 
erting himself to the utmost in pushing a large pitcher off 
the lower part of the wash-hand-stand. I caught it just as 
it was toppling over the brink, and before I could get that 
out of harm's way he had tumbled a writing-desk out of 
a chair, scattering pens, ink, and paper in all directions. 
I saw at once that if I was going to take care of Tommy 
I must " give my mind to it." I took him into the kitchen, 
as the place best prepared to resist his incursions. He 
struck a bee-line for the stove, and covered himself with 
crock. I couldn't undertake to wash him, but I mopped 
him up a little, put on his hat, and took him out to walk. 
Everything went on blithely till I turned to go home; 
then he raised the standard of rebellion. Tommy seldom 
cries, but he has a gamut of most surprising squeals at his 
command. On the present occasion he exhibited them in 
wonderful variety and with remarkable compass of sound. 
I might say every step was a squeal. The neighborhood 
rushed to the windows, not unreasonably fearing a repeti 
tion of " the babes in the wood." I covered his eyes, and 
ii. s 35 



410 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DODGE 

swung him around rapidly three or four times, to bewilder 
him so that he should not know which way he was going. 
But Tommy was too old a bird to be caught by such chaff. 
He pulled backward, sidewise, every way but the way he 
ought to have pulled. I sat down on the root of an old 
elm-tree, and gazed at him in silent despair. He smiled 
back at me serene as a summer morning, but the moment 
I showed symptoms of starting he showed symptoms of 
squealing, till at length I conquered my compunctions, 
took him up in my arms, crock and all, and carried him 
home. 

Tommy has a little black kitten, and the understanding 
between them is wonderful to see. Whenever you see 
Tommy's pink dress, you may be sure the kitty's glossy 
fur is not far off; and she whisks around him and tanta 
lizes him in the most provoking manner. Sometimes they 
both run a steeple-chase after her tail : kitty is too wise by 
far to let anything so valuable as her tail get into the 
clutch of those undiscriminating fingers ; but she frisks 
and gambols around him delightfully, and Tommy turns, 
too, as fast as he can, and doesn't know that the flashing 
tail is never to be got hold of by him. It is surprising 
how slowly children develop compared with other animals. 
Tommy's kitten is a 'good deal younger than he, yet she 
makes nothing of climbing up to the ridge-pole of the 
barn after the doves, which she never catches, or scudding 
up the tall cherry-tree and peeping down at Tommy from 
the upper branches. I believe she does it to excite his 
envy. 

Tommy is intimate only with the kitten, but he makes 
friends with the chickens, and cultivates the acquaintance 
of the pig by throwing the clothes-pins over into his pen. 
An old rooster, nearly as tall as himself, seems to have 
attracted his especial regard. His efforts to catch him are 



DODGE] TOMMY. 411 

persistent, though as yet unsuccessful. He evidently has 
perfect faith in his ultimate success, however, and every 
time Rooster heaves in sight Tommy makes a lurch after 
him with both arms extended. Rooster understands per 
fectly how matters stand, and preserves a dignified com 
posure till Tommy gets within a foot of him, when he 
leisurely withdraws. Tommy stops a moment, takes a 
survey, and goes at it again. 

The days, and the weeks, and the months pass on, and 
Tommy's rich Irish blood ripens in the summer sunshine. 
His tottering legs grow firmer. His dimpled arms fore 
bode strength. As I sit at my window, I see the apple- 
trees in the orchard grow white with bloom, and under 
them my best silk umbrella is marching about, as the courts 
say, without any visible means of support. While I gaze 
in astonishment, it suddenly gives a lurch, and reveals 
Tommy under its capacious dome in a seventh heaven of 
ecstasy. Or I am startled, while sitting alone in the warm 
afternoon, by seeing a blue eye just a naked, human 
eye peering in through the lowest chink of a closed 
blind opening on the porch. It turns out to belong to 
Tommy, who by standing on tiptoe in the porch can just 
get one eye in range. JSTow I see him trotting down the 
lane alone, clad in a gay scarlet frock, et prceterea nihil, his 
fat little legs brown with dirt, his white neck, face, and 
arms mottled with the same, and his curly hair a jungle. 
From his abstracted and eager manner, I infer that he is 
bent on some grave errand. "Where going, Tommy?" I 
call, suspicious of a secret expedition. " O-gah-gi-bah !" 
shouts Tommy, without slackening his pace. Out comes 
his mother, with a twig, and gives chase. Tommy be 
comes cognizant of a fire in the rear, and his eager walk 
tumbles into a trot, for he feels that he is verily guilty, 
and knows that he is easily accessible ; but fate overtakes 



412 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DODGE 

him, and he is borne ignominiously back. Then his 
mother explains that she had just been trying on his new 
frock, and had remarked that she must get some buttons, 
and so Tommy had stolen away and was going "over- 
shop-get-buttons." 

Accidents, we are told, will happen in the best of fami 
lies, and Tommy awoke one morning and found that his 
nose was out of joint. A little, lumpy baby sister had 
sadly deranged the machinery of his life, and he didn't 
know what to make of it. Formerly, when he stole out 
doors unawares, his pretty young mother used to run out 
after him and toss him up in her stout, bare arms into the 
house. Now an old woman in a cap came, and brought 
her hand down very heavily on his sensitiveness. Then, 
too, he was ousted out of his cradle by the interloper, and 
his life was in a fair way of becoming a burden to him. 
But his good nature never failed. To be sure, he would 
throw the plates, and the flat-irons, and the coal, into the 
cradle, but it was probably " all in fun." When I went in 
to see " the baby," the first time, he pointed to it with 
great exultation, and, as soon as the blanket was rolled 
down, first poked his finger into her eyes, and then, quick 
as thought, gave her a rousing slap on the cheek. Baby 
screamed, as she had a right to do, and Tommy had the slap 
returned with compound interest, as he richly deserved. 

Yet, in senseless, instinctive fashion, in his wild, Irish 
way, Tommy loved his baby sister. The little life drooped 
and died while the roses were yet in bloom. Tommy's 
baby sister was borne to her burial, and Tommy's heart, 
was troubled with a blind fear. What it was he did not 
know, but something was wrong. He lingered about the 
cradle where she lay, and when the tiny form was taken 
up to be placed in the coffin he plucked wildly at her 
white robe, crying bitterly, and refused to be comforted. 



DODGE] TOMMY. 413 

Darling little Tommy ! The very thought of your 
happy face, white and soft, and fine as a lily-cup, of your 
merry blue eyes, with their long, curling, black eyelashes, 
of your bungling little feet and your meddlesome little 
fingers, warms my heart. If I could have my way, you 
should always stay just as you are now, only having your 
face washed semi-occasionally. But I cannot have my 
way, and you will by and by run to school barefoot, and 
wear blue overalls, and smoke bad tobacco in a dingy pipe, 
and carry a hod, and vote the " Dimmocratic ticket." 

So I said last year, with foolish human prophecy, and 
now, behold ! there is no Democratic ticket to vote, and 
there is no Tommy to vote it. For Tommy is gone. 
Never any more while I live shall the gleam of his shining 
hair light up the greensward, or the irregular thumping 
of his copper-toed shoes bring music 'to my ears as he 
stumbles up the yard and clatters across the kitchen floor. 
A dreamy October morning, all gold an& amethyst with 
the haze of the Indian summer, took him beyond my 
eight over the blue waters to the fair island of his fathers, 
which has been to me ever since a " summer isle of Eden, 
lying in dark purple spheres of sea ;" and it seemed to me 
for the moment that nothing would be so delightful, 
nothing looked so winning, as to leave this surging, eager, 
battling land, and sail over the sea with Tommy, and live 
quietly in a little brown cottage on the border of Donegal 
bog, with a well-burnt pipe in the cupboard, plenty of 
peat on the fire, potatoes smoking in the ashes, a fine fat 
pig in the corner, and nothing to be careful or troubled 
about all the days of my life. . 

While I grieve for Tommy gone, I reflect that he would 

probably be a little pest if he had stayed. Already his 

feet were swift to do mischief. His rosy lips could swear 

you as round an oath as any Flanders soldiers, and he beat 

ii. 35* 



414 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [Doer 

the calf, and chased the hens, and worried the sheep, and 
poked the cow, and pulled the cat's tail, and worked the 
key out of the door and lost it, and was perpetually carry 
ing off the hoe and making the gravel fly, and surrepti 
tiously possessing himself of the whip. Fumble, rattle, 
Tommy is at the door; creak, creak, he has got it 
open ; thump, thump, thump, he is making for the whip ; 
silence, he is getting it down. " Tommy ! Tomm y I 
don't touch the whip, will you?" "No," says Tommy, 
stoutly, in the very act of marching off with it firmly 
clasped in both hands, brandishing it right and left, and 
whisking every living thing, and dead one too, that came 
in his way, or that didn't, either, for that matter. 

In the warm, moonlight evening, Tommy sits again in 
a high chair in the porch, and his mother tells me of the 
home to which she is going in Ireland, and of the schools 
which Tommy will attend, and the books that he will 
study, and she promises to send me one to look at ; but I 
greatly fear it will never reach me. As the conversation 
proceeds, I am driven into a corner and forced to admit 
that I do not reckon among my acquisitions an acquaint 
ance with the Irish language. She is silent for a moment, 
and never fails in the politeness of her race ; but I do not 
think I shall ever quite recover the ground which that 
revelation cost me. I fear me my reputation is perma 
nently lowered. Tommy, climbing in and out of his high 
chair, up his mother's neck, and down the porch steps, 
wiggling everywhere and clawing everything, takes part 
in the pleasant chat. " Where are you going, Thomas, by 
and by ?" asks his mother, designing to show his paces. 
" K-t-ty, k-t-ty," gurgles Tommy, making a dive after the 
kitten. "Now, Thomas," says she, drawing him back 
with a strong arm, "tell 'em where you're going next 
month, in a ship, you know, over the water." " Cow," 



DODGE J TOMMY. *15 

says Tommy, perversely, having a mortal aversion to 
water, wholesale and retail. But I know a quick way to 
his tongue. " Tommy, tell me where you are going, and 
I'll give you a sugar-plum." " Irle," says he, with a fine 
brogue, rapidly coming to his senses. " An tell 'em 
what'll your gran'father be sayin' to you when he sees 
you." A pink peppermint in my hand becoming visible 
to the naked eye, he answers, promptly, "Ye! ga! Tom! 
wi ! ko ! yah ! bk !" which, being interpreted, means, 
" Here comes Tom with the clock on his back," referring 
to a clock which is to be carried with them, and which 
he evidently believes will be his own personal luggage. 
Sometimes his answer turns into " Here's Tom, coming in 
at the door!" which seems to me to indicate a decided 
dramatic power. "Tommy," I say, pathetically, "I am 
afraid you will forget all about me when you go to Ire 
land." " Iss," roars Tommy, backing out from under his 
chair. " But I want you not to forget. Stand still, now, 
and tell me what my name is." " Yah !" shouts Tommy, 
jumping up and down. "Yah what?" "Yah Yah!" 
And even when the last morning comes, when Tommy, 
gay with scarlet frock and feather and " bran-new" shoes, 
is borne in his mother's arms up the steps to say his last 
good-by, the hard-hearted little pagan is utterly unmoved 
by her tears, and only jounces up and down, and cries, 
"Bide! Horse!" and, in virtue of a dough-nut in each 
fist, marches off for fatherland, triumphant. 

But Ireland is glorified henceforth. I see no more there 
want, nor squalor, nor suffering, but verdurous meadow- 
depths, and" a little child crowned with myrtle and ar 
butus flinging around him the crushed wealth of daisy 
and prim-roses and gold-cups, while his upturned face, 
shining against the morning sun, is as it were the face of 
an angel. 



416 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WASHINGTON 

FAREWELL ADDRESS. 

GEORGE WASHINGTON. 

[Of Washington biographically we have nothing to say. There 
must be very few of our readers who are not familiar with his biog 
raphy. He takes a position in general literature mainly by his " Fare 
well Address to the People of the United States," one of the most 
notable and valuable documents that was ever issued by the leader 
of a state, and one which, while the United States exists, must ever 
remain a portion of its cherished literary treasures. Tt is written in a 
clear, eloquent, and forcible manner, and the advice which it gives, if 
it had had proper weight upon the minds of the American people, 
might have saved us from the untold horrors of the civil war.] 

. . . THE unity of government, which constitutes you 
one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so ; for 
it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, 
the support of your tranquillity at home ; your peace 
abroad ; of your safety ; of your prosperity ; of that very 
liberty which you so highly prize. But, as it is easy to 
foresee that, from different causes and from different quar 
ters, much pains will be taken, many artifices employed, 
to weaken in your minds the conviction of this truth ; as 
this is the point in your political fortress against which 
the batteries of internal and external enemies will be 
most constantly and actively, though often covertly and 
insidiously, directed, it is of infinite moment that you 
should properly estimate the immense value of your na 
tional union to your collective and individual happiness; 
that you should cherish a cordial, habitual, and immova 
ble attachment to it, accustoming yourselves to think 
and speak of it as of the palladium of your political safety 
and prosperity ; watching for its preservation with jeal 
ous anxiety; discountenancing whatever may suggest 



WASHINGTON] FAREWELL ADDRESS. 417 

even a suspicion that it can in any event be abandoned , 
and indignantly frowning upon the first dawning of every 
attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the 
rest, or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together 
the various parts. . . . 

To the efficacy and permanency of your union, a gov 
ernment for the whole is indispensable. No alliances, 
h >wever strict, between the parts can be an adequate sub 
stitute : they must inevitably experience the infractions 
and interruptions which all alliances in all times have ex 
perienced. Sensible of this momentous truth, you have 
improved upon your first essay, by the adoption of a 
Constitution of government better calculated than your 
former for an intimate union, and for the efficacious man 
agement of your common concerns. This government, 
the offspring of our own choice, uninfluenced and unawed, 
adopted upon full investigation and mature deliberation, 
completely free in its principles, in the distribution of 
its powers, uniting security with energy, and containing 
within itself a provision for its own amendment, has a 
just claim to your confidence and your support. Eespect 
for its authority, compliance with its laws, acquiescence 
in its measures, are duties enjoined by the fundamental 
maxims of true liberty. The basis of our political sys 
tems is the right of the people to make and to alter their 
Constitutions of government. But the Constitution which 
at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authen 
tic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon 
all. The very idea of the power and the right of the 
people to establish government, presupposes the duty of 
every individual to obey the established government. 

All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all com 
binations and associations, under whatever plausible char 
acter, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, 
TI. bk 



418 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WASHINGTON 

or awe the regular deliberation and action of the con 
stituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental 
principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize 
faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force, to 
put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the 
will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising 
minority of the community; and, according to the alter 
nate triumphs of different parties, to make the public 
administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incon 
gruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of con 
sistent and wholesome plans digested by common councils 
and modified by mutual interests. However combinations 
or associations of the above description may now and then 
answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of 
time and things, to become potent engines by which cun 
ning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to 
subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for them 
selves the reins of government; destroying afterwards 
the very engines which have lifted them to unjust do 
minion. 

Towards the preservation of your government and the 
permanency of your present happy state, it is requisite 
not only that you steadily discountenance irregular oppo 
sition to its acknowledged authority, but also that you 
resist with care the spirit of innovation upon its princi 
ples, however specious the pretexts. One method of 
assault may be to effect, in the forms of the Constitution, 
alterations which will impair the energy of the system, 
and thus to undermine what cannot be directly over 
thrown. In all the changes to which you may be invited, 
remember that time and habit are at least as necessary to 
fix the true character of governments as of other human 
institutions; that experience is the surest standard by 
which to test the real tendency of the existing Oonstitu- 



WASHINGTON] FAREWELL ADDRESS. 419 

tion of a country ; that facility in changes, upon the credit 
of mere hypothesis and opinion, exposes to perpetual 
change, from the endless variety of hypothesis and opin 
ion ; and remember, especially, that for the efficient man 
agement of your common interests in a country so exten 
sive as ours, a government of as much vigor as is consistent 
with the perfect security of liberty is indispensable. Lib 
erty itself will find in such a government, with powers 
properly distributed and adjusted, its surest guardian. It 
is, indeed, little else than a name, where the government 
is too feeble to withstand the enterprises of faction, to 
confine each member of the society within the limits 
prescribed by the laws, and to maintain all in the secure 
and tranquil enjoyment of the rights of person and prop 
erty. . . . 

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political 
prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable sup 
ports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of pa 
triotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars 
of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of 
men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the 
pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A vol 
ume could not trace all their connections with private 
and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the 
security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense 
of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the in 
struments of investigation in the courts of justice? And 
let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality 
can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be 
conceded to the influence of refined education on minds 
of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid 
us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclu 
sion of religious principle. 

'Tis substantially true that virtue or morality is a 



420 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KoLLixs 

necessary spring of popular government. The rule, in 
deed, extends with more or less force to every species of 
free government. Who that is a sincere friend to it can 
look with indifference upon attempts to shake the founda 
tion of the fabric ? 

Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, 
institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In 
proportion as the structure of a government gives force 
to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should 
be enlightened. . . . 



WINTER PLEASURES. 

E. H. ROLLINS. 

[" New England Bygones," the work of Ellen H. Kollins, a lady 
" to the manner born," is so dainty and full in its picturesque descrip 
tions of home life in the country that it is well worthy of the popular 
favor into which it has risen. Prom its many interesting chapters we 
select one descriptive of winter life and scenery in New England, 
which is partly good for all time, partly has in it the flavor of a past 
which has been left behind in the rapid course of American progress 
Mrs. Kollins was born in Wakefteld, New Hampshire, in 1831, and 
died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1881.] 

How utterly transforming to the country is the first 
positive snow-fall of winter! It is a thing of life; it 
clings and hangs everywhere. Its great, fluffy ridges and 
folds put out of sight fences and rocks and hillocks and 
highways, and bleach the gray surface of the landscape 
into a dazzling whiteness. Under this new veneering 
the most untidy farm-houses are beautiful, and the worst- 
tilled fields as good as the best. Waking up into such a 
change some winter morning is like going into a new 



KOLLINS] WINTER PLEASURES. 421 

world. It is coming out from the gray mourning of the 
almost dead year into a sublime white silence. 

Every country-born person can recall such greeting of 
an early snow, to meet which he has gone forth with 
elastic step and heart. Slowly and picturesquely motion 
is thrust upon the scene. Walkers, scuffling through the 
light snow, trail slender paths along; smoke coils from 
chimneys ; cattle are let into the sunny barn-yards ; life 
spills out from the farm-houses ; troughs are chopped free 
from ice ; men begin to hack at the wood-piles and draw 
water from the wells ; teams are harnessed ; children start 
for school ; the new landscape is alive with workers, 
thrust out with startling distinctness from its snow back 
ground. 

Directly off from roofs and fences and rocks and higher 
hillocks, with the sun's march, slips this snow covering, 
and from the beautiful, evanescent picture arises another, 
with added warmth and life and color. To one driving 
through a forest at such a time it is as if fairies had 
been at work and laden its minutest twigs with a rare 
white burden. Snow-clad old wood, through which I 
passed years ago on my way to my grandfather's farm, 
you are as lovely in memory as you were in reality then. 
It is early morning. The air seems to crackle with the 
magic of frost-work. Fleecy fringes are falling from the 
overburdened branches and fling over me great, foam- 
like flakes ; the horses' hoofs sink deep and noiselessly. 
Footprints of wild animals are thick in the wood, and all 
along the wayside are tracks of squirrels, rabbits, and 
such harmless things. Loaded teams grow frequent, and 
sleighs fly past. The sound of bells is crisp and loud. 
Betsy pricks up her ears and flings out a spray-like cloud 
on either side. The little dog following after shoots over 
the wall, bounding neck deep into the unbroken snow 
ii. 36 



422 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KOLLINS 

sniffs at the tiny footmarks of game, plunges into the 
wood, and I hear him barking shortly after far ahead. 
Twigs begin to snap. There is a crackle through the 
wood, the sun is climbing up, the snow is melting, and, 
falling from the trees, sinks with a fluffy sound into the 
cooler bed below. Sharp and distinct is the voice of this 
dissolving panorama. As the sun gets power, the snow 
garment shrinks, and all of a sudden it glides off from the 
grim old wood. 

