(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

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

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

DAVIS 



GIFT OF 

Mrs* Paul M. Grant 





George Sidnnond Dal . ( Brom a drawing in. the pos 






HALF-HOURS 



WITH THE 



BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 



SELECTED AND ARRANGED BY 

CHARLES MORRIS. 



VOL. III. 



PHILADELPHIA: 

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 
1891. 



LIBRARY 
.UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 

PAVIS 



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



CONTENTS. 



SUBJECT. AUTHOR. PAQB 

Squire Paine's Conversion ROSE TERRY COOKE .... 7 

Discomfited Hunters CHARLES C. ABBOTT .... 20 

Sonnets VARIOUS 32 

Children JOHN NEAL 39 

Oration on La Fayette . . CHARLES SUMNER 43 

A Hymn to the Types CHARLES G. HALPINE ... 47 

Political Parties DE WITT CLINTON 51 

Obliterated Continents ALEXANDER WINCHELL . . 55 

Pedestrianism in Europe BAYARD TAYLOR 69 

A Western Reception FRANCES C. BAYLOR .... 80 

Drifting T. B. READ 92 

The Influence of Educated Women .... BENJAMIN RUSH 95 

Tobacco " " 98 

A Terrible Ride ALBION W. TOURGEE . ... 100 

Newspaper Characteristics FISHER AMES 110 

Alexander Hamilton " " 113 

Advice to Farmers HORACE GREELEY 116 

Life in Nature VARIOUS 123 

Robert of Lincoln W. C. BRYANT 123 

To the Mocking-Bird ALBERT PIKE 125 

Birds and Thoughts R. H. STODDARD 127 

The Voice of the Grass SARAH ROBERTS 128 

The Coral Grove J. G. PERCIVAL 129 

The Chambered Nautilus 0. W. HOLMES 130 

'J he Humble-Bee R. W. EMERSON 132 

My Strawberry HELEN HUNT 134 

The Petrified Fern MARY L. BOLLES 135 

Washington Resigns his Commission . . . DAVID RAMSAY 137 

Specimen of a Collegiate Examination . . FRANCIS HOPKINSON .... 140 

On Whitewashing " " .... 144 

Characteristics of Arabian Poetry .... HENRY COPPEE 148 

3 



4 CONTENTS. 

SUBJECT. AUTHOR. PAGE 

The Secret Chamber NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE . . 156 

Shakespeare Ode CHARLES SPRAGUE 167 

Novel- Writing before Waverley R. S. MACKENZIE 173 

Restricted Development of Poetry in 

America . E. C. STEDMAN 183 

The Gulf Stream M. F. MAURY 192 

The Storming of the Bastille JOHN S. C. ABBOTT .... 206 

An Astonished Gambler MARY N. MURFREE .... 214 

The Black Regiment GEORGE H. BOKEK .... 227 

First Impressions of Japan JAMES BROOKS 229 

Keimer's Attempt to found a New Religion . MASON L. WEEMS 237 

Jack and Gill : A Criticism JOSEPH DENNIE 247 

After tne Ball NORA PERRY 253 

Oration on the Death of Washington . . . HENRY LEE 256 

Religion in its Relations to Literature . . W. E. CHANNING 260 

Sunday Morning in Wallencamp SALLIE PRATT McLEAN . . 264 

The Lady Riberta's Harvest MARGARET J. PRESTON . . . 273 

Domestic Life in 1800 SAMUEL G. GOODRICH ... 277 

A Visit to Sunnyside J. G. WILSON 283 

The Art of the Future CHARLES G. LELAND .... 289 

In the Depths of the Mine MARY H. FOOTE 299 

Aspects of Nature VARIOUS 308 

A Forest Nook ALFRED B. STREET .... 308 

A Day ROBERT KELLY WEEKS . . . 310 

The Fall of Niagara JOHN G. C. BRAINARD . . . 312 

The Sky R. H. STODDARD 313 

To Seneca Lake J. G. PERCIVAL 313 

Twilight ISAAC MCLELLAN 314 

Sunrise from Mount Washington . . . . RUFUS DAWES 316 

The Brook WM. B. WRIGHT 317 

The Rain ANONYMOUS 320 

Death and the Future Life CHAUNCEY GILES 321 

A Pretty Time of Night JOSEPH C. NEAL 330 

Our Familiar Birds MARY TREAT 339 

The Dancers of the Nile G. W. CURTIS 348 

Instructions in the Art of Duelling .... HUGH H. BRACKENRIDGE . . 359 

The Wants of Man JOHN QUINCY ADAMS .... 364 

A Royal Seat EUGENE BENSON 372 

A Traitor Discomfited F. M. CRAWFORD 379 

Death of Charles the Bold JOHN FOSTER KIRK .... 390 

New England Weather S. L. CLEMENS 400 



CONTENTS. 5 

SUBJECT. AUTHOR. PAGE 

Old Roads and Wood-Paths WILSON FLAGG 404 

Modern Business Methods C. A. BARTOL 414 

Boating down the Grand Canon W. II. RIDEING 422 

The Rivulet, the River, and the Ocean . . VARIOUS 433 

The Rivulet W. C. BRYANT 433 

The Connecticut River LYDIA H. SIGOURNEY . . . 435 

By the Sea-Shore JOHN WHITE CHADWICK . . 436 

Song of the Ocean ANONYMOUS 438 

Inside Pluin Island HARRIET P. SPOFFORD . . . 440 

My Ships at Sea R. B. COFFIN 441 

Minute Forms of Life G. P. MARSH ....... 443 

Development of Religious Ideas D. G. BRINTON 448 

A South-Sea Idyl C. W. STODDARD 459 

The Man without a Country E. E. HALE 467 

The Vagabonds J. T. TROWBRIDGE 480 

The Bible and the Iliad FRANCIS WAYLAND .... 484 

The Terror of the Earthquake MARY AGNES TINCKER . . . 489 

The Eternal Goodness J. G. WHITTIER 500 

A Mine-Explosion FRANCES H. BURNETT . . . 504 



HALF-HOURS 



WITH THE 



BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 



SQUIRE PAINE'S CONVERSION. 

ROSE TERRY COOKE. 

[The short stories which Mrs. Cooke has been for years contributing 
to our leading magazines are among the best specimens extant of the 
American humorous tale, and for happy handling of the New England 
dialect, and versatility in character-drawing, are of unsurpassed excel 
lence. Under her maiden name of Kose Terry she formerly published 
a volume of poems, of marked merit, from which we have made an ex 
tract in a preceding volume. She is a native of "West Hartford, Connec 
ticut, where she was born in 1827. The story whose concluding por 
tions we give opens with a description of Squire Paine's masterful way 
of " managing" his wife into the grave, and his high respect for the 
"Golden Kewl" as applied to others, not to himself. Miss Koxy 
succeeds Mrs. Paine as manager of the household.] 

IN the library of Squire Larkin's time the next hour 
was spent by Samuel Paine and Boxy Keep in a passage 
of arms. He was determined to secure Boxy to manage 
his establishment on his own terms ; and she was willing 
to be secured, but it must be on her terms ; and, being a 
tailoress, she carried the day. In consideration of the 
little home she left in Hermon, and the lucrative trade 

7 



8 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CooKE 

she left, she required of the squire a written guaranty 
that her services should continue for two years in any 
case, subject only to her own change of mind ; that her 
salary should be paid quarterly, under pain of her im 
mediate departure if it failed to come to hand ; and that 
the aforesaid salary should be a sufficient equivalent for 
the trade she gave up. After much conversation, the 
squire yielded all these points, though with no good grace. 

" Well, now I've gi'n up to ye," said he, " I'd like to 
know how soon ye can come, Boxy. Things is a-goin' 
every which way here. Lowisy's a good girl, she's a 
good enough girl ; but she ain't nothin' but a girl, an' she 
ain't no more fit to run a house'n she is to preach a ser 
mon : so I'd like ye to come back's quick as ye can." 

" I dono's I need to go," curtly and promptly answered 
Miss Roxy. " I reckoned I should stay when I come : so 
I sold out my house to Deacon Treadwell's widder, an' I 
fetched my trunks along. They're over to Reading de 
pot ; and the stage-driver he'll take the checks to-morrer 
and fetch 'em back. I don't never let no grass grow under 
my feet, Squire Paine." 

"Land alive! I should think not!" ejaculated the as 
tonished squire. So Miss Roxy stayed, and the house was 
stirred up from beneath to meet her. Bridget gave notice 
just in time not to have it given to her; and, brush in 
hand, the fiercest of bandanna handkerchiefs tied over 
her crisp black hair, Miss Roxy began that awful " setting 
to rights" which is at once the privilege and the necessity 
of strenuous souls like hers. At first Louise was half in 
clined to rebel : the slipshod family rule, or misrule, had 
just suited her youthful carelessness. But Miss Roxy's 
keen humor, pleasant common sense, and comfortable effi 
ciency soon enlisted Louise on her side ; and the girl could 
not help enjoying the bright order, the speckless comfort, 



COOKE] SQUIRE PAINED CONVERSION. 9 

the savory meals, the thrift that was not meanness, and the 
frugality that could be discreetly generous, which followed 
Miss Roxy's reign ; and at the end of two years the squire 
was glad enough to renew the guaranty which this fore 
seeing woman still demanded of him. Well for her, well 
for all of them, was it that he did so sign. 

In the mean time Squire Paine had gone his way, buying 
and selling, and talking much about the " Golden Rewl," 
and many small tiffs had ensued between him and Miss 
Roxy on points of domestic economy. But the squire 
knew, if he had never read, that discretion is the better 
part of valor, and, considering just in time that house 
keeping was not his forte and was Miss Roxy's, he always 
beat a retreat after these battles, and not always with fly 
ing colors. But now, toward the beginning of this third 
year, there began to be trouble in the camp. Elisha 
Squires, in common with various other youths of Bassett, 
had found out that Louise Paine was charming above all 
other girls of the vicinity ; and the squire's house became 
a sort of besieged castle, greatly to his disgust and indig 
nation. 

" I won't hev it ! I won't hev it !" stormed he one fine 
night, when the last of seven callers had gone from the 
front door, and Louise judiciously slipped off to bed. 

" Won't hev what ?" calmly inquired Boxy, who sat by 
the " keeping-room" table, toeing off a stocking. 

" Why, I won't hev so many fellers a-comin' here the 
hull etarnal time. There ain't no use on't, an' I tell ye I 
won't hev it. I won't, as sure's ye live." 

" What be you goin' to do about it ?" was Roxy's cool 
rejoinder. 

'" I'll lock the doors." 

" Then they'll come into the back-winder," smiled the 
exasperating spinster. "Look here, Squire Paine," and 



10 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COOKE 

she laid down her knitting, and confronted him as one who 

" Drinks delight of battle with his peers," 

"you're a master-hand to talk about the Golden Eewl: 
how'd you ha' liked it ef Squire Larkin had locked the 
door to this house on you ?" 

" He hadn't no call to : he was dead." 

" Now don't jump no fences that way. 'Spose he'd ben 
alive ?" 

" I dono's I'm called to tell ye. I'm a professor in good 
an' reg'lar standin', an' the Golden Rewl hes allers ben my 
standard o' livin' ; an' the sperrit and principle o' the 
Golden Rewl is to do to others as you'd wish to be done 
by ; an' ef I was a gal I should be glad to hev the doors 
locked on a passel o' fellers that come foolin' around nights." 

" You're life-everlastin' sure o' that, be ye ?" was the dry 
rejoinder. 

"Well, ef she ain't, she'd orter be; an' I'm free to con 
clude that Lowisy does what she'd orter, bein' my child 
and her ma's." 

"I don't believe no great in hinderin' young folks's 
ways, Squire Paine. It's three wheels to a wagon to be 
young, an' hinderin' don't overset nothin' : it's more apt 
to set it, a long sight. Don't you never expect Lowisy to 
git married ?" 

" I dono's I do, an' I dono as I do. Married life is an 
onsartin state. Mebbe Lowisy 'd be better off to stay to 
hum with me. Anyway, there ain't no sech hurry ; 'tain't 
the best goods go off the fust. An' I tell ye what, Eoxy ? 
I do expect she'll hark to me about who she marries, and 
not go an' git tied up to some poor Jack." 

"Then I tell you what, Samwell Paine, you expect 
nothin', an' you'll sup sorrow. Girls will pick out their 
own husbands to the day after never, for all you. I 



COOKE] SqUIRE PAINE 'S CONVERSION. 11 

always hold that there's two things a woman had oughter 
pick out for herself, spite o' fate; and them two is her 
husband an' her carpets." 

" An' I expect to pick 'em both out for Lowisy," answered 
the undaunted squire, as he marched off to bed, holding 
his tallow candle askew, and dropping hot tears of tallow 
as he went. 

But, as fate, or Louise, would have it, Squire Paine was 
not to pick out either of these essentials for his daughter. 
She was fast drifting into that obstinate blessedness which 
is reserved for youth and love, which laughs at parents 
and guardians, defies time and circumstance, and too often 
blinds the brightest eyes, and brings the most fastidious 
hands to 

"Wreathe thy fair large ears, my gentle joy," 

and finds out too late it is Bottom the weaver. 

In Louise's case, however, there was no danger of such 
waking : she had good reason for her preference. Elisha 
Squires, her father's clerk, was a handsome, well-educated, 
energetic young fellow, a gentleman by nature and breed 
ing both. Louise had pitied him ten thousand times for 
his unfit position in her father's employment, before he 
perceived that she was interested the least in him or his 
occupation; and, when it dawned on the busy and weary 
soul that one bright blossom looked over the paling into 
his desert life, what was the natural impulse that followed ? 
It is not a young man who " loves the wild rose, and leaves 
it on its stalk," literally or figuratively ; and these juvenile 
idiots fell fathoms deep in love with each other, entirely 
unconscious of the melancholy fact that one was the 
richest girl in Bassett, and the other working for daily 
bread. Arcadia could not have shown more divine sim 
plicity. But Bassett was not Arcadia ; and when sundry 



12 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CooKK 

jealous and disappointed swains discovered that " Lowisy 
Paine" would go home from prayer-meetings with 'Lisha 
Squires, had actually been seen lingering with him at her 
father's front gate in the starry May darkness, even after 
the nine-o'clock bell had rung, and was sure to welcome 
him on a Sunday night, though she might snap and snarl 
at them, then Louise's troubles began. Prayer-meetings 
must be attended ; but the squire went to and fro with 
her himself, and Elisha could not be spared from the store 
to attend them at all. Squire Paine hated to lose his clerk, 
but he would not lose his daughter : so, with the obtuse 
perception of the heavy father from time immemorial, he 
rushed into the melee like some floundering elephant into 
a flower-bed. 

"Lowisy," said he, one Sunday night, after the row of 
adorers were dispersed, Elisha Squires among them, " hear 
to me now ! I ain't a-goin' to hev you courted the hull 
time by these here fellers. You've got to stop it. 'Spe 
cially I won't hev ye careerin' around with 'Lisha : he's 
poorer'n poverty, an' as stuck up as though he was mighty 
Caesar. I've fetched ye up, an' gi'n ye a good eddication,. 
an' you ain't a-goin' to throw yourself away on no sech 
trash." 

The hot color rushed up to Louise's forehead, her red 
lip curled, and unspeakable disdain expressed itself, as she 
looked straight into her father's face ; but she did not say 
a word. She left the room with perfect composure, stop 
ping to pick a dry leaf from her pet geranium, and walked 
up the stairs with a slow precision that ought to have 
spoken volumes to her father's ear, as it did to Eoxy's. 

" Well, you've done it now," remarked that respectable 
woman. 

"Yes, I guess I hev," was the squire's complacent an 
swer, quite misapprehending the sense in which he had 



COOKE] SQUIRE PAINE ''S CONVERSION. 13 

done it. "I guess I've put a spoke inter that wheel, an' 
sideways too." 

Roxy gave one of the silent chuckles which meant deep 
amusement, and took herself off to bed. She was not a 
woman to interfere with the course of true love between 
Louise and Elisha, both of whom had become special 
favorites of hers since their first acquaintance ; but, as 
she said to herself, she would not " make nor meddle" in 
this matter, having full confidence in Louise's power of 
managing her own affairs, and far too much reverence 
and delicacy in her own nature to be a match-maker. 
JBut the squire went on from bad to worse, and, in his 
blind zeal to have his own way, brought things to a swift 
conclusion ; for, having given Elisha notice that he should 
need him no longer, he was more than surprised one fine 
July morning to find that Louise had left him too, that 
the pair had gone together. The squire was black with 
rage when the fact was announced to him by Miss Roxy, 
and a brief and defiant note from Louise put into his hand. 
He raved, raged, even swore, in his first wild fury, and 
paced up and down the kitchen like a wild animal. 

Miss Roxy eyed him with a peculiar expression. She 
felt that her hour had come. As she afterward said, " I 
should ha' bust ef I hadn't spoke. I'd ben a-hankerin' to 
give it to him quite a spell, but I held my tongue for 
Lowisy's sake. But thinks sez I, now's your time, Rox- 
anny Keep ; pitch in an' do your dooty. An' I tell ye it 
whistled of itself. Seemed as though 'twa'n't me re'lly, 
.but somethin' makin' a tin horn out o' my lips to rouse 
him up to judgment." And certainly Miss Roxy was 
roused herself: she confronted the squire like a Yankee 
lioness. 

"Look a-here ? Samwell Paine: it's time somebody took 
ye to do. You've ben a-buyin' an' a-sellin', an' a-rakin' an' 
in. 2 



14 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CooKE 

a-scrapin', till your soul ef you've got any is nigh about 
petered out. You call yourself a Christian an' a professor, 
an' a follerer of the Golden Rewl, do ye ? An' here you 
he, cussin' an' swearin' like a Hivite an' a Jeboosite, an' all 
the rest on 'em, because things ain't jest as you would 
have 'em to be. You hain't had no bowels of compassion 
for Lowisy no more'n ef you was her jailer, instead of 
her pa. What's the matter with 'Lisha Squires? He's 
a honest, good-disposed, reliable feller as ever was, good 
enough for anybody's girl ; a Christian, too, not one o' 
the sugar-sandin', rum-waterin', light-weight kind, but a 
real one. He don't read the Golden Rewl t'other side up, 
as you do, I tell ye. You make it doin' to other folks just 
what you want to do, an' lettin' them go hang. I tell ye 
the hypocrite's hope shall perish ; an' you're one on 'em, 
as sure as the world. 'Tain't sayin' Lord, Lord, that 
makes folks pious : it's doin' the will o' God, justice, an' 
mercy, an' lovin'-kindness." 

Here Roxy paused for breath ; and the astounded squire 
ejaculated, " Roxanny Keep !" 

" Yes, that's my name : I ain't afeared to own it, nor to 
set it square to what I've said. I hain't lived here goin' 
on three year, an' seen your ways, for nothin'. I've had 
eyes to behold your pinchin' an' sparin' an' crawlin' ; 
grindin' poor folks's faces, an' lickin' rich folks's platters ; 
actin' as though your own daughter was nothin' but a, 
bill of expense to ye, an' a block to show off your pride 
an' vanity, not a livin', lovin' soul to show the way to 
heaven to. An' now she's quit. She's got a good, lovin', 
true-hearted feller to help her along where you didn't 
know the way, an' didn't want to, neither; an' you're 
ravin' mad 'cause he hain't got -no money, when you've 
got more'n enough for all on ye. Sam well Paine, you ain't 
no Christian, not 'cordin' to gospel truth, ef you have 



COOKE] SqUIRE PAINE 'S CONVERSION. 15 

been a professor nigh on to forty year. You no need to 
think you was converted, for you never was. Folks ain't 
converted to meanness an' greediness an' self-seekin' an' 
wrath an' malice. The Lord don't turn 'em into the error 
of their ways : he turns 'em out on't. Ef you was a 
minister in the pulpit, or a deacon handin' the plate, you 
ain't no Christian 'thout you act like one; an' that's the 
etarnal fact on't. You've ben a livin' lie all these years ; 
an' you've ended by drivin' your only daughter, your own 
flesh an' blood, the best thing the Lord ever give ye, out 
o' house an' home 'cause you was mad after money. An' 
it'll happen unto ye accordin' to the word o' the Lord 
about sech folks: you'll be drownded in destruction an' 
perdition, an' pierce yourself through with many sorrers, 
ef you don't flee for your life from sech things, an' foller 
after righteousness, godliness, an' the rest on 'em. You'd 
oughter go down on your poor old knees an' pray to be 
converted at the 'leventh hour. There, I've freed my 
mind, thank the Lord ! an' there won't be none o' your 
blood found on my skirts ef the last day comes in to- 
morrer mornin'." With which the exhausted lecturer 
heaved a long breath, and began to mop her heated face 
vigorously with her inseparable bandanna handkerchief, 
which might have symbolized to the audience, had there 
been any, a homely victorious banner. 

The squire stood amazed and afraid. In all the long 
course of his life nobody had ever before gainsaid him. 
Outward respect and consideration had been his portion : 
now the ground cracked under his feet, and he found him 
self in a new land. He did not go to the store that day : 
he stumbled out of Roxy's sight, and shut himself up in 
the unused parlor, where alternate storms of rage, convic 
tion, despair, and scorn assailed him for many hours. It 
was, indeed, a dreadful battle that he fought in the musty 



16 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CooKK 

Bilence of that darkened room, pacing up and down like a 
caged tiger. Eoxy had spoken awful words ; but they 
were milk and honey compared to the echo which his late- 
awakened conscience gave them: still he fought with a 
certain savage courage against the truths that were top 
pling over to crush him, and justified himself to his own 
accusing soul with a persistent hardihood that had better 
served a better cause. It was reserved for God's owe 
ntroke to bring sweet waters out of this rock : Moses and 
the rod had smitten it in vain. Just as his courage seemed 
to aid him, and he had resolved to send Roxy back to 
Hermon and her tailoring, and brave out the judgment of 
his fellow-men and the desertion of Louise, nay, more, to 
revenge himself for that desertion by refusing her aid or 
comfort, or even recognition of any kind, just then, as he 
had settled down into his self-complacency, and wilful dis 
regard of God's own words, pelted at him as they had 
been by Boxy, he heard an outer door open, invading 
steps, voices of low tumult, a sort of whispering horror 
and stifled grief drawing nearer to his retreat, and the 
door opened very slowly, disclosing the stern features of 
Parson Peters, the village minister. Not altogether stern 
now was that long and meagre visage : a sort of terror 
mingled with pit} 7 softened its rigid lines. 

"My brother," he said, lifting one hand, as he was wont 
to do when praying over a coffin, and facing the troubled 
and inflamed countenance of Squire Paine, " my brother, 
the hand of the Lord is upon you this day. Your child 
has been taken. There has been a terrible accident to the 
train by which they left Reading Station, and news has 
come that both are gone." 

Like a forest tree into which the woodman sets his last 
stroke, the squire tottered, paused for one instant of time, 
and fell forward prostrate. 



COOKE] SqUIRE PAINE 'S CONVERSION. 17 

Koxy was behind Parson Peters as the old man fell ; 
and, pushing that eminent divine out of her way like a 
spider, she was at once on her knees by his side, promptly 
administering the proper remedies. It was only a fainting 
fit ; but, when the squire recovered, he was weak, humble, 
and gentle as a little child. He lay on the sofa in the 
par'or all day. The unused windows were opened, and 
the sweet summer air flowed in and out with scents of 
late roses and new hay on its delicdte wings ; but Squire 
Paine did not notice it. He took the broth Eoxy brought 
him without a complaint, and actually thanked her for it. 
She herself guarded the outside door like a dragon, and 
even refused admittance to Parson Peters. 

"No," said she; "it's good to let him be to-day. I tell 
ye the Lord's a-dealin' with the poor old creter, an' we 
hadn't ought to meddle. Human nater is everlastin' queer, 
an' there is some folks nobody can tune so well as Him 
that made 'em. He'll take up his bed an' walk as soon as 
the merracle works, an' we can't hurry it up any; but I've 
faith to believe it's a-workin'." 

And it was according to Roxy's faith. As soon as the 
sun went down, the squire rose up, ate what was set 
before him, put his disordered dress to rights, and walked 
feebly over to the weekly prayer-meeting; for these things 
happened of a Thursday. 

The lights in the little school-house were dim and few, 
for the night's warm atmosphere made even the heat of 
the two necessary lamps oppressive ; but Squire Paine 
took no advantage of this darkness, though the room was 
unusually full. He walked to the very front bench, and 
seated himself before the deacon who conducted the meet 
ing; and, as soon as the opening hymn was sung, he 
waved the good man, who was about to follow with a 
prayer, aside with a certain rugged dignity, and rose, 
in. & 2* 



18 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CooKE 

facing the assembly, and beginning with broken voice to 
speak. 

" Brethring," he said, " I come here to-night to make a 
confession. I've lived amongst you for sixty odd year, 
man an' boy, an' the last forty on 'em I've ben a livin' lie. 
Brethring, I hev ben a professor in this here church all 
that time, an' I wa'n't never converted. I was a real 
stiddy-goin' hypocrite, an' I hain't but jest found it out. 
The marciful Lord has kinder spared me for a day of re 
pentance, an' it's come : I tell ye it's come ! There was 
one that dealt with me mightily, an' shook me some, one, 
I may say, that drilled the hole, an' put in the powder of 
the Word, an' tamped it down with pretty stiff facts ; but 
it didn't do no good. I was just like a rock bored an' 
charged, but pooty rugged an' hard yet. But, brethring, 
THE LORD HAS FIRED THE BLAST HIMSELF, an' the nateral 
man is broken to pieces. I give up right here. The Lord 
is good. God be merciful to me, a sinner! Brethring, 
can't you pray ?" 

There was but one answer to the pathetic agony of that 
appeal. Deacon Adkins rose, and prayed as if his lips had 
been touched with a coal from the altar, and there were 
sympathetic tears in the hardest eyes there before he 
finished ; while Squire Paine's low sobs were heard at 
intervals, as if they were the very convulsions of a break 
ing heart. 

" Let us sing 

" ' Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,' " 

said the deacon, after his prayer was over. And, when 
the last line of that noble Doxology floated away into the 
rafters, they all gathered round to shake hands, and ex 
press their deep sympathy with the repentant and bereaved 
father. It was almost too much for Squire Paine. Tho 



COOKE] SQUIRE PAINE' S CONVERSION. 19 

breaking-up of the great deep within had worn upon him 
exceedingly: humbled, sad, yet wonderfully peaceful a 
his spirit felt, still the flesh trembled, and was weak. He 
was glad when Roxy came up, and, taking hold of his 
arm, led him homeward. 

Was he glad, or death-smitten, or, as he thought, sud 
denly in the heavenly places, when his own door opened 
before his hand touched the latch, and Louise, darting 
forward, threw her arms about his neck? 

"Land o' liberty!" shrieked Roxy. "Do you want to 
kill your pa outright ? An' how came ye here anyway ? 
We heered you an' him was both stun-dead !" 

Roxy's curt and curious interposition seemed to restore 
the equilibrium suddenly. Squire Paine did not faint, 
and Louise actually laughed. Here was something natu 
ral and homely to shelter in after the dream-like agita 
tion of the day. 

"No," said Louise's clear voice: "we wa'n't hurt, not 
much, only stunned, and scared a bit. But there was 
two in the next seat who well, they won't come* home to 
their folks, Aunt Roxy. We thought maybe you would 
be anxious ; and then somebody said right before us thaf 
we were both killed, and they'd sent the news over to 
Bassett : so we thought the best thing to do was to come 
back and show ourselves. Here's 'Lisha." 

Squire Paine must have been converted ; for he shook 
his son-in-law's hand with all good will, and kissed his 
daughter heartily. His voice was somewhat weak and 
husky; but he managed to say, so as to be heard, "An' 
now ye've got home re'lly, you've got to stay home. I 
sha'n't hev no more sech risks run. And, 'Lisha, we'll 
open the store real early to-morrer. I dono when it's ben 
shut twenty-four hours before." 

This was all he said ; for the New-England man, saint 



20 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ABBOTT 

or sinner, has few words when feeling is strongest. But 
the squire's actions spoke for him. He never referred to 
the past, but strove with his might to live a new and 
righteous life. Not all at once the granite gave place to 
gold : there were roots of bitterness, and strivings of the 
old Adam, many and often ; but none who had once known 
him doubted that Squire Paine was a changed man. At 
his own earnest request, he was allowed to make a new 
profession of religion ; and, after relating his experiences 
in due form to the assembled deacons, he wound up the 
recital in this fashion : " It was the Lord's hand done it 
fin'lly, brethring ; but, next to him, I owe this here real 
conversion to Roxanny Keep." 

"Halleloojah!" exclaimed Aunt Eoxy, when Mrs. Dea 
con Adkins betrayed her good husband's confidence far 
enough to tell her this. " I tell ye, Mrs. Adkins, I took 
my life in my hand that mornin' ; but I felt a call to do it. 
Ye know David killed Goliath with a pebble, nothin' more ; 
an' I allers could sling straight." 



DISCOMFITED HUNTERS. 

CHARLES C. ABBOTT. 

[Dr. Abbott, a native of Trenton, New Jersey, where he was born 
in 1843, is known in science as an energetic archaeologist, the author 
of a work on " Primitive Industry," and the collector of many ancient 
Indian relics from the Trenton gravels. He has recently published 
two attractively- written books of popular science, " Rambles of a 
Naturalist" and " Upland and Meadow," which show the close obser 
vation of an ardent lover of nature, and an unusual facility of making 
pleasant reading out of ordinarily dry subjects. From the last-named 
work we select a brace of amusing hunting-stories, to which the quaint 



ABBOTT] DISCOMFITED HUNTERS. 21 

Quaker phraseology of the one "quoted from an old diary" adds a 
highly agreeable flavor.] 

BETTER repeat the twelve labors of Hercules than 
attempt to catalogue the varied forms of life found in the 
area of an average ramble. Indeed, I have seldom seen a 
half-acre that was not a " Zoo" which the study of a life 
time would fail to exhaust; but, if this is the sole incen 
tive to take a recreative stroll in the upland or meadow, 
it were better to stay at home. 

On the other hand, to feel that whatever creature we 
may meet will prove companionable that it is no stranger, 
but rather an amusing and instructive friend assures us 
both pleasure and profit whenever we chance abroad. 

He who has this interest in the life about him can never 
be lonely, wander wheresoever he will, nor return from 
a contemplative ramble other than a wiser and happier 
man. 

"When I talked, years ago, to the old men of the neigh 
borhood, there is not one of them left, I invariably 
wished that I had been my grandfather. I felt fully a 
Century too late. 

If half the tales they told me were true, nothing of to 
day equals that which was found here when they were 
young. If this had been an old man's fancy it would 
have only provoked a smile ; but, alas ! it was so far true 
as to cause me at the time endless regret. It was by no 
means a sugar-coated pill that I was forced to swallow 
when one of these gray-beards quietly remarked, "You 
seem to know something about animals, but we had the 
critters themselves." 

This was not cheering to one who was ambitious of 
seeing something of wild life, but I had one consolation : 
mv old friend had not seen the country in its best days, 



22 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ABBOTT 

as judged from his point of view. As proof of this, com 
pare his remarks with the following from an old diary : 

"Ninth mo., 1734. Father reports Friend Stacy as 
saying that formerly ducks and geese were more abundant 
than they now are. He thinks the use of great noisy 
guns has reduced their numbers. How they could be 
more abundant than of late puzzleth me to comprehend. 
Watson's Creek is often truly black with them, and gather 
ings of fowl of many kinds do now pass up the Cross 
weeksen, such as take several minutes to pass by. The 
geese are always in wedge-shaped companies, and are never 
BO numerous as in the smaller sorts. I do seldom see the 
great swans, but father says they are not unusual in the 
wide stretches of the Delaware. The Indians that lately 
tarried by the great . spring on our hill-side did shoot 
several near where the creek joins the river. . . . Father 
allowed me to accompany Oconio, my Indian friend, to 
Watson's Creek, that we might gather wild fowl after the 
[ndian manner. With great eagerness I accompanied 
Oconio, and thus happened it. We did reach the widest 
part of that creek early in the morning. I think the 
sun was scarcely an half-hour high. Oconio straightway 
hid himself in the tall grass by the water, while I was 
bidden to lie in the tall grass at a little distance. With 
his bow and arrows, Oconio quickly shot a duck that came 
near by, swimming within a short space from him. I 
marvelled much with what skill he shot, for his arrow 
pierced the head of the duck, which gave no alarming cry. 
Then, with a second arrow, he struck down another, but 
not so quickly, at which the great company of fowl flew 
away, with great clamor. Very many returned quickly, 
much to our pleasure. Oconio did now fashion a circlet 
of green boughs, and so placed them about his head and 
shoulders that I saw not his face, and, thus arrayed, he 



ABBOTT] DISCOMFITED HUNTERS. 23 

otherwise disrobed and walked into the stream. He held 
in one hand a shotten duck, so that it swam lustily, and, 
so equipped, was in the midst of a cluster of fowl, of which 
he deftly seized several so quickly that its fellows took no 
alarm. These he strangled beneath the water, and, when 
he had three of them, came back, with caution, to where 
the thick bushes concealed him. He desired that I should 
do the same, and with much hesitation I disrobed and 
assumed the disguise Oconio had fashioned; then I put 
forth boldly towards the gathered fowl, at which they 
did rise with a great clamor, and were gone. I marvel 
much why this should have been, but Oconio did not make 
it clear, and I forbore, through foolish pride, to ask of 
him. And let it not be borne against me that, when I 
reached my home, I wandered to the barn, and, writing 
an ugly word upon the door, sat long and gazed at it. 
Chagrin doth make one feel very weak, I find ; but I set 
no one an example, by speech or act, in thus soothing my 
feelings in so worldly a manner. 

" While I do yet write of our wild beestes of this 
country, let me here remark that while we rejoice that 
great bears have mostly gone far towards the unsettled 
mountains, still a few do linger with us ; and Oconio 
recently did assure me that he knoweth of a small one 
that liveth in a great chestnut-tree, not far within the 
great east woods. . . . With much misgiving that we 
were to go without my parents' knowledge, but hoping 
success would secure forgiveness, for a longing heart 
offers tid-bits to our scruples, we set out, while it was 
yet dark, on third day ; and it was frostful and stingy for 
so early in the ninth month. As we passed the growth 
of dwarf chestnuts bordering the common road, I mar 
velled at the great companies of squirrels that were then 
gathering the harvest of nuts ; but Oconio chided me for 



24 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ABBOTT 

lingering, and, following chiefly his footsteps, we strode 
straightway and silently through the wood. There waa 
yet a proper pathway that was readily to be seen, which, 
as I have learned, was that used by the Indians when 
they passed to Amboy, where they gathered the bounty 
of the sea. When we had gone so far as an hour's walk 
taketh one, suddenly Oconio turned into a dense and track 
less thicket ; first looking at his gunne, and the flint and 
priming thereof. I could not .readily keep to him in the 
midst of the bushes, and labored much to force my way 
where he moved silently. But it rejoiced me to know we 
had but a short distance to go, for suddenly he turned 
about and pointed to a great tree. It was the greatest of 
all trees that I have seen. I confess to being puzzled to 
know what Oconio was to do, that a bear should come 
from the tree and be shotteri. I ventured a question, but 
it was only answered by an impatient ' See,' so I remained 
standing, eager to know, yet doubtful of my safety should 
there be even a small bear in the great tree. Oconio di 
rectly gathered a bundle of sticks and of crisp leaves, and 
the store thereof he placed at the foot of the tree, where 
I saw was a hole that even he could have entered. With 
his tinder and flint in a moment he added fire to the leaves, 
and with a great roaring the smoke rushed through the 
trunk of that tree. This was answered by a louder mur 
mur, which I took to be the voice of the enraged bear, 
and Oconio stood bravely with his gunne should it appear. 
Account it not against me that I desired to flee, and 1 
should have turned had I known just where to seek 
safety; and then came a greater terror as the enraged 
bear growled with fiercer anger. I turned, and Oconio 
exclaimed, * Ugh !' as I did so. The bear was upon us, 
not as one creature, but as thousands ; for we had driven 
from the tree a hiving of bees. I turned so quickly that 



ABBOTT] DISCOMFITED HUNTERS. 25 

I fell, and the maddened bees were quickly covering me, 
as I thought ; but I regained my feet, and was soon fleeing 
from their torment. Whether Oconio did lead or follow I 
knew not, but we met at a brook, where I bathed my 
smarting flesh. 

" We walked home in silence ; and to this day I feel 
chagrined when my father talketh of bears ; nor is honey 
a sweet morsel to me." 

Almost my last conversation with my venerable friend 
was much the longest. He seemed far more disposed to 
talk than walk, and, while sitting in the dense shade of 
my three beeches, he remarked, " There was a spice in 
livin' when the country was younger you don't get now 
that all the big critters are about gone," and, pointing to 
a little woodpecker near by, asked, " Do you see that sap- 
sucker? I can remember when the big log-cocks were 
about as plenty as those are nowadays. Back towards 
the great Cat-tail Swamp, where there was yaller-pine 
woods, the log-cocks used to run up and down the trees 
like mad, and the way they sent the bark flyin' was a cau 
tion. If they thought there was a bug or grub under the 
bark, they'd lift it out, and, to get it, sometimes ripped a 
bit of bark oif big as a dinner-plate. Now you see nothin' 
of all this, but have come down to little sap-suckers." 

" Not quite," I replied : " there are flickers and red-heads 
left us." 

" That's so j but they're not much better, nor many of 
'em ; and who livin', but me, ever heard a wolf growl or 
a painter screech ?" 

" Did you ever see a panther about here ?" I asked. 

" Didn't I as much as say so just now ? See one ? yes, 
once, and that was enough." 

" Tell me the circumstances, please," I requested, with 
much pleasurable anticipation, 
in. B 3 



26 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ABBOTT 

" Tell you the circumstances ? If you mean the main 
p'ints of the matter, I can give 'em to you. It was during 
a January thaw, and a big fresh on the lowlands. It's 
such times, you know, when all the fun comes in round 
here. Well, I'd lost a new boat, and found it in the woods 
near the mouth of Crosswicks Creek. It was left up in 
the bushes after the water had gone down a bit. I 
scrambled out of my skiff to reach to it, when the critter 
looked up and grinned right in my face. He'd been curled 
up in the boat, and didn't show any notion of leavin' ; but 
I did, and, makin* one big jump for my skiif, the critter 
follered suit, and made for the woods. I didn't look be 
hind, thirikin' he was comin' for me ; but it seems he 
wasn't, and that was the last of him." 

" Is that all ?" I asked, with a show of disappointment 

"All? Yes, and if you'd been in my place half the facts 
would have satisfied you. Critters like painters might 
go. and bears weren't always pleasant to meet with, but 
all the others were good in their way, and, along with the 
miles of big woods, made it a pleasant country. I don't 
say it to tease you none, but you've got now to take up 
with small fry, and only think about them that's gone for 
good. When I hear the tap-tap of the sapsuckers I think 
of the log-cocks ; and when there's a bayin' hound in the 
fields I can hear the wolves, which, 'long late as '95, used 
to keep me 'wake o' nights. Things have littled down 
since I was a boy, sure enough. What you call trees we'd 
Bay were saplins', and such trees as I've cut are too scarce 
to count. Afore you're fairly in a woods now you're on 
t'other side of 'em." 

But, in spite of the changes wrought by the deforesting 
of the country and the increased population, even in these 
later days unfrequented corners can be found, and one may 
have a bit of adventure if one chooses. 



ABBOTT] DISCOMFITED HUNTERS. 27 

The average farmer is eminently practical, and quite 
properly so, but if an acre cannot bo reclaimed for culti 
vation, or if its wood be not worth cutting for fuel, it is 
pretty sure to be abandoned to the few who love to see 
nature free from all artificiality. I know of an island in 
a creek, planted with swamp-sumach, where I can roam at 
will, because this tree does not poison me, and all my 
neighbors have to give it a wide berth or suffer the con 
sequences ; and here I can sit as much alone as though in 
the deepest cafion of the Colorado Eiver of the West. 
But, while I have outgrown the feeling of disappointment 
that I live in so tame a country, and now prefer a mouse 
to a muskrat for a playfellow, very often finding my in 
terest in animal life to be inversely to the bulk of its body, 
still an occasional exciting episode is not distasteful, as a 
recent occurrence proved. 

Bitter cold though it happened to be, Miles Overfield 
moved with deliberation across the snow-clad fields, and 
even stopped at times to look backward and meadow-ward, 
as though he feared something he had left behind him 
might disappear in his absence. 

I saw him before he reached the yard, for I had beeij 
out for a ramble on home-made snow-shoes, my first and 
last experience of the kind, and we met at the garden gate. 

" 'St !" he hissed, in a half-whisper, and raised his fore 
finger as he spoke, to suggest that I should stand still and 
hear him through ; though why all this mystery on his 
part is to this day a mystery to me. 

" Nobody knows, I guess," Miles continued, " for they're 
in a mean quicksandy tangle in the three-corner meadow. 
All snug in a hollow tree, and all briers and stuff about. 
'Spose we're in for a hunt; go along?" 

u Please tell me, first, what are in the hollow tree ?" I 
replied. 



28 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ABBOTT 

" Why, a couple of big 'coons. I just got a glimpse of 
one, but I know there's two of 'em." 

"How do you know?" I asked. 

" Can't say ; but I know it, and I'm in for a hunt to 
night : so can't you go ?" Miles asked, somewhat impa 
tiently. 

" If you know where they are, it won't be much of a 
hunt, Miles, for you've simply to go to the tree and take 
them out, provided they don't give you the slip. Where 
will the fun come in, such a cold night as this will be ?" 

" All right, if you don't want to go ; I can get 'em 
alone, I guess. I wouldn't have hurried over here, but I 
thought you would like the fun." And he turned about 
with a look of mingled disappointment and disgust. See 
ing this, after a moment's reflection I concluded to go, and 
called to him to that effect. 

He turned about, but did not approach, and said, "All 
right ; and, as my house is nearer than yours to the 
meadow, come down by eight o'clock. Put on boots, and, 
if the clouds threaten, whistle to 'em on your way over 
to keep oif the moon." And again Miles started for his 
home, walking with a brisker step than when he came, 
because the meadows and the 'coon-tree were now in full 
view before him. 

Before eight o'clock I was ready, and duly reported at 
Miles's cottage. In a few minutes we were under way, he 
carrying a gun and axe, and I leading a snarling cur, which 
Miles thought might be useful. 

The full moon made the wintry night a perfect one ; 
not a breath of wind sighed through the bare trees ; the 
whole earth seemed silent and motionless under the firm 
white crust we trod upon. There was merit enough and 
beauty enough in the night alone to warrant a moonlight 
walk, even though I went home empty-handed. 



ABBOTT] DISCOMFITED HUNTERS. 23 

" The critters are in there," said Miles, pointing to a big 
maple. 

" Suppose they are, how are you going to get them out ? 
"Wait for them ?" I asked. 

"Root 'em out. The tree hasn't any holler so we can 
smoke 'em ; but you get up there and punch 'em out with 
a stick, and when they crawl out on the branches shake 
'cm down to me and the dog." 

" Oh !" I exclaimed, drawing a long breath : " that's 
your plan. Why didn't you tell me before?" 

" Because you might have thought best not to come. 
Now you're here, you won't mind the job, will you?" he 
asked, with a grin that explained the disappointment I 
had noticed when I half declined his invitation. 

" Your theory, Miles, about punched 'coons coming out 
of their holes, and all that, is no doubt good ; but suppose 
I can't punch them ?" I asked, and, somehow, my doubts 
increased as I thought of the bear proving to be bees, as 
in my great-great-grandfather's case. 

While Miles started a little fire at a short distance from 
the tree, I considered the matter, and concluded to fall in 
with his plans as soon as my fingers were sufficiently 
warmed to enable me to climb. Of course Miles wouldn't 
climb the tree and let me catch the falling 'coon. He 
always took advantage of his years, and had that conve 
nient form of rheumatism which prevented his doing any 
thing he could get others to do. It was much the same as 
the boy's nine-o'clock fever, which secures to him an occa 
sional holiday when the outside of the school-house is 
more attractive than the inside. 

While we were crouching before a few flickering flames, 

a low growl was heard by both of us, and the curious 

antics of the dog at the same time called us at once to our 

feet, to discover the precise whereabouts of the 'coons. 

in. 3* 



30 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ABBOTT 

Miles stepped back a few paces, and, gazing intently at 
the main crotch of the maple, cried out, after a few seconds, 
" There it is !" I looked in the direction indicated by him, 
and, sure enough, there was the animal. From where it 
sat no amount of shaking could dislodge it. and to climb 
the tree would be to put your hand on the animal before 
you could secure a firm footing. I thought we were baf 
fled, unless we shot it, which Miles was averse to doing, 
as he did not wish to have it known he was able to hunt, 
or work would be expected of him. 

"What shall we do?" I asked, impatiently, for the 
whole affair was growing monotonous. 

" Do ?" remarked Miles ; " why, I mean to snowball the 
critter till it climbs out on a limb, and then you climb up." 

A dozen big snowballs induced the 'coon to move, and 
we got a better view of him. " He's got no tail," I re 
marked, as the animal crept out a short distance on a 
nearly horizontal branch. 

"Yes, he has; it's the moonlight blinds you," Miles re 
plied ; and so, accepting the decision that it was a 'coon, i 
commenced to climb. Securing, at last, a firm foothold 
where the 'coon had been, I took a general survey of the 
situation. The bright moonlight rendered every object 
distinct, and I had a full view of the " critter." There it 
sat, staring me full in the face, and with as wicked a coun 
tenance as I ever met; but it was no ordinary 'coon. Its 
broad, blunt face, its gray fur, arched back, and short tail, 
told quite another story. I was facing a wild-cat ! 

There are occasions when a man's thoughts outspeed 
the lightning, and this was one of them ; but my actions 
could not keep pace. I had a thousand plans, and followed 
none. An angry scream is all I remember now, as it 
seemed to hurl me headlong to the ground. Down into 
the snow I plunged, burying my arms and legs far below 



ABBOTT] DISCOMFITED HUNTERS. 31 

the frozen crust, and there, for the moment, I lay helpless. 
My next remembered thought was that Miles was attacked, 
as his rapid ejaculations, mingled with the yelping of the 
dog, seemed to indicate. It acted as a restorative, and, 
struggling to my feet, I was astonished to find that the 
cat had disappeared, and that Miles was some distance off, 
rapidly pursuing a homeward course. I hurried after, 
but he was safely housed before I could overtake him. 
Entering the door he had so recently slammed behind 
him, I found the man, pale as a ghost, and shivering 
before the empty andirons. It was a long time before he 
could speak intelligibly, but at last he calmed down suffi 
ciently to tell me his story. 

" While I was waitin' to see what you were goin' to do, 
I saw you sail out into the air ; and such a yell as that 
critter gave ! It took me all aback, and 'fore I knew what 
was comin' the thing struck me on the head. I jumped 
clear o' my hat, and put for home, but the critter held on. 
I cleared fence, ditch, and snow-bank without touchin' 'em, 
so it seemed, and not till I teched the garden-gate did the 
critter let up. Where it's gone, I don't know." 

"Here it is," I replied, and from Miles's coat-collar I took 
half a yard of green brier that had been scratching him 
at every leap. 

Miles looked at the thorny branch a moment in silence, 
and then found courage to whisper, 

" Suppose we don't say anything about this 'coon- 
hunt?" 

" Suppose we don't ?" I replied, and went home. 



32 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LONGFELLOW 



SONNETS. 

The sonnet, whose popularity as a species of poetical composition 
is mainly due to Petrarch, has never become so great a favorite with 
the Germanic nations as with the Spanish and Italian, whose flexible 
languages easily adapt themselves to its requirements. Yet the English 
tongue possesses many beautiful sonnets, some of which stand out 
like royal gems in the crown of poetic fame. Nor have the poets of 
America worked this field of song in vain, as will appear from the 
selected group of sonnets we give below. In several of these the 
strictly regular form of the Italian sonnet has not been adhered to, 
but the poets have broken from the chains of conventionalism, and 
rhymed as suited their fancies, under the higher conception that the 
thought and not the sound should dominate the poetic soul, and that 
one fine idea is of more value than a multitude of fine rhymes. 

We owe many of the most graceful and thoughtful of American 
sonnets to the facile pen of Longfellow. Two of the most beautiful 
of these we quote. 

THE holiest of all holidays are those 
Kept by ourselves in silence and apart ; 
The secret anniversaries of the heart, 

When the full river of feeling overflows ; 

The happy days unclouded to their close ; 
The sudden joys that out of darkness start 
As flames from ashes ; swift desires that dart 

Like swallows singing down each wind that blows! 

White as the gleam of a receding sail, 
White as a cloud that floats and fades in air, 
White as the whitest lily on a stream, 

These tender memories are, a Fairy Tale 
Of some enchanted land we know not where, 
But lovely as a landscape in a dream. 

Eiver, that steal est with such silent pace 
Around the City of the Dead, where lies 



ALCOTT] SONNETS. 33 

A friend who bore thy name, and whom these eyes 
Shall see no more in his accustomed place, 
Linger and fold him in thy soft embrace 

And say good-night, for now the western skies 

Are red with sunset, and gray mists arise 
Like damps that gather on a dead man's face. 
Good-night ! good-night ! as we so oft have said 

Beneath this roof at midnight, in the days 

That are no more, and shall no more return. 
Thou hast but taken thy lamp and gone to bed ; 

I stay a little longer, as one stays 

To cover up the embers that still burn. 

From A. Bronson Alcott's " Book of Sonnets," addressed in grateful 
remembrance to his many literary friends, we select the one dedicated 
to Mrs. Elizabeth P. Peabody. 

Daughter of Memory ! who her watch doth keep 
O'er dull Oblivion's land of shade and dream, 

Peers down into the realm of ancient Sleep, 
Where .Thought uprises with a sudden gleam 
And lights the devious path 'twixt Be and Seem ; 

Mythologist ! thou dost thy legend steep 
Plenteously with opiate and anodyne, 
Inweaving fact with fable, line with line, 

Entangling anecdote and episode, 

Mindful of all that all men meant or said. 

We follow, pleased, thy labyrinthine road, 
By Ariadne's skein and lesson led ; 

For thou hast wrought so excellently well, 

Thou drop'st more casual truth than sages tell. 

The work just named contains an essay on the Sonnet, written by 
F. B. Sanborn, who proves his fitness for the task by the fine taste of 
his own sonnets, one of which we here append. We give also several 
of the illustrative examples from the same essay. 
in. c 



34 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

Ah, mournful Sea ! Yet to our eyes lie wore 

The placid look of some great god at rest ; 
With azure arms he clasped the embracing shore, 

While gently heaved the billows of his breast ; 
We scarce his voice could hear, and then it seemed 

The happy murmur of a lover true, 
Who, in the sweetness of his sleep, hath dreamed 

Of kisses falling on his lips like dew. 
Far off, the blue and gleaming hills above, 

The Sun looked through his veil of thinnest hane, 
As coy Diana, blushing at her love, 

Half hid with her own light her earnest gaze, 
When on the shady Latmian slope she found 
Fair-haired Endymion slumbering on the ground. 

Thou art like that which is most sweet and fair, 
A gentle morning in the youth of spring, 
When the few early birds begin to sing- 
Within the delicate depths of the fine air. 

Yet shouldst thou those dear beauties much impair, 
Since thou art better than is everything 
Which or the woods or skies or green fields bring 

And finer thoughts hast thou than they can wear. 

In the proud sweetness of thy face I see 

What lies within, a pure and steadfast mind, 

Which its own mistress is of sanctity, 
And to all gentleness hath been refined, 

So that thy least breath falleth upon me 
As the soft breathing of midsummer wind. 

W. E. CHANNINQ 

As unto blooming roses summer dews, 

Or morning's amber to the tree-top choirs, 

So to my bosom are the beams that use 

To rain on me from eyes that Love inspires ; 



HOOPER] SONNETS. 35 

Your love,' vouchsafe it, royal-hearted Few, 

And I will set no common price thereon ; 
Oh, I will keep, as Heaven his holy blue, 

Or Night her diamonds, that dear treasure won. 
But aught of inward faith must I forego, 

Or miss one drop from Truth's baptismal hand, 
Think poorer thoughts, pray cheaper prayers, and grow 

Less worthy trust, to meet your heart's demand, 
Farewell ! your wish I for your sake deny : 
Rebel to love in truth to love am I. 

D. A. WASSON. 

O Death! what strange, deep secret dost thou hold, 

To hallow those thou claimest for thine own? 
That which the open book could never teach, 

The closed one whispers, as we stand alone 
By one, how more alone than we ! and strive 

To comprehend the passion of that peace. 
In vain our thoughts would wind within the heart, 

The heart of this great mystery of release ! 
Baptism of Death, which steepest infant eyes 

In grace of calm that saints might hope to wear, 
Whose cold touch purifies the guilty brow, 

And sets again the seal of childhood there, 
Our line of life in vain would sound thy sea ; 
That which we seek to know, we soon shall be. 

MRS. E. S. HOOPER. 

The deep problem of destiny is thus vigorously treated by James G. 
Percival. 

Whence ? whither ? where ? A taper point of light, 
My life and world, the infinite around ; 
A sea, not even highest thought can sound ; 

A formless void ; unchanging, endless night. 



36 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PiATT 

In vain the struggling spirit aims its flight 
To the empyrean, seen as is a star 
Sole glimmering through the hazy night afar ; 

In vain it beats its wings with daring might. 

What yonder gleams ? What heavenly shapes arise 
From out the bodiless waste ? Behold the dawn. 
Sent from on high ! Uncounted ages gone 

Burst full and glorious on my wondering eyes, 
Sun-clear the world around, and far away 
A boundless future sweeps in golden day. 

The verbal stumbling-block " If," over which so many a knightly 
resolution has gone down, is the subject which John James Piatt so 
skilfully handles below. 

Strong little monosyllable between 

Desire and joy, between the hand and heart 

Of all our longing ! dreary death's-head seen 
Ere our quick lips to touch the nectar part ! 

O giant dwarf, making the whole world cling 
To thy cold arm before the infant feet 
Of frail resolves can walk, man-like, complete, 

Steep mountain-roads of high accomplishing ! 
Dim dragon in the way of our designing, 

No Bed-Cross Knight may vanquish ! Though most brave, 

Strong Will before thee crouches, a mute slave, 
Faith dies to feel thee in her path declining ! 

If! thou dost seem to our poor human sense 

The broken crutch of our blind providence ! 

The angel Opportunity, which comes at some time to all lives, but 
quickly vanishes if not boldly seized and firmly held, is the theme of 
one of Helen Hunt Jackson's most thoughtful sonnets. 

I do not know if, climbing some steep hill 

Through fragrant wooded pass, this glimpse I bought ; 



HIGGINSON] SONNETS. 37 

Or whether in some mid-day I was caught 
To upper air, where visions of God's will 
In pictures to our quickened sense fulfil 

His word. But this I saw : A path I sought 

Through wall of rock. No human fingers wrought 
The golden gates which opened, sudden, still, 
A.nd wide. My. fear was hushed by my delight. 

Surpassing fair the lands ; my path lay plain ; 
Alas ! so spell-bound, feasting on the sight, 

I paused, that I but reached the threshold bright, 
When, swinging swift, the golden gates again 
Were rocky walls, by which I wept in vain ! 

The following pretty and charmingly-rendered conception is from 
the pen of Thomas Wentworth Higginsoii. 

THE BABY SORCERESS. 

My baby sits beneath the tall elm-trees, 

A wreath of tangled ribbons in her hands ; 

She twines and twists the many-colored strands, 
A little sorceress, weaving destinies. 
Now the pure white she grasps, now naught can please 

But strips of crimson, lurid as the brands 

From passion's fires, or yellow, like the sands 
That lend soft setting to the azure seas. 
And so with sweet incessant toil she fills 

A summer hour, still following fancies new, 
Till through my heart a sudden terror thrills 

Lest, as she weaves, her aimless choice prove true. 
Thank God, our fates proceed not from our wills ! 

The power that spins the thread shall blend the hue. 

A volume of description could not characterize the mocking-bird 
more clearly than E. H. Wilde has done in his photographic sonnet. 

Winged mimic of the woods! thou motley fool! 
Who shall thy gay buffoonery describe ? 
HI. 4 



38 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BENJAMIN 

Thine ever-ready notes of ridicule 

Pursue thy fellows still with jest and gibe. 

Wit, sophist, songster, Yorick of thy tribe, 
Thou sportive satirist of Nature's school ; 

To thee the palm of scoffing we ascribe, 
Arch-mocker and mad Abbot of Misrule ! 

For such thou art by day but all night long 
Thou pour'st a soft, sweet, pensive, solemn strain, 

As if thou didst in this thy moonlight song 
Like to the melancholy Jacques complain, 

Musing on falsehood, folly, vice, and wrong. 
And sighing for thy motley coat again. 

We close with two sonnets of humorous character, as foil to the 
sombreness of tone of some of the preceding ones. 

SPORT. 

To see a fellow of a summer's morning, 

With a large foxhound of a slumberous eye 
And a slim gun, go slowly lounging by, 

About to give the feathered bipeds warning 

That probably they may be shot hereafter, 

Excites in me a quiet kind of laughter ; 

For, though I am no lover of the sport 
Of harmless murder, yet it is to me 
Almost the funniest thing on earth to see 

A corpulent person, breathing with a snort, 
Go on a shooting frolic all alone ; 

For well I know that when he's out of town, 

He and his dog and gun will all lie down, 

And undestructive sleep till game and light are flown. 

PARK BENJAMIN. 
TO THE CLAM. 

Inglorious friend ! most confident I am 
Thy life is one of very little ease ; 



NEAL] CHILDREN. 39 

Albeit men mock thee with their similes 
And prate of being "happy as a clam!" 
What though thy shell protects thy fragile head 

From the sharp bailiffs of the briny sea ? 

Thy valves are, sure, no safety-valves to thee, 
While rakes are free to desecrate thy bed, 
And bear thee oif, as foemen take their spoil, 

Far from thy -friends and family to roam 

Forced like a Hessian from thy native home, 
To meet destruction in a foreign broil ! 
Though thou art tender, yet thy humble bard 
Declares, O clam ! thy case is shocking hard. 

J. G. SAXE. 



CHILDREN. 

JOHN NEAL. 

[John Neal occupied at one time a sufficiently large place in Amer 
ican literature to deserve some attention at our hands, though he was 
too prolific to he careful, and his works novels, poems, plays, and 
magazine miscellany are no longer read. They display power and 
originality, hut little method or style. E. P. Whipple says of them, 
" John Neal's forces are multitudinous, and fire "briskly at everything. 
They occupy all the provinces of letters, and are nearly useless from 
being spread over too much ground." Some of his essays possess 
great merit. We give a short extract in illustration. He was born 
in Portland, Maine, in 1793, and died in 1876.] 



are children ? Step to the window with me. The 
street is fall of them. Yonder a school is let loose, and 
here, just within reach of our observation, are two or 
three noisy little fellows, and there another party muster 
ing for play. Some are whispering together, and plotting 
so loudly and so earnestly as to attract everybody's atten- 



40 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [NEAT, 

tion, while others are holding themselves aloof, -with their 
satchels gaping so as to betray a part of their plans for 
to-morrow afternoon, or laying their heads together in 
pairs for a trip to the islands. Look at them, weigh the 
question I have put to you, and then answer it as it 
deserves to be answered : What are children f 

To which you reply at once, without any sort of hesi 
tation, perhaps, " Just as the twig is bent, the tree's in 
clined ;" or, " Men are but children of a larger growth " 
or, peradventure, " The child is father of the man." And 
then perhaps you leave me, perfectly satisfied with your 
self and with your answer, having " plucked out the heart 
of the mystery," and uttered, without knowing it, a string 
of glorious truths. . . . 

Among the children who are now playing together, like 
birds among the blossoms of earth, haunting all the green 
shadowy places thereof, and rejoicing in the bright air, 
happy and beautiful creatures, and as changeable as happy, 
with eyes brimful of joy and with hearts playing upon 
their little faces like sunshine upon clear waters ; among 
those who are now idling together on that slope, or pur 
suing butterflies together on the edge of that wood, a 
wilderness of roses, you would see not only the gifted and 
the powerful, the wise and the eloquent, the ambitious and 
the renowned, the long-lived and the long-to-be-lamented 
of another age, but the wicked and the treacherous, the 
liar and the thief, the abandoned profligate and the faith 
less husband, the gambler and the drunkard, the robber, 
the burglar, the ravish er, the murderer, and the betrayer 
of his country. The child is father of the man. 

Among them and that other little troop just appearing, 
children with yet happier faces and pleasanter eyes, the 
blossoms of the future, the mothers of nations, you 
would see the founders of states and the destroyers of 



NEAL] CHILDREN. 41 

their country, the steadfast and the weak, the judge and 
the criminal, the murderer and the executioner, the exalted 
and the lowly, the unfaithful wife and the broken-hearted 
husband, the proud betrayer and his pale victim, the living 
and breathing portents and prodigies, the embodied virtues 
and vices of another age and another world, and all play 
ing together ! Men are but children of a larger growth. . . . 

Even fathers and mothers look upon children with a 
strange misapprehension of their dignity. Even with the 
poets they are only the flowers and blossoms, the dew- 
drops or the playthings, of earth. Yet " of such is the 
kingdom of heaven." The Kingdom of Heaven ! with all 
its principalities and powers, its hierarchies, dominations, 
thrones! The Saviour understood them better; to him 
their true dignity was revealed. Flowers ! They are the 
flowers of the invisible world ; indestructible, self-perpetu 
ating flowers, with each a multitude of angels and evil 
spirits underneath its leaves, toiling and wrestling for do 
minion over it ! Blossoms ! They are the blossoms of 
another world, whose fruitage is angels and archangels. 
Or dew-drops ! They are dew-drops that have their source, 
not in the chambers of the earth, nor among the vapors 
of the sky, which the next breath of wind, or the next 
flash of sunshine, may dry up forever, but among the 
everlasting fountains and inexhaustible reservoirs of mercy 
and love. Playthings ! If the little creatures would but 
appear to us in their true shape for a moment ! We should 
fall upon our faces before them, or grow pale with conster 
nation, or fling them off with horror and loathing. 

What would be our feelings to see a fair child start up 
before us a maniac or a murderer, armed to the teeth ? to 
find a nest of serpents on our pillow? a destroyer, or a 
traitor, a Harry the Eighth, or a Benedict Arnold, asleep 
in our bosom ? A Catherine or a Peter, a Bacon, a Galileo, 
in. 4* 



42 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [NEAL 

or a Bentham, a Napoleon, or a Yoltaire, clambering up 
our knees after sugar-plums? Cuvier laboring to distin 
guish a horse-fly from a blue-bottle, or dissecting a spider 
with a rusty nail ? La Place trying to multiply his own 
apples, or to subtract his playfellow's gingerbread ? What 
should we say to find ourselves romping with Messalina, 
Swedenborg, and Madame de Stael ? or playing bo-peep 
with Murat, Robespierre, and Charlotte Corday? or puss 
puss in the corner with George Washington, Jonathan 
Wild, Shakespeare, Sappho, Jeremy Taylor, Alfieri, and 
Harriet Wilson? Yet stranger things have happened. 
These were all children but the other day, and clambered 
about the knees and rummaged in the pockets and nestled 
in the laps of people no better than we are. But if they 
could have appeared in their true shape for a single 
moment, while they were playing together, what a scam 
pering there would have been among the grown folks! 
How their fingers would have tingled ! 

Now, to me there is no study half so delightful as that 
of these little creatures, with hearts fresh from the gardens 
of the sky, in their first and fairest and most unintentional 
disclosures, while they are indeed a mystery, a fragrant, 
luminous, and beautiful mystery ! . . . 

Then why not pursue the study for yourself? The 
subjects are always before you. No books are needed, no 
costly drawings, no lectures, neither transparencies nor 
illustrations. Your specimens are all about you. They 
come and go at your bidding. They are not to be hunted 
for along the edge of a precipice, on the borders of the 
wilderness, in the desert, nor by the sea-shore. They 
abound not in the uninhabited or unvisited place, but in 
your very dwelling-houses, about the steps of your doors, 
in every street of every village, in every green field and 
every crowded thoroughfare. 



SUMNER] ORATION ON LA FAYETTE. 43 

ORATION ON LA FAYETTE. 

CHARLES SUMNER. 

[From the many brilliant orations of the most celebrated and able 
Congressional opponent of slavery we select an extract from that upon 
La Fayette, alike for its biographical interest and the strong sympathy 
between orator and subject on the question of human liberty. As a 
writer Sumner was at once polished and vigorous, and as an orator no 
man of his day more fully enchained the attention of the Senate 
"With this the nobility and purity of his character had much to do. 
He was born in Boston in 1811, first came into prominent notice 
through his oration on " The True Grandeur of Nations" in 1845, and 
was the subject of a treacherous assault in the Senate-chamber in 1856, 
which disabled him for years. He died in 1874.] 

OVERTOPPING all others in character, La Fayette was 
conspicuous also in debate. Especially was he aroused 
whenever human liberty was in question ; nor did he 
hesitate to vindicate the great revolution in France, at 
once in its principles and in its practical results; boldly 
declaring that its evils were to be referred not so much 
to the bad passions of men as to those timid counsels 
which instituted compromise for principle. 

His parliamentary career was interrupted by an episode 
which belongs to the poetry of history, his visit to the 
United States upon the invitation of the American Con 
gress. The Boston poet at that time gave expression to 
the universal feeling when he said, 

" We bow not the neck, we bend not the knee. 
But our hearts, La Fayette, we surrender to thee." 

As there never was such a guest, so there never was such 
a host ; and yet, throughout all his transcendent hospitality, 
binding him by new ties, he kept the loyalty of his heart, 



44 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SUMMER 

he did not forget the African slave. But his country 
had further need of his services. Charles X. undertook 
to subvert the charter under which he held his crown, 
and Paris was again aroused, and France was heaving 
again. Then did all eyes turn to the patriot farmer of 
Lagrange to the hero already of two revolutions to in 
spire confidence alike by his bravery and by his principles. 
Now seventy-three years of age, with a few friends, among 
whom was a personal friend of my own. whom some of 
you also know, Dr. Howe, of Boston, he passed through 
the streets where the conflict was hotly raging, and across 
the barricades, to the City Hall, when he was again placed 
at the head of the national guard of France. 

" Liberty shall triumph," said he in his first proclama 
tion, " or we will perish together." Charles X. fell before 
the words of that old man. The destinies of France were 
again in his hand. He might have made himself Dictator; 
he might have established a republic of which he might 
have been chief; but, mindful of that moderation which 
was the rule of his life, unwilling to hazard again the 
civil conflict which had drenched France with fraternal 
blood, he proposed a popular throne surrounded by popular 
institutions. The Duke of Orleans, as Louis Philippe, 
became king of France. Unquestionably his own desire 
was for a republic, upon the American model ; but he gave 
up this darling desire of his heart, satisfied that, at least, 
liberty was secured. If this was not so, it was because, 
for a moment, he had put his trust in princes. 

He again withdrew to his farm ; but his heart was 
wherever liberty was in question, now with the Pole, 
now with the Italian, now with the African slave. For 
the rights of the latter he had unfailing sympathy, and 
upon the principle, as he expressed it, "Every slave has 
the right of immediate emancipation, by the concession 



SUMNKR] ORATION ON LA FAYETTE. 45 

of his master or by force, and this principle no man can 
call in question." Tenderly he approached this great 
question of our own country, but the constancy with 
which he did it shows that it haunted and perplexed him 
like a sphinx, with a perpetual riddle. He could not 
understand how men who had fought for their own liberty 
could deny liberty to others. But he did not despair; 
although at one time in his old age his impatient philan 
thropy broke forth in the declaration that he never 
would have drawn the sword for America had he known 
that it was to found a government that sanctioned human 
slavery. 

The time was now at hand when his great career was 
to close. Being taken ill, at first with a cold, the Chamber 
of Deputies inquired of his son after his health ; and upon 
the next day, May 20, 1834, he died, at the age of seventy- 
seven. The ruling passion was strong to the last. As 
at the beginning, so at the end, he was all for freedom ; 
and the last lines traced by his hand, which he rose 
from his death-bed to write, attest his joy at that great 
act of emancipation by which England, at an expense of 
a hundred million dollars, had given freedom to eight hun 
dred thousand slaves. "Nobly," he writes, and these 
were the last words of your benefactor, "nobly has the 
public treasure been employed." And these last words, 
speaking from the tomb, still sound in our ears. Such 
was La Fayette. At the tidings of his death there was 
mourning in two hemispheres, and the saying of Pericles 
was again fulfilled, for the whole earth was the sepulchre 
of the illustrious man. 

" Not to those chambers where the mighty rest, 
Since their foundation came a nobler guest ; 
Nor e'er was to the bowers of bliss convej'ed 
A purer spirit, or a fairer shade." 



46 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SUMNEK 

Judge him by what he did throughout a long life, and 
you must confess his greatness. Judge him by the prin 
ciples of his life, and you must bend with reverence before 
him. In all history he stands alone. There is no one who 
has done so much for human freedom. In youth showing 
the firmness of age, and in age showing the ardor of 
youth ; trampling upon the prejudices of birth, upon the 
seductions of power, upon the blandishments of wealth, 
setting aside the favor even of that people whom he loved 
so well ; whether placed at the height of worldly ambition, 
or plunged in the vaults of a dungeon, always true to the 
game principle. 

Great he was, indeed, not as an author, although he has 
written what we are all glad to read ; not as an orator, 
although he has spoken often and well ; not as a soldier, 
although always brave, and often working miracles of 
genius ; not as a statesman, although versed in govern 
ment and intuitively perceiving the relations of men and 
nations; not on these accounts is he great; but he is 
great as one of the world's benefactors, who possessed the 
largest measure of that greatest gift of God to man, the 
genius of beneficence. And great he is as an example, 
which, so long as history endures, shall teach all, the 
author, the orator, the soldier, the statesman, all alike 
to labor, and, if need be, to suffer, for human right. The 
fame of such a character, brightening with the advance of 
civilization, can find no limit except in earthly gratitude. 



HALPINE! A HYMN TO THE TYPES. 47 

A HYMN TO THE TYPES. 

CHARLES G. HALPINE. 

[Charles Graham Halpine, a poet and humorist of prolific powers, 
who wrote under the assumed name of " Miles O'Reilly," was born in 
Ireland in 1829, and died in 1869. His poems are very uneven in merit, 
and their humor is generally of a character adapted to a fixed period and 
situation and losing its point with the lapse of time. From his serious 
poems we extract one of much imaginative merit.] 

O SILENT myriad army, whose true metal 

Ne'er flinched nor blenched before the despot Wrong ! 
Ye brethren, linked in an immortal battle 

With time-grown Falsehoods, tyrannous and strong ! 
Fragments of strength and beauty lying idle, 

Each in its place, until the appointed day ; 
Then, swift as wheels the squadron to the bridle, 

Ye spring into the long, compact array. 

Obedient, self-contained, and self-contented, 

Like veteran warriors in the mingled broil, 
Each giving help where just his help is wanted, 

Nor seeking more than his due share of toil ; 
Striving not, vainly, each to be a leader, 

Your capitals are captains of the file, 
The crown you aim at, to inform the reader 

And help old Truth on for another mile. 

What wondrous dreams of beauty may be flying, 
Unwinged, unuttered, through your silent mass, 

Even as a prism in some deep grotto lying, 
Until the informing soul of Genius pass, 

Filling the cavern with a light as tender 

As that which breaks from Love's half-downcast eyes ; 



48 BEST AMERIfyiN AUTHORS. [H 

Then the cold gem awakes to rainbow splendor, 
Where, couched in moss, beside the fount it lies. 

Oh, what a burst of glory when ye mingle 

Your bloodless hands in the support of truth, 
When to your banded spell the pulses tingle 

Of tottering age and fiery-visioned youth ! 
What power and strength when ye stand up united 

Beneath the master-spirits' guiding sway ; 
A thousand lamps at one lone star-beam lighted, 

Turning the night of error into day. 

Ye are the messengers, all earth pervading, 

Who speak of comfort and communion still, 
Planks of a mighty ship, whose precious lading 

Is man's just reason and his heart's fond will : 
Launched on the stream of time, our thoughts are drifted 

Far, far adown our children-peopled shore, 
And the gay pennon of our hope is lifted 

When him it cheered through life it cheers no more. 

Unmarshalled army I earth is still a wonder, 

A bright G-od's wonder, all too little known ; 
Star-eyes above us, and the green sod under, 

Oceans of beauty girdling every zone ; 
And man himself, whose deep heart throbs forever 

With passionate longings, and the fierce unrest 
Of hopes that struggle in a vain endeavor 

To hear themselves by other lips confessed. 

Ye are the mightier tongues we have invented 
To bear our utterances ever and allwhere ; 

Our hearts into a thousand hearts transplanted, 
A multiplied existence ye confer. 



A HYMN TO THE TYPES. 49 

Falsehood, with bloodshot eyes, awoke from slumber 
And glared in baleful terror on your birth ; 

Meek-fronted Truth enrolled you in her number, 
And cried, " I am not without swords on earth !" 

Ye are true types of men. When disunited, 

The world has nothing feebler or more vain , 
But when one animated thought has lighted 

The dim recesses of each heart and brain, 
The mass rolls onward with a steady motion, 

Warned by your beacon from the rock of Death, 
The breath of Knowledge sweeps the stagnant ocean, 

And men rise up like billows at its breath. 

Ye are the swords of Truth, the only weapon 

That Truth should wield in this protracted war; 
Ye are the rocks of Knowledge that we step on, 

In thought's bright firmament, from star to star! 
I see an angel winged in every letter, 

Even as man's soul is hid within his clay : 
I see a prisoner with his broken fetter 

Emerging out of darkness into day. 

Unspeakable ye are ! We have created 

A new existence, than our own more firm ; 
Our life and hopes, into your life translated, 

Enjoy a being that shall know no term. 
The ploughman's frolic song still kindles gladness 

Within the heart, though care has known its core, 
And bright eyes weep at his recorded sadness 

Who sleeps where pride and envy sting no more. 

Even as the marble block contains all beauty, 
Enshrined in darkness and the outward husk, 
in. c d 5 



50 BEST AMERICAN A UTHORS. [HALPINE 

Which the warm sculptor, with love-prompted duty, 
Shall make to shine, through darkness and through 
dusk, 

Into the day of loveliness, ye treasure 

All forms of thought and song in your mute sphere j 

Our pen the chisel, and our rhyme the measure, 
By which we make the inborn god appear. 

"Would that my heart were wider-tongued and deeper, 

Nor moved involved in cares of meaner place, 
Then would I mow down, like a sturdy reaper, 

The crop of thought that rises from the " case." 
Flowers of bright songs, and fruit of mellow reason, 

And many a peeping bud of infant Truth, 
My soul should garner in its summer season, 

And steep in dews of a perpetual youth. 

But, ah ! mute typos, are ye not all too often 

Constrained to serve at some unsolaced toil, 
To harden hearts that ye would love to soften, 

And help to swell where ye would still the broil? 
.Even so with me ! My dreams of song are hurried 

Like moon-ray flashes through the drifting storm, 
And all that God made noble in me buried 

In wants I share in common with the worm. 



CLINTON] POLITICAL PARTIES. 51 

POLITICAL PARTIES. 

DE WITT CLINTON. 

[De Witt Clinton, an eminent American statesman, and for many 
years in the early part of the century identified with the political con 
ditions of New York City and State, was born at Little Britain, New 
York, in 1769. He was United States Senator in 1802, was Mayor of 
New York City for many years, and was elected Governor of New 
York in 1824 by a very large majority. To his earnest and persistent 
endeavors that State owed the Erie Canal. In 1812 he ran for Presi 
dent, and received eighty-nine electoral votes. He was an orator of 
unusual ability, and was intellectually of broad views and liberal 
learning. He displayed great interest in scientific studies, and wrote 
several natural history and historical treatises. He died in 1828. His 
amusing letter on political parties is one that stands good for all time.] 

MY DEAR SIR, 

In every country or village inn, the bar-room is the 
coffee-room, exchange, or place of intelligence, where all 
the quidnuncs, and newsmongers, and politicians of the 
district resort, and where strangers and travellers make 
their first entry. Neither my taste, my habits, nor my 
convenience will admit of gorgeous or showy equipments, 
and when I therefore take my seat in the caravanseras 
there is nothing in my appearance to attract particular 
attention. Many a person with whom I have held con 
versation has undoubtedly forgotten the subject, as well 
as the company. In the desultory and rapid manner in 
which such conferences are generally managed, a stranger 
is liable to mistake names and titles of office. I have no 
doubt but this had been my case frequently : I may have 
styled a major a colonel, and a sheriff a judge, and, if 
so, I assure you without the most distant idea of giving 
offence. 



52 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLINTON 

" Cursed be the verse, however sweet they flow, 
Which tend to make one worthy man my foe, 
Give virtue scandal, innocence a fear, 
Or from the meek-eyed virgin draw a tear." 