Often a mist or a rain, coming upon the newly-fallen 
snow, crystallizes it into solid shapes, and the sun gives 
to this frost-work a bewildering beauty. Nothing could 
surpass my old wood thus clad. It was a sublime, many- 
arched, crystal cathedral, outlined with flashing bright 
ness. What a transient thing it was! As quickly as the 
sun gilded it, just so quickly did it demolish it. Glittering 
pillar and frieze and cornice suddenly disintegrated, and 
under the gray, naked old trees thick-strewn twigs and 
fast-melting icicles were all that was left of this palace of 
carved ice. 

How short the winter days used to seem ! how clear-cut 
they were by snow and cold and lack of growing life! 
What winters those were of forty years ago, when snow 
drifts blotted out the features of a landscape and levelled 
the country into a monotonous white plain ; when people 
woke in the morning to find their windows blocked up, and 
the chief labor of months was to keep their roads open. 

Much joy the young people got out of these same snow 
drifts. The crusts which hid the fences gave them ample 
coasting-fields, and they burrowed like rabbits in the 
drifts. I remember a village, beloved by Boreas, which 
was beset by mimic Laplanders, who used to call out to 
surprised travellers from their caves in the piled-up way 
side. In this same village the adventurous boy used to 



KOLLINS] WINTER PLEASURES. 423 

shoot over highway and fence, across fields, past a frozen 
brook, up to the edge of a forest a mile off. His small 
craft was liable to strand by the way, and lucky was he if 
lie did not bring up against the jagged bark of some out 
standing tree. His sled was home-made, of good wood, 
mortised and pinned together, and shod with supple 
withes, which with use took a polish like glass, and had 
seldom to be renewed. 

Boys and girls slid and coasted through their childhood, 
and this keen challenge of the north winds, this flinging 
of muscle against the rude forces of winter, shaped and 
strengthened them for after-labor. They glided along the 
highway, over the ruts made by iron-shod wood-sleds; 
they guttered the snow-drifts with tracks ; and wherever 
the rain had settled and frozen in the fields or by the 
wayside, they cleared and cut up the ponds with their 
swift-ftying feet. Ploughing knee-deep through freshly- 
fallen snows to the village school, roughly clad, rosy- 
cheeked, joyous, they eagerly beset passing sleds and 
sleighs, hanging to stakes and clinging to runners, from 
which they tumbled into the school-house entry, stamping 
it full of snow. The girls were not a whit behind the 
boys in their clamor and agility. They slid down the 
steep snow-banks and up and down the ice-paths, swift 
and fearless, and burst into the school-room almost as 
riotously as the boys. 

Tea-drinkings were the usual social diversions of the 
farm-house winter life. They were prim occasions, on 
which the best china, linen, and silver were brought out. 
Pound-cake and pies and cheese and dough-nuts and cold 
meats were set forth, and guests partook of them with 
appetites sharpened by the rarity of the occasion. Neigh 
bors from miles away were liable, on any winter's evening, 
to drive into my grandfather's yard for a social cup of tea,. 



424 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ROLLINS 

The women took off their wraps, smoothed their cap- 
borders, and planted themselves, knitting-work in hand, 
before the hearth in the best room. The men put up 
their horses, and, coming back, they stamped their feet 
furiously in the entry, and blustered into the sitting- 
room, filling it with frosty night-air. They talked of the 
weather, of the condition of their stock, of how the past 
year's crops held out, and told their plans for the coining 
year. The women gossiped of town affairs, the minister, 
the storekeeper's latest purchase, of their dairies, and 
webs, and linens, and wools, keeping time with flying 
fingers to the tales they told. The unconscious old clock 
in the corner kept ticking away the while, and Hannah, 
in the next room, set in order the repast, to which they 
did ample justice, growing more garrulous when inspired 
by the fine flavor of hospitality. They came and also 
went away early. When the outer door and big gate had 
closed after them, there had also gone out with them all 
extra movement and bustle from the household. Every 
spoon and fork and plate was already in its place, the 
remnants of the feast had disappeared, and the family 
was ready to take up on the morrow the slackened thread 
of its working ways. 

The leave-takings of these ancient hosts and guests 
were simple and beautiful. They shook hands and passed 
salutations and good wishes with as much gravity as if 
they had been going to some far land ; and the pleasure 
which the visitors avowed in the graciousness shown them 
was heart-felt. Merrily jingled their bells from out the 
farm-yard into the highway, and, softly dying out with 
distance, the sound came back from the far-off hills in 
pleasant echo. 

Tender, true hospitality, simple customs, rare entertain 
ments, you left no sting, no weariness, behind you. You 






ROLLINS] WINTER PLEASURES. 425 

gave and impoverished not. You were ungilded, but dig 
nified and decorous, healthful and pleasure-giving. If 
you were plain, you were not inelegant, for your silver 
was pure, your china quaint and costly, your linens were 
fine-twined, your viands were well cooked and wholesome. 
You were simply served to simple guests > but not without 
etiquette and the essence of style. The host carved with 
dexterity, and the hostess, in her busy passes, was in 
stinctively observant of the tastes and needs of her guests. 
That which garments lacked in material and make, the 
ruddy firelight imparted to them, painting these robust 
farmers and matrons into rarely-costumed pictures. What 
of high culture was wanting to their speech was given to 
it by the sweet piety and purity of it. They talked of 
what made up their daily lives, and that was the yearly 
marvels and glories of ever-dying, ever-renewing nature. 
The men, discoursing of winds and rains and cattle and 
grasses and trees and grains, stumbled upon many truths 
of high philosophy, and. reviewing with earnest faith the 
sermons of the Sabbath-day, showed themselves well 
grounded in all gospel doctrine. The women, innocently 
prattling of the webs they wove, drawing in and out the 
threads of much discourse, mixed with it many a fine spun 
sentiment, and the golden overshot of the few but keenly- 
relished diversions of their serious lives. The serving- 
maid and serving-man, listening to them, and catching 
the glow of the firelight past them, went into the back 
ground of the picture, to be quaint creatures of remem 
bered scenes. They themselves, observant and reverent 
of their elders, felt the sweets of hospitality in their own 
hearts, and in ministering generously unto others were 
themselves being ministered unto. 

The winter lull of vegetation was often spent by my 
grandmother and Hannah in the spinning and dyeing and 
ii. 36* 



426 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KOLLINS 

weaving of woollen fabrics, to be afterwards fashioned into 
quilts. The most esteemed of these were made of glossy, 
dark flannel, lined with yellow, with a slight wadding of 
carded wool. For such a quilt the best fleece was set 
aside, and many dyes steeped in the chimney-corner. 
Fastened to a frame, it was in summer the fine needle 
work of the house. Neighbors invited to tea helped to 
prick into it, stitch by stitch, the shapes of flowers and 
leaves. They came early and bent over it with grim zeal, 
helped on by the gradual showing of the pattern. They 
loved to take out the pins and roll up the thing, counting 
its coils with delight. The quilting of it was hard work, 
but the women called this rest, and were made happy by 
such simple variation of labor. They kept up their 
harmless babble until sundown, when one, more anxious 
than the rest, catching sight of a returning herd, would 
exclaim, " The cows are coming, and I must go." Shortly 
they might all be seen hurrying hither and thither through 
green lanes, back to the cares which they had for a few 
hours shifted. 

The finishing of this quilt made a gala day for the 
neighborhood. It was unrolled and cut out with much 
excitement. When Hannah took it to the porch door to 
shake it out, the women all followed her, clutching its 
edges, remarking upon the plumpness of the stitched 
leaves and the fineness of its texture. It was truly a 
beautiful thing, for it was a growth of the farm, an ex 
pression of the life of its occupants, a fit covering for 
those who made it. 

The winter diversions of the young people were just 
as simple as those of their elders. What could be quainter 
than the singing-school, held in a country school-house, 
with its rows of tallow candles planted along the desks, 
and its loud-voiced master pitching his tunes ? The young 



KOLLINS] WINTER PLEASURES. 42 Y 

men sat on one side and the maidens on the other. Its 
wild music was heard far away. The tunes sung were of 
long repute, and what was wanting in melody and har 
mony was made up by the zeal with which they were 
roared out. To many of the singers the walk home was 
the best of all, when, in undertone, they lengthened out 
the melodies which had been taught them. 

Apple-bees and spelling-matches sometimes brought to 
gether the fathers and mothers of the district, as well as 
their sons and daughters. The former were apt to mean 
frolics, which carried more confusion than profit into a 
farmer's kitchen. The latter were the occasions of much 
healthy merriment. 

After all, the true zest to these diversions was given to 
them by the bright moonlight which generally brought 
them to pass. It was a welcome comer, and turned the 
introverted evening life of the farm-houses out into illu 
minated lanes and highways. Solemn highways on gray 
winter evenings ; one got easily bewildered in them and 
thrown off from his track. Objects loomed up out of the 
snow, and harmless things took strange shapes and looked 
ghostly in distance and whiteness. Horses were apt to 
shy, runners bounced with a sharp click upon the uneven 
path, and bells rang sharply in the clear, cold air. Merry, 
merry bells, telling of coming and departing guests, the 
one jocund voice of winter, putting the traveller in heart, 
making glad the listening ear, ringing right joyously into 
farm lane and yard, who does not welcome with delight 
the old-time jingle ? The sound of country bells, struck 
out by the slow, measured pace of farm-horses, was of 
prolonged measure. It was deep, too, because the bells 
were made large and of good metal. The peculiar sound 
of each farmer's bells became as much his personal posses 
sion as his own voice, and they were quite sure to last his 



428 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KOLLINS 

lifetime. As much as the winds the bells gave voice to 
the season. It was joyous mostly, yet with a wild pathos 
in its music when dying out in tortuous country ways, 
with that sad indistinctness of any sound which had well- 
nigh passed into silence. 

Akin to the bells for sweetness of expression were the 
farm-house lights, starring the landscape and telling the 
traveller of peaceful in-door life. Driving through the 
country, silent with the rest of winter, one cannot over 
estimate the companionship and friendliness of the lighted 
windows of outlying habitations. The breaking of a 
farm-light upon your sight is like the grasp of a living 
hand, and with it comes out to you the peace of firesides ; 
by it, unawares, people send forth to you the warm glow 
of hospitality. An unlighted house in the sparsely-settled 
country is most forlorn. It is a body without a soul, a 
thing which ought to be alive and is not. 

In the simplicity of ancient country life the homespun 
curtains were seldom let down at eventide. The farm 
houses were mostly the length of a lane from the road 
side, and so the pictures of their in-door life were sent out 
from their small windows through a softened perspective. 
What could be better than the white-headed old man 
dozing in one chimney-corner, the dear old grandmother 
nodding in the other, the middle-aged son and daughter 
resting over light work, the back-log, getting ready for 
its raking up, the walls hung with tokens of sleeping 
child-life, such as slates, caps, and comforters, homely 
things, catching the light of dying embers ? 

How bright the winter sunsets were, how clear and 
starlit the nights, how bracing and electric the air, how 
much more generous than harsh was that climate which, 
while it blotted out vegetation, at the same time spread 
over the landscape a great spectacular glory ! 



KOLLINS] WINTER PLEASURES. 

Shut in by frost-work from sight of the out-of-doors 
world, have you never, when a child, breathed upon an 
icy pane, and, through the loophole thus made, caught a 
condensed view of the glories of a winter's day ? 

Picturesque upon snow were the most common move 
ments of farm-life. Men, chopping logs, seemed more like 
players than workers. With what steady swing their 
axes rose and fell! how these glittered in the sunshine! 
The chips that flew freely about, tilted at all angles, how 
fresh they were, with their prettily-marked lines of yearly 
growth, their shaggy bark, and their scent of sap ! The 
sound of the axe was resonant and cheery, putting life 
into a farm-yard. It echoed still more pleasantly from a 
woodland, whence it came with a muffled indistinctness, 
like a regular pulse-beat of labor. The choppers seemed 
never to tire ; only they stopped now and then to bran 
dish their stiffened arms and gaze at their growing piles 
with thrifty pride. They wore mittens of blue and white, 
striped, or knit in a curious pattern, called "chariot- 
wheels," by the housewives. Many of them had leathern 
patches upon thumb and palm. 

How contentedly the cattle stood chewing their cuds 
and blinking their eyes; looking askance at the long 
icicles which hung from eaves of barns and trickled drops 
upon their backs ! Women came out with baskets and 
buckets for wood and water, and, in the silent attitude of 
labor, paused for a moment and basked in the sunshine. 
Wood-laden sleds dragged along the highway, with boys 
and girls clinging to their stakes; and the teamsters' 
shouts to " Broad" and " Bright" mingled with the chatter 
and laughter of boys and girls. Roofs, lazily drying, 
smoked in the sunshine ; and you heard the weather- 
wise farmer saying to his neighbor, " It thaws in the sun 
to-day." 



430 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ROLLINS 

Beautiful was the heavily-coiling smoke in tho crisp 
morning air. How deliciously its opaque whiteness was 
piled against a background of sky I What a charming 
aerial welcome it was from the morning life of the farm 
house ! 

Beautiful was the fantastic piling of storm-clouds, fore- 
mnners of winds; and beautiful were the rugged drifts 
made by flying snows. 

Hush ! I am young again. The homely scenes have 
all come back, the old workers into their old ways and 
places, and the earth they deal with wraps them about 
with its splendor. Snow King, grand old Master, variously 
carving out the features of a winter landscape, I salute 
you ! 

Dear dwellers in that old-fashioned home, I salute you 
also ! You seem to me in memory as stately and as beau 
tiful as one of the tall oaks of your own possessions. 
Nature was your godmother. She led you in childhood 
through her fields and pastures and woodlands. She dis 
tilled for you the best balsams of her trees and shrubs. 
You unwittingly quaffed them as you went with her, and 
they gave you health and strength and lease of a long 
life. They inoculated you with a taste for pure pleasures. 
Your frames, your manners, your desires, your whole 
life, had a flavor of the land that bore you. You were 
the true outgrowth, the real aborigines, the rightful, har 
monious, delightful denizens of the soil, you long-dead, 
but never-to-be-forgotten dwellers in my grandfather's 
home I 



STODDARD] SHADOW AND GRIEF. 431 



SHADOW AND GRIEF. 

The p<Jems of shadow far outnumber those of sunshine, as if the 
tenderness and pathos of a grieving heart were more native to the 
poetic sentiment than the gay heedlessness of happy days and merry 
thoughts. Some few of these songs with the shadow of sorrow upon 
them we here* append. The flight of the fresh joyousness of youth, 
" never again" to return, is neatly rendered in song by Stoddard. 

THERE are gains for all our losses, 

There are balms for all our pain : 
But when youth, the dream, departs, 
It takes something from our hearts, 
And it never comes again. 

We are stronger, and are better, 

Under manhood's sterner reign : 
Still we feel that something sweet 
Followed youth, with flying feet, 
And will never come again. 

Something beautiful is vanished, 

And we sigh for it in vain ; 
We behold it everywhere, 
On the earth, and in the air, 

But it never comes again ! 

Longfellow, whose song is ever full of the wine of human sym 
pathy, thus counsels the grieving to resignation under the affliction 
of the death-angel : 

There is no flock, however watched and tended, 

But one dead lamb is there 1 
There is no fireside, howsoe'er defended, 

But has one vacant chair! 



432 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ALDRICH 

The air is full of farewells to the dying 

And mournings for the dead ; 
The heart of Eachel, for her children crying, 

Will not be comforted. 

Let us be patient ! These severe afflictions 

Not from the ground arise, 
But oftentimes celestial benedictions 

Assume this dark disguise. 

We see but dimly through the mist and vapors ; 

Amid these earthly damps 
What seem to us but sad, funereal tapers 

May be heaven's distant lamps. . . . 

And though at times, impetuous with emotion 

And anguish long suppressed, 
The swelling heart heaves moaning like the ocean, 

That cannot be at rest, 

We will be patient, and assuage the feeling 

We may not wholly stay, 
By silence sanctifying, not concealing, 

The grief that must have way. 

This "beautifully-rendered sentiment may be fitly followed by James 
Aldrich's "Death-Bed" verses: 

Her suffering ended with the day ; 

Yet lived she at its close, 
And breathed the long, long night away 

In statue-like repose. 

But when the sun, in all his state, 

Illumed the eastern skies, 
She passed through glory's morning gate, 

And walked in Paradise. 



CARY] SHADOW AND GRIEF. 

Another poet, who prefers to remain in the list of the anonymous, 
thus sings the song of the mourner who grieves and will not bo 
comforted : 

PERDITA. 

Under the snows she sleepeth, 
Under the cold, immaculate snows, 

And my heart is bitter with grief and pain, 
For I know, though June brings back the rose, 
That my lily will never bloom again, 
My pure, pale lily that sleepeth. 

Beneath the violet lying ; 
No Spring, with its tender and warm excess 

Of life and passion, of bud and bloom, 
No Summer's infinite loveliness, 

Can reach to the depth of that silent tomb 
Wherein my love is lying. 

In vain they tell me she liveth, 
With her warm, sweet face and her tender eyes, 

In some divine Beyond, afar : 
I only know that out of my skies 

Has faded and vanished the morning star : 
Not unto me she liveth. 



Death, however, has its consolations, as well as its thoughts ot 
gloom. In Phffibe Gary's sweetest song it holds out hands of wel 
come to clasp our outreaching hands of hope and trust. 

NEARER HOME. 

One sweetly solemn thought 

Comes to me o'er and o'er : 
I'm nearer home to-day 

Than I ever have been before ; 
n. T ee 37 



434 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLMES 

Nearer my Father's house, 

Where the many mansions be ; 

Nearer the great white throne ; 
Nearer the crystal sea ; 

Nearer the bound of life, 

Where we lay our burdens down; 

Nearer leaving the cross ; 
Nearer gaining the crown. 

But lying darkly between, 

Winding down through the night, 

Is the silent, unknown stream 
That leads at last to the light. 

Closer and closer my steps 

Come to the dread abysm ; 
Closer Death to my lips 

Presses the awful chrism. 

Oh, if my mortal feet 
Have almost gained the brink ; 

If it be I am nearer home 
Even to-day than I think ; 

Father, perfect my trust ; 

Let my spirit feel in death 
That her feet are firmly set 

On the rock of a living faith ! 

We append one other poem, through which runs, like a dark veil 
through the rock of life, the sentiment of heart-pain and hopelessness. 

THE VOICELESS. 

We count the broken lyres that rest 

Where the sweet wailing singers slumber. 



POE] SHADOW AND GRIEF. 435 

But o'er their silent sister's breast 

The wild-flowers who will stoop to number? 

A few can touch the magic string, 

And noisy Fame is proud to win them : 

Alas for those that never sing, 

But die with all their music in them ! 

Kay, grieve not for the dead alone 

Whose song has told their heart's sad story ; 
Weep for the voiceless, who have known 

The cross without the crown of glory ! 
Not where Leucadian breezes sweep 

O'er Sappho's memory-haunted billow, 
But where the glistening night-dews weep 

On nameless sorrow's churchyard pillow. 

O hearts that break and give no sign, 

Save whitening lip and fading tresses, 
Till Death pours out his cordial wine 

Slow-dropped from Misery's crushing presses, 
If singing breath or echoing chord 

To every hidden pang were given, 
What endless melodies were poured, 

As sad as earth, as sweet as heaven ! 

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES. 



Poe's musical allegory ends with the same despairing view of human 
Ufa. 

THE HAUNTED PALACE. 

In the greenest of our valleys, 

By good angels tenanted, 
Once a fair and stately palace 

(Eadiant palace) reared its head. 



436 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PoE 

In the monarch Thought's dominion 

It stood there 1 
Never seraph spread a pinion 

Over fabric half so fair. 

Banners yellow, glorious, golden, 

On its roof did float and flow 
(This, all this, was in the olden 

Time long ago) ; 
And every gentle air that dallied 

In that sweet day, 
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid, 

A winged odor went away. 

Wanderers in that happy valley 

Through two luminous windows saw 
Spirits moving musically, 

To a lute's well-tuned law, 
Bound about a throne, where, sitting 

(Porphyrogene !) 
In state his glory well befitting, 

The ruler of the realm was seen. 

And all with pearl and ruby glowing 

Was the fair palace door, 
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing, 

And sparkling evermore, 
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty 

Was but to sing, 
In voices of surpassing beauty, 

The wit and wisdom of their King. 

But evil things, in robes of sorrow, 
Assailed the monarch's high estate 



ANONYMOUS] POMP'S RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 437 

(Ah 1 let us mourn, for never morrow 

Shall dawn upon him desolate) ; 
And round about his home the glory 

That blushed and bloomed 
Is but a dim-remembered story 

Of the old time entombed. 

And travellers now within that valley 

Through the red-litten windows see 
Yast forms that move fantastically 

To a discordant melody, 
"While, like a ghastly, rapid river, 

Through the pale door 
A hideous throng rush out forever, 

And laugh but smile no more. 

EDGAR A. POE. 






POMP'S RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 

ANONYMOUS. 

[" The Colonel's Opera-Cloak, " one of the most amusing of recent 
books, is one of the u No Name Series" of Messrs. Roberts Brothers, 
a series of anonymous novels whose high literary character has given 
them a well-deserved popularity with American readers. The unknown 
author of the " Colonel's Opera-Cloak" has certainly touched the ex 
treme of the ridiculous in the well-drawn picture of the colonel's shift 
less family and the remarkable adventures of the cloak. The old 
negro's idea of heaven and of religious duty, which we give, is among 
the most amusing parts of the work.] 

" Dis yere death ; s a mighty myste'ous thing, Miss Les 
lie," said Pomp, as the two sat, a short time after this, on 
ii. 37* 



438 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ANONYMOUS 

the kitchen stairs, waiting for the kettle to boil. Stairs 
were much approved of as seats by the St. Johns : they 
were always safe ; and chairs were treacherous, and never 
could be depended on. 

" Yes, Pomp," said Leslie : " a few days ago and we 
could ask Jasper what he knew or felt or thought ; and 
now, if we asked him, he couldn't tell us so that we could 
understand." 

"Why, Miss Leslie," asked Pomp, in sudden alarm, 
" why couldn't we un'stan' him ? Yer don't 'spect he'll 
talk de wrong way, like de Jew in de pawn-shop, or de 
Chinyman, does yer, so't I can't un'stan' him when I 
gits dar ? I hope he ain't gwine to git so larned dat I 
shall hev to be int'duced to him ! Does yer tink, Miss 
Leslie, dey grows up, or stays de way dey was when dey 
goes in ?" 

" I don't know," said Leslie, who tried in her simple 
way to be good, and in so trying wrought out a sweet 
and Christ-like religion. " I don't know : only the hymn 
says, 

' We shall know each other there.' 

I reckon, Pomp, it will be just as if we had been away 
from our friends for a good while, and when we saw them 
again they were changed, and were gentler and kinder 
and more beautiful, and we should see that they were dif 
ferent, and yet they'd be the same. We'd know them as 
soon as they spoke, even though it was in a dark room 
and we didn't know they were there." 

Pomp's tearful eyes glistened with pride. 

"Dar's good comfort in dat, Miss Leslie," he said. 
'"Pears like de Lord's speakin' froo yer. 'Pears like I 
sees John Jasper now, all dressed up an' lookin' as good 
us Massa Tom ; yit he'll be my boy an' yer boy ; an' I 



AKONYMOUS] POMP'S RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 439 

done reckon dat chile won't leave his eyes off dat gate 
a-watchin' fur yer an' fur me. 

" De way to Prov'dence is pas' findin' out, Miss Leslie," 
added he, piously rolling his eyes. " Somehow, I don't 
look wid no respec', no more, on de Colonel's op'ra-cloak. 
I feels, somehow or n udder, dat ef dat cloak had done his 
duty, dat chile would be tumblin' down-stairs, or suthin', 
dis minute here. I tole Jasper, on Monday, not to go out 
widout puttin' on de op'ra cloak, fear he'd cotch cold in 
his chist ; an' nowhar could he fin' it. 'Pears sometimes 
's ef dat cloak had got legs on to it dat we can't see, an' 
jes' walked itself off an' hid under tings an' behin' tings. 
I shouldn't never have foun' whar it was a-hidin', ef I 
he.dn't los' my shoe, an' I was scoochin' down, lookin' 
under ev'ryting, an' dar was dat op'ra-cloak a-squeezin' 
,in 'tween de wall an' de sofy, whar nobody wouldn't 
never hev looked fur it. 

" Why, we might hev gone away from dis house, an' 
never hev foun' it, Miss Leslie, an' what would de Colonel 
hev said ? I reckon I knows !" 

" Oh, Pomp," said Leslie, the tears filling her beautiful 
eyes, " don't wish Jasper back ! He's better off than we 
are." 

"Yes," said Pomp: "I reckon he's better off; an' yit 
he was putty good off when he was here. Ef yer count 
up what folks call massies, he bed mos' on 'em. He hedn't 
no gran'ma', but there's a good many folks hain't. I hain't 
got no gran'ma', no, nor no gran'fa', nuther ; but I don' 
tink much 'bout it, 'cept when I hears folks speakin' on 
'em. But how'll dis be ? John Jasper's mo'er died when 
he was a little baby. She won't know him: he won't 
know her, 'less his gran'ma' tells him who she is. But, 
den," said Pomp, falling into confusion in his genealogies, 
as many others have done, " his gran'ma' she never seen 



440 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

Jasper ! It's me dat bed ought to passed away fust, to 
hev bed tings all straighted up. Tears like nothin' don't 
go straight, ef I isn't dar to 'tend to it." 

" I reckon things will go right in heaven without you, 
Pomp," said Leslie, with a faint smile ; " but I am sure 
they wouldn't here in this family. I wish we were like 
the Douglases. Everything goes so smoothly tjiere, and 
they are so good ! They help poor people, and they go 
to mission-schools." 

Pomp looked very solemn. 

" I used to be awful 'ligious," he said. " I used to go 
to heaps o' woods-meetin's, an' I hollered louder'n any one 
on 'em. Why, Miss Leslie, I was baptized in de Rappa- 
hannick, in jes' de spot, in de very water, dat Gen'l 
Washington was baptized in, no, 'twasn't Gen'l Washin'- 
ton, nuther: 'twas Joyce Heth. I done 'member she was 
Gen'l Washin'ton's nuss ! So I was baptized on hysteric 
groun', yer see ! 

" Oh, I got 'ligion, in dem days, so dere wa'n't no doin' 
nothin' wid me ; but," Pomp sighed, " I ain't bed no time 
dese las' years fur 'ligion. I'se had to see to all o' yer." 

"They all ran away but you," said Leslie: "that was 
when I was very little." 

" Yes, dey got free, an' so dey run off. Dey said I was 
a fool to stay here ; but I 'membered what I done promise 
to ole Missus when she was a-dyin'. Says she, ' Don't yer 
never leave Miss Marie, 'cause she's hard to git 'long wid, 
an' nobody can't git 'long wid her 'cept jes' yer.' An' den 
de colonel he got pore, an' I wa'n't goin' to cl'ar out when 
my frien's gits pore. Dat's de time when yer wants yer 
frien's. 

" My brudder he's in Phil'delphy. He's got a barber's 
shop, an' he goes out ha'r-dressin', he can't do it no bet 
ter nor I kin, an' he makes heaps o' monev. He dresses 



ANONYMOUS] POMP'S RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE. 441 

up mighty fine, dey says, an' goes scootin' round wid a 
cane, an' one o' dem high-top hats, like Massa Tom's. He's 
putty high in meetin's, too ! He passes de hox, an' he's 
one ob de deacons. I 'spect he'll be powerful high in de 
kingdom. But de good Lord he'll 'cuse me, I 'spect ; fur 
I can't git no time to be 'ligious, dar's suthin' to do allers. 
T don't seem to git froo. 

"When we gits settled ag'in, I must look up my 'ligioo. 
I ain't kep' but a little on't, jes' to say my pra'ers, an' do 
my duty, an' love de Lord an' ev'rybody, dat is, ev'ry- 
body 'cept 'cept Massa Cavello ; but, den, he don't 'mount 
to much." 

" I think that is pretty much the whole of religion," 
said Leslie. " It always comforts me to know that you 
pray for us, Pomp ; and I'm sure nobody in the world is 
BO unselfish as you." 

" Oh, I ain't onselfish," said Pomp. " I hasn't never 
done tings fur folks. I hasn't visited 'em in prison, an' 
I hasn't gin clo'es to nobody, an' I hain't fed nobody what 
was hungry, 'cept de boys, of course : dey's ben hungry 
times 'nuf, an' I'se put dere clo'es on times 'nuf, too. 

" Now, jes' look at dat kittle !" cried Pomp. " I can't 
talk to nobody, but dat kittle gits so res'less an' biles over 
pokin' up de kiver like he couldn't wait tell I gits dar!" 

" Pomp !" cried Clarence, coming to the stairs. " Hurry 
up, there 1 I'm 'most starved to death. Isn't supper 'most 
ready ?" 

" Well," said Leslie, rising, " I almost wish I was where 
Jasper is. What's the use of being raised, to wish, half 
the time, you hadn't been born ?" 

Pomp wiped his tears away. 



442 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PARTON 

MY NOTION OF MUSIC. 

S. P. PARTON. 

{The spicy writer who, some thirty years ago, figured under the 
pseudonyme of " Fanny Fern," and whose " Fern Leaves" and other 
works attained great popularity, was a sister of 1ST. P. Willis, the poet, 
her actual name being Sarah Payson "Willis. She married James 
Parton, the able biographical author. She was born in 1811, and died 
in 1872. The extracts we give are from " Caper Sauce," and are fair 
specimens of her humor, pathos, and shrewd worldly wisdom.] 

I'VE been defending myself from the charge of "not 
knowing what music is." Perhaps I don't know. But 
when I go to a fashionable concert, and the lady " artiste" 
I believe that is the regulation-word, comes out in her 
best bib and tucker, with a gilt battle axe in her back 
hair, and a sunflower in her bosom, led by the tips of 
her white gloves, by the light of a gleaming bracelet, 
and stands there twiddling a sheet of music, preparatory 
to the initiatory scream, I feel like screaming myself. 
Now, if she would just trot on, in her morning gown, 
darning a pair of stockings, and sit naturally down in her 
old rocking-chair, and give me " Auld Eobin Gray," in 
stead of running her voice up and down the scales for an 
hour to show me how high and how low she can go with 
out dropping down in a fit, I'd like it. One trial of her 
voice that way, to test its capacity, satisfies me. It is as 
good as a dozen, and a great deal better. I don't want to 
listen to it a whole evening. I will persist that running 
up and down the scales that way isn't " music" Then, if 
you only knew the agony I'm in when, drawing near the 
end of one of her musical gymnastics, she essays to wind 
up with one of those swift, deafening, don't-stop-to-breathe- 
finales, you would pity me. I get hysterical. I wish she 



PAKTON] Mr NOTION OF MUSIC. 443 

would split her throat at once, or stop. I want to be let 
out. I want the roof lifted. I feel a cold perspiration 
breaking out on my forehead. I know that presently she 
will catch up that blue-gauze skirt and skim out that side- 
door, only to come and do it all over again, in obedience 
to that dead-head encore. You see, all this machinery 
disenchants me. It takes away my appetite, like telling 
me at dinner how much beef is a pound. I had rather 
the ropes and pulleys of music would keep behind the 
curtain. 

Of course my " taste is not cultivated," and, moreover, 
the longer I live the less chance there is of it. On that 
point I'm what country-folks call " sot." Sometimes, 
when passing one of these concert-rooms of an evening, I 
have caught a note that I took home with me. Caught it 
with the help of the darkness, and the glimmering stars, 
and the fresh wind on my forehead, and a blessed igno 
rance of the distorted mouth and the heaving millinery 
that sent it forth. But take me m, and you'll have an 
hysterical maniac. The solemn regulation faces, looking 
at that " music," set me bewitched to laugh and outrage 
that fashion-drilled and kidded audience. Bless you, I 
can't help it. I had rather hear Dinah sing " Old John 
Brown" over her wash-tub. I had rather go over to Mr. 
Beecher's church some Sunday night and hear^that vast 
congregation swell forth Old Hundred, with each man and 
woman's soul so in it that earthly cares and frets are no 
more remembered than the old garments we cast out of 
sight. 

When the words of a favorite hymn are read from the 
pulpit, and I am expecting the good old-fashioned tune 
that has been wedded to it since my earliest recollection, 
and instead I am treated to a series of quirks and quavers 
by a professional quartette, I can't help wishing myself 



444 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

where the whole congregation sing with the heart and the 
understanding, in the old-fashioned manner. I can have 
"opera" on week-days, and scenery and fine dresses thrown 
in. Sunday I want Sunday, not opera in neglige. 

Of course it is high treason for me to make such an 
avowal; so, while I am in for it, I may as well give 
another twist to the rope that is round my neck. The 
other night I went to hear " The Messiah." The words 
are lovely, and as familiar to my Puritan ears as the 
" Assembly's Catechism ;" but when they kept on repeat 
ing, " The Lord is in his hoi the Lord is in is in his hoi 
is in the Lord is in his hoi" and when the leader, 
slim, and clothed in inky black, kept his arms going like 
a Jack-in-a-box, I grew anything but devout. The ludi 
crous side of it got the better of me ; and when my com 
panion, who pretends to be no Christian at all, turned to 
me, who am reputed to be one, in a state of exaltation, 
and said, " Isn't that grand, Fanny ?" he could have wished 
that the tears in my eyes were not hysterical from long- 
suppressed laughter. He says he never will take me 
there again ; and I only hope he will keep his word. All 
the "music" I got out of it was in one or two lovely 
" solos." 

Now, what I want to know is, which has the most 
love for genuine music, he or I ? 

The fact is, I like to find my music in unexpected, simple 
ways, where the machinery is not visible, like the galvanic 
gyrations of that "leader," for instance. That kind of 
thing recalls too vividly my old " fa-sol-la" singing-school, 
where the boys pulled my curls and gave me candy and 
misspelt notes. 

There is evidently something wanting in my make-up 
with regard to " music," when I can cry at the singing of 
the following simple verses by the whole congregation in 



PARTON] BOSTON BLESSINGS AND BEANS. 445 

church, and do the opposite at the scientific performance 
of " The Messiah." Listen to the verses : 

" Pass me not, O gentle Saviour, 

Hear my humble cry ; 
"While on others thou art smiling, 

Do not pass me by. 
Saviour, Saviour, 
Hear my humble cry. 

' If I ask him to receive me, 

"Will he say me nay ? 
Not till earth and not till heaven 
Shall have passed away." 

BOSTON BLESSINGS AND BEANS. 

ISTew England, all hail to thy peerless thrift! Thou art 
cranky and crotchety; thou art "sot," uncommon "sot," 
in thy ways, owing doubtless to the amiable sediment of 
English blood in thy veins. Thou wilt not be cheated in 
a bargain, even by thy best friend j but, in the mean time, 
that enableth thy large heart to give handsomely when 
charity knocks at thy door. Thy pronunciation may be 
peculiar ; but, in the mean time, what thou dost not know, 
and cannot do, is rarely worth knowing or doing. Thou 
never hast marble, and silver, and plate-glass, and statu 
ary in thy show-parlors, and shabby belongings where the 
world does not penetrate. Thou hast not stuccoed walls 
with big cracks in them, or anything in thy domiciles 
hanging as it were by the eyelids. Every nail is driven 
so that it will stay ; every hinge hung so that it will work 
thoroughly. Every bolt and key and lock perform their 
duty like a martinet, so long as a piece of them endures. 
If thou hast a garden, be it only a square foot, it is made 
the most of, with its " long saace" and " short saace" and 
" wimmin's notions," in the shape of flowers and caraway - 
IT. 38 



446 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PAR-TON 

seed, to chew on Sunday, when the minister gets as far as 
" seventeenthly," and carnal nature will fondly recur to 
the waiting pot of baked beans in the kitchen oven. O 
New England, here could I shed salt tears at the thought 
of thy baked beans, for Gotham knows them not. Alluding 
to that edible, I am met with a pitying sneer, accompanied 
with that dread word to snobs, "provincial!" It is ever 
thus, my peerless, with the envy which cannot attain to 
the perfection it derides. For you should see, my thrifty 
New England, the watery, white-livered, tasteless, swimmy, 
sticky poultice which Gotham christens "baked beans." 
My soul revolts at it. It is an unfeeling, wretched 
mockery of the rich, brown, crispy, succulent contents 
of that "platter" yes, platter I will say it! which erst 
delighted my eyes in the days when I swallowed the 
Catechism without a question as to its infallibility. 

UNKNOWN ACQUAINTANCES. 

You have none? Then I am sorry for you. Much of 
my pleasure in my daily walks is due to them. Perhaps 
you go over the ground mechanically, with only dinner 
or business in your eye when you shall reach your jour 
ney's end. Perhaps you " don't see a soul," as you express 
it. Perhaps you have no "soul" yourself; only a body, 
of which you are very conscious, and whose claims upon 
you outweigh every other consideration. That is a pity. 
I wouldn't go round that treadmill for all the mines of 
Golconda ! It always makes me think of that melancholy 
old horse one sees, pawing rotatory wood, at the way- 
stations, on. the railroad-tracks; and because the sight 
makes every bone in me ache, my particular window-scat 
in the car is always sure to command a view of him. 
Now, come what will, I'll not be that horse. You may if 
you like, and I will cling to my dreams. I shan't live in 



PARTON] UNKNOWN ACQUAINTANCES. 447 

this world forever, and I won't hurry over the ground and 
never see a sweet face as it flits past me, or a grand one, 
or a sorrowful one. I won't be deaf to the rippling laugh 
of a little child or the musical voice of a refined woman. 
It may be only two words that she shall speak, hut they 
shall have a pleasant significance for me. Then there are 
strange faces I meet every day which I hope to keep on 
meeting till I die. Who was such an idiot as to say that 
" no woman ever sees beauty in another" ? I meet every 
day a face that no man living could admire more than 
myself; soulful as well as beautiful. Lovely, blue, pensive 
eyes; golden hair, waving over a pure white forehead; 
cheeks like the heart of a " blush rose ;" and a grieved 
little rosy mouth, like that of a baby to whom for the 
first time you deny something, fearing lest it grow too 
wilful. I think that day lost in which I do not meet that 
sweet face, framed in its close mourning-bonnet. Were I 
a man, it is to that face I should immediately " make love." 

Make love ? Alas ! I did not think how terribly sig 
nificant was this modern term when I used it. Let no 
man make love to that face. But if there is one who can 
be in dead earnest, and stay so, I give my consent, pro 
vided he will not attempt to change the expression of that 
mouth. 

I have another acquaintance. I don't care to ask, 
'' Who is that man ?" I know that he has lived his life 
and not slept it away. I know that it has been a pure 
and a good one. It is written in his bright, clear, un 
clouded eye ; in his springing step ; in the smile of content 
upon his lip ; in the lift of his shoulders ; in the poise of 
his head ; in the free, glad look with which he breathes in 
his share of the warm sunshine. Were he taken to the 
bedside of a sick man, it seems to me the very sight of 
him were health. 



448 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PARTON 

I used to have many unknown acquaintances among the 
little children in the parks ; but, what with French nurses 
and silk velvet coats, I have learned to turn my feet else 
where. It gives me the heart-ache to see a child slapped 
for picking up a bright autumn leaf, though it may chance 
to be " dirty ;" or denied a smooth, round pebble, on ac 
count of a dainty little glove that must be kept immacu 
late. I get out of temper, and want to call on all their 
mothers and fight Quixotic battles for the poor little 
things, as if it would do any good ; as if mothers who 
dress their children that way to play, cared for anything 
but their looks. 

Then I have some unknown acquaintances in the yard 
of a large house in the upper part of Broadway. I never 
asked who lives in the house ; but I thank him for the 
rare birds of brilliant plumage who walk to and fro in it, 
or perch upon the window-sills or steps, as proudly con 
scious of their gay feathers as the belles who rustle past. 
I love to imagine the beautiful countries they came from, 
and the flowers that blossomed there, and the soft skies 
that arched over them. I love to see them pick up their 
food so daintily, and, with head on one side, eye their many 
admirers looking through the fence, as if to say, Beat that 
if you can in America ! Ah ! my birdies, stop your crow 
ing; just wait a bit and see how the "American eagle" is 
going to come out, and how each time they who have 
tried to clip his wings have only found that it made thorn 
grow broader and stronger. Soft skies and sweet flowers 
are very nice things, birdies ; but rough winds and freedom 
are better for the soul. 

I have said nothing of unknown acquaintances among 
my favorite authors. How many times did I not so hate 
the sight of a pen when "school is let out" have I longed 
to express to them my love and gratitude I Nor, judging 



PARTON] LIFE AND ITS MYSTERIES. 449 

by myself, could I ever say, " they do not need it j" since 
there are, or should be, moments in the experience of all 
writers when they regard with a dissatisfied eye what 
they have already given to the world, when sympathetic, 
appreciative words, warm from the heart, are hope and 
inspiration to the receiver. 