Volney told me in Paris that he travelled all over the 
West on foot. My countrymen Dr. M'Nevin and Dr. 
Goldsmith perambulated a great portion of Europe ; and 
Wilson, the father of American Ornithology, was almost 
always a pedestrian traveller. How cautious ought people 
to be when in company with strangers ! I have heard folly 
from the mouths of lawgivers, and ribaldry in the con 
versations of the notables of the land. Unnoticed, un 
observed, reclining on my chair in the bar-room, I have 
seen human nature without disguise, the artificial great 
man exhibiting his importance, the humble understrapper 
listening like a blacksmith to a tailor's news, the oracle 
of the place mounted on his tripod and pronouncing his 
opinions with solemn gravity. Oh, if I had been recognized 
as a traveller from the eastern world, a keen observer of 
human nature, and a recorder of what I saw, I humbly 
hope that much nonsense would have been spared, and 
many improper exhibitions prevented ; but then I would 
have seen man at a masquerade. I now derive light from 
my obscurity, and observe this world as it is. My plain 
dress, my moderate expenditures, my unobtrusive beha 
vior, avert particular remark. It is only in the society 
of such men as I meet with in this place that I am con 
sidered as of the least importance. The prevalent con 
versations all over this federal republic are on the subjects 
of political excitement. After some sage remarks on the 
weather, which compose the exordium of all conversations, 
the man of America, like the man of Athens, asks, " What 
news ?" It is needless to say that I have steered entirely 
clear of political and theological strife. I hardly under- 



CLINTON] POLITICAL PARTIES. 53 

stand the nomenclature of parties. They are all repub 
licans, and yet a portion of the people assume the title 
of republican, as an exclusive right, or patent monopoly. 
They are all federalists, that is, in favor of a general 
government, and yet a party arrogate to themselves this 
appellation to the disparagement of the others. It is easy 
to see that the difference is nominal, that the whole con 
troversy is about office, and that the country is constantly 
assailed by ambitious demagogues for the purpose of grat 
ifying their cupidity. It is a melancholy but true reflec 
tion on human nature, that the smaller the difference the 
greater the animosity. Mole-hills and rivulets become 
mountains and rivers. The Greek empire was ruined by 
two most inveterate factions, the Prasini and Yineti, 
which originated in the color of livery in equestrian races. 
The parties of Guelphs and Ghibelines, of Eoundheads 
and Cavaliers, of Whigs and Tories, continued after all 
causes of difference were merged. I have often asked 
some of the leading politicians of this country what con 
stituted the real points of discrimination between the 
Eepublicans and Federalists, and I never could get a satis 
factory answer. 

An artful man will lay hold of words, if he cannot of 
things, in order to promote his views. The Jansenists and 
the Jesuits, the Nominalists and the Realists, the Sublap- 
sarians and the Supralapsarians, were in polemics what 
the party controversies of this people are in politics. If 
you place an ass at an equal distance between two bundles 
of hay, will he not remain there to all eternity ? was a 
question solemnly propounded and gravely debated by the 
Schoolmen. The motive to eat both, some contended, 
being equal, it was impossible for the animal to come to 
a conclusion. He would therefore remain in a state of 
inaction forever and forever. This problem, so puzzling 
in. 6* 



54 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLINTON 

to scholastic philosophers, would at once be decided by the 
ass, and the experimentum crucis would effectually silence 
every doubt. It is impossible for a man quietly disposed, 
to act the supposititious part of the scholastic ass, and re 
main neutral between the parties, or bundles of hay. He 
must, in truth, participate in one or in both, and, as it re 
spects any radical difference of principle, it is very imma 
terial which he selects. There are some pendulum poli 
ticians who are continually oscillating between parties, 
and these men, in endeavoring to expiate their former 
oppugnation by fiery zeal, are mere firebrands in societj^. 
In order to cover their turpitude, they assume high-sound 
ing names, and are in verity political partisans, laying 
claim to be high-minded, and, like Jupiter on Olympus, 
elevated above the atmosphere of common beings. And 
what adds infinitely to the force of these pretensions, is 
to find most of these gentry to be heroes of petty strife, 
and the leaders of village vexation, the fag-ends of the 
learned professions, and the outcasts of reputable associa 
tions. I often think of the observations of the honest 
old traveller Tournefort, when I see the inordinate vio 
lence of these high-minded gentlemen. "The Turks" 
(says he), " take 'em one with another, are much honester 
men than renegadoes ; and perhaps it is out of contempt 
that they do not circumcise renegadoes ; for they have a 
common saying that a bad Christian will never make a 
good Turk." 



\\INCHELL] OBLITERATED CONTINENTS. 55 



OBLITERATED CONTINENTS, 

ALEXANDER WINCHELL. 

[Of our recent geologists Winchell is one of the most active, and 
probably the best known of all to the reading public, from his several 
widely-read volumes of popular science. Of these we may name 
" Sketches of Creation," " Preadamites," " World Life," and " Sparks 
from a Geologist's Hammer," from which last our selection is made. 
He is somewhat radical in theory, and advocates many views which 
do not seem likely to be sustained, but as an intermediary between 
science and common thought he performs a very useful and agreeable 
service. Mr. Winchell was born in New York State in 1824. He 
has occupied professorial positions in several universities, and since 
1879 has filled the chair of geology and palaeontology in the Univer 
sity of Michigan.] 

THE mute and inanimate rocks, to one who questions 
them, are rich in teaching and suggestions. They speak 
not ; they bear no record in any human language ; yet in 
reason's ear they are vocal with instruction ; to reason's 
eye they are all luminous with the thought which beams 
from the hieroglyphics inscribed upon their pages. 

It is a further lesson of wastage which we propose now 
to study. The rocks are not imperishable; and their very 
disappearance is a text for reflection. I stand beneath a 
beetling cliff, perchance the beetling sandstone cliffs of 
Chautauqua County, in New York, or of the " Pictured 
Hocks" at Lake Superior, or, perchance, those banded and 
variegated courses of crumbling masonry which wall in 
the valley of the Upper Mississippi, and there I perceive 
not only that a portion of the rocky mass has been re 
moved, but also that which remains is merely the debris, 
the ruins, of some former rock or rocks which were ground 
to fragments to build up the foundation which constitutes 



56 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

these massive walls and these overstretching shelters. If 
I scrutinize any of these cliffs, I find them composed of 
grains of sand. It is a quartz sand. In those words I 
imply that a quartz rock has at some time been broken 
into fine fragments. Some agency has assorted the frag 
ments and brought the finer ones together here, in these 
magnificent ranges of sandstone precipices, in these ex 
tensive sandstone formations, which underlie whole coun 
ties, which underlie, or have underlaid, States broad 
enough for an empire. 

How few of us have reflected in this direction ! The 
very rocks which underlie Chicago or New York are a 
pile of ruins. Everywhere, the rocks are almost univer 
sally old material made over, who can say how many 
times made over ? The geologist formerly discoursed of 
fire-formed rocks, and regarded granite and its associates 
as rocks that had assumed their present condition from a 
state of fusion. Now, we are persuaded that granite, like 
sandstones, has had a sedimentary origin. It was once a 
mass of sand and mud upon a sea-bottom. Heat has sub 
sequently baked the materials, and almost obliterated the 
ancient lines of stratification. The rocks now admitted 
to be of igneous origin are few. Only ancient and modern 
lavas are fire-formed rocks. 

How vast, then, has been the destruction of the land in 
ancient times ! The entire mass of the solid crust of the 
earth save only the lavas must be taken as the measure 
of the wastage or denudation of the older lands. Eeflect 
upon the thickness of these strata, reaching, perhaps, a 
hundred thousand feet, and enwrapping the entire globe. 
Only the oldest layers or formations are absolutely con 
tinuous ; and the very newest occur in patches of limited 
extent ; but the newer as well as the older underlie all the 
seas, and the mean thickness is so vast as to convey a 



WINCHELL] OBLITERATED CONTINENTS. 57 

vivid idea of the amount of work which has been done by 
geological agencies in diminishing, or even obliterating, 
continental masses whose sites are now lost, or known 
only from surviving vestiges. 

It is an interesting thought, an impressive thought, 
that mountains which once reared their heads above the 
clouds have been gnawed down by the tooth of time, and 
that whole continents built on foundations of granite, 
once clothed with sombre forests and swarming with the 
humble populations of a primeval time, have been literally 
eaten up by the sea. Lift up your eyes and behold the 
proofs. Look around you and contemplate the fragments 
of a meal which consisted of mountains and cubic miles 
of solid land. 

"We turn again to a survey of some of the facts. There 
is a region on the American continent which we style the 
Archaean. It lies north of the St. Lawrence and the great 
lakes. It is composed of the oldest rocks known to geol 
ogy. There they come to the surface ; but we know 
that they continue underneath formations of more recent 
date both on the north and the south. They spread under 
us everywhere. These rocks are hard and crystalline. 
They embrace gianites and syenites and diorites; but 
they are all sedimentary. They are not a part of the primi 
tive, fire-formed crust of the earth ; they are fragmental. 
Some older formation some older land has been worn 
down to supply the material for these vast beds of detritus. 
But I said these are the oldest rocks known. The oldest 
known rocks are composed of worked-over material. The 
oldest known rocks are built of the ruins of some wasted 
land, on which human eyes have never rested. Where lay 
the lands whose slowly- crumbling Chores yielded the 
quartz and the granite to build up the Laurentide hills ? 
When these hills first rose, slime-covered, from the uni- 



58 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WINCHELL 

versal sea, only a waste of waters surrounded them. We 
are certain, at least, that for many geologic periods the ocean 
expanse, on all sides, was unbroken. Land there certainly 
had been, dry land, arid land, formed of the first cooled 
crust of the globe. This has disappeared by the en 
croachment of heat from beneath. It is possible there 
was a time when some portion of this primitive lava-crust 
stood forth above the level of the ancient ocean. It is 
possible that the old Archaean land is built of the ruins of 
a fire-formed continent. But I deem it more probable 
that the Archaean materials have been more than once 
worked over. But, wherever the truth may lie in this re 
spect, the very constitution of the oldest rocks which we 
know proclaims the existence of an obliterated continent. 
Turn next to this Archaean continent itself. On its 
own part it reveals a wastage of enormous magnitude. 
The great sheets of rocky material rest like lumber piled 
on edge. On opposite slopes of the Laurentide region the 
strata point up to a meeting-place some thousands of feet 
above the highest levels as they now exist. Clearly, the 
Laurentide range was at one time a mountain-chain which 
uas been planed down to moderate levels by the action of 
erosive agencies. Turn toward the eastward prolonga 
tion of this low range of Canadian Kills north of the St. 
Lawrence. This ancient land abuts against the coast of 
Labrador. But now the navigator brings us new sugges 
tions. The sounding-plummet has felt of the ocean's 
bottom all the way from Newfoundland to Ireland. There 
is the "telegraphic plateau." On this rests the great 
Atlantic cable. Here, in this shallow water, along this 
submerged ridge, do we not discover the stump of the 
ancient prolongation of the Archaean land ? Are not 
Newfoundland, Cape Breton, New Brunswick, and the 
smaller islands of that vicinity, remaining patches of a 



WINCHELL] OBLITERATED CONTINENTS. 59 

continental prolongation which has been worn down by 
the waves ? And are not Ireland and the smaller contig 
uous islands on the European side the vestiges of the 
remote extremity of the Archsean land of America? And 
were not Great Britain and America once united in bonds 
of granite ? And is not the telegraphic cable which re 
unites them an instrument for the fulfilment of a destiny? 

Who can declare whither the substance of the Archaean 
continent has gone ? Where are the cubic miles of stuff 
which have been taken from the higher altitudes of the 
Laurentide range, and from that Atlantic prolongation 
which is now reduced to a submerged stump ? I think 
we may safely say the sandstones of Potsdam, in New 
York, are formed from Archaean material. The cliffs at 
Little Falls and Albany are formed of materials con 
tributed by the older land. I think we may say that the 
vast beds of Silurian, Devonian, and Carboniferous strata 
account for some of the material missing from the Archaean 
continent. There are the Alleghany Mountains, or, 
better, the entire Appalachian chain, built out of coarse 
materials brought from the northeast. We know they 
came from the northeast because the materials grow 
coarser in that direction. The lighter fragments the 
sands and clays are transported farthest from the shore. 
It was the sea which performed this work of transporta 
tion. It was the sea which conspired with the storms of 
heaven in tearing down the old land to convey it into the 
territory of the United States. There, in a long stream, 
stretching from New England to Alabama, the " dust of a 
continent to be" was laid down in the bottom of the ocean. 

Now, in this search for continental relics, turn south 
ward. There are the West India Islands, composed also 
of ancient rocks, perhaps mostly, certainly not altogether, 
of rocks of the same age as those forming the Laurentide 



60 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ WINCH ELL 

hills. I think it probable another continent spread over 
the Caribbean Sea at the time of the continental connec 
tion of America and Europe. There, where that primitive 
continent lay, are Cuba, now, and Jamaica, and the Lesser 
Antilles, hundreds in number, the rags and tatters of 
a land once continuous, perhaps beautiful, perhaps en 
during until the middle ages of geological history, and 
then populated by the grotesque forms of reptiles which 
were, in that time, the highest and the dominant type of 
beings upon the earth. That West Indian continent over 
lapped a small portion of South America. Guiana was 
annexed to that which has become the West Indies. All 
other parts of South America were beneath the sea. The 
Andes ah ! the Andes were building, receiving, proba 
bly, the self-same material which was disappearing from 
the West Indian continent. Stretching from Cuba north 
ward was the ocean, whose northern shore was in Canada, 
in later time in Central New York. Here, where rise 
the cliffs which we ignorantly style " everlasting," was 
then the empire of the ocean. There, where Neptune 
now holds almost undisputed sway, rose ranges of granitic 
mountains, which have melted into sediment. Tennyson 
has happily rendered the thought : 

" There rolls the deep where grew the tree. 
O earth, what changes hast thou seen I 
There where the long street roars, hath been 
The stillness of the central sea. 

" The hills are shadows, and they flow 

From form to form , and nothing stands ; 
They melt like mist, the solid lands, 
Like clouds they shape themselves and go." 

In Memoriam, cxxi. 

Turn next to the opposite side of the globe. Southeast 






WINCHELL] OBLITERATED CONTINENTS. 61 

of Africa is a group of islands which Milne-Edwards first 
designated as the remnant of a wasted continent. Mada 
gascar, the Isle of France, the Isle of Bourbon, and their 
associates, seem to be the vestiges of an obliterated land, 
which the French zoologist proposed to call the Masca- 
rene continent. Lemuria is a name now generally em 
ployed to designate an obliterated land which embraced 
the Mascarene continent and stretched eastward over a 
portion of the site of the Indian Ocean, perhaps far 
enough eastward to embrace the East India Islands. 
There, at least, seem to be the remnants of an ancient 
land which fulfilled its destiny before the broad plains 
and stupendous mountain-chains of Asia had first re 
ceived the sunlight. This lost continent is named Le 
muria because there is evidence that it was the original, 
the central home of the Lemurs, the lowest of the 
monkeys, from which all higher types of four-handed 
animals are descended. Lemuria was a central land for 
animal and vegetable life. Here, it is fancied, the human 
species began its existence, its diverging streams extend 
ing themselves to all other lands, and developing upon 
them the various races of men as we know them. In 
Africa, human beings became Negroes and Hottentots ; 
in Australia, Australians and Papuans ; in Hindustan, 
Dravidians ; in Eastern Asia, Mongoloids ; in Central and 
Western Asia, the Mediterranean race. The theory im 
plies that the progenitor of the Mediterranean race made 
his appearance long, very long, after the first human 
being appeared in Lemuria. In consequence of these 
speculations, the lost continent of Lemuria possesses a 
high degree of interest. There organization first reached 
its culmination. Thence, as a centre, the modern tribes 
of plants and highest animals have diverged into other 
parts of the world. 

ITT 6 



62 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WINCHELL 

But let us return now to America. On our northwest 
coast we reach a point within thirty-nine miles of Asia. 
Behring's Strait, which separates the two continents, is 
a channel geologically modern. There was a time when 
an isthmus connected the lands now dissevered by a 
strait. America was then, like Africa, the prolongation 
of Asia. Over this isthmus travelled the Hairy Mammoth 
from Siberia, and left his teeth and bones all the way from 
Asia to the Grulf of Mexico. Over this isthmus came the 
Mongoloid man who settled America and developed the 
Mexican and Yucatese and Peruvian civilizations, and in 
other regions became the red Indian, the Eskimo, and the 
Aleut. Yet we have evidences of a wider communication 
between Asia and America. The whole of Behring's Sea 
is formed of shallow water. On its southern boundary 
we find a precipitous descent into the bed of the great 
Pacific. Here is another continental stump. Here is 
another telegraphic plateau. May the time soon arrive 
when human enterprise will take nature's hint and reunite 
the mother land with our own ! But there are the Aleu 
tian Islands: what means that wonderful chain arching 
from the Alaskan point across the North Pacific to Japan ? 
Are not these the vestiges of the mountain-barrier which 
bounded the ancient continent of the north ? What are 
these volcanic islands but the smoking chimney-tops of 
another Andes, sunken in the watery depths ? 

These are the relics of continents which have disap 
peared. Their substance has entered into the upbuild 
ing of other lands, as the pyramids have yielded mate 
rial for the construction of modern cities. There rise the 
Himalayas, whose very bricks bear the records of the Le- 
murian age. There rise the Eocky Mountains, enriched 
by the pillage of a land whose misfortune it was to perish 
before human pens existed to celebrate its beauty. There 



WINCH ELL] OBLITERATED CONTINENTS. 63 

tower the Alleghanies, only as a majestic dirt-heap result 
ing from the destruction of the North Atlantic continent. 
There rises the Andean rampart of South America, reared 
for the benefit of the human age, but at the cost of a pre 
human land of verdure and beauty whose very rags we 
*tyle ^ the beautiful Antilles." . . . 

We have no need to plunge beneath the sea and explore 
for fossil continents to be convinced that continents have 
their old age. The records of wasted areas are illuminated 
by the daily sun. The Alleghanies have been lowered 
nine thousand feet. When, at the close of the Coal Period, 
the crust of the earth yielded to the long-increasing strain, 
huge folds were uplifted from Vermont to Alabama ; and 
some of them attained an altitude of fifteen thousand feet. 
Since that fearful throe of nature, the elements have been 
busy taking down what the forces of upheaval had reared. 
Cubic miles of the Alleghanies have been reduced to sand. 
The proud summits of the mountains lie strewed along 
the humble shores of the Atlantic States. 

There stand the Catskills, a pile of horizontal leaves 
of red sandstone. Abruptly, on either slope, the rocky 
strata terminate. There was a time when they continued 
eastward across the valley of the Hudson. The wear of 
chiliads of years has carted the formation away. There 
was a time when they continued westward across the 
entire southern border of the State. Those cliffs at 
Panama, in Chautauqua County, are a remnant left as a 
specimen of the formation, for the edification of tbo 
student of nature. The huge blocks of the " Eock Cities" 
of Alleghany and Cattaraugus counties in the same State 
are samples left for the encouragement of geologists in 
those regions. Other specimen rocks of the Catskills may 
be seen in places from Delaware County westward. It is 
fearful to contemplate the immensity of the mechanical 



64 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WINCHELL 

power which could carry away the surface of half a State 
to the depth of a thousand feet. Here, at fifty cents a 
cubic yard, would be a perennial job for the contractor of 
the " New York ring." 

Without leaving the same State, let me take the reader 
to the ridge road which runs along the south shore of 
Lake Ontario. Here the broad sheets of sandstone, lime- 
. stone, and shale which underlie the State come to the sur 
face and terminate in an abrupt cliff. Beyond is Lake 
Ontario. What has become of the missing continuation 
of these formations ? 

Go to the Niagara gorge ; see how the faithful industry 
of an agent " as weak as water" can accomplish results 
which defy the capacity of human engineering. Here 
was the Niagara, as busy in Mesozoic time as to-day, as 
busy in Cenozoic time as if its work were just begun. 
There is the living gorge, and there is the old gorge, 
buried in its grave. Buried with materials obtained by 
tearing to pieces some other land, buried by that agency 
which piled up these hills of gravel and sand which every 
where diversify the surface of our Northern States ; which 
brought these acres of loose deposits from the worn and 
wasted sides of Northern hills ; which dipped its flinty 
ploughshare in the back of the surface-rocks of every 
Northern State, and ripped up the rubbish which has filled 
many an old river-channel and plastered over many an 
unsightly scar which the wear of time had cut in the face 
of the land ; the same agency which scooped out many of 
the lake-basins, and scalped the hills for a booty to bestow 
on a desolated and sorrow-stricken country. It was the 
continental glacier which did this work ; and the desolated 
country was a land that had been weathered and worn by 
the erosions of unknown cycles of time, a land gashed 
with the deep-cut gorges of long-wearing streams ; gullied 



WINCHELL] OBLITERATED CONTINENTS. 65 

by the summer torrents of many geologic periods ; robbed 
of its slender soil by the prolonged denudations of the 
surface; a worn-out continental expanse, a land ex 
hausted in the service of the beasts which had held do 
minion here through Cenozoic time, but a land destined 
to receive a higher being, and now renovated by such 
thorough- working agencies for his reception. 

He who has visited the flourishing city of Nashville 
finds it situated in the bottom of a basin, a great natural 
basin, scooped in the rocks of Central Tennessee, whose 
sides are layers of Lower Silurian, Upper Silurian, Devo 
nian, and Carboniferous rocks. It is a basin a hundred 
miles in diameter and a thousand feet in depth. On the 
east and the west, on the north and the south, the same 
succession of rocks rises in the bounding wall. There can 
be no error in my conclusion that these formations were 
once continuous from side to side. Here, then, is another 
example of the wastage of the land. The central mass 
of Tennessee was needed to build up the Cretaceous and 
Tertiary formations as a foundation for Alabama and 
Mississippi. 

Still, the most gigantic examples of denudation occur 
in the far West. The canons of the Colorado, made 
famous by the explorations of dewberry and Powell, are 
river-gorges cut six thousand feet deep through the rocky 
formations of the country. All the lateral affluents of the 
Colorado have dug similar trenches. They intersect the 
surface in every direction, and render it almost impassable. 
Of these gorges Joaquin Miller writes, 

" Down in a canon so cleft asunder 

By sabre-stroke in the young world's prime, 
It looks as if broken by bolts of thunder, 
Riven and driven by turbulent time." 

Songs of the Sierras 
in. e 6* 



66 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WINCHELL 

The soils are washed away ; the naked rock bakes in the 
summer sun, and no cooling shower mitigates the fervor 
of the climate. This desert of the continent was once its 
garden. The ruin has been wrought by the same agencies 
which have desolated Palestine till the white bones of the 
hills protrude where vineyards once blushed and olive- 
trees cast their delicious shade. It was the same agency 
which is preying to-day upon the farms of New York and 
New England and is planning to skin the soils again from 
the sterile rocks and leave the continent as lean as before 
the "reign of ice." 

In that western country, but farther north, in Wyoming, 
Major Powell has discovered an enormous fault or break 
through the rocks. On one side the ponderous crust of the 
earth was uplifted twenty-five thousand feet, more than 
four miles. The reader may picture a vertical wall four miles 
in height. He may imagine himself standing at its base 
and looking upward. Its summit is dimmed by the smoke 
of distance. Its summit is half the time immersed in the 
clouds. He need not imagine such a cliif ; it is not there ; 
it has been planed down ; the levelling tendency of nature 
would not tolerate such inequalities. Twenty-five thou 
sand feet of solid rocks have been moved away. 

These are examples of erosion on the existing conti 
nents. I could point to many others, to the dissolution 
of the hills of Texas and their distribution over the plains 
nearer the Gulf border ; to the wearing away of the east 
ern coast of the United States ; to the isolated hills rising 
eight hundred feet along the valley of the Amazons, stand 
ing as vestiges of an extensive formation which, in times 
geologically recent, has covered the valley; to the enor 
mous erosion of the continental mass in the neighborhood 
of the mouths of the Amazons and Para ; to the evidence 
that the North Sea has been dry land since Tertiary time, 



WiNCHELLj OBLITERATED CONTINENTS. 67 

and that the Thames was then a tributary of the Ehine ; 
to the proof that the English Channel has been excavated 
since the advent of man in Europe; to the Chinese record 
of hydrographic changes in China which have shifted the 
positions of great cities hundreds of miles in relation to 
the sea. 

But I must close the citation of these evidences of the 
invasion of old age upon the beauty, the symmetry, and 
the habitability of continents, by raising the question of 
the rate of erosion of their surfaces. If we look about 
us, we discover the evidences of great change in the con 
figuration of the hill-sides within a few years. One sum 
mer's rains plough unsightly gullies in our cultivated fields 
and across our streets. These changes, resulting from 
local transfers of earthy material, are filling lakes, and 
draining marshes, and transforming the hills; but it is 
only the transfer of the continental substance to the 
ocean's bed which threatens the total obliteration of con 
tinents. The sediment carried down by rivers is an ex 
ponent of the efficient wastage and the rate of disappear 
ance of the land. The sediments of the Mississippi have 
been carefully measured by Humphreys and Abbott, gov 
ernment engineers. The river discharges annually suffi 
cient earthy material to form a mass one mile square and 
two hundred and sixty-eight feet deep. In other words, 
it is sufficient to extend the bar at the mouth of the river 
three hundred and thirty-eight feet annually. They also 
estimate that the material of the entire delta of the Mis 
sissippi may have been deposited within five thousand 
years. These quantities of sediment are vast, and impress 
us with a conviction that the solid land is disappearing at 
a rate which is almost alarming. But these volumes of 
sediment are gathered up from so vast an area that the 
lowering of any particular square mile is insignificant in 



68 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WINCHELL 

any limited time. New York contributes something to 
this deposit through the Alleghany and Ohio Elvers. The 
Eocky Mountains send their quota to mingle with the 
mud floated from New York and Pennsylvania ; and all 
the great tributaries of this great artery of the continent 
reach out their myriad fingers over the farms and planta 
tions, the hill-sides and the mountain-gulches, to filch, as 
fast as they can, the fleeing soil from the possession of the 
cultivator and owner. 

" The Father of Waters 

Seizes the hills in his hands, and drags them down to the ocean, 
Deep in the sands to bury the scattered bones of the mammoth." 

Evangeline. 

Professor Croll estimates the lowering of the lands 
through denudation to amount to one foot in six thousand 
years. The basin of the Granges, however, has lowered 
one foot in two thousand three hundred years. On the 
contrary, Mr. Eeade, a civil engineer, estimates that Eng 
land is lowered by denudation only one foot in thirteen 
thousand years. He calculates that five hundred millions 
of years must have elapsed since the first sedimentary 
rocks were laid down in Europe, an estimate evidently 
absurd, and throwing suspicion over his other estimates, 
since Sir William Thompson has shown from physical 
principles that one hundred millions of years are all the 
time allowable since the beginning of incrustation on the 
earth. Similarly, Colonel Forshey calculates that the 
Mississippi Eiver would fill the Gulf of Mexico in one 
million of years. 

All calculations are merely approximate. I am per 
suaded, however, that the conclusions of Croll and Eeade 
respecting the rate of denudation are quite below the 
truth ; while, on the other hand, I suspect that the esti- 



TAYLOR] PEDESTRIANISM IN EUROPE. 69 

mated age of the Mississippi delta by Humphreys and 
Abbott is quite too small, as I would hold that the opinion 
of De Lanoye, who assigns six thousand three hundred 
and fifty years as the age of the Nile delta, is also too 
moderate in its allowance of time. 

From this outline of the facts we perceive that conti 
nents are wearing out. Each continental area abides its 
time, and gradually yields to the destructive agencies 
which are always at work. Each period of the world's 
history has had its continental surfaces for the accommo 
dation of its appropriate populations. When the period 
has reached its close, the continents have been exhausted, 
and renovating agencies have been summoned to restore 
their pristine condition. When impaired beyond recuper 
ation, the powers of nature have been invoked for the 
uplift and utilization of new continental masses, which 
through ages had been building under water, out of the 
stolen materials of older lands. So our own farms and 
mountains will ultimately disappear, and the footing of 
the human race will vanish beneath their feet. A wasted 
continent and a wasted world must cease to retain its or 
ganic populations. Thus we see a promise of release of 
our race from the planet to which it is now confined. 



PEDESTRIANISM IN EUROPE. 

BAYARD TAYLOR. 



To see Europe as a pedestrian requires little preparation, 
if the traveller is willing to forego some of the refinements 
of living to which he may have been accustomed, for the 
sake of the new and interesting fields of observation 



70 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TAYLOR 

which will be opened to him. He must be content to 
sleep on hard beds and partake of coarse fare; to undergo 
rudeness at times from the officers of the police and the 
porters of palaces and galleries; or to travel for hours in 
rain and storm without finding a shelter. The knapsack 
will at first be heavy upon the shoulders, the feet will be 
sore and the limbs weary with the day's walk, and some 
times the spirit will begin to flag under the general fatigue 
of body. This, however, soon passes over. In a week's 
time, if the pedestrian does not attempt too much on 
setting out, his limbs are stronger, and his gait more firm 
and vigorous ; he lies down at night with a feeling of re 
freshing rest, sleeps with a soundness undisturbed by a 
single dream, that seems almost like death, if he has been 
accustomed to restless nights, and rises invigorated in 
heart and frame for the next day's journey. The coarse 
black bread of the peasant inns, with cheese no less coarse, 
and a huge mug of milk or the nourishing beer of Ger 
many, have a relish to his keen appetite which excites his 
own astonishment. And if he is willing to regard all 
incivility and attempts at imposition as valuable lessons 
in the study of human nature, and to keep his temper and 
cheerfulness in any situation which may try them, he is 
prepared to walk through the whole of Europe, with more 
real pleasure to -himself, and far more profit, than if he 
journeyed in style and enjoyed (?) the constant services 
of couriers and valets de place. 

Should his means become unusually scant, he will find 
it possible to travel on an amazingly small pittance, and 
with more actual bodily comfort than would seem possible 
to one who has not tried it. I was more than once obliged 
to walk a number of days in succession on less than a 
franc a day, and found that the only drawback to my 
enjoyment was the fear that I might be without relief 



TAYLOR] PEDESTRIANISM JN EUROPE. ^\ 

when this allowance should be exhausted. One observes, 
admires, wonders, and learns quite as extensively, under 
such circumstances, as if he had unlimited means. 

The only expense that cannot be reduced at will, in 
Europe, is that for sleeping. You may live on a crust of 
bread a day, but lower than four cents for a bed you cannot 
go. In Germany this is the regular price paid by trav 
elling journeymen, and no one need wish for a more com 
fortable resting-place than those massive boxes (when you 
have become accustomed to their shortness), with their 
coarse but clean linen sheets and healthy mattresses of 
straw. In Italy the price varies from half a paul to a 
paul (ten cents); but a person somewhat familiar with the 
language would not often be asked more than the former 
price, for which he has a bed stuffed with corn-husks, large 
enough for at least three men. I was asked in France five 
sous in all the village inns from Marseilles to Dieppe. The 
pedestrian cares far more for a good rest than for the 
quality of his fare, and a walk of thirty miles prepares 
him to find it, on the hardest couch. I usually rose before 
sunrise, and immediately began the day's journey, the cost 
of lodging having been paid the night before, a universal 
custom among the common inns, which are frequented by 
the peasantry. At the next village I would buy a loaf of 
the hard brown bread, with some cheese, or butter, or 
whatever substantial addition could be made at trifling 
cost, and breakfast on a bank by the road-side, lying at 
full length on the dewy grass and using my knapsack as 
a table. I might also mention that a leathern pouch, 
fastened on one side of this table, contained a knife and 
fork, and one or two solid tin boxes, for articles which 
could not be carried in the pocket. A similar pouch at 
the other side held pen and ink, and a small bottle which 
was filled sometimes with the fresh water of the streams 



72 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TAYLOR 

and sometimes with the common country wine, which cost 
from three to six sous the quart. 

After walking more than half the distance to be accom. 
plished, with half an hour's rest, dinner would be made in 
the same manner, and, while we rested the full hour 
allotted to the mid-day halt, guide-books would be ex 
amined, journals written, or a sketch made of the land 
scape. If it was during the cold, wet days of winter, wo 
sought a rock, or sometimes the broad abutment of a 
chance bridge, upon which to lie ; in summer it mattered 
little whether we rested in sun or shade, under a bright 
or rainy sky. The vital energy which this life in the 
open air gives to the constitution is remarkable. The 
very sensation of health and strength becomes a positive 
luxury, and the heart overflows with its buoyant exuber 
ance of cheerfulness. Every breath of the fresh morning 
air was like a draught of some sparkling elixir, gifted with 
all the potency of the undiscovered Fountain of Youth. 
We felt pent and oppressed within the walls of a dwelling; 
it was far more agreeable to march in the face of a driving 
shower, under the beating of which the blood grew fresh 
and warm, than to sit by a dull fireplace waiting for it to 
cease. Although I had lived mainly upon a farm until 
the age of seventeen, and was accustomed to out-door 
exercise, I never before felt how much life one may draw 
from air and sunshine alone. 

Thus, what at first was borne as a hardship became at 
last an enjoyment, and there seemed to me no situation 
so extreme that it did not possess some charm to my 
mind, which made me unwilling to shrink from the experi 
ence. Still, as one depth of endurance after another was 
reached, the words of Cicero would recur to me as en 
couragement: "Perhaps even this may hereafter be re 
membered with pleasure." Once only, while waiting six 



TAYLOR] PEDESTRIANISM IN EUROPE. 73 

days at Lyons in gloomy weather and among harsh people, 
without a sous and with a strong doubt of receiving any 
relief, I became indifferent to what might happen, and 
would have passively met any change for the worse, as 
men who have been exposed to shipwreck for days scarce 
make an eifort to save themselves when the vessel strikes 
at last. 

A few words in relation to a pedestrian's equipment may 
be of some practical value. It is best to take no more 
clothing than is absolutely required, as the traveller will 
not desire to carry more than fifteen pounds on his back, 
knapsack included. A single suit of good dark cloth, 
with a supply of linen, will be amply sufficient. The 
strong linen blouse, confined by a leather belt, will protect 
it from the dust, and when this is thrown aside on enter 
ing a city the traveller makes a very respectable appear 
ance. The slouched hat of finely-woven felt is a delightful 
covering to the head, serving at the same time as umbrella 
or night-cap, travelling-dress or visiting-costume. No one 
should neglect a good cane, which, besides its feeling of 
companionship, is equal to from three to five miles a day, 
and may serve as a defence against banditti or savage 
Bohemian dogs. In the Alps, the tall staves, pointed with 
iron, and topped with a curved chamois-horn, can be 
bought for a franc apiece, and are of great assistance in 
crossing ice-fields, or sustaining the weight of the body in 
descending steep and difficult passes. 

An umbrella is inconvenient, unless it is short and may 
be strapped on the knapsack; but even then an ample 
cape of oiled silk or india-rubber cloth is far preferable. 
The pedestrian need not be particular in this respect ; he 
will soon grow accustomed to an occasional drenching, 
and I am not sure that men, like plants, do not thrive 
under it, when they have outgrown the hothouse nature 
in. D 7 



*74 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TAYLOR 

of civilization, in a life under the open heaven. A port 
folio capable of hard service, with a guide-book or two, 
pocket-compass, and spy-glass, completes the contents of 
the knapsack ; though if there is still a small corner to 
spare I would recommend that it be filled with pocket 
editions of one or two of the good old English classics. 
It is ti rare delight to sit down in the gloomy fastnesses 
of the Hartz, or in the breezy valleys of Styria, and read 
the majestic measures of our glorious Saxon bards. Mil 
ton is first fully appreciated when you look up from his 
page to the snowy ramparts of the Alps, which shut out 
all but the heaven of whose beauty he sang; and all times 
and places are fitting for the universal Shakespeare. 
Childe Harold bears such a glowing impress of the scenery 
on which Byron's eye has dwelt that it spoke to me like 
the answering voice of a friend from the crag of Drachen- 
fels, in the rushing of the arrowy Rhone, and beside the 
breathing marbles of the Vatican and the Capitol. 

A little facility in sketching from nature is a most use 
ful and delightful accomplishment for the pedestrian. He 
may bring away the features of wild and unvisited land 
scapes, the picturesque fronts of peasant cottages and 
wayside shrines, or the simple beauty of some mountain- 
child watching his herd of goats. Though having little 
knowledge and no practice in the art, I persevered in my 
awkward attempts, and was soon able to take a rough 
and rapid but tolerably correct outline of almost any 
scene. These memorials of two years of travel have now 
a value to me which I would not exchange for the finest 
engravings, however they might excel in faithful repre 
sentation. Another article of equipment, which I had 
almost forgotten to mention, is a small bottle of the best 
Cognac, with which to bathe the feet, morning and even 
ing, for the first week or two, or as long as they continue 



TAYLOR] PEDESTRIANISM IN EUROPE. 75 

tender with the exercise. It was also very strengthening 
and refreshing, when the body was unusually weary with 
a long day's walking or climbing, to use as an external 
stimulant; for I never had occasion to apply it internally. 
Many of the German students wear a wicker flask, slung 
over their shoulder, containing kirschwasser, which they 
mix with the water of the mountain-streams ; but this is 
not at all necessary to the traveller's health and comfort. 

These students, with all their irregularities, are a noble, 
warm-hearted class, and make the best companions in the 
world. During the months of August and September, 
hundreds of them ramble through Switzerland and the 
Tyrol, extending their route sometimes to Yenice and 
Eome. "With their ardent love for everything republican, 
they will always receive an American heartily, consecrate 
him as a bursch, and admit him to their fellowship. With 
the most of them, an economy of expense is part of the 
habit of their student-life, and they are only spendthrifts 
on the articles of beer and tobacco. A month's residence 
in Heidelberg, the most beautiful place in Germany, will 
serve to make the young American acquainted with their 
habits, and able to join them for an adventurous foot- 
journey, with the greatest advantage to himself. 

We always accepted a companion, of whatever kind, 
while walking, from chimney-sweeps to barons. In a 
strange country one can learn something from every 
peasant, and we neglected no opportunity, not only to 
obtain information, but to impart it. We found every 
where great curiosity respecting America, and we were 
always glad to tell them all they wished to know. In 
Germany we were generally taken for Germans from 
some part of the country where the dialect was a little 
different, or, if they remarked our foreign peculiarities, 
they supposed we were either Poles, Eussians, or Swiss. 



76 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TATLOX 

The greatest ignorance in relation to America prevails 
among the common people. They imagine we are a 
savage race, without intelligence and almost without law. 
Persons of education, who had some slight knowledge 
of our history, showed a curiosity to know something of 
our political condition. They are taught by the German 
newspapers (which are under a strict censorship in this 
respect) to look only at the evil in our country, and they 
almost invariably began by adverting to Slavery and 
Repudiation. While we admitted, often with shame and 
mortification, the existence of things so inconsistent with 
true republicanism, we endeavored to make them compre 
hend the advantages enjoyed by the free citizen, the 
complete equality of birth, which places America, despite 
her faults, far above any other nation on earth. 

In large cities we always preferred to take the second 
er third-rate hotels, which are generally visited by mer 
chants and persons who travel on business ; for, with the 
same comforts as those of the first rank, they are nearly 
twice as cheap. A traveller, with a guide-book and a good 
pair of eyes, can also dispense with the services of a 
courier, whose duty it is to conduct strangers about the 
city, from one lion to another. We chose rather to find 
out and view the sights at our leisure. In small villages, 
where we were often obliged to stop, we chose the best 
hotels, which, particularly in Northern Germany and in 
Italy, are none too good. But if it was a post that is, a 
town where the post-chaise stops to change horses we 
usually avoided the post hotel, where one must pay high 
for having curtains before his windows and a more elegant, 
cover on his bed. In the country taverns we always 
found neat, comfortable lodgings, and a pleasant, friendly 
reception from the people. They saluted us, on entering, 
with " Be you welcome," and, on leaving, wished us a 



TAYLOR] PEDESTRIANISM IN EUROPE. 77 

pleasant journey and good fortune. The host, when he 
brought us supper or breakfast, lifted his cap and wished 
us a good appetite, and when he lighted us to our cham 
bers left us with " May you sleep well !" We generally 
found honest, friendly people ; they delighted in telling us 
about the country around, what ruins there were in the 
neighborhood, and what strange legends were connected 
with them. The only part of Europe where it is unpleas 
ant to travel in this manner is Bohemia. We could 
scarcely find a comfortable inn ; the people all spoke an 
unknown language, and were not particularly celebrated 
for their honesty. Besides this, travellers rarely go on 
foot in those regions ; we were frequently taken for 
travelling handwerker, and subjected to imposition. 

With regard to passports, although they were vexatious 
and often expensive, we found little difficulty when we 
had acquainted ourselves with the regulations concerning 
them. In France and Germany they are comparatively 
little trouble; in Italy they are the traveller's greatest 
annoyance. Americans are treated with less strictness, 
in this respect, than citizens of other nations, and, owing 
to the absence of rank among us, they also enjoy greater 
advantages of acquaintance and intercourse. 

The expenses of travelling in England, although much 
greater than in our own country, may, as we learned by 
experience, be brought, through economy, within the same 
compass. Indeed, it is my belief, from observation, that 
with few exceptions, throughout Europe, where a traveller 
enjoys the same comfort and abundance as in America, he 
must pay the same prices. The principal difference is 
that he only pays for what he gets, so that, if he be con 
tent with the necessities of life, without its luxuries, the 
expense is in proportion. 

The best coin for the traveller's purpose is English gold, 
in. 7* 



78 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TAYLOR 

which passes at a considerable premium on the Continent 
and is readily accepted at all the principal hotels. Hav 
ing to earn my means as I went along, I was obliged to 
have money forwarded in small remittances, generally in 
drafts on the house of Hottingeur & Co., in Paris, which 
could be cashed in any large city of Europe. If only a 
short tour is intended, and the pedestrian's means are 
limited, he may easily carry the necessary amount with 
him. There is little danger of robbery for those who 
journey in such an humble style. I never lost a single 
article in this manner, and rarely had any feeling but that 
of perfect security. No part of our own country is safer 
in this respect than Germany, Switzerland, or France. 
Italy still bears an unfortunate reputation for honesty ; 
the defiles of the Apennines and the hollows of the Roman 
Campagna are haunted by banditti, and persons who travel 
in their own carriages are often plundered. I saw the 
caves and hiding-places of these outlaws among the ever 
green shrubbery, in the pass of Monte Somma, near Spo- 
leto. A Swedish gentleman in Rome told me that he had 
walked from Ancona, through the mountains, to the Eter 
nal City, partly by night, but that, although he met with 
many suspicious faces, he was not disturbed in any way. 
An English artist of my acquaintance walked from Leg 
horn along the Tuscan and Tyrrhene coast to Civita Vec- 
chia, through a barren and savage district, overgrown with 
aloes and cork-trees, without experiencing any trouble, 
except from the extreme curiosity of the ignorant inhabi 
tants. The fastnesses of the Abruzzi have been explored 
with like facility by daring pedestrians ; indeed, the sight 
of a knapsack seems to serve as a free passport with all 
highwaymen. 

I have given, at times, through the foregoing chapters, 
the cost of portions of my journey and residence in various 



TAYLOR] PEDESTRIANISM IN EUROPE. 79 

cities of Europe. The cheapest country for travelling, as 
far as my experience extended, is Southern Germany, 
where one can travel comfortably on twenty-five cents a 
day. Italy and the south of France come next in order, 
and are but little more expensive ; then follow Switzerland 
and Northern Germany, and, lastly, Great Britain. The 
cheapest city, and one of the pleasantest in the world, is 
Florence, where we breakfasted on five cents, dined sump 
tuously on twelve, and went to a good opera for ten. A 
man would find no difficulty in spending a year there for 
about two hundred and fifty dollars. This fact may be of ' 
some importance to those whose health requires such a 
stay, yet are kept back from attempting the voyage 
through fear of the expense. Counting the passage to 
Leghorn at fifty or sixty dollars, it Will be seen how littlo 
is necessary for a year's enjoyment of the sweet atmos 
phere of Italy. In addition to these particulars, the fol 
lowing connected statement of my expenses will better 
show the minimum cost of a two years' pilgrimage : 

Voyage to Liverpool, in the second cabin $24.00 

Three weeks' travel in Ireland and Scotland 25.00 

A week in London, at three shillings a day 4.50 

From London to Heidelberg 15.00 

A month at Heidelberg, and trip to Frankfort 20.00 

Seven months in Frankfort, at ten dollars per month .... 70.00 

Fuel, passports, excursions, and other expenses 30.00 

Tour through Cassel, the Hartz, Saxony, Austria, Bavaria, etc. 10.00 

A month in Frankfort 10.00 

From Frankfort through Switzerland and over the Alps to 

Milan 15.00 

From Milan to Genoa -60 

Expenses from Genoa to Florence 14.00 

Four months in Florence 50.00 

Eight days' journey from Florence to Kome, two weeks in 

Kome, voyage to Marseilles, and journey to Paris . . . 40.00 



80 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BAYLOR 

Five weeks in Paris $15.00 

From Paris to London , 8.00 

Six weeks in London, at three shillings a day 31.00 

Passage home 60.00 

$472.10 

The cost for places of amusement, guides' fees, and other 
small expenses, not included in this list, increase the sum 
total to five hundred dollars, for which I made the tour, 
and for which others may make it. May the young 
reader, whom this book has encouraged to attempt the 
same pilgrimage, meet with equal kindness on his way, 
and come home as well repaid for his labors ! 



A WESTERN RECEPTION. 

FRANCES C. BAYLOR. 

[" On Both Sides" is certainly a highly-amusing picture of American 
and English eccentricities, and very neatly, though with some exag 
geration, compares English conventionalism with American social 
freedom. Miss Baylor claims that her pictures are from the life, and 
this may well be, for the characters are not uncommon types, and if 
taken simply as possible individuals, no claim of exaggeration can be 
made. In our selection the party of English travellers, after some 
amusing scenes at "Washington and on the cars, have reached the home 
and are enjoying the hospitality of a wealthy Westerner and his Eng 
lish wife. Furthermore we shall let them speak for themselves.] 

THE dinner was a well-ordered one, as was everything 
about the establishment ; for to American abundance and 
variety, as shown in the ample provision for his household 
made by Job, Mabel added English management and thrift, 
and the result was a menage which even their guests, 



BAYLOR] A WESTERN RECEPTION. 81 

accustomed to the almost military punctuality and mellow, 
stable comfort of the most perfect domestic system in the 
world, found delightful. It may be a pardonable digres 
sion to say here that Mabel had suffered almost as much 
from overplentifulness in America as she had ever done 
from undue scarcity in England. She had a conscientious 
horror of waste that made it a great moral question what 
she should do with the enormous quantities of food alone 
provided by her liberal-minded spouse, who had no prac 
tical experience of catering and a horror of being or 
seeing others stinted. It drove her quite wild at first to 
see the boxes, barrels, crates, coops, that he was always 
sending out from Kalsing, and her distress vented itself in 
an occasional mild exclamation, " What a dreadful country 
for waste, mamma dear!" To consume in any one house 
all that her husband provided was impossible. She could 
not have done it with a double staff of London servants, 
with their five meals a day and unlimited perquisites. To 
throw anything away, according to her creed, was wicked, 
and, according to Mrs. Yane, would certainly bring its 
retribution in personal want. At last, happily for all 
parties, a solution was found of the problem. A poor 
man, with a numerous progeny, moved into a particularly 
hopeless-looking cottage about a mile away on the Kal 
sing road, and that happy conjunction between food and 
mouths was effected which cynics declare does not often 
occur, and which lightened more hearts than Mabel's. 

Gastronomically considered, the dinner, to which we 
must get back, presented no very striking features from 
first to last, unless it be accounted one that Sir Eobert 
pronounced " the ices" quite the most delicious stuff he 
had ever tasted, and made acquaintance with pecans, 
which he thought so well of that he may be s-aid to have 
become intimate with them on the spot and never to have 
in.-/ 



82 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BAYLOR 

separated from them afterward, as the pockets of all his 
coats testify to this day. Mrs. Sykes, whose appetite was 
Immense, not only ate with great relish of such things as 
she was accustomed to, but absolutely made the daring 
experiment of trying one American dish, and reported on 
it promptly. " It is not as nasty and messy as it looks," 
she said to Miss Noel. " You might try it, if you like, 
but I should say it was perfectly indigestible. Still, one 
always likes to be able to say that one has tasted the 
native dishes, and after taking birds'-nest soup, as I did in 
Hong-Kong, I can stand a little of anything." 

" A little of some things goes a very long way," said 
Mr. Ketchum ; and there was something in the way he 
said it that made Miss Noel rush into an account of her 
journey, which, containing as it did the episode of the 
conductor, completely restored his good humor. He 
laughed over it in a way that quite surprised his wife, 
and called out to her, " Only hear, Mabel, what dreadful 
liberties the great American citizen has been taking with 
the British aristocracy !" 

At which Miss Noel said, " Oh, pray don't fancy that I 
was really annoyed ! Do you know, I think it must have 
been a little way of his to give nicknames ? Parsons tells 
me that he called two children that sat behind her ' Bub' 
and ' Sis.' I am quite sure that he meant nothing, and it 
didn't signify : it was only a little odd just at first." 

This sent Mr. Ketchum off into a fresh explosion of 
merriment, but he caught Mrs. Sykes's next speech. " The 
impertinent man actually laid his hand on my arm, once, 
to attract my attention, and was most unpleasantly ob 
trusive," she was observing to Mabel. 

"Good heavens! You don't mean it! I wonder that 
it was not paralyzed up to the shoulder! Such auda 
city " he began, but, catching Mabel's eye and seeing 



BAYLOR] A WESTERN RECEPTION. 83 

that she was* shaking her pretty head, he stopped abruptly 
and offered Miss Noel a dish she had already declined. 
He and Mr. Eamsay then got into a conversation about 
hunting and shooting, in which they talked very much 
at cross-purposes until they found out where the trouble 
was and defined their terms, Mr. E-amsay's red deer turn 
ing out to be Mr. Ketchum's elk ; the European elk, the 
American moose ; English thrushes, American robins ; 
English grouse, American partridges, and so on. The 
other gentlemen were naturally attracted by topics so 
congenial, and a brisk discussion of guns, powder, shot, 
camp-life, Comanche-stalking, and the like, ensued that 
made Mr. Eamsay's eyes sparkle with interest. " How I 
should like a shy at one of those red devils!" he exclaimed. 
"I am going out to the far West, you know. I have come 
over to settle here, for a while at least." 

" I am glad to hear that," said Job, who thought Mr. 
Eamsay looked the sort of man that ought always to be 
coming down the steps of the Guards' Club, and not a sub- 
duer of nature, a miner, herdsman, ranchero, pioneer, but 
did not feel called upon to express uncalled-for opinions. 

"Yes, Eamsay is tired of the dry-rot of an idle life in 
London, and is going to sit down out in the bush and wait 
for civilization where there is only a fortnightly post and 
he will be quite out of the reach of telegrams, six men 
sleeping in the same tent, and that kind of thing. Just 
BO. It is a fascinating sort of life for a young man. 1 
have tried it myself, but I like my comfortable arm-chair 
and my newspaper now. * Tempora mutantur, et nos 
mutamur in illis* I envy the fellow tremendously, except 
when I am pitying him with all my heart," said Sir Eobert, 
running one hand through his side-whiskers and ga/.ing 
benevolently, with his head a little on one side, at Mr. 
Eamsay. 



84 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BAYLOR 

" I don't mind roughin' it. I like it," said Mr. Ramsay. 
"And I think I have brought everything that I shall 
need. I was afraid you'd think I was goin' to give you 
the pleasure of my company for the rest of my life when 
you saw what an awful lot of luggage I had brought; but 
it is only that I am goin' out into the backwoods, where 
I've heard fellows say there wasn't so much as a corkscrew 
to be had for love or money. I hoped you'd excuse me 
bringin' it." 

" Certainly, certainly : the more you bring, and the 
Conger you stay, the better I shall be pleased. But, if 
you will let me, I'd like to see your outfit. I have lived 
out there, and may be able to give you a hint or two," 
said Mr. Ketchum. 

4C Have you, now ? I shall be delighted ! I'll get into 
my Colorado rig after dinner and show you what I'm like. 
Splendid get-up ! Not very nobby, you know, for the Park, 
but quite the thing," replied Mr. Ramsay, beamingly. . . . 

Mr. Ketchum was prowling up and down the drawing- 
room, stopping occasionally to glance out at what remained 
of a beautiful sunset, when a ring came at the bell, and 
Sanford admitted a gentleman, who could be plainly seen 
through the open door divesting himself of his overcoat 
and hat. Mr. Ketchum recognized him and smiled. He 
had expected him to call, but not quite so promptly. Else 
where he would probably have greeted him with a care 
less " How're you, Bates ? How was the queen when 
you left Windsor Castle?" Or, "What did 'Wales' say 
in his last letter?" But, punctilious in his ideas of hos 
pitality, he now advanced, shook hands heartily, and 
presented him to the others. Mr. Bates was a tall man, 
whose figure was constructed on a few bold lines, as 
though he had been a towel-horse. Mr. Ketchum once 
said of him that when the workmen had finished building 



BAYLOR] A WESTERN RECEPTION. 85 

him they forgot to take down the scaffolding.. He was 
dressed in the exaggeratedly British style, had an air of 
feeble gentlemanliness, and for the rest was rather a 
pronounced specimen of a not uncommon sort of snob. 
Heaven had denied him the boon he most coveted, the 
happiness of being an Englishman; but an Englishman 
he had determined to be, in spite of the accident of birth. 
He lacked a great many gifts that a lesser soul would 
have thought indispensable to the role he proposed to 
play. His physique was not up to the mark, his tastes 
and habits and speech were formed, his voice was nasal, 
he had really nothing except his money and himself to 
depend upon, yet mark the result. In a few short years 
he was more English than any Englishman in England, 
such is the power of a resolute will. He was taken for 
one over and over again by Americans, who keep a por 
trait of John Bull hung up in their mental picture-galleries, 
just as John Bull does of his neighbor Johnny Crapaud, 
and Monsieur Crapaud in his turn of Hans Schneider, 
remarkably good likenesses all of them, of course, per 
fectly faithful, if not entirely flattering. Count D'Orsay 
once painted the picture of a friend and submitted it 
when finished to that friend's wife for criticism. " It is a 
good picture," was her verdict, " but not a good likeness." 
" Ah, madame," said the artist, " you see de beast" (mean 
ing the best). We all see the beast in these national por 
traits, and do not greatly care about the likeness being 
preserved. 

The English craze was only the last expression of a con 
stitutional thirst for distinction that had long tormented 
Mr. Bates and had led him in the earlier stages of his career 
to talk only of the most fashionable people, and of these 
as his most intimate friends, of their yachts, carriages, 
jewels, opera-boxes, and enormous fortunes, of the best 
in. 8 



86 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BAYIOB 

hotels, where he invariably stayed, of the best clubs, 
at which every one hastened to put him up, of his tailor, 
Poole, and his boot-maker, Biffins, the best in Europe, 
though (with an uneasy laugh) " frightfully expensive," 
of his cigars, which Cubans thought superior to any they 
had ever smoked, and his wines, which a well-known bon 
vivant of New York had pronounced the best he had ever 
found on this continent. There was so much sweetness 
and light in Mr. Bates's account of himself at this period 
that it was doubtless only from the most charitable motives 
that society supplied the shadows in the brilliant picture 
and mitigated his else intolerable radiance by whispering 
that he was a simpleton and a bore and the son of a suc 
cessful grocer in Tecumseh, Michigan. 

The sight of so many English people was naturally 
refreshing to an exile like Mr. Bates, and he bestowed 
upon them the seven bendings, if not the nine knockings, 
with which Chinese dignitaries are saluted. Mrs. Sykes 
made him a present of a stare and took no further notice 
of him. Sir Robert divined the ass in the lion's skin, but 
made himself agreeable as usual. Mr. Ketchum played 
with a paper-knife and contributed intermittently to the 
conversation, as did Ethel and Mr. Ramsay. As for 
Mabel, she had gone up to the nursery, and so missed 
hearing Mr. Bates tell the company that he had been 
"3 7 ahs and yahs abroad, and was perfectly devoted to 
England," compare the climate, customs, and what not 
of the two countries, always to the disadvantage of his 
own, and round off every other sentence with a " Don't 
you find it so ?" to Sir Robert. 

" I think this a most delightful, exhilarating climate. 1 
wonder at your liking ours better : it is so notoriously bad 
that we spend half our time abusing it," Sir Robert said, 
in reply to one appeal. 



BAYLOR] A WESTERN RECEPTION. 87 

But the visitor continued to set forth only the more 
plainly the impossibility of America's ever proving a con 
genial home to a Bates. Everything about it offended his 
exquisite sensibilities. It was " raw," it was " cold," it was 
" bare," it was " frightfully new." The grass, the skies, 
the architecture, all distilled torture upon this delicately- 
organized poet-soul. But the people, last, worst, most 
unendurable and unescapable pang of all, the people ! 

Mr. Ketchum broke his paper-knife as he listened, and 
as he threw the pieces aside he heard Mr. Bates saying, 
" Give me solid old England, I say," and looked up, to see 
" Que diable fait-il dans cette galere ?" written so legibly in 
Sir Eobert's honest English face that his vexation was 
replaced by amusement. 

"Ah!" said Sir Eobert, and the exclamation expressed 
something of the contempt he felt ; " I should have thought, 
now, that you would have preferred your own country to 
any other : most people do." Sir Robert would very proba 
bly have been bored by the American who is always in 
sisting blatantly upon the absolute superiority of every 
thing American ; he would have understood the American 
who in speaking of his country shows the loving pride 
and enthusiasm that a son feels for his mother ; but he 
utterly despised the creature who held in such light esteem 
that for which most men are ready to lay down their lives- 

The conversation languished rather, except so far as Mr. 
Bates was concerned. Bent upon posing as a personage 
and a social authority, he rambled on inconsequently, 
chiefly about himself and his affairs, opinions, experiences, 
what he considered "good form" and knew to be "bad 
form," of something that was "not the correct thing" 
and something else that was " no longer fashionable," and, 
finally, of some people who had bought a house near his 
whom he characterized as "low people," " tradespeople," 



88 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BAYLOR 

he believed, whom he should have nothing to do with, of 
course. 

" Quite right, Bates," said Mr. Ketchum. " You can't 
afford to know everybody : it would be a ' boah,' as you 
say. But don't be too hard on them. We can't all be 
upper crust, you know : somebody has got to be bed-rock. 
We aristocrats should remember that." And, having dived 
after Miss Noel's ball of wool, which had rolled toward 
him, he added, "Pretty sunset that for a new country, 
isn't it ? I like that view that we get of the valley through 
the trees, there, better than any other in America. I say 
America because it sounds as though I had been all over 
the world and prevents my being identified with my own 
country, which is my great object in life." 

At this Sir Robert and Mr. Ramsay laughed and ex 
changed glances, and Mrs. Ketchum, coming in, called for 
an aide-de-camp, as she meant to "turn out the tea that 
instant, but was not going to trot about with it," a 
summons which both Mr. Bates and Mr. Ramsay obeyed 
with alacrity. 

" You go in tremendously for china, don't you ?" Mr. 
Ramsay said, looking admiringly at the exquisite service 
before him and removing the crimson cosey that smothered 
the teapot. "Prettiest I ever saw, I think. Nice tone, 
and all-overish design." 

" It is rather nice, isn't it ?" said Mabel. " I often wish 
that I could go to China and prowl about the shops a bit, 
picking up things. You will take me some day, won't 
you ?" (to her husband). " It would be quite delightful." 

" It would be ; but the question that presents itself to 
the intelligent and reflective mind is, 'Where the mis 
chief is the money to come from?' The inclemency of the 
times makes no impression on you, Mrs. Ketchum, what 
ever. China, indeed ! haven't you enough of that sort of 



BAYLOR] A WESTERN RECEPTION. 89 

thing yet? I assure you, Mr. .Ramsay, that my wife's 
extravagance in this matter is only equalled by her parsi 
mony. She is always buying china ; but when we have 
no company I am made to eat my dinner off a tin plate on 
the back steps, to save wear and accidents. Ah, there is 
Brown; come just in time to save me from joining tho 
noble company of cashiers in the woods. Glad to see you, 
Brown." 

" Husband does jest so ! The idea of his saying " 

Mabel began, but had to go forward to receive Mr. Brown, 
his brother, Mr. Albert Brown, and their maiden sister, 
Miss Susan Brown. The last was a great friend of Frau- 
lein Schmidt's, and joined her very soon ; the brothers 
proceeded to make their compliments to the English ladies; 
Mr. Bates attached himself to Ethel ; and Job and the 
baronet were left to their own devices for the moment. 

"Is that the brother you dislike?" asked Sir Eobert, 
nodding toward Mr. Albert Brown. "Not a pleasant 
face, certainly : receding forehead, protruding eyes, thin 
lips." 

" Oh, it is not his personal pulchritude that I look at : 
it is his pellet of a soul. A dozen such would rattle in a 
mustard-seed," replied Mr. Ketch um, giving his chair an 
energetic hitch. " He is so mean that if you were to bait 
a trap with a postage-stamp you would catch Albert six 
nights out of seven every week in the year. He was very 
ill last winter, said to be dying, but the doctor held a 
nickel under his nose, I suppose, at tho last moment, and 
brought him back again. Strange to say, Brown is no 
more like him than if he had never heard of him. His 
heart is as big as all out-doors. Streaky family, like 
breakfast bacon. I have known them all my life, but I 
never could stand Albert ; and I have never asked him to 
my house. He's no friend of mine, and I feel at liberty 
in. 8* 



90 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BAYLOR 

to express myself pretty freely about him. I wonder 
what brought him here to-night. Bug under that chip." 

Just then the door opened, and Mr. Eamsay came in, 
accoutred in the " rig" he had spoken of, and blushing 
furiously at the sight of the additions made to the party 
in his absence. 

" The haughty Briton, as he appears in the famous role 
of ' The Border Euffian,' " called out Mr. Ketchum, laugh 
ingly. " Come here, Eamsay, and let us have a look." 

Eedder still, but radiating satisfaction through the veil 
of modesty, Mr. Eamsay joined his host on the hearth-rug 
and bore with entire good humor the general inspection 
that followed. He was dressed in a flannel shirt, a pair 
of corduroy trousers, enormous jack-boots, and a cork 
helmet, was belted and spurred, carried a haversack, wore 
gauntlets that came nearly up to his elbow, had a kind of 
wire coop with a gauze net stretched over it attached to 
his helmet, and as to arms was a peripatetic arsenal. 
" Green of the Fusiliers got me up this, he's been out in 
Mexico a lot, all but this," touching the coop. " I got 
that up to get ahead of those brutes of mosquitoes," he 
said, and glanced at himself in fond approval. 

The sight was too much for Mr. Ketchum. He looked 
from the bristling, buccaneering Mr. Eamsay to the side- 
whiskered and generally Britished Mr. Bates standing a 
few paces off, and incontinently fled. Mabel followed him 
into the dining-room, and found him convulsed with laugh 
ter and fairly doubled up on the sofa. " What is the mat 
ter, husband ? what is it ?" she asked, seeing nothing to 
put anybody into such a state. 

" Oh ! It's th-o ha ! ha I ha ! ha ! ha .'those two 
ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! those two imitations!" 
Mr. Ketchum got out, with great difficulty, and convulsed 



BAYLOR] A WESTERN RECEPTION. 91 

afresh, laughing until the tears rolled down his cheeks, to 
the no small amazement of his wife, who looked on quite 
anxiously at the demonstration. It was some moments 
before he could compose himself sufficiently to go back ; 
and even then his features worked ominously, and he had 
the greatest difficulty in controlling his risibles. 

Mr. Ramsay -was still contemplating himself delightedly 
and talking of what he meant to do " out in Colorado and 
*.hose parts." 

Gradually sobering down, Mr. Ketchum joined in the 
conversation, telling him that they would have a serious 
talk about the Colorado plan next day, and saying what 
he could for the " rig." " You have been handed around 
on a rose-leaf all your life, my dear fellow. You'll find it 
exchanged for a cactus out there, the roughest sort of 
life, and human nature in its shirt-sleeves. If you were 
not an Englishman, I should advise you either to go home 
again or invest in a quarter's worth of arsenic. You can't 
mine in hard-bake with a pewter spoon, you know. But 
I reckon you are made of the right metal and will come 
out ahead on that fight." 

" I can't go home, you know. It is no good talking 
of that. I haven't got the money to live there, unless I 
turned mudlark," said Mr. Ramsay. " The governor won't 
do anything for me, and I can't get tick, and I am obliged 
to try the colonies or America." 

" Well, anything is better than being an English gentle 
man who can't keep up with the procession," said Mr. 
Ketchum ; " and perhaps you may be the pigeon that is 
to pick up a pea." 

After this there was some music, and then Sanford 
brought in the tray, with the materials on it for brewing 
what Mr. Ketchum called " the muriate of susquate of 
iodized potassium." 



92 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

Miss Brown refused to stay long enough to either see 
the deed done or partake of the contents of the flowing 
bowl, and the party broke up, Mr. Bates kindly assuring 
Sir Robert that he meant to see a great deal of him. 

Good-nights were exchanged, and the front door closed. 



DRIFTING. 

T. B. READ. 

[Thomas Buchanan Head, an American poet and artist, was born m 
Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1822. His paintings, o which the 
best known are " Longfellow's Children" and " Sheridan's Hide," are 
frequently devoted to highly-imaginative subjects, and manifest great 
delicacy of conception. His poems show the same delicate fancy, and 
several of them are masterpieces of their kind. Those best known are 
" Sheridan's Ride" and " Drifting," the musical flow and the dream 
like fancy of the latter of which has taken captive the public taste. 
" The Closing Scene," though less popular, is a poem of high merit. 
In addition to his volumes of poetry, he published a prose romance, 
" The Pilgrims of the Great Saint Bernard." He died in 1872.] 

MY soul to-day 

Is far away, 
Sailing the Yesuvian Bay ; 

My winged boat, 

A bird afloat, 
Swims round the purple peaks remote. 

Eound purple peaks 

It sails, and seeks 
Blue inlets and their crystal creeks, 

Where high rocks throw, 

Through deeps below, 
A duplicated golden glow. 



KEADJ DRIFTING. 93 

Far, vague, and dim, 

The mountains swim ; 
While on Vesuvius' misty brim, 

With outstretched hands, 

The gray smoke stands 
O'erlooking the volcanic lands. 

Here Ischia smiles 

O'er liquid miles ; 
And yonder, bluest of the isles, 

Calm Capri waits, 

Her sapphire gates 
Beguiling to her bright estates. 

I heed not if 

My rippling skiff 
Float swift or slow from cliff to cliff: 

With dreamful eyes 

My spirit lies 
Under the walls of Paradise. 

Under the walls 

Where swells and falls 
The bay's deep breast at intervals 

At peace I lie. 

Blown softly by, 
A cloud upon this liquid sky. 

The day, so mild, 

Is Heaven's own child, 
With Earth and Ocean reconciled ; 

The airs I feel 

Around me steal 
Are murmuring to the murmuring keel. 



94 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

Over the rail 

My hand I trail 
Within the shadow of the sail ; 

A joy intense, 

The cooling sense 
Glides down my drowsy indolence. 

With dreamful eyes 

My spirit lies 
Where Summer sings and never dies ; 

O'erveiled with vines, 

She glows and shines 
Among her future oil and wines. 

Her children, hid 

The cliffs amid, 
Are gambolling with the gambolling kid, 

Or down the walls, 

With -tipsy calls, 
Laugh on the rocks like water-falls. 

The fisher's child, 

With tresses wild, 
Unto the smooth, bright sand beguiled, 

With glowing lips 

Sings as she skips, 
Or gazes at the far-off ships. 

Yon deep bark goes 

Where Traffic blows, 
From lands of sun to lands of snows ; 

This happier one, 

Its course is run 
From lands of snow to lands of sun. 



KUSH] THE INFLUENCE OF EDUCATED WOMEN. 95 

O happy ship, 

To rise and dip, 
With the blue crystal at your lip ! 

O happy crew, 

My heart with you 
Sails, and sails, and sings anew ! 

No more, no more 

The worldly shore 
Upbraids me with its loud uproar ; 

With dreamful eyes 

My spirit lies 
Under the walls of Paradise. 



THE INFLUENCE OF EDUCATED WOMEN. 

BENJAMIN RUSH. 

[Of distinguished Americans of the last century none occupied a 
more prominent and useful position than Dr. Rush. He was a mem- 
ter of the Continental Congress, and signed the Declaration of Inde 
pendence. He was one of the most learned members of the medical 
profession, and was a prominent professor in the Medical College of 
Philadelphia, and in the "University, from 1769 till his death. He 
was president of the society for the abolition of slavery, and was dis 
tinguished for industry, piety, and benevolence. He was a popular 
lecturer and a cultured writer. The extract from his writings which 
wo give shows a pure and exalted mind, though it cannot be said that 
its prevision of the results of female education has proved correct. 
The declension which he foresees in the character of American women 
has, happily, not yet begun. Dr. Kush was born near Philadelphia in 
1745, and died in 1813.] 

. IT is agreeable to observe how differently modern 
writers and the inspired author of the Proverbs describe 



96 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [Rusii 

a fine woman. The former confine their praises chiefly 
to person-al charms and ornamental accomplishments, 
while the latter celebrates only the virtues of a valuable j 
mistress of a family and a useful member of society. The j 
one is perfectly acquainted with all the fashionable Ian- < 
guages of Europe ; the other " opens her mouth with \ 
wisdom," and is perfectly acquainted with all the uses of j 
the needle, the distaff, and the loom. The business of the! 
one is pleasure ; the pleasure of the other is business. The 
one is admired abroad ; the other is honored and beloved I 
at home. "Her children arise up and call her blessed;: 
her husband also, and he praiseth her." There is no fame] 
in the world equal to this; nor is there a note in musicj 
half so delightful as the respectful language with which! 
a grateful son or daughter perpetuates the memory of a] 
sensible and affectionate mother. 

A philosopher once said, " Let me make all the ballads 
of a country, and I care not who makes its laws." He 
might with more propriety have said, Let the ladies of a 
country be educated properly, and they will not only make 
and administer its laws, but form its manners and character.! 
It would require a lively imagination to describe, or even? 
to comprehend, the happiness of a country where knowl-j 
edge and virtue were generally diffused among the female 
sex. Our young men would then be restrained from vied 
by the terror of being banished from their company. The 
loud laugh and the malignant smile at the expense of in-* 
nocence or of personal infirmities, the feats of successful 
mimicry, and the low-priced wit which is borrowed from 
a misapplication of Scripture phrases, would no more bcj 
considered as recommendations to the societ} r of th 
l-adies. A double-entendre in their presence would theil 
exclude a gentleman forever from the company of both| 
sexes, and probably oblige him to seek an asylum from 



Eusn] THE INFLUENCE OF EDUCATED WOMEN. 97 

contempt in a foreign country. The influence of female 
education would be still more extensive and useful in 
domestic life. The obligations of gentlemen to qualify 
themselves by knowledge and industry to discharge the 
duties of benevolence would be increased by marriage; 
and the patriot, the hero, and the legislator would find 
the sweetest reward of their toils in the approbation and 
applause of their wives. Children would discover the 
marks of maternal prudence and wisdom in every station 
of life ; for it has been remarked that there have been few 
great or good men who have not been blessed with wise 
and prudent mothers. Cyrus was taught to revere the 
gods by his mother, Mandane ; Samuel was devoted to 
his prophetic office, before he was born, by his mother, 
Hannah ; Constantine was rescued from paganism by his 
mother, Constantia ; and Edward the Sixth inherited 
those great and excellent qualities which made him the 
delight of the age in which he lived from his mother, 
Lady Jane Seymour. Many other instances might be 
mentioned, if necessary, from ancient and modern history, 
to establish the truth of this proposition. 

I am not enthusiastical upon the subject of education. 
[n the ordinary course of human affairs, we shall probably 
too soon folk sr the footsteps of the nations of Europe, in 
manners and vices. The first marks we shall perceive of 
our declension will appear among our women. Their 
idleness, ignorance, and profligacy will be the harbingers 
of our ruin. Then will the character and performance 
of a buffoon in the theatre be the subject of more conver 
sation and praise than the patriot or the minister of the 
gospel ; then will our language and pronunciation be en 
feebled and corrupted by a flood of French and Italian 
words ; then will the history of romantic amours be pre 
ferred to the immortal writings of Addison, Ha wkes worth, 
in. E g 9 



98 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [Kusn 

and Johnson; then will our churches be neglected, and 
the name of the Supreme Being never be called upon but 
in profane exclamations ; then will our Sundays be appro 
priated only to feasts and concerts ; and then will begin 
all that train of domestic and political calamities. But 
I forbear. The prospect is so painful that I cannot help 
silently imploring the great Arbiter of human affairs to 
interpose his almighty goodness, and to deliver us from 
these evils, that at least one spot of the earth may be 
reserved as a monument of the effects of good education, 
in order to show in some degree what our species was 
before the fall, and what it shall be after its restoration. 

[Dr. Kush was an ardent advocate of the temperance reform, and 
also published an essay against tobacco, from which we give a short 
extract.] 

Were it possible for a being who had resided upon our 
globe to visit the inhabitants of a planet where reason 
governed, and to tell them that a vile weed was in general 
use among the inhabitants of the globe it had left, which 
afforded no nourishment, that this weed was cultivated 
with immense care, that it was an important article of 
commerce, that the want of it produced real misery, 
that its taste was extremely nauseous, that it was un 
friendly to health and morals, and that its use was at 
tended with a considerable loss of time and property, the 
account would be thought incredible, and the author of it 
would probably be excluded from society for relating a 
story of so improbable a nature. In no one view is it 
possible to contemplate the creature man in a more 
absurd and ridiculous light than in his attachment to 
TOBACCO. 

The progress of habit in the use of Tobacco is exactly 
the same as in the use of spirituous liquors. The slaves 



RUSH] TOBACCO. 99 

of it begin by using it only after dinner; then during the 
whole afternoon and evening; afterwards before dinner, 
then before breakfast, and finally during the whole night. 
I knew a lady who had passed through all these stages, 
who used to wake regularly two or three times every 
night to compose her system with fresh doses of snuff. 

The appetite for Tobacco is wholly artificial. No person 
was ever born with a relish for it ; even in those persons 
who are much attached to it, nature frequently recovers 
her disrelish to it. It ceases to be agreeable in every 
febrile indisposition. This is so invariably true, that a 
disrelish to it is often a sign of an approaching, and a 
return of the appetite for it a sign of a departing, fever. 
I proceed now to mention some of the influences of the 
habitual use of Tobacco upon morals. 

1. One of the usual effects of smoking and chewing is 
thirst. This thirst cannot be allayed by water; for no 
sedative or even insipid liquor will be relished after the 
mouth and throat have been exposed to the stimulus of 
the smoke or juice of Tobacco. A desire, of course, is 
excited for strong drinks, and these, when taken between 
meals, soon lead to intemperance and drunkenness. 

2. The use of Tobacco, more especially in smoking, 
disposes to idleness, and idleness has been considered as 
the root of all evil. "An idle man's brain," says the 
celebrated and original Mr. Bunyan, " is the devil's work 
shop." 

3. The use of Tobacco is necessarily connected with the 
neglect of cleanliness. 

4. Tobacco, more especially when used in smoking, is 
generally offensive to those people who do not use it. To 
smoke in company, under such circumstances, is a breach 
of good manners ; now, manners have an influence upon 
morals. They may be considered as the outposts of virtue. 



100 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TOURGEE 

A habit of offending the senses of friends or strangers 
by the use of Tobacco cannot, therefore, be indulged with 
innocence. It produces a want of respect for our fellow- 
creatures, and this always disposes to unkind and unjust 
behavior towards them. Who ever knew a rude man 
completely or uniformly moral ? 



A TERRIBLE RIDE. 

A. W. TOURGEE. 

[The " Fool's Errand" of Judge Tourgee attracted almost as much 
attention, as a vivid narrative of conditions in the South after the war,^ 
as did " Uncle Tom's Cabin" as a picture of conditions before the war. 
He has written other novels, in several of which he deals with Southern . 
incidents and characters, but none of them has attained the popularity, 
of the one above named. Albion W. Tourgee was born in Ohio iiw 
1838. He served in the Union army during the war, and afterwardaj 
settled as lawyer, editor, and farmer at Greensborough, North Caro 
lina, where he had personal experience of the condition of things in; 
the "reconstructed South." The scene which we give from "A;i 
Fool's Errand" follows a political meeting at which the hero had 
spoken his views with incautious freedom.] 