LIFE AND ITS MYSTERIES. 

Was there ever a romance in that man or that woman's 
life? I used to ask myself, as I looked upon a hard face 
which stoicism seemed to have frozen over through the 
*ong years. Was there ever a moment when for that man, 
or woman, love transfigured everything, or the want of it 
threw over the wide earth the pall of unrest ? Have they 
ever wept, or laughed, or sighed, or clasped hands in pas 
sionate joy or sorrow ? Had they any life ? Or have 
they simply vegetated like animals? Did they see any 
beauty in rock, mountain, sky, or river, or was this green 
earth a browsing-place, nothing more ? 

I never ask those questions now ; for I know how much 
fire may be hidden under a lava-crusted exterior. I know 
that though the treasure-chest may sometimes be locked 
when it is empty, oftener beneath the fastening lies the 
wealth which the right touch can at any moment set free. 
There are divers masks worn in this harlequin world of 
ours. Years ago I met, in travelling, a lady who seemed 
to me the very embodiment of fun and frolic. Like a 
humming-bird, she never was still ; alighting now here, 
now there, wheresoever were sunshine, sweetness, and 
perfume. One day, as we were rambling in the woods, 
we sat down to rest under a tree, after our frolicking. 
Some little word of mine, as I drew her head into my lap 
and smoothed the hair on her temples, transformed her. 
With a sharp, quick cry of agony, she threw her arms 
IT. dd 38* 



450 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PARTON 

about my neck, weeping as I never saw a woman weep. 
When she was quiet came the sad story. The trouble 
battled with, and bravely borne. The short, joyous years ; 
then the long days, and nights, and weeks, and months, 
so full of desolation and bitterness, and life yet at its 
meridian. How should she meet the long, slow-moving 
years? That was the question she asked me. "Tell me 
how ! you who know tell me how !" 

And this was the woman I thought frivolous and pleas 
ure-seeking ! Wearing beneath that robe the penitential 
cross, reminding her at every moment, with its sharp 
twinge of pain, that, try as she might, she could never fly 
from herself. 

How often, when I have been inclined to judge harshly, 
have I thought of that Gethsemane cry ! It is sorrowful 
how we misjudge each other in this busy world. How 
very near we may be to a warm heart, and yet be frozen ! 
How carelessly we pass by the pool of Bethesda, with its 
waiting crowd, without thinking that we might be the 
angel to trouble the waters! This thought is often op 
pressive to me. in the crowd of a city hurrying home at 
nightfall. What burden does this man or that woman 
carry, known only to their Maker? How many among 
them may be just at the dividing-line between hope and 
despair! And how some faces remind you of a dumb 
animal, who bears its pain meekly and mournfully, yet 
cringing lest some careless foot should, at any moment, 
render it unendurable ; haunting you as you go to your 
home as if you were verily guilty in ignoring it. 

Have you never felt this? and, although you may 
have been cheated and imposed upon seventy times seven, 
can you wholly stifle it? and ought you to try, even 
though you know how well the devil can wear the livery 
of heaven? 



OSWALD] THE RUINS OF UXMAL. 451 

I think it is this that, to the reflecting and observing, 
makes soul and body wear out so quickly in the city, 
these constantly-recurring, unsolvable problems, which 
cloud faith and make life terrible, instead of peaceful and 
sweet; which lead us sometimes to look upon the little 
child, so dear to us, with such cowardly fear that it would 
be a relief to lay it, then and there, in the arms of the 
Good Shepherd, lest it, too, stray away from the fold. 



THE RUINS OF UXMAL. 

FELIX L. OSWALD. 

[The author from whose works we select our present Half-Hour is a 
naturalist of rising reputation as a close observer and an attractive 
writer. He is a native of Belgium, where he was born in 1845. His 
works are " Physical Education," " Summerland Sketches," " Zoo 
logical Sketches," etc. From "Summerland Sketches," an enthusi 
astic narrative of travel in the tropical region of Mexico, Yucatan, 
etc., we take the following interesting description of a visit to the most 
striking of the forest-buried cities of the older civilization of America, 
with a preliminary account of the original discovery of these extraor 
dinary ruins.] 

" EVERY tomb is a cradle," says Jean Paul ; and his 
apothegm holds good wherever the organism of Nature 
exerts its functions in undisturbed harmony. Life is 
the heir of Death ; every mouldering plant fertilizes an 
after-growth of its kind, and if the races of mankind suc 
ceeded each other as the trees of the forest, a superior 
spirit might view the decay of an oak and of a nation 
with equal unconcern. 

But, while the fading flowers of the old year may con 
sole us with the hope of a coming spring, our lament over 



452 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OSWALD 

the withered empires of the Old World has a deeper 
significance : the dying nations of the East have involved 
their fields and forests in an equal fate ; the lands that 
know them no more have themselves withered, and no 
spring can restore the prime of an exhausted soil. From 
Eastern Persia to Western Morocco, Earth has thus per 
ished together with her inhabitants : Yishnu has resigned 
his power to Shiva, and the Buddhistic JSTirvan, the final 
departure of the Genius of Life, has already begun for 
some of the fairest countries ever brightened by the sun 
of the Juventus Mundi. 

The western shores of the Atlantic, too, have seen the 
rise and decline of mighty empires : the ruins of Uxmal 
equal those of Nineveh in grandeur as well as in the hope 
lessness of their decay, but the soil of Yucatan has sur 
vived its tyrants. In the struggle between Chaos and 
Cosmos the organic powers have here prevailed, and the 
sylvan deities have resumed their ancient sway. 

There is a well-defined ridge of tertiary limestone forma 
tion which divides the table-lands of the eastern peninsula 
from the wooded lowlands of the west, and the ruins of 
Uxmal, Chichen, Izamal, and Macoba have all been dis 
covered in the western timber-lands, but have nowhere 
betrayed their existence by the diminished exuberance of 
the vegetation. Their walls are hedged, interlocked, and 
covered with trees, and while the Oriental archaeologist 
has to grope in the sand- drifts of burning deserts, his 
transatlantic colleague can thus pursue his studies in the 
shade of a forest-region whose living wonders may well 
divide his attention with the marvels of the past. Eighty 
years ago the district of Macoba and Belonchen was an 
unexplored wilderness. The Jesuit missionaries of Yalla- 
dolid had recorded an Indian tradition about the vestiges 
of a giant city in the neighborhood of Merida, but theif 



OSWALD] THE RUINS OF UXMAL. 453 

vague descriptions were supposed to refer to the large 
teocalli near the convent of Sacrificios, and the rediscovery 
of the Casas Grandes seems to have been as complete a 
surprise to the citizens of Merida as the exhumation of 
Pompeii to the burghers of Nola and Castellamare. 

The great treasure-trove of 1829 has often been ascribed 
to the Baron Frederic de Waldeck, though since the pub 
lication of his memoirs in 1837 his countrymen have never 
claimed that honor. His subsequent explorations made 
Uxmal the Mecca of American antiquarians, but the 
amusing account of the original discovery, as given in the 
" Voyage Pittoresque," proves that in archaeology, not less 
than in other sciences, the better part of our knowledge 
is what Leasing called a u museum of collected curiosities, 
discovered by accident and independently of each other." 
On the evening of the 1st of November, 1828, Don Pancho 
Yegros, a Yucatan planter, and his guest, Dr. Lewis 
Mitchel, a Scotch surgeon of Sisal harbor, returned from 
a hunting expedition in the Sierra Marina, and, seeking 
shelter from the threatening weather, happened to come 
across an Indian wood-chopper, who guided them to a 
sacristia, an old Indian temple in the depths of the forest. 
They lighted a fire, and, having noticed some curious 
sculptures in a sort of peristyle, the Scotchman proceeded 
to inspect the interior of the building. The masonry was 
covered with dust and spider-webs, but the application of 
wet rags discovered a triple row of bas-relief decorations 
running along the walls horizontally and at equal inter 
vals, and between the roof and the upper lintel of the door 
the limestone slabs were covered with small figures which 
seemed too irregular for simple ornaments, and might be 
hieroglyphic symbols. After daybreak the Scotchman 
rummaged a pile of debris behind the temple, and un 
earthed the torso of a little image, which he pocketed 



454 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OSWALD 

with an enthusiasm that puzzled the Spanish planter as 
much as his Indian serf. The natives were unable to give 
any satisfactory account of the building, and, taking his 
leave, the doctor requested his host to interview the old 
Indian residents of the neighborhood in regard to the 
problematic temple, and rode away with the promise to 
renew his visit in the course of the year. 

" Isn't it strange," said Don Yegros when he was alone 
with his peon, " that we have lived here for a lifetime 
without suspecting that there was such a curiosity in our 
neighborhood? Why, that caballero tells me that some 
of his countrymen would buy those pictured stones for 
their weight in silver !" 

" He gave me half a dollar anyhow," chuckled the In 
dian. " He ought to take those countrymen of his to the 
north end of the sierra : in the chaparral of the Rio Ma- 
coba there is a square league of ground just covered with 
such empty old buildings." 

The hacendado turned on his heel: " Are you deranged ? 
A square league of such ruins ! You do not mean build 
ings like that we slept in last night ?" 

" No, senor ; very different buildings, houses as high 
as yours, and forty times as long. One of them has more 
rooms in it than there are tiles on your roof, and long 
galleries with sculptured heads and figures." 

Don Yegros stood speechless for a moment. "Mil de- 
monios 1" he burst out when the stolid countenance of his 
serf told him that the fellow was in sober earnest. " Why, 
in the name of your five senses, could you not tell us that 
a minute sooner? Did you not see how delighted the 
caballero was to find that one old broken statue ?" 

"He liked it, did he? Well, I didn't know that, senor. 
I found a much prettier one in that same place a few 
years ago, and took it to our village priest, but came very 



OSWALD] THE RUINS OF UXMAL. 455 

near getting a good hiding for it. He smashed it, and 
cursed it for an idolatrous monster and me for a monstrous 
idiot." 

" Well, so you are. Get on that horse now, and I give 
you just twenty minutes to overtake the caballero and 
bring him back here. Why, man, you came very near 
missing the only opportunity you ever had of being of 
uny use in the world." 

The caballero and the opportunity were retrieved, and 
on the next day the peon led an exploring-party to the 
jungles of the Eio Macoba, where they had to make their 
way through all the obstacles of a pathless wilderness, 
but on the third day found themselves in the midst of 
a liana shrouded Pompeii, and entered different edifices 
whose dimensions so far exceeded the expectations of 
their archaeological companion that he decided to return 
at once and carry the news to the foreign residents of 
Sisal. They had discovered the ruins of Uxmal, which 
rival those of Thebes and Persepolis in beauty and gran 
deur as well as in extent, and stand unequalled and un- 
approached among the architectural relics of our own 
continent. While volumes had been written about the 
clumsy burrows of the Mound-builders and the naked 
brick walls on the Eio G-ila, this city of palaces had slum 
bered in its forest shroud, unexplored by any visitor save 
the prying catamount and the silent tribe of the tropical 
bats, and, but for the accident of the rain-storm on that 
November night of 1828, might thus have slumbered for 
ever, like the lost Atlantis in her ocean grave. . . . 

In the winter of 1872 the long-delayed work [of investi 
gation] was commenced in earnest. The dimensions of 
the ancient city were found to exceed even the conjectures 
of Baron Waldeck. The muralla, or rampart- wall, was 
traced southward to a quarter of a mile beyond the Bio 



456 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OSWALD 

Macoba and east to the foot-hills of the Sierra de Belon- 
chen, and must have enclosed an area of at least twelve 
English square miles. To clear such a space of its jungle- 
maze and the organic deposits of centuries would have 
exhausted the scanty appropriation, and the trustees of 
the fund had to content themselves with clearing the 
main buildings and connecting them by avenues with 
each other and with the carriage-road that is now finished 
to San Lorenzo, where it connects with the old military 
highway to Merida. Even thus the undertaking could 
only be completed by employing peons, or Indian serfs, 
whom the neighboring planters volunteered to furnish 
gratis, the trustees only providing their food and the 
necessary tools. 

For the same work of destruction and obstruction 
which the fire-deluge of Mount Vesuvius accomplished in 
a single night has here been effected by the silent progress 
of arboreal vegetation and decay in a manner which illus 
trates the scientific axiom that in dynamics force and time 
are convertible factors. The mixture of ashes and porous 
lava which covers the city of Pompeii is far easier to re 
move than the tegumen of mould, gnarled roots, and 
tanglewood that has spread itself over the ruins of Uxmal. 
Like the coils of a boa-constrictor, the flexible arms of 
the lianas and the cordero-vines have wound themselves 
around the columns and projecting rocks; nay, forced 
their sprouts through the crevices of the thickest walls, 
sending out lateral shoots along the inner surface, so that 
often their grip can only be broken at the risk of break 
ing the building at the same time. Trees were found 
which had incorporated themselves with a detached pillar 
or window-sill after wrenching it from its place, or by 
growing completely around it if it proved immovable; 
and it has been supposed that the remarkable absence of 



OSWALD] THE RUINS OF UXMAL. 457 

smaller buildings is owing to this cause. They were dis 
integrated by trees and vines that had fastened themselves 
upon them and in the course of their growth dislodged 
them from their foundations. Only the enormous weight 
of the larger edifices could preserve them from the same 
fate. If much longer, would have been a different ques 
tion ; but the buildings which have so far stood their 
ground are now probably safe. . . . 

[We proceed to the personal investigations of the author and his 
friends.] 

We left our baggage in the antechamber, and tethered 
our mules on the north side of the building in a sort of 
moat with plenty of grass and weeds. Seen from the 
distance, our casa resembled a Spanish inn with a Moorish 
court-yard below and a row of small bedrooms above, but 
in its original dimensions it seemed to have extended along 
the entire length of the moat, which is flanked with the 
vestiges of a foundation-wall for a distance of more than 
sixty yards beyond the present east end of the building. 
The woods behind the moat are intersected by a similar 
wall, which at different places rises to a height of twenty 
feet. "El Quartel the Barracks we call this building," 
said the captain : " the large hall below is supposed to be 
the drill shed." 

'No other ruins were in sight, but on the summit of 
a rock-strewn acclivity the woods opened and revealed a 
grayish stone pile rising like a mountain rather than like 
a building from a wilderness of weeds and debris, but 
assuming more symmetrical outlines as the road ap 
proaches. A quadrangular esplanade, with a range of 
stone steps, leads up to a narrow terrace that forms the 
foundation of a mound of cyclopean blocks, house-shaped, 
but craggy and cliff-like from the massiveness of the pillars 
ii. u 39 



458 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OSWALD 

and walls. The entire structure rising to a height of 
eighty-four feet, with a facade of three hundred and 
twenty and a circumference of eight hundred feet, it 
stands there with its open and desolate doors like an an 
tediluvian skeleton, " La Casa del Gobernador, the most 
massive, though not the highest, of the main buildings," 
eays our guide. 

At Uxmal the Spaniards have illustrated that talent for 
nomenclature which has made them such useful pioneers 
in the river- and mountain-labyrinths of the New World. 
All the houses, temples, and caves, and even the more 
conspicuous statues, have their names, most of them sin 
gularly appropriate as well as pretty. If Yucatan was a 
province of prehistoric Mexico, and Uxmal the state cap 
ital, the house on the double terrace must have been the 
residence of the governor. These high portals with their 
carved columns, and these sculptured walls, were not built 
for a granary or a fort, and the character of the bas- 
reliefs, as well as the absence of altars and idols, makes 
it unlikely that the edifice was a temple. 

From the upper terrace to the third story the walls are 
entirely covered with ornaments that might be described 
as sculptured mosaic, each figure being formed by a com 
bination of carved stones. These sculptures represent 
human heads, colossal figures, fantastic birds and quad 
rupeds, and every variety of arabesques, which, viewed at 
a certain angle, give the walls the appearance of those 
rough-hewn granite blocks our architects love to display 
over the entrance of a tunnel or massive gateway. The 
lower halls are partly obstructed by a pile of debris, for 
the range of stairs leading to the second floor has fallen 
down, and has been replaced by a wooden ladder. The 
most interesting rooms are on the second and third floors, 
which also connect with outer galleries bordered by long 






OSWALD] THE RUINS OF UXMAL. 459 

balustrades of graceful fretwork. According to the meas 
urements of Seiior Devegas, the walls of these two stories 
contain thirty-four hundred yards or nearly two English 
miles of bas-relief, most of them at a height of about 
four feet from the floor, and running along the wall in an 
unbroken row, the lower border being on a line with the 
lintels of the windows and doors. These decorations are 
often coarse in execution and defective in the details of 
design, but the total impression is nevertheless strangely 
pleasing. There are long processions of men-at-arms, 
groups of animals and stars, the latter perhaps astro 
logical symbols, and countless faces (portraits our guide 
called them) in profile, some of them distinguished by a 
turban-like head-dress. One of the more elaborate groups 
represents a warrior promenading on a row of prostrate 
bodies, probably a symbol of royal power if not a memo 
rial of a martial triumph. Another shows a procession 
of mutilated men, one-legged, armless, or entirely dismem 
bered, which our cicerone supposed to be a regiment of 
veterans returning from war, but which may possibly 
havj had an allegorical significance. In one of the third- 
story rooms a portion of the floor is paved with a coarse 
mosaic representing a battle between light-armed and 
naked giants and warriors of smaller stature but well 
equipped with a panoply of heavy arms. The faces and 
attitudes of the antagonists are well distinguished, and 
the whole conveys the impression of having been sug 
gested by an actual occurrence, perhaps an encounter 
between the citizen-soldiers of the ancient empire and 
some savage tribe of the northern forests. It has been 
observed that the black marble which is used in the com 
position of these and other mosaics is not found anywhere 
in Yucatan, and must have been brought from Central 
Mexico, if not from Cuba. 



460 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OSWALD 

Before the arrival of the present superintendent this 
building was infested with every possible variety of creep 
ers and air-plants : in the basement their growth was 
somewhat checked by lack of sunshine, but in the upper 
stories they formed a continuous tapestry along the walls 
of every apartment, and vestiges of these expletive deco 
rations still defy the pruning-hook of the mayoral. The 
arm of an idol here and there or the head of a long- 
snouted animal is wreathed with leaves like a thyrsus-staff, 
and many of the coarse arabesques around the larger re- 
tratos are mingled with the delicate folioles of a twining 
grenadilla. With a sort of vegetable instinct, most of 
these intruders have pierced the walls at places where the 
convolution of their tendrils is favored by a pilaster or the 
protuberances of a bas-relief. 

The next turn of the road leads to the plaza, or market- 
square, a partly-cleared field of about sixty acres, offering 
a view of the three largest and most interesting buildings 
in TJxmal, the Casa de las Monjas, the Palomal, and the 
Casa del Enano. The largest of these and, indeed, the 
largest architectural relic of our continent is the Casa de 
las Monjas, the "House of the Nuns," so called from the 
vast number of little cell-like apartments. There are 
eighty-seven larger and half a hundred smaller rooms, 
besides extensive corridors and several halls, distributed 
over a three-story building of four wings, which enclose 
what may have been a spacious court-yard, but now re 
sembles a neglected garden. 

Entering from the north, you pass through a gateway 
supported by pillars of enormous thickness, and an inner 
vestibule that communicates with a broad gallery or in 
terior veranda, stone-paved and inviting by the grotto-like 
coolness of its shady recesses. The builders of this city 
were not acquainted with the keystone arch, but formed 



OSWALD] THE RUINS OF UXMAL 461 

their vaults by overlapping stones, held in place by the 
weight of the superstructure and covered with a large slab 
or with lintels of wood, the latter being found over every 
door and window whose horizontal diameter exceeds two 
feet. The wood used for these lintels is of iron toughness 
and texture, and has been identified with a species of 
lignum-vitse that is found in the mountains of Guatemala, 
but nowhere in Yucatan or Eastern Mexico. From the 
middle of the first flight of steps upward the walls are 
decorated with glaring pictures, checkered and polychro 
matic like a collection of butterflies, though a pale carmine 
and a brilliant golden yellow predominate. Frescos the 
mayoral calls them, but the process of their production 
seems to have involved a preliminary plastering of the 
walls with a grayish-brown substance that makes an ef 
fective foil for the brighter tints, and the employment of a 
very durable varnish that would explain the freshness and 
the metallic lustre of some of the colors. On the second 
floor the cells begin, and monopolize the two larger wings 
of that story. Few of them are provided with more than 
one aperture, either a door communicating with the cor 
ridor or a window opening upon the outer gallery, their 
average size being five yards square by four high. Many 
cells in the second story are paved with polished and 
variegated marble slabs, while the walls opposite the en 
trance are covered with pictures ; and if the dwelling was 
a nunnery the convent rules cannot have been very ascetic, 
the character of these retratos being decidedly secular, 
so much so, indeed, that some of the artists must have 
belonged to what poor Southey called the " Satanic school." 
The windows are festooned with rock-ivy and grenadilla- 
vines with small red pipe-flowers, and in one of the lower 
rooms an abeto-bush, a species of juniper, has forced its 
way through the masonry of the floor and of a sort of 
ii. 39* 



462 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OSWALD 

stone bench near the window, rising from the flags like a 
Christmas-tree from a table. 

All the cornices and window-sills of these countless 
chambers, all the balustrades of the long galleries and 
the balconies overhanging the court, are ornamented with 
bas-relief figures, colored stuccoes, and sculptured mosaic, 
carved with an unrivalled richness and variety of detail ; 
and if it is true that a portion of the material was brought 
from a great distance, the treasures of a wealthy empire 
must have been lavished on the Casa de las Monjas. Senor 
Escalante, an intelligent Mexican architect, estimates that 
even with all the raw material on hand the present cost 
of such a building would exceed four million piasters, and 
thinks that the carvings of some of the larger pillars 
would employ a hard-working statuary for six months. 
Bats are now the only tenants of this sculptured Coliseum, 
since a colony of monos chicos, or Mexican raccoons, that 
had established themselves in the basement, were ejected 
by order of the mayoral. . . . 

Proceeding southward and upward, we reach the plat 
form of a little hill, and are brought face to face with a 
dome-like pile of colossal dimensions, the Casa del Enano, 
or " House of the Dwarf," so called from the narrowness 
of the sally-port, which is, in fact, a mere loop-hole in what 
originally may have been the second story, the basement 
having been buried by avalanches of debris that have 
tumbled from the decaying walls. A tower encircled by 
galleries that contract toward the top is the nucleus of 
this pile, and leads to a circular platform of about forty 
yards in circumference. The strength of this central 
tower has supported the building, but the galleries with 
their substructures have collapsed all around, and give to 
the whole the appearance of a conical mound covered with 
a wilderness of broken fragments and weeds. Goats, and 



OSWALD] THE RUINS OF UKMAL. 463 

even cows, frequent the slopes of this artificial hill, and 
make their way to the very top, where mountain-breezes 
and patches of rank wall-grass reward them for the some 
what arduous ascent. 

The interior of the edifice forms a striking contrast to 
this rustic outside. After passing (on all-fours) through 
the loop-hole above mentioned, the visitor finds himself in 
the vestibule of the tower-hall, which he enters through 
a portal of pillar-like buttresses. This hall seems formerly 
to have been lighted from above ; but the wall on the 
south side is now full of cracks and holes, which serve as 
so many windows, but have admitted rain as well as sun 
shine, as attested by a considerable pool at the lower end 
of the sloping floor. The wall on the west side rises like 
a terrace or a range of colossal stairs, tier above tier, 
receding a yard and a half after every three yards of ele 
vation. The upper tier is a shapeless mass of ruins, con 
nected with the ceiling and the opposite walls by a net 
work of liana-coils, some of which have become detached 
with the crumbling stones and hang across the hall like 
tight-ropes in a circus-tent. But farther down the verti 
cal surfaces of the terrace are covered with hieroglyphics, 
while the intermediate levels afford seats for a large 
assembly of " idols," as the Spaniards call them indis 
criminately, though the plurality of these shapes seems 
to have been suggested by the exigencies of symmetry, 
since they reappear at equal intervals from a common 
centre, and may have been nothing but architectural ex 
travaganzas, like the caryatides and griffins of our Gothics 
chapels. The human or rather anthropoid shapes were 
idols, to judge by their central positions and heroic pro 
portions, and some of them are as composite, though not 
quite as monstrous, as the divinities of a Hindoo pagoda. 

On a special pedestal about four feet above the floor sits 



464 REST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OSWALD 

a four-armed giant with a disproportionately large but not 
altogether repulsive face, and with a corselet that resem 
bles the scaly hide of a crocodile. Two of his arms are 
akimbo ; the other pair are extended, with the palms of 
the hands down, as if in the act of delivering a bene 
diction. Just above him, on the third terrace, stands 
the semi-torso of a youth with a coronet of spikes or 
rays upon his head and a sort of rosary wound about 
his waist. Both his arms are broken off at the elbow, but 
seem to have been lifted above his head or to have sup 
ported a shield, like a similar but smaller statue farther 
up. The figure is supposed to be a symbol of the Chasca, 
or evening star, whose statues in the old Peruvian tem 
ples were distinguished by a halo of vertical rays. In 
the menagerie of animals and animal fragments there are 
six elephants' heads, distributed in the corners of three 
successive tiers. Whatever they are intended to represent, 
the curled and tapering trunks and pendent ears are de 
cidedly elephantine, and even the small piggish eyes are 
characteristic of pachyderms, though it ought to be men 
tioned that the tusks are uniformly omitted. These heads 
have caused a good deal of curious speculation, since even 
the illiterate Yucatecos know that only imported elephants 
have ever displayed their trunks on this side of the At 
lantic. Did the fauna of prehistoric Mexico include ele 
phants, or had the builders of this city preserved traditions 
of a transatlantic fatherland, India, Siam, or Southern 
Africa? Or may it be possible that ante-Columbian vis 
itors from the East had carried elephants, or the pictures 
or descriptions of such animals, to the Western World ? 
Quien sabe? But it would certainly be curious if un 
assisted fancy had produced such congruous combinations. 
The hieroglyphics that alternate with the sculptured 
rows are subdivided by vertical mouldings at irregular 



OSWALD] THE RUINS OF UXMAL. 465 

intervals, forming longer or shorter quadrangles that seem 
to enclose separate inscriptions. Many of these mouldings 
are ornamented with a sort of arabesque, while the elabo 
rate characters are strongly suggestive of an important 
meaning. Different recent visitors have copied such in 
scriptions in extenso, but it is to be feared that their labors 
have been in vain : the key to that picturesque alphabet 
has been lost forever. 

The ghost-ridden natives give the casas a wide berth, 
but the House of the Dwarf is an object of their especial 
dread. Mezequenho, the Good Spirit, was never properly 
worshipped by the citizens of Uxmal, they say; and 
when the boundary between his patience and his wrath 
was passed he turned the entire population into stone and 
confined them in this building. But after sunset the pet 
rified assembly revives, and woe to the wight that passes 
the Casa del Enano in a moonless night! The north side 
of the building looks, indeed, as fantastic as any castle in 
Fairydom : a lofty dome, crowned with a tuft of vegeta 
tion not unlike a colossal cactus or a gigantic skull with a 
wisp of hair standing on end and bristling in the breeze, 
while the shroud of creepers forms a compact mass of 
foliage from the middle terrace i.e., from a height of 
sixty-five feet to the ground, recalling the legend of 
Dornroschen's Burg circumvallated with a rampart of wil- 
dering roses. 

Southwest of the Casa del Enano there are different 
smaller buildings, too rude and artless or too far advanced 
in decay to merit a separate description, though I might 
mention the Casa de la Vieja, the "House of the Old 
Woman," an ivy-mantled, snug little cottage with a balcony 
and a single alcove ; and the Casa Cerrada, or " Closed 
House," a cubic mass of masonry without any opening 
whatever, a watch-tower, perhaps, or a mausoleum, 
ir 



466 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [OSWALD 

"Besides these buildings the excavations have brought 
to light a considerable number of detached statues, ter 
races, paved court-yards, etc., and some miscellaneous ob 
jects whose significance is as problematic as that of the 
hieroglyphics. There are an amphitheatre and an artificial 
lake, both excavated from the solid rock ; a " tennis-court/' 
or gymnasium, paved, and encircled by a low wall ; and a 
nameless rotunda with fragments of carved columns. On 
an artificial mound northeast of the Casa Cerrada stands 
a double-headed sphinx, twelve feet long and five feet 
high, and a little farther back a six-sided nondescript cut 
from a single block and with a polished surface about 
eight feet square. Some American merchants from Sisal 
had the bad taste to christen it the "Altar of Abraham," 
and the mayoral, in commemorat'ion of their visit, now 
calls it the " Altar of Abraham Lincoln," which is certainly 
worse ; but Lincoln is popular in Mexico. 

I have already referred to the open-air museum on 
the river-terrace, where the superintendent has amassed a 
ship-load of idols and sculptured tablets. He boasts that 
he has hieroglyphic slabs enough now to roof the largest 
building in Yucatan ; and the excavations which are still 
progressing will probably increase his collection. 

Neither the descent of man nor the purpose of the 
Pyramids is shrouded in deeper mystery than the origin 
of these ruins. All we know with certainty is this : that 
they antedate the advent of Columbus by a period which 
reaches far beyond the oldest records and traditions of 
the American aborigines, for that TJxmal was not built 
by the Aztecs is positively demonstrated by architectural 
and archaeological evidence, and indirectly by the entire 
absence of local tradition. 



TERHUNE] CARE OF THE BODY. 467 

CARE OF THE BODY. 

M. V. TERHUNE. 

[" Marion Harland," under which pseudonyme Mrs. Terhune hws 
long been known, is the author of numerous popular novels, of which 
the first published, " Alone," has been most widely read. Eecently 
she has entered a new field, in her " Common Sense in the Household" 
and other works on domestic economy, and her " Eve's Daughters," 
" Our Daughters," etc. Our selection is from " Eve's Daughters," a 
volume full of sensible and excellently-presented advice to women. 
Mrs. Terhune (Mary Virginia Hawes) is a native of Virginia, where 
she was born about 1837.] 

THERE is nothing in the history of human folly more 
egregiously inconsistent than the admixture of vanity 
and aversion, the loving care and gross neglect, manifested 
by most young women with regard to their bodies. She 
whom we saw, awhile ago, disdainfully scouting the pros 
pect of intellectual veneer and varnish, concentrates the 
attention she bestows upon her physique upon the exterior. 
The hidden works rust and clog and are worn into useless- 
ness by attrition, disregarded by the owner who should 
also be the kindly keeper. It is true, as you remind me, 
that the body is, at best, but the vehicle of the higher 
being, the spiritual and mental, the immortal essence that 
shall outlive by all eternity to come this crumbling house 
of our pilgrimage, this urn wherein the soul tarries for a 
night. So the train that bears a living freight of a thou 
sand souls from the eastern to the western ocean is but 
an ingenious combination of mechanical powers. What 
is your opinion of the engineer who remits his watch of 
every joint and bar of the locomotive, who lets his fire 
go down, or the boiler run dry ? 

The girl who devotes an hour a day for a fortnight to 



468 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TERHCJNE 

learning how to "do" the fantastic scallops of her fore- 
top, or to dispose her back-hair in a graceful coil or knot ; 
who discourses seriously of the absolute necessity of 
spending at least ten minutes each morning in cleaning, 
trimming, and polishing, by help of a dainty set of uten 
sils, the finger-nails that in consequence of this atten 
tion are like pink sea-shells or curled rose-petals ; who 
studies the eifect upon her style and complexion of coif 
fure, cut, and color as diligently as she cons Xenophon's 
Anabasis or Spherical Trigonometry, cannot with any 
show of reason affect contempt of her corporeal substance. 

She does love her body the outside of it with idola 
trous affection that absorbs and dwarfs many worthier 
emotions. Her neglect of the exquisite machinery it 
encases is as puerile as it would be to pass hours in bur 
nishing the outside of a watch she never takes the pains 
to wind up. 

If I return once and again upon this branch of our sub 
ject, it is because of my conviction that imperfect appre 
ciation of its value is the main cause of the national in- 
validism of our sex. The climate has to do with it in so 
far as extremes of heat and cold, long rain, deep snows, 
and spring mire, hinder out-door exercise. But if mothers 
and daughters believed in the need of physical culture 
with one-half the earnestness they feel in the matter of 
intellectual improvement, these obstacles would lose their 
formidableness in less than one generation. 

I hold firmly, furthermore, to the opinion that the rapid 
degeneration of women foreigners after a short residence 
in our country is owing chiefly, if not altogether, to their 
adoption of certain, and those the least desirable, of oui 
modes of life. 

Bridget, whose ideas of in-door comfort have been 
formed upon the smoky interior of a bog-trotter's cabin 



TERHUNE] CARE OF THE BODY. 469 

warmed by a handful of peat and lighted by a farthing 
rush-candle, soon learns, with the prodigality of genuine 
parvenuism, to fill the range up to the warped, red-hot 
plate with coal at five dollars a ton. She demands a drop- 
light upon the kitchen gas-burner, and " wouldn't do a 
hand's turn in a situation where she had to put her foot 
out o' doors to draw water or to fetch in kindlin'-wood for 
the fire." Thin boots take the place of the stout brogans 
in which she used to tramp four or five miles to market 
or to church in all weathers. Her walks are now confined 
to a stroll in her best clothes to church on Sunday, and to 
the house of an " acquaintance" after dark on week-days. 
She washes in a steaming-hot laundry, and, without ex 
changing her wet slippers for rubbers, or donning shawl 
or hood, goes into the windy back-yard, perhaps covered 
with snow, to hang out the clothes. The climate begins 
to tell on her after a year or two of this sort of work, 
and what wonder? If these violent variations upon her 
former self and existence are insufficient to break her 
down, there are not wanting accessories to the unholy 
deed in her close bedroom, where the windows are never 
opened in winter unless by her disgusted employer ; in 
the mountainous feather-bed and half-dozen blankets with 
out which she is quick to declare that she " could not get 
a wink o' slape at night, bavin' been used to kapin' warm 
all her life." Add that she devours meat three times a 
day with the rapacity of long-repressed carnivorousness 
and keeps the teapot on the stove from morning until 
night, that she " could live upon sweets" of the most 
unwholesome and most expensive varieties, and abhors 
early breakfasts, and we wax charitable toward our 
maligned climate. 

Dr. Beard says of "American women, even of direct 
German and English descent," "Subject a part of the 
ii. 40 



470 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TERHUNE 

year to the tyranny of heat, and a part to the tyranny 
of cold, they grow unused to leaving the house : to live 
in-doors is the rule ; it is a rarity to go out, as with those 
of Continental Europe it is to go in." 

Bridget and Gretchen are overgrown children, gross 
and undisciplined. If one of them bruises her head or 
cuts her finger, she will wail or howl like a yearling baby. 
Without work they cannot have savory victuals or fine 
clothes: hence they must labor so many hours per diem. 
Thought and planning seldom go further, especially if the 
settled purpose of catching husbands whose wages will 
relieve them from the necessity of " living out" be ac 
cepted as an extension of their clumsy scheming. 

Still, Bridget is an imitative animal, and develops with 
civilization into a sort of aptness in this respect. She 
apes " the quality," while affecting to consider herself as 
good as anybody else. Before she can be reformed, her 
mistress must regulate her own habits and those of her 
daughters in accordance with the dictates of reason and 
a right knowledge of established hygienic laws. Our 
domestics, Celtic, Gaelic, Teutonic, American of African 
descent, being human creatures of habit, copy their em 
ployers' language, and, to some extent, their bearing. In 
some instances the resemblance, unintentional though it 
may be, is absurdly accurate. The maid models her ap 
parel after that of the young ladies of the house, and 
grafts upon her brogue or patois the intonations of her 
mistress. These are tokens, and not trivial ones, of the 
involuntary homage paid by ignorance to knowledge. 
When Mrs. Lofty and her daughters reckon pure air and 
abundance of exercise out-of-doors, wholesome food, sound 
sleep in cold rooms, stout shoes in wet weather, and in 
variable cleanliness of person, among the necessaries of 
life and requisites to beauty, when they prohibit feather- 



TERHUNE] CARE OF THE BODY, 471 

beds as unfashionable abominations, and tea-tippling as 
vulgar, the kitchen cabinet will follow suit, slowly, bat 
inevitably. 

Until then, I fear that " the sons of the New World" 
will be disappointed in the effect upon the next genera 
tion of their " magnificent experiment," should their fresh- 
blooded foreign wives take up their residence in America. 

The simple truth is that the expression " care of the 
health" conveys to the average listener the instant thought 
of remedial measures. nothing more, and nothing less. 
It is unnatural, argues the popular intellect, for a well 
person to think constantly of preserving bodily soundness, 
unless it is threatened or has been recently imperilled. A 
burnt child dreads the fire. That a child that has never 
been scorched should habitually keep at a safe distance 
from the flame is without precedent, if not opposed to 
rational expectation. Yet the average listener, with the 
popular intellect, if he is a man, greases the wheels and 
looks to the linch-pins of his wagon before he sets off on 
a journey ; has the sense to be angry with himself, as 
well as ashamed, when a worn-out breeching-strap gives 
way in going down-hill, or the swivel-tree, he " now re 
members has been cracked this great while," snaps asunder 
behind a skittish horse. The dullest household drudge 
shakes out and removes the ashes and adjusts the dampers 
before she makes up her morning fires. 

We have spoken together, and more than once, of the 
propriety of creating a stomachic or dietetic conscience. 
It is every whit as important to cultivate conscientious 
ness in all respects towards the oft-defrauded, incessantly 
ill-used body. In your schedule of study and recreation, 
leave blanks to be filled out generously by the fulfilment 
of the duties you owe to this co-laborer with soul and 
mind. Do not be startled when I enjoin that, should the 



472 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TEKHUNE 

mental duty clash with the physical, it is the former that 
ought, with a young growing girl, to yield to the asser 
tion of the latter. It is folly in a sick girl to study, an 
error which she should perceive instinctively, however 
unversed she may be in the details of physiology. In 
you, who know why the blood pumped through artery 
and vein thickens, or thins, or falters, why your head- 
aches and dumb nausea - throw the cold sweat to the 
congesting surface, it is SIN. 

You have no more right to eat or drink what you know 
will disagree with your digestion than you have to drop 
a furtive pinch of arsenic, just enough to sicken her 
slightly, into your school-fellow's cup of tea. It is as 
truly your duty to eat regularly and enough of whole 
some, strength-giving food, wisely adapted to your needs, 
as to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." Faith 
without sensible works does not bring about miracles in 
our age. There is the same sin in kind, if not in degree, 
in omitting your "constitutional" walk to study a hard 
lesson you would like to make sure of for to-morrow, that 
there is in picking your neighbor's pocket or cheating her 
in a bargain. Both are dishonest actions, and, in the long 
but certain run of justice, both are sure to be punished. 
Put yourself in thought outside of your body ; make an 
inventory of its capabilities and necessities. It is your 
soul's nearest neighbor. See to it that the soul loves it as 
itself. 

If your teachers are sagacious and just in apportioning 
seasons for rest, exercise, and recreation, your duty is the 
easier. If they are negligent of this in their mistaken 
zeal for tbe intellectual advancement of their pupils, be a 
higher law unto yourself. It is the ignoramus or the 
shirk who waits to be warned by the ominous creak of 
the wheel that the oilless axle is heated and a break-down 



TERHUNE] CARE OF THE BODY. 473 

imminent. It may be "plucky" to persist in studying^ 
with a blind headache that would distract a girl of weaker 
will out of all power of concentration. It is undoubtedly 
foolhardy. 

I have in my mind now a gifted woman who told me, in 
the course of a talk upon the conservation of forces, how 
she had read and made an elaborate digest of a scientific, 
treatise while her head was bound about with ice-cloths 
to assuage the anguished throbbing of her temples, and 
her eyes could bear no more light than the one powerful 
ray admitted between the curtains to fall over her left 
shoulder directly upon the page. 

Another rash adventurer of the same sex, determined 
to lose no time in her musical education, was propped up 
in bed during her convalescence from a spell of typhoid 
fever. Her exercise-book was set up before her on a 
frame, and she practised first thirty minutes, then an hour, 
finally two hours, each day, in dumb show upon a key 
board pencilled on a pillow. She has been in her grave for 
twenty years now. Her friends were wont to tell pride- 
fully of the heroic battle with languor and pain I have 
described, and regret in the same breath that " that fever 
left her a mere wreck. "With strength and health she would 
doubtless have accomplished much in the musical world." 