HE had not proceeded far, when, in descending a hill; 
towards a little branch, he overtook two men, who weres 
evidently sauntering along the road and waiting for some 
one to come up with them. He recognized them as men 
whom he had seen at the meeting. When he came up 
with them, they greeted him pleasantly, but with some 
thing like constraint in their manner. It was nearly 
sundown ; and one of them, glancing at the west, re 



marked, 






TOURGEE] A TERRIBLE RIDE. 101 

" Goin' back to Warrin'ton to-night, Colonel ?" 

"Yes," was the reply. "It's just a pleasant hour's 
ride." 

" It'll he right dark afore ye git there," said his interro 
gator, cautiously. 

"A little moonlight will make it all the pleasanter," he 
laughed. 

"Ef ye'll take pore folks' fare," said the other man, 
somewhat anxiously, " you're welcome to supper and a 
bed at my house. It's right near by," he continued, 
" not more'n a mile off your road at the farthest. You 
might ride by and stay tu supper anyhow. 'Twouldn't 
hinder long, an' we'd be right glad tu chat with ye a bit." 

"No, thank you," he replied: "my wife will be looking 
for me, and would be alarmed if I did not get home by 
dark, or a little after. Good-evening." 

He was about to spur on, when one of the men cried 
after him, in their peculiar way, 

" stranger ! wait a minit. Don't stop, but jest walk 
along as if we was only passin' the time o' day. I don't 
want tu 'larm ye, but it's my notion it would be jest as 
well fer ye not to go home by the direct road, arter makin' 
that speech ye did to-day." 

" Why not ?" 

" Wai, ye see, there was a crowd of rough fellers thar 
that was powerful mad at what ye said about the nigger, 
though I be cussed ef I don't believe it's gospel truth, 
every word on't, myself. However, they're mad about it ; 
an' thar's a parcel of towns-folks hez been eggin' 'em on tu 
stop ye somewhar on the road home, an' they may make 
ye trouble. I don't think they mean tu hurt ye ; but then 
ther's no tellin' what such a crowd'll do." 

" You say they intend to waylay me ?" asked Servosse. 

" Wai, no ! we didn't say that : did we, Bill ?" appealing 
IIT 9* 



102 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TOURGEE 

to his comrade. " But we thought they mout stop ye, and 
treat ye rough, ye know." 

" So you think they'll stop me. Where do you think 
they'll do it ?" he asked. 

" Oh, we don't know it ! Mind ye, we don't say so ; but 
they mout, an', ef they did, 'twould ez likely ez not be 
Romewhar about the ford." 

" All right, my friends. When I'm stopped, it will be a 
queer thing if some one's not hurt." 

" Better stop with us now," said his new friends, anx 
iously, " an' not git into trouble when ye can jest ez well 
go round it." 

" No, thank you," he answered : " I'm going home ; and 
no one will stop me, either." 

He spurred on, but had gone only a short distance, 
when a pebble fell in the road in front of him, and then 
another, evidently thrown from the bushes on his right. 
He drew rein, and was about to take a pistol from his 
belt, when he heard some one, evidently a colored man, 
say, 

"Oh, Mars' Kunnel ! don't shoot!" And at the same 
time he saw a black face, surrounded by gray hair and 
whiskers, peering out from behind a bush. " Jes' you git 
down off 'n yer hoss, an' stan' h'yer one minit while I tells 
ye sumfin'." 

"What do you want?" he asked, impatiently. "It's 
getting towards sundown, and I don't want to be late 
home." 

"Dar! jes' h'yer him, now!" said the colored man, 
reproachfully. " Ez ef ole Jerry ebber wanted tu keep 
him 'way from home !" 

"Well, what is it, Jerry? Be in a hurry!" said Ser- 
vosse, as he dismounted, and led his horse into the dense 
undergrowth where the man was. It was without mis- 



TOURGEE] A TERRIBLE RIDE. 103 

giving that he did so. He did not know the man, and 
had never seen him before, except, as he thought, at the 
meeting that day. He had been warned of danger; but 
such was his confidence in the good will of every colored 
man that he left the highway, and came into the thicket 
to meet him, without fear. The confidence which his ser 
vice as a Federal soldier had inspired in the good faith, 
trustworthiness, and caution of the colored man had not 
yet departed. 

"Dey's waitin' fer ye, Mars' Kunnel," said the man, 
almost in a whisper, as soon as he came near. " I'd sot 
down to rest my lame leg in de bushes jes' a little while 
ago, an' dey come 'long, an' stopped nigh 'bout where I 
was ; an' I heard 'em lay de whole plan, tu stop ye down 
by de fo'd, an' tie ye out into de woods, an' give ye a 
whippin' fur de speech ye made to-day." 

The man came from behind his bush, and Servosse saw 
that he was strangely deformed, or rather crippled from 
disease. He walked almost bent double, supported by two 
staves, but had yet a very bright, intelligent countenance. 
He remembered then having seen him before. His name 
was Jerry Hunt, and he lived on a plantation adjoining 
Warrington. 

" How did you come to be so far from home, Jerry ?" he 
asked, in surprise. 

" Went to h'yer de speakin', sah. Can't tell what fer. 
Tought de Lor' hed sumfin' fer old Jerry tu du out h'yer; 
so started 'arly, an' come. I knowed de Lor' sent me, but 
didn't know what fer till I heerd 'em a-fixin' it up tu git 
ye, Mars' Kunnel. Den I knowed, 'cause yu'se our fren' ; 
/knows dat." 

Then he told how, as he was lying in the bushes to rest, 
six men came along, and he heard them arrange to waylay 
Colonel Servosse, " an' war' him out wid hick'ries. Dey 



104 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TOURQE 

said dey wa'n't gwine to hurt him, but jes' tu let him know 
dat he couldn't make sech infamous speeches as dat in dis 
region widout gettin' his back striped, dat's all." 

" And where are they to be, Uncle Jerry ?" 

" Jes' on dis side de fo'd, sah, jes' as ye goes down de 
hill in de deep cut." 

" But how are they to know which road I take ? The 
load forks three miles before I come to the creek, and I 
can as well take one as the other." 

u Yes, sah !" said Uncle Jerry. " Dey tought o' dat ; so 
dey's gwine to leabe one man at de fawks wid a good hoss 
to come down whichever road you don't take, an' gib 'em 
warnin', leastwise ef you takes de upper road, which dey 
don't 'spect, cos you come de lower one. Dey's gwine to 
put a grape-vine 'cross de cut to catch yer hoss." 

" And who stops at the forks ?" 

" Mars' Savage, sah." 

" What horse is he riding ?" 

" He'll not hev any at de cawner, but will claim to be 
waitin' fer Mars' Yaughn's carryall to come; but de gray 
filly's hid in de bushes." 

" All right, Jerry. I'm much obliged. If I don't take 
care of myself now, it's my own fault. Good-night." 

" God bless you, sah !" 

Servosse rode on, revolving in his mind a plan by which 
he should discomfit his enemies. To evade them after 
such warning was a matter of no difficulty whatever ; but 
he was too angry to wish to do this. The idea that he 
should be waylaid upon the public highway, and mal 
treated, because, after their own urgency, he had spoken 
his opinion frankly and plainly about a public matter, was 
more than he could endure. He determined to do some 
thing more than escape the threatened attack, and give tho 
parties to understand that he was not to be trifled with. 



TOURGEE] A TERRIBLE RIDE. 105 

On arriving at the forks of the road, he found Savage 
in waiting, as he had been told, and, after some little chat 
with him, started on the upper road. Savage called to 
him, and assured him that the lower road was much 
better, and a nearer way to Warrington. 

" Well," was the reply, " my horse has chosen this, and 
I always let him have his own way when we are going 
toward home." 

The horse of which he spoke was a bay Messenger, 
which he had captured in battle, and afterwards ridden 
for nearly two years in the service. In speed, endurance, 
and sagacity the horse had few equals even among that 
famous stock. Hoof, limb, and wind were sound ; and his 
spirit did honor to his illustrious parentage. Upon his 
steadiness and capacity his rider could count with the 
utmost certainty. Horse and man were well mated, each 
understanding with exactness the temper and habits of 
the other. 

" Now, Lollard," he said, as soon as he was well hidden 
from the place where Savage was posted, " make the old 
* Tabernacle Church' in the best time you can, and see if 
we do not make these gentlemen repent the attempt to 
circumvent us." 

"The Tabernacle" was the name of a church which 
stood on the upper road, about two miles from the lower 
ford, from which there was a bridle-path through the 
woods, coming out on the lower road about half a mile 
above the ford. To reach the latter road by this path 
before Savage should have time to pass the point of inter 
section was now the immediate object. 

Lollard covered the ground with mighty stretches, but 
evenly and steadily, in a way that showed his staying 
qualities. When they reached the church, his rider threw 
the reins on his neck, and leaped to the ground. He was 



106 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TOURGEE 

well acquainted with every bush around the church, having 
frequently attended meeting there. After groping around 
for a few seconds, he bent over a small hickory, and cut it 
off with his knife. It made a goad about six feet long, 
and perhaps an inch and a half in diameter in the heaviest 
part. He trimmed off a few shoots, and then laid the top 
on the ground and held it with his foot while he gave the 
butt a few turns, deftly twisting the fibre so that it would 
not snap from any sudden blow. This done, he had a 
weapon which in the hands of an expert might well be 
deemed formidable. He had a revolver in his belt; but 
this he determined not to use. 

Mounting again, he dashed down the bridle-path until 
he came to the lower road. A little clump of pines stood 
in the angle made by this path and the road ; and on the 
soft sward behind this he stopped, and, leaning forward, 
stroked his horse's face to prevent him from neighing 
upon the approach of the expected horseman. He had 
waited but a few moments when he heard Savage coming 
at a brisk gallop on his gray filly. The moon had now 
risen ; and between the straggling pine-tops he caught 
occasional glimpses of the rider as he came along the 
stretch of white road, now distinctly seen in the moon 
light, and now half hidden by the shadow. Holding his 
horse hard until the other had passed the opening of the 
path, he gave the gallant bay the spur, and in half a dozen 
bounds was on the filly's quarter. The long, lithe hickory 
hissed through the air, and again and again lashed across 
the mare's haunches. Stung with pain, and mad with 
fright, she bounded forward, and for a moment was beyond 
reach ; while her rider, scarce less amazed than his horse 
at the unexpected onset, lost his self-control, and added 
unintentionally the prick of the spur to her incentives for 
flight. It was but a moment's respite, however; for the 



TOURGE] A TERRIBLE RIDE. 107 

powerful horse was in an instant again at her side, and 
again and again the strong arm of his rider sent the tough 
hickory cutting through her hide or over the shoulders 
of her rider. Half-way to the cut in the road this race 
of pursuer and pursued kept up. Then Servosse with 
sudden effort drew in the ba} r , and subdued his excitement; 
and, taking the shady side of the road, he advanced at an 
easy gait to observe the result of his artifice. 

Meantime, the party at the cut, hearing the swift clatter 
of horses' feet, concluded that the man for whom they 
were waiting had been warned of the ambush, and was 
pushing forward to avoid being stopped by them in the 
woods. 

"By heavens," said one, "it will kill him. Let's undo 
the grape-vine." And he sprang forward, knife in hand, 
+o cut it loose. 

" No," said another : " if he chooses to break his neck, 
it's none of our business." 

" Yes," said a third : " let it alone, Sam. It's the easiest 
way to get rid of him." 

An opening in the wood allowed the rising full moon to 
shine clear upon the upper part of the cut. Faster and 
faster came the footstrokes of the maddened filly, nearer 
and nearer to the ambuscade which the rider's friends had 
laid for another. Her terrified rider, knowing the fate 
that was before him, had tried in vain to stop her, had 
broken his rein in so doing, and now clung in abject terror 
to the saddle. 

" Good God ! how he rides !" said one. 

"Heavens ! men, it will be murder!" cried another; and 
as by common impulse they sprang forward to cut the 
rope. It was too late. Just as the hand of the foremost 
touched the tough vine-rope, the gray filly bounded into 
the spot of clear moonlight at the head of the cut ; and 



108 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

the pale face of their comrade, distorted with terror, 
flashed upon their sight. 

"My God!" they all cried out together, "it's Tom 
Savage !" 

The mare's knees struck the taut vine. There was a 
crash, a groan ; and Tom Savage and his beautiful young 
mare were lying at the bottom of the rocky cut, crushed 
and broken, while on the bank stood his comrades, pallid 
and trembling with horror. 

it needed not a moment's reflection to show even to 
their half-drunken minds what had been the result of 
their cowardly plan ; and, smitten with the sudden con 
sciousness .of blood-guiltiness, they turned and fled with 
out waiting to verify their apprehension by an investiga 
tion of the quivering wreck of mangled flesh upon the 
rocks below. Hastily mounting their horses, which were 
picketed near, they dashed through the ford ; and he 
against whom this evil had been devised heard the sharp 
clatter of their horses' hoofs as they galloped up the rocky 
hill beyond. Then he dismounted, and went cautiously 
forward to the edge of the cut. A moment of listening 
told him there was none there except the man whom he 
had lashed on to his fate. His heart beat fast with sick 
ening fear as he glanced at the mangled form below. A 
low groan fell upon his ear. He clambered down the 
steep side of the cut, and groped about in the shadow 
until he found the body of the man. He struck a match, 
and found that he was still living, though insensible. 

At this moment he heard the sound of a rumbling 
vehicle on the road above. 

"Dis way, boys! dis way!" cried the voice of old 
Jerry. " 'Twas right here dey was gwine to stop de 
Kunnel." 

There were hasty footsteps, and a rattling one-horse 



TOURGEE] A TERRIBLE RIDE. 109 

cart drove into the moonlight with the white-framed face 
of old Jerry peering over the dash-board ; while a half- 
dozen more colored men, each armed with a stout club, 
rode with him, or ran beside it. 

" Stop !" cried a voice from below. 

"Bress de Lor'!" shouted Jerry. "Dat's de Runnel's 
voice. Dey hain't killed him yit. Hurry on, boys! 
hurry on !" 

He scrambled from the cart, unmindful of his decrepi 
tude, and in an instant willing hands were helping the 
" Kunnel" bear something limp and bleeding towards the 
light. Then one brought water in his hat, and another 
gathered something to make a blaze for closer examination 
of the body of Savage. Fortunately, he had slipped from 
the saddle when his mare struck the rope, and before she 
took her final plunge upon the rocks where she now lay 
crushed and dying. He had been dashed against the 
clayey bank, and was battered and bleeding, but still alive. 
He was put carefully in the cart, and carried on to War- 
rington. 

" Jes' arter ye passed me, Kunnel, the cart corned on, 
an' I tole 'em what was up, an' got 'em to drive on peart- 
like, so that we might help ye ef ther was any need on't, 
which, bress de Lor' ! dey wa'n't," was Uncle Jerry's ex 
planation of their unexpected appearance. 



in. 10 



HO BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [AMES 

NEWSPAPER CHARACTERISTICS. 

FISHER AMES. 

[It is somewhat interesting to find a writer of the last century, when 
the Press was yet in its infancy, writing of it in words that are equally 
applicable to-day, when the newspaper has swollen to such huge pro 
portions and has become such a power in the land. It may be said, 
however, that the evil which he so eloquently deplores arises more 
from the demands of readers than from the desires of editors. While 
an active market is open for such wares as he describes, they will be 
produced. And until the public is prepared to support newspapei 
literature of a higher moral tone, such literature will not be produced 
in any abundance. Fisher Ames, the writer of the following selec 
tions, was born in Massachusetts in 1758, and was one of the most 
prominent of American orators and statesmen in the period succeeding 
the Ke volution. He served for many years in Congress, where he was 
the leader of the Federal party during Washington's administration. 
Some of his speeches which have been preserved are of unusual elo 
quence and power, while he was noted for soundness of judgment, 
depth of learning, and purity of character. He died in 1808.] 

IT seems as if newspaper wares were made to suit a 
market, as much as any other. The starers, and wonder- 
ers, and gapers engross a very large share of the attention 
of all the sons of the type. Extraordinary events multi 
ply upon us surprisingly. Gazettes, it is seriously to be 
feared, will not long allow room to anything that is not 
loathsome or shocking. A newspaper is pronounced to be 
very lean and destitute of matter if it contains no account 
of murders, suicides, prodigies, or monstrous births. 

Some of these tales excite horror, and others disgust , 
yet the fashion reigns, like a tyrant, to relish wonders, 
and almost to relish nothing else. Is this a reasonable 
taste ? or is it monstrous and worthy of ridicule ? Is the 
history of Newgate the only one worth reading? Are 
oddities only to be hunted ? . . . 



A.MES] NEWSPAPER CHARACTERISTICS. Ill 

Surely extraordinary events have not the best title to 
our studious attention. To study nature or man, we 
ought to know things that are in the ordinary course, not 
the unaccountable things that happen out of it. 

This country is said to measure seven hundred mil 
lions of acres, and is inhabited by almost six millions of 
people. Who can doubt, then, that a great .many crimes 
will be committed, and a great many strange things will 
happen, every seven years ? There will be thunder-show 
ers that will split tough white-oak trees ; and hail-storms 
that will cost some farmers the full amount of twenty 
shillings to mend their glass windows ; there will be 
taverns, and boxing matches, and elections, and gouging, 
and drinking, and love, and murder, and running in debt, 
and running away, and suicide. Now, if a man supposes 
eight, or ten, or twenty dozen of these amusing events 
will happen in a single year, is he not just as wise as an 
other man, who reads fifty columns of amazing particu 
lars, and, of course, knows that they have happened ? 

This State has almost one hundred thousand dwelling- 
houses ; it would be strange if all of them should escape 
fire for twelve months. Yet is it very profitable for a man 
to become a deep student of all the accidents by which 
they are consumed? He should take good care of his 
chimney-corner, and put a fender before the back-log, 
before he goes to bed. Having done this, he may let his 
aunt or grandmother read by day or meditate by night the 
terrible newspaper articles of fires ; how a maid dropped 
asleep reading a romance, and the bedclothes took fire ; 
how a boy, searching in a garret for a hoard of nuts, kin 
dled some flax ; and how a mouse, warming his tail, caught 
it on fire, and carried it into his hole in the floor. 

Some of the shocking articles in the papers raise simple, 
and very simple, wonder; some, terror; and some, horror 



112 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [AMES 

and disgust. Now, what instruction is there in these 
endless wonders ? Who is the wiser or happier for read 
ing the accounts of them? On the contrary, do they 
riot shock tender minds, and addle shallow br-ains? 
They make a thousand old maids, and eight or ten thou 
sand booby boys, afraid to go to bed alone. Worse than 
this happens; for some eccentric minds are turned to mis 
chief by such accounts as they receive of troops of in 
cendiaries burning our cities : the spirit of imitation is 
contagious, and boys are found unaccountably bent to do 
as men do. When the man flew from the steeple of the 
North Church, fifty years ago, every unlucky boy thought 
of nothing but flying from a sign-post. . . . 

Every horrid story in a newspaper produces a shock ; 
but, after some time, this shock lessens. At length, such 
stories are so far from giving pain that they rather raise 
curiosity, and we desire nothing so much as the particu 
lars of terrible tragedies. To wonder is as easy as to 
stare, and the most vacant mind is the most in need of 
such resources as cost no trouble of scrutiny or reflection ; 
it is a sort of food for idle curiosity, that is ready chewed 
and digested. . . . 

Now, Messrs. Printers, I pray the whole honorable craft 
to banish as many murders, and horrid accidents, and 
monstrous births, and prodigies, from their gazettes, as 
their readers will permit them ; and, by degrees, to coax 
them back to contemplate life and manners, to consider 
common events with some common sense, and to study 
nature where she can be known, rather than in those of 
her ways where she really is, or is represented to be, 
inexplicable. 

[From his eloquently-written eulogy of Alexander Hamilton we 
select the following passage, as a biographical sketch of interest and 
value.] 



AMES] ALEXANDER HAMILTON. 113 

In all the different stations in which a life of active 
usefulness has placed him, we find him not more remark 
ably distinguished by the extent than by the variety and 
versatility of his talents. In every place he made it 
apparent that no other man could have filled it so well ; 
and in times of critical importance, in which alone ho 
desired employment, his services were justly deemed ab 
solutely indispensable. As Secretary of the Treasury, his 
was the powerful spirit that presided over the chaos. 

" Confusion heard his voice, and wild Uproar 
Stood ruled." 

Indeed, in organizing the Federal Government in 1789, 
every man of either sense or candor will allow, the diffi 
culties seemed greater than the first-rate abilities could 
surmount. The event has shown that his abilities were 
greater than those difficulties. He surmounted them; 
and Washington's administration was the most wise and 
beneficent, the most prosperous, and ought to be the most 
popular, that ever was intrusted with the affairs of a 
nation. Great as was Washington's merit, much of it in 
plan, much in execution, will of course devolve upon his 
minister. 

As a lawyer, his comprehensive genius reached the 
principles of his profession ; he compassed its extent, he 
fathomed its profound, perhaps, even more familiarly and 
easily than the ordinary rules of its practice. With most 
men law is a trade ; with him it was a science. 

As a statesman, he was not more distinguished by the 

great extent of his views than by the caution with which 

he provided against impediments, and the watchfulness of 

his care over the right and liberty of the subject. In 

i none of the many revenue bills which he framed, though 

in. A 10* 



114 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [AMES 

committees reported them, is there to be found a single 
clause that savors of despotic power ; not one that the 
sagest champions of law and liberty would, on that ground, 
hesitate to approve and adopt. 

It is rare that a man who owes so much to nature 
descends to seek more from industry ; but he seemed to 
depend on industry as if nature had done nothing for him, . 
His habits of investigation were very remarkable ; his 
mind seemed to cling to, his subject till he had exhausted 
it. Hence the uncommon superiority of his reasoning 
powers, a superiority that seemed to be augmented from 
every source and to be fortified by every auxiliary, 
learning, taste, wit, imagination, and eloquence. These 
were embellished and enforced by his temper and manners, 
by his fame and his virtues. It is difficult, in 'the midst 
of such various excellence, to say in what particular the 
effect of his greatness was most manifest. ISTo man more 
promptly discerned truth ; no man more clearly displayed 
it: it was not merely made visible, it seemed to come 
bright with illumination from his lips. But, prompt and 
clear as he was, fervid as Demosthenes, like Cicero full of 
resource, he was not less remarkable for the copiousness 
and completeness of his argument, that left little for cavil, 
and nothing for doubt. Some men take their strongest 
argument as a weapon, and use no other; but he left 
nothing to be inquired for more, nothing to be answered. 
He not only disarmed his adversaries of their pretexts 
and objections, but he stripped them of all excuse for 
having urged them ; he confounded and subdued as well 
as convinced. He indemnified them, however, by making 
his discussion a complete map of his subject ; so that his 
opponents might, indeed, feel ashamed of their mistakes, 
but they could not repeat them. In fact, it was no com 
mon effort that could preserve a really able antagonist 



AMES] ALEXANDER HAMILTON. 115 

from becoming his convert; for the truth which his re 
searches so distinctly presented to the understanding of 
others was rendered almost irresistibly commanding and 
impressive by the love and reverence which, it was ever 
apparent, he profoundly cherished for it in his own. 
While patriotism glowed in his heart, wisdom blended in 
his speech her authority with her charms. 

Such, also, is the character of his writings. Judiciously 
collected, they will be a public treasure. . . . 

The most substantial glory of a country is in its virtu 
ous great men ; its prosperity will depend on its docility to 
learn from their example. That nation is fated to igno 
miny and servitude for which such men have lived in 
vain. Power may be seized by a nation that is yet bar 
barous ; and wealth may be enjoyed by one that it finds 
or renders sordid : the one is the gift and the sport of 
accident, and the other is the sport of power. Both are 
mutable, and have passed away without leaving behind 
them any other memorial than ruins that offend taste, 
and traditions that baffle conjecture. But the glory of 
Greece is imperishable, or will last as long as learning 
itself, which is its monument; it strikes an everlasting root, 
and bears perennial blossoms on its grave. The name of 
Hamilton would have honored Greece in the age of Aris- 
tides. May Heaven, the guardian of our liberty, grant 
that our country may be fruitful of Hamiltons, and faith 
ful to their glory I 



116 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GREELEY 

ADVICE TO FARMERS. 

HORACE GKEELEY. 

["What I Know about Farming," by Horace Greeley, was the 
subject of many satirical comments when published, probably mostly 
by persons who did not take the trouble to read the work, which cer 
tainly abounds with sensible advice to farmers, and seems to embody 
the result of years of practical experience. We give the general sum 
ming up of the work. Horace Greeley 's public life is too well known 
to need comment. Born in New Hampshire in 1811, as a poor farmer's 
son, he pushed himself by perseverance and intellect to the summit of 
the journalistic profession, and was for many years one of the ruling 
powers in the United States. He died in 1872.] 

IN the foregoing essays I have sought to establish the 
following propositions : 

1. That good farming is and must ever be a paying busi 
ness, subject, like all others, to mischances and pull-backs, 
and to the general law that the struggle up from nothing 
to something is ever an arduous and almost always a slow 
process. In the few instances where wealth and distinc 
tion have been swiftly won, they have rarely proved 
abiding. There are pursuits wherein success is more en 
vied and dazzling than in Agriculture ; but there is none 
wherein efficiency and frugality are more certain to secure 
comfort and competence. 

2. Though the poor man must often go slowly, where 
wealth may attain perfection at a bound, and though he 
may sometimes seem compelled to till fields not half so 
amply fertilized as they should be, it is nevertheless in 
flexibly true that bounteous crops are grown at a profit, 
while half and quarter crops are produced at a loss. A 
rich man may afford to grow poor crops, because he can 
afford to lose by his year's farming, while the poor man 



GREELET] ADVICE TO FARMERS. 117 

cannot. He ought, therefore, to till no more acres than 
he can bring into good condition, to sow no seed, plough 
no field, where he is not justified in expecting a good crop. 
Better five acres amply fertilized and thoroughly tilled 
than twenty acres which can at best make but a meagre 
return, and which a dry or a wet season must doom to 
partial if not absolute failure. 

3. In choosing a location, the farmer should resolve to 
choose once for all. Roaming from State to State, from 
section to section, is a sad and far too common mistake. 
Not merely is it true that " the rolling stone gathers no 
moss," but the farmer who wanders from place to place 
never acquires that intimate knowledge of the soil and 
climate which is essential to excellence in his vocation. 
He cannot read the clouds and learn when to expect rain, 
when he may look for days of sunshine, as he could if he 
had lived twenty years on the same place. Choose your 
home in the East, the South, the Centre, the West, if you 
will (and each section has its peculiar advantages) ; but 
choose once for all, and, having chosen, regard that choice 
as final. 

4. Our young men are apt to plunge into responsibilities 
too hastily. They buy farms while they lack at once ex 
perience and means, incur losses and debts by consequent 
miscalculations, and drag through life a weary load, which 
sours them against their pursuit, when the fault is entirely 
their own. No youth should undertake to manage a farm 
until after several years of training for that task under 
the eye of a capable master of the art of tilling the soil. 
If he has enjoyed the requisite advantages on his father's 
homestead, he may possibly be qualified to manage a farm 
at twenty-one ; but there are few who might not profitably 
wait and learn, in the pay of some successful cultivator, 
for several years longer ; while I cannot recall an instance 



118 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GREELEY 

of a youth rushing out of school or a city counting-house 
to show old farmers how their work ought to be done, 
that did not result in disaster. It is very well to know 
what science teaches with regard to farming ; but no man 
was ever a thoroughly good farmer who had not spent 
some years in actual contact with the soil. 

5. While every one says of his neighbor, " He farms too 
much land," the greed of acquisition does not seem at all 
chastened. Men stagger under loads of debt to-day, who 
might relieve themselves by selling off so much of their 
land as they cannot profitably use ; but every one seems 
intent on holding all he can, as if in expectation of a great 
advance in its market value. And yet you can buy farms 
in every old State in the Union as cheaply per acre as 
they could have been bought in like condition sixty years 
ago ; and I doubt their selling higher sixty years hence 
than they do now. No doubt there are lands, in the 
vicinage of growing cities or villages, that have greatly 
advanced in value ; but these are exceptions : and I 
counsel every young farmer, every poor farmer, to buy 
no more land than he can cultivate thoroughly, save such 
as he needs for timber. Never fear that there will not be 
more land for sale when you shall have the money where 
with to buy it ; but shun debt as you would the plague, and 
prefer forty acres all your own to a square mile heavily 
mortgaged. I never lifted a millstone, but I have under 
taken to carry debts, and they are fearfully heavy. 

6. I know that most American farms east of the Roanoke 
and the Wabash have too many fields and fences, and that 
the too prevalent custom of allowing cattle to prowl over 
meadow, tillage, and forest from September to May, pick 
ing up a precarious and inadequate subsistence by brows 
ing and foraging at large, is slovenly, unthrifty, and 
hardly consistent with the requirements of good neigh- 



GREELEY] ADVICE TO FARMERS. 119 

borhood. It is at best a miseducation of your cattle into 
lawless habits. I do not know just where and when all 
pasturing becomes wasteful and improvident; but I do 
know that pasturing fosters thistles, briers, and every 
noxious weed, and so is inconsistent with cleanly and 
thorough tillage. I know that the same acres will feed 
far more stock, and keep them in better condition, if their 
food be cut and fed to them, than if they are sent -out to 
gather it for themselves. I know that the cost of cutting 
their grass and other fodder with modern machinery need 
aot greatly exceed that of driving them to remote pastures 
in the morning and hunting them up at nightfall. I know 
that penning them ten hours of each twenty-four in a 
filthy yard, where they have neither food nor drink, is 
unwise ; and I feel confident that it is already high time, 
wherever good grass-land is worth one hundred dollars 
per acre, to limit pasturage to one small field, as near the 
centre of the farm as may be, wherein shade and good 
water abound, into which green rye, clover, timothy, oats, 
sowed corn, stalks, etc., etc., may successively be thrown 
from every side, and where shelter from a cold, driving 
storm is provided ; and that, if cows could be milked here 
and left through night as well as day, it would be found 
good economy. 

7. I know that most of us are slashing down our trees 
most improvidently, and thus compelling our children to 
buy timber at thrice the cost at which we might and 
should have grown it. I know that it is wasteful to let 
white birch, hemlock, scrub oak, pitch pine, dog-wood, 
etc., start up and grow on lands which might be cheaply 
sown with the seeds of locust, white oak, hickory, sugar- 
maple, chestnut, black walnut, and white pine. I know 
that no farm in a settled region is so large that its owner 
can really afford to surrender a considerable portion of it 



120 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GREELEY 

to growing indifferent cord-wood when it would as freely 
grow choice timber if seeded therefor; and I feel sure 
that there are few farms so small that a portion of each 
might not be profitably devoted to the growing of valuable 
trees. I know that the common presumption that land 
so devoted will yield no return for a lifetime is wrong, 
know that, if thickly and properly seeded, it will begin 
to yield bean-poles, hoop-poles, etc., the fifth or sixth year 
from planting, and thenceforth will yield more and more 
abundantly forever. I know that good timber, in any 
well-peopled region, should not be cut off, but cut out, 
thinned judiciously but moderately, and trimmed up, so 
that it shall grow tall and run to trunk instead of branches ; 
and I know that there are all about us millions of acres 
of rocky crests and acclivities, steep ravines and sterile 
sands, that ought to be seeded to timber forthwith, kept 
clear of cattle, and devoted to tree-growing evermore. 

8. I do not know that all lands may be profitably under- 
drained. Wooded uplands, I know, could not be. Fields 
which slope considerably, and so regularly that water 
never stagnates upon or near their surface, do very well 
without. Light, leachy sands, like those of Long Island, 
Southern Jersey, Eastern Maryland, and the Carolinas, 
seem to do fairly without. Yet my conviction is stronj 
that nearly all land which is to be persistently cultivated wi 
in time be underdrained. I would urge no farmer to plungo 
up to his neck into debt in order to underdrain his farm. 
But I would press every one who has no experience on 
this head to select his wettest field, or the wettest part 
of such field, and, having carefully read and digested 
ring's, French's, or some other approved work on the sub-| 
ject, procure tile and proceed next fall to drain that fiel< 
or part of a field thoroughly, taking especial precautions 
against back-water, and watch the effect until satisfied 



GREELEY] ADVICE TO FARMERS. 121 

that it will or will not pay 4o drain further. I think few 
have drained one acre thoroughly, and at no unnecessary 
cost, without being impelled by the result to drain more 
and faster until they had tiled at least half their respective 
farms. 

9. As to irrigation, I doubt that there is a farm in the 
United States where something might not be profitably 
done forthwith to secure^ advantage from the artificial re 
tention and application of water. Wherever a brook or 
runnel crosses or skirts a farm, the question, " Can the 
water here running uselessly by be retained, and in due 
season equably diffused over some portion of this land ?" 
at once presents itself. One who has never looked with 
this view will be astonished at the facility with which 
some acres of nearly every farm may be irrigated. Often, 
a dam that need not cost twenty dollars will suffice to hold 
back ten thousand barrels of water, so that it may be led 
off along the upper edge of a slope or glade, falling off just 
enough to maintain a gentle, steady current, and so pro 
viding for the application of two or three inches of water 
to several acres of tillage or grass just when the exigencies 
of crop and season most urgently require such irrigation. 
Any farmer east of the Hudson can tell where such an 
application would have doubled the crop of 1870 and pre 
cluded the hard necessity of selling or killing cattle not 
easily replaced. 

Of course, this is but a rude beginning. In time, we 
shall dam very considerable streams mainly to this end, 
and irrigate hundreds and thousands of acres from a single 
pond or reservoir. Wells will be sunk on plains and gentle 
swells now comparatively arid and sterile, and wind or 
steam employed to raise water into reservoirs whence 
wide areas of surrounding or subjacent land will be re 
freshed at the critical moment and thus rendered boun- 

III. 7 11 



122 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GREELEY 

teously productive. On the vast, bleak, treeless plains of 
the wild West even artesian wells will be sunk for this 
purpose ; and the water thus obtained will prove a source 
of fertility as well as refreshment, enriching the soil by 
the minerals which it holds in solution, and insuring boun 
teous crops from wide stretches of now barren and worth 
less desert. Immigration will yet thickly dot the great 
Sahara with oases of verdure and plenty ; but it will, long 
ere that, have covered the valleys of our Great Basin and 
those which skirt the affluents of the savage and desolate 
Colorado with a beauty and thrift surpassing the dreams 
of poets. And yet its easiest and readiest triumphs are to 
be won right here, in the valleys of the Connecticut, the 
Hudson, the Susquehanna, and the Potomac. . . . 

11. Shallow culture is the most crying defect of our 
average farming. Poverty may sometimes excuse it ; but 
the excuse is stretched quite too far. If a farmer has 
but a poor span of horses, or a light yoke of thin steers, 
he cannot plough land as it should be ploughed ; but let 
him double teams with his neighbor, and plough alternate 
days on either farm ; or, if this may not be, let him buy 
or borrow a sub-soil plough, and go once around with his 
surface plough, then hitch on to the sub-soil, and run 
another furrow in the bottom of the former. There are 
a few intervales of rich, mellow soil, deposited by the 
inundations of countless ages, where shallow culture will 
answer, because the roots of the plants run freely through 
fertile earth never yet disturbed by the plough ; but these 
marked and meagre exceptions do not invalidate the truth 
that nine-tenths of our tillage is neither so deep nor so 
thorough as it should be. As a rule, the feeding roots of 
plants do not run below the bottom of the furrows, though 
in some instances they do ; and he who fancies that five 
or six inches of soil will, under our fervid suns, with our 



IRYANT] LIFE IN NATURE. 123 

summers often rainless for weeks, produce as bounteous 
and as sure a crop as twelve to eighteen inches, is imper 
vious to fact or reason. He might as sensibly maintain 
that you could draw as long and as heavily against a de 
posit in bank of five hundred dollars as against one of 
fifteen hundred dollars. 

12. Finally, and as the sum of my convictions, we need 
more thought, more study, more intellect infused into our 
agriculture, with less blind devotion to a routine which, 
if ever judicious, has long since ceased to be so. The 
tillage which a pioneer, fighting single-handed and all but 
empty-handed with a dense forest of giant trees, which 
he can do no better than to cut down and burn, found in 
dispensable among their stumps and roots, is not adapted 
*o the altered circumstances of his grandchildren. If our 
most energetic farmers would abstract ten hours each per 
week from their incessant drudgery, and devote them to 
reading and reflection with regard to their noble calling, 
they would live longer, live to better purpose, and be 
queath a better example, with more property, to their 
children. 



LIFE IN NATURE. 

The denizens of field and forest, of air and water, of all the varied 
domains of nature, have formed the theme of many poems, often oi 
great beauty and merit. Some of the more attractive efforts of Amer 
ican poets in this direction will form the subject of our present poetic 
group. Bryant's rollicking poem to the Bobolink comes first in order. 

ROBERT OF LINCOLN. 

MERRILY swinging on brier and weed, 
Near to the nest of his little dame. 



124 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BRYANT 

Over the mountain-side or mead, 

Eobert of Lincoln is telling his name : 
Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, 
Spink, spank, spink ; 
Snug and safe is that nest of ours, 
Hidden among the summer flowers. 
Ghee, chee, chee. 

Kobert of Lincoln is gayly dressed, 

Wearing a bright black wedding-coat ; 
White are his shoulders and white his crest ; 
Hear him call, in his merry note, 
Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, 
Spink, spank, spink ; 
Look what a nice new coat is mine ! 
Sure there was never a bird so fine. 
Chee, chee, chee. 

Robert of Lincoln's Quaker wife, 

Pretty and quiet, with plain brown wings, 
Passing at home a patient life, 

Broods in the grass while her husband sings, 
Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, 
Spink, spank, spink ; 
Brood, kind creature : you need not fear 
Thieves and robbers while I am here. 
Chee, chee, chee. 

Modest and shy as a nun is she ; 

One weak chirp is her only note. 
Braggart and prince of braggarts is he, 
Pouring boasts from his little throat : 
Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, 
Spink, spank, spink ; 



PIKE] LIFE IN NATURE. 125 

Never was I afraid of man ; 
Catch me. cowardly knaves, if you can 1 
Chee, chee, chee. 

Six white eggs on a bed of hay, 

Flecked with purple, a pretty sight ! 
There, as the mother sits all day, 
Eobert is singing with all his might, 
Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, 
Spink, spank, spink ; 
Nice good wife, that never goes out, 
Keeping house while I frolic about ; 

Chee, chee, chee. 

****** 
Summer wanes ; the children are grown ; 

Fun and frolic no more he knows ; 
Eobert of Lincoln's a humdrum crone : 
Off he flies, and we sing as he goes, 
Bob-o'-link, bob-o'-link, 
Spink, spank, spink ; 

When you can pipe that merry old strain, 
Eobert of Lincoln, come back again. 
Chee, chee, chee. 

To the earliest and one of the best of our Western poets, Albert 
Pike, we owe a spirited and beautiful address 

TO THE MOCKING-BIRD. 

Thou glorious mocker of the world ! I hear 
Thy many voices ringing through the glooms 

Of these green solitudes ; and all the clear, 

Bright joyance of their song enthralls the ear, 
And floods the heart. Over the sphered tombs 

Of vanished nations rolls thy music-tide : 
No light from History's starlit page illumes 

in. 11* 



126 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PiKE 

The memory of these nations : they have died : 

None care for them but thou ; and thou mayst sing 
O'er me, perhaps, as now thy clear notes ring 

Over their bones by whom thou once wast deified. 

Glad scorner of all cities ! Thou dost leave 

The world's mad turmoil and incessant din, 
Where none in others' honesty believe, 
Where the old sigh, the young turn gray and grieve, 

Where misery gnaws the maiden's heart within : 
Thou fleest far into the dark green woods, 

Where, with thy flood of music, thou canst win 
Their heart to harmony, and where intrudes 

No discord on thy melodies. Oh, where, 

Among the sweet musicians of the air, 
Is one so dear as thou to these old solitudes ? 

Ha ! what a burst was that ! The jEolian strain 
Goes floating through the tangled passages 

Of the still woods, and now it comes again, 

A multitudinous melody, like a rain 
Of glassy music under echoing trees, 

Close by a ringing lake. It wraps the soul 
With a bright harmony of happiness, 

Even as a gem is wrapped when round it roll 
Thin waves of crimson flame : till we become, 
With the excess of perfect pleasure, dumb, 

And pant like a swift runner clinging to the goal. 

I cannot love the man who doth not love, 
As men love light, the song of happy birds ; 

For the first visions that my boy-heart wove 

To fill its sleep with, were that I did rove 

Through the fresh woods, what time the snowy herds 



STODDARD] LIFE IN NATURE. 127 

Of morning clouds shrunk from the advancing sun, 
Into the depths of Heaven's blue heart, as words 

From the Poet's lips float gently, one by one, 
And vanish in the human heart ; and then 
I revelled in such songs, and sorrowed when, 

With noon-heat overwrought, the music-gush was dono. 

I would, sweet bird, that I might live with thee, 
Amid the eloquent grandeur of these shades, 

Alone with Nature, but it may not be ; 

I have to struggle with the stormy sea 
Of human life until existence fades 

Into death's darkness. Thou wilt sing and soar 

Through the thick woods and shadow-checkered glades. 

While pain and sorrow cast no dimness o'er 
The brilliance of thy heart ; but I must wear, 
As now, my garments of regret and care, 

As penitents of old their galling sackcloth wore. 

Yet why complain ? What though fond hopes deferred 
Have overshadowed Life's green paths with gloom ? 

Content's soft music is not all unheard : 

There is a voice sweeter than thine, sweet bird, 
To welcome me within my humble home ; 

There is an eye, with love's devotion bright, 
The darkness of existence to illume. 

Then why complain ? When Death shall cast his blight 
Over the spirit, my cold bones shall rest 
Beneath these trees ; and, from thy swelling breast, 

Over them pour thy song, like a rich flood of light. 

Still more beautiful is Eichard Henry Stoddard's simile of birds to 
thoughts : 

Birds are singing, round my window, 

Tunes the sweetest ever heard, 






128 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EGBERTS 

And I hang my cage there daily, 
But I never catch a bird. 

So with thoughts my brain is peopled, 
And they sing there all day long; 

But they will not fold their pinions 
In the little cage of Song ! 

From the life of the birds we may descend to the humbler life of 
the green leaves and herbage within which they make their covert. 
Even the humble grass speaks to us, though its voice is audible to our 
understanding only, not to our ears. What it says we are told in the 
following poem : 

THE VOICE OF THE GRASS. 

Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere : 

By the dusty road-side, 

On the sunny hill-side, 

Close by the noisy brook, 

In every shady nook, 
I come creeping, creeping everywhere. 

Here I come creeping, smiling everywhere : 

All round the open door, 

Where sit the aged poor ; 

Here where the children play, 

In the bright and merry May, 
I come creeping, creeping everywhere. 

Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere : 

You cannot see me coming, 

Nor hear my low, sweet humming ; 

For in the starry night, 

And the glad morning light, 
I come quietly creeping everywhere. 



PERCIVAL] LIFE IN NATURE. 129 

Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere ; 

More welcome than the flowers 

In summer's pleasant hours : 

The gentle cow is glad, 

And the merry bird not sad, 
To see me creeping, creeping everywhere. 

Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere : 

"When you're numbered with the dead 

In your still and narrow bed, 

In the happy spring I'll come 

And deck your silent home, 
Creeping, silently creeping everywhere. 

Here I come creeping, creeping everywhere : 

My humble song of praise 

Most joyfully I raise 

To Him at whose command 

I beautify the land, 
Creeping, silently creeping everywhere. 

SARAH EGBERTS. 

One of our older poets presents us with a poem which has always 
remained a favorite with the reading public of America : 

THE CORAL GROVE. 

Deep in the wave is a coral grove, 

Where the purple mullet and gold-fish rove ; 

Where the sea-flower spreads its leaves of blue, 

That never are wet with falling dew, 

But in bright and changeful beauty shine 

Far down in the green and glassy brine. 

The floor is of sand, like the mountain drift, 

And the pearl-shells spangle the flinty snow ; 
in. i 



130 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOLMES 

From coral rocks the sea-plants lift 

Their boughs, where the tides and billows flow ; 
The water is calm and still below, 

For the winds and waves are absent there, 
And the sands are bright as the stars that glow 

In the motionless fields of upper air. 
There, with its waving blade of green, 

The sea-flag streams through the silent water, 
And the crimson leaf of the dulse is seen 

To blush, like a banner bathed in slaughter. 
There with a light and easy motion 

The fan-coral sweeps through the clear, deep sea, 
And the yellow and scarlet tufts of ocean 

Are bending like corn on the upland lea ; 
And life, in rare and beautiful forms, 

Is sporting amid those bowers of stone, 
And is safe, when the wrathful spirit of storms 

Has made the top of the wave his own. 
And when the ship from his fury flies, 

Where the myriad voices of ocean roar, 
When the wind-god frowns in the murky skies. 

And demons are waiting the wreck on shore, 
Then, far below, in the peaceful sea,' 

The purple mullet and gold-fish rove 
Where the waters murmur tranquilly, 

Through the bending twigs of the coral grove. 
JAMES GATES PERCIVAL. 

The life of the ocean depths speaks to us in a yet nobler strain in 
one of the most beautiful of Oliver Wendell Holmes 's many beautiful 
poems : 

THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS. 

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign, 
Sails the unshadowed main, 
The venturous bark that flings 



HOLMES] LIFE IN NATURE. 131 

On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings, 
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings, 

And coral reefs lie bare, 
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair. 

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl ; 

Wrecked is the ship of pearl ! 

And every chambered cell, 

Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell, 
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell, 

Before thee lies revealed, 
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed ! 

Year after year beheld the silent toil 

That spread his lustrous coil ; 

Still, as the spiral grew, 
He left the past year's dwelling for the new, 
Stole with soft step its shining archway through, 

Built up its idle door, 

Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no 
more. 

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee, 

Child of the wandering sea, 

Cast from her lap, forlorn ! 
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born 
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn ! 

While on mine ear it rings, 

Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that 
sings . 

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul, 
As the swift seasons roll ! 
Leave thy low-vaulted past ! 



132 B&ST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EMERSON 

Let each new temple, nobler than the last, 
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast, 

Till thou at length art free, 
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea ! 

Of the many poets who have sung the humbler life of nature, none 
has entered more fully into its spirit, or gained fuller inspiration from 
his subject, than Emerson in his charming address to 

THE HUMBLE-BEE. 

Burly, dozing humble-bee, 
Where thou art is clime for me. 
Let them sail for Porto Blque, 
Far-off heats through seas to seek : 
I will follow thee alone, 
Thou animated torrid zone ! 
Zigzag steerer, desert cheerer, 
Let me chase thy waving lines : 
Keep me nearer, me thy hearer, 
Singing over shrubs and vines. 

Insect lover of the sun, 
Joy of thy dominion ! 
Sailor of the atmosphere, 
Swimmer through the waves of air, 
"Voyager of light and noon, 
Epicurean of June, 
Wait, I prithee, till I come 
;. Within earshot of thy hum, 

All without is martyrdom. 

When the south wind, in May days, 
With a net of shining haze 
Silvers the horizon wall, 
And, with softness touching all, 



EMERSON] LIFE IN NATURE. 132 

Tints the human countenance 
With a color of romance, 
And infusing subtle heats 
Turns the sod to violets, 
Thou, in sunny solitudes, 
Rover of the underwoods, 
The green silence dost displace 
With thy mellow, breezy bass. 



Hot midsummer's petted crone, 
Sweet to me thy drowsy tone 
Tells of countless sunny hours, 
Long days, and solid banks of flowers ; 
Of gulfs of sweetness without bound 
In Indian wildernesses found ; 
Of Syrian peace, immortal leisure, 
Firmest cheer, and bird-like pleasure. 

Aught unsavory or unclean 
Hath my insect never seen ; 
But violets and bilberry bells, 
Maple-sap and daffodels, 
Grass with green flag half-mast high, 
Succory to match the sky, 
Columbine with horn of honey, 
Scented fern, and agrimony, 
Clover, catchfly, adder's-tongue, 
And brier roses, dwelt among : 
All beside was unknown waste, 
All was picture as he passed. 

Wiser far than human seer, 
Yellow-breeched philosopher ! 
m. 12 



134 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HUNT 

Seeing only what is fair, 
Sipping only what is sweet, 
Thou dost mock at fate and care, 
Leave the chaff and take the wheat. 
When the fierce northwestern blast 
Cools sea and land so far and fast, 
Thou already slumberest deep ; 
Woe and want thou canst outsleep ; 
Want and woe, which torture us, 
Thy sleep makes ridiculous. 

In a similar vein, and quite as charming in manner and handling, is 
Helen Hunt's "Strawberry Festival." 

MY STRAWBERRY. 

marvel, fruit of fruits, I pause 
To reckon thee. I ask what cause 
Set free so much of red from heats 

At core of earth, and mixed such sweets 
With sour and spice ; what was that strength 
Which out of darkness, length by length, 
Spun all thy shining thread of vine, 
Netting the fields in bond as thine. 

1 see thy tendrils drink by sips 
From grass and clover's smiling lips ; 
I hear thy roots dig down for wells, 
Tapping the meadow's hidden cells ; 
Whole generations of green things, 
Descended from long lines of springs, 
I see make room for thee to bide 

A quiet comrade by their side : 
I see the creeping peoples go 
Mysterious journeys to and fro, 
Treading to right and left of thee, 
Doing thee homage wonderingly. 



BOLLES] LIFE IN NATURE. 135 

I see the wild bees, as they fare, 
Thy cups of honey drink, but spare. 
I mark thee bathe and bathe again 
In sweet uncalendared spring rain. 
I watch how all May has of sun 
Makes haste to have thy ripeness done, 
While all her nights let dews escape 
To set and cool thy perfect shape. 
Ah, fruit of fruits, no more I pause 
To dream and seek thy hidden laws ! 
I stretch my hand and dare to taste, 
In instant of delicious waste 
On single feast, all things that went 
To make the empire thou hast spent. 

In conclusion we give a very pretty poetical address to the life of 
long ago, that geological life of which all that remains to us is its un 
dying record upon the rocks. 

THE PETRIFIED FERN. 

In a valley, centuries ago, 

Grew a little fern-leaf, green and slender, 

Veining delicate and fibres tender, 
Waving, when the wind crept down so low ; 
Rushes tall, and moss, and grass grew round it, 
Playful sunbeams darted in and found it, 
Drops of dew stole in, by night, and crowned it, 
But no foot of man e'er trod that way: 
Earth was young and keeping holiday. 

Monster fishes swam the silent main, 

Stately forests waved their giant branches, 
Mountains hurled their snowy avalanches, 

Mammoth creatures stalked across the plain ; 



136 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BOLLHS 

Nature revelled in grand mysteries, 
But the little fern \vas not of these, 
Did not number with the hills and trees, 
Only grew and waved its sweet, wild way : 
No one came to note it, day by day. 

Earth, one time, put on a frolic mood. 

Heaved the rocks, and changed the mighty motion 
Of the deep, strong currents of the ocean, 

Moved the plain, and shook the haughty wood, 

Crushed the little fern, in soft, moist clay, 

Covered it, and hid it safe away : 

Oh, the long, long centuries since that day ! 

Oh, the agony ! Oh, life's bitter cost, 

Since that useless little fern was lost ! 

Useless? Lost? There came a thoughtful man, 
Searching Nature's secrets, far and deep : 
From a fissure in a rocky steep 

He withdrew a stone, o'er which there ran 

Fairy pencillings, a quaint design, 

Yeinings, leafage, fibres clear and fine, 

And the fern's life lay in every line ! 

So, I think, God hides some souls away, 

Sweetly to surprise us the last day. 

MARY L. BOLLES. 



KAMSAY] WASHINGTON RESIGNS HIS COMMISSION. 137 



WASHINGTON RESIGNS HIS COMMISSION. 

DAVID RAMSAY. 

[David Kamsay was born in Pennsylvania in 1749. He studied 
medicine under Dr. Rush, and practised for many years in Charleston, 
South Carolina. He served in the Continental Congress in 1782 and 
1785. He wrote several historical works, the chief of which was his 
" History of the American Revolution," which became at once highly 
popular. His " Life of Washington," published in 1801, still main 
tains a high reputation. He died in Charleston in 1815, being shot 
by a lunatic. At that period he was making preparations for publish 
ing a more general work on American history. From his " Life of 
Washington" we make a short but interesting extract.] 

THE hour now approached in which it became necessary 
for the American chief to take leave of his officers, who 
had been endeared to him by a long series of common 
sufferings and dangers. This was done in a solemn man 
ner. The officers having previously assembled for the 
purpose, General Washington joined them, and, calling 
for a glass of wine, thus addressed them : " With a heart 
full of love and gratitude, I now take leave of you. I 
most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as pros 
perous and happy as your former ones have been glorious 
and honorable." Having drank, he added, "I cannot 
come to each of you to take my leave, but shall be obliged 
to you if each of you will come and take me by the hand." 
General Knox, being next, turned to him. Incapable of 
utterance, Washington grasped his hand and embraced him. 
The officers came up successively, and he took an affection 
ate leave of each of them. Not a word was articulated 
on either side. A majestic silence prevailed. The tear 
of sensibility glistened in every eye. The tenderness of 
the scene exceeded all description. When the last of tho 
in. 12* 



138 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KAMSAT 

officers had taken his leave, Washington left the room, 
and passed through the corps of light infantry to the 
place of embarkation. The officers followed in a solemn, 
mute procession, with dejected countenances. On his en 
tering the barge to cross the North River, he turned 
towards the companions of his glory, and, by waving his 
hat, bid them a silent adieu. Some of them answered 
this last signal of respect and affection with tears; and 
all of them hung upon the barge which conveyed him 
from their sight till they could no longer distinguish in it 
the person of their beloved commander-in-chief. 

The army being disbanded, Washington proceeded to 
Annapolis, then the seat of Congress, to resign his com 
mission. On his way thither, he, of his own accord, de 
livered to the comptroller of accounts in Philadelphia an 
account of the expenditure of all the public money he had 
ever received. This was in his own handwriting, and 
every entry was made in a very particular manner. 
Touchers were produced for every item, except for secret 
intelligence and service, which amounted to no more than 
1982?. 10s. sterling. The whole which, in the course 
of eight years of war, had passed through his hands, 
amounted only to 14,479?. 18s. M. sterling. Nothing was 
charged or retained for personal services ; and actual dis 
bursements had been managed with such economy and 
fidelity that they were all covered by the above moderate 
sum. 

After accounting for all his expenditures of public 
money (secret-service money, for obvious reasons, ex- 
cepted) with all the exactness which established forms 
required from the inferior officers of his army, he hastened 
to resign into the hands of the fathers of his country the 
powers with which they had invested him. This was 
done in a public audience. Congress received him as tho 



RAMSAY] WASHINGTON RESIGNS HIS COMMISSION. 139 

founder and guardian of the republic. While he appeared 
before them, they silently retraced the scenes of danger 
and distress through which they had passed together. 
They recalled to mind the blessings of freedom and peace 
purchased by his arm. They gazed with wonder on their 
fellow-citizen, who appeared more great and worthy of 
esteem in resigning his power than he had done in glo 
riously using it. Every heart was big with emotion. 
Tears of admiration and gratitude burst from every eye. 
The general sympathy was felt by the resigning hero, and 
wet his cheek with a manly tear. . . . 

The sensations of Washington on retiring from public 
business are thus expressed : " I am just beginning to ex- 
perience the ease and freedom from public cares, which, 
however desirable, it takes some time to realize; for, 
strange as it may seem, it is nevertheless true, that it was 
not until lately I could get the better of my usual custom 
of ruminating, as soon as I awoke in the morning, on the 
business of the ensuing day ; and of my surprise on find 
ing, after revolving many things in my mind, that I was 
no longer a public man, or had anything to do with pub 
lic transactions. I feel as I conceive a wearied traveller 
must do, who, after treading many a painful step with a 
heavy burden on his shoulders, is eased of the latter, 
having reached the haven to which all the former were 
directed, and, from his house-top, is looking back, and 
tracing with an eager eye the meanders by which ho 
escaped the quicksands and mires which lay in his way, 
and into which none but the all-powerful Guide and Dis 
penser of human events could have prevented his falling." 



140 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOPKINSON 

SPECIMEN OF A COLLEGIATE EXAMINATION. 

FRANCIS HOPKINSON. 

[Of the members of the Continental Congress, and signers of the 
Declaration, Judge Hopkinson alone gained a high position in general 
literature, and shares with Franklin the honor of being a prominent 
American humorist of the last century. In humor and satire, indeed, 
he has been ranked with Swift, Lucian, and Rabelais. This is some 
what undue praise. Yet if his wit does not fully reach the level of 
those masters of the art, it escapes their coarseness and vulgarity, and 
displays a very fine sense of humor. The "Collegiate Examination" 
paper has lost somewhat of its point, since the absurdities which it 
satirizes have been largely reformed. It is also too long drawn out 
for the taste of modern readers, the examination being conducted not 
only through the Metaphysics and Logic of a salt-box, but also through 
its Natural Philosophy, Mathematics, Anatomy, Chemistry, and Sur 
gery and Practice of Physic. We give it under only the first two of 
these headings. More applicable to existing conditions is his essay on 
"Whitewashing," which we also give. The title should properly 
be changed to " House-Cleaning," but the custom continues in vogue, 
and the husband of the present century is as much a victim to the 
semi-annual invasion of bucket and broom as was his eighteenth-cen 
tury counterpart to the terrors of the whitewash-brush. Judge Hop 
kinson was born in Philadelphia in 1737, and died in 1791. He wrote, 
in addition to those named, many humorous essays, but is best known 
in literature by his satirical ballad, " The Battle of the Kegs."] 

METAPHYSICS. 

PROFESSOR. What is a SALT-BOX ? 

STUDENT. It is a box made to contain salt. 

PROF. How is it divided ? 

STU. Into a salt-box and a box of salt. 

PROF. Very well! show the distinction. 

STU. A salt-box may be where there is no salt; but 
salt is absolutely necessary to the existence of a box of 
salt. 



HOPKINSON] A COLLEGIATE EXAMINATION. UJ 

PROP. Are not salt-boxes otherwise divided ? 

STU. Yes ; by a partition. 

PROF. What is the use of this partition ? 

STU. To separate the coarse salt from the fine. 

PROF. How ? think a little. 

STU. To separate the fine salt from the coarse. 

PROF. To be sure; it is to separate the fine from tno 
coarse ; but are not salt-boxes yet otherwise distinguished? 

STU. Yes ; into possible, probable, and positive. 

PROF. Define these several kinds of salt-boxes. 

STU. A possible salt-box is a salt-box yet unsold in the 
hands of the joiner. 

PROF. Why so ? 

STU. Because it hath never yet become a salt-box in fact, 
having never had any salt in it ; and it may possibly be 
applied to some other use. 

PROF. Very true ; for a salt-box which never had, hath 
not now, and perhaps never may have, any salt in it, can 
only be termed a possible salt-box. What is a probable 
salt-box ? 

STU. It is a salt-box in the hand of one going to a shop 
to buy salt, and who hath sixpence in his pocket to pay 
the grocer ; and a positive salt-box is one which hath actu 
ally and bona fide got salt in it. 

PROF. Very good : but is there no instance of a positive 
salt-box which hath no salt in it ? 

STU. I know of none. 

PROF. Yes: there is one mentioned by some authors: it 
is where a box hath by long use been so impregnated with 
salt, that, although all the salt hath been long since emp 
tied out, it may yet be called a salt-box, with the same 
propriety that we say a salt herring, salt beef, etc. And, 
in this sense, any box that may have accidentally, or 
otherwise, been long steeped in brine, may be termed 



142 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOPKINSON 

positively a salt-box, although never designed for the pur 
pose of keeping salt. But tell me, what other division of 
salt-boxes do you recollect ? 

STU. They are further divided into substantive and pen 
dent : a substantive salt-box is that which stands by itself 
on the table or dresser; and a pendent is that which hangs 
upon a nail against the wall. 

PROP. What is the idea of a salt-box? 

STU. It is that image which the mind conceives of a 
salt-box when no salt-box is present. 

PROF. What is the abstract idea of a salt box ? 

STU. It is the idea of a salt-box abstracted from the idea 
of a box, or of salt, or of a salt-box, or of a box of salt. 

PROF. Yery right; and by these means you acquire a 
most perfect knowledge of a salt-box. But tell me, is the 
idea of a salt-box a salt idea? 

STU. Not unless the ideal box hath ideal salt in it. 

PROF. True; and therefore an abstract idea cannot be 
either salt or fresh, round or square, long or short ; for a 
true abstract idea must be entirely free of all adjuncts. 
And this shows the difference between a salt idea and an 
idea of salt. Is an aptitude to hold salt an essential or an 
accidental property of a salt-box ? 

STU. It is essential; but if there should be a crack in the 
bottom of the box the aptitude to spill salt would be termed 
an accidental property of that salt-box. 

PROF. Yery well ! very well indeed ! What is the salt 
called with respect to the box ? 

STU. It is called its contents. 

PROF. And why so ? 

STU. Because the cook is content quoad hoc to find plenty 
Df salt in the box. 

PROF. You are very right, I see you have not misspent 
your time : but let us now proceed to 



' HOPKINSON] A COLLEGIATE EXAMINATION. 143 

LOGIC. 

PROF. How many parts are there in a salt-box ? 

STU. Three. Bottom, top, and sides. 

PROF. How many modes are there in salt-boxes ? 

STU. Four. The formal, the substantial, the accidental, 
and the topsy-turvy. 

PROF. Define these several modes. 

STU. The formal respects the figure or shape of the box, 
such as round, square, oblong, and so forth ; the substantial 
respects the work of the joiner; and the accidental depends 
upon the string by which the box is hung against the 
wall. 

PROF. Yery well ; and what are the consequences of the 
accidental mode ? 

STU. If the string should break the box would fall, the 
salt be spilt, the salt-box broken, and the cook in a bitter 
passion ; and this is the accidental mode with its conse 
quences, 

PROF. How do you distinguish between the top and 
bottom of a salt-box ? 

STU. The top of a box is that part which is uppermost, 
and the bottom that part which is lowest in all positions. 

PROF. You should rather say the lowest part is the 
bottom and the uppermost part is the top. How is it, 
then, if the bottom should be the uppermost ? 

STU. The top would then be the lowermost ; and so the 
bottom would become the top, and the top would become 
the bottom ; and this is called the topsy-turvy mode, which 
is nearly allied to the accidental, and frequently arises 
from it. 

PROF. Yery good; but are not salt-boxes sometimes 
single, and sometimes double ? 

STU. Yes. 



144 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOPKTNSON 

PROF. Well, then, mention the several combinations of 
salt-boxes with respect to their having salt or not. 

STU. They are divided into single salt-boxes having salt; 
single salt-boxes having no salt ; double salt-boxes having 
salt ; double salt-boxes having no salt ; and single double 
salt-boxes having salt and no salt. 

PROF. Hold ! hold ! you are going too far. 

ON WHITEWASHING.* 

DEAR SIR, The peculiar customs of every country 
appear to strangers awkward and absurd ; but the inhabi 
tants consider them as very proper and even necessary. 
Long habit imposes on the understanding, and reconciles 
it to anything that is not manifestly pernicious or imme 
diately destructive. 

I have read somewhere of a nation (in Africa, I think) 
which is governed by twelve counsellors. "When these 
counsellors are to meet on public business, twelve large 
earthen jars are set in two rows, and filled with water. 
The counsellors enter the apartment one after another, 
stark naked, and each leaps into a jar, where he sits up to 
the chin in water. When the jars are all filled with coun 
sellors, they proceed to deliberate on the great concerns 
of the nation. This, to be sure, forms a very grotesque 
scene ; but the object is to transact the public business : 
they have been accustomed to do it in this way, and there 
fore it appears to them the most rational and convenient 
way. Indeed, if we consider it impartially, there seems 
to be no reason why a counsellor may not be as wise in an 
earthen jar as in an elbow-chair; or why the good of the 
people may not be as maturely considered in the one as in 
the other. 



* A letter from a gentleman in America to his friend in Europe. 






ON WHITEWASHING. i45 

The established manners of every country are the 
standards of propriety with the people who have adopted 
them ; and every nation assumes the right of considering 
all deviations therefrom as barbarisms and absurdities. 

I have discovered but few national singularities amongst 
the people of these new States. Their customs and man 
ners are nearly the same with those of England, which 
they have long been used to copy. I have, however, ob 
served one custom which, for aught I know, is peculiar to 
this country. An account of it will serve to fill up the 
remainder of this sheet, and may afford you some amuse 
ment. 

When a young couple are about to enter on the matri 
monial state, a never-failing article in the marriage treaty 
is, that the lady shall have and enjoy the free and unmo 
lested exercise of the rights of WHITEWASHING, with all 
its ceremonials, privileges, and appurtenances. You will 
wonder what this privilege of whitewashing is. I will 
endeavor to give you an idea of the ceremony as I have 
seen it performed. 

There is no season of the year in which the lady may 
not, if she pleases, claim her privilege ; but the latter end 
of May is generally fixed upon for the purpose. The at 
tentive husband may judge, by certain prognostics, when 
the storm is nigh at hand. If the lady grows uncom 
monly fretful, finds fault with the servants, is discontented 
with the children, and complains much of the nastiness 
of everything about her, these are symptoms which ought 
not to be neglected ; yet they sometimes go off without 
any further effect. But if, when the husband rises in the 
morning, he should observe in the yard a wheelbarrow 
with a quantity of lime in it, or should see certain buckets 
filled with a solution of lime in water, there is no time for 
hesitation. He immediately locks up the apartment or 
in. a k 13 



146 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HOPKINSON 

closet where his papers and private property are kept, 
and, putting the key in his pocket, betakes himself to 
flight. A husband, however beloved, becomes a perfect 
nuisance during this season of female rage. His authority 
is superseded, his commission suspended, and the very 
scullion who cleans the brasses in the kitchen becomes of 
more importance than he. He has nothing for it but to 
abdicate for a time, and run from an evil which he can 
neither prevent nor mollify. 

The husband gone, the ceremony begins. The walls are 
stripped of their furniture ; paintings, prints, and looking- 
glasses lie in huddled heaps about the floors ; the curtains 
are torn from their testers, the beds crammed into win 
dows ; chairs and tables, bedsteads and cradles, crowd the 
yard; and the garden fence bends beneath the weight of 
carpets, blankets, cloth cloaks, old coats, under-petticoats, 
and, ragged breeches. Here may be seen the lumber of 
the kitchen, forming a dark and confused mass for the 
foreground of the picture ; gridirons and frying-pans, 
rusty shovels and broken tongs, joint-stools, and the frac 
tured remains of rush-bottomed chairs. There, a closet 
has disgorged its bowels, riveted plates and dishes, halves 
of china bowls, cracked tumblers, broken wineglasses, 
phials of forgotten physic, papers of unknown powders, 
Seeds and dried herbs, tops of teapots, and stoppers of 
departed decanters; from the rag-hole in the garret to 
the rat-hole in the cellar, no place escapes unrummaged. 
It would seem as if the day of general doom was come, 
and the utensils of the house were dragged forth to judg 
ment. 

This ceremony completed, and the house thoroughly 
evacuated, the next operation is to smear the walls and 
ceilings with brushes, dipped in a solution of lime, called 
WHITEWASH : to pour buckets of water over every floor. 



HOPKINSON] ON WHITEWASHING. 147 

and scratch all the partitions and wainscots with hard 
brushes, charged with soft soap and stone-cutter's sand. 

The windows by no means escape the general deluge. 
A servant scrambles out upon the pent-house, at the risk 
of her neck, and, with a mug in her hand and a bucket 
within reach, dashes innumerable gallons of water against 
the glass panes, to the great annoyance of passengers in 
the street. 

I have been told that an action at law was once brought 
against one of these water-nymphs by a person who had 
a new suit of clothes spoiled by this operation ; but, after 
long argument, it was determined that no damages could 
be awarded, inasmuch as the defendant was in the exercise 
of a legal right, and not answerable for the consequences. 
And so the poor gentleman was doubly nonsuited ; for he 
lost both his suit of clothes and his suit at law. 

I know a gentleman here who is fond of accounting for 
everything in a philosophical way. He considers this, 
which I call a custom, as a real, periodical disease, peculiar 
to the climate. His train of reasoning is whimsical and 
ingenious ; but I am not at leisure to give you the detail. 
The result was, that he found the distemper to be in 
curable; but, after much study, he thought he had dis 
covered a method to divert the evil he could not subdue. 
For this purpose, he caused a small building, about twelve 
feet square, to be erected in his garden, and furnished 
with some ordinary chairs and tables and a few prints of 
the cheapest sort. His hope was that, when the white 
washing frenzy seized the females of his family, they 
might repair to this apartment, and scrub, and scour, and 
smear to their hearts' content, and so spend the violence 
of the disease in this outpost, whilst he enjoyed himself 
in quiet at head-quarters. But the experiment did not 
answer his expectation. It was impossible it should, 



148 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

since a principal part of the gratification consists in the 
lady's having an uncontrolled right to torment her hus 
band, at least once in every year, to turn him out of 
doors, and take the reins of government into her own 
hands. 



CHARACTERISTICS OF ARABIAN POETRY. 

HENRY COPPEE. 

[Henry Coppee was born at Savannah, Georgia, in 1821, and gradu 
ated at West Point in 1845. He served in the army during the Mexi 
can war, resigned in 1855, was professor of English literature in the 
University of Pennsylvania from 1855 to 1866, president of Lehigh 
University from 1866 to 1875, and since then has been professor of his 
tory in that institution. His works include "Elements of Logic," 
" Elements of Rhetoric," " The Conquest of Spain by the Arab-Moors," 
etc. The latter work is a valuable contribution to historical literature, 
and fills a gap which had previously been but imperfectly occupied. 
Professor Coppee is a careful and judicious writer, and his work adds 
another to the list of important histories by American authors.] 

As the Arabian nature was of quick perception, fertile 
fancy, and remarkable command of language, there were 
many more poets than among the colder and more prosaic 
nations of the North ; and those who were not ready 
writers were ardent and appreciative hearers. The poet 
became thus the universal teacher, from the singer or. 
the highway to the bard who chanted before kings. An 
honored guest among the great, his versatile art at the 
same time touched the sensibilities and conveyed instruc 
tion to the mind. By it he taught grammar, rhetoric, 
biography, history, theology, medicine, chemistry, all 
the training of the schools. 

This was in part due, as I have said, to the peculiar 



COPPEE] CHARACTERISTICS OF ARABIAN POETRY. 149 

conditions of the language, it is eminently poetic, and, 
although every scholar knows in a general way the great 
inadequacy of translations, I am inclined to think that no 
poetry suffers more in the transcription than the Arabic. 

The following will serve as an illustration of the impossi 
bility of judging of their rhythmic effects. Ibnu-1-monk- 
hol and his little son in an afternoon walk came up to a 
pool in their road, and began to cap verses thus : " Go 
on," said the father : 

" The frogs are croaking "in that pool," 
" Yes, and with no sweet melody, troth." 
" Their language was boisterous 
When they called the Beni Al-Mallah." 

As they approached, the frogs became silent, and the 
father said, 

a Thou hast become mute like these frogs," 
" When they collected for scandal." 
" There is no help for the oppressed," 
" And no rain for those who want it." 

Of this singular verse-making, doubtless not without 
rhetorical harmony in the original, the historian says, 
" Certainly no one can doubt that this finishing of hemi- 
stichs is highly deserving of praise : had it been executed 
by a learned man advanced in life, it would have com 
manded the greatest attention ; but being, as it was, the 
work of a mere boy, it was a wonderful performance and 
well worthy of remark." 

Thoroughly satisfied as I am of the superior general 
culture of the Arabians, I am inclined to think that the 
excellence of their poetry, as tried either by classical 
canons or modern taste, has been greatly overrated. It 
is sweet, but turgid : from its almost universal application 
in. 13* 



150 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CoppfiE 

its afflatus is lost ; it gilds commonplaces. It reacts upon 
and injures prose, and is itself injured in the contact. It 
labors to find conceits, and thus is forced in sentiment 
and superlative in expression. And yet doubtless there 
is a great charm in the variety of its cadenced sounds, a 
rhetorical harmony which is totally lost in translation ; 
a melange of the hum of bees, the twitter of swallows, 
and the note of the whippoorwill ; a charm of nature's 
chorus in changing melodies, constantly returning to the 
key-note, for the Arabian poetry was always in recitative - 
they chanted their verses in rhythmic divisions. 

The most favorite forms of poetry were the Ghazele, 
the Kassidah, and the Divan. 

The Ghazele was a love-song or short ode, something 
like what we call a canzonet or sonnet, containing from 
fourteen to twenty-six lines, alternately rhyming. The 
Kassidah is a longer and more pretentious piece, at once 
descriptive and epic ; sometimes a scrap of history poet 
ically treated, sometimes a tale in verse. It generally 
contains from forty to two hundred lines. The Divan 
is a collection of the smaller poems, generally Gha- 
zeles, compiled and connected according to arbitrary 
rules. Among these rules, or rather poetical customs, 
was the use of assonances or imperfect rhymes, a feature 
adopted and permanently embodied in Spanish poetry. 
In much of the Arabian verse the second line of each 
couplet ends with the same word. It was considered a 
great feat to have all the letters of the alphabet system 
atically recognized in a poem, somewhat like our writing 
of acrostics. 

But the poetic tendencies of the Arabians are not best 
displayed in these more important forms : some of the 
sweetest and most effective lines are found in impromptu 
verses, a couplet or two, and in happy repartees, often, 



COPPEE] CHARACTERISTICS OF ARABIAN POETRY. 151 

we may suppose, carefully prepared, but having an ex 
temporaneous appearance, which won from the rich and 
great large rewards to the happy poet. The Arabian 
Nights are full of such detached jewels of poetry, which 
add greatly to their charms. Sultan and slave, priest and 
merchant, traveller and soldier, vie with each other in 
poetic conceits which bear largely upon the fortunes of 
all. 

Extended specimens of Arabian poetry in English trans 
lation would be out of place in such a digest as this. A 
few examples from the works of the Spanish Arabians will 
illustrate the genre. 

Thus, in praise of friendship, Ibn Zeydun, in the eleventh 
century, sings, " We passed the night alone with no other 
companion but friendship and union ; and, while happiness 
and slumber fled from the eyelids of our detractors, the 
shadows of night retained us in the secret bonds of pleas 
ure, until the tongue of morning began to herald our 
names." 

" Name to me," says an Andalusian, speaking of the 
Sherif At-talik, " one of your poets who has described the 
color which a draught of pure wine imparts to the cheek 
of the drinker in verses equal to these : 

" The wine has colored his cheeks like a rising sun shining upon his 
face : the west is his mouth, and the east is the lively cup 
bearer's hand. 

"When the sun has set behind his mouth, it leaves upon his cheeks a 
rosy twilight." 

in praise of love, the flowers are pressed into the 
service : 

'* The gardens shine with anemones, and the light fresh gales are per- 
fumed with their scent. 



152 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COPPEE 

"When I visited them, the clouds had just been beating the flowers, 
and making them as deeply tinged as the best wine. 

What is their crime ? said I ; and I was told, in answer, they stole 
from the cheeks of the fair their beauty." 

Ibnu-1-Faraj writes to a friend for a gift of some old 
wine, and his letter is in verse : 

" Send me some of that wine, sweet as thy love and more transparent 
than the tears which fall down thy cheeks. Send me, O my 
son ! some of that liquor, the soul's own sister, that I may com 
fort my" debilitated stomach." 

An amusing anti-climax. 

The love of local homes is constantly set forth in poetic 
hyperbole. Cordova, Seville, Granada, Toledo, Cadiz, is 
each in turn the fairest and dearest spot on earth : each a 
miracle of nature and art. I select in illustration a few 
lines of Abu-1-hasan Ibn Nasr, a poet of Granada in the 
twelfth century, in praise of Guadix and its river : 

" O Wadin-1-eshit ! my soul falls into ecstasies whenever I think of 
the favors the Almighty has lavished upon thee. 

" By Allah, thy shade at noon, when the rays of the sun are the hot 
test, is so fresh that those who walk on thy banks cannot stop to 
converse together. 

" The sun itself, seeking a remedy for its own ardor, directs its course 
through thy shadowy bed. 

" Thy current smiles through the prismatic bubbles of the waters like 
the skin of a variegated snake. The trees that hang over thy 
soft inclined banks are so many steps to descend to thy bed, while 
their boughs covered with blossoms, and devoured by burning 
thirst, are perpetually drinking of thy waters." 

The story is told of an African poet, Bekr Ibn Hamad 
El Taharti, that when the Sultan Ibrahim had shut him 
self up in his seraglio, in luxurious ease, with his female 
slaves, and forbidden any one to approach him, the poet, 



COPPEK] CHARACTERISTICS OF ARABIAN POETRY. 153 

having a petition to present, wrote, on the flowers which 
were to be taken in, the following verses : 

" The fair, the enchanting fair ! 
Who, even though slaves, 

Do rule their Lord, and render him their slave ; 
They work the bane of man ; seek we for roses 
When neither fields nor gardens furnish them ? 
The lovely flower ! on their bright cheeks we find them, 
Sweeter and thornless too. This, then, my plaint, 
Being on roses written, I do look 
To have received with favor, since 'tis formed 
Of that which is the image of their cheeks, 
The fair, the enchanting fair!" 

The poet's supplication was granted, and he received an 
additional bounty of one hundred dinars. 

It would exhaust the reader's patience, without, as 
these specimens will suffice to show, affording a compen 
sating instruction, were I to offer numerous extracts, 
which, after all, can give no fair notion of Arabian poetry. 
Whatever estimate we may now form of its taste and 
power, its influence upon the people who heard the verses 
chanted can hardly be exaggerated. When a popular poet 
appeared, and intoned his love-songs to the multitude, it 
was a common saying that " all men's ears grew to his 
tunes, as if they had eaten ballads." 

As 'might be expected, in the long period of the Arabia n 
dominion in Spain there were great changes in the spirjt 
and language of their poetry, which in a more extended 
inquiry would claim some detail of illustration; but what 
they called poetic progress was not improvement. At 
first their utterances were simple and natural: they at 
tempted in their new and beautiful seats to photograph 
what they saw, and just as they saw it; afterwards their 
descriptions became turgid and cloying, and created a 



154 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

false taste among the hearers ; they resorted to strata 
gems to excite a satiated fancy ; and the attempts of 
women in verse still further lowered the poetic standard. 
Many of these women became famous : they were repre 
sentatives of all social classes, nobles, freed slaves, wives 
and concubines, Christians and Jewesses. 

I must not leave this subject without calling attention 
to the singular and potent influence which Arabian poetry 
exercised over the literature of Southern and Western 
Europe. It can be traced in the reproduction of many 
of the stories as well as in the structure of the French 
fabliaux and chansons de geste of the jongleurs and trouveres 
of the North, and is more particularly to be observed in 
le gai saber of the Provengal troubadours. It extended 
into Italy, and is found in the charming stanzas of Ariosto, 
both as to matter and manner, and in the " twice-told 
tales" of Boccaccio's Decameron. In a word, the entire 
southern literature of Europe, up to the Renaissance, 
owes as much to the Spanish Arabians for matter and 
form as it does to the Latin for language. And, more 
than this, when we remember that our English Chaucer 
borrowed the scheme of his Canterbury Tales, and several 
of the stories, from Boccaccio, we may well claim that 
the Arabian idea has penetrated into the North, and left 
its profound impression in the plastic English literature 
of the fourteenth century. 

Closely connected with their taste in poetry and their 
use of it was their fondness for story-telling, which marks 
the social life of the Oriental people. With them it took 
the place of theatrical representation's, from the munshid, 
or poet who recited his compositions at the courts of 
princes, to the humble improvisatore, who gathered his little 
crowd around him and satisfied their wonder with his 
grotesque legends of genii and the supernatural. 



COPPEE] CHARACTERISTICS OF ARABIAN POETRY. 155 

The men frequented the bazaars to hear such tales ; the 
women gathered at the baths to exchange or repeat them, 
and there were improvisatrices of the seraglio. " Physi 
cians often ordered story-telling as a prescription for their 
patients, to mitigate their sufferings, to calm their agita 
tion, to give sleep after protracted insomnia, and these 
raconteurs, accustomed to deal with sickness, knew how 
to modulate their voices, to soften the tone, and to give 
way by still gentler utterances to the approach of sleep." 
This kind of eloquence with them was classed as " lawful 
magic," and was not considered beneath the cultivation 
of men who prided themselves upon their literary emi 
nence. They boasted of the number of entertaining 
tales they had learned or invented, and the ready lan 
guage and dramatic skill they displayed in telling them. 
Such men were eagerly sought out by the Khalifs and 
the grandees to beguile their ennui, or to recreate them 
after their fatigues. Such is the simple philosophy of 
the "Arabian Nights' Entertainments," stories about 
stories, told by all sorts of people to Haroun Al Easchid 
and his vizier, who wandered in disguise to find them. 
The traveller in the East to-day may find the original 
type little changed, except in the necessary accompani 
ments of coffee and tobacco, which seem so very Orien 
tal that we can scarcely believe that the former was not 
used till the sixteenth, nor the latter till the seventeenth 
century. 

Naturally gifted with memory, of which Al Makkari 
says, "Memory is among the gifts which the Almighty 
poured most profusely upon the Andalusians," these story 
tellers did not rely implicitly upon it; they not only 
heightened the interest of their stories by mimetic and 
histrionic effects, but they often improvised, while in the 
very fervor of narration, charming plots of episodical 



156 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HAWTHORNE 

adventure, like those in the " Thousand and One Nights." 
Once improvised, they became part of the chanter's future 
stores, a broader foundation for new successes. These 
were sometimes collected into volumes ; and one of these 
Andalusian collections would, if we may accept the eu- 
logium of bibliographers, were it translated, divide our 
interest with the "Arabian Nights." Its author was a 
very facetious man, who knew by heart a prodigious 
number of stories, and gave them to the Spanish Arabs 
as " The Book of Routes and Stations in the Adventures 
of Abu-1-halyi." They had one great advantage, to which 
I have already referred ; they were not limited to the 
truth, but would have been tame had they not been full 
of hyperbole in their descriptions. 

Their musical powers are vaunted by the historian, but 
little is known of their attainments in this art. They 
sang to the lute (el-'ood), as the modern Spaniards do 
to the guitar, with the same gesticulation, using the in 
strument as a fan, and as if it were alive, and joining the 
ballad with personal movements, se cantan bailando ; 
sometimes executing a pas seul to the rhythm they were 
producing, and subsiding again into a state of quiescence. 



THE SECRET CHAMBER. 

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE. 

[The extract we give below is the concluding chapter in the last 
published work of the most original of American novelists, presuma 
bly the last chapter written by Hawthorne's wonder-working hand. 
* The Scarlet Letter," " The Marble Faun," and the other beautifully- 
told stories of Hawthorne, exhibit a grace of manner and purity of 
diction not surpassed by any other American writer. Yet these are 



HAWTHORNE] THE SECRET CHAMBER. 157 

the least of their merits. They are instinct with a marked originality 
of thought and a subtile mysticism which stamp them as perhaps the 
most remarkable and valuable of existing novels. Hawthorne seemed 
to have no vision for the commonplace, but to revel in abstruse con 
ceptions and dreams of strange conditions of destiny, which only one 
with his minute power of analysis and broad grasp of exceptional 
situations could have safely handled. It is not surprising that his 
works very slowly gained an audience. A new generation had to be 
born, and to grow up to his manner of thought, before the high merit 
of his deeply-imaginative pictures could be recognized. 

" Dr. Grimshawe's Secret" is one of several unfinished works left at 
his death. It has been recently published, and is practically complete, 
po far as the plot is concerned, though the suggestive notes of the 
author show that the work was yet " in the rough," and was far from 
having attained its. final finished and polished form. We are first in 
troduced to grim old Dr. Grimshawe, dwelling as a recluse in a spider- 
haunted den, yet associated with two attractive children, whose origin 
is shrouded in mystery. It gradually appears that the boy is in some 
way related to an ancient English family a member of whom, accord 
ing to legend, had been the executioner of Charles I. He had stepped 
in the blood of the slaughtered king, and wherever he trod thereafter 
a bloody imprint appeared. After long imprisonment in a secret 
chamber in his ancestral mansion, he escaped, leaving on the doorstep 
the ineffaceable mark of a blood-stained foot. In the grave of this 
fugitive, who fled to America, the boy finds a silver key, which plays 
its final part in our chapter. At a later date Dr. Grimshawe dies, the 
boy, Eedclyffe, and the girl, Elsie, make their way to England, and 
the mystery of the secret chamber, which is felt throughout the work, 
begins to loom up in prominent proportions. A series of events draw 
Eedclyffe, as by the hand of destiny, to the old mansion. Here he 
incautiously reveals his belief in his paternity, and his intention to 
claim his birthright, to Lord Braithwaite, its present possessor. As a 
result of his imprudence, he is induced to drink of a drugged wine by 
his villanous host, and mysteriously vanishes. At this point in the 
story the chapter which we give opens. In it the plot is sufficiently 
unfolded to give some idea of the author's general conception, though 
several mysteries are left unexplained, and an artistic finish is yet 
lacking. The golden hair which rises in overflowing folds from the 
casket is a conception of striking beauty and originality, and one can- 
in. 14 



158 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HAWTHORNE 

not but regret the absence of the author's explanation of the startling 
mystery revealed by the silver key.] 

REDCLYFFE, apparently, had not communicated to his 
agent in London his change of address, when he left the 
Warden's residence to avail himself of the hospitality of 
Braithwaite Hall; for letters arrived for him, from his 
own country, both private and with the seal of state upon 
them, one among the rest that bore on the envelope the 
name of the President of the United States. The good 
Warden was impressed with great respect for so distin 
guished a signature, and, not knowing but that the welfare 
of the Republic (for which he had an Englishman's con 
temptuous interest) might be involved in its early delivery 
at its destination, he determined to ride over to Braith 
waite Hall, call on his friend, and deliver it with his own 
hand. With this purpose, he mounted his horse, at the 
hour of his usual morning ride, and set forth, and, before 
reaching the village, saw a figure before him which he 
recognized as that of the pensioner. 

" Soho ! whither go you, old friend ?" said the Warden, 
drawing his bridle as he came up with the old man. 

" To Braithwaite Hall, sir," said the pensioner, who con 
tinued to walk diligently on ; " and I am glad to see your 
honor (if it be so) on the same errand." 

"Why so?" asked the Warden. "You seem much in 
earnest. Why should my visit to Braithwaite Hall be a 
special cause of rejoicing?" 

"Nay," said the pensioner, "your honor is specially in 
terested in this young American, who has gone thither to 
abide ; and when one is in a strange country he needs some 
guidance. My mind is not easy about the young man." 

" Well," said the Warden, smiling to himself at the old 
gentleman's idle and senile fears, " I commend your dili 
gence on behalf of your friend." 



HAWTHORNE] THE SECRET CHAMBER. 159 

He rode on as he spoke, and deep in one of the wood 
land paths he saw the flutter of a woman's garment, and, 
greatly to his surprise, overtook Elsie, who seemed to be 
walking along with great rapidity, and, startled by the 
approach of hoofs behind her, looked up at him, with a 
pale cheek. 

" Good-morning, Miss Elsie," said the Warden. " You 
are taking a long walk this morning. I regret to see that 
I have frightened you." 

"Pray, whither are you going?" said she. 

"To the Hall," said the Warden, wondering at the ab 
rupt question. 

"Ah, sir," exclaimed Elsie, "for heaven's sake, pray 
insist on seeing Mr. Eedclyife ; take no excuse. There 
are reasons for it." 

" Certainly, fair lady," responded the Warden, wonder 
ing more and more at this injunction from such a source. 
"And when I see this fascinating gentleman, pray what 
message am I to give him from Miss Elsie, who, more 
over, seems to be on the eve of visiting him in person ?" 

"See him! see him! Only see him!" said Elsie, with 
passionate earnestness, " and in haste ! See him now !" 

She waved him onward as she spoke ; and the Warden, 
greatly commoted for the nonce, complied with the 
maiden's fantasy so far as to ride on at a quicker pace, 
uneasily marvelling at what could have aroused this 
usually shy and reserved girl's nervousness to such a 
pitch. The incident served at all events to titillate his 
English sluggishness ; so that he approached the avenue 
of the old Hall with a vague expectation of something 
that had happened there, though he knew not of what 
nature it could possibly be. However, he rode round to 
the side entrance, by which horsemen generally entered 
the house, and, a groom approaching to take his bridle, he 



160 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HAWTHORNE 

alighted and approached the door. I know not whether 
it were anything more than the glistening moisture com 
mon in an English autumnal morning, but so it was, that 
the trace of the Bloody Footstep seemed fresh, as if it had 
been that very night imprinted anew, and the crime made 
all over again, with fresh guilt upon somebody's soul. 

When the footman came to the door, responsive to his 
ring, the Warden inquired for Mr. Kedclyffe, the American 
gentleman. 

"The American gentleman left for London early this 
morning," replied the footman, in a matter-of-fact way. 

"Gone!" exclaimed the Warden. "This is sudden, 
and strange that he should go without saying good-by. 
Gone !" And then he remembered the old pensioner's 
eagerness that the Warden should come here, and Elsie's 
strange injunction that he should insist on seeing Red- 
clyife. " Pray, is Lord Braithwaite at home ?" 

" I think, sir, he is in the library," said the servant, 
" but will see. Pray, sir, walk in." 

He returned in a moment, and ushered the Warden, 
through passages with which he was familiar of old, to the 
library, where he found Lord Braithwaite sitting with the 
London newspaper in his hand. He rose and welcomed 
his guest with great equanimity. 

To the Warden's inquiries after Redclyffe, Lord Braith 
waite replied that his guest had that morning left the 
house, being called to London by letters from America, 
but of what nature Lord Braithwaite was unable to say, 
except that they seemed to be of urgency and importance. 
The Warden's further inquiries, which he pushed as far as 
was decorous, elicited nothing more than this ; and he was 
preparing to take his leave, not seeing any reason for in 
sisting (according to Elsie's desire) on the impossibility of 
seeing a man who was not there, nor, indeed, any reason 



HAWTHORNE] THE SECRET CHAMBER. 161 

for so doing. And yet it seemed very strange that Eed- 
clyffe should have gone so unceremoniously ; nor was he 
half satisfied, though he knew not why he should be 
otherwise. 

"Do you happen to know Mr. Eedclyffe's address in 
London ?" asked the Warden. 

"Not at all," said Braithwaite. " But I presume there 
is courtesy enough in the American character to impel him 
to write to me, or both of us, within a day or two, telling 
us of his whereabouts and whatabouts. Should you know, 
I beg you will let me know ; for I have really been pleased 
with this gentleman, and should have been glad could he 
have favored me with a somewhat longer visit." 

There was nothing more to be said ; and the Warden 
took his leave, and was about mounting his horse, when 
he beheld the pensioner approaching the house, and he 
remained standing until he should come up. 

" You are too late," said he, as the old man drew near. 
" Our friend has taken French leave." 

" Mr. Warden," said the old man, solemnly, " let me pray 
you not to give him up so easily. Come with me into the 
presence of Lord Braithwaite." 

The Warden made some objections ; but the pensioner's 
manner was so earnest that he soon consented, knowing 
that the strangeness of his sudden return might well 
enough be put upon the eccentricities of the pensioner, 
especially as he was so well known to Lord Braithwaite. 
He accordingly 1 again ra?ig at the door, which being 
opened by the same stolid footman, the Warden desired 
him to announce to Lord Braithwaite that the Warden 
and a pensioner desired to see him. He soon returned, 
with a request that they would walk in, and ushered them 
again to the library, where they found the master of the 
house in conversation with Omskirk at one end of the 
in. I 14* 



162 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HAWTHORNE 

apartment, a whispered conversation, which detained 
him a moment after their arrival. The Warden fancied 
that he saw in old Omskirk's countenance a shade more 
of that mysterious horror which made him such a bugbear 
to children ; but when Braithwaite turned from him and 
approached his visitor there was no trace of any disturb 
ance, beyond a natural surprise to see his good friend the 
Warden so soon after his taking leave. 

" I see you are surprised," said the latter. " But you 
must lay the blame, if any, on our good old friend here, 
who, for some reason, best known to himself, insisted on 
having my company here." 

Braithwaite looked to the old pensioner with a ques 
tioning look, as if good-humoredly (yet not as if he cared 
much about it) asking for an explanation. As Omskirk 
was about leaving the room, having remained till this 
time, with that nervous look which distinguished him, 
gazing towards the party, the pensioner made him a sign, 
which he obeyed as if compelled to do so. 

"Well, my friend," said the Warden, somewhat impa 
tient of the aspect in which he himself appeared, " I beg 
of you, explain at once to Lord Braithwaite why you have 
brought me back in this strange way." 

" It is," said the pensioner, quietly, " that in your pres 
ence I request him to allow me to see Mr. Redclyffe." 

"Why, my friend," said Braithwaite, "how can I show 
you a man who has left my house, and whom, in the 
chances of this life, I am not very likely to see again, 
though hospitably desirous of so doing ?" 

Here ensued a laughing sort of colloquy between the 
Warden and Braithwaite, in which the former jocosely 
excused himself for having yielded to the whim of the 
pensioner and returned with him on an errand which he 
well knew to be futile. 



HAWTHORNE] THE SECRET CHAMBER. 168 

" I have long been aware," he said, apart, in a confiden 
tial way, " of something a little awry in our old friend's 
mental system. You will excuse him, and me for humor 
ing him." 

" Of course, of course," said Braithwaite, in the same 
tone. " I shall not be moved by anything the old fellow 
can say." 

The old pensioner, meanwhile, had been as it were heat 
ing up, and gathering himself into a mood of energy 
which those who saw him had never before witnessed in 
his usually quiet person. He seemed somehow to "grow 
taller and larger, more impressive. At length, fixing his 
eyes on Lord Braithwaite, he spoke again. 

"Dark, murderous man," exclaimed he. "Your course 
has not been unwatched; the secrets of this mansion are 
not unknown. For two centuries back, they have been 
better known to them who dwell afar off than to those 
resident within the mansion. The foot that made the 
Bloody Footstep has returned from its long wanderings, 
and it passes on, straight as destiny, sure as an avenging 
Providence, to the punishment and destruction of those 
who incur retribution." 

" Here is an odd kind of tragedy," said Lord Braithwaite, 
with a scornful smile. " Come, my old friend, lay aside 
this vein and talk sense." 

" Not thus do you escape your penalty, hardened and 
crafty one!" exclaimed the pensioner. "I demand of you, 
before this worthy Warden, access to the secret ways of 
this mansion, of which thou dost unjustly retain possession. 
I shall disclose what for centuries has remained hidden, 
the ghastly secrets that this house hides." 

" Humor him," whispered the Warden, " and hereafter 
I will take care that the exuberance of our old friend shall 
be duly restrained. He shall not trouble you again." 



164 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HAWTHORNE 

Lord Braithwaite, to say the truth, appeared a little 
flabbergasted and disturbed by these latter expressions 
of the old gentleman. He hesitated, turned pale; but at 
last, recovering his momentary confusion and irresolution, 
he replied, with apparent carelessness, 

" Go wherever you will, old gentleman. The house is 
open to you for this time. If ever you have another op 
portunity to disturb it, the fault will be mine." 

" Follow, sir," said the pensioner, turning to the Warden ; 
" follow, maiden. JSTow shall a great mystery begin to bft 
revealed." 

So saying, he led the way before them, passing out of 
the hall, not by the door- way, but through one of the oaken 
panels of the wall, which admitted the party into a passage 
which seemed to pass through the thickness of the wall, 
and was lighted by interstices through which shone gleams 
of light. This led them into what looked like a little 
vestibule, or circular room, which the Warden, though 
deeming himself many years familiar with the old house, 
had never seen before, any more than the passage which 
led to it. To his surprise, this room was not vacant, for 
in it sat, in a large old chair, Omskirk, like a toad in its 
hole, like some wild, fearful creature in its den, and it was 
now partly understood how this man had the possibility 
of suddenly disappearing, so inscrutably, and so in a 
moment, and, when all quest for him was given up, of as 
suddenly appearing again. 

"Ha!" said old Omskirk, slowly rising, as at the ap 
proach of some event that he had long expected. " Is he 
coming at last ?" 

" Poor victim of another's iniquity," said the pensioner, 
11 thy release approaches. Hejoice !" 

The old man arose with a sort of trepidation and solemn 
joy intermixed in his manner, and bowed reverently, as if 



HAWTHORNE] THE SECRET CHAMBER. 165 

there were in what he heard more than other ears could 
understand in it. 

" Yes ; I have waited long," replied he. " Welcome, if 
my release is come." 

u Well," said Lord Braithwaite, scornfully, " this secret 
retreat of my house is known to many. It was the 
priest's secret chamber when it was dangerous to be of 
the old and true religion, here in England. There is no 
longer any use in concealing this place ; and the Warden, 
or any man, might have seen it, or any of the curiosities 
of the old hereditary house, if desirous so to do." 

" Aha ! son of Belial !" quoth the pensioner. " And 
this, too !" 

He took three pieces from a certain point of the wall, 
which he seemed to know, and stooped to press upon the 
floor. The Warden looked at Lord Braithwaite, and saw 
that he had grown deadly pale. What his change of 
cheer might bode, he could not guess ; but, at the pressure 
of the old pensioner's finger, the floor, or a segment of it, 
rose like the lid of a box, and discovered a small dark 
some pair of stairs; within which burned a lamp, lighting 
it downward, like the steps that descend into a sepulchre. 

" Follow," said he to those who looked on wondering. 

And he began to descend. Lord Braithwaite saw him 
disappear, then frantically followed, the Warden next, 
and old Omskirk took his place in the rear, like a man 
following his inevitable destiny. At the bottom of a 
winding descent, that seemed deep and remote, and far 
within, they came to a door, which the pensioner pressed 
with a spring ; and, passing through the space that dis 
closed itself, the whole party followed, and found them 
selves in a small, gloomy room. On one side of it was a 
couch, on which sat Eedclyffe ; face to face with him was 
a white-haired figure in a chair. 



166 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HAWTHORNE 

" You are come !" said Redclyffe, solemnly. " But too 
late." 

" And yonder is the coffer," said the pensioner. " Open 
but that, and our quest is ended !" 

" That, if I mistake not, I can do," said Redclyffe. 

He drew forth what he had kept all this time, as some 
thing that might yet reveal to him the mystery of his 
birth the silver key that had been found by the grave in 
far New England ; and, applying it to the lock, he slowly 
turned it on the hinges, that had not been turned for two 
hundred years. All even Lord Braithwaite, guilty and 
shame-stricken as he felt pressed forward to look upon 
what was about to be disclosed. What were the wondrous 
contents ? The entire, mysterious coffer was full of golden 
ringlets, abundant, clustering through the whole coffer, 
and living with elasticity, so as immediately, as it were, 
to flow over the sides of the coffer, and rise in large abun 
dance from the long compression. Into this by a miracle 
of natural production which was known likewise in other 
cases into this had been resolved the whole bodily sub 
stance of that fair and unfortunate being, known so long 
in the legends of the family as the Beauty of the Golden 
Locks. As the pensioner looked at this strange sight, 
the lustre of the precious and miraculous hair gleaming 
and glistening, and seeming to add light to the gloomy 
room, he took from his breast-pocket another lock of 
hair, in a locket, and compared it, before their faces, with 
that which brimmed over from the coffer. 

" It is the same !" said he. 

"And who are you that know it?" asked Redclyffe, 
surprised. 

" He whose ancestors taught him the secret, who has 
had it handed down to him these two centuries, and now 
only with regret yields to the necessity of making it known 



SPRAGUE] SHAKESPEARE ODE. 167 

"You are the heir!" said Kedclyffe. 

In that gloomy room, beside the dead old man, they 
looked at him, and saw a dignity beaming on him, cover 
ing his whole figure, that broke out like a lustre at the 
close of day. 



SHAKESPEARE ODE. 

CHARLES SPRAGUE. 

[Among the several beautiful poems which have made the name of 
Charles Sprague familiar to American lovers of poetry the Shake 
speare Ode stands first, as, in the words of Griswold, "one of the 
most vigorous and beautiful lyrics in the English language." He is 
best known, however, by his shorter and simpler efforts, " The Winged 
Worshippers" and "The Family Meeting," which rank among the 
favorite specimens of American verse, and display much poetical skill 
and beauty of thought. He was born in Boston in 1791, and died in 
the same city in 1875.] 

GOD of the glorious Lyre ! 
Whose notes of old on lofty Pindus rang, 

While Jove's exulting choir 
Caught the glad echoes and responsive sang, 
Come ! bless the service and the shrine 
We consecrate to thee and thine. 

Fierce from the frozen north, 
When Havoc led his legions forth, 

O'er Learning's sunny groves the dark destroyers spread : 
In dust the sacred statue slept, 
Fair Science round her altars wept, 
And Wisdom cowled his head. 



168 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

At length, Olympian lord of morn, 
The raven veil of night was torn, 

When, through golden clouds descending, 
Thou didst hold thy radiant flight, 

O'er Nature's lovely pageant bending, 
Till Avon rolled, all sparkling, to thy sight ! 

There, on its bank, beneath the mulberry's shade, 
Wrapped in young dreams, a wild-eyed minstrel strayed. 
Lighting there, and lingering long, 
Thou didst teach the bard his song ; 

Thy fingers strung his sleeping shell, 
And round his brows a garland curled ; 

On his lips thy spirit fell, 
And bade him wake and warm the world. 

Then Shakespeare rose ! 
Across the trembling strings 
His daring hand he flings, 
And lo ! a new creation glows ! 
There, clustering round, submissive to his will, 
Fate's vassal train his high commands fulfil. 

Madness, with his frightful scream, 
Yengeance, leaning on his lance, 
Avarice, with his blade and beam, 
Hatred, blasting with a glance, 
Remorse that weeps, and Rage that roars, 
And Jealousy that dotes, but dooms, and murders, yet 
adores, 

Mirth, his face with sunbeams lit, 
Waking laughter's merry swell, 
Arm in arm with fresh-eyed Wit, 
That waves his tingling lash, while Folly shakes his bell. 



SPRAQUE] SHAKESPEARE ODE. 169 

Despair, that haunts the gurgling stream. 
Kissed by the virgin moon's cold beam, 
Where some lost maid wild chaplets wreathes, 
And, swan-like, there her own dirge breathes, 
Then, broken-hearted, sinks to rest, 
Beneath the bubbling wave that shrouds her maniac breast. 

Young Love, with eye of tender gloom, 

Now drooping o'er the hallowed tomb 

"Where his plighted victims lie, 

Where they met, but met to die ; 

And now, when crimson buds are sleeping, 

Through the dewy arbor peeping, 
Where- Beauty's child, the frowning world forgot, 

To Youth's devoted tale is listening, 

Eapture on her dark lash glistening, 

While fairies leave their cowslip cells and guard the happy 
spot. 

Thus rise the phantom throng, 

Obedient to their Master's song, 
And lead in willing chains the wondering soul along. 
For other worlds war's Great One sighed in vain, 
O'er other worlds see Shakespeare rove and reign I 
The rapt magician of his own wild lay, 
Earth and her tribes his mystic wand obey. 
Old Ocean trembles, Thunder cracks the skies, 
Air teems with shapes, and tell-tale spectres rise ; 
Night's paltering hags their fearful orgies keep, 
And faithless Guilt unseals the lip of sleep ; 
Time yields his trophies up, and Death restores 
The mouldered victims of his voiceless shores. 
The fireside legend and the faded page, 
The crime that cursed, the deed that blessed an age, 
in. H 15 



170 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SPRAGUE 

All, all come forth, the good to charm and cheer, 
To scourge bold Vice, and start the generous tear ; 
With pictured Folly gazing fools to shame, 
And guide young Glory's foot along the path of fame. 

Lo ! hand in hand, 
Hell's juggling sisters stand, 
To greet their victim from the fight ; 

Grouped on the blasted heath, 
They tempt him to the work of death, 
Then melt in air, and mock his wondering sight. 

In midnight's hallowed hour 

He seeks the fatal tower, 
"Where the lone raven, perched on high, 

Pours to the sullen gale 

Her hoarse, prophetic wail, 
And croaks the dreadful moment nigh. 
See, by the phantom dagger led, 

Pale, guilty thing ! 
Slowly he steals, with silent tread, 
And grasps his coward steel to smite his sleeping king ! 

Hark ! 'tis the signal bell, 
Struck by that bold and unsexed one 
Whose milk is gall, whose heart is stone ; 
His ear hath caught the knell, 

'Tis done ! 'tis done ! 
Behold him from the chamber rushing 
Where his dead monarch's blood is gushing! 
Look where he trembling stands, 

Sad gazing there, 

Life's smoking crimson on his hands, 
And in his felon heart the worm of wild despair ! 



SPKAGUE] SHAKESPEARE ODE. 171 

Mark the sceptred traitor slumbering ! 

There flit the slaves of conscience round, 
With boding tongue foul murders numbering ; 

Sleep's leaden portals catch the sound. 
In his dream of blood for mercy quaking, 
At his own dull scream behold him waking ! 
Soon that dream to fate shall turn : 
For him the living furies burn ; 
For him the vulture sits on yonder misty peak, 
And chides the lagging night, and whets her hungry beak. 
Hark ! the trumpet's warning breath 
Echoes round the vale of death. 
Unhorsed, unhelmed, disdaining shield, 
The panting tyrant scours the field. 
Yengeance! he meets thy dooming blade ! 
The scourge of earth, the scorn of Heaven, 
He falls ! unwept and unforgiven, 
And all his guilty glories fade. 
Like a crushed reptile in the dust he lies, 
And Hate's last lightning quivers from his eyes ! 



Behold yon crownless king, 

Yon white-locked, weeping sire, 
Where heaven's unpillared chambers ring, 

And burst their streams of flood and fire ! 
He gave them all, the daughters of his love ; 
That recreant pair ! they drive him forth to rove 

In such a night of woe, 
The cubless regent of the wood 
Forgets to bathe her fangs in blood, 
And caverns with her foe ! 
Yet one was ever kind ; 
Why lingers she behind ? 



172 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SPRAQUB 

O pity! view him by her dead form kneeling 
Even in wild frenzy holy nature feeling. 
His aching eyeballs strain 

To see those curtained orbs unfold, 
That beauteous bosom heave again ; 

But ail is dark and cold. 
In agony the father shakes ; 
Grief's choking note 

O 

Swells in his throat, 

Each withered heart-string tugs and breaks. 
Round her pale neck his dying arms he wreathes, 
And on her marble lips his last, his death-kiss breathes. 

Down, trembling wing ! shall insect weakness keep 

The sun-defying eagle's sweep ? 

A mortal strike celestial strings, 
And feebly echo what a seraph sings ? 

"Who now shall grace the glowing throne 

Where, all unrivalled, all alone, 
Bold Shakespeare sat, and looked creation through, 
The minstrel monarch of the worlds he drew? 

That throne is cold that lyre in death unstrung 
On whose proud note delighted Wonder hung. 
Yet old Oblivion, as in wrath he sweeps, 
One spot shall spare, the grave where Shakespeare sleep* 
.Rulers and ruled in common gloom may lie, 
But Nature's laureate bards shall never die. 
Art's chiselled boast and Glory's trophied shore 
Must live in numbers, or can live no more. 
While sculptured Jove some nameless waste may claim, 
Still rolls the Olympic car in Pindar's fame ; 
Troy's doubtful walls in ashes passed away, 
Yet frown on Greece in Homer's deathless lay ; 



MACKENZIE] NOVEL-WRITING BEFORE WAVERLEY. 173 

Rome, slowly sinking in her crumbling fanes, 
Stands all immortal in her Maro's strains ; 
So, too, yon giant empress of the isles, 
On whose broad sway the sun forever smiles, 
To Time's unsparing rage one day must bend, 
And all her triumphs in her Shakespeare end ! 

O thou ! to whose creative power 
We dedicate the festal hour, 

While Grace and Goodness round the altar stand, 
Learning's anointed train, and Beauty's rose-lipped band 
Realms yet unborn, in accents now unknown, 
Thy song shall learn, and bless it for their own. 
Deep in the West as Independence roves, 
His banners planting round the land he loves, 
Where Nature sleeps in Eden's infant grace, 
In Time's full hour shall spring a glorious race. 
Thy name, thy verse, thy language, shall they bear, 
And deck for thee the vaulted temple there. 
Our Roman-hearted fathers broke 
Thy parent empire's galling yoke ; 
But thou, harmonious master of the mind, 
Around their sons a gentler chain shalt bind; 
Once more in thee shall Albion's sceptre wave, 
And what her Monarch lost her Monarch-Bard shall savo. 



NOVEL-WRITING BEFORE WAVERLEY. 

K. S. MACKENZIE. 

[Kobert Shelton Mackenzie was born in Ireland in 1809. He set 
tled in America in 1852, where he became literary and foreign editor 
of the Philadelphia Press, which post he held till his death in 1881. 
III. 15* 



174 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MACKENZIE 

He was a lively and entertaining writer, and published many works, 
of a miscellaneous character, of which we may here mention " Lays of 
Palestine," " Tressilian ; or, the Story-Tellers," lives of Dickens, Scott, 
Curran, etc., and "Titian, an Art-Novel." The selection we give is 
from the " Life of Scott." It contains much interesting and not gen 
erally known information.] 

BEFORE Scott had given over writing long poems, ho 
diverged into another branch of literature, in which ho 
obtained higher and more permanent fame' than that 
which he had won as a minstrel. Many persons have 
scarcely read his poetical romances ; but who is not 
familiar with the Waverley novels ? 

As great a novel-reader as Lord Brougham, Lord Lynd- 
hurst, and Daniel O'Connell (the last of whom once de 
clared to me that the advantages of steam, as applied 
to travelling on sea and land, were counterbalanced by 
the abridgment of the time he used to devote to the 
perusal of works of fiction), Walter Scott saw, before he 
began to write, that the novels and romances of the pres 
ent century, and particularly at its commencement, were 
unsuited to the changed condition of society in his own 
time. The dramatists of the Elizabethan age produced 
stories, historical or comic, which two centuries later 
would probably have appeared in prose as historical 
romances, or novels of society. In an age when readers 
were few, the tales acted on the stage were the principal 
popular sources of intellectual enjoyment. For a long 
time after the death of Shakespeare, the drama may be 
said to have fallen into abeyance. Thirty or forty years 
of civil strife, during which imaginative literature was at 
a discount, followed the death of Shakespeare ; and, though 
there was a revival of the drama between the Restoration 
in 1660 and the Eevolution in 1688, little effective in that 
line was presented until Dryden bade the dry bones live. 



MACKENZIE] NOVEL-WRITING BEFORE WAVERLEY. 175 

Bunyan's immortal "Pilgrim's Progress," in this time, was 
the favorite reading of the people ; and the " Decameron" 
of Boccaccio, Rabelais' comic and satiric adventures of 
" Gargantua and Pantagruel," and Cervantes' wonderful 
" Don Quixote," became well known in England through 
translations. So, at a later period, were the Abbe Prevost's 
" Manon PEscaut" (like the younger Dumas's " La Dame 
aux Camelias," the apotheosis of a professional impure), 
Rousseau's "Nouvelle Heloise," Lfe Sage's " Gil Bias" and 
" Le Diable Boiteux," Yoltaire's " Candide" and " Zadig," 
St. Pierre's " Paul and Yirginia," Goethe's " Sorrows of 
Werther," and a few other foreign works. 

When the seventeenth century opened, the gross novels 
of Mrs. Aphra Behn, which had delighted the gay and 
careless courtiers of the closing years of the Stuart dynasty, 
fell into disrepute. The age of Queen Anne, which has 
been entitled the Augustan, exhibited comparative decency, 
at least in its prose fiction ; and under the new dynasty, 
though not quite so scrupulous (for the first two Guelphio 
sovereigns were themselves unmistakably immoral in their 
domestic and social relations), public taste became im 
proved. De Foe's " Robinson Crusoe," which does not 
contain a single impure incident or expression, speedily 
obtained a popularity which it still enjoys. Swift's " Gul 
liver," a political fiction, which is a satire on human nature 
also, had (and has) a multitude of readers, who, opening 
it merely to be entertained by the wonderful adventures 
it contains, narrated in a most artistic vraisemblance, 
scarcely notice its too prevailing coarseness. Richardson 
and Fielding, however, may rank as the inventors of the 
English novel, though not of its higher class, the histor 
ical. There runs an undercurrent of indelicacy, not very 
decided, but adapted to the sensuous taste of the time, 
through Richardson's sentimentality ; and yet the author 



176 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MACKENZIE 

of " Pamela" and " Clarissa Harlowe" affected to be a 
purist in morals. Next to him is Fielding, who had 
begun as a satirical parodist, and ended by establishing a 
new school of story-tellers, who rejoiced in what Scott 
has called "warmth of description." Fielding, with all 
his faults, possessed genius, and was followed by Smollett, 
who photographed the manners and exhibited the vices 
of many grades of society. Sterne, decidedly a man of 
genius, was not restrained from gross indelicacy by a sen so 
of what was due to his office as a clergyman. Oliver 
Goldsmith, whose " Yicar of Wakefield," much as all read 
ers admire it, has serious defects in construction and senti 
ment, might have produced a real novel of English society, 
but "died too soon," when Scott was only three years old. 
Horace Walpole's "Castle of Otranto," written in 1763, 
was its author's solitary work of fiction, and owed as much 
at least to his rank as to novelty of design or execution. 
Clara Eeeve's Gothic romance, " The Old English Baron," 
alone remembered out of her many works, was an almost 
avowed imitation of Walpole's romantic story, and a 
decided improvement upon it. 

When Scott wrote the first chapters of " Waverley," 
in 1805, the principal living novelist was Mrs. Eadcliffe, 
whose very sensational romances outdid all contemporary 
productions. With her began high payments for such 
works. She received five hundred pounds for the " Mys 
teries of Udolpho," and eight hundred pounds for " The 
Italians," its successor. To-day, these stories, crowded 
with crime and with apparently supernatural effects (all 
of which are elaborately explained away at the close), 
would scarcely engage the attention of a novel-reader for 
half an hour. Henry Mackenzie's stories, popular in their 
day, were didactic and sentimental, and had got out of 
fashion. Cumberland, the dramatist, preserved in " the 



MACKENZIE] NOVEL-WRITING BEFORE WAVERLEY. 177 

crystal amberization" of Sheridan's " Critic" as Sir Fretful 
Plagiary, had finally lapsed into writing novels which 
possessed the coarseness of Fielding, without his wit ; yet 
his play, " The West Indian**' which presents the truest 
character of an Irish gentleman ever put upon the stage, 
was surpassed in its day only by Sheridan's " School for 
Scandal," in which even the livery-servants and soubrettes 
converse in epigram. Madame D'Arblaj r , whose novel of 
" Evelina" had created a greater sensation among the 
literati of her time than probably had ever before been 
caused by any similar production, was reposing on her 
laurels, but failed to please a later generation of readers. 
For the copyright of "Evelina" she received twenty 
pounds in 1778, while for " Camilla" she was paid three 
thousand guineas in 1796 ; making fame by the first, and 
losing it by the latter work. Mrs. Charlotte Smith suc 
ceeded, commencing with a translation of " Manon 1'Es 
caut," the heroine of which is a beautiful wanton, and 
settling down into prose fictions, occasionally indecorous, 
and usually dull. 

Perhaps, strictly speaking, Miss Sophia Lee should be 
credited with the authorship of the first English historical 
novel. In 1783-86 appeared " The Eecess," in six volumes. 
Mary, Queen of Scots, is its heroine ; but, unlike Scott, 
who carefully adhered to facts when he introduced his 
torical characters, Miss Lee boldly married Mary Stuart 
to the Earl of Leicester, and introduced two daughters 
as the fruit of this union. 

Mrs. Inchbald, whose " Simple Story" won the sympa 
thies of a large circle of readers; Eegina Maria Eoche, 
whose " Children of the Abbey" still finds a considerable 
Bale in this country, though it is almost wholly forgotten 
in England; Mrs. Opie, whose "Father and Daughter" 
had the tears of the public in their day, and was success- 
TTI. m 



178 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MACKENZIE 

ful when adopted, for the stage ; William Godwin, with 
his realistic " Caleb Williams" and his romantic " St. 
Leon ;" Dr. Moore, whose " Zeluco" suggested to Byron 
the character of " Childe Harold ;" Sidney Owenson (after 
wards Lady Morgan), whose " Wild Irish Girl" and " Ida 
of Athens" scarcely indicated the promise which subse 
quently was realized in " O'Donnell" and " Florence Ma- 
carthy ;" and, above all, rational, truthful, and' vigorous 
Maria Edgeworth, these belonged to Scott's own time, 
and their works might be safely read with pleasure and 
advantage. This is not a long catalogue of novelists ; but 
it will be observed that even then, sixty years ago, most 
of the story-tellers were of the gentler sex. I have not 
included Jane Austen, because " Sense and Sensibility." 
the first of her novels, was not published until 1811, six 
years after " Waverley" had been planned and partly 
written ; and have not forgotten Anna Maria Porter, who 
appeared in print before Sir Walter Scott, nor her sister 
Jane, because neither of them had any influence upon his 
taste. It is stated by an authority whose general correct 
ness I have pleasure in acknowledging, that Sir Walter 
Scott admitted (conversation with George IV. in the 
library of Garlton Palace) that this work Jane Porter's 
" Scottish Chiefs" suggested his Waverley Novels ; but, 
considering that " Waverley" was begun in 1805, and that 
" The Scottish Chiefs" first appeared in 1810, I am unable 
to believe that he derived any suggestion from a work 
then unwritten. 

Also prior to the commencement of " Waverley" was the 
debut of Charles Robert Maturin, an Irish clergyman of 
striking genius, with a minimum of discretion. His " Fatal 
Revenge ; or, the Family of Montario," which, with its 
appalling horrors, out-Radcliifed Mrs. Radcliffe, appeared 
in 1804. In a subsequent romance, entitled " Melmoth the 



MACKENZIE] NOVEL-WRITING BEFORE WAVERLEY. J7<J 

Wanderer," he abated some of these horrors, seasoning 
them with the naked indecency of Lewis's " Monk ;" and 
in his tragedy of " Bertram," produced at Drury Lane 
Theatre through Lord Byron's influence, he had originally 
introduced the Enemy of Man as one of the dramatis per 
sona? I 

There is another phalanx of novelists who lived, but 
can scarcely be said to have flourished, early in the present 
century. Their works, from the source of their publication 
in Leadenhall Street, London, were known as "Minerva- 
press Novels." At the head of these was " Anne of Swan 
sea," Mrs. Hatton, sister of Mrs. Siddons and John Kemble, 
who dealt largely in commonplace, was very deficient in 
constructive skill, usually extended each of her romances 
to four and even five volumes, and was fond of resonant 
titles, such as " The Eock of Glotzden ; or, the Secret 
Avenger," Mr. Thomas Surr, whose " Splendid Misery," 
treating of fashionable life, with which he had not the 
slightest acquaintance, was in eager request at all the cir 
culating libraries in town and country, and a Captain 
Thomas Ashe, who carried on for some years the profit 
able but disreputable trade of writing novels of society 
upon the current scandals of the day, and never published 
them if he could induce the persons whom he libelled to 
buy his manuscript. He lived by literary blackmail. The 
Minerva-press novels, bad as they were, had immense popu 
larity for some years. 

No wonder, then, that Walter Scott, who, having shown 
the world in " The Minstrelsy" and " The La}-" that he 
was editor and poet, and being himself a novel-reader, 
should be utterly dissatisfied with the quality of the exist 
ing supply. The French Eevolution, distinguished by its 
levelling principle and action, had ended in substituting 
a feudal empire for an effete monarchy ; and, even when 



180 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MACKENZIE 

Napoleon was redividing Europe into kingdoms and prin 
cipalities for his family and his followers, there had sprung 
up, or rather revived, a deep devotion to the chivalry 
which had done so much in the past, and whose traditions 
had engrafted grace into history and breathed reality into 
song. To this feeling, this principle, Scott had ministered 
in his poems ; and now, acknowledged head of the ro 
mantic school, he resolved to extend its limits beyond the* 
ballad or the narrative poem, and use prose as the more 
suitable medium. He strove to delineate the past as it 
seemed in the eyes of men who were dubious of the 
present and afraid of the future, noble, stately, glitter 
ing, and gay, with the pulse of life ever beating to heroic 
measures. His view of feudalism in " The Talisman," 
" Ivanhoe," and " The Fair Maid of Perth" was not the 
caricature a few preceding authors had drawn, but a por 
trait, faithful, if idealized. 

" Waverley," as we have seen, had been condemned by 
Erskine, thrown by, mislaid, recovered, and depreciated 
by Ballantyne. Scott, having nearly completed his " Life 
and Works of Jonathan Swift" (published by Constable, 
in nineteen octavo volumes, on the 1st of July, 1814), a 
work which really was supplementary to his history of a 
particular period of English literary history, brought out 
his " Waverley" manuscript for the third time, carefully 
read it, thought something could be made of it, and per 
mitted the announcement in " The Scots' Magazine" of 
February, 1814, that '"Waverley; or, 'Tis Sixty Years 
Since,' a novel in three volumes 12mo, would be published 
in March." Already he had made some progress in con 
tinuing the story ; for in January he had shown the 
greater part of the first volume to Mr. Erskine, who at 
once predicted that it would prove the most popular of 
all his friend's works. It was determined to publish it 





MACKENZIE] NOVEL-WRITING BEFORE WAVERLEY. 181 

anonymously, and unusual pains were taken to prevent 
the discovery of the authors name. John Ballantyne 
copied out all the manuscript. Double proof-sheets were 
regularly printed off. One was forwarded to Scott; and 
the alterations which it received were, by Ballantyne's 
own hand, copied upon the other proof-sheet for the use 
of the printers ; so that even the corrected proof-sheets of 
the author were never seen in the printing-office. Whfle 
" Waverley" was passing through the press, Mr. Erskine 
read some of the proof-sheets to a few friends after supper ; 
and from the enthusiastic praise they obtained, as well as 
from the way in which their host spoke, the party inferred 
that they were listening to the first effort of some unknown 
but very able aspirant. 

When the first volume was printed, Ballantyne placed it 
in the hands of Constable, who, not doubting who was the 
author, considered the matter, and offered seven hundred 
pounds for the copyright. This price was so high (Miss 
Edgeworth up to that time not having realized a tenth 
of that sum by even her most successful work) that a 
novice would* gladly have accepted it. Scott's reply, 
through Ballantyne, was, that it was too much if the novel 
should not succeed, too little if it did. He would have 
taken a thousand pounds ; bat Constable would not offer 
so much, and published the work on the terms of equal 
division of profits between himself and the author. 

The first volume was printed before the second wa 
begun. Constable, who had become proprietor of the " En 
cyclopaedia Britannica," was bringing out a supplement to 
that extensive work. At his request Scott agreed to write 
three essays for it, on Chivalry, the Drama, and Romance, 
and completed two in April and May, writing that on 
Romance some time later. Constable, a liberal man, paid 
a hundred pounds for each. This episode ended, Scott set 
in. 10 



182 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MACKENZIE 

seriously to work on " Waverley," and informed his friend 
Morritt that " the last two volumes were written in three 
weeks." In corroboration of this, Lockhart has related a 
personal anecdote, how, happening to pass through Edin 
burgh in June, 1814, he dined with Mr. William Menzies 
(afterwards a judgo at the Cape of Good Hope), whose 
residence was then in G-eorge Street, situated very near 
to, and at right angles with, North Castle Street. " There 
was," he says, " a party of very young persons, most of 
them, like Menzies and myself, destined for the bar of 
Scotland, all gay and thoughtless, enjoying the first flush 
of manhood, with little remembrance of the yesterday or 
care of the morrow. When my companion's worthy father 
and uncle, after seeing two or three bottles go round, left 
the juveniles to themselves, the weather being hot, we 
adjourned to a library, which had one large window look 
ing northwards. After carousing here for an hour or more, 
I observed that a shade had come over the aspect of my 
friend, who happened to be placed immediately opposite 
myself, and said something that intimated a fear of his 
being unwell. * No,' said he, ' I shall be well enough pres 
ently, if you will only let me sit where you are, and take 
my chair; for there is a confounded hand in sight of me 
here, which has often bothered me before, and now it 
won't let me fill my glass with a good will.' I arose to 
change places with him accordingly ; and he pointed out 
to me this hand, which, like the writing on Belshazzar's 
wall, disturbed his hour of hilarity. 'Since we sat down/ 
he said, 'I have been watching it: it fascinates my eye; it 
never stops. Page after page is finished, and thrown on 
that heap of manuscript : and still it goes on unwearied ; 
and so it will be till candles are brought in, and God knows 
how long after that. It is the same every night. I can't 
stand the sight of it when I am not at my books.' ' Some 



STEDMAN] POETRY IN AMERICA. 183 

stupid, dogged engrossing clerk, probably!' exclaimed my 
self, or some other giddy youth in our society. ' ISTo, boys,' 
said our host. ' I well know what hand it is : 'tis Walter 
Scott's.' " This was the hand that, in the evenings of three 
summer weeks, wrote the last two volumes of " Waverley." 






RESTRICTED DEVELOPMENT OF POETRY IN AMERICA. 

E. C. STEDMAN. 

[Edmund Clarence Stedman, author of "Victorian Poets," " Poets 
of America," and several other works, both in prose and in poetry, 
was born at Hartford, Connecticut, in 1833. He has written many 
poems of a high order of merit, among which may be specially men 
tioned "Pan in Wall Street" and "The Lord's Day Gale." His 
critical works are valuable additions to American literature, and dis 
play excellent powers of judgment and a fine literary skill. From 
his " Poets of America" we select a short passage, illustrative of the 
difficulties which have tended to check the development of American 
poetry. 

FOR two centuries, in truth, the situation here was so 
adverse to art, and especially to song, as to nullify even 
our complement to Taine's theory ; to stifle, or to divert 
to other than ideal uses, any exceptional genius that ex 
isted, and that would have made its way against restric 
tions not of themselves quite as exceptional. The modi 
fied results of this situation may still be observed. As a 
rider to all I have said of the essential superiority of art 
to its materials, we must not fail, also, to consider the re 
pugnance of the general mind to disassociate things and 
ideas, to separate the spirit of a work from what is used 
for its construction. There is a natural expectation that 
the art of a country will convey to us something of the 



184 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STEDMAN 

national history, aspect, social law. On the whole, it has 
been the instinct of masters to avail themselves, so far 
as might be, in their plots, manners, and scenery, of the 
region nearest them : a wise instinct, through which they 
reach closely to nature, and are more sure to make their 
work of interest elsewhere and afterward. Shakespeare's 
men are apt to be Englishmen, though they may figure in 
Illyria or Eome. Nor is it entirely through unfairness 
and caprice that the free range allowed to English poets 
has. been denied our own. The Old World has drawn its 
countries together, like elderly people in a tacit alliance 
against the strength of youth which cannot return to 
them, the fresh, rude beauty and love which they may 
not share. There is, also, something worth an estimate 
in the division of an ocean gulf, that makes us like the 
people of a new planet ; and when those on the other 
side hear us sounding the changes upon familiar themes, 
with voices not unlike their own, they well may feel as if 
the highest qualities of our song were not full compensa 
tion for its lack of " something rich and strange." A re 
sponse may fairly be expected to the search for novelty, 
to the curious yearning of those who look to us from 
across the seas. 

Here begin the special restrictions of an American poet. 
He represents, it is true, the music and ardor of a new 
country, of a land his race has peopled for two hundred 
and fifty years, a nation that has completed its first cen 
tury. A new land, a new nation, yet not forced, like 
those which have progressed from barbarism to a sense 
of art, to create a language and literature of their own ; 
a new land with an old language, a new nation with all 
the literature and traditions behind it of the country from 
whose colonies it has sprung. While the thought and 
learning of this people began in America just where it 



STEDMAN] POETRY IN AMERICA. 185 

had arrived in the mother-land at the dates of the James 
town and Plymouth settlements, the physical state and 
environment of Americans were those of men who find 
themselves encountering the primitive nature of a savage 
world ; with this difference, that they were equipped for 
the struggle, not as an aboriginal race, but with the logic, 
courage, experience, of the civilization behind them. All 
the drags, the anchorage, the limitations, involved in the 
word " colonial" retarded a new ideality. The colonial 
restriction has been well determined. It made the west 
ern lyre, until the period covered by this survey, a mech 
anism to echo, without fresh and true feeling, notes that 
came from over sea. It so occupied this people with a 
stern, steadfast, ingenious, finally triumphant contest with 
Nature that their epic passion was absorbed in the clear 
ing of forests, the bridging of rivers, the conquest of 
savage and beast, the creation of a free government ; and 
this labor is not yet ended ; it goes on with larger cohorts 
and immensely widening power. But the imagination 
never dies, and when our first leisure came for its exercise 
it was awakened by contact with the nature thus tamed, 
by communion with the broadest panorama of woods 
and hills and waters, under the most radiant skies, that 
civilized man has ever found himself confronting. Pio 
neers in art and poetry here caught their inspiration, and 
naturally the field of painting was the first to give token 
of novel results. The very ease with which books con 
taining the world's best literature were obtainable in the 
backwoods made our early writers copyists. The painters, 
meanwhile, had to lament the absence of galleries in this 
country, and their own inability to go abroad and study. 
Thrown upon themselves, and deficient in technical knowl 
edge, they sought for models in the nature about them ; 
and thus began our landscape-school of painting, the work 
HI 16* 



186 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STEDMAN 

of which, however rude and defective, was more original 
than the verse wherewith it was contemporary. 

A poet of the first rank is not given to every country, 
nor to every age. But poets of gifts approaching those 
of our living favorites doubtless have been born in 
America, according to Nature's average, at diiferent times 
of our history. Until recently, the stimulants of their 
genius must have been wanting. It may be that the 
people had no real need of them, and song and art, like 
invention, come not without necessity. What poetry was 
latent here and there does not concern us. The stone on 
which our colonial life was founded was frigid as an arctic 
boulder; there was no molecular motion to give out life 
and heat. Who were the mute, inglorious Miltons ? Of 
what kind is the verse that was produced ? Does it move 
us ? Is it poetry ? However fine the cast of individuals, 
the eifect of a perpetual contest with the elemental, often 
sinister, always gigantic forces of a new continent would 
be so adverse to art, so directly in the line of necessity 
and temporal gain, as to stifle their poetic fire, to develop 
a heroism that was stolid and unimaginative, to mark 
persons and communities with sternness and angularity, 
leading them to a homely gauge of values, not wont to 
esteem the ideal at its true worth. The aspiration of a 
refined nature would seem to the multitude foolishness 
and a stumbling-block. For a prolonged season the art 
of writing verse was almost solely a luxury of the pro 
fessional classes in America, and its relics bear witness to 
their pedantry and dulness. It is not to the wigged and 
gowned that we instinctively listen for the music and 
freedom of creative song. And if poetry even in Eng 
land, from the middle of the seventeenth century to the 
close of the eighteenth, stupidly fashioned itself upon the 
models of worn-out schools, how should it do more in 



STEDMAN] POETRY IN AMERICA. 187 

England's colonies, that brought hither certain shoots 
of taste and learning from the Old World, and found it 
hard to protect them at all in the sterile wild-woods of 
the New ? 

Such was the nature of the barriers which, in the early 
and later colonial periods, absolutely defied the over 
leaping of a single notable poet. We find little of more 
significance in the transition-era of the Revolution, al 
though a nation took on life. No poetry was begotten in 
the rage of that heroic strife ; its humor, hatred, hope, 
suffering, prophecy, were feebly uttered, as far as verse 
was concerned, in the mode and language inherited years 
before from the coarsest English satirists. There came at 
last a time when the nation felt itself in vigorous youth, 
and began to have a song. Some few original notes were 
heard among our pipings. The positive barriers were 
broken, and in their stead came the restrictions that are 
felt in some degree down to the present time. 

^^^^^C^^CJJC^ 

Up to a recent date, absence of theme for a national 
masterpiece, for a work belonging to our own atmosphere 
and history, has been a result of the condition under 
which we started. Original art is long deferred among a 
people cultured at the outset. A writer has well said that 
"the cause of the absence of the legendary and poetic in 
our early history may be attributed to the mental develop 
ment of the colonists, who had already passed through 
that historic stage." They started at once with both 
church and school-house. The imagination was controlled 
by precedent, and "Art was cheated of its birthright." 
They made little history in a dramatic sense. What there 
was of the poetic or wondrous in their arduous compelling 
life had a local range, such as the trials for witchcraft, 
finely utilized by New England's great romancer, and too 



188 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STEDMAN 

inadequately, it must be owned, by her most famous poet. 
In Parkman's elegant survey of certain picturesque epochs 
in colonial history, the feminine element, essential to com 
plete dramatic quality, is usually wanting ; in other annals, 
like those of Spanish- American adventure, it scarcely ap 
pears at all. American antiquity is a rude settler's an 
tiquity ; a homely fashion, that palls because not long out 
of date ; a story everywhere the same, furnishing at 
times the basis of some exquisite idyl, like " Evangeline," 
but for none too many of the class. " Evangeline" still 
remains the most notable of the longer American poems ; 
and how much of that is otherwise than scenic and idyllic, 
and how much of it does not fit the story to the landscape, 
rather than the landscape to the story ? No material, no 
stirring theme, with all your freedom, your conquest, your 
noble woods and waters, your westward spread of men ! 
These are motives, accessories, atmosphere, often grander 
in magnitude than elsewhere to be found, but not perforce 
more new. The poetic instinct does not always hold the 
macrocosm superior to the microcosm, the prairie to the 
plain of Marathon, the Hudson to the Cephisus or the 
Tweed. As for latter-day history, this is not far enough 
removed. From the Bevolution to the Civil War, the 
incidents of our life and passion are so recent and so 
plainly recorded as to gather no luminous halo from the 
too slight distance at which we observe them. The true 
poet will profit by them to the uttermost ; the limits are 
to be overcome, but still are limits and in his way. He is 
thrown upon the necessity of inventing dramatic themes 
for the broader range of poetic venture. This the great 
poets always have avoided, for the product of such inven 
tion usually has seemed artificial and remote from human 
concern. 

Bear in mind, also, that our wide-awake people are re- 



STEDMAN] POETRY IN AMERICA. 189 

moved, not only from the superstitions that were a religion 
to our forefathers, but from the wondercraft and simple 
faith prevailing among the common folk of other lands 
than our own. The beautifying lens of fancy has dropped 
from our eyes. Where are our forest and river legends, 
our Lorelei, our Yenusberg, our elves and kobolds? We 
have old-time customs and traditions, and they are quaint 
and dear to us, but their atmosphere is not one in which 
we freely move. Just so with our heroism. No national 
changes and struggles have been of more worth than our 
own, but critics are not far wrong who point out that, 
however lofty the action and spirit of our latest crisis, 
heroism is not with us so much the chief business that 
one must be always " enthusiastic and on guard." One 
of our poets aims to be especially national. He sings, 
upon theory, as the American bard must sing when the 
years have died away. The result is a striking assump 
tion of what can only come of itself, and after long time 
be past ; a disjointed series of kaleidoscopic pieces, not 
constituting a master-work, but, with all their strength 
and weakness, as unsatisfactory as the ill-assorted elements 
which he strives to represent. Yet, even in this effort, he 
is representative and a personage of mark, if not precisely 
in the direction of his own choice and assurance. 

More clearly to understand how far, and in what way, 
our poets have felt the lack of background, of social 
contrasts, and of legendary and specific incident, we may 
observe the literature of some region where different 
conditions exist. In an isolated country of established 
growth and quality, a native genius soon discovers his 
tendency and proper field. 

Look at Scotland. Her national melodies were ready 
and waiting for Burns ; her legends, history, traditions, 
for Walter Scott. The popular tongue, costumes, manners, 



190 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

all distinctively and picturesquely her own, affect the en 
tire outcome of her song and art. Embraced in English 
literature, her literature is so un-English that it affords 
the paradigm we need. Enter the cathedral in Glasgow. 
Within the last thirty years that edifice has been refitted 
throughout with stained glass, contributed by the ancient 
families and clans. What associations are called up by 
the devices upon the windows in the chancel and nave, 
and in the impressive crypt below ! Among all the shields 
and names, those of Sterling, Hay, Douglas, Montrose, 
Campbell, Montgomerie, Lawrie, Buccleuch, Hamilton, 
not one that is not utterly, purely Scottish. Even in our 
oldest and most characteristic sections in Virginia or New 
England, influences like these are discovered to no such 
extent. In a certain sense, they are not only influences, 
but aids ; they move, they stimulate, they belong to the 
life and memory of the native poet, and he avails himself 
of them without effort or consciousness. Not that they 
are the essential, the imperative aids. But to be without 
them is a restriction, and one which our first genuine 

school of poets has had more or less to endure. 

* ******** 

It is, moreover, in America that the popular instinct, 
which resists whatever is asserted to be a tax upon knowl 
edge, has worked with peculiar force against the develop 
ment of a home-school. So long as our purveyors could 
avail themselves without cost or hindrance of foreign 
master-works, they scarcely could be expected to risk 
their means in behalf of native authorship. Pure ideal 
ists, men like Poe and Hawthorne, are little able to push 
their own fortunes. Until a state of law shall exist that 
will induce American publishers, driven from their distant 
foraging-grounds, to seek for genius at home and make it 
available, the support of our authors will not be so assured 



STEDMAN] POETRY IN AMERICA. 191 

as to tend "in the end to the advancement of literature." 
International copyright at least would have made it feasi 
ble for the poet to earn his living by general literary work, 
and to reserve some heart and thought for his nobler call 
ing. Now, when an organized movement at last seems 
underway toward copyright reform, it still is so hampered 
with reservations and class-interests that many ask whether 
it were not better to have no change at all than to have one 
that is partial, and that may postpone indefinitely the one 
thing needful, to wit, honest recognition of an author's 
right of property in his own creations, without any more 
limits of space and time than those appertaining to other 
kinds of estate. 

Literature verily has been almost the sole product of 
human labor that has not been rated as the lasting prop 
erty of the producer and his heirs or assigns. This want 
of permanent copyright has borne severely upon au 
thors in all countries, but most severely upon those of 
America, who have had to await the formation of public 
taste, to create their audiences, and who, while willing to 
suffer in their own persons, are less ready to devote life 
times to the production of what will be valueless to those 
whom they hold most dear. The want of international 
copyright has been a wrong to our brother-writers in 
Europe. Their complaints are just ; their cry has gone up 
for years. Great as the spoliations have been which they 
have endured, the effect upon our native literature and 
authorship has been far more disastrous. Our authors 
themselves do not comprehend it. A few of the great 
publishing houses, grown rich upon the system of free 
reprints, of late have felt this wrong, and the men of heart 
and culture who control them are generously atoning for it. 
We see them leaders in artistic and literary movements, 
the friends of authors and artists, receiving for their pub- 



192 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MAURY 

He and private humanities our warmest tributes of honor 
and affection. It is said that every wrong in this world 
is surely, if slowly, righted ; and the wrongs of authors 
doubtless will be set right. But who shall pick up water 
spilled to the ground ? The writers of a new generation 
will never realize how bitter was the bread eaten by those 
who went before them and made their paths straight. 



THE GULF STREAM. 

M. F. MAURY. 

[Matthew Fontaine Maury was one of the earliest and best students 
of hydrography in the United States, and his various works on this 
and related subjects are of much value. Chief among them is " The 
Physical Geography of the Sea," a work which is full of interesting 
and important information, and sufficiently popular in treatment to 
give it a marked success. We extract from it some of its more striking 
statements concerning the Gulf Stream, the conditions and character 
istics of which are treated exhaustively in the work. Lieutenant 
Maury was born in Virginia in 1806, and died in 1873.] 

THERE is a river in the ocean : in the severest droughts 
it never fails, and in the mightiest floods it never over 
flows ; its banks and its bottom are of cold water, while 
its current is of warm ; the Gulf of Mexico is its fountain, 
and its mouth is in the Arctic Seas. It is the Gulf Stream. 
There is in the world no other such majestic flow of waters. 
Its current is more rapid than the Mississippi or the Ama 
zon, and its volume more than a thousand times greater. 
Its waters, as far out from the Gulf as the Carolina coasts, 
are of an indigo blue. They are so distinctly marked that 
their line of junction with the common sea-water may be 
traced by the eye. Often one half of the vessel ma^ bo 



MAURY] THE GULF STREAM. 193 

perceived floating in Gulf Stream water, while the other 
half is in common water of the sea, so sharp is the line, 
and such the want of affinity, between those waters, and 
such, too, the reluctance, so to speak, on the part of those 
of the Gulf Stream to mingle with the littoral waters of 
the sea. 

At the salt-works in France, and along the shores of the 
Adriatic, where the " salines" are carried on by the process 
of solar evaporation, there is a series of vats or pools 
through which the water is passed as it comes from the 
sea, and is reduced to the briny state. The longer it is 
exposed to evaporation, the salter it grows, and the 
deeper is the hue of its blue, until crystallization is about 
to commence, when the now deep-blue water puts on a 
reddish tint. Now, the waters of the Gulf Stream are 
salter than the littoral waters of the sea through which 
they flow, and hence we can account for the deep indigo- 
blue which all navigators observe off the Carolina coasts. 
The salt-makers are in the habit of judging of the richness 
of the sea-water in salt by its color : the greener the hue, 
the fresher the water. We have in this, perhaps, an ex 
planation of the contrasts which the waters of the Gulf 
Stream present with those of the Atlantic, as well as of 
the light green of the North Sea and other Polar waters ; 
also of the dark blue of the trade-wind regions, and es 
pecially of the Indian Ocean, which poets have described 
as the " black waters." 

What is the cause of the Gulf Stream has always puz 
zled philosophers. Many are the theories and numerous 
the speculations that have been advanced with regard to 
it. Modern investigations and examinations are beginning 
to throw some light upon the subject, though all is not yet 

entirely clear. 

*# # ## # * * ## 

IIT. i n 17 



194 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MAURY 

No feature of the Gulf Stream excites remark among 
seamen more frequently than the sharpness of its edges, 
particularly along its inner borders. There, it is a streak 
on the water. As high up as the Carolinas this streak 
may be seen, like a greenish edging to a blue border, the 
bright indigo of the tropical contrasting finely with the 
dirty green of the littoral waters. It is this apparent re 
luctance of the warm waters of the stream to mix with 
the cool of the ocean that excites wonder and calls forth 
remark. But have we not, so to speak, a similar reluctance 
manifested by all fluids, only upon a smaller scale, or under 
circumstances less calculated to attract attention or excite 
remark ? 

The water, hot and cold, as it is let into the tub for a 
warm bath, generally arranges itself in layers or sections, 
according to temperature : it requires violent stirring to 
break them up, mix, and bring the whole to an even tem 
perature. The jet of air from the blow-pipe, or of gas 
from the burner, presents the phenomenon still more 
familiarly: here we have, as with the Gulf Stream, the 
dividing line between fluids in motion and fluids at rest 
finely presented. There is a like reluctance for mixing 
between streams of clear and muddy water. This is very 
marked between the red waters of the Missouri and the 
inky waters of the Upper Mississippi : here the waters of 
each may be distinguished for the distance of several miles 
after these two rivers come together. It requires force to 
inject, as it were, the particles of one of these waters 
among those of the other, for mere vis inertice tends to 
maintain in their statu quo fluids that have already ar 
ranged themselves in layers, streaks, or aggregations. 

In the ocean we have the continual heaving of the sea 
and agitation of the waves to overcome this vis inertice, 
and the marvel is, that they in their violence do not,' by 



MAURY] THE GULF STREAM. 103 

mingling the Gulf and littoral waters together, sooner 
break up and obliterate all marks of a division between 
them. But the waters of the Gulf Stream differ from the 
in-shore waters not only in color, transparency, and tem 
perature, but in specific gravity, in saltness, and in other 
properties, I conjecture, also. Therefore they may have 
a peculiar viscosity, or molecular arrangement, of their 
own, which further tends to prevent mixture, and so pre 
serve their line of demarcation. 

Observations made for the purpose in the navy show 
that ships cruising in the West Indies suffer in their copper 
sheathing more than they do in any other seas. This 
would indicate that the waters of the Caribbean Sea and 
Gulf of Mexico, from which the Gulf Stream is fed, have 
some peculiar property or other which makes them so 
destructive upon the copper of cruisers. 

The story told by the copper and the blue color [see 
ante, p. 193] indicates a higher point of saturation with 
salts than sea-water generally has ; and the salometer 
confirms it. Dr. Thomassy, a French savant, who has 
been extensively engaged in the manufacture of salt by 
solar evaporation, informs me that on his passage to the 
United States he tried the saltness of the water with a 
most delicate instrument : he found it in the Bay of Bis 
cay to contain three and one-half per cent, of salt ; in the 
trade-wind region, four and four-tenths per cent. ; and in 
the Gulf Stream, off Charleston, four per cent., notwith 
standing the Amazon and the Mississippi, with all the in 
termediate rivers, and the clouds of the West Indies, had 
lent their fresh water to dilute the saltness of this basin. 

Now, the question may be asked, What should make 
the waters of the Mexican Gulf and Caribbean Sea salter 
than the waters in those parts of the ocean through 
which the Gulf Stream flows ? There are physical agents 



196 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MAUEY 

that are known to be at work in different parts of the 
ocean, the tendency of which is to make the waters in one 
part of the ocean salter and heavier, and in another part 
lighter and less salt, than the average of sea-water. 
These agents are those employed by sea-shells in secreting 
solid matter for their structures ; they are also heat and 
radiation, evaporation and precipitation. In the trade 
wind regions at sea, evaporation is generally in excess of 
precipitation, while in the extra-tropical regions the re 
verse is the case ; that is, the clouds let down more water 
there than the winds take up again ; and these are the 
regions in which the Gulf Stream enters the Atlantic. 
Along the shores of India, where observations have been 
carefully made, the evaporation from the sea is said to 
amount to three-fourths of an inch daily. Suppose it in 
the trade-wind region of the Atlantic to amount to only 
half an inch, that would give an annual evaporation of 
fifteen feet. In the process of evaporation from the sea, 
fresh water only is taken up; the salts are left behind. 
Now, a layer of sea-water fifteen feet deep, and as broad 
as the trade-wind belts of the Atlantic, and reaching 
across the ocean, contains an immense amount of salts. 
The great equatorial current which often sweeps from the 
shores of Africa across the Atlantic into the Caribbean 
Sea is a surface- current ; and may it not bear into that 
sea a large portion of those waters that have satisfied the 
thirsty trade-winds with saltless vapor? If so, and it 
probably does, have we not detected here the footprints 
of an agent that does tend to make the waters of the 
Caribbean Sea salter, and therefore heavier, than the 
average of sea- water at a given temperature ? 

It is immaterial, so far as the correctness of the principle 
upon which this reasoning depends is concerned, whether 
the annual evaporation from the trade- wind regions of 



MAURY] THE GULF STREAM. 197 

the Atlantic be fifteen, ten, or five feet. The layer of 
water, whatever be its thickness, that is evaporated from 
this part of the ocean is not all poured back by the clouds 
upon the same spot whence it came. But they take it 
and pour it down in showers upon the extra-tropical re 
gions of the earth, on the land as well as in the sea, 
and on the land more water is let down than is taken up 
into the clouds again. The rest sinks down through the 
soil to feed the springs and return through the rivers to 
the sea. Suppose the excess of precipitation in these 
extra-tropical regions of the sea to amount to but twelve 
inches, or even to but two, it is twelve inches or two 
inches, as the case may be, of fresh water added to the 
sea in those parts, and which therefore tends to lessen the 
specific gravity of sea- water there to that extent, and to 
produce a double dynamical effect, for the simple reason 
that what is taken from one scale, by being put into the 
other, doubles the difference. 

ISTow, that we may form some idea as to the influence 
which the salt left by the vapor that the trade- winds, 
northeast and southeast, take up from sea-water, is calcu 
lated to exert in creating currents, let us make a partial 
calculation to show how much salt this vapor held in solu 
tion before it was taken up, and, of course, while it was 
yet in the state of sea-water. The northeast trade-wind 
regions of the Atlantic embrace an area of at least three 
million square miles ; and the yearly evaporation from it 
is, we will suppose, fifteen feet. The salt that is contained 
in a mass of sea-water covering to the depth of fifteen 
eet an area of three million square miles in superficial 
extent would be sufficient to cover the British islands to 
the depth of fourteen feet. As this water supplies the 
trade- winds with vapor, it therefore becomes salter, and 
as it become salter the forces of aggregation among its 
in. 17* 



198 BEST AMERICAN A UTHORS. [ 

particles are increased, as we may infer from the fact that 
the waters of the Gulf Stream are reluctant to mix with 
those of the ocean. 

Whatever be the cause that enables these trade-wind 
waters to remain on the surface, whether it be from the 
fact just stated, and in consequence of which the waters 
of the Gulf Stream are held together in their channel ; or 
whether it be from the fact that the expansion from the 
heat 'of the torrid zone is sufficient to compensate for this 
increased saltness ; or whether it be from the low temper 
ature and high saturation of the submarine waters of the 
intertropical ocean ; or whether it be owing to all of these 
influences together, that these waters are kept on the 
surface, suffice it to say, we do know that they go into 
the Caribbean Sea as a surface-current. On their passage 
to and through it, they intermingle with the fresh waters 
that are emptied into the sea from the Amazon, the Ori 
noco, and the Mississippi, and from the clouds, and the 
rivers of the coasts round about. An immense volume 
of fresh water is supplied from these sources. It tends 
to make the sea-water, that the trade-winds have been 
playing upon and driving along, less briny, warmer, and 
lighter; for the waters of these large intertropical streams 
are warmer than sea-water. This admixture of fresh 
water still leaves the Gulf Stream a brine stronger than 
that of the extra-tropical sea generally, but not quite so 
strong as that of the trade-wind regions. 

********* 

As to the temperature of the Gulf Stream, there is. in 
a winter's day, off Hatteras, and even as high up as the 
Grand Banks of Newfoundland in mid-ocean, a difference 
between its waters and those of the ocean near by of 20, 
and even 30. Water, we know, expands by heat; and 
here the difference of temperature may more than com- 



MAURT] THE GULF STREAM. 199 

pensate for the difference in saltness, and leave, therefore, 
the waters of the Gulf Stream, though salter, yet lighter 
by reason of their warmth. 

If they be lighter, they should therefore occupy a higher 
level than those through which they flow. Assuming 
the depth off Hatteras to be one hundred and fourteen 
fathoms, and allowing the usual rates of expansion for 
sea-water, figures show that the middle or axis of the 
Gulf Stream there should be nearly two feet higher than 
the contiguous waters of the Atlantic. Hence the surface 
of the stream should present a double inclined plane, from 
which the water would be running down on either side 
as from the roof of a house. As this runs off at the top, 
the same weight of colder water runs in at the bottom, 
and so raises up the cold-water bed of the Gulf Stream, 
and causes it to become shallower and shallower as it 
goes north. That the Gulf Stream is therefore roof- 
shaped, causing the waters on its surface to flow off to 
either side from the middle, we have not only circum 
stantial evidence to show, but observations to prove. 
Navigators, while drifting along with the Gulf Stream, 
have lowered a boat to try the surface-current. In such 
cases the boat would drift either to the east or to the 
west, as it happened to be on one side or the other of the 
axis of the stream, while the vessel herself would drift 
along with the stream in the direction of its course ; thus 
showing the existence of a shallow roof-current from the 
middle toward either edge, which would carry the boat 
along, but which, being superficial, does not extend deep 
enough to affect the drift of the vessel. 

That such is the case is also indicated by the circum 
stance that the sea-weed and drift-wood which are found 
in such large quantities along the outer edge of the Gulf 
Stream are rarely, even with the prevalence of easterly 



200 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MAURY 

winds, found along its inner edge, and for the simple 
reason that to cross the Gulf Stream, and to pass over 
from that side to this, they would have to drift up an 
inclined plane, as it were ; that is, they would have to 
stem this roof-current until they reached the middle of 
the stream. We rarely hear of planks, or wrecks, or of 
any floating substance which is cast into the sea on the 
other side of the Gulf Stream, being found along the coast 
of the United States. Drift-wood, trees, and seeds from 
the West India islands are often cast up on the shores of 
Europe, but rarely on the Atlantic shores of this country 
********* 

But there are other forces operating upon the Gulf 
Stream. They are derived from the effect of changes in 
the waters of the whole ocean, as produced by changes in 
their temperature from time to time. As the Gulf Stream 
leaves the coasts of the United States, it begins to vary its 
position according to the seasons, the limit of its northern 
edge, as it passes the meridian of Cape Race, being in winter 
about latitude 40-41, and in September, when the sea is 
hottest, about latitude 45-46. The trough of the Gulf 
Stream, therefore, may be supposed to waver about in the 
ocean not unlike a pennon in the breeze. Its head is con 
fined between the shoals of the Bahamas and the Caro- 
linas; but that part of it which stretches over toward the 
Grand Banks of Newfoundland is, as the temperature of 
the waters of the ocean changes, first pressed down toward 
the south, and then again up toward the north, according 
to the season of the year. 