The heroine of headache and scientific tastes still lives 
and still fights with bodily ills as with a visible Apollyon. 
She cannot walk across the room without assistance, so 
abject is the ruin of the nervous system; and in every 
day she dies a hundred deaths with tic-douloureux and 
sciatica. "We may reiterate here, with a different applica 
tion, Dr. Beard's words : 

" So inevitable was this result, that, had it been other 
wise, one might well suspect that the law of causation 
had been suspended." 

ii. 40* 



474 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TERHUNK 

It is, then, absurd, and as cruel as foolish, to lash on 
with whip and spur a faithful servitor to whom you owe 
the liberty to study at all. How unwise and short-sighted 
is the self-will you vaunt, let an abler pen than mine tell 
you, and in formula instead of illustration. Dr. Anstie, 
in a treatise upon " Neuralgia," which I commend to 
.the perusal of all afflicted with that malady, thus writes : 

" In the abnormal strain that is being put on the brain in 
many cases by a forcing plan of education, we shall per 
ceive a source not merely of exhaustive expenditure of 
nervous power, but of secondary irritation of centres like 
the medulla oblongata, that are probably already somewhat 
lowered in power of vital resistance and proportionably 
irritable." 

The medulla oblongata is, as your physiological books 
have taught you, a marrowy, oblong body connecting the 
spinal cord with the brain. To strain this delicate nerve- 
centre is to deplete the nervous tissues more rapidly than 
they can be repaired. In more direct terms, it is to sap 
the citadel of Reason and of Life. To irritate the me 
dulla oblongata is to risk brain-fever. Excessive mental 
application without recuperation of mind and body, loss 
of sleep, stress of excited thought, particularly upon one 
agitating theme, are both strain and irritation. 

You have a fixed income of physical energy. Your 
"pluck" is mental force. The two together accomplish 
the finest results of which human kind is capable. The 
bodily powers are the treasure-house in which Nature has 
deposited your wealth, the dowry settled upon you as 
your birthright, to be controlled by yourself alone, with 
your parents as trustees during your infancy and child 
hood. Their judicious management has augmented the 
original deposit, until you find yourself now in possession 
of a handsome competency, invested in stocks that will 



MITCHELL] SPRING-TIME AND BOYHOOD. 475 

yield fair and ample returns. We will call the will-power 
or moral force the checks that draw upon the invested 
Bums. So long as only the regularly- accruing interest is 
used up by your daily and yearly expenses you are none 
the poorer, and the community in which you live is the 
richer for what you throw into general circulation. From 
the day in which you begin to draw upon the principal, 
the interest becomes smaller. The necessity of accumu 
lation obtrudes itself if you would not be gradually im 
poverished. 



SPRING-TIME AND BOYHOOD. 

DONALD G. MITCHELL. 

[" Ik Marvel," under which pseudonyme Donald G. Mitchell has 
long been known, stands as the author of several beautifully-written 
books, of a philosophically reflective character, which have enjoyed a 
high degree of favor with the reading public. The " Reveries of a 
Bachelor" and " Dream-Life" but put into words the thoughts which 
float through every imaginative mind, and in reading them we seem 
to behold our own waking dreams mirrored on the printed page. Mr. 
Mitchell is the author of several other works, among them a record 
of a tour in Europe, and "Dr. Johns," an ably-written novel. The 
selection given below is from " Dream-Life." Mr. Mitchell was born 
at Norwich, Connecticut, in 1822.] 

THE old chroniclers made the year begin in the season 
of frosts ; and they have launched us upon the current of 
the months from the snowy banks of January. I love 
better to count time from Spring to Spring : it seems to 
me far more cheerful to reckon the year by blossoms than 
by blight. 

Bernardin de St. Pierre, in his sweet story of Yirginia, 
makes the bloom of the cocoa-tree, or the growth of the 



476 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MITCHELL 

banana, a yearly and a loved monitor of the passage of 
her life. How cold and cheerless in the comparison would 
be the icy chronology of the North! So many years have 
I seen the lakes locked, and the foliage die I 

The budding and blooming of Spring seem to belong 
properly to the opening of the months. It is the season 
of the quickest expansion, of the warmest blood, of the 
readiest growth ; it is the boy-age of the year. The birds 
sing in chorus in the Spring, just as children prattle; 
the brooks run full, like the overflow of young hearts ; 
the showers drop easily, as young tears flow ; and the 
whole sky is as capricious as the mind of a boy. 

Between tears and smiles, the year, like the child, 
struggles into the warmth of life. The Old Year say 
what the chronologists will lingers upon the very lap 
of Spring, and is only fairly gone when the blossoms of 
April have strown their pall of glory upon his tomb and 
the bluebirds have chanted his requiem. 

It always seems to me as if an access of life came with 
the melting of the winter's snows, and as if every rootlet 
of grass, that lifted its first green blade from the matted 
debris of the old year's decay, bore my spirit upon it, 
nearer to the largess of Heaven. 

I love to trace the break of Spring step by step ; I love 
even those long rain-storms, that sap the icy fortresses 
of the lingering winter, that melt the snows upon the 
hills, and swell the mountain-brooks, that make the pools 
heave up their glassy cerements of ice, and hurry down 
the crashing fragments into the wastes of ocean. 

I love the gentle thaws that you can trace, day by day, 
by the stained snow-banks, shrinking from the grass, and 
by the quiet drip of the cottage eaves. I love to search 
out the sunny slopes under some northern shelter, whero 
the reflected sun does double duty to the earth, and 



MITCHELL] SPRING-TIME AND BOYHOOD. 477 

where the frail hepatica, or the faint blush of the arbutus, 
in the midst of the bleak March atmosphere, will touch 
your heart, like a hope of heaven in a field of graves. 
Later come those soft, smoky days, when the patches of 
winter grain show green under the shelter of leafless 
woods, and the last snow-drifts, reduced to shrunken skel 
etons of ice, lie upon the slope of northern hills, leaking 
uway their life. 

Then the grass at your door grows into the color of the 
sprouting grain, and the buds upon the lilacs swell and 
burst. The peaches bloom upon the wall, and the plums 
wear bodices of white. The sparkling oriole picks string 
for his hammock on the sycamore, and the sparrows twit 
ter in pairs. The old elms throw down their dingy flowers, 
and color their spray with green ; and the brooks, where 
you throw your worm or the minnow, float down whole 
fleets of the crimson blossoms of the maple. Finally the 
oaks step into the opening quadrille of spring, with gray 
ish tufts of a modest verdure, which by and by will be 
long and glossy leaves. The dog- wood pitches his broad, 
white tent in the edge of the forest ; the dandelions lie 
along the hillocks, like stars in a sky of green ; and the 
wild cherry, growing in all the hedge-rows, without other 
culture than God's, lifts up to Him thankfully its tremu 
lous white fingers. 

Amid all this come the rich rains of Spring. The affec 
tions of a boy grow up with tears to water them; and the 
year blooms with showers. But the clouds hover over 
an April sky timidly, like shadows upon innocence. The 
showers come gently, and drop daintily to the earth, 
with now and then a glimpse of sunshine to make the 
drops bright, like so many bubbles of joy. 

The rain of winter is cold, and it comes in bitter scuds 
that blind you; but the rain of April steals upon you 



478 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [M 

coyly, half reluctantly, yet lovingly, like the steps of a 
bride to the altar. 

It does not gather like the storm-clouds of winter, gray 
and heavy along the horizon, and creep with subtle and 
insensible approaches (like age) to the very zenith ; but 
there are a score of white-winged swimmers afloat, that 
your eye has chased as you lay beguiled with the delicious 
warmth of an April sun ; nor have you scarce noticed 
that a little bevy of those floating clouds had grouped 
together in a sombre company. But presently you see 
across the fields the dark gray streaks, stretching like 
lines of mist from the green bosom of the valley to that 
spot of sky where the company of clouds is loitering; 
and with an easy shifting of the helm the fleet of swim 
mers come, drifting over you, and drop their burden into 
the dancing pools, and make tho flowers glisten and the 
eaves drip with their crystal bounty. 

The cattle linger by the watercourses, cropping eagerly 
the firstlings of the grass ; and childhood laughs joyously 
at the warm rain, or under the cottage roof catches with 
eager ear the patter of its fall. 

And with that patter on the roof so like to the 

patter of childish feet my story of boyish dreams shall 
begin. 

It is an old garret, with big brown rafters; and the 
boards between are stained darkly with the rain-storms 
of fifty years. And as the sportive April shower quickens 
its flood, it seems as if its torrents would come dashing 
through the shingles upon you, and upon your play. But 
they will not ; for you know that the old roof is strong, 
and that it has kept you, and all that love you, for long 
years from the rain and from the cold ; you know that the 
hardest storms of winter will only make a little oozing 
leak, that trickles down, leaving homely brown stains. 



MITCHELL] SPRING-TIME AND BOYHOOD. 479 

You love that old garret-roof; and you nestle down 
under its slope with a sense of its protecting power that 
no castle-walls can give to your maturer years. Ay, your 
heart clings in boyhood to the roof-tree of the old family 
garret with a grateful aifection and an abiding confidence, 
that the after-years whatever may be their successes or 
their honors can never re-create. Under the roof-tree 
of his home the boy feels SAFE : and where in the whole 
realm of life, with its bitter toils and its bitterer tempta 
tions, will he feel safe again ? 

But this you do not know. It seems only a grand old 
place ; and it is capital fun to search in its corners, and 
drag out some bit of quaint furniture, with a leg broken, 
and lay a cushion across it, and fix your reins upon the 
lion's claws of the feet, and then gallop away! And you 
offer sister Nelly a chance, if she will be good; and throw 
out very patronizing words to little Charlie, who is 
mounted upon a much humbler horse, to wit, a decrepit 
nursery-chair, as he of right should be, since he is three 
years your junior. 

I know no nobler forage-ground for a romantic, venture 
some, mischievous boy, than the garret of an old family 
mansion on a day of storm. It is a perfect field of chiv 
alry. The heavy rafters, the dashing rain, the piles of 
spare mattresses to carouse upon, the big trunks to hide 
in, the ancient white coats and hats hanging in obscure 
corners, like ghosts, are great! And it is so far away from 
the old lady who keeps rule in the nursery, that there is 
no possible risk of a scolding for twisting off the fringe 
of the rug. There is no baby in the garret to wake up. 
There is no " company" in the garret to be disturbed by 
the noise. There is no crotchety uncle, or grandmamma, 
with their everlasting " Boys, boys !" and then a look of 
such horror ! 



480 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MITCHELL 

There is great fun in groping through a tall barrel of 
books and pamphlets, on the lookout for startling pictures ; 
and there are chestnuts in the garret drying, which you 
have discovered on a ledge of the chimney ; and you slide 
a few into your pocket, and munch them quietly, giving 
now and then one to Nelly, and begging her to keep silent, 
~-for you have a great fear of its being forbidden fruit. 

Old family garrets have their stock, as I said, of cast 
away clothes of twenty years gone by ; and it is rare 
sport to put them on, buttoning in a pillow or two for the 
sake of good fulness ; and then to trick out Nelly in some 
strange-shaped head-gear, and ancient brocade petticoat 
caught up with pins, and in such guise to steal cautiously 
down-stairs, and creep slyly into the sitting-room, half 
afraid of a scolding, and very sure of good fun, trying 
'to look very sober, and yet almost ready to die with the 
laugh that you know you will make. And your mother 
tries to look harshly at little Nelly for putting on her 
grandmother's best bonnet; but Nelly's laughing eyes for 
bid it utterly ; and the mother spoils all her scolding with 
a perfect shower of kisses. 

After this you go, marching very stately, into the nurs 
ery, and utterly amaze the old nurse, and make a deal of 
wonderment for the staring, half-frightened baby, who 
drops his rattle, and makes a bob at you as if he would 
jump into your waistcoat-pocket. 

But you grow tired of this ; you tire even of the swing, 
and of the pranks of Charlie ; and you glide away into a 
corner with an old, dog's-eared copy of " Eobinson Crusoe," 
and you grow heart and soul into the story, until you 
tremble for the poor fellow with his guns behind the pal 
isade, and are yourself half dead with fright when you 
peep cautiously over the hill with your glass and see the 
cannibals at their orgies around the fire. 



MITCHELL] SPRING-TIME AND BOYHOOD. 481 

Yet, after all, you think^the old fellow must have had a 
capital time with a whole island to himself; and you think 
you would like such a time yourself, if only Nelly and 
Charlie could be there with you. But this thought does 
not come till afterward : for the time you are nothing but 
Crusoe ; you are living in his cave with Poll the parrot, 
and are looking out for your goats and man Friday. 

You dream what a nice thing it would be for you to 
slip away some pleasant morning not to York, as young 
Crusoe did, but to New York and take passage as a 
sailor; and how, if they knew you were going, there 
would be such a world of good-byes ; and how, if they did 
not know it, there would be such a world of wonder ! 

And then the sailor's dress would be altogether such a 
jaunty affair ; and it would be such rare sport to lie off 
upon the yards far aloft, as you have seen sailors in pic 
tures, looking out upon the blue and tumbling sea. No 
thought now, in your boyish dreams, of sleety storms, and 
cables stiffened with ice, and crashing spars, and great ice 
bergs towering fearfully around you ! 

You would have better luck than even Crusoe; you 
would save a compass, and a Bible, and stores of hatchets, 
and the captain's dog, and great puncheons of sweetmeats 
(which Crusoe altogether overlooked) ; and you would 
save a tent or two, which you could set up on the shore, 
and an American flag, and a small piece of cannon, which 
you could fire as often as you liked. At night you would 
sleep in a tree, though you wonder how Crusoe did it, 
and would say the prayers you had been taught to say at 
home, and fall to sleep, dreaming of Nelly and Charlie* 

At sunrise, or thereabouts, you would come down, feel 
ing very much refreshed, and make a very nice breakfast 
off of smoked herring and sea-bread, with a little currant 
jam and a few oranges. After this you would haul ashore 
ii. v // 41 



482 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MITCHELL 

a chest or two of the sailors' .clothes, and, putting a few 
large jack-knives in your pocket, would take a stroll over 
the island, and dig a cave somewhere, and roll in a cask 
or two of sea-bread. And you fancy yourself growing 
after a time very tall and corpulent, and wearing a mag 
nificent goat-skin cap trimmed with green ribbons and set 
off with a plume. You think you would have put a few 
more guns in the palisade than Crusoe did, and charged 
them with a little more grape. 

After a long while, you fancy, a ship would arrive which 
would carry you back ; and you count upon very great 
surprise on the part of your father and little Nelly, as 
you march up to the door of the old family mansion, with 
plenty of gold in your pocket, and a small bag of cocoa- 
nuts for Charlie, and with a great deal of pleasant talk 
about your island far away in the South Seas. 

-Or perhaps it is not Crusoe at all that your eyes 

and your heart cling to, but only some little story about 
Paul and Virginia ; that dear little Virginia ! how many 
tears have been shed over her, not in garrets only, or by 
boys only ! 

You would have liked Virginia, you know you would ; 
but you perfectly hate the beldame aunt who sent for her 
to come to France ; you think she must have been like 
the old schoolmistress who occasionally boxes your ears 
with the cover of the spelling-book, or makes you wear 
one of the girls' bonnets, that smells strongly of paste 
board and calico. 

As for black Domingue, you think he was a capital old 
fellow ; and you think more of him and his bananas than 
you do of the bursting, throbbing heart of poor Paul. As 
yet Dream-life does not take hold on love. A little ma 
turity of heart is wanted to make up what the poets call 
sensibility. If love should come to be a dangerous, chi- 



DWIGHT] THE NOTCH OF THE -WHITE MOUNTAINS. 483 

valric matter, as in the case of Helen Mar and Wallace, 
you can very easily conceive of it, and can take hold of 
all the little accessories of male costume and embroidering 
of banners ; but as for pure sentiment, such as lies in the 
sweet story of Bernardin de St. Pierre, it is quite beyond 
you. 

The rich, soft nights, in which one might doze in his 
hammock, watching the play of the silvery moon-beams 
upon the orange-leaves and upon the waves, you can 
understand ; and you fall to dreaming of that lovely Isle 
of France, and wondering if Virginia did* not perhaps 
have some relations on the island, who raise pineapples, 
and such sort of things, still. 

And so, with your head upon your hand, in your 

quiet garret corner, over some such beguiling story, your 
thought leans away from the book into your own dreamy 
cruise over the sea of life. 



THE NOTCH OF THE WHITE MOUNTAINS. 

TIMOTHY DWIGHT. 

[Our present selection is from one of the American authors of the 
eighteenth century. The list of these authors is not a long one, yet it 
contains several names which have attained a high position in tho 
literary world, and among these that of Timothy Dwight must be in 
cluded. He was a native of Massachusetts, where he was born in 
1752. He died in 1817. His first literary work was in verse, and con 
sisted of "The Conquest of Canaan," an epic poem completed when 
he was twenty-two years of age. He wrote much other poetry, hut 
his reputation rests upon his prose works, which are of high literary 
value. They are mainly theological. His " Theology Explained and 
Defended" has been one of the most widely read of such works in the 



484 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DWIGHT 

English language. Of secular writings his chief work is " Travels in 
New England and New York," from which our selection is taken. It 
is in four volumes, end is highly valuable for its historical, statistical, 
and topographical information, and for its record of American society 
and manners in the early part of the present century. It is written in a 
fluent and glowing style, and displays close observation and an ardent 
love of the beauties of nature.] 

THE Notch of the White Mountains is a phrase appro 
priated to a very narrow defile, extending two miles in 
length between two huge cliffs apparently rent asunder 
by some vast convulsion of nature. . . . The entrance 
of the chasm is formed by two rocks standing perpendicu 
larly at the distance of twenty-two feet from each other ; 
one about twenty feet in height, the other about twelve. 
Half of the space is occupied by the brook mentioned as 
the head-stream of the Saco ; the otber balf by the road. 
The stream is lost and invisible beneath a mass of frag 
ments partly blown out of tbe road and partly thrown 
down by some great convulsion. 

When we entered the Notch we were struck with the 
wild and solemn appearance of everything before us. The 
scale on which all the objects in view were formed was the 
scale of grandeur only. The rocks, rude and ragged in a 
manner rarely paralleled, were fashioned and piled on each 
other by a band operating only in tbe boldest and most 
irregular manner. As we advanced, these appearances 
increased rapidly. Huge masses of granite, of every 
abrupt form, and hoary with a moss which seemed the 
product of ages, recalling to the mind the saxum vetustum 
of Yirgil, speedily rose to a mountainous height. Before 
us the view widened fast to the southeast. Behind us it 
closed almost instantaneously, and presented nothing to 
the eye but an impassable barrier of mountains. 

About half a mile from the entrance of the chasm wo 



DWIGHT] THE NOTCH OF THE WHITE MOUNTAINS. 485 

saw, in full view, the most beautiful cascade, perhaps, in 
the world. It issued from a mountain on the right, about 
eight hundred feet above the subjacent valley, and at the 
distance of about two miles from us. The stream ran 
over a series of rocks almost perpendicular, with a course 
so little broken as to preserve the appearance of a uniform 
current, and yet so far disturbed as to be perfectly white. 
The sun shone with the clearest splendor from a station 
in the heavens the most advantageous to our prospect ; 
and the cascade glittered down the vast steep like a stream 
of burnished silver. 

At the distance of three-quarters of a mile from the 
entrance we passed a brook known in this region by the 
name of the Flume, from the strong resemblance to that 
object exhibited by the channel which it has worn for a 
considerable length in a bed of rocks, the sides being per 
pendicular to the bottom. This elegant piece of water we 
determined to examine further, and, alighting from our 
horses, walked up the acclivity perhaps a furlong. The 
stream fell from a height of two hundred and forty or two 
hundred and fifty feet over three precipices ; the second 
receding a small distance from the front of the first, and 
the third from that of the second. Down the first and 
second it fell in a single current ; and down the third in 
three, which united their streams at the bottom in a fine 
basin, formed by the hand of nature in the rocks immedi 
ately beneath us. It is impossible for a brook of this size 
to be modelled into more diversified or more delightful 
forms, or for a cascade to descend over precipices more 
happily fitted to finish its beauty. The cliffs, together 
with a level at their foot, furnished a considerable open 
ing, surrounded by the forest. The sunbeams, penetrat 
ing through the trees, painted here a great variety of 
fine images of light, and edged an equally numerous 
ii. 41* 



486 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DWTGHT 

diversified collection of shadows; both dancing on the 
waters, and alternately silvering and obscuring theii 
course. Purer water was never seen. Exclusively of its 
murmurs, the world around us was solemn and silent. 
Everything assumed the character of enchantment ; and 
had I been educated in the Grecian mythology I should 
scarcely have been surprised to find an assemblage of 
Dryads, Naiads, and Oreades sporting on the little plain 
below our feet. The purity of this water was discernible 
not only by its limpid appearance and its taste, but from 
several other circumstances. Its course is wholly over 
hard granite; and the rocks and the-stones in its bed and 
at its side, instead of being covered with adventitious 
substances, were washed perfectly clean, and by their 
neat appearance added not a little to the beauty of the 
scenery. . . . 

From this spot the mountains speedily began to open 
with increased majesty, and in several instances rose to a 
perpendicular height little less than a mile. The bosom 
of both ranges was overspread, in all the inferior regions, 
by a mixture of evergreens with trees whose leaves are 
deciduous. The annual foliage had been already changed 
by the frost. Of the effects of this change it is, perhaps, 
impossible for an inhabitant of Great Britain, as I have 
been assured by several foreigners, to form an adequate 
conception without visiting an American forest. When 
I was a youth I remarked that Thomson had entirely 
omitted, in his Seasons, this fine part of autumnal imagery. 
Upon inquiring of an English gentleman the probable 
cause of the omission, he informed me that no such scenery 
existed in Great Britain. In this country it is often among 
the most splendid beauties of nature. All the leaves of 
trees which are not evergreens are by the first severe 
frost changed from their verdure towards the perfection 



DWIGHT] THE NOTCH OF Ti& WHITE MOUNTAINS. 487 

of that color which they are capable of ultimately as 
suming, through yellow, orange, and red, to a pretty deep 
brown. As the frost affects different trees, and the differ 
ent leaves of the same tree, in very different degrees, a 
vast multitude of tinctures are commonly found on those 
of a single tree, and always on those of a grove or forest. 
These colors also, in all their varieties, are generally full, 
and in many instances are among the most exquisite which 
are found in the regions of -nature. Different sorts of 
trees are susceptible of different degrees of this beauty. 
Among them the maple is pre-eminently distinguished by 
the prodigious varieties, the finished beauty, and the in 
tense lustre of its hues ; varying through all the dyes 
between a rich green and the most perfect crimson, or, 
*nore definitely, the red of the prismatic image. 

There is, however, a sensible difference in the beauty of 
this appearance of nature in different parts of the country, 
even where the forest trees are the same. I have seen nc 
tract where its splendor was so highly finished as in the 
region which surrounds Lancaster for a distance of thirty 
miles. The colors are more varied and more intense ; and 
the numerous evergreens furnish, in their deep hues, the 
best groundwork of the picture. 

I have remarked that the annual foliage on these moun 
tains had been already changed by the frost. Of course, 
the darkness of the evergreens was finely illumined by 
t'he brilliant yellow of the birch, the beech, and the cherry, 
and the more brilliant orange and crimson of the maple. 
The effect of this universal diffusion of gay and splendid 
light was to render the preponderating deep green more 
solemn. The mind, encircled by this scenery, irresistibly 
remembered that the light was the light of decay, au 
tumnal and melancholy. The dark was the gloom of 
evening, approximating to night. Over the whole the 



488 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DwiGiiT 

azure of the sky cast a deep, misty blue, blending, toward 
the summits, every other hue, and predominating over all. 

As the eye ascended these steeps, the light decayed, 
and gradually ceased. On the inferior summits rose 
crowns of conical firs and spruces. On the superior emi 
nences, the trees, growing less and less, yielded to the 
chilling atmosphere, and marked the limit of forest vege 
tation. Above, the surface was covered with a mass of 
shrubs, terminating, at a Btill higher elevation, in a 
ehroud of dark-colored moss. 

As we passed onward through this singular valley, oc 
casional torrents, formed by the rains and dissolving 
snows at the close of winter, had left behind them, in 
many places, perpetual monuments of their progress, in 
perpendicular, narrow, and irregular paths of immense 
length, where they had washed the precipices naked and 
white, from the summit of the mountain to the base. 

Wide and deep chasms also at times met the eye, both 
on the summits and the sides, and strongly impressed the 
imagination with the thought that a hand of immeasurable 
power had rent asunder the solid rocks and tumbled them 
into the subjacent valley. Over all, hoary cliffs, rising 
with proud supremacy, frowned awfully on the world 
below, and finished the landscape. 

By our side, the Saco was alternately visible and lost, 
and increased almost at every step by the junction of 
tributary streams. Its course was a perpetual cascade, 
and with its sprightly murmurs furnished the only con 
trast to the majestic scenery around us. 



WHITMAN] SONG OF THE REDWOOD-TREE. 489 

SONG OF THE REDWOOD-TREE. 

WALT WHITMAN. 

[We can only say of Walt Whitman's poetry that it is never likely 
to become popular. Its lack of rhyme and rhythm reduces it to the 
form of prose, above which its poetical power seldom elevates it. It 
is frequently a rhapsody, without beginning, middle, or end, and, 
though full of imaginative fervor, and with many passages of fine 
power, there is an apotheosis of the grosser bodily element, and a lack 
of the spiritual element of thought. The poem we quote has a deeper 
and more elevating significance than is usual with the author, and if 
judiciously pruned might take high rank in the poetic world. Walt 
Whitman was born in 1819, at West Hills, Long Island.] 

I. 

A CALIFORNIA song, 

A. prophecy and indirection, a thought impalpable to 

breathe as air, 
A. chorus of dryads, fading, departing, or hamadryads 

departing, 
A murmuring, fateful, giant voice, out of the earth and 

sky, 

Voice of a mighty dying tree in the redwood forest dense. 

Farewell, my brethren, 

Farewell, earth and sky, farewell, ye neighboring waters, 

My time has ended, my term has come. 

Along the northern coast, 

Just back from the rock-bound shore and the caves, 

In the saline air from the sea, in the Mendocino country, 

With the surge for bass and accompaniment low and 

hoarse, 
With crackling blows of axes sounding musically, driven 

by strong arms, 



490 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITMAN 

Riven deep by the sharp tongues of the axes, there in the 

redwood forest dense, 
I heard the mighty tree its death-chant chanting. 

The choppers heard not, the camp-shanties echoed not, 
The quick-eared teamsters and chain and jack-screw men 

heard not, 
As the wood-spirits came from their haunts of a thousand 

years to join the refrain, 
But in my soul I plainly heard, 

Murmuring out of its myriad leaves, 

Down from its lofty top rising two hundred feet high, 

Out of its stalwart trunk and limbs, out of its foot-thick 

bark, 
That chant of tLe seasons and time, chant not of the past 

only but the future. 

You untold life of me, 

And all you venerable and innocent joys, 

Perennial hardy life of me with joys 'mid rain and many a 
summer sun, 

And the white snows and night and the wild winds ; 

the great patient rugged joys, my soul's strong joys un- 
recked by man 

(For know I bear the soul befitting me, I too have conscious 
ness, identity, 

And all the rocks and mountains have, and all the earth), 

Joys of the life befitting me and brothers mine, 

Our time, our term has come. 

Nor yield we mournfully, majestic brothers, 

We who have grandly filled our time ; 

With Nature's calm content, with tacit huge delight, 



WHITMAN] SONG OF THE REDWOOD-TREE. . 491 

We welcome what we wrought for through the past, 
And leave the field for them. 

For them predicted long, 

For a superber race, they too to grandly fill their time, 

For them we abdicate, in them ourselves, ye forest kings! 

In them these skies and airs, these mountain-peaks, Shasta, 

Nevadas, 
These huge precipitous cliffs, this amplitude, these valleys, far 

Yosemite, 
To be in them absorbed, assimilated. 

Then to a loftier strain, 
Still prouder, more ecstatic, rose the chant, 
As if the heirs, the deities of the West, 
Joining with master-tongue bore part. 

Not wan from Asia's fetiches, 

Nor red from Europe's old dynastic slaug liter-house 

(Area of murder-plots of thrones, with scent left yet of wars 

and scaffolds everywhere}, 
But come from Nature's long and harmless throes, peacefully 

builded thence, 

These virgin lands, lands of the Western shore, 
To the new culminating man, to you, the empire new, 
You promised long, we pledge, we dedicate. 

You occult deep volitions, 

You average spiritual manhood, purpose of all, poised on 

yourself, giving not taking law, 
You womanhood divine, mistress and source of all, whence life 

and love and aught that comes from life and love, 
You unseen moral essence of all the vast materials of America 

(age upon age working in death the same as life), 



492 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITMAN 

You that, sometimes known, oftener unknown, really shape and 

mould '.he New World, adjusting it to Time and Space, 
You hidden national will lying in your abysms, concealed but 

ever alert, 
You past and present purposes tenaciously pursued, maybe 

unconscious of yourselves, 
Unswerved by all the passing errors, perturbations of the 

surface ; 
You vital, universal, deathless germs, beneath all creeds, arts f 

statutes, literatures, 
Here build your homes for good, establish here, these areas 

entire, lands of the Western shore, 
We pledge, we dedicate to you. 

For man of you, your characteristic race, 

Here may be hardy, sweet, gigantic grow, here tower propor 
tionate to Nature, 

Here climb the vast pure spaces unconfined, unchecked by wall 
or roof, 

Here laugh with storm or sun, here joy, here patiently inure, 

Here heed himself, unfold himself (not others' formulas heed), 
here fill his time, 

To duly fall, to aid, unrecked at last, 

To disappear, to serve. 

Thus on the northern coast 

In the echo of teamsters' calls and the clinking chains, and 

the music of choppers' axes, 
The falling trunk and limbs, the crash, the muffled shriek, 

the groan, 
Such words combined from the redwood-tree, as of voices 

ecstatic, ancient and rustling, 

The century-lasting, unseen dryads, singing, withdrawing, 
All their recesses of forests and mountains leaving, 



WHITMAN] SONG OF THE REDWOOD-TREE. 493 

From the Cascade range to the Wasatch, or Idaho far, or 

Utah, 

To the deities of the modern henceforth yielding, 
The chorus and indications, the vistas of coming humanity, 

the settlements, features all, 
In the Mendocino woods I caught. 

n. 

The flashing and golden pageant of California, 

The sudden and gorgeous drama, the sunny and ample lands, 

The long and varied stretch from Puget Sound to Colorado 

south, 
Lands bathed in sweeter, rarer, healthier air, valleys and 

mountain cliffs ; 
The fields of Nature long prepared and fallow, the silent, 

cyclic chemistry, 
The slow and steady ages plodding, the unoccupied surface 

ripening, the rich ores forming beneath ; 
At last the New arriving, assuming, taking possession, 
A swarming and busy race settling and organizing every 
where, 
Ships coming in from the whole round world, and going 

out to the whole world, 
To India and China and Australia and the thousand island 

paradises of the Pacific, 
Populous cities, the latest inventions, the steamers on the 

rivers, the railroads, with many a thrifty farm, with 

machinery, 
And wool and wheat and the grape, and diggings of yellow 

gold. 

in. 

But more in you than these, lands of the Western shore 
(These but the means, the implements, the standing- 
ground), 
ii. 42 



494 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLLET 

I see in you, certain to come, the promise of thousands of 

years, till now deferred, 
Promised to be fulfilled, our common kind, the race. 

The new society at last, proportionate to Nature, 

In man of you, more than your mountain-peaks or stalwart 

trees imperial, 
In woman more, far more, than all your gold or vines, or 

even vital air. 

Fresh come, to a new world indeed, yet long prepared, 

I see the genius of the modern, child of the real ana 
ideal, 

Clearing the ground for broad humanity, the true Amer 
ica, heir of the past so grand, 

To build a grander future. 



JOSIAH ALLEN'S WIFE CALLS ON THE PRESIDENT. 

MARIETTA HOLLEY. 

[Of recent dialectical works of humor those of Marietta Holley 
have attained an extraordinary popularity, and the "opinions" of 
Josiah Allen's wife are widely quoted. In fact, under their nonsense 
there is revealed a vein of shrewd common sense which appeals to all 
who possess a shred of this somewhat uncommon quality. " Josiah 
Allen's Wife," My Opinions and Betsy Bohbet's," and other works 
of the author, are a melange of ridiculous conversations and sensible 
observations on general subjects, while "Sweet Cicely," her latest 
work, deals with keen wit with the questions of intemperance, political 
rascality, and the like crying evils of the land. Josiah Allen takes 
the political fever badly, and his wife, much exercised in mind thereat, 



HOLLEY] MRS. ALLEN CALLS ON THE PRESIDENT. 495 

finally concludes to visit Washington, and take the advice of the 
President on the disturbing question. This interview with the Presi 
dent is a fair example of the author's style.] 

AND so we wended our way down the broad, beautiful 
streets towards the White House. 

Handsomer streets I never see. I had thought Jones- 
ville streets wus middlin' handsome and roomy. Why, 
two double wagons can go by each other with perfect 
safety, right in front of the grocery-stores, where there is 
lots of boxes too ; and wimmen can be a-walkin' there too 
at the same time, hefty ones. 

But, good land ! loads of hay could pass each other here, 
and droves of dromedaries, and camels, and not touch each 
other, and then there would be lots of room for men and 
wimmen, and for wagons to rumble, and perioguers to 
float up and down if perioguers could sail on dry land. 

Koomier, handsomer, well-shadeder streets I never want* 
to see, nor don't expect to. Why, Jonesville streets are 
like tape compared with 'em; and Loontown and Toad 
Holler, they are like thread, No. 50 (allegory). 

Bub Smith wus well acquainted with the President's 
hired man, so he let us in without parlay. 

I don't believe in talkin' big as a general thing. But 
thinks'es I, Here I be, a-holdin' up the dignity of Jones 
ville : and here I be, on a deep, heart-searchin' errent to 
the Nation. So I said, in words and axents a good deal 
like them I have read of in " Children of the Abbey" and 
" Charlotte Temple," 

" Is the President of the United States within ?" 

He said he was, but said sunthin' about his not receiving 
calls in the mornings. 

But I says in a very polite way, for I like to put folks 
at their ease, presidents or peddlers or anything, 

" It hain't no matter at all if he hain't dressed up ; of 



496 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

course he wuzn't expectin' company. Josiah don't dress 
up mornin's." 

And then he says something about " he didn't know but 
he was engaged." 

Says I, " That hain't no news to me, nor the Nation. 
We have been a-hearin' that for three years, right along. 
And if he is engaged, it hain't no good reason why ho 
shouldn't speak to other wimmen, good, honorable mai- 
ried ones too." 

" Well," says he, finally, " I will take up your card." 

"No, you won't!" says I, firmly. "I am a Methodist! 
I guess I can start off on a short tower without takin' a 
pack of cards with me. And if I had 'em right here in 
my pocket, or a set of dominoes, I shouldn't expect to 
take up the time of the President of the United States 
a-playin' games at this time of the day." Says I, in deep 
tones, "I am a-carrien' errents to the President that the 
world knows not of." 

He blushed up red ; he was ashamed ; and he said " he 
would see if I could be admitted." 

And he led the way along, and I follered, and the boy. 
Bub Smith had left us at the door. 

The hired man seemed to think I would want to look 
round some ; and he walked sort o' slow, out of courtesy. 
But, good land! how little that hired man knew my 
feelin's, as he led me on, I a-thinkin' to myself, 

" Here I am, a-steppin' where G. Washington strode." 
Oh the grandeur of my feelins' I The nobility of 'em ! and 
the quantity ! Why, it was a perfect sight. 

But right into these exalted sentiments the hired man 
intruded with his frivolous remarks, worse than frivo 
lous. 

He says agin something about "not knowin' whether 
the President would be ready to receive me." 



HOLLEY] MRS. ALLEN CALLS ON THE PRESIDENT. 497 

And I stepped down sudden from that lofty piller I had 
trod on in my mind, and says I, 

" I tell you agin, I don't care whether he is dressed up 
or not. I come on principle, and I shall look at him 
through that eye, and no other." 

"Wall," says he, turnin' sort o' red agin (he was 
ashamed), "have you noticed the beauty of the didos?" 

But I kep' my head right up in the air nobly, and 
never turned to the right or the left ; and says I, 

" I don't see no beauty in cuttin' up didos, nor never 
did. I have heard that they did such things here in 
Washington, D. 0., but I do not choose to have my atten 
tion drawed to 'em." 

But I pondered a minute, and the word " meetin'-house" 
struck a fearful blow ag'inst my conscience ; and I says, 
in milder axents, 

" If I looked upon a dido at all, it would be, not with 
a human woman's eye, but the eye of a Methodist. My 
duty draws me : point out the dido, and I will look at it 
through that one eye." 

And he says, " I was -a-talkin' about the walls of this 
room." 

And I says, " Why couldn't you say so in the first place ? 
The idee of skairin' folks ! or tryin' to," I added ; for I 
hain't easily skairt. 

The walls wus perfectly beautiful, and so wus the ceilin' 
and floors. There wuzn't a house in Jonesville that could 
compare with it, though we had painted our meetin'-house 
over at a cost of upwards of 28 dollars. But it didn't 
come up to this not half. President Arthur has got 
good taste ; and I thought to myself, and I says to the 
hired man, as I looked round and see the soft richness and 
quiet beauty and grandeur of the surroundings, 

" I had just as lives have him pick me out a calico dress 

42* 



498 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLLEY 

as to pick it out myself. And that is sayin' a great deal," 
says I. " I am always very putickuler in calico : richness 
and beauty is what I look out for, and wear." 

Jest as I wus sayin' this, the hired man opened a door 
into a lofty, beautiful room; and says he, 

"Step in here, madam, into the antick room, and I'll sec 
if the President can see you;" and he started off sudden, 
bcin' called. And I jest turned round and looked after 
him, for I wanted to enquire into it. I had heard of their 
cuttin' up anticks at Washington, I had come prepared 
for it ; but I didn't know as they was bold enough to come 
right out and have rooms devoted to that purpose. And 
I looked all round the room before I ventured in. But it 
looked neat as a pin, and not a soul in there ; and thinks'es 
I, " It hain't probable their day for cuttin' up anticks. I 
guess I'll venture." So I went in. 

But I sot pretty near the edge of the chair, ready to 
jump at the first thing I didn't like. And I kep' a close 
holt of the boy. I felt that I was right in the midst of 
dangers. I had feared and foreboded, oh, how I had 
feared and foreboded about the dangers and deep perils of 
Washington, D. C. ! And here I wuz, the very first thing, 
invited right in broad daylight, with no excuse or any 
thing, right into a antick room. 

Oh, how thankful, how thankful I wuz that Josiah 
Allen wuzn't there ! 

I knew, as he felt a good deal of the time, an antick 
room was what he would choose out of all others. And I 
felt stronger than ever the deep resolve that Josiah Allen 
should not run. He must not be exposed to such dangers, 
with his mind as it wuz, and his heft. I felt that he would 
suckumb. 

And I wondered that President Arthur, who I had 
always heard was a perfect gentleman, should come to 



HOLLEY] MRS. ALLEN CALLS ON THE PRESIDENT. 499 

have a room called like that, but s'posed it was there 
when he went. I don't believe he'd countenance any 
thing of the kind. 

I was jest a-thinkin' this when the hired man come 
back, and said, 

" The President would receive me." 

" Wall," says I, calmly, " I am ready to be received." 

So I follered him ; and he led the way into a beautiful 
room, kinder round, and red-colored, with lots of elegant 
pictures and lookin'-glasses and books. 

The President sot before a table covered with books and 
papers ; and, good land I he no need to have been afraid 
and hung back ; he was dressed up slick, slick enough 
for meetin', or a parin'-bee, or anything. He had on a 
sort of a gray suit, and a rose-bud in his button-hole. 

He was a good-lookin' man, though he had a middlin' 
tired look in his kinder brown eyes as he looked up. 

I had calculated to act noble on that occasion, as I ap 
peared before him who stood in the large, lofty shoes of 
the revered G-. W. and sot in the chair of the (nearly) 
angel G-arfield. I had thought that likely as not, entirely 
unbeknown to me, I should soar right off into a eloquent 
oration. For I honored him as a President. I felt like 
neighborin' with him on account of his name, Allen! 
(That name I took at the alter of Jonesville, and pure 
love.) 

But how'little can we calculate on future contingencies, 
or what we shall do when we get there! As I stood be 
fore him, I only said what I had said before on a similar 
occasion, these simple words, that yet mean so much, so 
much, 

" Allen, I have come !" 

He, too, was overcome by his feelin's : I see he wuz. 
His face looked fairly solemn ; but, as he is a perfect gen- 



500 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLLEY 

tleman, he controlled himself, and said quietly these words, 
that, too, have a deep import, 

" I see you have." 