To appreciate the extent of the force by which it is so 
pressed, let us imagine the waters of the Gulf Stream to 
extend all the way to the bottom of the sea, so as com 
pletely to separate, by an impenetrable liquid wall, if you 
please, the waters of the ocean on the rio-ht from the 



MAURY] THE GULF STREAM. 201 

waters in the ocean on the left of the stream. It is the 
height of summer: the waters of the sea on either hand 
are for the most part in a liquid state, and the Gulf Stream, 
let it be supposed, has assumed a normal condition between 
the two divisions, adjusting itself to the pressure on either 
side so as to balance them exactly and be in equilibrium. 
Now, again, it is the dead of winter, and the temperature 
of the waters over an area of millions of square miles in 
the North Atlantic has been changed many degrees, and 
this change of temperature has been followed likewise by 
a change in volume of those waters, amounting, no doubt, 
in the aggregate, to many hundred millions of tons, over 
the whole ocean ; for sea-water, unlike fresh, contracts to 
freezing, and below. Now, is it probable that in passing 
from their summer to their winter temperature the sea- 
waters to the right of the Gulf Stream should change 
their specific gravity exactly as much in the aggregate as 
do the waters in the whole ocean to the left of it ? If 
not, the difference must be compensated by some means. 
Sparks are not more prone to fly upward, nor water to 
seek its level, than Nature is sure with her efforts to 
restore equilibrium in both sea and air whenever, wherever, 
and by whatever it be disturbed. Therefore, though the 
waters of the Gulf Stream do not extend to the bottom, 
and though they be not impenetrable to the waters on 
either hand, yet, seeing that they have a waste of waters 
on the right and a waste of waters on the left, to which 
they offer a sort of resisting permeability, we are enabled 
to comprehend how the waters on either hand, as their 
specific gravity is increased or diminished, will impart to 
the trough of this stream a vibratory motion, pressing it 
now to the right, now to the left, according to the seasons 
and the consequent changes of temperature in the sea. 



202 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MATJRT 

As a rule, the hottest water of the Gulf Stream is at or 
near the surface ; and as the deep-sea thermometer is sent 
down, it shows that these waters, though still far warmer 
than the water on either side at corresponding depths, 
gradually become less and less warm until the bottom of 
the current is reached. There is reason to believe that 
the warm waters of the Gulf Stream are nowhere per 
mitted, in the oceanic economy, to touch the bottom of 
the sea. There is everywhere a cushion of cool water be 
tween them and the solid parts of the earth's crust. This 
arrangement is suggestive, and strikingly beautiful. One 
of the benign offices of the Gulf Stream is to convey heat 
from the Gulf of Mexico, where otherwise it would be 
come excessive, and to dispense it in regions beyond the 
Atlantic for the amelioration of the climates of the British 
Islands and of all Western Europe. Now, cold water is 
one of the best non-conductors of heat ; and if the warm 
water of the Gulf Stream was sent across the Atlantic in 
contact with the solid crust of the earth, comparatively 
a good conductor of heat, instead of being sent across, as 
it is, in contact with a cold, non-conducting cushion of 
cool water to fend it from the bottom, much of its heat 
would be lost in the first part of the way, and the soft 
climates of both France and England would be, as that of 
Labrador, severe in the extreme, ice-bound, and bitterly 
cold. 

Modern ingenuity has suggested a beautiful mode of 
warming houses in winter. It is done by means of hot 
water. The furnace and the caldron are sometimes placed 
at a distance from the apartments to be warmed. It is so 
at the Observatory. In this case, pipes are used to con 
duct the heated water from the caldron under the super 
intendent's dwelling over into one of the basement-rooms 
of the Observatory, a distance of one hundred feet. These 



MACTRT] THE GULF STREAM. 203 

pipes are then flared out so as to present a large cooling 
surface ; after which they are united into one again, 
through which the water, being now cooled, returns of its 
own accord to the caldron. Thus cool water is returning 
all the time and flowing in at the bottom of the caldron, 
w r hile hot water is continually flowing out at the top. The 
ventilation of the Observatory is so arranged that the 
circulation of the atmosphere through it is led from this 
basement-room, where the pipes are, to all other parts of 
the building; and in the process of this circulation the 
warmth conveyed by the water to the basement is taken 
thence by the air and distributed over all the rooms. 
Now, to compare small things with great, we have, in the 
warm waters which are confined in the Gulf of Mexico, 
just such a heating apparatus for Great Britain, the North 
Atlantic, and Western Europe. 

The furnace is the torrid zone ; the Mexican Gulf and 
Caribbean Sea are the caldrons; the Gulf Stream is the 
conducting pipe. From the Grand Banks of Newfound 
land to the shores of Europe is the basement the hot-air 
chamber in which this pipe is flared out so as to present 
a large cooling surface. Here the circulation of the atmos 
phere is arranged by nature ; it is from west to east; con 
sequently it is such that the warmth thus conveyed into 
this warm-air chamber of mid-ocean is taken up by the 
genial west winds and dispensed in the most benign man 
ner throughout Great Britain and the west of Europe. 
The mean temperature of the water-heated air-chamber of 
the Observatory is about 90. The maximum temperature 
of the Gulf Stream is 86, or about 9 above the ocean tem 
perature due the latitude. Increasing its latitude 10, it 
loses but 2 of temperature ; and, after having run three 
thousand miles toward the north, it still preserves, even 
in winter, the heat of summer. With this temperature, it 



204 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MAURY 

crosses the 46th degree of north latitude, and there, over 
flowing its liquid banks, it spreads itself out for thousands 
of square leagues over the cold waters around, covering 
the ocean with a mantle of warmth that serves so much 
to mitigate in Europe the rigors of winter. Moving now 
more slowly, but dispensing its genial influences more 
freely, it finally meets the British Islands. By these it is 
divided, one part going into the polar basin of Spitsbergen, 
the other entering the Bay of Biscay, but each with a 
warmth considerably above the ocean temperature. Such 
an immense volume of heated water cannot fail to carry 
with it beyond the seas a mild and moist atmosphere. 
And this it is which so much softens climate there. 

We know not, except approximately in a few places, 
what the depth or the under temperature of the Gulf 
Stream may be ; but assuming the temperature and velocity 
at the depth of two hundred fathoms to be those of the 
surface, and taking the well-known difference between the 
capacity of air and of water for specific heat as the argu 
ment, a simple calculation will show that the quantity of 
heat discharged over the Atlantic from the waters of the 
Gulf Stream in a winter's day would be sufficient to raise 
the whole column of atmosphere that rests upon France 
and the British Islands from the freezing-point to summer 
heat. 

Every west wind that blows crosses the stream on its 
way to Europe, and carries with it a portion of this heat 
to temper there the northern winds of winter. It is the 
influence of this stream upon climate that makes Erin the 
"Emerald Isle of the Sea," and that clothes the shores of 
Albion in evergreen robes, while in the same latitude, on 
this side, the coasts of Labrador are fast bound in fetters 
of ice. In a valuable paper on currents, Mr. Eedfield states 
that in 1831 the harbor of St. John's, Newfoundland, was 



MATJRY] THE GULF STREAM. 205 

closed with ice as late as the month of June ; yet who ever 
heard of the port of Liverpool, on the other side, though 
two degrees farther north, being closed with ice, even in 
the dead of winter ? 

The Thermal Chart shows this. The isothermal lines 
of 60, 50, etc., starting off from the parallel of 40 near 
the coasts of the United States, run off in a northeast 
wardly direction, showing the same oceanic temperature 
on the European side of the Atlantic in latitude 55 or 
60 that we have on the western side in latitude 40. 
Scott, in one of his beautiful novels, tells us that the 
ponds in the Orkneys (latitude near 60) are not frozen 
in winter. The people there owe their soft climate to 
this grand heating apparatus, for drift-wood from the 
West Indies is occasionally cast ashore there by the Gulf 
Stream. 

Nor do the beneficial influences of this stream upon 
climate end here. The West Indian Archipelago is encom 
passed on one side by its chain of islands, and on the other 
by the Cordilleras of the Andes, contracting with the 
Isthmus of Darien, and stretching themselves out over the 
plains of Central America and Mexico. Beginning on the 
summit of this range, we leave the regions of perpetual 
snow, and descend first into the tierra templada, and then 
into the tierra caliente, or burning land. Descending still 
lower, we reach both the level and the surface of the 
Mexican seas, where, were it not for this beautiful and 
benign system of aqueous circulation, the peculiar feat 
ures of the surrounding country assure us we should 
have the hottest, if not the most pestilential, climate in 
the world. As the waters in these two caldrons become 
heated, they are borne off by the Gulf Stream, and are 
replaced by cooler currents through the Caribbean Sea, 
the surface-water, as it enters here, being three degrees or 
ITT. 18 



206 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ABBOTT 

four degrees, and that in depth even forty degrees, cooler 
than when it escapes from the Gulf. Taking only this 
difference in surface-temperature as an index of the heat 
accumulated there, a simple calculation will show that the 
quantity of heat daily carried off by the Gulf Stream 
from those regions and discharged over the Atlantic is 
sufficient to raise mountains of iron from zero to the 
melting-point, and to keep in flow from them a molten 
stream of metal greater in volume than the waters daily 
discharged from the Mississippi River. 

Who, therefore, can calculate the benign influence of 
this wonderful current upon the climate of the South? 
In the pursuit of this subject, the mind is led from nature 
up to the great Architect of nature ; and what mind will 
the study of this subject not fill with profitable emotions? 
Unchanged and unchanging alone, of all created things, 
the ocean is the great emblem of its everlasting Creator. 
" He treadeth upon the waves of the sea," and is seen in 
the wonders of the deep. Yea, "He calleth for its waters, 
and poureth them out upon the face of the earth." 



THE STORMING OF THE BASTILLE. 

JOHN S. C. ABBOTT. 

[The Abbott brothers, John and Jacob, form perhaps the only in 
stance in American history of two brothers attaining a wide popularity 
in literature. Their fields of work were markedly diverse. The Eev. 
Jacob Abbott was exceedingly prolific in juvenile writings, and his 
"Rollo Books," "Harper's Story-Books," and " Franconia Stories" 
were the delight of young readers of a generation ago. The reputa 
tion of John S. C. Abbott was gained in the field of history. His 
writings included " History of Napoleon Bonaparte," " History of tho 



ABBOTT] THE STORMING OF THE BASTILLE. 207 

French Kevolution," " History of the Civil War in America," and sev 
eral smaller historical works. His style is highly animated and very 
pleasing, but his partisanship and undiscriminating eulogy of his 
principal characters have greatly impaired the value of his works as 
histories. We offer a strongly-written extract from his " French Eev- 
olution." He was born in Maine in 1805, and died in 1877.] 

THE electors now ordered thirty thousand pikes to be 
manufactured. Every smith was immediately employed, 
every forge was glowing, and for thirty-six hours, day and 
night, without intermission, the anvils rang till the pikes 
were finished. All this day of Monday the people thought 
only of defending themselves ; but night again came, an 
other night of terror, tumult, and sleeplessness. 

The Bastille was the great terror of Paris. While that 
remained in the hands of their enemies, with its impreg 
nable walls and heavy guns commanding the city, there 
was no safety. As by an instinct, during the night of 
tbe 13th, the Parisians decided that the Bastille must be 
taken. With that fortress in their hands they could de 
fend themselves and repel their foes. But how could the 
Bastille be taken ? It was apparently as unassailable as 
Gibraltar's rock. Nothing could be more preposterous 
than the thought of storming the Bastille. " The idea," 
says Micbelet, " was by no means reasonable. It was an 
act of faith." 

The Bastille stood in the very beart of tbe Faubourg 
St. Antoine, enormous, massive, and blackened with age, 
tbe gloomy emblem of royal prerogative, exciting by its 
mysterious power and menace tbe terror and tbe execra 
tion of every one wbo passed beneatb tbe shadow of its 
towers. Even tbe sports of childhood dare not approach 
the empoisoned atmosphere with wbicb it seemed to bo 
enveloped. 

M. de Launey was governor of tbe fortress. He was no 



208 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ABBOTT 

soldier, but a mean, mercenary man, despised by the 
Parisians. He contrived to draw from the establishment, 
by every species of cruelty and extortion, an income of 
twenty-five thousand dollars a year. He reduced the 
amount of fire-wood to which the shivering inmates were 
entitled, made a gi-eat profit on the wretched wine which 
he furnished to those who were able to buy, and even lot 
out the little garden within the enclosure, thus depriving 
those prisoners who were not in dungeon confinement of 
the privilege of a walk there, which they had a right to 
claim. De Launey was not merely detested as governor 
of the Bastille, but he was personally execrated as a 
greedy, sordid, merciless man. Linguet's Memoirs of the 
Bastille had rendered De Launey's name infamous through 
out Europe. Such men are usually cowards. De Launey 
was both spiritless and imbecile. Had he not been both, 
the Bastille could not have been taken. 

Still the people had no guns. It was ascertained that 
there was a large supply at the Hotel des Invalides ; but 
how could they be taken without any weapons of attack ? 
Sombreuil, the governor, was a firm and fearless man, and, 
in addition to his ordinary force, amply sufficient for de 
fence, he had recently obtained a strong detachment of ar 
tillery and several additional cannon, showing that he was 
ready to do battle. Within fifteen minutes' march of the 
Invalides, Besenval was encamped with several thousand 
Swiss and German troops in the highest state of discipline 
and provided with all the most formidable implements of 
war. Every moment rumors passed through the streets 
that the troops from Versailles were on the march, headed 
by officers who were breathing threatenings and slaughter. 
With electric speed the rumor passed through the streets 
that there was a large quantity of arms stored in the 
magazine of the Hotel of the Invalids. Before nine o'clock 



ABBOTT] THE STORMING OF THE BASTILLE. 209 

ill the morning of the 14th, thirty thousand men were 
before the Invalides ; some with pikes, pistols, or muskets, 
but most of them unarmed. The curate of St. Etienne 
led his parishioners in this conflict for freedom. As this 
intrepid man marched at the head of his flock he said to 
them, "My children, let us not forget that all men are 
brothers." The bells of alarm ringing from the steeples 
seemed to invest the movement with a religious character. 
Those sublime voices, accustomed to summon the multi 
tude to prayer, now with their loudest utterance called 
them to the defence of their civil and religious rights. 

Sombreuil perceived at once that the populace could 
only be repelled by enormous massacre, and that probably 
even that, in the frenzied state of the public mind, would 
be ineffectual. He dared not assume the responsibility of 
firing without an order from the king, and he could get 
no answer to the messages he sent to Versailles. Though 
his cannon charged with grape-shot could have swept 
down thousands, he did not venture to give the fatal 
command to fire. The citizens, with a simultaneous rush 
in all directions, leaped the trenches, clambered over the 
low wall, for the hotel was not a fortress, and, like a 
resistless inundation, filled the vast building. They found 
in the armory thirty thousand muskets. Seizing these 
and six pieces of cannon, they rushed, as by a common 
instinct, toward the Bastille, to assail with these feeble 
means one of the strongest fortresses in the world, a 
fortress which an army under the great Cond'e had in 
vain besieged for three-and-twenty days. De Launey, 
from the summit of his towers, had for many hours heard 
the roar of the insurgent city. As he now saw the black 
mass of countless thousands approaching, he turned pale 
and trembled. All the cannon, loaded with grape-shot, 
were thrust out of the port-holes, and several cart-loads 
in. o 18* 



210 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ABBOTT 

of paving- stones, cannon-balls, and old iron had been con 
veyed to the tops of the towers to be thrown down to 
crush the assailants. Twelve large rampart-guns, charged 
heavily with grape, guarded the only entrance. These 
were manned by thirty-two Swiss soldiers, who would 
have no scruples in firing upon Frenchmen. The eighty- 
two French soldiers who composed the remainder of the 
garrison were placed upon the towers, and at distant posts, 
where they could act efficiently without being brought so 
immediately into conflict with the attacking party. 

A man of very fearless and determined character, M. 
Thuriot, was sent by the electors of the Hotel de Ville to 
summon the Bastille to surrender. The drawbridge was 
lowered, and he was admitted. The governor received 
him at the head of his staff. 

"I summon you," said Thuriot, "in the name of the 
people, in the name of honor, and of our native land." 

The governor, who was every moment expecting the 
arrival of troops to disperse the crowd, refused to surren 
der the fortress, but replied that he w r as ready to give his 
oath that he would not fire upon the people if they did 
not fire upon him. After a long and exciting interview, 
Thuriot came forth to those at the Hotel de Ville who had 
sent him. 

He had hardly emerged from the massive portals, and 
crossed the drawbridge of the moat, which was imme 
diately raised behind him, ere the people commenced tho 
attack. A scene of confusion and uproar ensued which 
cannot be described. A hundred thousand men, filling all 
the streets and alleys which opened upon the Bastille, 
cro'wding all the windows and house-tops of the adjacent 
buildings, kept up an incessant firing, harmlessly flatten 
ing their bullets against walls of stone forty feet thick and 
one hundred feet high. 



ABBOTT] THE STORMING OF THE BASTILLE. 211 

The French soldiers within the garrison were reluctant 
to fire upon their relatives and friends. But the Swiss, 
obedient to authority, opened a deadly fire of bullets and 
grape-shot upon the crowd. While the battle was raging, 
an intercepted letter was brought to the Hotel de Ville, 
in which Besenval, commandant of the troops in the Field 
of Mars, exhorted De Launey to remain firm, assuring him 
that he would soon come with succor. But, fortunately 
for the people, even these foreign troops refused to march 
for the protection of the Bastille. 

The French guards now broke from their barracks, and, 
led by their subaltern officers, came with two pieces of 
artillery in formidable array to join the people. They 
were received with thunders of applause which drowned 
even the roar of the battle. Energetically they opened 
their batteries upon the fortress, but their balls rebounded 
harmless from the impregnable rock. 

Apparently the whole of Paris, with one united will, 
was combined against the great bulwark of tyranny. 
Men, women, and boys were mingled in the fight. Priests, 
nobles, wealthy citizens, and the ragged and emaciate 
victims of famine were pressing in the frenzied assault 
side by side. The French soldiers were now anxious to 
surrender, but the Swiss, sheltered from all chance of 
harm, shot down with deliberate and unerring aim whom 
soever they would. Four hours of the battle had now 
passed, and, though but one man had been hurt within 
the fortress, a hundred and seventy-one of the citizens 
had been either killed or wounded. The French soldiers 
now raised a flag of truce upon the towers, while the 
Swiss continued firing below. This movement plunged 
De Launey into despair. One hundred thousand men 
were beleaguering his fortress. The king sent no troops 
to his aid j and three-fourths of his garrison had abandoned 



212 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ABBOTT 

him and were already opening communications with his 
assailants. He knew that the people could never pardon 
him for the blood of their fathers and brothers with which 
he had crimsoned their streets, that death was his in 
evitable doom. In a state almost of delirium he seized a 
match from a cannon and rushed toward the magazine, 
determined to blow up the citadel. There were a hundred 
and thirty-five barrels of gunpowder in the vaults. The 
explosion would have thrown the Bastille into the air, 
buried one hundred thousand people beneath its ruins, 
and have demolished one-third of Paris. Two subaltern 
officers crossed their bayonets before him and prevented 
the accomplishment of this horrible design. 

Some wretches seized upon a young lady whom they 
believed to be the governor's daughter, and wished by 
the threat of burning her within view of her father upon 
the towers to compel him to surrender. But the citizens 
promptly rescued her from their hands and conveyed her 
to a place of safety. It was now five o'clock, and the 
assault had commenced at twelve o'clock at noon. The 
French soldiers within made white flags of napkins, at 
tached them to bayonets, and waved them from the walls. 
Gradually the flags of truce were seen through the smoke ; 
the firing ceased, and the cry resounded through the 
crowd and was echoed along the streets of Paris, " The 
Bastille surrenders!" This fortress, which Louis XIY. 
and Turenne had pronounced impregnable, surrendered 
not to the arms of its assailants,, for they had produced 
no impression upon it. It was conquered by that public 
opinion which pervaded Paris and which vanquished its 
garrison. 

The massive portals were thrown open, and the vast 
multitude, a living deluge, plunging headlong, rushed in. 
They clambered the towers, penetrated the cells, an<] 



ABBOTT] THE STORMING OF THE BASTILLE. 213 

descended into the dungeons and oubliettes. Appalled 
they gazed upon the instruments of torture with which 
former victims of oppression had been torn and broken. 
Excited as they were by the strife, and exasperated by 
the shedding of blood, but one man in the fortress, a Swiss 
soldier, fell a victim to their rage. 

The victorious people now set out in a tumultuous pro 
cession to convey their prisoners, the governor and the 
soldiers, to the Hotel de Yille. Those of the populace 
whose relatives had perished in the strife were roused to 
fury, and called loudly for the blood of De Launey. Two 
very powerful men placed themselves on each side of him 
for his protection. But the clamor increased, the pressure 
became more resistless, and just as they were entering the 
Place de Grove the protectors of the governor were over 
powered : he was struck down, his head severed by a 
sabre-stroke, and raised, a bloody and ghastly trophy, into 
the air upon a pike. 

In the midst of the great commotion two of the Swiss 
soldiers of the Bastille, whom the populace supposed to 
have been active in the cannonade, were seized, notwith 
standing the most strenuous efforts to save them, and hung 
to a lamp-post. A rumor passed through the crowd that 
a letter had been found from the mayor, Flesselles, who 
was already strongly suspected of treachery, directed to 
De Launey, in which he said, 

"I am amusing the Parisians with cockades and 
promises. Hold out till the evening, and you shall be 
relieved." 

Loud murmurs rose from the crowd which filled and 
surrounded the hall. Some one proposed that Flesselles 
should be taken to the Palais Koyal to be tried by the 
people. The clamor was increasing, and his peril immi 
nent. Pallid with fear, he descended from the platform, 



214 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MURFREE 

and, accompanied by a vast throng, set out for the Palais 
Boyal. At the turning of the first street an unknown 
man approached, and with a pistol shot him dead. In 
furiated wretches immediately cut off his head, and it was 
borne upon a pike in savage triumph through the streets. 
The French Guards, with the great body of the people, 
did what they could to repress these bloody acts. The 
French and Swiss soldiers took the oath of fidelity to the 
nation, and under the protection of the French Guard 
were marched to places of safety, where they were sup 
plied with lodgings and food. Thus terminated this event 
ful day. The fall of the Bastille broke the right arm of 
the monarchy, paralyzed its nerves of action, and struck it 
a death-blow. The monarch of France, from his palace at 
Versailles, heard the distant thunders of the cannonade, 
and yet inscribed upon his puerile journal "Nothing I" 



AN ASTONISHED GAMBLER. 

MARY N. MURFREE. 

[It is but a few years since " Charles Egbert Craddock" came first 
into notice as one of the best of our rising novelists, and still less time 
since the reading world was surprised by the discovery that the author 
of these spirited and brilliantly-written novels was a woman, Mary 
Noailles Murfree. " In the Tennessee Mountains," " Where the Battle 
was Fought," "The Prophet of the Great Smoky Mountains," etc., 
introduce us not only to a new author, but to a new locality, and char 
acters, habits, and scenery fresh to the novel-reader. To this and to the 
fine descriptive talent of the authoress must be ascribed their great 
popularity. The selection given below is taken from " "Where the Battle 
was Fought."] 

A BAND of itinerant musicians suddenly struck up a 
popular waltz, and the rotunda was filled with surging 



MURFREE] AN ASTONISHED GAMBLER. 215 

waves of sound. " This is insufferable," said Meredith. 
" Suppose we go up to my room, where we can have a 
quiet smoke and talk." 

As they passed the fountain, West approached them. 
" Going up-stairs ?" he asked of his cousin. 

Meredith nodded. " Will you come with us ?" 

" And I'll bring Casey," West declared, agreeably, very 
slightly lowering his voice; "that is, if you have no objec 
tion. I'm under great obligations to him, and, as he knows 
nobody in town but us, I feel bound to see him through 
and make his stay as pleasant as possible." 

Meredith frowned, and hesitated. But Casey was stand 
ing at no great distance, and had evidently overheard the 
conversation. Estwicke experienced a twinge of uneasi 
ness. Despite his ill-defined antipathy toward Casey, and 
although the suggestion that he should join them had 
destroyed every prospect of pleasure, it seemed to Estwicke 
almost a cruelty to refuse publicly so slight and apparently 
BO reasonable a request. He watched Meredith with ex 
pectant eyes. 

" Certainly, if you like," the young lawyer assented, not 
too graciously, and turned away. 

" That's a boon," he muttered to Estwicke, who made 
no reply, for at that moment they stepped into the elevator, 
and stood silent and with their cigars held low and re 
versed, like the muskets of privates at a military funeral, 
in deference to a group of ladies within. 

"I roost high," said Meredith, when they had gotten 
out on an upper story. " It comes cheaper up here, and 
there's better ventilation. ' Beggars all, but, marry, good 
air.' " 

After they were seated before the blazing fire in Mere 
dith's room, West seemed altogether unaware of the reluc 
tant toleration with which his entertainer regarded the 



216 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MUKFREE 

amendment to the quiet smoke and talk. With his gay, 
youthful self-sufficiency, he absorbed the conversation as 
far as he might. He was facetious, and flippantly frater 
nized with Casey. 

" Captain," he said to Estwicke, with an explanatory 
wave of his hand toward his solemn red-faced friend, 
" there is the great original David ! And I am Jonathan ! 
Wasn't it David who saved Jonathan's life ?" He pulled 
at his mustache, and laughed, and smoked his big cigar 
with manly gusto. 

" Oh, it was nothing, -nothing whatever," declared 
Casey. His manner suggested that from good nature he 
was content to lightly waive recognition of a feat. 

The sharp young lawyer apprehended the intimation. 

"Nothing?" he repeated, satirically. "Nothing to save 
Tom West's life? Why, it- was a public benefaction!" 

Estwicke, with his quick interest in exploits, his love 
of danger, his enthusiastic admiration of bravery, turned 
to Casey with a sudden sense of respect. 

" May I ask how that came about ?" 

Casey hesitated, and Estwicke presently recognized in 
this a tact which was hardly consonant with such a slow- 
seeming man, for West, after waiting expectantly for a 
moment, plunged into an account of a recent railroad 
accident, that might have been very disastrous, but had 
resulted in nothing worse than cooping him up in the 
debris, whence by some exercise of thews and sinews of 
which Mr. Casey was amply capable he was extricated. 
His rescue had evidently involved no risk, but it had 
served as an introduction of Casey, who was adroitly 
abetting West in magnifying its importance. Estwicke 
listened with contemptuous amusement, and Meredith's 
efforts to conceal his impatience had grown so lame that 
his relief was very evident when a knock at the door 



MURFREE] AN ASTONISHED GAMBLER. 217 

interrupted the conversation, and a card was brought in. 
He glanced at it in surprise. 

" Show the gentleman up," he said, and the brisk and 
grinning bell-boy disappeared. 

* * * * ^^ * # * 

" I insist that you don't go," said Meredith, addressing 
himself specially to Bstwicke. " This won't keep me long ; 
meantime, suppose you have a game of cards. I am not 
going to my office : we can talk the matter over here." 

He flung a pack of cards on the table ; then he and 
Brennett turned away to a desk which was on the oppo 
site side of the room. The trio at the table chatted for a 
few moments in a desultory strain, but presently West, 
glancing at lawyer and client now fairly immersed in 
business, shrugged his shoulders, gathered up the cards, 
and, with a juvenile leer at the others, proposed to deal 
for " draw." 

" I haven't played for so long, I scarcely remember the 
game," protested Casey. 

West laughed jeeringly; he joyed so in his amiable 
wickedness. 

" Oh, Casey's afraid of getting turned out of church. 
We'll take you in out of the wet, won't we, captain? 
We belong to the ' big church,' we do." 

Estwicke made no reply: he hardly relished even a 
" big church" membership with Casey. 

" I suppose we play with a limit?" he asked, impatiently, 
showing some eagerness to begin. 

West's was an amiable wickedness. In fact, it was only 
a weak-kneed semblance, that would, yet might not, be. 
He quaked at the bare suggestion of the alternative. 

" Captain, you shock me," he declared. " Of course we 
play with a limit. fifty cents, say." 

They talked very little when once fairly at it. For a 

III. K 19 



218 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MURFREE 

time Meredith, who sat with his back toward them, only 
knew vaguely that somebody was " passing," or " strad 
dling the blind," or " seeing and going better." Once or 
twice West laughed out loud and long in triumph. And 
again his voice rose in excited remonstrance, to which his 
companions seemed to pay no attention. Then the room 
was quiet for a time, and the lawyer lost cognizance of 
everything except the complications of Brennett's liens 
and his debtor's duplicity. 

"How many bales do you suppose he has there?" 
Meredith asked, after a meditative pause. 

There was no answer. 

He glanced up impatiently. Brennett's face was in 
stinct with an alert interest. His eyes, lighted by some 
inward sardonic laughter, were fixed upon the group by 
the fire. 

Meredith turned quickly, and at this moment Estwicke 
his coat thrown off upon the floor, his hat thrust on the 
back of his head, the hot blood crimsoning his sunburned 
cheek, the perspiration standing thick in his close-clipped 
red hair, his eyes blazing with that most unholy fire, the 
gambler's passion cocked his cigar between his set teeth 
and raised the blind one hundred dollars. 

West had passed out of the game, had drawn away 
from the table, and was gazing with dismayed surprise at 
the swollen proportions of the pool and at the impassive, 
stony countenance of Casey. Not a feather was ruffled 
as he looked coolly into Estwicke's burning eyes ; he was 
as decorously florid, his waistcoat as commercially rotund, 
as ever, but his demeanor was the demeanor of the pro 
fessional expert. 

He stolidly made good; and then he drew one card, 
Estwicke standing pat. After this, for a few moments, 
each seemed cautious, making very small bets. But pres- 



MURFREE] AN ASTONISHED GAMBLER. 219 

ently, when Estwicke raised him fifty dollars, Casey " saw 
it" and went a hundred better. 

Then the slow, cumbrous fellow, according to his habit, 
laid his cards, face downward, on the table in front of him, 
with a single chip upon them to hold them in place, and, 
clasping his hands lightly upon his substantial stomach, 
cakaly awaited Estwicke's "say." 

And all at once Estwicke looked hard at the man, with 
a change on his expressive face. There was an eager sur 
prise in his eyes ; the flush of sheer excitement deepened 
to an angry glow ; he seemed lost for an instant in a sort 
of doubting confusion. Suddenly he made good, and 
" called." 

Meredith was thunder-struck as he realized the full sig 
nificance of the scene. He rose hastily. "Gentlemen," 
he said, sternly, " this is going entirely too far." 

They took no heed. With one hand Casey laid his 
cards, a straight flush, ace, king, queen, jack, and ten of 
diamonds, upon the table beside Estwicke's jack full, 
while with the other hand he gathered the pool toward 
him, giving no sign of elation. 

"I protest," began Meredith. He stopped suddenly 
short. 

Brennett sprang to his feet with a sharp exclamation. 

It happened in an instant. There was a swift move 
ment of Estwicke's intent figure ; he thrust his hand be 
hind him, and seemed to draw from his pistol-pocket a 
glancing, steely flash of light ; there was a sharp, metallic 
click, of a peculiarly nerve-thrilling quality ; he lunged 
across the table, and held the weapon at full cock at the 
man's head. 

Warned by Estwicke's motion, Casey had made an 
effort to draw his pistol. His hand grasped it in his 
pocket. 



220 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MURFREE 

"Move your right arm and you're a dead man," said 
Estwicke between his se't teeth. They were strong and 
white, and unconsciously he showed them. The veins 
that crossed his forehead were black and swollen. His 
breath came hot and fast and with a sibilant sound. He 
seemed to think as Brennett sprang up that there would 
be an effort to disarm him. 

" If you interfere," he said, in a low voice, " if you 
touch me, I will kill you ! I will kill you !" 

It was a moment of terrible suspense, but as Brennett 
moved hastily back he laughed aloud, a short, ungenial 
laugh, nervous perhaps ; or was the fancy so absurd that 
he should interfere ? 

Meredith's motion toward Estwicke was arrested by 
his next words. "Drop that card out of your sleeve, 
the card I dealt you." 

Casey gazed abjectly at him, turning even paler than 
before, and made a weak, spasmodic effort to speak, to 
deny. 

" _N"o use talking," said Estwicke, cutting him short. 
"Drop the card." His finger, by accident or design, 
quivered slightly on the trigger. 

The sharper shook his sleeve, and the three of diamonds 
fell upon the table. 

" The exchange was quick as lightning, but I saw it !" 
Estwicke declared. 

Without lowering his eyes or moving the weapon, he 
placed with his left hand the three of diamonds on the 
table beside the straight flush to illustrate the self-evident 
fact that, no matter which of the cards Casey had substi 
tuted for it, the hand after the draw was merely a flush, 

" And a full outranks a flush !" he proclaimed, with a 
fierce, dictatorial air. 

Casey sat before him. silent, cowed, helpless, the re- 



MURFREE] ^4^ ASTONISHED GAMBLER. 221 

volver that he still grasped in his pocket as useless as if 
his right hand was palsied. 

"My 'full' raked the pool!" thundered Estwicke. "I 
won it all ! I'll have it all ! Fork ! With your left hand, 
mind." 

As Casey hastily pushed the money across the table, a 
modest nickel, that had served in the half-dollar limit 
game with which they began, fell to the floor and rolled 
away among the shadows. 

He had surrendered utterly : it was all over. A breath 
of relief was beginning to inflate his lungs, which in the 
surprise and fright had seemed to forget and bungle their 
familiar functions. The other men moved slightly as they 
stood, an involuntary expression of the relaxation of 
the tension : the creak of Tom West's boots was to him 
like the voice of a friend. Then they realized, with the 
shock of an infinite surprise, that Estwicke sat as motion 
less as if he were carved in stone, his pistol still held at 
the cheat's head. The room was so silent that they 
might hear the rumble of the elevator on its missions up 
and down, the throb of the engine in the cellar, the faint 
rattle of the dishes in the dining-room far, far below the 
high story where the young man's room was perched. 
They understood at last, and it came upon them with the 
amazing effect of a flash of lightning from a clear sky. 

Estwicke was waiting for the nickel ! 

The card-sharper was panting, failing, almost losing con 
sciousness. He did not dare to stoop and search for the 
coin; he could not summon his voice for speech. The 
tears sprang into his eyes when he saw that the situation 
was at length comprehended by the others. 

West hastily knelt on the floor, passed his tremulous 
fingers over the dark carpet, clutched the coin, and placed 
it on the table. 

m. 19* 



222 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MURFKEE 

To the two men who knew Estwicke best the episode 
was a frightful illustration of a certain imperious exact- 
ingness which they had discovered even in their short 
acquaintance was a notable characteristic of his nature. 
For one instant longer he looked hard at the sharper 
Then he brought his heavy hand down upon the table 
in the midst of the pile of greenbacks, with a vehemence 
that sent a shiver through every glass in the room. 

" Damn you !" he cried out, fiercely. " Keep it !" 

He thrust his pistol into his pocket. Without another 
word he strode heavily out of the room, leaving Casey 
staring blankly at the money so strangely relinquished, 
and the others standing petrified under the yellow gas-jets, 
gazing after the receding figure that marched through 
the shadowy vagueness of the dimly-lighted hall without. 

When he was fairly gone, Meredith turned to Casey. 
The sharper had before hardly seemed able to breathe. 
He was on his feet now and ready to walk. His god was 
good to him. The touch of it had made him whole. 

"I have never before had occasion," said Meredith, 
sternly, "to show a man the door." He waved his hand 
toward it. 

The hardened creature insolently lifted his cold, fishy 
eye and grinned. His plethoric pocket-book was over 
flowing in his hands; he tucked the other bills into the 
pockets of his respectable, commercial-looking waistcoat. 

" Sorry to have any disagreement, I'm sure. Your 
friend is a little too choleric; apt to be the fault of mili- 
tary men. I have to thank you for a most delightful 
evening. I'll come again soon. By-by, West." 

He bowed and grinned and grimaced at the door. 
Meredith was scarlet with indignation. Tom West 
thrust his hands into his pockets and turned sheepishly 
away. Brennett flung himself against the mantel-piece 



MURFREE] AN ASTONISHED GAMBLER. 223 

and laughed with an intense enjoyment so chilling, so 
derisive, so repellent in its quality that Casey paused in 
the hall and glanced back through the open door in sur 
prise and a vague distrust. Meredith saw among the 
shadows his white, heavy-jawed face, from which the 
pmile had faded in an expression of inexplicable wonder, 
f fear. Then he turned once more and disappeared. 

Meredith hastily handed Brennett his memoranda, and, 
with a promise to return in a few moments, started toward 
the door. 

""Where are you going?" West demanded, inquisitively. 

" To look up m Captain Estwicke," Meredith replied, 
curtly. 

The ;; elevator-boy" knew the number of Estwicke's 
room on the transient floor by reason of having had the 
key left with him during the evening. Estwicke had 
hardly entered and closed the door when Meredith 
knocked. He looked around with a flushed face as the 
young lawyer came in. 

"I hope you will remember how that blackguard was 
forced upon me," Meredith began, hotly. " I don't usu 
ally consort with cheats. I am not responsible for your 
meeting such company in my room." 

Estwicke gave a bitter laugh. 

" What does it matter to me where I met him ?" 

" It matters to me," said Meredith, tersely. 

Estwicke was tramping back and forth the length of the 
room. 

"I thought I had given that thing up!" he cried, in a 
tumult of despair. " I haven't touched a card for years. 
I can't play in moderation. I can't, you see. I go wild, 
wild ! It's an hereditary passion." 

Meredith was a lawyer, and an acute one. He changed 
his base with a celerity that did infinite credit to his 



224 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MURFREE 

acumen. Estwicke was taking himself to task, not his 
entertainer. He briskly joined the onslaught. 

" Oh, hereditary 1" he sneered. " I have often noticed 
that a man credits his father with his own pet vices. 
What was the reason you let the rascal have the money ?" 

"I had no reason, no positive idea; it. was only an 
impulse," said Estwicke. "Somehow when I got it I 
couldn't touch it. That I should brawl with a fellow 
like that for money ! But why not ?" he added, after a 
sullen pause. "He is as good as I am; that is, I am as 
bad as he is." 

" Bless me!" exclaimed Meredith, satiriqally, " I wouldn't 
say that." 

" I know better. He doesn't." 

" But some of it was yours on the strictest moral con 
struction." 

Estwicke stood in the middle of the floor staring at his 
visitor. 

" I mean the money you originally bet," Meredith 
explained. 

This was a distinction that Estwicke could not grasp. 
" It was all mine !" he bawled. " My full raked the 
pool !" He came hastily and sat down in the green-rep 
arm-chair, expounding how the game stood, checking off 
his cards and Casey's on the fingers of his right and left 
hands, respectively. His excited words in their confused 
haste stumbled and tripped up over each other in his 
throat; his eyes were eager and earnest; he trembled 
with the intensity of his interest. Even the wordy 
lawyer could not interrupt. 

"Well," he said, when Estwicke had concluded, "I knew 
all that before; and it's a nice business. You told me once 
that you have nothing but your pay. I should think," ho 
continued, exasperatingly, " this night's work would make 



MURFREE] AN ASTONISHED GAMBLER. 225 

a considerable hole in it. I hope you feel that you have 
invested your time and money to the best advantage." 

" Oh, I got disgusted with the money. I couldn't endure 
to keep step, morally, you know, with that contemptible, 
poor devil. I tell you he looked at the money with tears 
in his eyes." 

Meredith stared. 

" This is rather a belated sympathy with the l poor devil,' " 
he said, sarcastically. " Captain Estwicke," he continued, 
"I don't pretend to understand you, but I feel it almost a 
duty to tell you how heartily I disapprove of your conduct 
to-night. Pistoling a man at a card-table for cheating is a 
practically unprovoked, cruel, and abhorrent crime." 

" Didn't do it," said Estwicke, grimly, on the defensive. 

"You would have done it, if he had not instantly 
yielded." 

" Ha-a-rdly," drawled Estwicke. The tone was signifi 
cant. Meredith looked at him expectantly. Estwicke 
glanced uneasily up at the ceiling, then down at his boots. 
As he turned doubtfully toward Meredith, their eyes met, 
and he broke into an uproarious peal of laughter. 

""Why, man," he cried, hilariously, "the pistol wasn't 
loaded !" 

He drew the weapon from his pocket and held it at 
arm's length, revolving its empty chambers, and setting 
the walls to echoing its sharp click. 

Meredith laughed too, partly in sympathy with the 
other's boisterous enjoyment of what he considered so 
exquisitely flavored a joke and partly in relief. "I'm glad 
you let me know this," he declared. " Forget what I said 
when I didn't know it." Presently he added, with a view 
of contingencies of which Estwicke seemed utterly incapa 
ble, "But suppose that that fellow had persisted in heaving 
up the thing he had in his pocket ?" 
in. 



226 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MURFREE 

" Oh, but I was sure he wouldn't. Moral suasion, you 
know. There's a wonderful deal of moral suasion in giving 
a man a peep down an iron tube. It puts the best of us 
out of countenance." After a pause, he said, gravely, 
" Nothing would have induced me to hurt the man ; be 
sides, I couldn't. All I wanted was my own money." 

" And you didn't want that little long." 

" I feel like the devil," said Estwicke, impatiently. "I'm 
so much like the devil to-night that I don't know us 
apart." . . . 

The young lawyer had risen to take leave. With an 
almost affectionate impulse he paused at the door. " Est 
wicke," he said, " I want to tell you you're a good fellow." 

" That I am," said Estwicke, mockingly. " I'm mighty 
good." 

He looked about him wearily, with a haggard, hunted 
face, after the door had closed. Then suddenly he rang 
the bell, called for his bill, packed his traps dexterously, 
methodically, and in surprisingly small compass, one of 
his military accomplishments, and the full moon was 
hardly swinging past the meridian before he was bowling 
swiftly along the turnpike among the hills that encom 
passed the city. Through the carriage windows he saw it 
lying behind him in many an undulation, its domes and 
its mansard roofs idealized in the glamour and the distance 
to a castellated splendor. It had faded away in the dusky 
shadows long before he caught sight of the white-framed 
barrack-buildings. His heart warmed at the thought of 
his friends so close at hand, of the familiar surroundings, 
and the old routine. He saw the sentry's bayonet glisten 
in the moonlight and catch on its point a star of fire. And 
the evening and the scene he had left slipped into the 
dark corners of his recollection. 



BOKER] THE BLACK REGIMENT. 227 

THE BLACK REGIMENT. 

GEOKGE H. BOKER. 

[George Henry Boker is a native of Philadelphia, where he was 
born in 1823. He has been an active writer of plays and poems, and 
has served in a public capacity, having been appointed United States 
Minister to Constantinople in 1871 and to St. Petersburg in 1874. 
Of his plays the only one well adapted to the stage is " Francesca da 
Rimini," a work whose poetic and dramatic merit and elevated senti 
ment have brought it into deserved popularity as an acting drama. 
Many of his poems display a high grade of poetic ability, while the 
one we quote is among the most vigorous and striking of American 
war Ivrics.] 

DARK as the clouds of even, 
Banked in the western heaven, 
Waiting the breath that lifts 
All the dead mass, and drifts 
Tempest and falling brand 
Over a ruined land, 
So still and orderly, 
Arm to arm, knee to knee, 
Waiting the great event, 
Stands the black regiment. 

Down the long dusky line 
Teeth gleam and eyeballs shine ; 
And the bright bayonet, 
Bristling and firmly set, 
Flashed with a purpose grand, 
Long ere the sharp command 
Of the fierce rolling drum 
Told them their time had come, 
Told them what work was sent 
For the black regiment. 



228 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

" Now," the flag-sergeant cried, 
"Though death and hell betide,- 
Let the whole nation see 
If we are fit to be 
Free in this land ; or bound 
Down, like the whining hound, 
Bound with red stripes of pain 
In our cold chains again !" 
Oh ! what a shout there went 
From the black regiment ! 

" Charge !" Trump and drum awoke , 
Onward the bondmen broke ; 
Bayonet and sabre-stroke 
Yainly opposed their rush. 
Through the wild battle's crush, 
With but one thought aflush. 
Driving their lords like chaff, 
In the guns' mouths they laugh ; 
Or at the slippery brands 
Leaping with open hands, 
Down they tear man and horse, 
Down in their awful course ; 
Trampling with bloody heel 
Over the crashing steel ; 
All their eyes forward bent, 
Eushed the black regiment. 

" Freedom !" their battle-cry, 
" Freedom I or leave to die 1" 
Ah ! and they meant the word, 
Not as with us 'tis heard, 
Not a mere party shout ; 
They gave their spirits out, 



BROOKS] FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF JAPAN. 229 

Trusted the end to God, 
And on the gory sod 
Eolled in triumphant blood, 
Glad to strike one free blow, 
Whether for weal or woe ; 
Glad to breathe one free breath, 
Though on the lips of death ; 
Praying alas ! in vain I 
That they might fall again, 
So they could once more see 
That burst of liberty ! 
This was what " freedom" lent 
To the black regiment. 

Hundreds on hundreds fell; 
But they are resting well ; 
Scourges and shackles strong 
Never shall do them wrong. 
Oh, to the living few, 
Soldiers, be just and true ! 
Hail them as comrades tried ; 
Fight with them side by side ; 
Never, in field or tent, 
Scorn the black regiment I 



FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF JAPAN. 

JAMES BROOKS. 

L" A Seven Months' Run," by James Brooks, consists of very rapid 

notes of a very hasty journey round the world, contributed in the form 

of letters to the New York Evening Express. But these letters are 

written in an amusing strain, and with a clearness of detail within 

in. 20 



230 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BROOKS 

their "brevity of outline that makes them at once entertaining and in 
structive reading. As illustration of the author's racy style and fresh 
ness of comment on the strange scenes of the Oriental world, we give 
the chapter describing his first sight of life in Japan.] 

SOMETHING new! Everything new, at last! Under 
your world now, how everything in this world seems up 
side down, and down-side up ! I feel very like, nay, just 
like, the Boston Yankee, who first saw Boston, and felt his 
rural ideas revolving within his head, and I act more like 
Ben Franklin, the printer, when he first turned up in 
Philadelphia, with both eyes as open as saucers, munch 
ing his roll, staring at and astounded by everything. Long 
and long ago, after travelling over many lands, I was sure 
I had reached the Horatian nil admirari ; but I am mis 
taken, for I am wondering over everything to-day. 

At daybreak on the Sabbath morning our good ship bade 
good-by to the pretty-well-behaved Pacific, and turned a 
cape and the light-houses that opened on us the bay of 
Yedo. Up early, to see and to study, the first living 
things to refresh our long-ocean-wearied eyes were the 
fishermen of the island of Niphon. Report says (I have 
not tried its truth) that Japan is about the best fishing- 
ground of the universe. You know (or, if you don't, you 
ought) that in the Boston State-House, over the Speaker's 
chair, is a codfish, the emblem of Massachusetts' rise, 
progress, and prosperity before the days of East India 
ships and the spinning-jenny. The fish, in like manner, 
is reverenced here in Japan. It is a basis of Japan life 
and prosperity. Hence I levelled eyes and glasses, as 
naturally man will, on the first life seen, that is, on the 
fishermen. What queer boats! What queer oars, or 
sculls I What queer-looking sails, of mats ! Boreas can 
hardly blow over such broad-cast boats. Nobody rows ; 
everybody sculls ; and they scull with one oar, two, three, 



BROOKS] FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF JAPAN. 231 

four, five, six, as many as need be for the boat or junk, 
and they scull as fast as they could row in such heavy 
and clumsy boats. History says wharf-history: I never 
read it in books, but it may be true that when the Ty 
coons and Daimios found the Japanese sculling off, or 
sailing off, from Japan, they ordered the better class, of 
Chinese junks, that the Japanese had been imitating, to 
be so constructed that they could never well get over to 
China, ay, to be so heavy, so clumsy, that Neptune, in 
his roaring moods, would tip them over, or roll them 
under, if ever they ventured out of sight of land. Hence 
the ugliness of these junks, and ocean-uselessness. The 
June California steamer, out from here, picked up the 
crew of one, three-fourths of them starved to death, be 
cause they could not find their way from Hiogo to Yoko 
hama, having been blown out of sight of land. The fisher 
men we met, such of them as had seines, were scaring 
the fish into them by pounding furiously on the bottom 
of the boats ! Can this be done ? I charge nothing to 
the Cape-Codders for letting them into the Japanese 
secret of catching fish. But what most astonished us 
new-comers was the G-eorgia costume, minus the spurs, 
of these interesting fishermen. The fishermen were as 
naked as the fish, that is, the most of the fishermen. 
Some of them had something on, but nothing to speak 
of. Anatomy could be studied practically, as well as 
phrenology, and plr^siognomy, and physiology, that is, 
muscular and venous anatomy. Some of our passengers, 
at first, were a little confused and confounded over this 
new development of life, and dropped their lorgnettes , 
but I see the same passengers now in Yokohama streets, 
and they are done blushing already. 

The first day an American spends in Europe, say in 
England (I speak now for myself), is a great day, if not 



232 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BROOKS 

the greatest, of his life. The beautifully green fields, the 
hedges, the cottages, etc., bewitch him. But this first day 
in this Eastern Asia does not exactly bewitch so much as 
it bedevils a traveller. The livery of a trading company's 
boatman, sent out to escort home a passenger by the 
steamer, what was it, think you? A little turban on 
the head, with nakedness to the hips, and then a yellow 
sash girdle, over blue nankin trousers, running into straw 
shoes ! Was not this a novel livery ? Can any of the 
grandees of Hyde Park, or of th^e Central Park, come quite 
up to this great swell ? Then numerous police or custom 
house boats crowded around us, the most of the boatmen 
with respectable clothes on (not all), some with one sword, 
others with two. Some of them had on baskets for bon 
nets, or hats, made of straw or bamboo ; others, with 
heads wrapped up in handkerchiefs ; others, with nothing 
on their heads but their cues, not pig-tails of Chinese mag 
nificence, but short pipe-stem cues, on the top of the crown. 
A hundred boats, as usual, were clamorous and greedy for 
one passenger, and hundreds of hands were ready to grab 
every trunk and carpet-bag, New York as well as Yoko 
hama life, you will add. The arrival of a Pacific mail 
steamer from California is a great event in Yokohama, 
and soon the ship was full of Europeans, to see and to 
study what was going on. 

The Japan custom-house officers are not very particular 
as to baggage, not even looking into it, though very pecu 
liar. They have ears, but our lingo is not theirs, and 
hence they profit in nothing therefrom ; and they have 
eyes, but they see nothing custom-house-ward thereby. 
Hence we slip and slide in without the least trouble : but 
their five per cent, ad valorem is not the forty, and fifty, 
and one hundred per cent, in our American civilization; 
and therefore there is not so much need of our American 



BROOKS] FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF JAPAN. 233 

spying or searching. Soldiers with not very alarming- 
looking muskets, save in their sword-bayonets, watch 
over " the Bund," as they call it here, a sort of pier or 
wharf. In custom-house tongue it might be called a gate 
or portcullis. We pass them, and then begin a series of 
cryings or yellings that scare fresh-come European or 
American horses half to death, and even frighten our pas 
senger dogs, and would frighten us, if we were not ex 
pecting anything and everything new. " Yeow," " yeow," 
or " yow," " yow," or " yew," " yew," or something like it 
in the cat-mewing line, are screaming whole battalions of 
porters and carriers ; and men -horses are dragging, on 
miserable round plank wheels, granite, and timber, or 
lumber. "Yeow," "yeow," goes up to heaven, and rolls 
over all the earth. It is "yeow," "yeow," at daybreak in 
the morning, and " yeow," " yeow," all night, among the 
coolie Japs, loading and unloading the ships in the harbor. 
There is no need of horses (I have already come to that 
conclusion), or elephants, where men can carry such loads. 
When, years ago, off Constantinople, I first saw men 
turned into horses, I thought that was something wonder 
ful ; but these one-horse Japs, with their enormous loads, 
shame the Turks, the Grand Turks, even. What glorious 
muscular legs they have, so admirably developed ! I wish 
I had a pair of them to trot over the world with. What 
brawny arms, pointed off, though, with little hands! 
Gymnast or boxer would have to stand back in "a 
primary" where a fellow had such props, or such pointers 
There comes a travelling restaurant ! That's the way to 
live, where your dinner comes on a fellow's shoulders to 
you, a whole score of you, and where you do not have to 
go to the dinner, where rice and chop-sticks, and fish, 
raw fish, too, are all ready for you, where you can squat 
down on a mat, and have a Delmonico treat for only a few 
in. 20* 



234 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BROOKS 

" cash," that is, two, or three, or four " Tempos," not five 
cents, even, none of your five-dollar " Delmonico's." 
There's life, there's happiness, there's economy. True, it 
rains ; but has not the fellow a basket-hat on, that sheds 
all rain as well as all sun ? not a mere parapluie, a rain 
shedder, as the French call it, but an umbrella, or ombrella, 
too, in Latina lingua. And has he not brought out, too, 
to shed the rain, a great straw cloak, or mantilla, that 
covers all but his legs, and his one-story mounted shoes, 
or pattens, tied on by a rope of braided straw? If it 
were not for the looks of the thing among the Yankee 
and English aristocracy of Yokohama, I would squat 
down and try the rice (not the raw fish) of that dinner. 
If one could only learn to squat like a Jap, one never 
would again use a chair, or a sofa. The fact is, in many 
things " civilization," as it is called, is a humbug. Squat 
ting on a clean mat, if you have only been brought up to 
it, I am sure, from what I see here, is easier and preferable 
to sitting in a chair. The muscles of the legs have only 
to be trained from babyhood up, and a chair becomes as 
much of a nuisance as now is to us this mat. See how 
nicely our children squat, or young ladies, even, who will 
sew or write in bed, or on the floor, and by hours, too, 
without a groan. Hence, I reason, some of our civiliza 
tion may be a humbug, if not much of it. There are a 
lot of tumble-boys, funny fellows, with caps on their 
heads, stuck with red and black feathers, looking like 
roosters' combs, who roll up, and roll over, like balls of 
dirt, and then roll all together . . . They want only "a 
cash," a tenth part of a cent, thus to tumble, over and 
over. "All-Eight," in the American-Japanese jugglers' 
corps, was thus trained in a Japan street, and graduated 
in that school. There is a mother with a baby on her 
back, slung a la American Indian pappoose, and the poor 



BROOKS] FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF JAPAN. 235 

baby is fast asleep, with its head toppling all about. The 
mother, perhaps, would not have much, if any, clothes on, 
if it had not been necessary for her to throw over her the 
sack for the baby to sleep or live in. There is a carpenter, 
pulling his foreplane toward him, not pushing it from 
him, beautifully clad, exquisitely, I may add. No French 
modiste even could have clothed him richer, with a livery 
on that no French high chamberlain could devise better ; 
but the poor devil's only clothes, save a cotton roll about 
his loins, and his straw shoes, were his skin, tattooed with 
all sorts of tortoises, storks, and other Jap divinities. It 
cost only three and a half dollars, that livery, they tell 
me, and it is the pride and glory of a true Jap to have it. 
You could not buy a hat in New York for that, you know. 
But to earn the three dollars and a half to get the livery, 
that's the difficulty. That surplus is a year's saving ; and 
if it were not so, all Japanese of the working classes 
would have on the livery. There is a wrestler, a big, 
burly fellow, the picked man of his clan, who was big 
enough to pass for a European. Wrestling here is a quasi 
noble profession .... It entitles a man to have two 
swords on, and to look down on common fellows. An 
actor in Japan is nothing, nobody, ranking only with 
beggars ; while the wrestler is a grand cockalorum. An 
actor has no rank, no honors, and everybody looks down 
upon his (with us) great profession, and the only social dif 
ference between him and the beggar is, that he may rise, the 
beggar never. The beggar, by the way, bequeaths the pro 
fession from sire to son. The boy must follow the trade of 
the father. There is no hope, no future, for him. Not 
even the coolie will work in the same gang with him. 
Put a beggar to work in a coolie gang, and every coolie 
" strikes" at once, refusing thus to associate with a beg 
gar. When the beggar sees you coming, he prostrates 



236 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BROOKS 

himself on his knees, then falls upon the ground, and 
holds up his hand only " for cash." He utters a most woe 
begone cry to touch your heart and to win your sympa 
thies. There comes something with two swords on, pony- 
mounted, and his betto. The betto is a boy who follows 
his lordship's pony, and the pony races, and the betto 
races. Which will beat, ask you ? The pony never. 
The betto has on his tattoo livery-straw shoes, it may be, 
no shoes, perhaps. The betto will keep up with that 
pony day after day, thirty miles a day, and no pony can 
overdo that on a journey. This betto takes care of the 
pony, watches over and feeds him, ard helps to take care 
of his master, too. There is hair- dressing going on, 
public hair-dressing, on the front steps of the shop or 
house, one man dressing another man's hair and doing 
up his cue. The women dress their hair in our old moth 
ers' fashion of gone-by times (none of your long tails of 
false hair, said I, dangling behind, with a skewer to hold 
it up on top of the head), beautiful, glossy, black hair. 
" Thank the Lord," said I to a Yokohama American lady, 
"we have reached a country at last where the women 
wear only their own hair!" "You are much mistaken," 
said she : " all that hair on top of Madame Jap's head is 
false hair." Madame shaves off, or cuts off, the original 
crown, and piles on the false hair. Once a week, only, is 
the hair done up, skewered, and glued, Spanish (Cadiz) 
style, thus defying the winds and the fogs for a whole 
week, and kept in place, nights, while sleeping on the 
mat-bed, with a wooden pillow under the nape of the 
neck. Woman, thus, you see, is woman everywhere. 
There is nothing true outside of their heads, though all 
so true and sweet inside. These black teeth, too, of these 
Japanese Madames, are they not terrible ? How can 
husbands ever kiss such black-teethed wives? When a 



WEEMS] KEIMER'S NEW RELIGION. 237 

woman is married here, she blackens her teeth, while our 
wives and daughters, when married, put on not only a 
marriage-ring, but all the other rings they can get. Such 
is fashion. But what more sense in the rings,, and ear 
rings, and bracelets, these emblems of vassalage, I dare 
not write handcuffs, than in these black teeth ? Never 
theless, the black teeth are beautiful black teeth, molars 
and eye-teeth of the first chop. They put on some white 
preparation that turns them black, and they renew the 
operation about every week. These Jap women only 
miss, many of them, being very, very pretty. When 
their copper color is whitened up, they would pass for 
brunettes, even in America. But if they are married 
these abominable black teeth! this boca negra! But 
fashion is everything. 



KEIMER'S ATTEMPT TO FOUND A NEW RELIGION. 

MASON L. WEEMS. 

[This lively bit of literary chat, which can scarcely be called bi 
ography, is an extract from the "Life of Franklin," by Mason L. 
Weems, the most amusingly entertaining, but the least trustworthy, 
of American biographers. Born in Virginia in 1759, he wrote " A 
History of the Life and Death, Virtues and Exploits, of General 
George Washington," and biographies of Marion, Franklin, and 
Penn. These works have a basis of biography and a large super 
structure of Weems, the plain facts of history being embellished in 
an extraordinary manner, and conversations being invented as freely 
as ancient historians invented orations for their characters. Weems 
died in 1825.] 

BEN was naturally comic in a high degree, and this 
pleasant vein, greatly improved by his present golden 



238 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WBTSMS 

prospects, betrayed him into many a frolic with Keimer, 
to whom he had prudently attached himself as a journey 
man until the Annis should sail. The reader will excuse 
Ben for these frolics when he comes to learn what were 
their aims ; as also what an insufferable old creature this 
Keimer was. Silly as a BOOBY, yet vain as a JAY, and 
garrulous as a PIE, he could never rest but when in a stiff 
argument, and acting the orator, at which he looked on 
Cicero himself as but a boy to him. He was a fine target 
for Ben's SOCRATIC ARTILLERY, which he frequently played 
off on the old pomposo with great effect. By questions 
artfully put, he would obtain of him certain points, which 
Keimer readily granted, as seeing in them no sort of con 
nection with the matter in debate. But yet these points, 
when granted, like distant nets slyly hauling round a 
porpoise or sturgeon, would, by degrees, so completely 
circumvent the silly fish, that with all his flouncing and 
fury he could never extricate himself, but rather got more 
deeply entangled. Often caught in this way, he became 
at last so afraid of Ben's questions, that he would turn as 
mad when one of them was "poked at him" as a bull at 
sight of a scarlet cloak, and would not answer the simplest 
question without first asking, " Well, and what would you 
make of that ?" He came at length to form so exalted an 
opinion of Ben's talents for refutation, that he seriously 
proposed to him one day that they should turn out to 
gether and preach up a NEW EELIGION ! Keimer was to 
preach and make the converts, and Ben to answer and 
put to silence the gainsayers. He said a world of money 
might be made by it. 

On hearing the outlines of this new religion, Ben found 
great fault with it. This he did only that he might have 
another frolic with Keimer; but his frolics were praise 
worthy, for they all " leaned to virtue's side." The truth 



WEEMS] KEIMER'S NEW RELIGION. 239 

is, he saw that Keimer was prodigiously a hypocrite. At 
every whipstitch he could play the knave, and then for a 
pretence would read his Bible. But it was not the moral 
part of the Bible, the sweet precepts and parables of the 
Gospel, that he read. No. verily. Food so angelic was 
not at all to the tooth of his childish fancy, which de 
lighted in nothing but the novel and curious. Like too 
many of the saints nowadays, he would rather read about 
the WITCH OF ENDOR than the GOOD SAMARITAN, and hear a 
sermon on the brazen candlesticks than on the LOVE OF GOD. 
And then, O dear! who was Melchizedek? Or where 
was the land of Nod ? Or, was it in the shape of a serpent 
or a monkey that the devil tempted Eve ? As he was one 
day poring over the Pentateuch as busy after some nice 
game of this sort as a terrier on the track of a weasel, he 
came to that famous text where Moses says, " Thou shalt 
not mar the corners of thy beard" Ay ! this was the di 
vinity for Keimer. It struck him like a new light from 
the clouds : then, rolling his eyes as from an apparition, 
he exclaimed, "Miserable man that I am! and was I in 
deed forbidden to mar even the corners of my beard, and 
have I been all this time shaving myself as smooth as an 
eunuch ! Fire and brimstone, how have you been boiling 
up for me, and I knew it not ! Hell, deepest hell, is my 
portion, that's a clear case, unless I reform. And reform 
I will, if I live. Yes, my poor naked chin, if ever I but 
get another crop upon thee and I suffer it to be touched 
by the ungodly steel, then let my right hand forget hei 
cunning." 

From that day he became as shy of a razor as ever 
Samson was. His long black whiskers whistled in the 
wind. And then to see how he would stand up before his 
glass and stroke them down, it would have reminded you 
of some ancient Druid adjusting the sacred Mistletoe. 



240 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WEKMS 

Ben could not bear that sight ! Such shameless neglect 
of angel morality, and yet such fidgeting about a goatish 
beard ! " Heavens, sir," said he to Keimer, one day, in 
the midst of a hot argument, 

" Who can think, with common sense, 
A smooth-shaved face gives God offence ? 
Or that a whisker hath a charm, 
Eternal justice to disarm?" 

He even proposed to him to get shaved. Keimer swore 
outright that he would never lose his beard. A stiff 
altercation ensued. But Keimer getting angry, Ben 
agreed at last to give up the beard. He said that, " as 
the beard at best was but an external, a mere excrescence, 
he would not insist on that as so very essential. But 
certainly, sir," continued he, " there is one thing that is." 

Keimer wanted to know what that was. 

" Why, sir, 1 ' added Ben, " this turning out and preach 
ing up a NEW EELIGION is, without doubt, a very serious 
affair, and ought not to be undertaken too hastily. Much 
time, sir, in my opinion at least, should be spent in making 
preparation, in which fasting should certainly have a large 
share." 

Keimer, who was a great glutton, said he could never 
fast. 

Ben then insisted that if they were not to fast alto 
gether, they ought, at any rate, to abstain from animal 
food, and live as the saints of old did, on vegetables and 
water. 

Keimer shook his head, and said that if he were to live 
on vegetables and water he should soon die.. 

Ben assured him that it was entirely a mistake. He 
had tried it often, he said, and could testify from his own 
experience that he was never more healthy and cheerful 



WBEMS] KEIMER S NEW RELIGION 241 

than when he lived on vegetables alone. "Die from feed 
ing on vegetables, indeed ! "Why, sir, it contradicts reason, 
and contradicts all history, ancient and profane. There 
was Daniel, and his three young friends, Shadrach, Me- 
shach, and Abednego,. who fed on a vegetable diet, of 
choice ; did they languish and die of it ? Or rather did 
they not display a rouge of health and fire of genius far 
beyond those silly youths who crammed on all the luxu 
ries of the royal table? And that amiable Italian noble 
man, Lewis Cornaro, who says of bread, that it was such 
a dainty to his palate that he was almost afraid, at times, 
it was too good for him to eat ; did he languish and die 
of this simple fare ? On the contrary, did he not outlive 
three generations of gratified epicures, and, after all, go 
off in his second century, like a bird of Paradise, singing 
the praises of Temperance and Virtue ? And pray, sir," 
continued Ben, " where's the wonder of all this ? Must not 
the blood that is formed of vegetables be the purest in 
nature? And then, as the spirits depend on the blood, 
must not the spirits secreted from such blood be the 
purest too ? And when this is the case with the blood 
and spirits, which are the very life of the man, must not 
that man enjoy the best chance for such healthy secretions 
and circulations as are most conducive to long and happy 
life?" 

While Ben argued at this rate, Keimer regarded hint 
with a look which seemed to say, "Very true, sir; all 
this is very true ; but still I cannot go it." 

Ben, still unwilling to give up his point, thought he 
would make one more push at him. " What a pity it is," 
said he, with a sigh, "that the blessings of so sublime a 
religion should be all lost to the world, merely for lack of 
a little fortitude on the part of its propagators !" 

This was touching him on the right string; for Keimer 
in L q 21 



242 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WEEMS 

was a man of such vanity, that a little flattery would put 
him up to anything. So, after a few hems and hcCs, he 
said he believed he would, at any rate, make a trial of 
this new regimen. 

Having thus carried his point, Ben immediately engaged 
a poor old woman of the neighborhood to become their 
^ook, and gave her, oif-hand, written receipts for three- 
and-forty dishes, not one of which contained a single 
atom of fish, flesh, or fowl. For their first day's break 
fast on the new regimen, the old woman treated them with 
a tureen of oat-meal gruel. Keimer was particularly 
fond of his breakfast, at which a nice beef-steak with 
onion sauce was a standing dish. It was as good as a 
farce to Ben to see with what an eye Keimer regarded 
the tureen, when, entering the room, in place of his steak, 
hot, smoking, and savory, he beheld this pale, meagre- 
looking slop. 

"What have you got there?" said he, with a visage 
grum. and scowling eye. 

" A dish of hasty pudding," replied Ben, with the smile 
of an innocent youth who had a keen appetite, with 
something good to satisfy it, " a dish of nice hasty pud 
ding, sir, made of oats." 

" Of OATS !" retorted Keimer, with a voice raised to a 
scream. 

" Yes, sir, oafs," rejoined Ben ; " oats, that precious grain 
which gives such elegance and fire to our noblest of quad 
rupeds, the horse." 

Keimer growled out that he was no horse, to eat oats. 

'' No matter for that," replied Ben ; " 'tis equally good 
for men." 

Keimer denied that any human being ever eat oats. 

"Ay!" said Ben, "and pray what's become of the 
Scotch ? Don't they live on oats ? And yet where will 



WEEMS] KEIMER'S NEW RELIGION. 243 

you find a people so ' bonny, blithe, and gay,* a nation of 
such wits and warriors ?" 

As there was no answering this, Keimer sat down to 
the tureen, and swallowed a few spoonfuls, but not with 
out making as many wry faces as if it had been so much 
jalap; while Ben, all smile and chat, breakfasted most 
deliciously. 

At dinner, by Ben's order, the old woman paraded a 
trencher piled up with potatoes. Keimer's grumbling-fit 
came on him again. "He saw clear enough," he said, 
" that he was to be poisoned." 

" Poh ! cheer up, man," replied Ben ; " this is your right 
preacher's bread." 

" Bread the d 1 !" replied Keimer, snarling. 

"Yes, bread, sir," continued Ben, pleasantly, "the 
bread of life, sir ; for where do you find such health and 
spirits, such bloom and beauty, as among the honest- 
hearted IRISH? and yet for their breakfast, dinner, and 
supper the potato is their teetotum ; the first, second, and 
third course." 

In this way, Ben and his old woman went on with 
Keimer, daily ringing the changes on oat-meal gruel, 
roasted potatoes, boiled rice, and so on, through the whole 
family of roots and grains in all their various genders, 
moods, and tenses. 

Sometimes, like a restive mule, Keimer would kick up 
and show strong symptoms of flying the way. But then 
Ben would prick him up again with a touch of his ruling 
passion, vanity. " Only think, Mr. Keimer," he would 
say, " only think what has been done by the founders of 
new religions: how they have enlightened the ignorant, 
polished the rude, civilized the savage, and made heroes 
of those who were little better than brutes. Think, sir, 
what Moses did among the stiff-necked Jews; what Ma- 



244 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WEEM8 

hornet did among the wild Arahs; and what you may do 
among these gentle drab-coated Pennsylvanians." This, 
like a spur in the flank of a jaded horse, gave Keimer a 
new start, and pushed him on afresh to his gruel break 
fasts and potato dinners. Ben strove hard to keep him 
up to this gait. Often at table, and especially when he 
saw that Keimer was in good humor and fed kindly, he 
would give a loose to fancy, and paint the advantages of 
their new regimen in the most glowing colors. "Ay, sir," 
he would say, letting drop at the same time his spoon, as 
in an ecstasy of his subject, while his pudding on the plat 
ter cooled, " ay, sir, now we are beginning to live like men 
going a-preaching indeed. Let your epicures gormandize 
their fowl, fish, and flesh, with draughts of intoxicating 
liquors. Such gross, inflammatory food may suit the bru 
tal votaries of Mars and Yenus. But our views, sir, are 
different altogether; we are going to teach wisdom and 
benevolence to mankind. This is a heavenly work, sir, 
and our minds ought to be heavenly. Now, as the mind 
depends greatly on the body, and the body on the food, we 
should certainly select that which is of the most pure and 
refining quality. And this, sir, is exactly the food to our 
purpose. This mild potato, or this gentle pudding, is the 
thing to insure the light stomach, the cool liver, the clear 
head, and, above all, those celestial passions which become 
a preacher that would moralize the world. And these 
celestial passions, sir, let me add, though I don't pretend 
to be a prophet, these celestial passions, sir, were you but 
to stick to this diet, would soon shine out in your counte 
nance with such apostolic majesty and grace as would 
strike all beholders with reverence, and enable you to 
carry the world before you." 

Such was the style of Ben's rhetoric with old Keimer. 
But it could not all do. For though these harangues 



WEEMS] KEIMER S NEW RELIGION. 245 

would sometimes make him fancy himself as big as Zoro 
aster or Confucius, and talk as if he should soon have 
the whole country running after him, and worshipping 
him for the GREAT LAMA of the West, yet this divinity 
fit was too much against the grain to last long. Unfortu 
nately for poor Keimer, the kitchen lay between him and 
his bishopric : and both nature and habit had so wedded 
him to that swinish idol, that nothing could divorce him. 
So, after having been led by Ben a " very d I of a life," 
as he called it, "/or three months" his flesh-pot appetites 
prevailed, and he swore, " by his whiskers, he would suffer it 
no longer" Accordingly, he ordered a nice roast pig for 
dinner, and desired Ben to invite a young friend to dine 
with them. Ben did so ; but neither himself nor his 
young friend were anything the better for the pig. For, 
before they could arrive, the pig being done, and his ap 
petite beyond all restraint, Keimer had fallen on it and 
devoured the whole. And there he sat panting and tor 
pid as an ANACONDA who had just swallowed a young 
buffalo. But still his looks gave sign that the " Ministers 
of Grace" had not entirely deserted him, for at sight of 
Ben and his young friend he blushed up to the eyelids, 
and in a glow of scarlet, which showed that he paid dear 
for his whistle (gluttony), he apologized for disappointing 
them of their dinner. " Indeed, the smell of the pig," he 
said, " was so sweet, and the nicely-browned skin so invit 
ing, especially to him who had been long starved, that for 
the soul of him he could not resist the temptation to taste 
it; and then, O! if Lucifer himself had been at the door, 
he must have gone on, let what would have been the 
consequences." He said, too, " that for his part he was 
glad it was a pig and not a hog, for that he verily believed 
he should have bursted himself/' Then, leaning back in 
his chair and pressing his swollen abdomen with his 
in. 21* 



246 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WEEMS 

paws, he exclaimed, with an awkward laugh, " Well, I 
don't believe I was ever cut out for a bishop 1" Here 
ended the farce ; for Keimer never after this uttered 
another word about his NEW RELIGION. 

Ben used, laughing, to say that he drew Keimer into 
this scrape that he might enjoy the satisfaction of starving 
him out of his gluttony. And he did it also that he might 
save the more for books and candles : their vegetable regi 
men costing him, in all, rather less than three cents a 
day ! To those who can spend twenty times this sum on 
tobacco and whiskey alone, three cents per day must ap 
pear a scurvy allowance, and of course poor Ben must be 
sadly pitied. But such philosophers should remember 
that all depends on our loves, whose property it is to 
make bitter things sweet, and heavy things light. 

For example : to lie out in the darksome swamp with 
no other canopy but the sky, and no bed but the cold 
ground, and his only music the midnight owl or scream 
ing alligator, seems terrible to servile minds ; but it was 
joy to Marion, whose " whole soul" as General Lee well 
observes, " was devoted to liberty and country." 

So, to shut himself up in a dirty printing-office, with 
no dinner but a bit of bread, no supper but an apple, must, 
appear to every epicure, as it did to Keimer, " a mere d I 
of a life ;" but it was joy to Ben, whose whole soul waa 
on his books, as the sacred lamps that were to guide him 
to usefulness and glory. 

Happy he who early strikes into the path of wisdom, 
and bravely walks therein till habit sprinkles it with 
roses. He shall be led as a lamb among the green pas 
tures along the watercourses of pleasure, nor shall he 
ever experience the pang of those 

" Who see the right, and approve it too ; 
Condemn the wrong and yet the wrong pursue." 



DENNIE] JACK AND GILL. 247 

JACK AND GILL: A CRITICISM. 

JOSEPH DENNIE. 

[Joseph Dennie, the author of the " Lay Preacher," and editor of 
"The Portfolio," a periodical not surpassed in literary merit by any 
similar contemporaneous publication, exercised, in his period, a most 
beneficial influence on American literature. His own writings are 
full of gayety and show excellent powers. The serio-comic specimen 
of criticism we give is a good example. Mr. Dennie was born in 
Boston in 1768, was educated at Harvard, read law after his gradua 
tion, and began practice at "Walpole, New Hampshire. In 1799 he 
removed to Philadelphia, and there began in 1800 the publication of 
"The Portfolio." For five years it was a quarto weekly, and then 
became an octavo monthly, which it remained until it ceased to be 
issued in 1827. Mr. Dennie died in Philadelphia in 1812.] 

AMONG critical writers, it is a common remark that the 
fashion of the times has often given a temporary reputa 
tion to performances of very little merit, and neglected 
those much more deserving of applause. I therefore 
rejoice that it has fallen to my lot to rescue from neglect 
this inimitable poem ; for, whatever may be my diffidence, 
as I shall pursue the manner of the most eminent critics, 
it is scarcely possible to err. The fastidious reader will 
doubtless smile when he is informed that the work, thus 
highly praised, is a poem consisting only of four lines ; 
but as there is no reason why a poet should be restricted 
in his number of verses, as it would be a very sad misfor 
tune if every rhymer were obliged to write a long as 
well as a bad poem, and more particularly as these verses 
contain more beauties than we often find in a poem of four 
thousand, all objections to its brevity should cease. I 
must at the same time acknowledge that at first I doubted 
in what class of poetry it should be arranged. Its ex 
treme shortness and its uncommon metre seemed to de- 



248 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

grade it into a ballad; but its interesting subject, its unity 
of plan, and, above all, its having a beginning, a middle, 
and an end, decide its claim to the epic rank. I shall 
now proceed, with the candor, though not with the acute- 
ness, of a good critic, to analyze and display its various 
excellencies. 

The opening of the poem is Singularly beautiful : 

Jack and Gill. 

The first duty of the poet is to introduce his subject ; and 
there is no part of poetry more difficult. We are told by 
the great critic of antiquity that we should avoid begin 
ning "ab ovo" but go into the business at once. Here our 
author is very happy; for, instead of telling us, as an 
ordinary writer would have done, who were the ancestors 
of Jack and Gill, that the grandfather of Jack was a re 
spectable farmer, that his mother kept a tavern at the 
sign of the Blue Bear, and that Gill's father was a justice 
of the peace (once of the quorum*), together with a cata 
logue of uncles and aunts, he introduces them to us at 
once in their proper persons. 

The choice, too, of names is not unworthy of considera 
tion. It would doubtless have contributed to the splendor 
of the poem to have endowed the heroes with long and 
sounding titles, which, by dazzling the eyes of the reader, 
might prevent an examination of the work itself. These 
adventitious ornaments are justly disregarded by our 
author, who, by giving us plain Jack and Gill, has dis 
dained to rely on extrinsic support. In the very choice 
of appellations he is, however, judicious. Had he, for in 
stance, called the first character John, he might have given 
him more dignity ; but he would not so well harmonize 
with his -neighbor, to whom, in the course of the work, it 
will appear he must necessarily bo joined. 



DENNIE] JACK AND GILL. 249 

The personages being now seen, their situation is next 
to be discovered. Of this we are immediately informed 
in the subsequent line, when we are told 

Jack and Gill 
Went up a hill. 

Here the imagery is distinct, yet the description concise. 
We instantly figure to ourselves the two persons travelling 
up an ascent, which we may accommodate to our own 
ideas of declivity, barrenness, rockiness, sandiness, etc., 
all which, as they exercise the imagination, are beauties 
of a high order. The reader will pardon my presumption, 
if I here attempt to broach a new principle, which no 
critic with whom I am acquainted has ever mentioned. 
It is this, that poetic beauties may be divided into negative 
and positive, the former consisting of mere absence of fault, 
the latter in the presence of excellence ; the first of an 
inferior order, but requiring considerable critical acumen 
to discover them, the latter of a higher rank, but obvious 
to the meanest capacity. To apply the principle in this 
case, the poet meant to inform us that two persons were 
going up a hill. ]STow, the act of going up a hill although 
Locke would pronounce it a very complex idea, compre 
hending person, rising ground, trees, etc., etc. is an opera 
tion so simple as to need no description. Had the poet, 
therefore, told us how the two heroes went up, whether 
in a cart or a wagon, and entered into the thousand par 
ticulars which the subject involves, they would have been 
tedious, because superfluous. The omission of these little 
incidents, and telling us simply that they went up the hill, 
no matter how, is a very high negative beauty. 

Having ascertained the names and conditions of the 
parties, the reader becomes naturally inquisitive into th*ir 
employment, and wishes to know whether their occupation 



250 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS, 

is worthy of them. This laudable curiosity is abundantly 
gratified in the succeeding lines ; for 

Jack and Gill 
"Went up a hill, 
To fetch a bucket of water. 

Here we behold the plan gradually unfolding, a new scene 
opens to our view, and the description is exceedingly 
beautiful. We now discover their object, which we were 
before left to conjecture. We see the two friends, like 
Pylades and Orestes, assisting and cheering each other 
in their labors, gayly ascending the hill, eager to arrive at 
the summit, and to fill their bucket. Here, too, is a new 
elegance. Our acute author could not but observe the 
necessity of machinery, which has been so much com 
mended by critics, and admired by readers. Instead, how 
ever, of introducing a host of gods and goddesses, who 
might have only impeded the journey of his heroes, by 
the intervention of the bucket, which is, as it ought to 
be, simple and conducive to the progress of the poem, 
he has considerably improved on the ancient plan. In 
the management of it, also, he has shown much judgment, 
by making the influence of the machinery and the subject 
reciprocal ; for while the utensil carries on the heroes, it 
is itself carried on by them. 

It has been objected (for every Homer has his Zoilus) 
that their employment is not sufficiently dignified for epic 
poetry; but, in answer to this, it must be remarked that 
it was the opinion of Socrates, and many other philoso 
phers, that beauty should be estimated by utility; and 
surely the purpose of the heroes must have been beneficial. 
They ascended the rugged mountain to draw water ; and 
drawing water is certainly more conducive to human hap 
piness than drawing blood, as do the boasted heroes of the 



DENNIE] JACK AND GILL. 251 

Iliad, or roving on the ocean and invading other men's 
property, as did the pious ^Eneas. Yes! they went to 
draw water. Interesting scene ! It might have been 
drawn for the purpose of culinary consumption ; it might 
have been to quench the thirst of the harmless animals 
who relied on them for support; it might have been to 
feed a sterile soil, and to revive the drooping plants which 
they raised by their labors. Is not our author more judi 
cious than Apollonius, who chooses for the heroes of his 
Argonautics a set of rascals undertaking to steal a sheep 
skin ? And, if dignity is to be considered, is not drawing 
water a circumstance highly characteristic of antiquity ? 
Do we not find the amiable Eebecca busy at the well? 
Does not one of the maidens in the Odyssey delight us by 
her diligence in the same situation ? and has not a learned 
Dean proved that it was quite fashionable in Peloponnesus? 
Let there be an end to such frivolous remarks. 

But the descriptive part is now finished, and the author 
hastens to the catastrophe. At what part of the mountain 
the well was situated, what was the reason of the sad mis 
fortune, or how the prudence of Jack forsook him, we are 
not informed ; but so, alas ! it happened, 

Jack fell down 

Unfortunate John ! At the moment when he was nimbly, 
for aught we know, going up the hill, perhaps at the 
moment when his toils were to cease, and he had filled the 
bucket, he made an unfortunate step, his centre of gravity, 
as the philosophers would say, fell beyond his base, and he 
tumbled. The extent of his fall does not, however, appear 
until the next line, as the author feared to overwhelm us 
by too immediate a disclosure of his whole misfortune. 
Buoyed by hope, we suppose his affliction not quite reme 
diless, that his fall is an accident to which the wayfarers 



252 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

of this life are daily liable, and we anticipate his immedi 
ate rise to resume his labors. But how are we undeceived 
by the heart-rending tale that 

Jack fell down 

And broke his crown 

Nothing now remains but to deplore the premature fate 
of the unhappy John. The mention of the crown has much 
perplexed the commentators. But my learned reader will 
doubtless agree with me in conjecturing that, as the crown 
is often used metaphorically for the head, and as that part 
is, or, without any disparagement to the unfortunate suf 
ferer, might have been, the heaviest, it was really his peri 
cranium which sustained the damage. Having seen the 
fate of Jack, we are anxious to know the lot of his com 
panion. Alas ! 

And Gill came tumbling after. 

Here the distress thickens on us. Unable to support the 
loss of his friend, he followed him. determined to share his 
disaster, and resolved that, as they had gone up together, 
they should not be separated as they came down. 

Of the bucket we are told nothing ; but, as it is prob 
able that it fell with its supporters, we have a scene of 
misery unequalled in the whole compass of tragic descrip 
tion. Imagine to ourselves Jack rapidly descending, per 
haps rolling over and over down the mountain, the bucket, 
as the lighter, moving along, and pouring forth (if it had 
been filled) its liquid stream, Gill following in confusion, 
with a quick and circular and headlong motion ; add to 
this the dust, which they might have collected and dis 
persed, with the blood which must have flowed from 
John's head, and we will witness a catastrophe highly 
shocking, and feel an irresistible impulse to run for a doc 
tor. The sound, too, charmingly " echoes to the sense," 



PERRY] AFTER THE BALL. 253 

Jack fell down 
And broke his crown, 
And Gill came tumbling after. 

The quick succession of movements is indicated by an 
equally rapid motion of the short syllables ; and in the 
last line Gill rolls with a greater sprightliness and vivacity 
than even the stone of Sisyphus. 

Having expatiated so largely on its particular merits, 
let us conclude by a brief review of its most prominent 
beauties. The subject is the fall of men, a subject high, 
interesting, worthy of a poet ; the heroes, men who do not 
commit a single fault, and whose misfortunes are to be 
imputed, not to indiscretion, but to destiny. To the illus 
tration of the subject every part of the poem conduces. 
Attention is neither wearied by multiplicity of trivial 
incidents, nor distracted by frequency of digression. The 
poet prudently clipped the wings of imagination, and 
repressed the extravagance of metaphorical decoration. 
All is simple, plain, consistent. The moral, too, that 
part without which poetry is useless sound, has not 
escaped the view of the poet. When we behold two 
young men, who but a short moment before stood up 
in all the pride of health, suddenly falling down a hill, 
how must we lament the instability of all things ! 



AFTER THE BALL. 

NORA PERRY. 

[Most of our poets of any eminence have produced some one poem 
that has become specially popular, often alone representing the poet to 
the great majority of readers. This is the case with Nora Perry's 
' After the Ball," which has been quoted and requoted, yet whose 

ITT. 22 



254 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PERRY 

interest has never grown stale to the lovers of genuine poetry. The 
author is a graceful and musical writer, and deservedly popular. Her 
works are " After the Ball, and Other Poems," " Her Lover's Friend, 
and Other Poems," "The Tragedy of the Unexpected, and Other 
Stories," etc.] 

THEY sat and combed their beautiful hair, 

Their long, bright tresses, one by one, 
As they laughed and talked in the chamber there, 
After the revel was done. 

Idly they talked of waltz and quadrille, 

Idly they laughed, like other girls, 
Who over the fire, when all is still, 

Comb out their braids and curls. 

Robes of satin and Brussels lace, 

Knots of flowers and ribbons, too, 
Scattered about in every place, 

For the revel is through. 

And Maud and Madge in robes of white, 

The prettiest night-gowns under the sun, 
Stockingless, slipperless, sit in the night, 
For the revel is done, 

Sit and comb their beautiful hair, 

Those wonderful waves of brown and gold, 
Till the fire is out in the chamber there, 

And the little bare feet are cold. 

Then out of the gathering winter chill, 

All out of the bitter Saint Agnes weather, 
While the fire is out and the house is still, 
Maud and Madge together, 



PERKY] AFTER THE BALL. 255 

Maud and Madge in robes of white, 

The prettiest night-gowns under the sun, 
Curtained away from the chilly night, 
After the revel is done, 

Float along in a splendid dream, 

To a golden gittern's tinkling tune, 
While a thousand lustres shimmering stream, 
In a palace's grand saloon. 

Flashing of jewels, and flutter of laces, 

Tropical odors sweeter than musk, 
Men and women with beautiful faces 

And eyes of tropical dusk, 

And one face shining out like a star, 

One face haunting the dreams of each, 
And one voice, sweeter than others are, 
Breaking into silvery speech, 

Telling, through lips of bearded bloom, 

An old, old story over again, 
As down the royal bannered room, 

To the golden gittern's strain, 

Two and two, they dreamily walk, 

While an unseen spirit walks beside, 
And, all unheard in the lovers' talk, 

He claimeth one for a bride. 

Oh, Maud and Madge, dream on together, 

With never a pang of jealous fear ! 
For, ere the bitter Saint Agnes weather 
Shall whiten another year, 



256 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

Eobed for the bridal, and robed for the tomb, 

Braided brown hair, and golden tress, 
There'll be only one of you left for the bloom 
Of the bearded lips to press, 

Only one for the bridal pearls, 

The robe of satin and Brussels lace, 
Only one to blush through her curls 

At the sight of a lover's face. 

Oh, beautiful Madge, in your bridal white, 

For you the revel has just begun ; 
But for her who sleeps in your arms to-night 
The revel of life is done ! 

But robed and crowned with your saintly bliss, 

Queen of heaven and bride of the sun, 
Oh, beautiful Maud, you'll never miss 

The kisses another hath won ! 



ORATION ON THE DEATH OF WASHINGTON. 

HENRY LEE. 

[We give a portion of this celebrated oration, one sentence of which 
will live in the memory of the American people while the name of 
Washington is remembered, namely, that George Washington was 
" first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his country 
men." The name of Lee is one which occupies a prominent position 
in the political genealogy of America. Henry Lee, the " Light-Horse 
Harry" of the Eevolutionary war, was a prominent cavalry officer on 



LEE] ORATION ON THE DEATH OF WASHINGTON. 257 

the side of the republic, born in Virginia in 1756. He was selected by 
Congress in 1799 to pronounce a eulogy on Washington. He died in 
Georgia in 1818. One of his sons was General Kobert E. Lee, the 
Confederate leader in the civil war.] 

How, my fellow-citizens, shall I single to your grateful 
hearts his pre-eminent worth? Where shall I begin in 
opening to your view a 'character throughout sublime? 
Shall I speak of his warlike achievements, all springing 
from obedience to his country's will, all directed to his 
country's good ? 

Will you go with me to the banks of the Monongahela, 
to see our youthful Washington supporting in the dismal 
hour of Indian victory the ill-fated Braddock, and saving, 
by his judgment and his valor, the remains of a defeated 
army, pressed by the conquering savage foe? Or when, 
oppressed America nobly resolving to risk her all in de 
fence of her violated right, he was elevated by the unani 
mous vote of Congress to the command of her armies? 
Will you follow him to the high grounds of Boston, where 
to an undisciplined, courageous, and virtuous yeomanry 
his presence gave the stability of system and infused the 
invincibility of love of country? Or shall I carry you to 
the painful scenes of Long Island, York Island, and 'New 
Jersey, when, combating superior and gallant armies, aided 
by powerful fleets and led by chiefs high in the roll of fame, 
he stood the bulwark of our safety, undismayed by disas- 
1ers, unchanged by change of fortune? Or will you view 
him in the precarious fields of Trenton, where deep gloom, 
unnerving every arm, reigned triumphant through our 
thinned, worn-down, unaided ranks, himself unknown? 
Dreadful was the night. It was about this time of win 
ter; the storm raged; the Delaware, rolling furiously 
with floating ice, forbade the approach of man. Wash 
ington, self-collected, viewed the tremendous scene. His 
in. r 22* 



258 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LEE 

country called ; unappalled by surrounding dangers, he 
passed to the hostile shore ; he fought, he conquered. 
The morning sun cheered the American world. Our 
country rose on the event, and her dauntless chief, pur 
suing his blow, completed in the lawns of Princeton 
what his vast soul had conceived on the shores of .the 
Delaware. 

Thence to the strong grounds of Morristown he led his 
small but gallant band ; and through an eventful winter, 
by the high effort of his genius, whose matchless force 
was measurable only by the growth of difficulties, he held 
in check formidable hostile legions, conducted by a chief 
experienced in the arts of war, and famed for his valor on 
the ever-memorable Heights of Abraham, where fell Wolfe, 
Montcalm, and since our much-lamented Montgomery, all 
covered with glory. In this fortunate interval, produced 
by his masterly conduct, our fathers, ourselves, animated by 
his resistless example, rallied around our country's stand 
ard, and continued to follow her beloved chief through the 
various and trying scenes to which the destinies of our 
union led. 

Who is there that has forgotten the vales of Brandy- 
wine, the fields of Germantown, or the plains of Mon- 
mouth ? Everywhere present, wants of every kind ob 
structing, numerous and valiant armies encountering, 
himself a host, he assuaged our sufferings, limited our 
privations, and upheld our tottering Eepublic. Shall I 
display to you the spread of the fire of his soul, by re 
hearsing the praises of the hero of Saratoga and his 
much-loved compeer of the Carolinas? No; our Wash 
ington wears not borrowed glory. To Gates, to Greene, 
he gave without reserve the applause due to their eminent 
merit ; and long may the chiefs of Saratoga and of Eutaw 
receive the grateful respect of a grateful people. 



LEE] ORATION ON THE DEATH OF WASHINGTON. 2", 9 

Moving in his own orbit, he imparted heat and light to 
his most distant satellites; and, combining the physical 
and moral force of all within his sphere, with irresistible 
weight, he took his course, commiserating folly, disdaining 
vice, dismaying treason, and invigorating despondency; 
until the auspicious hour arrived when, united with the 
intrepid forces of a potent and magnanimous ally, he 
brought to submission the since conqueror of India ; thus 
finishing his long career of military glory with a lustre 
corresponding to his great name, and in this, his last act 
of war, affixing the seal of fate to our nation's birth. 
********* 

First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of hib 
countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and 
endearing scenes of private life. Pious, just, humane, 
temperate, and sincere, uniform, dignified, and command 
ing, his example was edifying to all around him, as were 
the effects of that example lasting. 

To his equals he was condescending; to his inferiors, 
kind ; and to the dear object of his affections, exempla- 
rily tender. Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his 
presence, and virtue always felt his fostering hand ; the 
purity of his private character gave effulgence to his 
public virtues. 

His last scene comported with the whole tenor of his 
life. Although in extreme pain, not a sigh, not a groan, 
escaped him ; and with undisturbed serenity he closed his 
well-spent life. Such was the man America has lost! 
Such was the man for whom our nation mourns ! 



260 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CHANGING 

RELIGION IN ITS RELATIONS TO LITERATURE. 

W. E. CHANNING. 

[William Ellery Charming, the author of our present selection, was 
born in Ehode Island in 1780, and died in Massachusetts in October, 
1842. Devoted from an early age to religious studies, he quickly 
assumed the position of the most eloquent of Unitarian ministers, and 
one of the most elegant and forcible writers of that early period of 
American literature. Channing, while one of the first, was one of the 
most ardent, of our reformers, and his eloquent appeals against slavery, 
war, intemperance, and other evils of society rank with the finest and 
most influential contributions to the literature of human progress. His 
paper on the " Life and Character of Napoleon Bonaparte" spread his 
reputation throughout the civilized world. Others of his works were 
" Self-Culture," "Elevation of the Laboring Classes," and "Evi 
dences of Christianity." The latter is a work of the very highest 
merit, and perhaps the most admirable contribution to the subject in 
the English language. Channing's life was as pure in tone, and as 
admirable in its high standard of morality, as his writings. We give 
a short extract from his essay on Fenelon, in which are beautifully 
shown the true relations of literature to religion.] 

THE truth is, that religion, justly viewed, surpasses all 
other principles in giving a free and manifold action to 
the mind. It recognizes in every faculty and sentiment 
the workmanship of God, and assigns a sphere of agency 
to each. It takes our whole nature under its guardian 
ship, and with a parental love ministers to its inferior as 
well as higher gratifications. False religion mutilates tho 
soul, sees evil in our innocent sensibilities, and rules with a 
tyrant's frown and rod. True religion is a mild and law 
ful sovereign, governing to protect, to give strength, to un 
fold all our inward resources. We believe that, under its 
influence, literature is to pass its present limits, and to 
put itself forth in original forms of composition. Eeligion 



CHANNING] RELIGION AND LITERATURE. 261 

is of all principles most fruitful, multiform, and unconfined. 
It is sympathy with -that Being who seems to delight in 
diversifying the modes of his agency and the products of 
his wisdom and power. It does not chain us to a few 
essential duties, or express itself in a few unchanging 
modes of writing. It has the liberality and munificence 
of nature, which not only produces the necessary root 
and grain, hut pours forth fruits and flowers. It has the 
variety and bold contrasts of nature, which at the foot of 
the awful mountain scoops out the freshest, sweetest val 
leys, and embosoms, in the wild, troubled ocean, islands 
whose vernal airs and loveliness and teeming fruitfulness 
almost breathe the joys of Paradise. Religion will ac 
complish for literature what it most needs ; that is, will 
give it depth, at the same time that it heightens its grace 
and beauty. The union of these attributes is most to be 
desired. Our literature is lamentably superficial, and to 
some the beautiful and the superficial even seem to be 
naturally conjoined. Let not beauty be so wronged. It 
resides chiefly in profound thoughts and feelings. It 
overflows chiefly in the writings of poets, gifted with a 
sublime and piercing vision. A beautiful literature springs 
from the depth and fulness of intellectual and moral life, 
from an energy of thought and feeling, to which nothing, 
as we believe, ministers so largely as enlightened religion. 
So far frpm a monotonous solemnity overspreading lit 
erature in consequence of the all-pervading influence of 
religion, we believe that the sportive and comic forms of 
composition, instead of being abandoned, will only be re 
fined and improved. We know that these are supposed to 
be frowned upon by piety; but they have their root in the 
constitution which God has given us, and ought not there 
fore to be indiscriminately condemned. The propensity 
to wit and laughter does indeed, through excessive indul- 



262 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

gence, often issue in a character of heartless levity, low 
mimicry, or unfeeling ridicule. It often seeks gratification 
in regions of impurity, throws a gayety round vice, and 
sometimes even pours contempt on virtue. But, though 
often and mournfully perverted, it is still a gift of God, 
and may and ought to minister, not only to innocent 
pleasure, but to the intellect and the heart. Man was 
made for relaxation as truly as for labor ; and, by a law 
of his nature which has not received the attention it de 
serves, he finds perhaps no relaxation so restorative as 
that in which he reverts to his childhood, seems to forget 
his wisdom, leaves the imagination to exhilarate itself by 
sportive inventions, talks of amusing incongruities in con 
duct and events, smiles at the innocent eccentricities and 
odd mistakes of those whom he most esteems, allows him 
self to indulge in arch allusions or kind-hearted satire, and 
transports himself into a world of ludicrous combinations. 
We have said that on these occasions the mind seems to 
put off its wisdom ; but the truth is that, in a pure mind, 
wisdom retreats, if we may so say, to its centre, and there, 
unseen, keeps guard over this transient folly, draws deli 
cate lines which are never to be passed in the freest 
moments, and, like a judicious parent watching the sports 
of childhood, preserves a stainless innocence of soul in the 
very exuberance of gayety. This combination of moral 
power with wit and humor, with comic conceptions and 
irrepressible laughter, this union of mirth and virtue, be 
longs to an advanced stage of the character; and we believe 
that in proportion to the diffusion of an enlightened re 
ligion this action of the mind will increase, and will over 
flow in compositions which, joining innocence to sportive- 
ness, will communicate unmixed delight. Eeligion is not 
at variance with occasional mirth. In the same charac 
ter, the solemn thoughts and the sublime emotions of the 



CHAINING] RELIGION AND LITERATURE. 263 

improved Christian may be joined with the unanxious 
freedom, buoyancy, and gayety of early years. 

We will add but one more illustration of our views. We 
believe that the union of religion with genius will favor 
that species of composition to which it may seem at first 
to be least propitious. We refer to that department of 
literature which has for its object the delineation of the 
stronger and more terrible and guilty passions. Strange 
as it may appear, these gloomy and appalling features 
of our nature may be best comprehended and portrayed 
by the purest and noblest minds. The common idea is 
that overwhelming emotions, the more they are experi 
enced, can the more effectually be described. We have 
one strong presumption against this doctrine. Tradition 
leads us to believe that Shakespeare, though he painted 
so faithfully and fearfully the storms of passion, was a 
calm and cheerful man. The passions are too much en 
grossed by their objects to meditate on themselves; and 
none are more ignorant of their growth and subtle work 
ings than their own victims. Nothing reveals to us the 
secrets of our own souls like religion, and in disclosing to 
us, in ourselves, the tendency of passion to afford every 
energy and to spread its hues over every thought, it gives 
us a key to all souls ; for, in all, human nature is essen 
tially one, having the same spiritual elements and the 
same grand features. No man, it is believed, understands 
the wild and irregular emotions of the mind like him in 
whom a principle of divine order has begun to establish 
peace. No man knows the horror of thick darkness which 
gathers over the slaves of vehement passion like him who 
is rising into the light and liberty of virtue. There is 
indeed a selfish shrewdness, which is thought to give a 
peculiar and deep insight into human nature. But the 
knowledge of which it boasts is partial, distorted, and vul- 



264 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

gar, and wholly unfit for the purposes of literature. We 
value it little. We believe that no qualification avails so 
much to a knowledge of human nature in all its forms, in 
its good and evil manifestations, as that enlightened, celes 
tial charity which religion alone inspires; for this estab 
lishes sympathies between us and all men, and thus makes 
them intelligible to us. A man imbued with this spirit 
alone contemplates vice as it really exists and as it ought 
always to be described. In the most depraved fellow- 
beings he sees partakers of his own nature. Amidst the 
terrible ravages of the passions he sees conscience, though 
prostrate, not destroyed, nor wholly powerless. He sees 
the proofs of an unextinguished moral life, in inward 
struggles, in occasional relen tings, in sigh ings for lost 
innocence, in reviving throbs of early affections, in the 
sophistry by which the guilty mind would become recon 
ciled to itself, in remorse, in anxious forebodings, in de 
spair, perhaps in studied recklessness and cherished self- 
forgetfulness. These conflicts between the passions and 
the moral nature are the most interesting subjects in the 
branch of literature to which we refer, and we believe that 
to portray t.hem with truth and power the man of genius 
can find in nothing such effectual aid as in the develop 
ment of the moral and religious principles in his own 
breast. 



SUNDAY MORNING IN WALLENCAMP. 

SALLIE PRATT McLEAN. 

[The selection given below is from "Cape Cod Folks," a worK 
marked by a fine power of humorous characterization. Grandpa and 
Grandma Keeler, in particular, are richly drawn, and we have chosen 
a scene in which these veterans are strongly brought out. The work 



MCLEAN] SUNDAY MORNING IN WALLENCAMP. 265 

created considerable sensation when first published, it being declared 
that not only were actual Cape Cod characters introduced, but that 
real names were in some cases employed. There was even talk of 
prosecution of the author for libel. This author was Sallie Pratt 
McLean, a native of Connecticut, where she was born in 1855.] 

SUNDAY morning nothing arose in Wallencamp save the 
sun. 

At least, that celestial orb had long forgotten all the 
roseate flaming of his youth, in an honest, straightfor 
ward march through the heavens, ere the first signs of 
smoke came curling lazily up from the Wallencamp 
chimneys. 

I had retired at night, very weary, with the delicious 
consciousness that it wouldn't make any difference when 
I woke up the next morning, or whether, indeed, I woke 
at all. So I opened my eyes leisurely and lay half dream 
ing, half meditating on a variety of things. 

I deciphered a few of the texts on the scriptural patch 
work quilt which covered my couch. There were " Let 
not your heart be troubled," " Remember Lot's wife," and 
"Philander Keeler," traced in inky hieroglyphics, all in 
close conjunction. 

Finally, I reached out for my watch, and, having ascer 
tained the time of day, I got up and proceeded to dress 
hastily enough, wondering to hear no signs of life in the 
house. 

I went noiselessly down the stairs. All was silent 
below, except for the peaceful snoring of Mrs. Philander 
and the little Keelers, which was responded to from some 
remote western corner of the Ark by the triumphant 
snores of Grandma and Grandpa Keeler. 

I attempted to kindle a fire in the stove, but it sizzled 
a little while, spitefully, as much as to say, ''What! Sun 
day morning? Not I !" and went out. So I concluded 
in. M 23 



266 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

to put on some wraps and go out and warm myself in the 
sun. 

I climbed the long hill back of the Ark, descended, and 
walked along the bank of the river. It was a beautiful 
morning. The air was everything that could be desired 
in the way of air, but I felt a desperate need of something 
more substantial. 

Standing alone with nature, on the bank of the lovely 
river, I thought, with tears in my eyes, of the delicious 
breakfast already recuperating the exhausted energies of 
my far-away home friends. 

When I got back to the house, Mrs. Philander, in simple 
and unaffected attire, was bustling busily about the stove. 

The snores from Grandma and Grandpa's quarter had 
ceased, signifying that they, also, had advanced a stage in 
the grand processes of Sunday morning. 

The children came teasing me to dress them, so I fast 
ened for them a variety of small articles which I flattered 
myself on having combined in a very ingenious and artis 
tic manner, though I believe those infant Keelers went 
weeping to Grandma afterwards, and were remodelled by 
her all-comforting hand with much skill and patience. 

In the midst of her preparations for breakfast, Madeline 
abruptly assumed her hat and shawl, and was seen from 
the window walking leisurely across the fields in the di 
rection of the woods. She returned in due time, bearing 
an armful of fresh evergreens, which she twisted around 
the family register. 

When the ancient couple made their appearance, I 
remarked silently, in regard to Grandma Keeler's hair, 
what proved afterward to be its usual holiday-morning 
arrangement. It was confined in six infinitesimal braids 
which appeared to be sprouting out, perpendicularly, in 
all directions from her head. The effect of redundancy 



MCLEAN] SUNDAY MORNING IN WALLENCAMP. 267 

and expansiveness thus heightened and increased on 
Grandma's features was striking in the extreme. 

While we were eating breakfast, that good soul observed 
to Grandpa Keeler, " Wall, pa, I suppose you'll be all 
ready when the time comes to take teacher and me over 
to West Wallen to Sunday-school, won't ye ?" 

Grandpa coughed, and coughed again, and raised his 
eyes helplessly to the window. 

"Looks some like showers," said he. " A-hem ! a-hem! 
Looks mightily to me like showers, over yonder." 

u Thar, r'aly, husband ! I must say I feel mortified 
for ye," said Grandma. " Seein' as you're a perfessor, too, 
and thar ain't been a single Sunday mornin' since I've lived 
with ye, pa, summer or winter, but what you've seen 
showers, and it r'aly seems to me it's dreadful inconsist 
ent, when thar ain't no cloud in the sky, and don't look 
no more like rain than I do." And Grandma's face, in 
spite of her reproachful tones, was, above all, blandly 
sunlike and expressive of anything rather than deluge 
and watery disaster. 

Grandpa was silent a little while, then coughed again. 
I had never seen Grandpa in worse straits. 

" A-hem ! a-hem ! l Fanny' seems to be a little lame 
this mornin'," said he. " I shouldn't wonder. She's been 
goin' pretty stiddy this week." 

"It does beat all, pa," continued Grandma Keeler, 
"how't all the horses you've ever had since I've known 
ye have always been took lame Sunday mornin'. Thar 
was 'Happy Jack,' he could go anywhers through the 
week, and never limp a step, as nobody could see, and 
Sunday mornin' he was always took lame ! And thar 
was ' Tantrum'- " 

" Tantrum" was the horse that had run away with 
Grandma when she was thrown from the wagon and gen- 



268 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [McLEAN 

erally smashed to pieces. And now Grandma branched 
off into the thrilling reminiscences connected with this 
incident of her life, which was the third time during the 
week that the horrible tale had been repeated for my 
delectation. 

When she had finished, Grandpa shook his head with 
painful earnestness, reverting to the former subject of 
discussion. 

" It's a long jaunt !" said he ; "a long jaunt I" 

"Thar's a long hill to climb before we reach Zion's 
mount," said Grandma Keeler, impressively. 

"Wall, there's a darned sight harder one on the road to 
West Wallen !" burst out the old sea-captain, desperately; 
" say nothin' about the devilish stones !" 

" Thar, now," said Grandma, with calm though awful 
reproof, " I think we've gone fur enough for one day ; 
we've broke the Sabbath, and took the name of the Lord 
in vain, and that ought to be enough for perfessors." 

Grandpa replied at length, in a greatly-subdued tone, 
" Wall, if-you and the teacher want to go over to Sunday- 
school to-day, I suppose we can go if we get ready," a 
long, submissive sigh, " I suppose we can." 

" They have preachin' service in the mornin', I suppose," 
said Grandma. "But we don't generally git along to that. 
It makes such an early start. We generally try to git 
around, when we go, in time for Sunday-school. They 
have singin' and all. It's just about as interesting I think, 
as preachin'. The old man r'aly likes it," she observed 
aside to me, "when he once gits started, but he kind o' 
dreads the gittin' started." 

When I beheld the ordeal through which Grandpa Keeler 
was called to pass, at. the hands of his faithful consort, 
before he was considered in a fit condition of mind and 
body to embark for the sanctuary, I marvelled not at the 



MCLEAN] SUNDAY MORNING IN WALLENCAMP. 260 

old man's reluctance, nor that he had indeed seen clouds 
and tempest fringing the horizon. 

Immediately after breakfast, he set out for the barn, 
ostensibly to "see to the chores;" really, I believe, to 
obtain a few moments' respite before worse evil should 
^ome upon him. 

Pretty soon Grandma was at the back door, calling, in 
firm though persuasive tones, 

"Husband! husband! Come in, now, and get ready!" 

No answer. Then it was in another key, weighty, yet 
expressive of no weak irritation, that Grandma called, 
" Come, pa ! pa-a ! pa-a-a !" Still no answer. 

Then that voice of Grandma's sung out like a trumpet, 
terrible with meaning, " Bijonah Keeler!" 

But Grandpa appeared not. Next, I saw Grandma 
slowly but surely gravitating in the direction of. the barn, 
and soon she returned, bringing with her that ancient 
delinquent, who looked like a lost sheep indeed and a truly 
unreconciled one. 

" Now the first thing," said Grandma, looking her for 
lorn captive over, " is boots. Go and get on yer meetin' 
gaiters, pa." 

The old gentleman, having invested himself with those 
sacred relics, came pathetically limping into the room. 

" I declare, ma," said he, " somehow these things 
phew ! Somehow they pinch my feet dreadfully. . I don't 
know what it is, phew ! They're dreadful oncomf 'table 
things, somehow." 

" Since I've known ye, pa," solemnly ejaculated Grandma 
Keeler, "you've never had a pair o' meetin' boots that set 
easy on yer feet. You'd ought to get boots big enough 
for ye, pa," she continued, looking down disapprovingly 
on the old gentleman's pedal extremities, which resembled 
two small scows at anchor in black cloth encasements, 
in. 23* 



270 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [McLEAN 

"and not be so proud as to go to pinchin' yer feet into 
gaiters a number o' sizes too small for ye." 

" They're number tens, I tell ye !" roared Grandpa, 
nettled outrageously by this cutting taunt. 

"Wall, thar, now, pa," said Grandma, soothingly: "if 
I had sech feet as that. I wouldn't go to spreadin' it all 
over town, if I was you but it's time we stopped bick- 
erin' now, husband, and got ready for meetin' : so set 
down and let me wash yer head." 

" I've washed once this mornin'. It's clean enough," 
Grandpa protested, but in vain. He was planted in a 
chair, and Grandma Keeler, with rag and soap and a basin 
of water, attacked the old gentleman vigorously, much as 
I have seen cruel mothers wash the faces of their earth- 
begrimed infants. He only gave expression to such 
groans as, 

" Thar, ma ! don't tear my ears to pieces ! Come, ma ! 
you've got my eyes so full o' soap now, ma, that I can't 
see nothin'. Phew ! Lordy ! ain't ye most through with 
this, ma?" 

Then came the dyeing process, which Grandma Keeler 
assured me, aside, made Grandpa " look like a man o' 
thirty;" but, to me, after it he looked neither old nor 
young, human nor inhuman, nor like anything that I had 
ever seen before under the sun. 

"There's the lotion, the potion, the dye-er, and the 
setter," said Grandma, pointing to four bottles on the 
table. " Now whar's the directions, Madeline ?" 

These having been produced from between the leaves 
of the family Bible, Madeline read, while Grandma made 
a vigorous practical application of the various mixtures. 

" This admirable lotion," in soft ecstatic tones Made- 
line rehearsed the flowery language of the recipe, 
'* though not so instantaneously startling in its eifects as 



MCLEAN] SUNDAY MORNING IN WALLENCAMP. 271 

our inestimable dyer and setter, yet forms a most essential 
part of the whole process, opening, as it does, the dry and 
lifeless pores of the scalp, imparting to them new life and 
beauty, and rendering them more easily susceptible to the 
applications which follow. But we must go deeper than 
this : a tone must be given to the whole system by means 
of the cleansing and rejuvenating of the very centre of 
our beings, and, for this purpose, we have prepared our 
wonderful potion." Here Grandpa, with a wry face, was 
made to swallow a spoonful of the mixture. " Our un 
paralleled dyer," Madeline continued, " restores black hair 
to a more than original gloss and brilliancy, and gives 
to the faded golden tress the sunny flashes of youth." 
Grandpa was dyed. " Our world-renowned setter com 
pletes and perfects the whole process, by adding tone and 
permanency to the efficacious qualities of the lotion, potion, 
and dyer, etc.," while on Grandpa's head the unutterable 
dye was set. 

" Now read teacher some of the testimonials, daughter," 
said Grandma Keeler, whose face was one broad, generous 
illustration of that rare and peculiar virtue called faith. 

So Madeline continued : " Mrs. Hiram Briggs, of North 
Dedham, writes : ' I was terribly afflicted with baldness, 
so that, for months, I was little more than an outcast from 
society, and an object of pity to my most familiar friends. 
I tried every remedy in vain. At length I heard of your 
wonderful restorative. After a week's application, my 
hair had already begun to grow in what seemed the most 
miraculous manner. At the end of ten months it had 
assumed such length and proportions as to be a most lux 
urious burden,' and where I had before been regarded with 
pity and aversion, I became the envied and admired of 
all beholders.' " 

"Just think," "said Grandma Keeler, with rapturous 



272 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

sympathy and gratitude, " how that poor creetur must 'a' 
felt!" 

" ' Orion Spaulding, of Weedsville, Yermont,' " Madeline 
went on but here I had to beg to be excused, and went 
to my room to get ready for the Sunday-school. 

When I came down again, Grandpa Keeler was seated, 
completely arrayed in his best clothes, opposite Grandma, 
who held the big family Bible in her lap, and a Sunday- 
school question-book in one hand. 

" Now, pa," said she, " what tribe was it in sacred writ 
that wore bunnits ?" 

I was compelled to infer from the tone of Grandpa 
Keeler's answer that his temper had not undergone a 
mollifying process during my absence. 

" Come, ma," said he, " how much longer ye goin' to 
pester me in this way ?" 

" Why, pa," Grandma rejoined, calmly, " until you git a 
proper understandin' of it. What tribe was it in sacred 
writ that wore bunnits ?" 

" Lordy !" exclaimed the old man. " How d'ye suppose 
I know ! They must 'a' been a tarnal old-womanish- 
lookin' set, anyway." 

"The tribe o' Judah, pa," said Grandma, gravely. 
"Now, how good it is, husband, to have your under 
standin' all freshened up on the scripters I" 

" Come, come, ma !" said Grandpa, rising nervously, " it's 
time we was startin'. When I make up my mind to go 
anywhere I always want to git there in time. If I was 
goin' to the old Harry, I should want to git there in 
time." 

" It's my consarn that we shall git thar before tirr^ 
some on us," said Grandma, with sad meaning, " unless we 
larn to use more respec'ful language." 



PRESTON] THE LADY RIBERTA'S HARVEST. 273 

THE LADY RIBERTA'S HARVEST. 

MARGARET J. PRESTON. 

[Mrs. Preston born in Virginia in 1838 is a poetess of much 
ability, and a graceful and attractive prose-writer, with fine powers of 
expression. Her published works are, in prose and poetry, "Silver- 
wood," "Beechenbrook," "Old Songs and New," and "Cartoons." 
The poem we give is from the last-named work.] 

I. 

IN the days of eld there was wont to be, 

On the jagged coast of the Zuyder Zee, 

A city from whence broad galleons went 

To distant island and continent, 

To lands that under the tropics lay, 

Ind and the fabled far Cathay, 

To gather from earth, and sea, and air, 

All that was beautiful, rich, and rare; 

And back they voyaged so laden full 

With fairy fabrics from old Stamboul, 

With pungent woods that breathed out balms, 

With broidered stuffs from the realm of palms, 

With shawls from the marts of Ispahan, 

With marvellous lacquers from strange Japan, 

That through this traffic on many a sea 

So grand did its merchants grow to be 

That even Venetian lords became 

Half covetous of the city's fame. 

n. 

The Lady Biberta's fleet was great, 

And year by year it had brought such store 
Of treasures, until in her queenly state 

There scarcely sufficed her room for more, 
in. s 



274 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PRESTON 

Her feasts no prince in the realms around 

Had service so rich or food so fine 
As daily her carven tables crowned ; 

And proud she was of her luscious cates, 
And her rare conserves, and her priceless wine, 

And her golden salvers and golden plates ; 
For all that the sea or the shore could bring 
Was hers for the fairest furnishing. 

in. 

It fell one day that a stranger came 

In garb of an Eastern sage arrayed, 
Commended by one of noble name : 

He had traversed many a clime, he said, 
And, whithersoever he went, had heard 

Of the Lady Kiberta's state, that so 
In his heart a secret yearning stirred 

To find if the tale were true or no. 
At once the Lady Roberta's pride 

Upsprang, and into her lordly hall 
She led the stranger, and at her side 

She bade him be seated in sight of all. 

IV. 

Silver and gold around him gleamed, 
The daintiest dishes before him steamed ; 

The rarest of fish, and flesh, and bird, 
Fruits all flushed with the tropic sun, 

Nuts whose names he had never heard, 
Were offered : the stranger would have none ; 

Nor spake he in praise a single word. 
" Doth anything lack," with chafe, at last, 
The hostess queried, "from the repast?" 



PRESTON] THE LADY RIBERTA'S HARVEST. 275 

Gravely the guest then gave reply : 
" Lady, since them dost question, I, 
Daring to speak the truth alway, 
Even in such a presence, say 
Something is wanting : I have sate 
Oft at the tables of rich and great, 
N"or seen such viands as these ; but yet 
I marvel me much thou shouldst forget 
The world's one best thing ; for 'tis clear, 
Whatever beside, it is not here." 

v. 

" Name it," the Lady flashed, " and nought 
Will I grudge of search till the best is brought." 

But never another word the guest 
Uttered, as smoothly he waved aside 
Her question, that in the heat of pride, 

Mindless of courtesy, still she pressed. 
And when from her grand refection hall 
They fared from their feasting, one and all, 
Again with a heightened tone and air 
To the guest she turned, but no guest was there. 
" I'll have it," she stamped, " whatever it be ; 
" I'll scour the land, and I'll sweep the sea, 
Nor ever the tireless quest resign 
Till I know the world's one best thing mine !" 

VI. 

Once more were the white-sailed galleons sent 
To far-off island and continent, 
In search of the most delicious things 
That ever had whetted the greed of kings: 
But none of the luxuries that they brought 
Seemed quite the marvel the Lady sought. 



276 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PRESTON 



VII. 

At length from his latest voyage back 

Sailed one of her captains : he told her how 

Wild weather had driven him from his track, 
And his vessel had sprung aleak, till bow 

And stern were merged, and a rime of mould 

Had mossed the flour within the hold, 

And nothing was left but wine and meat, 

Through weary weeks, for the crew to eat. 

" Then the words of the stranger rose," he said, 

" And I felt that the one best thing was bread : 

And so, for a cargo, I was fain 

Thereafter to load my ships with -grain." 

Viii. 

The Lady Biberta's wrath out-sprang 

Like a sword from its sheath, and her keen voice rang 

Sharp as a lance-thrust : " Get thee back 

To the vessel, and have forth every sack, 

And spill in the sea thy cursed store, 

Nor ever sail with my galleons more 1" 

IX. 

The people who hungered for daily bread 
Prayed that to them in their need, instead, 
The grain might be dealt; but she heeded none, 
Nor rested until the deed was done. 



The months passed on, and the harvest sown 
In the furrows of deep sea-fields had grown 
To a forest of slender stalks, a wide 
Strong net to trap whatever the tide 



GOODRICH] DOMESTIC LIFE IN 1800 277 

Drew on in its wake, the drift and wreck 
Of many a shattered mast and deck, 
And all the tangle of weeds there be 
Afloat in the trough of the plunging sea, 
Until, as the years went by, a shoal 
Of sand had tided a sunken mole 
Across the mouth of the port, that so 
The galleys were foundered, and to and fro 
No longer went forth, and merchants sought 
Harbors elsewhere for the stores they brought. 
The Lady Eiberta's ships went down 
In the offing ; the city's old renown 
Faded and fled with its commerce dead, 
And the Lady Eiberta begged for bread. 

XI. 

The hungry billows with rage and roar 
Have broken the ancient barriers o'er, 
And bitten their way into the shore, 
And where such traffic was wont to be, 
The voyager now can only see 
The spume and fret of the Zuyder Zee. 



DOMESTIC LIFE IN 1800. 

SAMUEL G. GOODRICH. 

[The vast quantity of juvenile literature, of all sizes and shapes and 
adapted to all tastes, with which Young America is now blessed (or 
burdened), was preceded a generation or two ago by the writings of a 
few authors only, much less varied in subject and ambitious in style 
and finish, yet in their day the youthful delight of the elderly men and 
women of the present era. Among these caterers to juvenile taste the 
in. 24 



278 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GOODRICH 

name of Peter Parley stands eminent, with his nearly two hundred 
separate volumes, including history, geography, travels, and other edu 
cational works, which fifty years ago were highly popular, yet which 
have as completely vanished from sight as if they had never existed. 
Samuel Griswold Goodrich, the author concealed under the title of 
Peter Parley, was born at Ridgefield, Connecticut, in 1793, and died 
in 1860. In addition to his juvenile works, he wrote several for mature 
readers, among which we may name "Recollections of a Lifetime." 
Tn the following selection we give an interesting extract from these 
recollections, of value as showing the marked difference between Amer 
ican manners and customs at the beginning and towards the end of the 
nineteenth century.] 

MY DEAR C , You will gather from my preceding 

letter some ideas of the household industry and occupations 
of country-people in Connecticut at the beginning of the 
present century. Their manners, in other respects, had a 
corresponding stamp of homeliness and simplicity. 

In most families, the first exercise of the morning was 
reading the Bible, followed by a prayer, at which all were 
assembled, including the servants and helpers of the kitchen 
and the farm. Then came the breakfast, which was a 
substantial meal, always including hot viands, with vege 
tables, apple-sauce, pickles, mustard, horseradish, and vari 
ous other condiments. Cider was the common drink for 
laboring people ; even children drank it at will. Tea was 
common, but not so general as now. Coffee was almost 
unknown. Dinner was a still more hearty and varied 
repast, characterized by abundance of garden vegetables ; 
tea was a light supper. 

The day began early : breakfast was had at six in sum 
mer and seven in winter; dinner at noon, the work-people 
in the fields being called to their meals by a conch-shell, 
usually winded by some kitchen Triton. The echoing of 
this noontide horn from farm to farm, and over hill and 
dale, was a species of music which even rivalled the pop- 



GOODRICH] DOMESTIC LIFE IN 1800. 279 

ular melody of drum and fife. Tea the evening meal 
usually took place about sundown. In families where all 
were laborers, all sat at table, servants as well as masters. 
the food being served before sitting down. In families 
where the masters and mistresses did not share the labors 
of the household or the farm, the meals of the domestics 
were had separate. There was, however, in those days a 
perfectly good understanding and good feeling between 
the masters and servants. The latter were not Irish ; 
they had not as yet imbibed the plebeian envy of those 
above them which has since so generally embittered and 
embarrassed American domestic life. The terms democrat 
and aristocrat had not got into use : these distinctions, 
and the feelings now implied by them, had, indeed, no ex 
istence in the hearts of the people. Our servants, during 
all my early life, were of the neighborhood, generally the 
daughters of respectable farmers and mechanics, and, re 
specting others, were themselves respected arid cherished. 
They were devoted to the interests of the family, and 
were always relied upon and treated as friends. In health 
they had the same food, in sickness the same care, as the 
masters and mistresses or their children. This servitude 
implied no degradation, because it did not degrade the 
heart or manners of those subjected to it. It was never 
thought of as a reproach to a man or woman, in the sta 
tions they afterwards filled, that he or she had been out 
to service. If servitude has since become associated with 
debasement, it is only because servants themselves, under 
the bad guidance of demagogues, have lowered their call 
ing by low feelings and low manners. 

At the period of my earliest recollections, men of all 
classes were dressed in long, broad-tailed coats, with huge 
pockets, long waistcoats, and breeches. Hats had low 
crowns, with broad brims, some so wide as to be sup- 



280 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GOODRICH 

ported at the sides with cords. The stockings of the par 
son, and a few others, were of silk in summer and worsted 
in winter; those of the people were generally of wool, and 
blue and gray mixed. Women dressed in wide bonnets, 
sometimes of straw and sometimes of silk : the gowns 
were of silk, muslin, gingham, etc., generally close and 
short-waisted, the breast and shoulders being covered by a 
full muslin kerchief. Girls ornamented themselves with a 
large white Yandyke. On the whole, the dress of both 
men and women has greatly changed. As to the former, 
short, snug, close-fitting garments have succeeded to the 
loose latitudinarian coats of former times ; stove-pipe hats 
have followed broad brims, and pantaloons have taken the 
place of breeches. With the other sex, little French bon 
nets, set round with glowing flowers, flourish in the place 
of the plain, yawning hats of yore ; then it was as much 
an effort to make the waists short as it is now to make 
them long. As to the hips, which now make so formida 
ble a display, it seems to me that, in the days I allude to, 
ladies had none to speak of. 

The amusements were then much the same as at present ; 
though some striking differences may be noted. Books 
and newspapers which are now diffused even among the 
country towns, so as to be in the hands of all, young and 
old were then scarce, and were read respectfully, and as 
if they were grave matters, demanding thought and atten 
tion. They were not toys and pastimes, taken up every 
day. and by everybody, in the short intervals of labor, 
and then hastily dismissed, like waste paper. The aged 
sat down when they read, and drew forth their spectacles 
and put them deliberately and reverently upon the nose. 
These instruments were not, as now, little tortoise-shell 
hooks, attached to a ribbon, and put off and on with a 
jerk ; but they were of silver or steel, substantially made, 



GOODRICH] DOMESTIC LIFE IN 1800. 281 

and calculated to hold on with a firm and steady grasp, 
showing the gravity of the uses to which they were de 
voted. Even the young approached a book with rever 
ence, and a newspaper with awe. How the world has 
changed ! 

The two great festivals were Thanksgiving and " train 
ing-day," the latter deriving from the still lingering spirit 
of the Eevolutionary War a decidedly martial charac 
ter. The marching of the troops, and the discharge of 
gunpowder, which invariably closed the exercises, were 
glorious and inspiring mementos of heroic achievements 
upon many a bloody field. The music of the drum and 
fife resounded on every side. A match between two rival 
drummers always drew an admiring crowd, and was in 
fact one of the chief excitements of the great day. 

Tavern-haunting especially in winter, when there was 
little to do, for manufactures had not then sprung up to 
give profitable occupation during this inclement season- 
was common, even with respectable farmers. Marriages 
were celebrated in the evening, at the house of the bride, 
with a general gathering of the neighborhood, and usually 
wound off by dancing. Everybody went, as to a public 
exhibition, without invitation. Funerals generally drew 
large processions, which proceeded to the grave. Here 
the minister always made an address suited to the occa 
sion. If there was anything remarkable in the history of 
the deceased, it was turned to religious account in the 
next Sunday's sermon. Singing-meetings, to practise 
church music, were a great resource for the young in 
winter. Dances at private houses were common, and 
drew no reproaches from the sober people present. Balls 
at the tavern were frequented by the young ; the children 
of deacons and ministers attended, though the parents did 
not. The winter brought sleighing, skating, and the usual 
in. 24* 



282 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GOODRICH 

round of in-door sports. In general, the intercourse of all 
classes was kindly and considerate, no one arrogating 
superiority, and yet no one refusing to acknowledge it 
where it existed. You would hardly have noticed that 
there was a higher and a lower class. Such there were, 
certainly, for there must always and everywhere be the 
strong and the weak, the wise and the foolish, those of 
superior and those of inferior intellect, taste, manners, 
appearance, and character. But in our society these 
existed without being felt as a privilege to one which 
must give offence to another. The feuds between Up and 
Down, which have since disturbed the whole fabric of 
society, had not then begun. 

It may serve, in some degree, to throw light upon the 
manners and customs of this period, if I give you a sketch 
of my two grandmothers. Both were widows, and were 
well stricken in years, when they came to visit us at 
Ridgefield, about the year 1803 or '4. My grancfmother 
Ely was of the old regime, a lady of the old school, and 
sustaining the character in her upright carriage, her long, 
tapering waist, and her high-heeled shoes. The costumes 
of Louis XY.'s time had prevailed in New York and Bos 
ton, and even at this period they still lingered there in 
isolated cases, though the Revolution had generally exer 
cised a transforming influence upon the toilet of both men 
and women. It is curious enough that at this moment 
1855 the female attire of a century ago is revived ; and 
in every black-eyed, stately old lady, dressed in black silk 
and showing her steel-gray hair beneath her cap, I can 
now see semblances of this my maternal grandmother. 

My other grandmother was in all things the opposite : 
short, fat, blue-eyed, practical, utilitarian. She was a 
good example of the country dame, hearty, homespun, 
familiar, full of strong sense and practical energy. I 



WILSON] A VISIT TO SUNNYSWE. 283 

scarcely know which of the two I liked the best. The first 
sang me plaintive songs ; told me stories of the Kevolu- 
tion, her husband, Colonel Ely, having had: a large and 
painful share in its vicissitudes; she described General 
Washington, whom she had seen, and the French officers, 
Lafayette, Rochambeau, and others, who had been in 
mates of her house. She told me tales of even moro 
ancient date, and recited poetry, generally consisting of 
ballads, which were suited to my taste. And all this lore 
was commended to me by a voice of inimitable tenderness 
and a manner at once lofty and condescending. My other 
grandmother was not less kind, but she promoted my 
happiness and prosperity in another way. Instead, oi 
stories, she gave me bread and butter ; in place of poetry, 
she fed me with apple-sauce and pie. Never was there 
a more hearty old lady. She had a firm conviction that 
children must be fed, and what she believed she practised. 



A VISIT TO SUNNYSIDE. 

J. G. WILSON. 

[From the latest work of James Grant Wilson, the charmingly- 
written series of literary memoirs entitled " Bryant and his Friends," 
we select an interesting description of a visit to Washington Irving 
in his days of ripe old age. Other works of the author are " Memoirs 
of Illustrious Soldiers," " Poets and Poetry of Scotland," and biogra 
phies of General Grant and Fitz-Greene Halleck. General Wilson 
was bom at Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1835. He served with dis 
tinction as a cavalry colonel in the civil war, attaining before its close 
the rank of brigadier-general.] 

IT was a sunny September morning that the writer set 
out from New York in an early train, on a visit to Sunny- 



28 i BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ WILSON 

side and its late honored proprietor, almost the last of 
the great literary lights that witnessed the dawn of the 
nineteenth century. Of his eminent contemporaries who 
ushered in the reign of the last of the Georges, but four 
survived him, Dana, De Quincey, Landor, and Paulding, 
and they, full of years and then trembling on the hori 
zon's verge, have since been gathered to their fathers. 

Arrived at Irvington, we procured the only attainable 
vehicle the place could boast of, an old, shaky, two- 
seated box wagon, drawn by a steed bearing a striking 
resemblance to Geoffrey Crayon's descriptions of the 
charger bestrode by the enraptured pedagogue on the 
occasion of the famous gathering at Mynheer Yan Tassel's, 
and were in due time set down at the porch of Sunny- 
side, pleasantly situated on the banks of the river where 
its owner thanked God he was born. The quaint-looking 
mansion is a graceful combination of the English cottage 
and Dutch farm-house, covered with ivy brought from 
Melrose Abbey, and embowered amid trees and shrubbery. 
A venerable weathercock of portly dimensions, which 
once covered the Stadt-House of New Amsterdam, in the 
time of worthy Peter Stuyvesant, erects its crest on the 
gable end of the edifice, and a gilded horse in full gallop, 
whilom the weathercock of a valiant burgomaster of 
Albany, glitters in the sunshine on a peaked turret over 
the portal. 

From the tranquil and secluded abode are visible the 
" Tappaan Zee" and the picturesque Palisades, and various 
paths lead through shadowy walks or to points com 
manding fine views of river-scenery. Near by murmurs a 
musical stream. A more charming retreat for a poet's old 
age it would be difficult to find, independent of the thou 
sand delightful associations that enhanced its beauties to 
the mind of Washington Irving. 



WILSON] A VISIT TO SUJVNFSWE. 285 

The simplicity of the interior arrangement struck me 
as characteristic of the simple and unperverted tastes of 
its owner, and its cottage ornaments were suggestive of 
his delightful pictures of English country life. Entering 
by a rustic door- way covered with climbing roses, and 
passing through a tiled hall, you enter the drawing-room, 
a low-roofed apartment, on the Avails of which hung the 
Jarvis portrait, painted when Mr. Irving was twenty- 
seven years of age, an engraving of Faed's picture of 
Scott and his friends at Abbotsford, presented to him by 
a son of Sir "Walter Scott's eminent publisher, Archibald 
Constable, together with several other paintings and en 
gravings, and well filled with parlor-furniture, a piano, 
and tables covered with books and magazines of the day. 

The family at that time consisted of the bachelor author, 
who had " no termagant wife to dispute the sovereignty 
of the Roost" with him ; his eldest brother, Ebenezer, ten 
years his senior ; a nephew, Pierre M. Irving, and his wife ; 
and two nieces, daughters of the brother above mentioned, 
who were ever ministering to the slightest wish of their 
honored uncle. Children could not have been more kind 
and considerate to a parent, nor a father to his daughters, 
than was the warm-hearted old man to his nieces, who alone 
of that happy circle now survive, and are the present pos 
sessors of Sunnyside. 

As I sat at his board in the dining-room, from which is 
seen the majestic Hudson with its myriad of sailing-vessels 
and steamers, and heard him dilate upon the bygone days 
and the giants that were on the earth then, of his friends 
Scott and Byron, of Moore and Lockhart, of Prof. Wilson 
and the Ettrick Shepherd, and as the old man pledged 
the health of his kinsfolk and guest, it seemed as if a veri 
table realm of romance were suddenly opened. He told 
us of his first meeting with Sir Walter Scott, so graphi- 



286 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ WILSON 

cally described in his charming essay on Abbotsford ; and 
his last, in London, when the great Scotchman was on his 
way to the Continent with the vain hope of restoring his 
health, broken down by his gigantic efforts to leave an 
untarnished name and a fantastic mansion and the broad 
acres that surrounded it to a long line of Scotts of Abbots- 
ford ; with various anecdotes of those above mentioned, 
and other notables of bygone days. 

Mr. Irving related with great glee an anecdote of James 
Hogg, the " Ettrick Shepherd," who in one of his early 
visits to Edinburgh was invited by Sir Walter Scott to 
dine with him at his mansion in Castle Street. Quite a 
number of the literati had been asked to meet the rustic 
poet at dinner. When Hogg entered the drawing-room, 
Lady Scott, being in delicate health, was reclining on a 
sofa. After being presented, he took possession of another 
sofa opposite to her, and stretched himself thereupon at 
full length, for, as he afterwards said, " I thought I could 
do no wrong to copy the lady of the house." The dress 
of the " Ettrick Shepherd" at that time was precisely that 
in which any ordinary herdsman attends cattle to the 
market, and as his hands, moreover, bore most legible marks 
of a recent sheep-shearing, the lady of the house did not 
observe with perfect equanimity the novel usage to which 
her chintz was exposed. Hogg, however, remarked noth 
ing of all this, dined heartily and drank freely, and by 
jest, anecdote, and song afforded great merriment to all 
the company. As the wine operated, his familiarity in 
creased and strengthened ; from " Mr. Scott" he advanced 
to " Shirra" (Sheriff), and thence to " Scott," " Walter," 
and " Wattie," until at length he fairly convulsed the 
whole party by addressing Lady Scott as " Charlotte." 

In reply to our inquiry as to his opinion of the poets 
of the present day, Irving said, u I ignore them all. I 



WILSON] A VISIT TO SUNNYSIDE. 287 

read no poetry written since Byron's, Moore's, and Scott's." 
" What !" I exclaimed, " not Paulding's ' Backwoodsman' ?" 
Whereupon he laughed most heartily, and answered, 
l Well, if I did, I should take it in homoeopathic doses." 
This was followed by some friendly praise of Paulding's 
prose writings, including " The Dutchman's Fireside." 
This led me to allude to Mrs. Grant's " Memoirs of an 
American Lady." " Oh, yes," he answered, " I knew your 
gifted godmother, Mrs. Grant of Laggan, but only slightly. 
Our friends Cogswell and Ticknor were much more inti 
mate with her than it was my good fortune to be. Her 
account of Mrs. Schuyler is a very pleasant one, and I be- 
lieve^ as you say, that it suggested ' The Dutchman's Fire 
side' to Paulding." After some pleasant words about his 
former literary partner and some of the younger members 
of the literary guild, the elderly author said, " He and I 
were very fortunate in being born so early. We should 
have no chance now against the battalions of better 
writers." He alluded in terms of the highest admiration 
to Motley's " History of the Dutch Eepublic," and in the 
same connection complained, " There are a great deal too 
many books written nowadays about countries, and places, 
and people, that when I was young no one knew, or 
wanted to have any knowledge of whatever; and it is 
morally impossible for any mortal to read or digest one- 
half of them." 

***####*# 
Eeturning to the drawing-room, Mr. Irving sat down 
in his favorite seat, a large, well-cushioned, and capacious 
arm-chair, and as we called his attention to Faed's picture 
of many of his old friends, and asked his opinion of it and 
its correctness, he leaned his head on one hand, as repre 
sented in the admirable portrait by Martin prefixed to 
the illustrated edition of the " Sketch-Book," and with the 



288 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WILSON 

same dreamy look, surveying it lovingly, replied that 
" they were mostly c old familiar faces,' and some of them 
very good, Scott's, Wilson's, and Campbell's being the 
best," and spoke of Prof. Wilson as being a " noble-look- 
ino- man, with a considerable resemblance to our Audu- 

& 

bon." 

His sanctum sanctorum was a small room, well filled 
with books, neatly arranged on the shelves, that extended 
completely -around the room. In the centre stood a table, 
with a neat writing-desk, on which, seated in the well- 
lined easy elbow-chair, Geoffrey Crayon had written many 
of his modern works, including his " Life of Washington." 
His hours for literary labor were in the morning, " but," 
said he, " unlike Scott, I can do no work until I got break 
fast, and it is between breakfast and dinner that I do all 
my writing." He appeared gratified at our allusion to 
the fact that Niagara and Irving were the two topics 
connected with this country in which we found intelligent 
Englishmen, or rather Britons, most interested during 
our sojourn there the previous season, and also at my 
reference to a letter written by Scott to his friend John 
.Richardson, of London, dated Sept. 22, 1817, a few days 
after Irving's visit to Abbotsford, in which Scott says, 
"When you see Tom Campbell, tell him, with rny best 
love, that I have to thank him for making me known to 
Mr. Washington Irving, who is one of the best and pleas- 
antest acquaintances I have made this many a day." 

In strolling over his charming grounds, we came upon 
those of his opulent neighbor, Mr. Moses H. G-rinnell, who 
married a niece of Mr. Irving, which were kept in the 
most perfect order, when he remarked, " My place in ita 
rough and uncultivated condition sets off finely my neigh 
bor Grinnell's ;" and on my replying that I thought it 
was precisely the reverse, he indulged in a quiet laugh, 



LELAND] ' THE ART OF THE FUTURE. 289 

and looked very much as if he quite agreed with me. He 
alluded to Scott's passion for the possession of land, and 
mentioned that it was a prevalent disease among authors 
generally, and confessed to being himself a victim ; and 
further remarked that he quite agreed with Pope, in 
thinking " no man was so happy as he who lived retired 
from the world on his own soil. 

On our return we found a party of five ladies and gen 
tlemen, under the escort of a relative, who had come up 
from New York to see " Diedrich Knickerbocker" and his 
loved domain. Upon returning from a ramble over the 
grounds and those of Mr. Grinnell with the Southern 
party and the Misses Irving, we found the amiable author 
upon the front porch gazing over the river and the distant 
hills at the setting sun, the tout ensemble presenting a fine 
scene for a painter. I shall never forget it, the mild, 
dreamy, and happy expression of that old man's counte 
nance as he sat with his shawl around him looking over 
the broad Tappaan Zee at the sun's departing rays. I 
never saw him again. 



THE ART OF THE FUTURE. 

CHARLES G. LELAND. 

[Charles Godfrey Leland is best known to readers in general by his 
ridiculously humorous " Hans Breitmann's Ballads." Another favor 
ably-known work is " The Sketch-Book of Meister Karl." He is, 
in addition, the author of several works on the gypsies, and of other 
works in prose and poetry. Of his poems " The Music- Lesson of 
Confucius" is ranked the highest. He takes much interest in art, and 
has written some acceptable works on this subject. From his " Sun 
shine in Thought" we select the following well-drawn and truthful 
m. N t 25 



2*K) BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

representation of much of the art of the present period of transition. 
Mr. Leland was born in Philadelphia in 1824.] 

WHAT is to be the Art of the Future ? 

To answer this question, we must ascertain what was 
the leading condition or principle under which that which 
we now call ART was formed, and ascertain whether it is 
still living though dormant, or whether an entirely new 
principle is not forming. 

It is a matter worth remark, that at present those 
scholars who are thoroughly penetrated by the spirit of 
history, and who appreciate that each strongly-marked 
epoch, and that alone, has given the world a distinctive 
art and literature, are now all anxiously looking forward 
to a future which shall be brilliant in product. In all by 
gone ages, men lived in their present. The Egyptians 
knew nothing which was not Egyptian; the Dutch painter 
of the sixteenth century remained firmly Dutch: in all 
these schools and styles there was no looking outside of 
nationality, of that which they literally were. 

Now we see in architecture, in painting, in poetry, in 
every product of the kind, simply a gathering up and 
combining what others have done. Ask what is new in 
pictures, we are shown the pre-Raphaelite imitations of 
Millais and Hunt. Look for novelties in architecture, and 
we find Norman, or Gothic, or "Composite," or "Roman" 
edifices. The great merit of Tennyson, according to Kings- 
ley, is to have most nearly reproduced the real old English 
ballad ; and so it goes, through the whole circle of art. 
No wonder that earnest thinkers begin to inquire for the 
Art of the Future, and wonder what it is to be. 

Yet this our age has produced one stupendous original 
thought, with many of its results ; though these are as 
yet only in the very beginning. I mean Science with its 
practical applications ; its technology, in the form of steam- 



LELAND] THE ART OF THE FUTURE. 291 

engines, looms, clothes and food for everybody, and scores 
of thousands of other novelties. And dilettanti keep won 
dering what the Art of the Future is to be, when this 
stupendous power of Science is advancing at colossal 
strides, inevitably destined in a few years to swallow up 
every old-time idea, every trace of old romance and art, 
poetry, and romantic or sentimental feeling; yes, to con 
quer even literature, and then reproduce society completely 
changed, modified, and made beautiful, in & spirit which 
will be neither classic nor Gothic, but differing from both, 
and infinitely more glorious than either, the spirit of the 
most literal of facts, of pure Nature. 

Science is every day taking Man away from the ideal, 
the morbid, the sickly and visionary, from the fond fancies 
of early ages, and leading him to facts and to nature. 
She is, though we see it not, taking us from conventional 
ideas of beauty, such as all art hitherto has labored under, 
and leading us to direct appreciation of beauty as it is. 
When Science and all organization is science shall 
have progressed so far as to secure rights and comforts 
to all, we will find that practical usefulness, or the mon 
ster Utility, so much decried by the poets of the day and 
by philosophers, has led us to the highest forms of beauty, 
and to a blending of the beautiful with the useful wherever 
the latter occurs. 

Nature never creates anything without beauty. " On 
old decay the greenest mosses spring," and the dullest, 
dryest old experimenter with a microscope finds himself 
compelled to give names expressive of beauty to invisible 
marvels abounding in what Man's short-sightedness calls 
ugly. "When Science shall have advanced to investing 
the humblest articles with beauty, at cheap rates, when 
the photograph or other inventions shall give the flower, 
or the as yet unseen marvels of the sea, or of space, in any 



292 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LELAND 

colors and of any size, will there not be an approach to 
Nature, and inexhaustible treasures of beauty showered 
in upon us, such as Art never dreamt of? Raphael never 
painted such an exquisite loveliness as there is alive in 
flesh and blood when expressing true emotion by its 
glances ; but what I assert needs no proof, no comparison, 
to those who have seen with awe the mighty levers now 
slowly preparing, which will move the world. 

A writer, fh commenting on this progress of Science, 
very properly remarks that some persons have appre 
hended that in this deluge of the material the ideal may 
be entirely lost. 

" There have been not a few who, in the strong physical 
and mechanical proclivities of the age, have fancied they 
discerned an imminent danger, the danger of the spiritual 
nature being submerged and put in abeyance, and all 
thought of and interest in a future and immortal life 
being swallowed up in the splendors and enjoyments 
wherewith physical science promises to endow the pres 
ent material existence. As evidence of this state of 
things, it has been urged that Eeligion has lost much of 
its hold on the faith and feelings of men." 

Against this, plain, undoubting Faith is very properly 
held up. But if more earthly reasoning be needed, may 
we not find it in the argument that, if science and 
practical usefulness are really leading us back to nature, 
artificial as the means may seem to be, such commu 
nity with nature will do more to dispose us to the truth 
than aught besides? Truth is the ultimate basis of all 
things, and he who walks in Truth and Nature walks 
with GOD. 

Let me, at the risk of being accused of repetition, and 
he is a poor thinker, and one most unworthy a reader, 
who will not risk more than that to set forth what he 



LELAND] THE ART OF THE FUTURE. 293 

truly believes, speak more in detail of this possible future 
and formation of Art. 

The reader who has ever studied the peculiarities of that 
sober little insect, the common household ant, has doubt 
less observed the mechanical regularity with which, when 
some Pays da Cocagne of a dead blue-bottle fly or deceased 
beetle has been discovered, two regular routes are at once 
established, one toward the prey, another frgm it. Every 
ant takes the down-train, helps himself to dead fly, moves 
off, and in a few minutes may be discovered several yards 
distant, travelling in regular procession with his fellows. 

All goes well so long as the continuity is kept up. But 
break up the procession, brush away a yard of up and 
down trains, and then note the bewilderment of the un 
fortunate little Arabs ! They know not for a long time 
whether to go to the right or the left: all is tohu bohu, all 
void and confusion. Those who have just returned from 
their banquet are as unable as were the children in the 
Piper of Hamelin to say how they went away. They 
know that they came from Blue-Bottle Land, 

" But how, or why, they don't understand." 

And they move to the right and the left, and up and down, 
and go wiring in and wiring out, leaving observers still in 
doubt whether the ants upon the track are clearing out 
or going back. All that they know is, nothing can be 
known ! 

The present condition of the intellectual energies of the 
civilized world is precisely like that of the ants whose 
trains of travel have been broken up. For the first time 
since man came into the world, there is a general, a uni 
versal period of doubt and of hesitation. Outside of the 
circles of the men of science of the second and third 
classes, who are satisfied with their batteries and cruci- 



294 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [LELAND 

bles, and the "industrial progressives," there is not a 
really thinking mind in existence which does not recognize 
that the old paths of thoughts are broken up, and that 
the new are not as yet formed. The Germans are anx 
iously worrying themselves about the Zukunftsmusik the 
Music of the Future and the Art of the Future; for 
there is no longer satisfaction in the great, highly-trained, 
critical minds of the age with what the age produces. 
Produces ! alas ! it produces nothing. Are pre-Eaphaelite 
pictures anything but a Reproduction ? Is Yerdi's music, 
after all, anything but a spasmodic straining and wrench 
ing against the spirit of the age, to create something 
original, while the age vetoes the effort? Statuary ! 
Of Poetry, be it of type or of daily life, I have already 
spoken. 

The earlier ages of the world were full of physical con 
fusion, but of mental confusion they had but little. The 
Egyptian painter knew exactly what to paint ; the age 
had taught a lesson which all artists repeated like chil 
dren, some more readily perhaps than others, but it was 
all the same lesson. There was no demand for something 
radically new. The most elaborate, the most stupendous 
works of the carvers and architects of the Middle Ages 
were trifling, so far as mental wear and tear were con 
cerned, compared to what artists of the present day suffer, 
who are always racked for novelties. Take that miracle 
of miracles, the Shrine of Saint Lawrence, by Adam 
Kraft. From boyhood to age, Adam Kraft's head had 
contained little else save trefoils, ogives, persil, thistle, 
and feuille-d'Olivier mouldings, mascarons, and garlands. 
He could not by any possibility be called on to do any 
work out of the Gothic "style," and of only a certain 
subdivision of Gothic at that. Centuries of tradition, 
tens of thousands of models and suggestions around him 



LELAND] THE ART OF THE FUTURE. 295 

all the time, made the task easier. He was inspired with 
a single spirit, and, having genius, did great things, 
much greater than he could have done had he been set to 
make a Norman fount to-day, a " Greek" pulpit to-morrow, 
an Egyptian organ the third, and perhaps at a Choctaw 
staircase on the fourth. 

What has been said holds good for all that men sung, 
painted, graved, or thought in those early days. Nine- 
tenths of their work was done for them by habit, tradi 
tion, and association. They were ages in which nations 
were consolidated and formed according to blood and 
climate and habits and circumstances, very strongly 
marked nationalities, and a character, and this character 
came out in their art and literature. Nowadays, each 
nation is losing its distinctive and sharply-pronounced 
idiomatic traits. The frock-coat and Lubin's perfumery, 
Punch and sherry-cobblers, the renown of Bosio and la ci 
darem, are more widely spread than was ever the serpent- 
worship of old. In the far Pacific, on Frazer's Eiver, in 
Iceland, folks talk French, and say where it was they met 
Thackeray or Lola Montez. Everything is becoming 
inextricably mixed up. Of course there are no new, firm, 
absolutely original developments in such an age. How 
can there be? Every single great, original work of art, 
with a REAL historical and aesthetic value, which this 
world has ever seen, has been the result of pure nation 
ality. The gentleman is now more of a cosmopolite than 
*}ver. At present the fusion of all national peculiarities, 
or of an incredible proportion of their social differences, 
is only a matter of time. 

Already the higher classes of all countries, and the 
highly educated of each, form a nation by themselves, as 
contrasted to their own peasants. To originate art or to 
open new bubbling fountains of pure poetry in such times 



296 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

is impossible. You may as well expect a bird to fly over 
itself as a man to do anything out of the spirit of his age. 

Let the reader turn over Charles Kingsley's works. He 
is the Englishman who most of all strives and labors and 
runs around, like one of the ants spoken of, and vexes his 
soul with endeavoring to discover some path to a neW*art 
and a new literature. He loses himself in the cloud-land, 
gorgeous land of the mystics, and walks in sunny fields 
with the pure Greek, hoping to wrench out of some corner 
of bygone human thought the great idea. In vain. He 
reviews English history, casts a loving glance on Norse 
Berserkers who preached most gloriously the gospel of 
Muscle, and rakes over the whole field of Philosophy aa 
carefulty as Tennemann or Cousin. Something tells him 
that those who have been purely natural, who have been 
strong and healthy and loving and genial, have in all ages 
been really the best poets and artists, and so far he is rignt, 
and so far he has done much good. But he does not recog 
nize the great truth, which the world will yet admit, that 
all great and original thought has been hitherto a national 
product, and that this age forms no new nations, but 
rather extinguishes the old. 

Out of Norse sagas and Greek Iliads, out of Troubadour 
lyrics and Divine Commedias, out of the Merry England 
of Good Queen Bess or of King Arthur, out of romantic 
Puritanism and Miles Standish, out of all the blood and 
fighting and psalms and wails and sentiment and theatrics 
and brain-spinning of the Past, you cannot as yet make 
anything NEW. Mix and mosaic them together as you 
will, the cement is wanting to make them stick, the 
sentiment of national isolation and of national concentra 
tion. Oxford symbolism and Mr. Aytoun's " Bothwell," 
the whole array of reproductions must die. " Upharsin 
is writ on the wall." . 



LELAND] THE ART OF THE FUTURE. 297 

The world is asking earnestly when we are to have a 
real Art, a real Poetry, an expression of the beautiful 
free from intense self-consciousness and torment and little 
ness. We shall have it when people think and feel natu 
rally and frankly, vigorously and proudly. We shall have 
it when men and women go into the woods and by the 
surging sea, and through fields and gardens, and into each 
other's hearts, and deep into each other's longings and 
capacities for joy, and in all these study Nature absolutely 
and closely, in phenomena single or associated. Are there 
many, are there any, who do this thoroughly ? The painter 
draws fifty times as much from his studio as from his 
studies, the poet sings after those who sung before : they 
are not directly inspired by long, patient, passionate, 
heart-yearning love of Nature. O mother of all true 
souls ! O fountain of life beyond which none have gone ! 
how few know thee as thou wert known of old by the 
rivers of Arcady, among oaks and olives ! 

What a deep longing and endless love of beauty must 
have been in the heart of the old German poet who sang 
" Zum Wald, zum Wold /" 

" forest fair ! for thee I yearn ; 
Alone I'll go, alone return 1 
There all is pleasant, glad, and gay, 
And life an endless holiday. 
* * * * * * * 

" Thou dark greenwood, to thee allied 
As earthly groom to heavenly bride, 
I love but thee, to thee I'm true, 
Forever art thou fresh and new. 
******* 

" Yes, in the forest dark and free 
The lonely hunter's tomb shall be. 
Ho ! for the greenwood, rock, and fern 
Alone I'll go, alone return." 



298 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

Do you understand it, this deep love for the forest, like 
that of bridegroom for bride, that love which is all of 
truth and which lets nothing in but goodness and beauty? 
Have you ever gone so far as to know that simply in vis 
ible and audible Nature among leaves and waters, and 
without going further, there is a consolation and infinite 
thrilling rapture to him or to her who has once penetrated 
it ? Oh, learn that great secret of freedom and of joyousness. 
To those who have deciphered the magic word, the glory 
of the olden time returns again, the white immortals wan 
der once more among men, Olympus is no longer a dim, 
forgotten dream. To them the great god Pan is alive 
again, the cherishing father lives by reedy streams and 
amid the rose-crowned mountains. Rejoice, for he that was 
dead is alive, and he that was lost is found ! The fauns 
sport with the nymphs, the Muses live a new life, gentle 
Venus, the sweet mother of all beauty and life, rises again 
star-lighted on high, and dove-crested as of old from the 
waters ; }*es, every incarnation of freshness and beauty 
and strength and health which ever man knew, every 
myth expressing the thousands of fascinations of beautiful 
reality, will come again, not as idols, but as heart-felt 
truths, to men, when they learn, to the right or the left, 
to draw out the pure, unchanged, unchanging, immortal, 
and reviving truth from Nature. 