He then shook hands with me, and I with him. I, too, 
am a perfect lady. And then he drawed up a chair for 
me with his own hands (hands that grip holt of the same 
helium that G-. W. had gripped holt of. O soul! be calm 
when I think on't), and asked me to set down ; and con 
sequently I sot. 

I leaned my umberell in a easy, careless position againsl. 
a adjacent chair, adjusted my long green veil in long, 
graceful folds, I hain't vain, but I like to look well, and 
then I at once told him of my errents. I told him 

" I had brought three errents to him from Jonesville, 
one for myself, and two for Dorlesky Burpy." 

He bowed, but didn't say nothin' : he looked tired. 
Josiah always looks tired in the inornin' when he has got 
his milkin' and barn-chores done, so it didn't surprise me. 
And havin' calculated to tackle him on my own errent 
first, consequently I tackled him. 

I told him how deep my love and devotion to my 
pardner wuz. 

And he said " he had heard of it." 

And I says, "I s'pose so. I s'pose such things will 
spread, bein' a sort of a rarity. I'd heard that it had got 
out, 'way beyend Loontown, and all round." 

" Yes," he said, " it was spoke of a good deal." 

" Wall," says I, " the cast-iron love and devotion I feel 
for that man don't show off the brightest in hours of 
joy and peace. It towers up strongest in dangers and 
troubles." And then I went on to tell him how Josiah 
wanted to come there as senator, and what a dangerous 
place I had always heard Washington wuz, and how I 
had felt it was impossible for me to lay down on my goose- 



HOLLEY] MRS. ALLEN CALLS ON THE PRESIDENT. 501 

feather pillow at home, in peace and safety, while my 
pardner was a-grapplin' with dangers of which I did not 
know the exact size and heft. And so I had made up my 
mind to come ahead of him, as a forerunner on a tower, 
to see jest what the dangers wuz, and see if I dast trust 
my companion there. " And now," says I, " I want you 
to tell me candid," says I. " Your settin' in George Wash 
ington's high chair makes me look up to you. It is a 
sightly place; you can see fur; your name bein' Allen 
makes me feel sort o' confidential and good towards you, 
and I want you to talk real honest and candid with 
me." Says I, solemnly, " I ask you, Allen, not as a poli 
tician, but as a human bein', would you dast to let Josiah 
come ?" 

Says he, " The danger to the man and the nation de 
pends a good deal on what sort of a man it is that comes." 

Then was a tryin' time for me. I would not lie, neither 
would I brook one word against my companion, even from 
myself. So I says, 

" He is a man that has traits and qualities, and sights 
of 'em." 

But, thinkin' that I must do so, if I got true informa 
tion of dangers, I went on, and told of Josiah's political 
aims, which I considered dangerous to himself and the 
nation. And I told him of The Plan, and my dark fore- 
bodin's about it. 

The President didn't act surprised a mite. And finally 
he told me, what I had always mistrusted, but never knew, 
that Josiah had wrote to him all his political views and 
aspirations, and offered his help to the government. And 
says he, " I think I know all about the man." 

" Then," says I, " you see he is a good deal like other 
men." 

And he said, sort o' dreamily, "that he was." 



502 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLLEY 

And then again silence rained. He was a-thinkin', I 
knew, on all the deep dangers that hedged in Josiah Allen 
and America if he come. And a-musin' on all the proba 
ble dangers of the Plan. And a-thinkin' it over how to 
do jest right in the matter, right by Josiah, right by the 
nation, right by me. 

Finally the suspense of the moment wore onto me too 
deep to bear, and I says, in almost harrow in' tones of 
anxiety and suspense, 

"Would it be safe for my pardner to come to Washing 
ton ? Would it be safe for Josiah, safe for the nation ?" 
Says I, in deeper, mournfuller tones, 

"Would you would you dast to let him come?" 

He said, sort o' dreamily, " that those views and aspira 
tions of Josiah's wasn't really needed at Washington, they 
had plenty of them there ; and " 

But I says, " I must have a plainer answer to ease my 
mind and heart. Do tell me plain, would you dast ?" 

He looked full at me. He has got good, honest-looking 
eyes, and a sensible, candid look onto him. He liked me, 
I knew he did from his looks, a calm, Methodist-Epis 
copal likin', nothin' light. 

And I see in them eyes that he didn't like Josiah's 
political idees. I see that he was afraid, as afraid as death, 
of that plan ; and I see that he considered Washington as 
a dangerous, dangerous place for grangers and Josiah 
Aliens to be a-roamin' round in. I could see that he 
dreaded the suiferin's for me and for the nation if the 
Hon. Josiah Allen was elected. 

But still he seemed to hate to speak ; and wise, cautious 
conservatism, and gentlemanly dignity, was wrote down 
on his linement. Even the red rose-bud in his button 
hole looked dretful good-natured, but close-mouthed. 

I don't know as he would have spoke at all agin, if I 



PHELPS] DEACON QUIRK'S OPINIONS. 503 

hadn't uttered once more them soul-harrowin' words, 
" Would you dast ?" 

Pity and good feelin' then seemed to overpower for a 
moment the statesman and courteous diplomat. 

And he said, in gentle, gracious tones, " If I tell you 
just what I think, I would not like to say it officially, but 
would say it in confidence, as from an Allen to an Allen." 

Says I, " It sha'n't go no further." 

And so I would warn everybody that it must not be 
told. 

Then says he, " I will tell you. I wouldn't dast." 

Says I, " That settles it. If human efforts can avail, 
Josiah Allen will not be United States Senator." And 
says I, " You have only confirmed my fears. I knew, 
feelin' as he felt, that it wuzn't safe for Josiah or the nation 
to have him come." 

Agin he reminded me that it was told to me in confi 
dence, and agin I want to say that it must be kep'. 



DEACON QUIRK'S OPINIONS. 

E. S. PHELPS. 

[Among the many original and highly-interesting stories of Eliza 
beth Stuart Phelps, " The Gates Ajar," from which our selection is 
taken, has attained the highest popularity, from its original method of 
dealing with a question of absorbing importance. The long-entertained 
idea of the conditions of life in heaven has grown to appear sadly 
lacking in the elements of probability, and for years has failed to ap 
peal to the judgment of thinkers. Yet Miss Phelps was the first to 
attack it strongly in a work adapted to popular reading, and to put 
upon record a more probable view of the heavenly conditions and 
occupations. The avidity with which the work has been read it 



504 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PHELPS 

having reached a sale of nearly fifty thousand shows that it appealed 
to a wide-spread secret sentiment and struck the key-note of a new 
range of views concerning celestial happiness. Her other works, " The 
Story of Avis," " Men, Women, and Ghosts," etc., are equally original 
and attractive in style. Miss Phelps was born in Boston in 1844. 
Her mother, of the same name, was the author of "Sunnyside," "A 
Veep at Number Five," and other works, once widely popular.] 

AUNT WINIFRED has been hunting up a Sunday-school 
class for herself and one for me ; which is a venture that 
I never was persuaded into undertaking before. She her 
self is fast becoming acquainted with the poorer people 
of the town. 

I find that she is a thoroughly busy Christian, with a 
certain " week-day holiness" that is strong and refreshing, 
like a west wind. Church-going, and conversations on 
heaven, by no means exhaust her vitality. 

She told me a pretty thing about her class : it happened 
the first Sabbath that she took it. Her scholars are young 
girls of from fourteen to eighteen years of age, children 
of church-members, most of them. She seemed to have 
taken their hearts by storm. She says, " They treated 
me very prettily, and made me love them at once." 

Clo Bentley is in the class; Clo is a pretty, soft-eyed 
little creature, with a shrinking mouth, and an absorbing 
passion for music, which she has always been too poor to 
gratify. I suspect that her teacher will make a pet of 
her. She says that in the course of her lesson, or, in her 
words, 

" While we were all talking together, somebody pulled 
my sleeve, and there was Clo in the corner, with her great 
brown eyes fixed on me. ' See here !' she said, in a whis 
per, ' I can't be good ! I would be good if I could only 
just have a piano.' 

" 'Well, Clo,' 1 said, 'if you will be a good girl, and go 



THELPS] DEACON QUIRK'S OPINIONS. 505 

to heaven, I think you will have a piano there, and play 
just as much as you care to.' 

" You ought to have seen the look the child gave me ! 
Delight and fear and incredulous bewilderment tumbled 
over each other, as if I had proposed taking her into a 
forbidden fairy-land. 

" ' Why, Mrs. Forceythe ! Why, they won't let anybody 
have a piano up there ! not in heaven T 

" I laid down the question-book, and asked what kind 
of place she supposed that heaven was going to be. 

" ' Oh,' she said, with a dreary sigh, ' I never think 
about it when I can help it. I suppose we shall all just 
stand there/' 

"'And you?' I asked of the next, a bright girl with 
snapping eyes. 

" ' Do you want me to talk good, or tell the truth ?' she 
answered me. Having been given to understand that she 
was not expected to 'talk good' in my class, she said, 
with an approving, decided nod, 'Well, then! I don't 
think it's going to be anything nice anyway. No, I don't I 
I told my last teacher so, and she looked just as shocked, 
and said I never should go there as long as I felt so. 
That made me mad, and I told her I didn't see but I 
should be as well off in one place as another, except for 
the fire.' 

" A silent girl in the corner began at this point to look 
interested. ' I always supposed,' said she, ' that you just 
floated round in heaven you know all together some 
thing like jujube paste!' 

" Whereupon I shut the question-book entirely, and 
took the talking to myself for a while. 

" ' But I never thought it was anything like that,' in 
terrupted little Clo, presently, her cheeks flushed with 
excitement. 'Why, I should like to go, if it is like that I 
ii. w 43 



506 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PHELPS 

I never supposed people talked, unless it was about con 
verting people, and saying your prayers, and all that.' 

" Now, weren't those ideas alluring and comforting for 
young girls in the blossom of warm human life ? They 
were trying with all their little hearts to 'be good,' too, 
some of them, and had all of them been to church and 
Sunday-school all their lives. Never, never, if Jesus 
Christ had been Teacher and Preacher to them, would He 
have pictured their blessed endless years with Him in such 
bleak colors. They are not the hues of his Bible." 

We took a trip to-day to East Homer for butter. Neither 
angels nor principalities could convince Phoebe that any 
butter but " Stephen David's" might, could, would, or 
should be used in this family. So to Mr. Stephen David's, 
a journey of four miles, I meekly betake myself at stated 
periods in the domestic year, burdened with directions 
about firkins and half firkins, pounds and half-pounds, salt 
and no salt, churning and " working over;" some of which I 
remember and some of which I forget, and to all of which 
Phoebe considers me sublimely incapable of attending. 

The afternoon was perfect, and we took things leisurely, 
letting the reins swing from the hook, an arrangement 
to which Mr. Tripp's old gray was entirely agreeable, 
and, leaning back against the buggy-cushions, wound along 
among the strong, sweet pine-smells, lazily talking, or 
lazily silent, as the spirit moved, and as only two people 
who thoroughly understand and like each other can talk 
or be silent. 

We rode home by Deacon Quirk's, and, as we jogged 
by, there broke upon our view a blooming vision of the 
Deacon himself, at work in his potato-field with, his son 
and heir, who, by the way, has the reputation of being 
the most awkward fellow in the township. 



PHELPS] DEACON QUIRK'S OPINIONS. 507 

The amiable church-officer, having caught sight of us, 
left his work, and, coming up to the fence " in rustic mod 
esty unscared," guiltless of coat or vest, his calico shirt 
sleeves rolled up to his huge brown elbows, and his dusty 
straw hat flapping in the wind, rapped on the rails with 
his hoe-handle as a sign for us to stop. 

" Are we in a hurry ?" I asked, under my breath. 

" Oh, no," said Aunt Winifred. " He has somewhat to 
say unto me, I see by his eyes. I have been expecting it. 
Let us hear him out. Good-afternoon, Deacon Quirk." 

" Good-afternoon, ma'am. Pleasant day ?" 

She assented to the statement, novel as it was. 

"A very pleasant day," repeated the Deacon, looking 
for the first time in his life, to my knowledge, a little un 
decided as to what he should say next. " Eemarkable fine 
day for riding. In a hurry?" 

" Well, not especially. Did you want anything of me ?" 

" You're a church-member, aren't you, ma'am ?" asked 
the Deacon, abruptly. 

" I am." 

"Orthodox?" 

" Oh, yes," with a smile. " You had a reason for asking ?" 

" Yes, ma'am ; I had, as you might say, a reason for 
asking." 

The Deacon laid his hoe on the top of the fence, and his 
arms across it, and pushed his hat on the back of his head 
in a becoming and argumentative manner. 

" I hope you don't consider that I'm taking liberties if 
I have a little religious conversation with you, Mrs. 
Forceythe." 

" It is no offence to me if you are," replied Mrs. For 
ceythe, with a twinkle in her eye ; but both twinkle and 
words glanced off from the Deacon. 

" My wife was telling me last night," he began, with an 



508 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PHELPS 

ominous cough, "that her niece, Clotildy Bentley, Moses 
Bentley's daughter, you know, and one of your sentimen 
tal girls, that reads poetry, and is easy enough led away 
by vain delusions and false doctrine, was under your 
charge at Sunday-school. Now, Clotildy is intimate with 
my wife, who is her aunt on her mother's side, and 
always tries to do her duty by her, and she told Mrs. 
Quirk what you'd been a-saying to those young minds on 
the Sabbath." 

He stopped, and observed her impressively, as if he ex 
pected to see the guilty blushes of arraigned heresy cov 
ering her amused, attentive face. 

" I hope you will pardon me, ma'am, for repeating it, 
but Clotildy said that you told her she should have a 
pianna in heaven. A pianna, ma'am !" 

" I certainly did,'* she said, quietly. 

" You did ? Well, now, I didn't believe it, nor I wouldn't 
believe it, till I'd asked you ! I thought it warn't more 
than fair that I should ask you, before repeating it, you 
know. It's none of my business, Mrs. Forceythe, any 
more than that I take a general interest in the spiritooal 
welfare of the youth of our Sabbath-school ; but I am 
very much surprised ! I am very much surprised !" 

" I am surprised that you should be, Deacon Quirk. Do 
you believe that God would take a poor little disappointed 
girl like Clo, who has been all her life here forbidden the 
enjoyment of a perfectly innocent taste, and keep her in 
His happy heaven eternal years without finding means to 
gratify it? I don't." 

" I tell Clotildy I don't see what she wants of a pianna- 
forte," observed " Clotildy's" uncle, sententiously. " She 
can go to singin'-school, and she's been in the choir ever 
since I have, which is six years come Christmas. Besides, 
T don't think it's our place to speckylate on the mysteries 



PHELPS] DEACON qUIRK'S OPINIONS. 509 

of the heavenly spere. My wife told her that she mustn't 
believe any such things as that, which were very irrever 
ent, and contrary to the Scriptures, and Clo went home 
crying. She said, ' It was so pretty to think about.' It 
is very easy to impress these delusions of fancy on the 
young." 

"Pray, Deacon Quirk," said Aunt Winifred, leaning 
earnestly forward in the carriage, " will you tell me what 
there is ' irreverent' or ' unscriptural' in the idea that there 
will be instrumental music in heaven?" 

" Well," replied the Deacon, after some consideration, 
"come to think of it, there will be harps, I suppose. 
Harpers harping with their harps on the sea of glass. 
But I don't believe there will be any piannas. It's a 
dreadfully material way to talk about that glorious world, 
to my thinking." 

" If you could show me wherein a harp is less ' material' 
than a piano, perhaps I should agree with you." 

Deacon Quirk looked rather nonplussed for a minute. 

" What do you suppose people will do in heaven ?" she 
asked again. 

" Glorify God," said the Deacon, promptly recovering 
himself, " glorify God, and sing Worthy the Lamb ! We 
shall be clothed in white robes with palms in our hands, 
and bow before the Great White Throne. We shall be 
engaged in such employments as befit sinless creatures in 
a spiritooal state of existence." 

" Now, Deacon Quirk," replied Aunt Winifred, looking 
him over from head to foot, old straw hat, calico shirt, 
blue overalls, and cowhide boots, coarse, work-worn hands, 
and "narrow forehead braided tight," "just imagine 
yourself, will you? taken out of this life this minute, as 
you stand here in your potato-field" (the Deacon changed 
his position with evident uneasiness), " and put into an- 
ir. 43* 



510 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PHEI.PS 

other life, not anybody else, but yourself, just as you 
left this spot, and do you honestly think that you should 
be happy to go and put on a white dress and stand still in 
a choir with a green branch in one hand and a singing- 
book in the other, and sing and pray and never do any 
thing but sing and pray, this year, next year, and every 
year forever ?" 

" We-ell," he replied, surprised into a momentary flash 
of carnal candor, " I can't say that I shouldn't wonder for 
a minute, maybe, how Abinadab would ever get those potatoes 
hoed without me. Abinadab ! go back to your work !" 

The graceful Abinadab had sauntered up during the 
conversation, and was listening, hoe in hand and mouth 
open. He slunk away when his father spoke, but came 
up again presently on tiptoe when Aunt Winifred was 
talking. There was an interested, intelligent look about 
his square and pitifully-embarrassed face, which attracted 
my notice. 

" But then," proceeded the Deacon, re-enforced by the 
sudden recollection of his duties as a father and a church- 
member, " that couldn't be a permanent state of feeling, 
you know. I expect to be transformed by the renewing 
of my mind to appreciate the glories of the New Jerusa 
lem, descending out of heaven from God. That's what I 
expect, marm. JSTow, I heerd that you told Mrs. Bland, 
or that Mary told her, or that she heerd it someway, that 
you said you supposed there were trees and flowers and 
houses and such in heaven. I told my wife I thought 
your deceased husband was a Congregational minister, 
and I didn't believe you ever said it; but that's the 
rumor." 

Without deeming it necessary to refer to her " deceased 
husband," Aunt Winifred replied that "rumor" was quite 
right. 



PHELPS] DEACON QUIRK'S OPINIONS. 511 

"Well," said the Deacon, with severe significance, "7" 
believe in a spiritooal heaven." 

I looked him over again, hat, hoe, shirt, and -all ; 
scanned his obstinate old face with its stupid, good eyes 
and animal mouth. Then I glanced at Aunt Winifred as 
she leaned forward in the afternoon light; the white, 
finely-cut woman, with her serene smile and rapt, saintly 
eyes, every inch of her, body and soul, refined not only 
by birth and training, but by the long nearness of her 
heart to Christ. 

" Of the earth, earthy. Of the heavens, heavenly." 
The two faces sharpened themselves into two types. 
Which, indeed, was the better able to comprehend a 
" spiritooal heaven" ? 

" It is distinctly stated in the Bible, by which I suppose 
we shall both agree," said Aunt Winifred, gently, "that 
there shall be a new earth, as well as new heavens. It is 
noticeable, also, that the descriptions of heaven, although 
a series of metaphors, are yet singularly earth-like and 
tangible ones. Are flowers and skies and trees less ' spirit 
ual' than white dresses and little palm-branches ? In fact, 
where are you going to get your little branches without 
trees? What could well be more suggestive of material 
modes of living, and material industry, than a city marked 
into streets and alleys, paved solidly with gold, walled in 
and barred with gates whoe jewels are named and 
counted, and whose very length and breadth are measured 
with a celestial surveyor's chain ?" 

"But I think we'd ought to stick to what the Bible 
says," answered the Deacon, stolidly. " If it says golden 
cities and doesn't say flowers, it means cities and doesn't 
mean flowers. I dare say you're a good woman, Mrs. 
Forceythe, if you do hold such oncommon doctrine, and I 
don't doubt you mean well enough, but I don't think that 



512 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PHKLPS 

we ought to trouble ourselves about these mysteries of a 
future state, /'in willing to trust them to God !" 

The evasion of a fair argument by this self-sufficient 
spasm of piety was more than I could calmly stand, and I 
indulged in a subdued explosion, Auntie says it sounded 
like Fourth-of-July crackers touched off under a wet barrel. 

" Deacon Quirk ! do you mean to imply that Mrs. For- 
ceythe does not trust it to God ? The truth is, that the 
existence of such a world as heaven is a fact from which 
you shrink. You know you do ! She has twenty thoughts 
about it where you have one ; yet you set up a claim to 
superior spirituality!" 

" Mary, Mary, you are a little excited, I fear. God is a 
Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in 
spirit and in truth !" 

The relevancy of this last I confess myself incapable of 
perceiving, but the good man seemed to be convinced that 
he had made a point, and we rode off leaving him under 
that blissful delusion. 



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