FOOTE] IN THE DEPTHS OF THE MINE. 299 

IN THE DEPTHS OF THE MINE. 

MARY H. FOOTE. 

[Mary Hallock Foote, the author of the attractively- written story 
of Western mining life entitled "The Led-Horse Claim," and other 
works, is a native of New York State, where she was born in 1847. 
We extract from the above-named work a graphic description of a 
mine-gallery, with its constant threat of annihilation to the daring 
invaders of the earth's depths, and its "horror of great darkness." 
The necessary explanation of the dramatic features of our extract is 
as follows. The Shoshone Mine is suspected to have struck a vein 
within the limits of the Led-Horse Claim, and the superintendent of 
the latter mine resolves to explore the Shoshone in disguise. He is a 
lover of Cecil, the sister of the superintendent of the Shoshone. With 
this preliminary our story tells itself.] 

THE party set out for the shaft-house after the three- 
o'clock whistle for the change of shifts had blown. The 
ladies were wrapped in india-rubber cloaks, and Mrs. 
Denny wore a soft felt hat of Conrath's on the back of 
her head, framing her face and concealing her hair. A 
miner's coat was spread in the bucket to protect the 
visitors' skirts from its muddy sides. 

" If we keep on shipping ore at this rate," Conrath said, 
jubilantly, " we will soon have a cage that will take you 
down as smoothly as a hotel elevator." 

Cecil was conscious that the exultant tone jarred upon 
her, and she took herself silently to task for this lack of 
sisterly sympathy. 

Mrs. Denny went down first with the superintendent, 
who returned for Cecil ; when they were all at the station 
of the lowest level, they lit their candles and followed one 
of the diverging drifts, a low, damp passage which bored 
a black hole through the overhanging rock before them. 

The sides of the gallery leaned slightly together, form- 



300 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FOOTK 

ing an obtuse angle with the roof; it was lined with rows 
of timbers placed opposite each other at regular intervals, 
and supporting the heavy cross-timbers that upheld the 
roof. The spaces between the upright columns were 
crossed horizontally by smaller timbers called " lagging." 

The impalpable darkness dropped like a curtain before 
them. Their candles burned with a still flame in the 
heavy, draughtless air. At long intervals a distant rum 
bling increased with' a dull crescendo, and a light fastened 
in the rear of a loaded car shone up into the face of the 
miner who propelled it. They stood back, pressed close 
to the wall of the drift, while the car p'assed them on the 
tram-way. 

The drift ended in a lofty chamber cut out of the rock, 
the floor rising at one end toward a black opening which 
led into another narrow gallery beyond. 

" Here we are in the very heart of the vein," Conrath 
explained. "This is an empty 'stope,' that has furnished 
some of the best ore. It is all cleaned out, you see ; the 
men are working farther on." 

" Oh, I should like to see them!" Mrs. Denny exclaimed. 
" Which way is it? Up that horrible place? Cecil, aren't 
you coming?" 

Cecil had seated herself on a heap of loose planking in 
the empty ore-chamber. 

" I'll wait for you here, if you don't mind ; I am so very 
tired. Have you another candle, Harry?" 

" Yours will last ; we shall not be long gone." 

Conrath and Mrs. Denny scrambled, talking and laugh 
ing, up the slope ; their voices grew thinner and fainter, 
and vanished with their feeble lights in the black hole. 

Cecil closed her eyes ; they ached with the small, sharp 
spark of her candle set in that stupendous darkness. 

What a mysterious, vast, whispering dome was this! 



rooTE] IN THE DEPTHS OF THE MINE. 301 

There were sounds which might have been miles away 
through the deadening rock. There were far-off, indistinct 
echoes of life, and subanimate mutterings, the slow respi 
rations of the rocks, drinking air and oozing moisture 
through their sluggish pores, swelling and pushing against 
their straitening bonds of timber. Here were the buried 
Titans, stirring and sighing in their lethargic sleep. 

Cecil was intensely absorbed listening to this strange, 
low diapason of the under-world. Its voice was pitched 
for the ear of solitude and silence. Its sky was perpetual 
night, moonless and starless, with only the wandering, will- 
o'-the-wisp candle-r,ays, shining and fading in its columnated 
avenues, where ranks of dead and barkless tree-trunks 
repressed the heavy, subterranean awakening of the rocks. 

Left to their work, the inevitable forces around her 
would crush together the sides of the dark galleries, and 
crumble the rough-hewn dome above her head. Cecil did 
not know the meaning or the power of this inarticulate 
underground life, but it affected .her imagination all the 
more for her lack of comprehension. Gradually her spirits 
sank under an oppressive sense of fatigue ; she grew drowsy, 
and her pulse beat low in the lifeless air. She drooped 
against the damp wall of rock, and her candle, in a semi- 
oblivious moment, dropped from her lax fingers, and was 
instantly extinguished. 

It seemed to the helpless girl that she had never known 
darkness before. She was plunged into a new element, in 
which she could not breathe, or speak, or move. It was 
chaos before the making of the firmament. She called 
aloud, a faint, futile cry, which frightened her almost 
more than the silence. She had lost the direction in which 
her brother had disappeared, and when she saw an ad 
vancing light she thought it must be he coming in answer 
to her weak call. 

in. 26 



302 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FOOTE 

It was not her brother ; it was a taller man, a miner, 
with a candle in a miner's pronged candlestick fastened in 
the front of his hat. His face was in deep shadow, but 
the faint, yellow candle-rays projected their gleam dimly 
along the drift by which he was approaching. Cecil 
watched him earnestly, but did not recognize him until 
he stood close beside her. He took off his hat carefully, 
not to extinguish the candle which showed them to each 
other. Cecil, crouching, pale and mute, against the damp 
rock, looked up into Hilgard's face, almost as pale as her 
own. 

No greeting passed between them. They stared won- 
deringly into each other's eyes, each questioning the other's 
wraith-like identity. 

" I heard you call," Hilgard said. " Is it possible that 
you are alone in this place ?" 

"No," she replied, feebly rousing herself. "My brother 
is here, with Mrs. Denny ; they are not far away." 

"Your brother is here, not far away?" he repeated. 
A cold despair came over him. There was nothing now 
but to tell her the truth ; in her unconsciousness of its 
significance she would decide between them, and he would 
abide the issue. He leaned against the wall of the drift, 
wiping away the drops of moisture from his temples ; the 
short, damp locks that clung to his forehead were massed 
like the hair on an antique medallion. 

" You did not know me ?" he asked. 

" No ; I could not see your face." 

" I am not showing my face here. I am a spy in the 
enemy's camp. Your brother will hear the result of my 
discoveries, in a few days, from my lawyers." 

It was roughly said, but the facts were rough facts; 
and he could not justify or explain himself to her, except 
at the expense of her brothe*- 



FOOTE] IN THE DEPTHS OF THE MINE. 303 

"Must I tell him that you are here?" she asked. 

"I suppose so, if you are a loyal sister." 

"But I would never have known it if you had not come 
when I called. My candle fell and went out. I was alone 
in this awful darkness." 

"But some' one else would have come if I hadn't. You 
need not be grateful for that. Your brother would have 
found you here." 

"But I could not have endured it a moment longer!" 

" Oh, yes, you would have endured it. I need not have 
come." 

"Why did you come, then?" 

" I don't know," he said. " I was a fool to come. Why 
does a man come, when he hears a woman's voice, that he 
knows, in trouble?" 

He was groping about on the floor of the drift in search 
of her candle ; and now, kneeling beside her, he lit it by 
his own and held it toward her. Their sad, illumined 
eyes met. 

" How your hand trembles ! Were you so frightened ?" 
he asked. 

" Yes ; does it seem very silly to you ? My strength 
seemed all going away." 

It was madness for him to stay, but he could not leave 
her, pale, and dazed, and helpless as she was. 

" Let me fix you a better seat." He moved the rough 
boards on which she was sitting, to make a support for 
her back. 

" Oh, please go, and get out of the mine !" she entreated, 
with voice and eyes, more than with words. 

" But I cannot get out, until the next change of shifts. 
I have taken the place of one of the miners on this shift. 
Besides, I have not finished what I came for." 

" Why do you call yourself a spy ? are you doing any- 



304 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FOOTE 

thing you are ashamed of?" she asked, with childlike 
directness. 

" I am a little ashamed of the way I am doing it," he 
replied, with equal directness, " but not of the thing I am 
doing." 

"And will it injure my brother what you are doing?" 

"Not unless the truth will injure him. I am trying to 
find out the truth." 

" But why should you come in this way to find it out ? 
Surely my brother wants to know it too, if it is about this 
quarrel." 

It was a home question ; he could only answer, 

" Your brother is very sure that he knows the truth 
already. I want to be sure, too. I am not asking you 
not to tell him I am here. I have taken the riaks." 

" What are the risks ?" she asked, quickly. 

" They are of no consequence compared with the thing 
to be done. I must not stay." 

"Ah," she cried, with an accent of terror, "they are 
here!" 

A light showed at the dark opening above the incline, 
and the thin stream of Mrs. Denny's chatter trickled 
faintly on the silence. 

Cecil put out both candles with a flap of her long cloak. 

"Oh, will you go V 

Hilgard heard her whisper, and felt her hands groping 
for him in the darkness and pushing him from her. He 
took the timid hands in his and pressed them to his lips, 
and then stumbled dizzily away through the blackness. 

A proposition from her companions to prolong their 
wanderings until they had reached the barricade was 
opposed by Cecil with all the strength her adventure had 
left her ; but when it appeared that their way lay along 
the same drift in a direction opposite that by which Hil- 



JFooTE] IN THE DEPTHS OF THE MINE. 305 

gard had made his retreat, she offered no further objec 
tion. Her silence was sufficiently explainable by the fright 
she had had in the darkness. 

The drift led to another smaller ore-chamber, where 
miners were at work, picking down the heavy gray sand 
and shovelling it into the tram-cars. Conrath explained 
that this " stope" was in the new strike, claimed by the 
Led-Horse, and that the barricade guarded the drift just 
boyond. 

" I suppose it doesn't make so much difference whom 
the ore belongs to," Mrs. Denny commented, lightly : " it's 
a question of who gets it first! Passez, passez! You 
needn't stop to expostulate. I am not a mining expert." 

Conrath looked excessively annoyed, but refrained from 
defining Ms position to this cheerful non-professional ob 
server. As they entered the low passage, they found 
themselves face to face with a wall of solid upright tim 
bering which closed its farther end, and in the midst of 
a silent group of men, seated along the side-walls of the 
drift on blankets and empty powder-kegs. 

The barricade was pierced at about the height of a man's 
shoulders with small round loop-holes. Two miners' can 
dlesticks were stuck in the timbers, high above the heads 
of the guard, who lounged with their rifles across theii 
knees, the steel barrels glistening in the light. 

Cecil's fascinated gaze rested on this significant group. 
The figures were so immovable, and indifferent of face and 
attitude, so commonplace in type, that she but slowly 
grasped the meaning of their presence there. These, 
then, were the risks that were of no consequence ! 

Turning her pale face towards her brother, she asked, 
"Is this what you have-brought us to see?" 

" I thought you knew what a barricade is !" 

"I never knew! I knew I thought it was that," 
in. u 26* 



306 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FOOTE 

pointing to the wall of timber, "but not tbis!" She 
looked toward tbe silent group of men, eacb holding his 
rifle with a careless grasp. 

"You wouldn't make a good miner's wife, Cecil,". said 
Mrs. Denny; and a slow smile went round among the 
men. 

" Hark !" said Conrath. They were still facing the barri 
cade, and the dull thud of picks far off in the wall of rock 
sounded just in front of them. "Do you hear them at 
work? Now turn the other way." The sound came 
again, precisely in front. " They are a long way off yet. 
Can you make out how they are going to strike us, boys?" 
Conrath asked of the guard. 

" You can't tell for sure, the rock is so deceivin' ; but 
they seem to be comin' straight for the end of the 
drift." 

" Who are they ? Who are coming ?" Cecil demanded. 

" The Led-Horses. my dear. They may blast through 
any day or night, but they'll find we've blocked their 
little game." 

" What is their game ?" Mrs. Denny inquired. 

" They claim our new strike, and, from the sound, they 
seem to be coming for it as fast as they can !" 

Cecil locked her arms in the folds of her long, shrouding 
cloak, and a nervous shudder made her tremble from head 
to foot. 

" Poor little girl !" said Conrath, putting his arm around 
her shoulders ; " I ought to have taken you straight home 
after the fright you got in the drift." 

" Why, do you know," said Mrs. Denny, looking a little 
pale herself, " I think this is awfully interesting. I'd no 
idea that beauteous young Hilgard was such a brigand. 
Just fancy, only two nights ago you were dancing with 
him, Cecil !" 



FOOTE] IN THE DEPTHS OF THE MINE. 307 

" What ?" said Conrath, turning his sister roughly to 
ward him with the hand that rested on her shoulder. She 
moved away, and stood before him, looking at him, her 
straightened brows accenting the distress in her upraised 
eyes. 

" Why should I not dance with him ? In this place you 
all suspect each other, and accuse each other of every 
thing. He accuses you. Shall Mrs. Denny on that ac 
count refuse to dance with you?" 

She spoke in a very low voice, but Conrath replied, 
quite audibly, " Don't be a fool, Cecil !" 

" Oh," she said, letting her arms fall before her, desper 
ately, " it is all the wildest, wildest folly that any one ever 
heard of! Men fighting about money that isn't even 
their own ! Why, this is not mining, it is murder !" 

" We're not fighting," Conrath replied. " Half the mines 
in the camp are showing their teeth at each other. It's 
the way to prevent fighting. If they keep on their own 
ground there won't be any trouble ; but," turning to Mrs. 
Denny with a darkening look, " if I catch that ' beauteous' 
friend of yours on my ground, he'll be apt to get his beauty 
spoiled." 

On their way back along the drift, they were warned 
by a spark of light and a distant rumbling that a car was 
approaching along the tram-road. They stopped, and, 
lowering their candles, stood close against the sloping 
wall while the car passed. It was at the entrance to an 
other dark gallery, and as the car rolled on, the warm 
wind of its passage making their candles flare, it left them 
face to face with a miner, who had also been overtaken at 
the junction of the drifts. He was tall, and his face was 
in deep shadow from the candle fastened in the crown of 
his hat. He stepped back into the side-drift, pulling his 
hat-brim down. 



308 REST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STREET 

" Who was that ?" Mrs. Denny asked. 

" I didn't notice him," Conrath replied. " One of the 
Cornishmen on the last shift. I don't know all their 
faces." 

" He doesn't walk like a Cornishman," said Mrs. Denny, 
looking after him, " and his hand was the hand of a gen 
tleman." They moved on a few paces in silence. Cecil 
flagged a little behind the others, and then dropped to the 
floor of the drift in a dead faint. 



ASPECTS OF NATURE. 

It is our purpose to give, in the following lyrical series, a few of 
those landscape-poems in which the verse-writers of all ages have so 
liberally indulged, and in which the poets of America have not failed 
to follow the lead of their transatlantic brethren. Poems which 
properly come under this category exist in such abundance that we 
can here give but a very meagre gleaning from the liberal harvest. 
We may open with Alfred B. Street's beautifully-detailed picture of 

A FOREST NOOK. 

A NOOK within the forest : overhead 

The branches arch, and shape a pleasant bower, 

Breaking white cloud, blue sky, and sunshine bright, 

Into pure ivory and sapphire spots, 

And flecks of gold ; a soft, cool, emerald tint 

Colors the air, as though the delicate leaves 

Emitted self-born light. What splendid walls, 

And what a gorgeous roof carved by the hand 

.Of cunning Nature ! Here the spruce thrusts in 

Its bristling plume, tipped with its pale-green points ; 

The scalloped beech leaves, and the birch's cut 



STREET] ASPECTS OF NATURE. 303 

Into fine ragged edges, interlace, 

While here and there, through clefts, the laurel lifts 

Its snowy chalices half brimmed with dew, 

As though to hoard it for the haunting elves 

The moonlight calls to this their festal hall. 

A thick, rich, grassy carpet clothes the earth, 

Sprinkled with autumn leaves. The fern displays 

Its fluted wreath, beaded beneath with drops 

Of richest brown ; the wild rose spreads its breast 

Of delicate pink, and the o'erhanging fir 

Has dropped its dark, long cone. 

The scorching glare 

Without, makes this green nest a grateful haunt 
For summer's radiant things ; the butterfly, 
Fluttering within and resting on some flower, 
Fans his rich velvet form ; the toiling bee 
Shoots .by, with sounding hum and mist-like wings; 
The robin perches on the bending spray 
With shrill, quick chirp ; and, like a flake of fire, 
The redbird seeks the shelter of the leaves. 
And now and then a flutter overhead 
In the thick green betrays some wandering wing 
Coming and going, yet concealed from sight. 
A shrill, loud outcry, on yon highest bough 
Sits the gray squirrel, in his burlesque wrath 
Stamping and chattering fiercely : now he drops 
A hoarded nut, then at my smiling gaze 
Buries himself within the foliage. . . . 
Those breaths of Nature, the light fluttering airs, 
Like gentle respirations, come and go, 
Lift on its crimson stem the maple leaf, 
Displaying its white lining underneath, 
And sprinkle from the tree-tops golden rain 
Of sunshine on the velvet sward below. 



310 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WEEKS 

Such nooks as this are common in the woods, 

And all these sights and sounds the commonest 

In Nature when she wears her summer prime. 

Yet by them pass not lightly : to the wise 

They tell the beauty and the harmony 

Of even the lowliest things that God hath made; 

That this familiar earth and sky are full 

Of His ineffable power and majesty; 

That in the humble objects, seen too oft 

To be regarded, shines such wondrous grace, 

The art of man is vain to imitate ; 

That the low flower our careless foot treads down 

Stands a rich shrine of incense delicate 

And radiant beauty; and that God hath formed 

All, from the cloud- wreathed mountain to the grain 

Of silver sand the bubbling spring casts up, 

With deepest forethought and severest care,. 

And thus these noteless, lovely things are types 

Of His perfection and divinity. 

This charming picture of Nature in her most secret haunts may be 
fitly followed by a poem in another strain, yet not less fraught with 
love of Nature and sympathy with her softest and rarest moods. It is 
from the pen of Kobert Kelly Weeks, the author of several volumes 
of thoughtful verse. 

A DAY. 

Where but few feet ever stray, 
Far beyond the path's advances, 

All alone an idler lay 

Half a breezy summer day 

Underneath a chestnut's branches. 

Not a stranger to the place, 
For the daisies nodded to him, 



WEEKS] ASPECTS OF NATURE. 311 

And the grass, in lines of grace, 
Bending over, touched his face 

With light kisses thrilling through him. 

Close beside his harmless hand 

Swinging bees would suck the clover, 

And a moment to be scanned 

Sunlit butterflies expand 

Easy wings to bear them over. 

All about him, full of glee, 

Careless cricket-songs were ringing, 
And the wild birds in the tree 
Settled down where he could see 
While he heard them gayly singing. 

Overhead he saw the trees 

Nod and beckon to each other, 
And, too glad to be at ease, 
Saw the green leaves in the breeze 
Tingle touching one another j 

Saw the little lonely rill 

In a line of greener growing, 
Slipping downward from the hill, 
Curving here and there at will, 

Through the tangled grasses going ; 
# # * # # # * 
Saw far-off the thin and steep 

Cloudy mountain-lands of wonder, 
Where unseen the torrents leap 
Over rifted rocks that keep 

Echoing memories of the thunder; 



312 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BKAINAHB 

Saw the self-supporting sky 
Ever more and more receding ; 

Loath to linger, loath to fly, 

Saw the clouds go floating by, 

Stranger shapes to strange succeeding ; 

Saw, and mused, and went away, 
Whether light or heavy hearted 

It were hard for him to say, 

For a something came that day 
And a something had departed ; 

And his soul was overfraught 
With a passion e'er returning, 

With the pain that comes unsought 

Of unutterable thought, 

And the restlessness of yearning. 

The poem that follows, the work of John G-. C. Brainard, is thus 
spoken of by Jared Sparks : " Among all the tributes of the Muses to 
that great wonder of Nature [the Falls of Niagara] , we do not remem 
ber any so comprehensive and forcible, and at the same time so graph 
ically correct, as this." This is high praise, when we consider that the 
poem was composed in a few minutes by the poet, when feeble with 
disease, to meet the importunate demand of the printer's boy for 
"copy." 

THE FALL OF NIAGARA. 

The thoughts are strange that crowd into my brain 

While I look upward to thee. It would seem 

As if God poured thee from his " hollow hand," 

And hung his how upon thine awful front, 

And spoke in that loud voice which seemed to him 

Who dwelt in Patmos for his Saviour's sake 

" The sound of many waters," and had bade 

Thy flood to chronicle the ages back, 

And notch His centuries in the eternal rocks. 



STODDARP] ASPECTS OF NATURE. 313 

Deep calleth unto deep. And what are we, 
That hear the question of that voice sublime? 
Oh, what are all the notes that ever rung 
From war's vain trumpet, by thy thundering side ! 
Yea, what is all the riot man can make 
Tn his short life, to thy unceasing roar! 
And yet, bold babbler, what art thou to HIM 
Who drowned a world, and heaped the waters far 
Above its loftiest mountains? a light wave, 
That breaks, and whispers of its Maker's might. 

A picture of one aspect of Nature, as neatly cut as a cameo, is em 
braced in the following verses by E. H. Stoddard. It would be diffi 
cult to find witbin tbe whole range of English poetry a more prettily- 
imaginative and artistically-finished simile. 

THE SKY. 

The sky is a drinking-cup, 
That was overturned of old, 

And it pours in the eyes of men 
Its wine of airy gold. 

We drink that wine all day, 
Till the last drop is drained up, 

And are lighted off to bed 
By the jewels in the cup ! 

The following tribute to another aspect of Nature is from the pen of 
James G. Percival : 

TO SENECA LAKE. 

On thy fair bosom, silver lake, 

The wild swan spreads his snowy sail, 

And round his breast the ripples break, 

As down he bears before the gale. 
ITT. o 27 



314 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [PERCIVAI 

On thy fair bosom, waveless stream, 

The dipping paddle echoes far, 
And flashes in the moonlight gleam, 

And bright reflects the polar star. 

The waves along thy pebbly shore, 

As blows the north wind, heave their foam, 

And curl around the dashing oar, 
As late the boatman hies him home. 

How sweet, at set of sun, to view 
Thy golden mirror spreading wide, 

And see the mist of mantling blue 

Float round the distant mountain's side! 

At midnight hour, as shines the moon, 

A sheet of silver spreads below, 
And swift she cuts, at highest noon, 

Light clouds, like wreaths of purest snow. 

On thy fair bosom, silver lake, 

Oh, I could ever sweep the oar, 
When early birds at morning wake, 

And evening tells us toil is o'er. 

A beautiful picture of the twilight, and of the charm of a peaceful 
country scene, is presented in the following graceful 

LINES, 

SUGGESTED BY A PICTURE BY WASHINGTON ALLSTON. 

The tender Twilight with a crimson cheek 
Leans on the breast of Eve. The wayward Wind 
Hath folded her fleet pinions, and gone down 
To slumber by the darkened woods ; the herds 



MCLELLAN] ASPECTS OF NATURE. 315 

Have left their pastures, where the sward grows green 

Aiid lofty by the river's sedgy brink, 

And slow are winding home. Hark! from afar 

Their tinkling bells sound through the dusky glade 

And forest-openings, with a pleasant sound, 

While answering Echo, from the distant hill, 

Sends back the music of the herdsman's horn. 

How tenderly the trembling light yet plays 

O'er the far- waving foliage ! Day's last blush 

Still lingers on the billowy waste of leaves, 

With a strange beauty, like the yellow flush 

That haunts the ocean when the day goes by. 

Methinks, whene'er earth's wearying troubles pass 

Like winter shadows o'er the peaceful mind, 

'Twere sweet to turn from life, and pass abroad, 

With solemn footsteps, into Nature's vast 

And happy palaces, and lead a life 

Of peace in some green paradise like this. 

The brazen trumpet and the loud war-drum 
Ne'er startled these green woods : the raging sword 
Hath never gathered its red harvest here : 
The peaceful summer day hath never closed 
Around this quiet- spot and caught the gleam 
Of War's rude pomp : the humble dweller here 
Hath never left his sickle in the field, 
To slay his fellow with unholy hand : 
The maddening voice of battle, the wild groan, 
The thrilling murmuring of the dying man, 
And the shrill shriek of mortal agony, 
Hath never broke its Sabbath solitude. 

ISAAC MCLELLAN. 

In a somewhat similar vein is the sunrise poem which follows, from 
the pen of one of New England's most distinguished sons : 



316 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [DA WES 

SUNRISE FROM MOUNT WASHINGTON. 

The laughing hours have chased away the Night, 

Plucking the stars out from her diadem : 

And now the blue-eyed Morn, with modest grace, 

Looks through her half- drawn curtains in the east, 

Blushing in smiles, and glad as infancy. 

And see, the foolish Moon, but now so vain 

Of borrowed beauty, how she yields her charms. 

And, pale with envy, steals herself away! 

The clouds have put their gorgeous livery on, 

Attendant on the day : the mountain-tops 

Have lit their beacons, and the vales below 

Send up a welcoming: no song of birds, 

Warbling to charm the air with melody, 

Floats on the frosty breeze ; yet Nature hath 

The very soul of music in her looks ! 

The sunshine and the shade of poetry. 

I stand upon thy lofty pinnacle, 
Temple of Nature ! and look down with awe 
On the wide world beneath me, dimly seen. 
Around me crowd the giant sons of earth, 
Fixed on their old foundations, unsubdued ; 
Firm as when first rebellion bade them rise 
Unrifted to the Thunderer : now they seem 
A family of mountains, clustering round 
Their hoary patriarch, emulously watching 
To meet the partial glances of the day. 
Far in the glowing east the flickering light, 
Mellowed by distance with the blue sky blending, 
Questions the eye with ever-varying forms. 

The sun comes up ! away the shadows fling 
From the broad hills, and, hurrying to the west, 



WRIGHT] ASPECTS OF NATURE. 317 

Sport in the sunshine, till they die awaj^. 

The many beauteous mountain-streams leap down, 

Out-welling from the clouds, and sparkling light 

Dances along with their perennial flow. 

And there is beauty in yon river's path, 

The glad Connecticut ! I know her well, 

By the white veil she mantles o'er her charms : 

At times she loiters by a ridge of hills, 

Sportfully hiding ; then again with glee 

Out-rushes from her wild-wood lurking-place. 

Far as the eye can bound, the ocean-waves, 

And hills and rivers, mountains, lakes, and woods, 

And all that hold the faculty entranced, 

Bathed in a flood of glory, float in air, 

And sleep in the deep quietude of joy. 

There is an awful stillness in this place, 
A Presence that forbids to break the spell, 
Till the heart pour its agony in tears. 
But I must drink the vision while it lasts ; 
For even now the curling vapors rise, 
Wreathing their cloudy coronals, to grace 
These towering summits, bidding me away ; 
But often shall my heart turn back again, 
Thou glorious eminence ! and when oppressed, 
And aching with the coldness of the world, 
Find a sweet resting-place and home with thee. 

EUPUS DAWES. 

In a more frolicsome and less restrained tone is " The Brook" ot 
William B. Wright, one of the most finely imaginative of our recent 
poets. We give but a portion of this very long poern. 

Brief the search until I heard him, 
Sweetest truant, at his play ; 
in. 27* 



318 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WRIGHT 

Such a soul of laughter stirred him, 

Could not rest by night or day. 

Brief the search until I found him 

Gambolling, crumpling all his bed ; 

Woods and rocks, that loved him, round him, 

And the brakes twined overhead. 

As I came, away he sped 

On fleet pearly feet of lightning 

Just behind a rosy croft ; 

Flashing thence with sudden brightening, 

Tossed his baby head aloft, 

And with cries of merriment 

Down the sombre forest went. 

# # # # # # # 
'Tis but the joyous quality 
Of life that pricks his heart with glee. 
So blithe, so rash, he cannot guess 
What burdens gather to oppress, 
What world-old wrestlers, stanch and grim, 
Sit by the wayside waiting him, 
Whose savage grapple without ruth 
Unlocks the tender joints of youth. 
The child among his rattles, 
What though he not forebode 
The shock and din of battles 
That wait him on the road ! 
Suffice unto the happy elf 
The wonders of his present self. 
What profit, though he knew that Fate 
Already snuffed his track, 
Yea, from behind his very back 
Reached stealthy fingers to create 
From the toys he breaks and idly scatters 
Adamantine links of future fetters ! 



WRIGHT] ASPECTS OF NATURE. 319 

******* 
What need has my sweet child of wings? 
He can out-trip all adverse things. 
See his silver sandal flash, 
So cunning-wise, though seeming-rash ! 
So soft to glide, so quick to flit, 
What force can bind or intermit 
The motions of his flowing wit ? 
In his mystic pace does dwell 
All the speed of Neptune's shell, 
All the stealth of Mercury's heel, 
All the fire of Phoebus' wheel. 
Languors dull or grosser slumber 
Never stay his ramping limb : 
The gods gave all their gayety 

When they modelled him. 
* * * * * * 

Who could lure thee but to tarry 

While he spake a word with thee, 

Take in a net thy spirit wary, 

Till it told its cause of glee ? 

So oft thy humor veers and doubles, 

I cannot guess thy will or reason, 

Or thrid the tangle of thy mind, 

That, never seeking, still does find, 

Drinks deep through every tingling nerve, 

And thrills through each voluptuous curve 

With dizzy transports of the season. 

Eut when thy waves are crisped and curled 

Against a lily or a pebble, 

And all about thy woodland world 

Echoes thy dainty-trilling treble, 

Or when with airy leap and laughter 

Thou dancest down the sloping shelf, 



320 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ANONYMOUS 

Trailing a hundred ringlets after, 
I sometimes catch the sprightly elf, 
Who cannot always hide himself. 
A wisdom to thyself, a gladness, 
It well beseems thee to disdain 
The mortal's haughty scope of sadness, 
The griefs that make our lives profane. 
Oh, glorious skein of sunlight, 
Fresh from the spindle of love divine, 
Thou art to me a heavenly sign 
To cheer, ennoble, and invite. 
Something within me strongly pleads 
To follow where thy splendor leads. 
I cannot doubt the path is right : 
I give myself to thee to guide me, 
Be thou my fate, whate'er betide me. 

Our series of poems devoted to the Aspects of Nature might be 
extended indefinitely, without exhausting the fine landscape-poems 
by American authors. "We shall therefore close the series with some 
verses in a different manner from the preceding, by an anonymous 
writer : 

THE RAIN. 

There is something in the strain 
Played by the descending rain 
Some sad sound 
As it drips upon the ground 
That again, alas ! again 

(Ah me! I thought them fled 

Unto the silent dead) 
Calls up deep-buried memories of pain. 

Falling still, drop, drop, 
As it nevermore would stop, 



GILES] DEATH AND THE FUTURE LIFE. 321 

From the wet eyes of the cloud 

Weeps the rain, 
From that dark and dismal shroud, 
In whose depth tempestuous things 
Hide and fold their dreadful wings, 
Mute, like statued suiferings 

In the brain. 

It strideth downward from the sky, 

On feet of mist it runneth by, 

Upon my heart I feel its tread 

Wake from their low, deep graves the dead, 

Buried fancies that of yore 

Bich imagination bore, 

Cherished hopes that died, as all 

Fairest things untimely fall. 

Phantoms vague, they come and go, 

With eyes turned backward full of woe, 

While sad Fancy sits in folly 

Nursing pensive Melancholy, 

Till, lost in mournful musing, her blue eyes 

Weep with the skies. 



DEATH AND THE FUTURE LIFE. 

CHAUNCEY GILES. 

[The doctrines of the New Church (Swedenborgian) as expounded 
in the writings of the Rev. Chauncey Giles are certainly rendered with 
a charming rhetoric and a grace of diction which make these writings 
agreeable reading, whatever may be thought of their argument. Of 
the various works of Mr. Giles the most popular is " Man as a Spirit 
ual Being," which has had a large circulation in England as well as 
ITT. v 



322 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GILES 

in this country, and has been translated into several European lan 
guages. From this work we extract a portion of the chapter on 
" Death " Taken as a whole, it is one of the neatest and most con 
vincing arguments extant in evidence of the reality of a future life. 
We can, however, give it in but a fragmentary form. Mr. Giles was 
born in Massachusetts in 1813. He has been connected with the New 
Church since 1853, and is at present pastor of the First New Jerusalem 
Society of Philadelphia.] 

IP death is the end of our individual and conscious 
being ; if nothing remains but the ashes from the burnt 
taper, or a formless essence that soars away and mingles 
with the elements ; if our glowing hopes, our lofty aspira 
tions, our consciousness of capacities for knowledge and 
happiness which have just begun to expand, are all cut 
off by death, and buried in the grave, then, indeed, man 
is the greatest enigma in the universe. Compared with 
the possibilities of his nature, he is the fading flower, the 
withering grass, the morning cloud, the tale that is told. 

But if death is only the completion of the first little 
round in life, the first short flight ; if it marks the end 
only of his seed-time; if his budding hopes, his lofty as 
pirations, and dawning consciousness of desires which no 
earthly good can fill, are but the swelling germs of facul 
ties that are to blossom and bear immortal fruit ; if he 
leaves in the grave only the swaddling-clothes of his spirit 
ual infancy, and rises as from a sleep, in perfect human 
form, with all his memory, his consciousness of individual 
being, to enter upon an endless career, in which hope is 
changed into fruition, and aspiration into attainment, 
then death is the grand step in life. It solves all its 
enigmas ; it is the fulfilment, of which this life is but the 
prophecy ; and to the wise and pure it opens the shining 
portals of an endless day. . . . 

What, then, is the death of man, according to the 



GILES] DEATH AND THE FUTURE LIFE. 323 

common meaning of the word death f I answer : It is the 
withdrawal of the man himself from the material body. 
He casts the body aside. He deserts it. And by this act 
he steps out of this world into the spiritual world. By 
the simple act, no change is effected in the man himself, 
in form, organization, or character. He is no better and 
no worse ; he knows no more and no less ; he has not lost 
or gained a single feature or faculty. He has only gained 
more favorable conditions for the attainment of his ends. 

Nor is any change effected in the material body by the 
simple act of death. It has the same form, the same or 
ganization. The eye has the same coats and lenses ; it is 
composed of the same substances ; the nerves of taste and 
touch and motion are all perfect ; it possesses as much life 
as it ever did, that is, none at all. The simple act the 
thing done is the separation of two organic forms which 
before had acted together as one. That form, in which 
life resided, still retains it ; and that which was dependent 
upon the other for all its power, and even for the ability 
to resist the common forces of nature and retain its form, 
has lost it, and is as powerless to love, to think, to feel 
and a"ct, as the substances which compose it were when 
they were metals, earth, and gases. It is true a great 
change soon commences in both forms. The material 
body, having lost the special power which gave it organi 
zation and enabled it to resist the common forces of nature, 
yields to their action, and returns to its former state, 
becomes earth and gas, and mingles with the elements; 
while the man enters upon his new career, under new con 
ditions, with corresponding results. Such is the change we 
call death. It is very small in itself, but most momentous 
in its results. 

If we look at the body alone and mistake that for the 
man himself, as most persons practically do, the change is 



324 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GILES 

terrible. There lies the form we have loved, cold, motion 
less, dead. The red current of life that flowed through 
artery and vein has become a standing pool ; the nerves 
that gave sensation to the whole body, and special ability 
to each organ to do its appropriate work, have lost their 
power ; the light of thought and affection no longer beams 
upon us from the eye ; the ear is deaf to our imploring 
cries, the smile of love has faded from the white lips, and 
no voice of recognition can ever move them more ; the 
arm has lost its power, and the fingers their cunning ; the 
feet will run on no more errands of love and duty. And 
soon the very form disappears, mingles with the elements 
and is lost. How terrible the fate, if that body was the 
man himself! How irreparable the loss, if the friend, the 
child, the husband, the wife we loved, was that form ! I 
do not wonder that those who have no idea of man as a 
spiritual being shrink from death with horror; that it is 
universally regarded as the great agony and terror, and 
that multitudes cling to the hope that these elements may 
be reorganized into the human form, and man's personal 
existence be restored to him. 

But if we regard the spirit as the real man, there is no 
loss of being or form or consciousness ; there is no death. 
The same heart beats with the same love as ever; the 
same eye is luminous with affection and kind thoughts ; 
the same ear hears, not our outward cries, but the secret 
aspirations and yearnings of our souls ; the same face 
beams with the same or a more unselfish and ardent lovo, 
and the lips whisper it to our inward ear ; the same arms 
are stronger to give us spiritual support, and the same 
hands minister to our real wants with greater efficiency 
and tenderer skill; and the whole life of those we have 
loved is nearer our life, and throbs in and through our in 
most being with a stronger pulse than when the same form 



GILES] DEATH AND THE FUTURE LIFE. 325 

and the same life were separated from us by a wall of 
clay. We see them not. We never saw them. Only the 
mask they wore was visible to the natural senses. They 
have thrown off that, and when we throw off ours, we 
shall really see them and be seen, " not as through a glass 
darkly, but we shall see as we are seen, and know as we 
are known." Such is the apparent and such is the real 
change we call death. . . . 

It is in accordance with the experience of all ages and 
universal consciousness that all our mental and spiritual 
faculties are limited and restrained "cabined, cribbed, 
confined" by the material body. We begin to feel its 
restraints in infancy, and we maintain a life-long struggle 
against it. The infant feels it in its first efforts in learn 
ing to walk. Indeed, it is this very desire to escape from 
its restraints that impels it to the difficult and perilous 
task. The foot will not convey it to the desired spot ; the 
hand will not grasp the glittering bauble. The youth, 
with all his exuberant life and strength, chafes under it. 
He would mount with the eagle ; he would fly with the 
wind ; he would be here, there, everywhere, to gratify his 
insatiable curiosity. But the body lags behind and anchors 
him to the earth and fetters his limbs. When he would 
learn to wield the instruments of labor or art, his industry 
and patience are tested to the utmost. Even in the prime 
of life, the body is never perfectly obedient to the soul. 
And then how soon the eye fails the scholar; the hand 
will not obey the musician; the nerves grow tremulous 
and the muscles tire. A great part of the invention, skill, 
and effort of humanity is employed to overcome the 
weight and drag of the body. The steamship, the rail- 
car, and the telegraph have all been called to assist man 
in keeping pace with his desires ; and, though they have 
nearly annihilated space and time, he is as impatient of 
in. 28 



326 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GILES 

delay as ever, and grieves and despairs at the immeas 
urable distance between his attainments and his wants. 

It is true he gains in his control over the body for a 
time, but he soon reaches the limit of its capacities ; and 
then its ability to express the thoughts and affections, 
and do the will of the spirit, continually diminishes. The 
strength fails; the senses grow obtuse and dim; and the 
body becomes the soul's prison ; shuts it out from the 
material world and all its delights ; fetters its limbs with 
feebleness, and immures it in a dungeon, devoid of light 
and joy. How terrible would be its fate if there was no 
release from it ! And we have no grounds for believing 
that the body would not decay, even if man had not 
sinned, for the plant and the animal are subject to the 
same law. But death comes as a blessed deliverer from 
this bondage to the flesh; breaks off our chains, clears 
the mist from the eye, and sets every faculty free. . . . 

Now, we believe that every bone and muscle and feather 
[of the bird], and every organ within and without, is a 
true prophet of its future state. We know also that 
every prophecy is fulfilled. These organs foretell another 
world of ineffable perfections compared with the one in 
which it then dwelt. They prophesy of air and light ; 
of joyous song and social flight ; of worm and seed for 
all its needs ; and every prophecy is fulfilled to the letter. 

So it is with everything in the material world. Wherever 
you find any overplus of organization or strength beyond 
the present wants of plant and animal, it is an unfailing 
evidence of a state not yet attained. Does any one sup 
pose, then, that these blind surgings of man's soul against 
the prison-walls of the body have no meaning? Does the 
Lord follow a certain method with unvarying regularity 
up to man, and then stop short, and even reverse it, in 
him? No; it cannot be. The Lord always works like 



GILES] DEATH -AND THE FUTURE LIFE. 327 

Himself; He pursues the same order and method in all 
planes of the creation that come within our knowledge, 
and no human ingenuity can suggest a reason why He 
should abandon them for man, more than for the insect 
and sparrow. 

Every one knows that we never find anything in this 
world to fully content and satisfy us. We often think we 
shall be satisfied when we have a little more ; but that 
little more enlarges and recedes as we approach it. Enough 
is an ever-receding goal. The men who have the most 
knowledge are the most eager for more. Those who have 
the largest fortunes are the most anxious to accumulate. 
Alexander weeps for more worlds to conquer; and Newton, 
who has weighed the planets in the balance of his intellect, 
and with cunning fingers has disentangled the solar ray 
and showed its various colored threads, standing on the 
pinnacle of his amazing knowledge, is yet " the little child 
upon the shore who has found only a few shells, while the 
vast ocean of truth lies unexplored before him." The 
artist embodies the highest conceptions of his genius on 
canvas or in marble ; but immediately his conceptions rise 
above themselves ; he sees new beauty and grandeur in 
the human form ; and he, too, is running towards an ever- 
receding goal. The same is true, only in a greater degree, 
of the affections. There is no home so beautiful and full 
of love as to satisfy every ideal affection ; there is no 
being so perfectly the complement of our own, that we 
can conceive no lack and no superfluity. 

These ideals and aspirations after something which the 
world cannot give, are to man, in the material body and 
the material world, what the organization of the sparrow 
is to the egg. They are voices implanted in man's nature 
prophesying another world that shall be adequate to his 
largest desires. These stirrings of a higher life within 



328 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [GILES 

us; these surgings of mighty impulses against the walls 
of clay are the struggles of the unfledged bird for a new 
state of being. They are not, they cannot be, the mock- 
ings of some tormenting fiend ; they are the powerful 
voices of an all-merciful, all- wise Father, who has provided 
a better world for us than this, voices of love and hope, 
in which He calls us to believe in that world, and prepare 
for it. 

But, as the sparrow could not fly in the summer air 
and pour forth the fulness of its own delight in song until 
its organization had been effected in the shell, so neither 
can man enter into full consciousness of the perfections of 
the spiritual world until the proper spiritual organization 
has been formed in the material body ; and, as the bird 
cannot enter into its new world until it breaks its shell 
and escapes from it, so neither can man rise into the 
spiritual world until he throws off the material body and 
thus breaks down the partition walls which separate him 
from it. 

There is another legitimate deduction from these uni 
versal methods of the Divine operation, full of the greatest 
and surest promises of good to man. So far as we know, 
the plant, the bird, the animal, fully attain the ends of 
their being. The most perfect animal has no thought, no 
desire, no impulse even, for anything beyond this world. So 
far as they are concerned, the declaration of the Psalmist is 
true, " Thou openest Thy hand and satisfiest the desires 
of every living thing." It is true for man also. It must 
be, or the whole" creation is a lie. But we must take man's 
whole being into consideration. It is false only when we 
mistake the lowest and the merely rudimentary part of 
his nature for the whole. If you judge the plant by the 
blossom, or the insect by the chrysalis, you will come to 
the same false conclusion you do when you judge man by 



GILES] DEATH AND THE FUTURE LIFE. 329 

his life in the material body. Everything in the universe 
points to the conclusion that the Lord intended, and still 
intends, to satisfy every spiritual want of man, as fully as 
He satisfies every natural want of the animal. He has 
made such ample and varied provisions for every possible 
want, that man cannot frame a hope which will not be 
realized ; he cannot have a desire that will not be grati 
fied ; he cannot conceive a good which he will not obtain ; 
he cannot form an ideal which will not become an actual ; 
he cannot lift an aspiration above the level of his attain 
ment. This is the Lord's promise in His word, " Ye shall 
ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you;" and this 
promise is written upon the whole creation. 

You have seen an animal in a good pasture lying in the 
shade or basking in the sun, and you knew that its desires 
were all satisfied ; it had no dream of a want. Within the 
little round of its life it is content, it is full. Now, what 
the attainment of the animal is for the animal, will be 
man's attainment for man. With all his mental and spirit 
ual faculties increased to an inconceivable degree of scope 
and power; with his knowledge and affections enlarged 
beyond the present capacities of the highest angel, yet 
every want will be satisfied. He will be full. Visions of 
glory and beauty will dawn upon his clear vision, such as 
no earthly eye has seen, and no heart conceived, and he 
will reach them, possess them, enjoy them, and they will 
content him. There are only two words that express 
such a state, Peace, Blessedness. Peace within, peace with 
all around. Blessedness in the heart ; blessedness in the 
understanding; blessedness in every faculty and every re 
lation. 

This is what the Lord promises us in His word, and in 
His works, and it is a promise He will fulfil to the letter. 
But you must give Him time, and be obedient to His 
in. 28* 



330 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [NEAL 

way. He cannot give it to you while you are in the ma 
terial body. He cannot give it to you in this world, any 
more than He can give flight and the joy of song to the 
bird in the egg. It requires a spiritual world to satisfy all 
the demands of our spiritual faculties. 

Now, gather all these considerations into one ; the limi 
tations and obstructions to the soul inherent in matter; 
the nature of the soul itself; the universal testimony of 
the Divine methods in the creation ; the certainty with 
which the Lord accomplishes His ends, with no excess of 
means and no lack of attainment ; the Divine promises in 
the Word ; and does not everything point to the absolute 
necessity of the death of the body ? Is there any excep 
tion to it ? No, the testimony is all on one side. The 
soul could not possibly attain those immeasurable heights 
of perfection of which it knows itself to be capable, with 
out freeing itself from the body. What we call death, 
then, is an orderly step in life. It is not a curse, but a 
blessing. It deprives us of no good. It introduces us to 
innumerable and inconceivable delights. Instead of fear 
ing it, we should thank the Lord for it, and patiently 
await its coming. We should do our work here well, 
knowing it is the best preparation we can make for the 
largest blessings hereafter. 



, A PRETTY TIME OF NIGHT. 

JOSEPH C. NEAL. 

[The author of " Charcoal Sketches" at one time occupied a promi 
nent position in American humorous- literature, though he has long 
since been crowded out by the host of new aspirants to fame as humor 
ists. We give a favorable specimen of his art. He was born in New 



JS'KAL] A PRETTY TIME OF NIGHT. 331 

Hampshire in 1807. In 1831 he entered the journalistic profession 
in Philadelphia, and in 1844 established NeaVs Saturday Gazette, 
which gained an extensive popularity. He published several volumes 
of humorous sketches. Died in 1848.] 

WE know it to be theoretical in certain schools in the 
kitchen, for instance, which is the most orthodox and 
sensible of the schools that, as a general rule, the lead 
ing features of character are indicated by the mode in 
which we pull a bell, and that, to a considerable extent, 
we may infer the kind of person who is at the door just 
as we do the kind of fish that bobs the cork by tht 
species of vibration which is given to the wire. Rash, 
impetuous, choleric, and destructive, what chance has 
the poor little bell in such hands? But the considerate, 
modest, lowly, and retiring, do you ever know such 
people to break things? Depend upon it, too, that our 
self-estimate is largely indicated by our conduct in this 
respect. If it does not betray what we really are, it most 
assuredly discloses the temper of the mind at the moment 
of our ringing. 

" Tinkle !" 

Did you hear ? 

Nothing could be more amiable or unobtrusive than 
that. It would scarcely disturb the nervous system of a 
mouse ; and whoever listened to it might at once under 
stand that it was the soft tintinnabulary whisper of a 
gentleman of the convivial turn and of the " locked-out" 
description, who, conscious probably of the default, is 
desirous of being admitted to his domiciliary comforts 
upon the most pacific and silent terms that can be ob 
tained from those who hold the citadel and possess the 
inside of the door. 

"Tinkle!" 

Who can doubt that he Mr. Tinkle would take off 



332 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [NEAL 

his boots and go up-stairs in his stocking-feet, muttering 
rebuke to every step that creaked? What a deprecating 
mildness there is in the deportment of the "great locked- 
out" ! How gently do they tap, and how softly do they 
ring ! while, perchance, in due proportion to their enjoy 
ment in untimely and protracted revel is the penitential 
aspect of their return. There is a " never-do-so-any-more- 
ishness" all about them, yea, even about the bully boys 
" who wouldn't go home till morning, till daylight does 
appear," singing up to the very door ; and when they 

" Tinkle!" 

it is intended as a hint merely, and not as a broad annun 
ciation, insinuated not proclaimed aloud that some 
body who is very sorry who "didn't go to help it," and 
all that is at the threshold, and that, if it be the same to 
you, he would be exceeding glad to come in, with as little 
of scolding and rebuke as may be thought likely to answer 
the purpose. There is a hope in it, a subdued hope 

" Tinkle !" 

that perchance a member of the family good-natured 
as well as insomnolent may be spontaneously awake, 
and disposed to open the door without clamoring up Mal 
colm, Donalbain, and the whole house. Why should every 
one know ? But 

"Tinkle tankle!" 

Even patience itself on a damp, chilly, unwholesome 
night, patience at the street door, all alone by itself and 
disposed to slumber, as patience is apt to be after patience 
has been partaking of potations and of collations, even 
patience itself cannot be expected to remain tinkling 
there " pianissimo" hour after hour, as if there were 
nothing else in this world worthy of attention but the 
ringing of bells. Who can be surprised that patience at 
last becomes reckless and desperate, let the consequences 



NEAL] A PRETTY TIME OF NIGHT. 333 

rhinoceroses or Hyrcan tigers assume what shape they 
may ? 

There is a furious stampede upon the marble, a fierce 
word or two of scathing Saxon, and then 

"Bangle ja-a-a-ngle ra-a-a-ng ! ! !" the sound being 
of that sharp, stinging, .excruciating kind which leads to 
the conclusion that somebody is " worse". and is getting in 
a rage. 

That one, let me tell you, was Mr. Dawson Dawdle, in 
whom wrath had surmounted discretion, and who, as a 
forlorn hope, had now determined to make good his en 
trance assault, storm, escalade at any hazard and at 
any cost. Dawson Dawdle was furious now, " savager- 
ous," as you have been, probably, when kept at the door 
till your teeth rattled like castanets and cachuchas. 

Passion is picturesque in attitude, as well as poetic in 
expression. Dawson Dawdle braced his feet one on each 
side of the door-post, as a purchase, and tugged at the bell 
with both hands, until windows flew up in all directions, 
and night-capped heads, in curious variety, were projected 
into the gloom. Something seemed to be the matter at 
Dawdle's. 

" Who's sick ?" cried one. 

" Where's the fire ?" asked another. 

" The Mexicans are come !" shouted a third. But Daw- 
son Dawdle had reached that state of intensity which is 
regardless of every consideration but that of the business 
in hand, and he continued to pull away, as if at work by 
the job, while several observing watchmen stood by in 
admiration of his zeal. Yet there was no answer to this 
pealing appeal for admittance. Not that Mrs. Dawson 
Dawdle was deaf, not she, nor dumb either. Nay, she 
had recognized Mr. Dawdle's returning step, that hus 
band's " foot," which should, according to the poet, 



334 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

" Have music in't 
As he comes up the stair." 

But Dawdle was allowed to make his music in the 
street, while his wife, obdurate, listened with a smile 
bordering, we fear, upon exultation, at his progressive 
lessons and rapid improvements in the art of ringing 
" triple-bob-majors." 

"Let him wait," remarked Mrs. Dawson Dawdle; "let 
him wait: 'twill do him good. I'm sure I've been waiting 
long enough for him." 

And so she had ; but, though there be a doubt whether 
this process of waiting had " done good" in her own case, 
yet if there be truth or justice in the vengeful practice 
which would have us act toward others precisely as they 
deport themselves to us, and every one concedes that it is 
very agreeable, however wrong, to carry on the war after 
this fashion, Mrs. Dawson Dawdle could have little diffi 
culty in justifying herself for the course adopted. 

Only to think of it, now ! 

Mrs. Dawson Dawdle is one of those natural and proper 
people who become sleepy of evenings, and who are rather 
apt to yawn after tea. Mr. Dawson Dawdle, on the other 
hand, is of the unnatural and improper species who are 
not sleepy or yawny of evenings, never so, except of 
mornings. Dawson insists on it that he is no chicken to 
go to roost at sundown ; while Mrs. Dawson Dawdle rises 
with the lark. The larks he prefers are larks at night. 
Now, as a corrective to these differences of opinion, Daw- 
son Dawdle had been cunningly deprived of his pass-key, 
that he might be induced " to remember not to forget" to 
come home betimes, a thing he was not apt to remember, 
especially if good companionship intervened. 

Thus Mrs. Dawdle was " waiting up" for him. 



NEAL] A PRETTY TIME OF NIGHT. 335 

" Well," said he, at the bell-handle all this time, " well, 
I suppose it's late again, it rings as if it was late ; and 
somehow or other it appears to me that it always is late, 
especially and particularly when my wife tells me to be 
sure to be home early, 'you Dawson, come back soon, 
d'ye hear?' and all that sort o' thing. I wish she wouldn't: 
it puts me out, to keep telling me what I ought to do ; and 
when I have to remember to come home early, it makes 
me forget all about it, and discomboberates my ideas so 
that I'm a great deal later than I would be if I was left to 
my own sagacity. Let me alone, and I'm great upon 
sagacity; but yet what is sagacity when it has no key 
and the dead-latch is down ? What chance has sagacity 
got when sagacity's wife won't let sagacity in? I'll 
have another pull at the bell : exercise is good for one's 
health." 

This last peal as peals, under such circumstances, are 
apt to be was louder, more sonorous, and in all respects 
more terrific than any of its "illustrious predecessors," 
practice in this respect tending to the improvement of 
skill on the one hand, just as it adds provocation to temper 
on the other. For a moment the fate of Dawson Dawdle 
quivered in the scale, as the eye of his exasperated lady 
glanced fearfully round the room for a means of retaliation 
and redress. Nay, her hand rested for an instant upon a 
pitcher, while thoughts of hydropathics, douches, shower- 
baths, Graefenbergs, and Priessnitzes, in their medicinal 
application to dilatory husbands, presented themselves in 
quick aquatic succession, like the rushings of a cataract. 
Never did man come nearer to being drowned than Mr. 
Dawson Dawdle. 

" But no," said she, relenting ; " if he were to ketch his 
death o' cold he'd be a great deal more trouble than he 
is now : husbands with bad colds coughing husbands and 



336 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [NEAL 

sneezing husbands are the stupidest and tiresomest kind 
of husbands : bad as they may be, ducking don't improve 
'em. I'll have recourse to moral suasion; and if that 
won't answer, I'll duck him afterward." 

Suddenly, and in the midst of a- protracted jangle, the 
door flew widely open, and displayed the form of Mrs. 
Dawson Dawdle, standing sublime silent statuesque 
wrapped in wrath and enveloped in taciturnity. Dawdle 
was appalled. 

"My dear!" and his hand dropped nervelessly from the 
bell-handle, "my dear, it's me, only me!" 

Not a word of response to the tender appeal ; the lady 
remained obdurate in silence, chilly and voiceless as the 
marble, with her eyes sternly fixed upon the intruder. 
Dawson Dawdle felt himself running down. 

"My dear he! he!" and Dawson laughed with a mel 
ancholy quaver, " it's me that's come home you know 
me it's late, I confess it's 'most always late and I 
ho ! ho ! why don't you say something, Mrs. Dawson 
Dawdle? Do you think I'm going to be skeered, Mrs. 
Dawdle ?" 

As the parties thus confronted each other, Mrs. Dawdle's 
"masterly inactivity" proved overwhelming. For re 
proaches Dawson was prepared : he could bear part in a 
war of opinion ; the squabble is easy to most of us, but 
where are we when the antagonist will not deign to speak, 
and environs us, as it were, in an ambuscade, so that we 
fear the more because we know not what to fear? 

" Why don't she blow me up ?" queried Dawdle to him 
self, as he found his valor collapsing; "why don't she blow 
me up, like an affectionate woman and a loving wife, in 
stead of standing there in that ghostified fashion ?" 

Mrs. Dawdle's hand slowly extended itself toward the 
culprit, who made no attempt at evasion or defence, slowly 



NEAL] A PRETTY TIME OF NIGHT. 337 

it entwined itself in the folds of his neck-handkerchief, 
and, as the unresisting Dawson had strange fancies rela 
tive to bow-strings, he found himself drawn inward by a 
sure and steady grasp. Swiftly was he sped through the 
darksome entry and up the winding stair, without a word 
to comfort him in his stumbling progress. 

" Dawson Dawdle ! look at the clock ! A pretty time 
of night, indeed, and you a married man ! Look at the 
clock, I say, and see." 

Mrs. Dawson Dawdle, however, had, for the moment, 
lost her advantage in thus giving utterance to her emotion; 
and Mr. Dawson Dawdle, though much shaken, began to 
recover his spirits. 

" Two o'clock, Mr. Dawdle two ! isn't it two, I ask 
you?" 

" If you are positive about the fact, Mrs. Dawdle, it 
would be unbecoming in me to call your veracity in ques 
tion, and I decline looking. So far as I am informed, it 
generally is two o'clock just about this time in the morn 
ing : at least, it always has been whenever I stayed up to 
see. If the clock is right, you'll be apt to find it two just 
as it strikes two ; that's the reason it strikes, and I don't 
know that it could have a better reason." 

" A pretty time !" 

" Yes, pretty enough," responded Dawdle ; " when it 
don't rain, one time of night is as pretty as another time 
of night ; it's the people that's up in the time of night 
that's not pretty; and you, Mrs. Dawdle, are a case in 
p'int, keeping a man out of his own house. It's not the 
night that's not pretty, Mrs. Dawdle, but the goings-on 
that's not; and you are the goings-on. As for me, I'm 
for peace, a dead-latch key and peace ; and I move that 
the goings-on be indefinitely postponed, because, Mrs. 
Dawdle, I've heard it all before, I know it like a 
in p w 29 



338 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [NEAL 

book ; and if you insist on it, Mrs. Dawdle, I'll save you 
trouble, and speak the wbole speech for you right off the 
reel, only I can't cry good when I'm jolly." 

But Dawson Dawdle's volubility, assumed for the pur 
pose of hiding his own misgivings, did not answer the 
end which he had in view; for Mrs. Dawson Dawdle, 
having had a glimpse at its effects, again resorted to the 
" silent system" of connubial management. She spoke no 
more that night, which Dawson, perchance, found agree 
able enough. But she would not speak any more the day 
after, which perplexed him when he came down too late 
for breakfast or returned too late for dinner. 

" I do wish she would say something," muttered Dawdle; 
"something cross, if she likes, anything, so it makes a 
noise. It makes a man feel bad, after he's used to being 
talked to, not to be talked to in the regular old-fashioned 
way. When one's so accustomed to being blowed up, it 
seems as if he was lost or didn't belong to anybody if no 
ono sees to it that he's blowed up at the usual time. 
Bachelors, perhaps, can get along well enough without 
having their comforts properly attended to in this respect. 
What do they know, the miserable creatures, about such 
warm receptions and such little endearments? When 
they are out too late, nobody's at home preparing a 
speech for them; but I feel just as if I was a widower 
if I'm not talked to for not being at home in time." 



TREAT] OUR FAMILIAR BIRDS. 339 

OUR FAMILIAR BIRDS. 

MARY TREAT. 

[To infuse life into the dry bones of science, and make subjects 
which are usually avoided to pulsate with human interest, is a gift 
which few writers possess. Mary Treat possesses this desirable fac 
ulty. While a very close observer of natural phenomena, and partic 
ularly of the life-habits of ants and spiders, she is capable of making 
the biography of an insect, a bird, or a flower as agreeable reading 
as the biographies of many men. "Where a close devotion to some 
branch of science is combined with an ardent love of nature as a whole, 
the driest details may be thus illuminated with side-lights of attrac 
tiveness, and science gain some of the elements of poetry. The selection 
we give is from her " Home Studies in Nature."] 

DURING the past summer my time and attention have 
been devoted almost exclusively to the birds which nested 
around the house, and I have fully verified the fact that 
in the grove and orchard they can be tamed and made 
quite docile pets. 

The house is situated on the main avenue, near the 
business part of the village, and is surrounded by a thick 
grove of native oaks and other trees. Back of the grove 
is a fruit-orchard, extending to the next street ; between 
the grove and orchard is the shrubbery, a dense mass of 
various flowering shrubs. Climbing plants cling about 
the piazzas in tangled luxuriance. Surrounded as the 
place is by the din and hum of business, yet on the 
grounds it is very quiet. No cat is kept on the premises, 
and a continual warfare was waged against all neighbor 
ing cats which ventured within the enclosure. This the 
birds were quick to learn, and gave cries of alarm when 
ever this dangerous enemy made his appearance, seeming 
to know that he would be quickly routed, and no place 



340 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TREAT 

could he hide but the keen eyes of the birds would ferret 
him out. 

Four years ago I commenced this warfare on the cats, 
when comparatively few birds nested here. This summer 
twenty-seven birds have built about the grounds, several 
of them in close proximity to the house. 

The lovely warbling vireo ( Vireo gilvus) fastens its neat 
pensile nest low down on the ends of the twigs, where it 
sits quietly while I stand immediately beneath it, and it 
looks down upon me with its large, lustrous eyes in a 
sweet, confiding way, or warbles its low, tender, whisper 
ing strain in the branches above my head. 

In Coues's " North American Birds," where we find only 
the most rigid and exact scientific descriptions of birds, 
the author seems, for once, to have forgotten himself, and 
allows this charming little songster to betray him into 
expressing the following beautiful sentiment : 

" The warbling vireo forsakes the depth of the wood 
land for the park and orchard and shady street, where it 
glides through the foliage of the tallest trees, the unseen 
messenger of rest and peace to the busy, dusty haunts of 
men. Its voice is not strong, and many birds excel it in 
brilliancy and execution ; but not one of them all can rival 
the tenderness and softness of the liquid strain of this 
modest vocalist." 

The elegant scarlet tanager (Pyrangea rubra), with its 
more soberly attired mate, constructed their frail tene 
ment in the most retired part of the orchard, on the 
forked branch of a plum-tree. Tine eggs were four in 
number, of a dull greenish color, spotted with brown 
This graceful and brilliant bird is quiet and unobtrusive, 
and more shy than most of the other inhabitants of the 
grove, yet his attachment to his mate and young made 
him at times quite bold and fearless. While the mate was 



TREAT] OUR FAMILIAR BIRDS. 341 

sitting, he seemed to be ever on the alert. However 
quietly I approached the nest, he was there before me, 
and for the first few days made frantic efforts to lure me 
from the spot ; but gradually he became reconciled to my 
presence, and by the time the young were hatched he 
would feed them while I stood beneath the tree. 

The species is very abundant in some localities, but this 
is the first pair I have observed here. It is not much 
larger than the house-sparrow, and the body of the male 
is a bright scarlet, while its wings and tail are a jetty 
black. 

Another brilliant denizen of the grove was the Balti 
more oriole (Icterus baltimore). In the spring I brought 
from Florida a large amount of the long gray moss, Til- 
landsia usneoides, and hung it on the lower branches of 
the trees, where it grew and blossomed finely. Several 
pairs of orioles soon found this good building-material, 
and used it in the construction of their nests. I found 
one nest several streets away composed almost entirely 
of it. It remains a mystery how so many birds of this 
species, domiciled in different parts of the village, should 
have found and appropriated this moss. 

Although but one pair of orioles swung their hammock- 
like nest in the grove, yet it was a favorite resort for 
many others, and after the breeding season was over they 
cheered us with their song long after all the other vocalists 
were silent. 

Many other birds used the moss more or less in the con 
struction of their nests. The robin used it largely : one, 
especially, finding it such excellent material, and so handy 
too, was not content until she festooned her nest all 
around. It was built in the forks of an oak, and the long 
sprays of moss were left swaying in the wind. It was 
arranged so artistically that I have been asked if I did 
in. 29* 



342 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TREAT 

not drape the nest myself. The catbird, bluebird, and 
kingbird all used it, and even the little house-sparrow 
(Spizella socialis') cunningly wove it into the foundation 
of its dwelling. 

But there were some conservatives among the birds who 
would not be tempted by this new-fangled stuff to deviate 
from the time-honored custom of their forefathers. Our 
little vireos even hung their nest on the branch of a hick- 
ory-tree on which the moss was hanging, yet they persist 
ently turned their backs upon this innovation, and seemed 
to look with distrust and suspicion upon all the feathered 
builders who were so quick to take up with anything new. 
The inner bark of the honeysuckle, and nice long strips of 
bark from cedar posts or from any good, respectable, woody 
plant, was what their family had always used in the con 
struction of their domiciles, and they were determined to 
preserve the established customs of their ancestors. And 
the moss might swing for all the little wood-pewees (Con- 
topus virens) cared : had not their ancestors always used 
fibrous roots and strips of inner bark, and should they be 
tempted to deviate from their honored customs by this 
flaunting pendant from a foreign bough ? So they too 
passed it coldly by, with suspicious looks on other families 
who were erecting their domiciles so near to theirs with 
this strange material. 

Yet the wood-pewee's nests are not all of one pattern by 
any means. There are some fine architects among this spe 
cies. One nest, located between the forked twigs of an oak, 
was very symmetrical in outline, and almost covered exter 
nally with beautiful lichens. The body of the nest was com 
posed of fine fibrous roots, interwoven with a soft, downy 
substance which looked like the rusty wool of the cotton 
grass (JEriophorum virginicurn), and which they must have 
gone a long distance to obtain. In a climbing rose-bush 



TREAT] OUR FAMILIAR BIRDS. 343 

trained against the house was another nest so dissimilar in 
form and structure that I never should have taken it for 
the nest of the same species if I had not caught the builder 
at work. It was composed entirely of coarse strips of 
fibrous bark and roots, no soft material for a lining, and 
the nest was a shallow, unsymmetrical affair. Yet the 
little architects attempted to embellish this humble abode. 
Near the top of the nest a bit of colored paper was glued 
on, and two or three small pieces of blue egg-shell, prob 
ably the cast-off shell of a robin's egg, and some small 
pieces of white paper. This was the extent of the decora 
tion. No doubt the little artists became discouraged at 
this point, or were sensible enough to see that so rude a 
home would not be improved by ornament. 

Most writers take the ground that the nest of this spe 
cies is covered with lichens in order to conceal it ; but 
it certainly cannot be urged in this case that it was an 
attempt of the kind ; and may not these lichens be used 
more for ornament than for concealment? The bird is 
far from shy, is one of the most familiar denizens of the 
grove, and seems to have no objection to a spectator while 
it proceeds with its building and stuccoing. 

Until within a few years, according to good observers, 
this was a shy, retiring bird, nesting only in secluded 
woods j but here it is, all at once, even more familiar than 
its cousin, the common pewee, or Phoebe-bird. Like the 
other fly-catchers, it takes its food on the wing, and has a 
habit* of returning to the same spot. Noticing that it 
specially liked a clothes-line to light upon, I kept one 
stretched all summer for its accommodation. The line 
was a little higher than my head, and I often stood 
quietly beneath it, when the bird would alight very near 
me, and utter his prolonged, mournful note, until a fly 
came within his range, when he would dart away in pur- 



344 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TREAT 

suit, the snapping of his bill testifying to his unerring 
aim. 

Burroughs, in his charming little book, " Wake Kobin," 
says it is an event in one's life to find a humming-bird's 
nest. The event happened to me without any effort on 
my part. Looking up from a seat in the grove, I saw the 
ruby-throat drop down on its nest, like a shining emerald 
from the clouds : it did not pause upon the edge of the 
nest, but dropped immediately upon it. The nest was 
situated upon an oak twig, and was about the size of a 
black walnut, and from where I sat it looked more like an 
excrescence than a nest. It was situated in the fork of 
two twigs, and firmly glued at the base to the lower, but 
was not fastened to the upper twig. 

I waited for the tiny occupant to leave the nest, and 
then with the aid of a step-ladder had no difficulty in 
looking into it. I found it contained two white eggs, 
about as large as medium-sized peas. Sometimes the male 
would drop upon the nest when the female left. I never 
disturbed them while they were sitting upon it, but often 
before I could get away, when I thought them out of 
sight, the male would suddenly appear, and greater dem 
onstrations of anger I never saw manifested by any bird. 
He would ruffle up his tiny feathers, and seem nearly 
twice as large, and dash almost into my face, making a 
squeaking noise, scolding and threatening until he had 
driven me quite a distance. He soon learned that I was 
very much afraid of him, so he turned tyrant, and often 
drove me from my seat in the grove when I had not been 
near his dwelling. I always submitted to the little lord, 
for what business had I to be prying into his domestic 
affairs? When the young were hatched they were not 
larger than humble-bees, but in a week they had flown. 
I cut the twig off, and found the nest was composed of 



TREAT] OUR FAMILIAR BIRDS. 345 

the same soft, downy substance which I had noticed in 
the wood-pewee's nest, but it was matted so closely to 
gether that it was almost as firm as the softer kinds of 
felt : it was a marvel of skill and beauty, and completely 
covered externally with lichens. 

But of all the feathered choristers none were so charm 
ing, none so confiding and intelligent, as the catbird 
(G-aleoscoptes carolinensis), three pairs of which nested 
close to the house, each pair rearing two broods of young. 
One nest was near a second-story window, in a climbing 
rose-bush ; at first the birds slightly resented my attempts 
at familiarity, but I was persevering and very quiet, sit 
ting by the open window with only a light wire screen 
between us , after they had become accustomed to seeing 
me thus, I raised the screen and sat where I could have 
put my hand upon the occupant of the nest, but I never 
disturbed the mother bird ; so by the time the young were 
hatched, the parents would feed while I sat by the window. 
But this pair simply tolerated me ; they treated me with 
a sort of sublime indifference, just as they would some 
large animal of which they were not afraid. When the 
young were fledged, they came upon the back piazza, 
where the old ones fed them close to my side. 

Another pair of this species nested in a honeysuckle 
that climbed over the back piazza ; and here was a bird 
the male who was not only not afraid, but he appreciated 
me, and was companionable and intelligent, and the best 
musician of the grove, fully equal to his famed Southern 
cousin, the mocking-bird (Mimus polyglottus). I could call 
this catbird from any part of the grove or orchard, and 
set him to singing as if in an ecstasy of delight, but in 
return for this I must be his servant and do his bidding. 

There is a keen sense of enjoyment I might say of 
exalted happiness in being able to bring free birds of 



346 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TREAT 

the grove around one, which well repays for the time and 
patience and hermit-like life necessary to accomplish it. 

If a cat made its appearance on the grounds, and I was 
not in sight, the bird would come screaming close to the 
door, when I would accompany him, he pointing out the 
cat, which I would drive in no gentle way from its lurking- 
place ; other birds clamored about me, chasing the intruder, 
but he was the only one that returned with me to the 
house, where he expressed the most decided satisfaction. 
Several times, just as it was growing light, the wily cat 
was prowling about, and the bird would call me from my 
bed with his cries; hastily throwing on a water-proof 
cloak, I always went to the rescue, and often drove the 
robber through the wet orchard out across the street, the 
bird always accompanying and returning with me. The 
female was confiding and gentle, but not so intelligent as 
the male. 

The second nest of this pair was built in a cedar-tree 
back of the house, within a few feet of the dense shrub 
bery before mentioned. The birds were three or four 
days building, and during this time I could not win the 
male from his work. I tried the softest blandishments 
talked, chirruped, and whistled all in vain ; he was intent 
upon his work, and I was of no consequence whatever. 
He was a most exemplary mate, doing his share of the 
work with a will and perseverance even in the face of 
temptation, an example of allegiance well worthy to be 
followed. I began to fear that I had lost my power over 
him ; but no : no sooner was he at liberty than he returned 
to his pretty, confiding ways ; he would flutter close to 
me, and chatter and sing and perform curious evolutions, 
as if in an ecstasy of happiness. 

I had a large shallow dish of water set on the ground 
in the midst of the shrubbery for the accommodation of 



TREAT] OUR FAMILIAR BIRDS. 347 

the birds ; but soon so many came to bathe that it was 
necessary to renew it every morning. My favorite soon 
learned when I was coming with the water, so he was on 
hand superintending the work and waiting for me to rinse 
out the dish and supply the fresh water, which was no 
sooner done than he was in it, splashing and enjoying 
himself. 

It was August before the second brood was hatched, 
and, now that he had graver duties to perform, he was 
much less attentive to me ; still he occasionally recognized 
and played around me, but his powers of song were greatly 
diminishing. 

##*##*# *# 

The catbird has ever been a favorite with all good ob 
servers and lovers of birds. Audubon says of this species, 
t{ No sooner has the catbird made its appearance in the 
country of its choice than its song is heard from the top 
most branches of the trees around in the dawn of the 
morning. This song is a compound of many of the gentle 
trills and sweet modulations of our various woodland chor 
isters, delivered with apparent caution, and with all the 
attention and softness necessary to enable the performer 
to please the ear of his mate. Each cadence passes on 
without faltering ; and if you are acquainted with the 
songs of the birds he so sweetly imitates, you are sure to 
recognize the manner of the different species. When the 
warmth of his loving bosom engages him to make choice 
of the notes of our best songsters, he brings forth sounds 
as mellow and as powerful as those of the thrasher and 
mocking-bird. These medleys, when heard in the calm 
and balmy hours of retiring day, always seem to possess 
a double power to delight the listener. 

" The manners of this species are lively and grotesque. 
Tt is extremely sensitive, and' will follow an intruder to 



348 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CURTIS 

a considerable distance, wailing and mewing as it passes 
from one tree to another, its tail now jerked and thrown 
from side to side, its wings drooping, and its breast deeply 
inclined. In some instances I have known this bird to rec 
ognize at once its friend from its foe, and to suffer the 
former even to handle the treasure in the nest, with all 
the marked assurance of the knowledge it possessed of 
its safety ; when, on the contrary, the latter had to bear 
all its anger." 



THE DANCERS OF THE NILE. 

G. W. CURTIS. 

[America has produced no works of travel superior, if equal, in 
beauty of language, polish of style, and richness of imagination, to 
those of George W. Curtis, from whose " Nile Notes of a Howadji" 
we offer the following brilliantly- written selection. There are two 
grades of travellers, those who see the visible world only, and those 
who through the coarse lines of the visible trace the fine lines of an 
invisible world, a poetic universe, existing only in the mind, yet the 
true sublimation and spiritual counterpart of those every-day things 
which every eye beholds. "We may venture to doubt if many of us 
would see in the two Grhazeeyah here pictured all that appeared to the 
introverted eye of the imaginative traveller.] 

THE Howadji entered the bower of the Ghazeeyah. 
A damsel admitted us at the gate, closely veiled, as if 
women's faces were to be seen no more forever. Across a 
clean little court, up stone steps that once were steadier, 
and we emerged upon a small, enclosed stone terrace, the 
sky-vaulted antechamber of that bower. Through a little 
door, that made us stoop to enter, we passed into the 
peculiar retreat of the Grhazeeyah. It was a small, white, 



CURTIS] THE DANCERS OF THE NILE. 349 

oblong room, with but one window, opposite the door, and 
that closed. On three sides there were small holes to 
admit light as in dungeons, but too lofty for the eye to 
look through, like the oriel windows of sacristies. Under 
these openings were small glass vases holding oil, on 
which floated wicks. These were the means of illumi 
nation. 

A divan of honor filled the end of the room; on the 
side was another, less honorable, as is usual in all Egyp 
tian houses ; on the floor a carpet, partly covering it. A 
straw matting extended beyond the carpet toward the 
door ; and between the matting and the door was a bare 
space of stone floor, whereon to shed the slippers. 

Hadji Hamed, the long cook, had been ill ; but, hearing 
of music, and dancing, and Ghawazee, he had turned out 
for the nonce, and accompanied us to the house, not all 
unmindful, possibly, of the delectations of the Mecca pil 
grimage. He stood upon the stone terrace afterward, 
looking in with huge delight. The solemn, long, tomb- 
pilgrim ! The merriest lunges of life were not lost upon 
him, notwithstanding. 

The Howadji seated themselves orientally upon the 
divan of honor. To sit, as Westerns sit, is impossible 
upon a divan. There is some mysterious necessity for 
crossing the legs, and this Howadji never sees a tailoi 
now in lands civilized, but the dimness of Eastern rooms 
and bazaars, the flowingness of robe, and the coiled 
splendor of the turban, and a world reclining leisurely at 
ease, rise distinct and dear in his mind, like that Sicilian 
mirage seen on divine days from Naples, but fleet as fair. 
To most men a tailor is the most unsuggestive of mortals. 
To the remembering Howadji he sits a poet. 

The chibouque and nargileh and coffee belong to the 
divan, as the parts of harmony to each other. I seized 
in. 30 



350 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CURTIS 

the flowing tube of a brilliant amber-hued nargileh, such 
as Hafiz might have smoked, and prayed Isis that some 
stray Persian might chance along to complete our com 
pany. The Pacha inhaled at times a more sedate nar 
gileh, at times the chibouque of the Commander, who 
reclined upon the divan below. 

A tall Egyptian female, filially related, I am sure, to a 
gentle giraffe who had been indiscreet with a hippopota 
mus, moved heavily about, lighting the lamps, and looking 
as if her bright eyes were feeding upon the flame, as the 
giraffes might browse - upon lofty autumn leaves. There 
was something awful in this figure. She was the type 
of those tall, angular, Chinese-eyed, semi-smiling, wholly 
homely, and bewitched beings who sit in eternal profile 
in the sculptures of the temples. She was mystic, like 
the cow-horned Isis. I gradually feared that she had 
come off the wall of a tomb, probably in Thebes hard by, 
and that our Grhawazee delights would end in a sudden 
embalming, and laying away in the bowels of the hills, 
with a perpetual prospect of her upon the walls. 

Avaunt, spectre! The fay approaches, and Kushuk 
Arnem entered her bower. A bud no longer, yet a flower 
not too fully blown. Large, laughing eyes, red, pulpy 
lips, white teeth, arching nose, generous-featured, lazy, 
carelessly self-possessed, she came dancing in, addressing 
the Howadji in Arabic, words whose honey thoy would 
not have distilled through interpretation. Be content 
with the aroma of sound, if you cannot catch the flavor 
of sense ; and flavor can you never have through another 
mouth. Smiling and pantomime were our talking, and 
one choice Italian word she knew, buono. Ah ! how 
much was buono that choice evening! Eyes, lips, hair, 
form, dress, everything that the strangers had or wore, 
was endlessly buono. Dancing, singing, smoking, coffee, 



CURTIS] THE DANCERS OF THE NILE. 351 

buono, buono, buonissimo ! How much work one word 
will do ! 

The Ghazeeyah entered, not mazed in that azure mist 
of gauze and muslin wherein Cerito floats fascinating 
across the scene ; nor in the peacock plumage of sprightly 
Lucille Grahn ; nor yet in that June cloudiness of aery 
apparel which Carlotta affects; nor in that sumptuous 
Spttnishness of dark drapery wherein Fanny is most 
Fanny. 

The glory of a butterfly is the starred brilliance of its 
wings. There are who declare that dress is divine, who 
aver that an untoileted woman is not wholly a woman, 
and that you may as well paint a saint without his halo 
as describe a woman without detailing her dress. There 
fore, while the coarser sex veils longing eyes, will we tell 
the story of the Ghazeeyah's apparel. 

Yellow morocco slippers hid her feet, rosy and round. 
Over these brooded a bewildering fulness of rainbow 
silk. Turkish trousers we call them, but they are shint- 
yan in Arabic. Like the sleeve of a clergyman's gown, 
the lower end is gathered somewhere, and the fulness 
gracefully overfalls. I say rainbow, although to the How- 
adji's little cognizant eye was the shintyan of more than 
the seven orthodox colors. In the bower of Kushuk 
nargileh-clouded, coffee-scented are eyes to be strictly 
trusted ? 

Yet we must not be entangled in this bewildering bril 
liance. A satin jacket, striped with velvet and of open 
sleeves, wherefrom floated forth a fleecy cloud of under- 
sleeve, rolling adown the rosy arms, as June clouds down 
the western rosiness of the sky, enclosed the bust. A 
shawl, twisted of many folds, cinctured the waist, con 
fining the silken shintyan. A golden necklace of charms 
girdled the throat, and the hair, much unctuated, as is the 



352 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CURTIS 

custom of the land, was adorned with a pendent fringe of 
black silk, tipped with gold, which hung upon the neck 
behind. 

Let us confess to a dreamy, vaporous veil, overspreading, 
rather suffusing with color, the upper part of the arms 
and the lower limits of the neck. That rosiness is known 
as tob to the Arabians, a mystery whereof the merely 
masculine mind is not cognizant. Beneath the tob, truth 
allows a beautiful bud-burstiness of bosom. Yet I swear, 
by John Bunyan, nothing so aggravating as the Howadji 
beholds in saloons unnamable, nearer the Hudson than the 
Nile. This brilliant cloud, whose spirit was Kushuk Ar- 
iiem, our gay Ghazeeyah, gathered itself upon a divan and 
inhaled vigorously a nargileh. A damsel in tob and shint- 
yan, exhaling azure clouds of aromatic smoke, had not 
been displeasing to that Persian poet for whose coming I 
had prayed too late. 

But more welcome than he, came the still-eyed Xenobi. 
She entered timidly like a bird. The Howadji had seen 
doves less gracefully sitting upon palm-boughs in the sun 
set, than she nestled upon the lower divan. A very dove 
of a Ghazeeyah, a quiet child, the last-born of Terpsichore. 
Blow it from Mount Atlas, a modest dancing-girl. She 
sat near this Howadji, and handed him, O Haroun Alras- 
chid ! the tube of his nargileh. Its serpentine sinuosity 
flowed through her fingers, as if the golden gayety of her 
costume were gliding from her alive. It was an electric 
chain of communication, and never until some Xenobi of 
a houri hands the Howadji the nargileh of Paradise will 
the smoke of the weed of Shiraz float so lightly or so 
sweetly taste. 

Xenobi was a mere bud, of most flexile and graceful 
form, ripe and round as the spring fruit of the tropics. 
Kushuk had the air of a woman for whom no surprises 



CURTIS] THE DANCERS OF THE NILE. 353 

survive. Xenobi saw in every new day a surprise, haply 
in every Howadji a lover. 

She was more richly dressed than Kushuk. There were 
gay gold bands and clasps upon her jacket. Yarious neck 
laces of stamped gold and metallic charms clustered around 
her neck, and upon her head a bright silken web, as if a 
sun-suffused cloud were lingering there, and, dissolving, 
showered down her neck in a golden rain of pendants. 
Then, O Venus ! more azure still, that delicious gauziness 
of tob, whereof more than to dream is delirium. Won 
derful the witchery of a tob ! Nor can the Howadji deem 
a maiden quite just to nature, who glides through the 
world unshintyaned and untobed. 

Xenobi was, perhaps, sixteen years old, and a fully- 
developed woman. Kushuk Arnem, of some half-dozen 
summers more. Kushuk was unhennaed. But the younger, 
as younger maidens may, graced herself with the genial 
gifts of nature. Her delicate filbert nails were rosily 
tinted on the tips with henna, and those peddler poets, 
meeting her in Paradise, would have felt the reason of 
their chant, " Odors of Paradise, O flowers of the henna!" 
But she had no kohl upon the eyelashes, nor, like Fatima 
of Damascus, whom the Howadji later saw, were her eye 
brows shaved and replaced by thick, black arches of kohl. 
Yet fascinating are the almond-eyes of Egyptian women, 
bordered black with the kohl, whose intensity accords 
with the sumptuous passion that mingles moist and lan 
guid with their light. Eastern eyes are full of moonlight. 
Eastern beauty is a dream of passionate possibility, which 
the Howadji would fain awaken by the same spell with 
which the Prince of fairy dissolved the enchanted sleep 
of the princess. Yet kohl and henna are only beautiful 
for the beautiful. In a coffee-shop at Esne, bold-faced, 
among the men, sat a coarse courtesan sipping coffee and 
m.* 30* 



354 VEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CURTIS 

smoking a nargileh, whose kohled eyebrows and eyelashes 
made her a houri of hell. 

" There is no joy but calm," I said, as the moments, 
brimmed with beauty, melted in the starlight, and the 
small room became a bower of bloom and a Persian gar 
den of delight. We reclined, breathing fragrant fumes, 
and interchanging, through the Golden-sleeved, airy noth 
ings. The Howadji and the houris had little in common 
but looks. Soulless as Undine, and suddenly risen from 
a laughing life in watery dells of lotus, sat the houris, 
and like the mariner sea-driven upon the enchanted isle 
of Prospero sat the Howadji, unknowing the graceful 
gossip of fairy. But there is a fairy always folded away 
in our souls, like a bright butterfly chrysalized, and, sail 
ing eastward, layer after layer of propriety, moderation, 
deference to public opinion, safety of sentiment, and all 
the thick crusts of compromise and convention roll away, 
and, bending southward up the Nile, you may feel that 
fairy fairly flutter her wings. And if you pause at Esne 
she will fly out, and lead you a will-o'-the-wisp dance 
across all the trim, sharp hedges of accustomed proprie 
ties, and over the barren flats of social decencies. Dumb 
is that fairy, so long has she been secluded, and cannot 
say much to her fellows. But she feels and sees and en 
joys all the more exquisitely and profoundly for her long 
sequestration. 

Presently an old woman came in with a tar, a kind 
of tambourine, and her husband, a grisly old sinner, with 
a rabab, or one-stringed fiddle. Old Hecate was a gone 
Ghazeeyah, a rose-leaf utterly shrivelled away from rosi- 
ness. No longer a dancer, she made music for dancing. 
And the husband, who played for her in her youth, now 
played with her in her age. Like two old votaries who 
feel when they can no longer see, they devoted all the 



CURTIS] THE DANCERS OF THE NILE. 355 

force of life remaining to the great game of pleasure, 
whose born thralls they were. 

There were two tarabukas and brass castanets, and 
when the old pair were seated upon the carpet near the 
door they all smote their rude instruments, and a wild 
clang raged through the little chamber. Thereto they 
sang. Strange sounds, such music as the angular, 
earved figures upon the temples would make, had they 
been conversing with us, sounds to the ear like their 
gracelessness to the eye. 

This was Egyptian Polyhymnia preluding Terpsichore. 

Kushuk Arnem quaffed a goblet of hemp arrack. The 
beaker was passed to the upper divan, and the Howadji, 
sipping, found it to smack of aniseed. It was strong 
enough for the Pharaohs to have imbibed, even for 
Herod before beholding Herodias ; for these dances are 
the same. This dancing is more ancient than Aboo Sim- 
bel. In the land of the Pharaohs, the Howadji saw the 
dancing they saw T , as uncouth as the temples they built. 
This dancing is to the ballet of civilized lands what the 
gracelessness of Egypt was to the grace of Greece. Had 
the angular figures of the temple-sculptures preluded 
with that music, they had certainly followed with this 
dancing. 

Kushuk Arnem rose and loosened her shawl-girdle m 
such wise that I feared she was about to shed the frivol 
ity of dress, as Venus shed the sea-foam, and stood oppo 
site the divan, holding her brass castanets. Old Hecate 
beat the tar into a thunderous roar. Old husband drew 
sounds from his horrible rabab sharper than the sting of 
remorse, and Xenobi and the Giraffe each thrummed a 
tarabuka until I thought the plaster would peel from the 
wall. Kushuk stood motionless, while this din deepened 
around her, the arrack aerializing her feet, the Howadji 



356 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CURTIS 

hoped, and not her brain. The sharp surges of sound 
swept around the room, dashing in regular measure 
against her movelessness, until suddenly the whole sur 
face of her frame quivered in measure with the music. 
Her hands were raised, clapping the castanets, and she 
slowly turned upon herself, her right leg the pivot, mar 
vellously convulsing all the muscles of her body. When 
she had completed the circuit of the spot on which she 
stood, she advanced slowly, all the muscles jerking in 
time to the music, and in solid, substantial spasms. 

It was a curious and wonderful gymnastic. There was 
no graceful dancing : once only there was the movement of 
dancing, when she advanced, throwing one leg before the 
other as gypsies dance. But the rest was most voluptuous 
motion, not the lithe wooing of languid passion, but the 
soul of passion starting through every sense and quivering 
in every limb. It was the very intensity of motion, con 
centrated and constant. The music still swelled savagely, 
in maddened monotony of measure. Hecate and the old 
husband, fascinated with the Ghazeeyah's fire, threw their 
hands and arms excitedly about their instruments, and 
an occasional cry of enthusiasm and satisfaction burst 
from their lips. Suddenly stooping, still muscularly 
moving, Kushuk fell upon her knees, and writhed, with 
body, arms, and head upon the floor, still in measure, 
still clanking the castanets, and arose in the same man 
ner. It was profoundly dramatic. The scenery of the 
dance was like that of a characteristic song. It was a 
lyric of love which words cannot tell, profound, Ori 
ental, intense, and terrible. Still she retreated, until the 
constantly down-slipping shawl seemed only just clinging 
to her hips, and, making the same circuit upon herself, 
she sat down, and, after this violent and extravagant 
exertion, was marbly cold. 



CURTIS] THE DANCERS OF THE NILE. 357 

Then, timid but not tremulous, the young Xenobi arose 
barefooted, and danced the same dance, not with the fin 
ished skill of Kushuk, but gracefully and well, and with 
her eyes fixed constantly upon the elder. With the same 
regular throb of the muscles she advanced and retreated, 
and the Paradise-pavilioned prophet could not have felt 
his heavenly hareem complete, had he sat smoking and 
entranced with the Howadji. 

Form so perfect was never yet carved in marble; not 
the Yenus is so mellowly moulded. Her outline has not 
the voluptuous excess which is not too much, which is not 
perceptible to mere criticism, and is more a feeling flush 
ing along the form, than a greater fulness of the form it 
self. The Greek Venus was sea-born, but our Egyptian is 
sun-born. The brown blood of the sun burned along, her 
veins ; the soul of the sun streamed shaded from her eyes. 
She was still, almost statuesquely still. When she danced, 
it was only stillness intensely stirred, and followed that 
of Kushuk as moonlight succeeds sunshine. As she went 
on, Kushuk gradually rose, and, joining her, they danced 
together. The Epicureans of Cairo indeed, the very young 
priests of Yenus, assemble the Ghawazee in the most se 
cluded adyta of their dwellings, and there, eschewing the 
mystery of the shintyan and the gauziness of the tob, 
they behold the unencumbered beauty of these beautiful 
women. At festivals so fair, arrack, raw brandy, and 
"depraved human nature" naturally improvise a ballet 
whereupon the curtain here falls. 

Suddenly, as the clarion-call awakens the long-slumber 
ing spirit of the war-horse, old Hecate sprang to her feet, 
and, loosening her girdle, seized the castanets, and with 
the pure pride of power advanced upon the floor, and 
danced incredibly. Crouching, before, like a wasted old 
willow, that merely shakes its drooping leaves to the 



358 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CURTIS 

tempest, she now shook her fibres with the vigor of a 
nascent elm, and moved up and down the room with a 
miraculous command of her frame. 

In Yeriice I had heard a gray gondolier, dwindled into 
a ferryman, awakened in a moonlighted midnight, as we 
swept by with singers chanting Tasso, pour his swan-song 
of magnificent memory into the quick ear of night. 

In the Champs Elysees I had heard a rheumy-eyed 
Invalide cry, with the sonorous enthusiasm of Austerlitz, 
" Yive Napoleon!" as a new Napoleon rode by. 

It was the Indian summer goldening the white winter, 
the zodiacal light far flashing day into the twilight. And 
here was the same in dead old Egypt, in a Ghazeeyah 
who had brimmed her beaker with the threescore-and-ten 
drop.8 of life. Not more strange, and unreal, and impres 
sive in their way, the inscrutable remains of Egypt, sand- 
shrouded, but undecayed, than in hers, this strange spec 
tacle of an efficient Coryphee of seventy. 

Old Hecate ! thou wast pure pomegranate also, and not 
banana, wonder most wonderful of all, words which 
must remain hieroglyphics upon these pages, and whose 
explication must be sought in Egypt, as they must come 
hither who would realize the freshness of Karnak. 

Slow, sweet singing followed. The refrain was plaintive, 
like those of the boat-songs, soothing, after the excite 
ment of the dancing, as nursery-lays to children after a 
tired day. "Buono," Kushuk Arnem! last of the Arnems, 
for so her name signified. Was it a remembering refrain 
of Palestine, whose daughter you are? " Taib," dove 
Xenobi! Fated, shall I say, or favored? Pledged Hie- 
long to pleasure ! Who would dare to be ? Who but a child 
so careless would dream that these placid ripples of youth 
will rock you stormless to El Dorado ? 

O Allah! and who cares? Eefill the amber nargileh, 



BKACKENRIDGE] THE ART OF DUELLING. 359 

Xenobi, another fingan of mellow mocha. Yet another 
strain more stirring. Hence, Hecate ! shrivel into invisi 
bility with the thundering tar, and the old husband with 
his diabolical rabab. Waits not the one-eyed first officer 
below, with a linen lantern, to pilot us to the boat ? And 
the beak of the Ibis, points it not to Syene, Nubia, and a 
world unknown ? 

Farewell, Kushuk ! Addio, still-eyed dove ! Almost thou 
persuadest me to pleasure. O Wall-street, Wall-street ! be 
cause you are virtuous, shall there be no more cakes and 
ale? 



INSTRUCTIONS IN THE ART OF DUELLING. 

HUGH H. BRACKENRIDGE. 

[Among the eighteenth-century American humorists must be in 
cluded Hugh Henry Brackenridge. He was, indeed, born in Scotland 
(in 1748), but his literary life was passed in this country. He was 
appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1799, 
and died in 1816. He wrote several works, of which the only one 
known in existing literature is " Modern Chivalry; or, The Adventures 
of Captain Farrago," a humorous and satirical work, forming a sort 
of modern " Don Quixote." It has no special literary value, but con 
tains much shrewd humor and satire, of which the specimen we give 
may serve as an example.] 

HAVING thus dismissed the secondary man, he called 
in his servant Teague, and accosted him as follows: 
"Teague," said he, "you have heretofore discovered an 
ambition to be employed in some way that would advance 
your reputation. There is now a case fallen out, to which 
you are fully competent. It is not a matter that requires 
the head to contriye, but the hand to execute. The greatest 



360 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BRACKENRIDGE 

fool is as fit for it as the wise man. It is, indeed, your great 
est blockheads that chiefly undertake it. The knowledge 
of law, physic, or divinity is out of the question. Litera 
ture and political understanding is useless. Nothing more 
is necessary than a little resolution of the heart. Yet it 
is an undertaking which is of much estimation with the 
rabble, and has a great many on its side to approve and 
praise it. The females of the world, especially, admire 
the act, and call it valor. I know you wish to stand well 
with the ladies. Here is an opportunity of advancing 
your credit. I have had what is called a challenge sent 
to me this morning. It is from a certain Jacko, who is a 
suitor to a Miss Vapor, and has taken offence at an ex 
pression of mine to her respecting him. I wish you to 
accept the challenge, and fight him for me." 

At this proposition Teague looked wild, and made 
apology that he was not much used to boxing or cudgel 
ling, except when he had a quarrel, or at a fair at home. 
" Boxing !" said the captain ; " you are to fight what is 
called a duel. You are to encounter him with pistols, and 
put a bullet through him if you can. It is true, he will 
have the chance of putting one through you ; but in that 
consists the honor; for where there is no danger there is 
no glory. You will provide yourself a second. There is 
an hostler here at the public house, that is a brave fellow, 
and will answer the purpose. Being furnished with a 
second, you will provide yourself with a pair of pistols, 
powder and ball of course. In the mean time, your ad 
versary, notified of your intentions, will do the like. Thus 
equipped, you will advance to the place agreed upon. 
The ground will be measured out, ten, seven, or five 
steps, back to back, and, coming round to your place, fire. 
Or, taking your ground, stand still and fire ; or, it may be, 
advance and fire as you meet, at what distance you think 



BRACKENRIDGE] THE ART OF DUELLING. 361 

proper. The rules in this respect are not fixed, but as the 
parties can agree, or the seconds point out. When you 
come to fire, be sure you keep a steady hand and take 
good aim. Eemember that, the pistol-barrel being short, 
the powder is apt to throw the bullet up. Your sight, 
therefore, ought to be about the waistband of his breeches, 
BO that you have the whole length of his body, and his 
head in the bargain, to come and go upon. It is true, he 
in the mean time will take the same advantage of you. 
He may hit you about the groin, or the belly. I have 
known some shot in the thigh or the leg. The throat, also, 
and the head, are in themselves vulnerable. It is no un 
common thing to have an arm broke, or a splinter struck 
off the nose, or an eye shot out ; but, as in that case the 
ball mostly passes through the brain, and the man being 
dead at any rate, the loss of sight is not felt." 

As the Captain spoke, Teague seemed to feel in himself 
every wound which was described, the ball hitting him 
now in one part and now in another. At the last words, 
it seemed to pass through his head, and he was half dead, 
in imagination. Making a shift to express himself, he 
gave the Captain to understand that he could by no 
means undertake the office. " What I" said the Captain ; 
"you, whom nothing would serve, some time ago, but to 
be a legislator, or philosopher, or preacher, in order to 
gain fame, will now decline a business for which you are 
qualified ! This requires no knowledge of finances, no 
reading of natural history, or any study of the fathers. 
You have nothing more to do th,an keep a steady hand 
and a good eye. 

" In the early practice of this exercise, I mean the com 
bat of the duel, it was customary to exact an oath of the 
combatants, before they entered the lists, that they had 
no enchantments, or power of witchcraft, about them. 
III.Q 31 



362 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BRACKENRIDGE 

Whether you should think it necessary to put him to his 
voir dire on this point, I shall not say ; but I am persuaded 
that on your part you have too much honor to make use 
of spells, or undue means, to take away his life or save 
your own. You will leave all to the chance of fair shoot 
ing. One thing you will observe, and which is allowable in 
this matter: you will take care not to present yourself with 
a full breast, but angularly, and your head turned round 
over the left shoulder, like a weathercock. For thus, a 
smaller surface being presented to an adversary, he will 
be less likely to hit you. You must throw your legs into 
lines parallel, and keep them one directly behind the 
other. Thus you will stand like a sail hauled close to the 
wind. Keep a good countenance, a sharp eye, and a sour 
look ; and if you feel anything like a colic, or a palpitation 
of the heart, make no noise about it. If the ball should 
take you in the gills, or the gizzard, fall down as decently 
as you can, and die like a man of honor." 

It was of no use to urge the matter; the Irishman 
was but the more opposed to the proposition, and utterly 
refused to be after fighting in any such manner. The 
Captain, finding this to be the case, dismissed him to 
clean his boots and spurs and rub down his horse in the 
stable. 

On reflection, it seemed advisable to the Captain to 
write an answer to the card which Colonel or Major 
Jacko, or whatever his title may have been, had sent him 
this morning. It was as follows : 

"Sir, I have two objections to this duel matter. The 
one is, lest I should hurt you ; and the other is, lest you 
should hurt me. I do not see any good it would do me to 
put a bullet through any part of your body. I could make 
no use of you when dead for any culinary purpose, as 1 
would a rabbit or a turkey. I am no cannibal, to feed on 



BRACKENRIDGE] THE ART OF DUELLING. 363 

the flesh of men. Why, then, shoot down a human creat 
ure, of which I could make no use? A buffalo would be 
better meat. For, though your flesh may be delicate and 
tender, yet it wants that firmness and consistency which 
takes and retains salt. At any rate r it would not be fit 
for long sea-vo'yages. You might make a good barbecue, 
it is true, being of the nature of a raccoon or an opossum ; 
but people are not in the habit of barbecuing anything 
human now. As to your hide, it is not worth taking off, 
being little better than that of a year-old colt. 

" It would seem to me a strange thing to shoot at a 
man that would stand still to be shot at ; inasmuch as I 
have been heretofore used to shoot at things flying, or 
running, or jumping. Were you on a tree, now, like a 
squirrel, endeavoring to hide yourself in the branches, or 
like a raccoon, that, after much eying and spying, I ob 
serve at length in the crotch of a tall oak, with boughs 
and leaves intervening, so that I could just get a sight of 
his hinder parts, I should think it pleasurable enough to 
take a shot at you. But, as it is, there is no skill or judg 
ment requisite either to discover or take you down. 

" As to myself, I do not much like to stand in the way 
of anything harmful. I am under apprehensions you 
might hit me. That being the case, I think it most 
advisable to stay at a distance. If you want to try your 
pistols, take some object, a tree, or a barn door, about my 
dimensions. If you hit that, send me word, and I shall 
acknowledge that if I had been in the same place you 
might also have hit me." 



364 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ADAMS 

THE WANTS OF MAN. 

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. 

[The Adams family is one of the most illustrious in American 
political history, having furnished two Presidents to the United States, 
while four generations in succession have attained to some degree of 
prominence in politics or literature. John Quincy Adams, the second 
President of the name, was an active writer in general literature, his 
works embracing "Lectures on lihetoric and Oratory," "The Bible 
and its Teachings," " Poems of Religion and Society," and many 
political papers. His " Wants of Man" is a very neatly rendered 
specimen of humorous poetry. It has, however, been surpassed in 
point of wit and polish by the imitative effort of an abler poet, the 
" Contentment" of Oliver Wendell Holmes. We give a verse or two 
of the latter for comparison : 

" Little I ask ; my wants are few ; 

I only wish a hut of stone 
(A very plain brown stone will do) 

That I may call my own ; 
And close at hand is such a one, 
In yonder street that fronts the sun. 

Plain food is quite enough for me ; 

Three courses are as good as ten ; 
If Nature can subsist on three, 

Thank Heaven for three. Amen ! 
I always thought cold victual nice : 
My choice would be vanilla ice." 

But an original has a value of its own, superior to that of a better 
imitation, and we give Adams's fine poem, in preference to that of 
his witty successor.] 



" MAN wants but little here below, 
Nor wants that little long." 

'Tis not with ME exactly so, 
But 'tis so in the song. 



ADAMS] THE WANTS OF MAN. 365 

My wants are many, and if told 

Would muster many a score ; 
And were each wish a mint of gold, 

I still should long for more. 

n. 

What first I want is daily bread, 

And canvas-backs, and wine, 
And all the realms of nature spread 

Before me when I dine. 
Four courses scarcely can provide 

My appetite to quell, 
With four choice cooks from Prance beside, 

To dress my dinner well. 

in. 

What next I want, at heavy cost, 

Is elegant attire, 
Black sable furs for winter's frost, 

And silks for summer's fire, 
And Cashmere sh'awls, and Brussels lace 

My bosom's front to deck, 
And diamond rings my hands to grace, 

And rubies for my neck. 

IV. 

And then I want a mansion fair, 

A dwelling-house in style, 
Four stories high, for wholesome air, 

A massive marble pile, 
With halls for banquets and for balls, 

All furnished rich and fine, 
With stabled studs in fifty stalls, 

And cellars for my wine, 
m. 31* 



366 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ADAMS 



V. 

I want a garden and a park 

My dwelling to surround, 
A thousand acres (bless the mark !), 

With walls encompassed round, 
Where flocks may range, and herds may low, 

And kids and lambkins play, 
And flowers and fruits commingled grow, 

All Eden to display. 

vi. 

I want, when summer's foliage falls, 

And autumn strips the trees, 
A house within the city's walls, 

For comfort and for ease. 
But, here as space is somewhat scant 

And acres rather rare, 
My house in town I only want 

To occupy a square. 

VII. 

I want a steward, butler, cooks, 

A coachman, footman, grooms, 
A library of well-bound books, 

And picture-garnished rooms, 
Correggios, Magdalen, and Night, 

The Matron of the Chair, 
Guido's fleet Coursers in their flight, 

And Claudes at least a pair. 

VIII. 

Ay ! and to stamp my form and face 
Upon the solid rock, 



ADAMS] THE WANTS OF MAN. 367 

I want, their lineaments to trace, 

Carrara's milk-white block, 
And let the chisel's art sublime 

By Greenough's hand display 
Through all the range of future time 

My features to the day 

IX. 

I want a cabinet profuse 

Of medals, coins, and gems ; 
A printing-press for private use 

Of fifty thousand ems; 
And plants and minerals and shells, 

Worms, insects, fishes, birds ; 
And every beast on earth that dwells 

In solitude or herds. 

x. 

I want a board of burnished plate, 

Of silver and of gold, 
Tureens of twenty pounds in weight, 

With sculpture's richest mould, 
Plateaus, with chandeliers and lamps, 

Plates, dishes all the same, 
And porcelain vases with the stamps 

Of Sevres and Angouleme. 

XI. 

And maples of fair glossy stain 

Must form my chamber doors, 
And carpets of the Wilton grain 

Must cover all my floors ; 
My walls with tapestry bedecked 

Must never be outdone ; 



368 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

And damask curtains must protect 
Their colors from the sun. 



XII. 

And mirrors of the largest pane 

From Venice must be brought ; 
And sandal- wood and bamboo cane 

For chairs and tables bought j 
On all the mantel-pieces, clocks 

Of thrice-gilt bronze must stand, 
And screens of ebony and box 

Invite the stranger's hand. 

XIII. 

I want (who does not want ?) a wife, 

Affectionate and fair, 
To solace all the woes of life, 

And all its joys to share ; 
Of temper sweet, of yielding will, 

Of firm yet placid mind ; 
With all my faults to love me still, 

With sentiments refined. 

XIV. 

And as Time's car incessant runs 

And Fortune fills my store, 
I want of daughters and of sons 

From eight to half a score. 
I want (alas ! can mortal dare 

Such bliss on earth to crave ?) 
That all the girls be chaste and fair, 

The boys all wise and brave. 



THE WANTS OF MAN. 369 



XV. 

And when my bosom's darling sings 

"With melody divine, 
A pedal harp of many strings 

Must with her voice combine. 
A piano exquisitely wrought 

Must open stand apart, 
That all my daughters may be taught 

To win the stranger's heart. 

XVI. 

My wife and daughters will desire 

Refreshment from perfumes, 
Cosmetics for the skin require, 

And artificial blooms. 
The civet fragrance shall dispense 

And treasured sweets return, 
Cologne revive the flagging sense, 

And smoking amber burn. 

XVII. 

And when, at night, my weary head 

Begins to droop and doze, 
A southern chamber holds my bed 

For nature's soft repose, 
With blankets, counterpanes, and sheet, 

Mattress and bed of down. 
And comfortables for my feet, 

And pillows for my crown. 

XVIII. 

I want a warm and faithful friend 

To cheer the adverse hour, 
in. v 



370 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ADAMS 

Who ne'er to flatter will descend 

'NoY bend the knee to power; 
A friend to chide me when I'm wrong, 

My inmost soul to see, 
And that my friendship prove as strong 

For him as his for me. 

XIX. 

I want a kind and tender heart, 

For others' wants to feel ; 
A soul secure from Fortune's dart, 

And bosom armed with steel, 
To bear Divine chastisement's rod, 

And mingling in my plan 
Submission to the will of God 

With charity to man. 

xx. 

I want a keen, observing eye, 

An ever-listening ear, 
The truth through all disguise to spy, 

And wisdom's voice to hear ; 
A tongue to speak at virtue's need 

In Heaven's sublimest strain, 
And lips the cause of Man to plead, 

And never plead in vain. 

XXI. 

I want uninterrupted health 

Throughout my long career. 
And streams of never-failing wealth 

To scatter far and near, 
The destitute to clothe and feed, 

Free bounty to bestow, 



THE WANTS OF MAN. 37 1 

Supply the helpless orphan's need 
And soothe the widow's woe. 



XXII. 

I want the genius to conceive, 

The talents to unfold 
Designs, the vicious to retrieve. 

The virtuous to uphold ;. 
Inventive power, combining skill, 

A persevering soul, 
Of human hearts to mould the will 

And reach from pole to pole. 

XXIII. 

I want the seals of power and place, 

The ensigns of command, 
Charged by the People's unbought grace 

To rule my native land ; 
Nor crown nor sceptre would I ask 

But from my country's will, 
By day, by night, to ply the task 

Her cup of bliss to fill. 

XXIV. 

I want the voice of honest praise 

To follow me behind, 
And to be thought in future days 

The friend of human kind, 
That after-ages, as they rise, 

Exulting may proclaim 
In choral union to the skies 

Their blessings on my name. 



372 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

XXV. 

These are the wants of mortal man ; 

I cannot want them long, 
For life itself is but a span, 

And earthly bliss a song. 
My last great want, absorbing all, 

Is, when beneath the sod, 
And summoned to my final call, 

The mercy of my God. 

XXVI. 

And, oh ! while circles in my veins 

Of life the purple stream, 
And yet a fragment small remains 

Of nature's transient dream, 
My soul, in humble hope unscared 

Forget not thou to pray 
That this thy want may be prepared 

To meet the Judgment Day. 



A ROYAL SEAT, 

EUGENE BENSON. 

[The author of our present Half-Hour was born at Hyde Park, New 
York, in 1837. He was trained as an artist, and has executed many 
meritorious paintings. In 1871 he went to Home, to reside there per 
manently. His literary work has consisted mainly of contributions 
on art-subjects to periodicals. His " Art and Nature in Italy," from 
which our selection is taken, is a collection of these contributions. 
They are charmingly written, and show at once the ardor and love of 



BENSON] A ROYAL SEAT. 373 

nature of the poet, and the fine critical judgment in art of the skilled 
painter.] 

WHOEVER has read the "Asolani" of Cardinal Bembo 
must wish to see the place which it celebrates and find 
again its gardens of delight. . For, old-fashioned and in 
volved and slow in dramatic action as it is, with its endless 
refinements on the nature of love, it lets us have glimpses 
of a charming spot, and makes one ask, Where is the once 
famous country-seat of Catherine Cornaro ? and is there 
anything to be seen of it ? 

It is a pretty story, that of the Queen's favorite maid 
of honor, the beautiful Fiametta, in honor of whose mar 
riage Bembo wrote his " Asolani." 

Berenice, and Gismondo, and Perottino, and Lavinello, 
and, the old hermit all most gentle people conduct them 
selves with modesty and grace, and, with fine manners 
and leisure, talk of love as though it were the sole busi 
ness of the day. These conversations took place a long 
time ago, centuries ago. The Queen and her pleasant 
guests were here at Asolo, and below at her greater palace 
on the plain. Some trace of attractive life must still exist 
outside of Asolo. Where, then, we repeated, is her once 
famous country-seat? This question I put at Asolo, in 
front of the old tower of the castle which was once the 
home of the ex-Queen. In spite of being told that there 
was nothing to be seen of her ancient residence, on the 
plain, I felt sure that some traces of the splendid life 
of her time might reward my effort to get the very stuff 
with which imagination builds anew its dreamy fabric. 
I wished to go over the ground between delightful Asolo 
and the enchanting residence which formerly housed the 
court of the Queen of Cyprus. Walls and towers and all 
the gorgeous retinue of sixteenth-century life have been 
swept away, but the level fields, the winding roads, the 
in. 32 



374 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BENSON 

running streams, the silver and golden tones of sky and 
woods, and all the material of nature would yet renew for 
me some coveted impressions. And I thought my expe 
rience must be incomplete without this visit to the very 
ground of the famous Paradise of the lady from Cyprus. 

Leaving the one winding street of Asolo, its arched 
arcade, the faded frescos of its old walls, its square tower 
and castle rock, by a charming road turning between 
chestnut slopes, whose bending and flowing spaces descend 
to the plain with many a grassy glade and many a golden 
vineyard and many a luring path, we drove toward El 
Parco, the site of Queen Cornaro's park and palace. All 
this is outside of the way of travel, and guide-books do 
not lead us to it. It therefore promised us something 
unworn in the way of old Italy. 

For, one must admit it, there are threadbare places of 
travel in Italy, and there are the commonplaces of experi 
ence which cannot quicken any spark in an old traveller. 
But Asolo and El Parco are the very places to gratify the 
eye and start a fresh expectation of pleasure. One hour's 
drive brought us to a narrow way bordered with aspens, 
and willows, and acacias, and walnut and poplar trees. 
And what a fresh stream sped along the road-side ! Pres 
ently we halted before the gateless entrance of what 
appeared to be an immense long farm-house, such as is 
common in this part of Italy. A heap of husked corn 
lay on the ground: several peasants were standing in tbe 
sun and civilly welcomed us, and half a dozen children 
stopped their play to look in wide-eyed wonder at the 
strangers who stepped forward. 

One glance at the front of the long building gave us a 
shock of surprise. Farm-house, cattle-shed, and barn it 
was indeed, a structure put to uses that the sanest com 
munist would have approved ; but part of the famed palace 



BENSON] A ROYAL SEAT. 375 

of the Queen of Cyprus it was none the less, and the sign 
of its lordly state and beautiful aspect yet brightened its 
peeled walls and set over the peasant's home the features 
and forms of its old life of elegance. It was more than 
we expected, to see the full length of the great front cov 
ered with warm-colored frescos and decorative, patterns 
of sixteenth-century art. So much ! and perhaps the 
work of a master! For tradition tells that G-iorgione 
himself painted the portrait of the Queen on horseback 
on the tower over the entrance to the park, and why 
should we not be looking now upon the vestiges of his 
work or of his school ? All one's faculties of admiration 
are alert in front of a fragment of a fine time of art. One 
seeks to possess something so near ruin or hastens to dis 
miss some pretension so close to greatness. And what a 
contrast this great painted front of a peasant's home shel 
tering cattle, and beings but a step above the very animals 
they care for ! It is a great building, with arches and col 
umns and carved capitals, its whole surface covered with 
color and decorated with subjects of curious interest and 
much beauty. 

As to the frescos, they are really worth much attention. 

Neptune drives his dolphins through the sea; Apollo 
chases Daphne ; St. Jerome beats his breast ; Love dom. 
inates Force ; fauns pipe to nude nymphs. These are the 
subjects yet to be seen in bright and harmonious color. 
An aged peasant-mother pointed out Neptune to me. It 
was Ceres infirm and old showing me the older god of the 
sea. As to the frescos, they are of the time of Giorgione 
and Pordenone, similar to those which we find in many 
of the North-Italian cities and villas. The old Venetians 
well knew that, in spite of the fact that fresco-painting is 
perishable and greatly exposed to weather, the outer wall 
of their houses was the best place for it. For fresco-. 



376 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BENSON 

painting is too cold and thin a decoration away from sun- 
light. Struck by the sun, it glows and is splendid enough, 
very different from the garish or cold effect it has under 
cover. It is essentially meant for scenic effect, and as 
such was universally employed by the great painters of 
tho north of Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. 
And even when it is so ruined that with difficulty one can 
make out the subject, it remains decorative, and redeems 
old walls from the blankness of uninteresting ruin. We 
naturally reached this conclusion before the painted front 
of what remains of Catherine Cornaro's home. And what 
country but Italy could show such a contrast between the 
outer walls of a once noble dwelling and the life it now 
shelters ? All the radiant paganism of its significance 
outside; within, a bit of the kingdom of piggery itself! 
In its bright hour made to entertain the mind with the 
most joyous subjects, and wholly given to that classical 
mythology which for a brief time in Italy actually strug 
gled successfully against Christianity; for here it is all 
implied by these figures of Pan and Apollo and Neptune 
and listening nymphs. One curious fresco which must 
have greatly amused the idle ladies and gallants of the 
lettered and sportive life of this courtly place is worth 
describing. It represents a beautiful woman seated on 
the back of a gallant of the day, who is on all-fours, his 
face bridled like a horse, a bit in his mouth, the reins of 
which are held by the fair rider seated in smiling disdain 
on his back. 

The old fresco must have stirred silvery laughter in 
many a fair guest first coming within this court of love. 
It brought back, to the mind's eye, the reality of the light 
pleasure of old life here. 

As for the more classical subjects that are still to be 
seen, they are really superior work. We looked in vain 



BENSON] A ROYAL SEAT. 377 

for further traces of the bright and untroubled glory of 
this place. The old peasant told me he recollected fifty 
years ago when there were 'towers standing, another wing 
of the building, and statues. These last were carried off 
to Padua. Now there are not even any old trees. Here 
were fountains fed from the nearer hills by an aqueduct . 
Here were great avenues and groves of laurel and exotic 
plants ; and here the ex-Queen entertained a deputation 
from Cyprus, " a company of persons of distinction fol 
lowed by thirty pages and numerous servants ;" here she 
entertained "the Marchesa of Mantua, followed by her 
knights and two hundred servants ;" here came Navagero, 
Venetian Ambassador to Spain, he whose gardens at Mu- 
rano are spoken of to this day, one of the poets of his 
time, who with Bembo adorned with grace and elegance 
this brilliant life. 

Catherine Cornaro brought her taste for this sumptuous 
country life from Cyprus, where the wildest extravagance 
was indulged in by the nobles of the islands : they were 
said to squander their wealth in hunting and tournaments. 
A certain count kept five hundred hounds, and every two 
hounds required the care of one man. No person of con 
sideration kept less than twelve falconers. The King of 
Cyprus, high prelates, bishops, and princes, and barons, 
and knights, all indulged in this luxury of a splendid and 
sportive country life. The beautiful Yenetian patrician 
girl who had gone to marry the King of Cyprus, dowered 
by the Venetian republic as an only daughter with one 
hundred thousand gold ducats, later abdicating her sov 
ereignty of the island at the urgent and persistent request 
of the Yenetian Senate, was given this whole region of 
A solo in the province of Treviso, and here she brought 
the royal pastimes of Cyprus. We thought it worth some 
trouble and time to see much of this gay country as we 
IT* 32* 



378 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BENSON 

walked over its grassy fields. Millions of crocuses bright 
ened the sward ; swift, pure streams still freshened the 
ground. It was all most delightful, the place, the hour, 
and the sentiment of the day. The whole wide landscape 
basking in the light and warmth of autumn made us real 
ize that we were in a chosen spot of the world. No part 
of Yenetian territory, outside of Venice, is more interest 
ing than this ; there is none which has more of history, 
of romance, and of art to renew one's sense of a splendid 
life ; and all this is now conveyed in a few names, and 
suggested by a few places, the Park of the Queen, the 
Yilla Mazer, the Castle of Colalto, the tower of Eccellino, 
in this cultivated, rich, varied country, a country of 
walled towns and cities, of castles and towers and woods, 
and of pastoral quiet in sight of the solemn barriers of 
the Yenetian Alps, through whose rocky gateways a day's 
journey will take one to the fantastic crags and pinnacles 
of the Dolomite world. This part of Italy is not the Italy 
of the olive and orange and pine ; it is not classical Italy ; 
but it is the Italy of romance, of high culture, of intense 
life, of great intellectual activity ; and, without either the 
pretension or the austerity of Tuscan or the pride of 
Roman, it built Yenice, created the Yenetian state, Yene 
tian art, and the grand men who brought Eastern civiliza 
tion and Greek culture to Italy. See this country of their 
life, bosky, graceful, park-like, at the foot of the Alps, on 
this Trevesian plain, amid these delightful hills which lift 
and rise to Asolo, and from Asolo break away and fall and 
rise again with enchanting diversity to the greater bar 
riers of the grander mountains. 



CRAWFORD] A TRAITOR DISCOMFITED. 379 

A TRAITOR DISCOMFITED. 

F. M. CRAWFORD. 

[Francis Marion Crawford, who has recently attained distinction as 
a novelist, is a son of Thomas Crawford, the sculptor, and was born in 
I taly in 1845. His first work, " Mr. Isaacs," attracted general attention, 
from the new field which it occupied, the literary skill of the author, 
and its striking originality of character and incident. He has since 
published " Dr. Claudius," " A Roman Singer," and other novels. We 
give one of the most exciting scenes from " Mr. Isaacs." Ram Lai, who 
defeats the treachery of the captain and his band by a bit of unexplained 
Hindoo jugglery, is a sort of Buddhistic miracle-worker, with the power 
of appearing and disappearing at will. Shere Ali is an Afghan prince, 
who has been captured, and ransomed by Mr. Isaacs. The maharajah, 
who has been forced against his will to admit his prisoner to ransom, 
cherishes revengeful sentiments, and meditates treachery. This becomes 
known to Ram Lai, who prepares to defeat it.] 

THE lower Himalayas are at first extremely disappoint 
ing. The scenery is enormous but not grand, and at first 
hardly seems large. The lower parts are at first sight a 
series of gently undulating hills and wooded dells; in some 
places it looks as if one might almost hunt the country. 
It is long before you realize that it is all on a gigantic 
scale; that the quick-set hedges are belts of rhododendron? 
of full growth, the water-jumps rivers, and the stone walls 
raountain-ridges ; that to hunt a country like that you 
would have to ride a horse at least two hundred feet high. 
You cannot see at first, or even for some time, that the 
gentle-looking hill is a mountain of five or six thousand 
feet; in Simla you will not believe you are three thousand 
feet above the level of the Rhigi Kulm in Switzerland. 
Persons who are familiar with the aspect of the Rocky 
Mountains are aware of the singular lack of dignity in 
those enormous elevations. They are merely big, without 



380 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CRAWFORD 

any superior beauty, until you come to the favored spots 
of nature's art, where some great contrast throws out into 
appalling relief the gulf between the high and the low. 
It is so in the Himalayas. You may travel for hours and 
days amidst vast forests and hills without the slightest 
sensation of pleasure or sense of admiration for the scene, 
till suddenly your path leads you out on the dizzy brink 
of an awful precipice, a sheer fall, so exaggerated in 
horror that your most stirring memories of Mont Blanc, 
the Jungfrau, and the hideous arete of the Pitz Bernina, 
sink into vague insignificance. The gulf that divides you 
from the distant mountain seems like a huge bite taken 
bodily out of the world by some voracious god ; far away 
rise snow-peaks such as were not dreamt of in your Swiss 
tour; the bottomless valley at your feet is misty and gloomy 
with blackness, streaked with mist, while the peaks above 
shoot gladly to the sun and catch his broadside rays like 
majestic white standards. Between you, as you stand 
leaning cautiously against the hill behind you, and the 
wonderful background far away in front, floats a strange 
vision, scarcely moving, but yet not still. A great golden 
shield sails steadily in vast circles, sending back the sun 
light in every tint of burnished glow. The golden eagle 
of the Himalayas hangs in mid-air, a sheet of polished 
metal to the eye, pausing sometimes in the full blaze of 
reflection, as ages ago the sun and the moon stood still in 
the valley of Ajalon ; too magnificent for description, as 
he is too dazzling to look at. The whole scene, if no 
greater name can be given to it, is on a scale so Titanic in 
its massive length and breadth and depth that you stand 
utterly trembling and weak and foolish as you look for the 
first time. You have never seen such masses of the world 
before. 

It was in such a spot as this that, nearly at noon on the 



CRAWFORD] A TRAITOR DISCOMFITED. 38 A 

appointed day, my dooly-bearers set me down and warned 
me I was at my journey's end. I stepped out and stood 
on the narrow way, pausing to look and to enjoy all that 
I saw. I had been in other parts of the lower Himalayas 
before, and the first sensations I had experienced had given 
way to those of a contemplative admiration. No longer 
awed or overpowered or oppressed by the sense of physical 
insignificance- in my own person, I could endure to look on 
the stupendous panorama before me, and could even ana 
lyze what I felt. But before long my pardonable revery 
was disturbed by a well-known voice. The clear tones 
rang like a trumpet along the mountain-side in a glad 
shout of welcome. I turned, and saw Isaacs coming 
quickly towards me, bounding along the edge of the 
precipice as if his life had been passed in tending goats 
and robbing eagles' nests. I, too, moved on to meet him, 
and in a moment we clasped hands in unfeigned delight 
at being again together. 

[They are afterwards joined by the Hindoo pundit, Earn Lai, and tho 
narrative continues.] 

Just beyond the shoulder of the hill, sheltered from the 
north by the projecting boulders, was a small tent, care 
fully pitched and adjusted to stand the storms if any 
should come. Thither we all three bent our steps and sat 
down by the fire, for it was chilly, even cold, in the passes 
in September. Food was brought out by Isaacs, and we 
ate together as if no countless ages of different nationali 
ties separated us. Ram Lai was perfectly natural and 
easy in his manners, and affable in what he said. Until 
the meal was finished no reference was made to the strange 
business that brought us from different points of the com 
pass to the Himalayan heights. Then, at last, Ram Lai 
spoke: his meal had been the most frugal of the three, 



382 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CRAWFORD 

and he had soon eaten his fill, but he employed himself 
in rolling cigarettes, which he did with marvellous skill, 
until we two had satisfied our younger and healthier 
appetites. 

"Abdul Hafiz," he said, his gray face bent over his 
colorless hands as he twisted the papers, "shall we not 
tell Mr. Griggs what is to be done? Afterward he can 
lie in the tent and sleep until evening, for he is weary and" 
needs to recruit his strength." 

" So be it, Earn Lai," answered Isaacs. 

" Yery well. The position is this, Mr. Griggs. Neither 
Mr. Isaacs nor I trust those men that we are to meet, and 
therefore, as we are afraid of being killed unawares, we 
thought we would send for you to protect us." He smiled 
pleasantly as he saw the blank expression in my face. 

" Certainly ; and you shall hear how it is to be done. 
The place is not far from here, in the valley below. The 
band are already nearing the spot, and^at midnight we 
will go down and meet them. The meeting will be, of 
course, like all formal rendezvous for the delivery of 
prisoners. The captain of the band will come forward 
accompanied by his charge, and perhaps by a sowar. We 
'three will stand together, side by side, and await their 
coming. Now, the plot is this. They have determined 
if possible to murder both Shere Ali and Isaacs then and 
there together. They have not counted on us, but they 
probably expect that our friend will arrive guarded by a 
troop of horse. The maharajah's men will try and sneak 
up close to where we stand, and at a signal, which the 
leader, in conversation with Isaacs, will give by laying 
his hand on his shoulder, the men will rush in and cut 
Shere Ali to pieces, and Isaacs too if the captain cannot 
do it alone. Now look here, Mr. Griggs. What we want 
you to do is this. Your friend my friend wants no 



CRAWFORD] A TRAITOR DISCOMFITED. 383 

miracles, so that you have got to do by strength what 
might be done by stratagem, though not so quickly. 
When you see the leader lay his hand on Isaacs' shoulder, 
seize him by the throat and mind his other arm, which 
will be armed. Prevent him from injuring Isaacs, and I 
will attend to the rest, who will doubtless require my 
whole attention." 

" But," I objected, " supposing that this captain turnod 
out to be stronger or more active than I. What then ?" 

" Never fear," said Isaacs, smiling. " There aren't any." 

"No," continued Ram Lai, "never disturb yourself 
about that, but just knock your man down and be done 
with it. I will guarantee you can do it well enough, and 
if he gives you trouble I may be able to help you." 

" All right ; give me some cigarettes." And before I had 
smoked one I was asleep. 

When I awoke the sun was down, but there was a great 
light over everything. The full moon had just risen above 
the hills to eastward, and bathed every object in silver 
sheen. The far peaks, covered with snow, caught the re 
flection and sent the beams floating across the deep, dark 
valleys between. The big boulder, against which the tent 
was pitched, caught it too, and seemed changed from 
rough stone to precious metal; it was on the tent-pegs 
and the ropes, it was upon Isaacs' lithe figure, as he tight 
ened his sash round his waist and looked to his pocket- 
book for the agreement. It made Ram Lai, the gray and 
colorless, look like a silver statue, and it made the smoul 
dering flame of the watch-fire utterly dim and faint. It 
was a wonderful moon. I looked at my watch : it was 
eight o'clock. 

"Yes," said Isaacs, "you were tired and have slept 
long. It is time to be off. There is some whiskey in that 
flask. I don't take those things, but Ram Lai says you 



384 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CRAWFORD 

had better have some, as you might get fever." So I did. 
Then we started, leaving everything in the tent, of which 
we pegged down the flap. There were no natives about, 
the dooly-bearers having retired to the other side of the 
valley, and the jackals would find nothing to attract them, 
as we had thrown the remainder of our meal over the 
edge. As for weapons, I had a good revolver and a thick 
stick ; Isaacs had a revolver and a vicious-looking Turkish 
knife ; and Ram Lai had nothing at all, as far as I could 
see, except a long, light staff. 

The effect of the moonlight was wild in the extreme, as 
we descended the side of the mountain by paths which 
were very far from smooth or easy. Every now and then, 
as we neared the valley, we turned the corner of some 
ridge and got a fair view of the plain. Then a step far 
ther, and we were in the dark again, behind boulders and 
picking our way over loose stones, or struggling with the 
wretched foothold afforded by a surface of light gravel 
inclined to the horizontal at an angle of forty -five degrees. 
Then, with a scramble, a jump, and a little swearing in a 
great many languages. I think we counted that we spoke 
twenty-seven between us, we were on firm soil again, and 
swinging along over the bit of easy, level path. It would 
have been out of the question to go in doolies, and no 
pony could keep a foothold for five minutes on the un 
certain ground. 

At last, as we emerged into the bright moonlight on a 
little platform of rock at an angle of the path, we paused. 
Bam Lai, who seemed to know the way, was in front, and 
held up his hand to silence us. Isaacs and I kneeled down 
and looked over the brink. Some two hundred feet below, 
on a broad strip of green bordering the steep cliffs, was 
picketed a small body of horse. We could see the men 
squatting about in their small compact turbans and their 






CRAWFORD] A TRAITOR DISCOMFITED. 385 

shining accoutrements ; the horses tethered at various dis 
tances on the sward, cropping so vigorously that even at 
that height we could hear the dull sound as they rhythmi 
cally munched the grass. We could see in the middle of 
the little camp a man seated on a rug and wrapped in a 
heavy garment of some kind, quietly smoking a common 
hubble-bubble. Beside him stood another who reflected 
more moonlight than the rest, and who was therefore, by 
his trappings, the captain of the band. The seated smoker 
could be no other than Shere Ali. 

Cautiously we descended the remaining windings of the 
steep path, turning whenever we had a chance, to look 
down on the horsemen and their prisoner below, till at 
last we emerged in the valley a quarter of a mile or so 
beyond where they were stationed. Here on the level of 
the plain we stopped a moment, and Earn Lai renewed his 
instructions to me. 

" If the captain," he said, " lays his hand on Isaacs' 
shoulder, seize him and throw him. If you cannot get 
him down, kill him, any way you can : shoot him under 
the arm with your pistol. It is a matter of life and 
death." 

" All right." And we walked boldly along the -broad 
strip of sward. The moon was now almost immediately 
overhead, for it was midnight, or near it. I confess the 
scene awed me, the giant masses of the mountains above 
us, the vast distances of mysterious blue air, through 
which the snow-peaks shone out with a strange look that 
was not natural. The swish of the quickly-flowing stream 
at the edge of the plot we were walking over sounded 
hollow and unearthly ; the velvety whirr of the great 
mountain-bats as they circled near us, stirred from the 
branches as we passed out, was disagreeable and heavy 
to hear. The moon shone brighter and brighter, 
in. R z .33 



386 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CRAWFORD 

We were perhaps thirty yards from the little camp, in 
which there might be fifty men all told. Isaacs stood still 
and sung out a greeting. 

"Peace to you, men of Baithopoor!" he shouted. It 
was the preconcerted form of address. Instantly the cap 
tain turned and looked toward us. Then he gave some 
orders in a low voice, and taking his prisoner by the hand 
assisted him to rise. There was a scurrying to and fro in 
the camp. The men seemed to be collecting, and moving 
to the edge of the bivouac. Some began to saddle the 
horses. The moon was so intensely bright that their 
movements were as plain to us as though it had been 
broad daylight. 

Two figures came striding toward us, the captain and 
Shere Ali. As I looked at them, curiously enough, as may 
be imagined, I noticed that the captain was the taller man 
by two or three inches, but Shere Ali's broad chest and 
slightly-bowed legs produced an impression of enormous 
strength. He looked the fierce-hearted, hard-handed war 
rior, from head to heel ; though in accordance with Isaacs' 
treaty he had been well taken care of. and was dressed in 
the finest stuffs, his beard carefully clipped and his Indian 
turban rolled with great neatness round his dark and 
prominent brows. 

The first thing for the captain was to satisfy himself as 
far as possible that we had no troops in ambush up there 
in the jungle on the base of the mountain. He had prob 
ably sent scouts out before, and was pretty sure there was 
no one there. To gain time, he made a great show of 
reading the agreement through from beginning to end, 
comparing it all the while with a copy he held. While 
this was going on, and I had put myself as near as possi 
ble to the captain, Isaacs and Shere Ali were in earnest 
conversation in the Persian tongue. Shere Ali told Abdul 



CRAWFORD] A TRAITOR DISCOMFITED. j7 

that the captain's perusal of the contract must be a mere 
empty show, since the man did not know a word of the 
language. Isaacs, on hearing that the captain could not 
understand, immediately warned Shere Ali of the intended 
attempt to murder them both, of which Earn Lai, his 
friend, had heard, and I could see the old soldier's eye 
flash and his hand feel for his weapon, where there was 
none, at the mere mention of a fight. The captain began 
to talk to Isaacs, and I edged as near as I could, to be 
ready for my grip. Still it did not come. He talked on, 
very civilly, in intelligible Hindustani. What was the 
matter with the moon ? 

A few minutes before it had seemed as if there would 
be neither cloud nor mist in such a sky ; and now a light 
filmy wreath was rising and darkening the splendor of 
the wonderful night. I looked across at Ram Lai. He 
was standing with one hand on his hip, and leaning with 
the other on his staff, and he was gazing up at the moon 
with as much interest as he ever displayed about any 
thing. At that moment the captain handed Isaacs a pre 
pared receipt for signature, to the effect that the prisoner 
had been duly delivered to his new owner. The light was 
growing dimmer, and Isaacs could hardly see to read the 
characters before he signed. He raised the scroll to his 
eyes and turned half around to see it better. At that 
moment the tall captain stretched forth his arm and laid 
his hand on Isaacs' shoulder, raising his other arm at the 
same time to his men, who had crept nearer and nearer 
to our group while the endless talking was going on. I 
was perfectly prepared, and the instant the soldier's hand 
touched Isaacs I had the man in my grip, catching his 
upraised arm in one hand and his throat with the othei . 
The struggle did not last long, but it was furious in its 
agony. The tough Punjabi writhed and twisted like a 



388 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CRAWFORD 

cat in my grasp, his eyes gleaming like living coals, 
springing back and forward in bis vain and furious efforts 
to reach my feet and trip me. But it was no use. I had 
his throat and one arm well in hand, and could hold him 
so that he could not reach rne with the other. My fingeis 
sank deeper and deeper in his neck as we swayed back 
wards and sideways, tugging and hugging, breast to 
breast, till at last, with a fearful strain and wrench of 
every muscle in our two bodies, his arm went back with 
a jerk, broken like a pipe-stem, and his frame, collapsing 
and bending backwards, fell heavily to the ground beneath 
me. 

The whole strength of me was at work in the struggle, 
but I could get a glimpse of the others as we whirled and 
swayed about. 

Like the heavy pall of virgin white that is laid on the 
body of a pure maiden j of velvet, soft and sweet but 
heavy and impenetrable as death, relentless, awful, ap 
palling the soul, and freezing the marrow in the bones, 
it came near the earth. The figure of the gray old man 
grew mystically to gigantic and unearthly size, his vast 
old hands stretched forth their skinny palms to receive 
the great curtain as it descended between the moonlight 
and the sleeping earth. His eyes were as stars, his hoary 
head rose majestically to an incalculable height ; still the 
thick, all-wrapping mist came down, falling on horse and 
rider and wrestler and robber and Amir ; hiding all, 
covering all, folding all, in its soft samite arms, till not a 
man's own hand was visible to him a span's length from 
his face. 

I could feel the heaving chest of the captain beneath my 
knee ; I could feel the twitching of the broken arm tor 
tured under the pressure of my left hand ; but I could see 
neither face nor arm nor breast, nor even my own fingers. 



CRAWFORD] A TRAITOR DISCOMFITED. 389 

Only above me, as I stared up, seemed to tower the super 
natural proportions of Ram Lai, a white apparition visible 
through the opaque whiteness that hid everything else 
from view. It was only a moment. A hand was on my 
shoulder, Isaacs' voice was in my ear, speaking to Shere 
Ali. Bam Lai drew me away. 

" Be quick," he said ; " take my hand, I will lead you to 
the light." We ran along the soft grass, following tho 
=iound of each other's feet, swiftly. 

A moment more, and we were in the pass ; the mist was 
lighter, and we could see our way. "We rushed up the 
stony path fast and sure, till we reached the clear bright 
moonlight, blazing forth in silver splendor again. Far 
down below the velvet pall of mist lay thick and heavy, 
hiding the camp and its horses and men from our sight. 

"Friend," said Isaacs, "you are as free as I. Praise 
Allah, and let us depart in peace." 

The savage old warrior grasped the outstretched hand 
of the Persian and yelled aloud, 

" Illallaho-ho-ho-ho !" His throat was as brass. 

"La illah ill-allah 1" repeated Isaacs in tones as of a 
hundred clarions, echoing by tree and mountain and river, 
down the valley. 

" Thank God!" I said to Earn Lai. 

" Call Him as you please, friend Griggs," answered the 
pundit. 

It was daylight when we reached the tent at the top of 
the pass. 

IIT. 33* 



390 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS, [KiKK 

DEATH OF CHARLES THE BOLD. 

JOHN FOSTER KIRK. 

[History, in modern times, has been steadily growing in minute 
ness of detail, and many of our historians devote themselves to the 
story of a war, an epoch, or a reign, which they treat with exhaustive 
completeness. The story of the Netherlands has been thus handled 
in Motley's succession of valuable works, and to these Kirk's " His 
tory of Charles the Bold" is a highly- valuable addition, as a treat 
ment of the most important feudal epoch of the Netherlands. It 
deals with two of the most notable characters of mediaeval history, 
Louis XI., the ablest politician that ever filled the French throne, and 
Charles the Bold, a man of extraordinary force and ability, yet so ruled 
by impulse, and such a slave to his passions, that he was always at a 
disadvantage in dealing with the shrewd and cold-blooded trickster of 
Prance. The story of the wars of Charles with the Swiss is of exceed 
ing interest. On three hard-fought fields the impetuous valor of the 
liberty-loving Swiss overthrew the trained and disciplined armies 
of one of the ablest captains of the age, and on the last of these fields 
Charles the Bold ended his checkered career, slain "like a dog in a 
ditch." We give this vividly-told incident in the following selection. 
Mr. Kirk was born at Fredericton, New Brunswick, in 1824. He was 
for many years secretary to Prescott, the historian. From 1871 to 
1885 he was editor of Lippincott's Magazine. In the latter year he 
accepted the chair of history in the University of Pennsylvania.] 

THE " Yigil of the Kings" Sunday, the 5th of January, 
1477 had come, and the reveille sounded, calling men to 
wake and die. 

Heavy rains, the day before, had washed the earth, the 
flooded rivers rushing over a frozen current beneath, 
impetuous, noisy, full, like the tides of life rolling above 
the frozen sea of death. But the night had been calm 
and cold; at dawn the shrunken waters gurgled faintly 
under a new surface of ice, and the gathering clouds were 
charged afresh with snow. 



KIRK] DEATH OF CHARLES THE BOLD. 391 

Charles had been busy throughout the night. He had 
resolved neither to abandon the siege nor to await the 
attack in his camp, but to meet and repel the enemy's 
advance. His force being too small for him to leave a suf 
ficient guard against sallies from the town, he had drawn 
off his troops as noiselessly as possible under cover of the 
darkness. 

"A short half-league" southeast of Nancy the road 
through Jarville and Laneuville to Saint-Nicolas entered 
a forest extending from the Meurthe on the east across 
the range of highlands bounding the horizon on the south 
and west. Near the verge of the wood, the road was 
intersected by a rivulet, called now, in commemoration of 
the events of the day, Le Ruisseau de Bonsecours. On both 
banks, to its junction with the Meurthe, it was thickly 
planted with hedges of thorn. 

Behind this stream the duke posted his troops, the 
artillery in front, on a mound commanding the road ; 
behind it the infantry, archers' and pikemen, drawn up 
in a single oblong square, in imitation of the Swiss. Here 
he took his own station, surrounded by his nobles and 
personal attendants, and mounted on a powerful black 
horse, called from its race and color II Moro. Two slen 
der bodies of cavalry composed the wings. The right, 
under Josse de Lalain, was placed on the high ground to 
wards the source of the brook, but somewhat in the rear 
of the line ; the left, under Galeotto, occupied a meadow, 
covered partially on the front as well as flank by the 
Meurthe, which here makes a double bend to the east 
and north, and is fordable in the angle. The evident ob 
ject was to arrest and crush the enemy's columns while 
debouching from the forest. It was the sole chance of 
coping with a force so superior. 

A,t Saint-Nicolas, after mass had been celebrated in the 



392 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KniK 

church, food and wine were served out in abundance, and 
consumed with gayety and relish by men familiar with 
dangers and now confident of an easy victory. At eight 
o'clock they began their march. The troops were about 
equally divided between the vanguard and the "battle," 
the former comprising seven thousand spears and halberds 
and two thousand cavalry, the latter a thousand more foot 
and somewhat fewer horse. Eight hundred arquebusiers 
followed as a reserve. Herter led the van, with Thierstein 
as commander of the horse. Kene, with his suite, rode 
beside the main corps, on a spirited gray mare called La 
Dame. He wore over his armor a short mantle of cloth 
of gold embroidered with the double white cross of Lor 
raine, the sleeves trimmed with his colors, gray, white, 
and red. His standard of white satin, decorated with a 
painting of the Annunciation, floated among a group of 
banners in the centre. 

###**#* ## 

Before the troops had reached the farm-house on which 
they were to pivot, the snow fell so thickly that no one 
could see beyond his nearest comrade. In crossing a 
stream which runs past the building, the new-formed ice 
soon broke beneath their heavy tread, and left them wading, 
floundering, sometimes swimming. The road, or "hollow 
way," as it is also called, seems to have differed from the 
forest only in being more difficult to traverse. It was 
overgrown with a stubby and prickly brush. When at 
last the clearing was reached, the ranks were in disarray 
and the men half frozen. Sitting down, they poured the 
watr from their shoes and arranged their clothing and 
arms. 

Without having ocular proof of it, they had reached 
their position, facing the enemy's right flank. Suddenly 
the squall passed over and the sun shone forth. The 



KIRK] DEATH OF CHARLES THE BOLD. 393 

hostile forces were in full sight of each other. The Swiss 
horn, blown thrice with a prolonged breath, sent a blast 
of doom into the ears of the Burgundians. Wheeling 
rapidly into line, the troops began to descend the slope at 
a. quick run. 

On first catching sight of the foe in this unexpected 
quarter, the gunners made an effort to turn their pieces. 
But the process was then a laborious one, not to be effected 
in alarm and confusion. After a single wild discharge, 
killing but two men, the guns were abandoned. 

But the Swiss were now stopped by the hedge. Charles 
had time to make a change of front and send forward his 
archers. The assailants suffered severely. Their weapons 
got caught in the brambles, and they were unable to break 
through. A troop of French horse was the first to clear a 
passage. It was met by a squadron under the Sire de la 
Riviere and driven from the field. Meanwhile Galeotto 
had been attacked and was giving way. Lalain was ordered 
to go to his support. But the arquebusiers, having come 
to the front, delivered a volley which arrested the charge. 
Many saddles were emptied. Lalain fell badly wounded. 
The affrighted horses galloped at random. Galeotto, who 
was soon after taken prisoner, made off with his men 
towards the ford. 

Charles saw himself stripped of both his wings, assailed 
at once on both his flanks. He had his choice between a 
rapid flight and a speedy death. Well, then death ! 

As he fastened his helmet, the golden lion on the crest 
became detached and fell to the ground. He forbade it to 
be replaced. Hoc est signum Dei! "It is a sign from 
God," he said. From God ? Ah, yes, he knew now the 
hand that was laid upon him ! 

Leading his troops, he plunged into the midst of his 
foes, now closing in on all sides. Among enemies and 



394 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KiRK 

friends the recollection of his surpassing valor in that 
hour of perdition, after the last gleam of hope had van 
ished, was long preserved. Old men of Franche-Comte 
were accustomed to tell how their fathers, tenants and 
followers of the Sire de Citey, had seen the duke, his face 
streaming with blood, charging and recharging " like a 
lion," ever in the thick of the combat, bringing help where 
the need was greatest. In Lorraine the same tradition 
existed. "Had all his men," says a chronicler of that 
province, " fought with a like ardor, our army must infal 
libly have been repulsed." 

But no ; so encaged, so overmatched, what courage 
could have availed? " The foot stood long and manfully," 
is the testimony of a hostile eye-witness. But the final 
struggle, though obstinate, was short. Broken and dis 
persed, the men had no recourse but flight. Some went 
eastward, in the direction of Essey, such as gained the 
river crossing where the ice bore, and breaking it behind 
them. The greater number kept to the west of Nancy, 
to gain the road to Conde and Luxembourg. Charles, 
with the handful that still remained around him, followed 
in the same direction. The mass, both of fugitives and 
pursuers, was already far ahead. There was no choice 
now. Flight, combat, death, it was all one. 

Closing up, the little band of nobles, last relic of 
chivalry, charged into the centre of a body of foot. A 
halberdier swung his weapon, and brought it down on 
the head of Charles. He reeled in the saddle. Citey 
flung his arms round him and steadied him, receiving 
while so engaged a thrust from a spear through the 
parted joints of his corselet. 

Pressing on, still fighting, still hemmed in, they dropped 
one by one. Charles's page, a Roman of the ancient family 
of Colonna, rode a little behind, a gilt helmet hanging 



KIRK] DEATH OF CHARLES THE BOLD. 395 

from his saddle-bow. He kept his eye upon his master, 
saw him surrounded, saw him at the edge of a ditch, saw 
his horse stumble, the rider fall. The next moment 
Colonna was himself dismounted and made prisoner by 
men who, it would appear, had belonged to the troop of 
Campobasso. 

None knew who had fallen, or lingered to see. The 
vout swept along, the carnage had no pause. The course 
was strewn with arms, banners, and the bodies of the 
slain. Riderless horses plunged among the ranks of the 
victors and the vanquished. B There was a road turning 
directly westward ; but it went to Toul : French lances 
were there. Northward the valley contracted. On one 
side was the forest, on the other the river ; ahead, the 
bridge of Bouxieres, guarded, barred, by Campobasso. 
Arrived there, all was over. A few turned aside into the 
forest, to be hunted still, to be butchered by the peasantry, 
to perish of hunger and cold. Others leaped into the 
river, shot at by the arquebusiers, driven back or stabbed 
by the traitors on the opposite bank, swept by the cur 
rent underneath the ice. The slaughter here was far 
greater than on the field. No quarter was given by the 
Swiss. But the cavalry, both of Lorraine and the allies, 
received the swords of men of rank, as well from the 
sympathy of their class as for the sake of ransom. 
When Eene came up the sun had long set. There was 
little chance, less occasion, for further pursuit. The short 
winter's day had had its full share of blood. Merciful 
Night came down, enabling a scanty remnant to escape. 

Messengers arrived entreating the duke of Lorraine to 
hasten back to Nancy and show himself to his longing 
people. When the pursuit had first begun, the citizens 
had sallied forth to take part in it. But, having neglected 
in their impatience to assume the proper badge, they had 



396 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KiRK 

been fiercely attacked by the Swiss and driven in, leaving 
some of their number dead. Now they thronged the 
gates and avenues, with lighted torches in their hands. 
It was seven o'clock when Rene appeared. The bells 
pealed out. Wild huzzas went up. Thousands of faces, 
gaunt with famine, were radiant with joy. It was not 
that they had missed him, that they had pined for him, so 
much. But they had suffered for him. Suffered, oh, 
yes ! how greatly let that trophy they have raised in 
front of his palace tell, that lofty, grisly pile, composed 
of the skulls of the foul animals which for many weeks 
have been their only food ! 

Followed by the throng, Rene proceeded to the Church 
of Saint George, to offer up thanks for the victory which 
had restored him to the home and dominion of his an 
cestors. His palace had been rendered untenantable by 
the Burgundian bombardment. He therefore took up his 
quarters at the house of a wealthy burgher. The doors 
were beset. There was no time for repose ; all had so 
much to hear, so much to recount ! The people were still 
starving; for though the army had brought ample sup 
plies, they were too distant, and the cold was too intense, 
to seek them now. Nay, in the ecstasy of that night, 
the need, the means of relief, were forgotten. 

The cavalry had returned to Saint-Nicolas. The Swiss 
were quartered in the Burgundian camp, where they 
found a fair share of booty, and abundance of food. They 
passed the night in revelry. Yet not all. Sharp as was 
the air, a thousand forms were dispersed over the field, 
stripping, snatching, gliding from heap to heap, too 
intent, too eager, to give a kindly thrust to the agonized 
wretch that prayed for death. O Night, thou art cruder 
than Day! 

Morning again broke, bringing fresh consciousness, 



DEATH OF CHARLES THE BOLD. 397 

fuller confirmation, of the completeness of the victory. 
The lowest estimate of the enemy's slain was over three 
thousand. Those who reckoned in the drowned, and all 
the bodies scattered over a space of four leagues, set it 
at eight thousand. Whatever the number, the last Bur- 
gundian army had been destroyed. The only prisoners 
were nobles, the Great Bastard, the count of Chimay, the 
count of Nassau, Josse de Lalain, Philip of Hochberg, 
Olivier de Lamarche, and others of no less degree. All, 
or nearly all, had sons, brothers, cousins, among the dead. 
It was the Strasburgers who had had the luck to receive 
the surrender of the count of Nassau. Engelbert the 
Rich, whose ransom was cheaply valued at fifty thou 
sand florins. Most of the others were Rene's own, and 
would pour a welcome supply into his empty treasury. 
Into his treasury? Illusive expectation! The French 
king would claim all these prisoners as his. He who 
had made the war, who had paid for the war, would be 
the rightful, the only, gainer by it. 

Save the Swiss, who, besides the spoil which they 
knew well how to win and how to hold, asked only for 
their modest wages. There was a third half-month's pay, 
which they came for the day after the battle, being in 
haste to return home. Rene was still without funds. 
But he had recovered his duchy, which was mortgaged 
for their dues, and they accepted his promise to send the 
amount after them to Basel, where their leaders would 
remain till its arrival. They took a friendly leave of 
Rene. " If the duke of Burgundy were still alive, and 
should return to disturb him, let him send for them 
again." 

If the duke of Burgundy were still alive, that was the 
thought that now occupied every breast. If he were alive, 
no doubt but that he would return, no hope that the war 
in. 34 



398 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KiRK 

was over. Messengers were sent to inquire, to explore 
The field was searched. Horsemen went to Metz and 
neighboring places to ask whether he had passed. None 
had seen him, none could find him, none had anything tc 
tell. Wild rumors started up. He had hidden in the 
forest, retired to a hermitage, assumed the religious garb. 
Goods were bought and sold, to be paid for on his re 
appearance. Years afterwards, there were those who still 
believed, still expected. 

Yet intelligence, proof, was soon forthcoming. In the 
evening of Monday, Campobasso presented himself, bring 
ing with him Colonna, who told what he had seen, and 
gave assurance that he could find the. spot. Let him go 
then and seek, accompanied by those who would be surest 
to recognize the form, Mathieu, the Portuguese phy 
sician, a valet-de-chambre, and a "laundress," who- had 
prepared the baths of the fallen prince. 

They passed out at the gate of Saint John, descending 
to the low, then marshy, ground on the west of the town. 
It was drained by a ditch, the bed of a slender rivulet 
that turned a mill in the faubourg. The distance was not 
great, less than half an English mile. Several hundred 
bodies lay near together. But these they passed, coming 
to where a small band, " thirteen or fourteen," had fallen, 
fighting singly, yet together. Here lay Citey, here Con- 
tay, here a Croy, a Belvoir, a Lalain, as in every battle 
field ; here Bievre, loved by his enemies, his skull laid 
open " like a pot." 

These are on the edge of the ditch. At the bottom lies 
another body, " short, but thick-set and well-membered." 
in worse plight than all the rest; stripped naked, hor 
ribly mangled, the cheek eaten away by wolves or fam 
ished dogs. Can this be he ? 

They stoop and examine. The nails, never pared, are 



KIRK] DEATH OF CHARLES THE BOLD. 399 

"longer than any other man's." Two teeth are gone, 
through a fall years ago. There are other marks, a fis 
tula in the groin, in the neck a scar left by the sword- 
thrust received at Montlhery. The men turn pale, the 
woman shrieks and throws herself upon the body. " My 
lord of Burgundy! My lord of Burgundy!" Yes, this is 
he, the " Great Duke," the destroyer of Liege, the " Ter 
ror of France !" 

They strive to raise it. The flesh, embedded in the ice, 
is rent by the effort. Help is sent for. Four of Kene's 
nobles come, men with implements, cloths, and bier; 
women have sent their veils. It is lifted and borne into 
the town, through the principal street, to the house of 
George Marqueiz, where there is a large and suitable cham 
ber. The bearers rest a moment, set down their burden 
on the pavement. Let the spot be forever marked with a 
cross of black stones. 

It is carried in, washed with wine and warm water, 
again examined. There are three principal wounds. A 
halberd, entering at the side of the head, has cloven it 
from above the ear to the teeth. Both thighs have been 
pierced by a spear. Another has been thrust into the 
bowels from below. 

It is wrapped in fine linen and laid out upon a table. 
The head, covered with a cap of red satin, lies on a 
cushion of the same color and material. An altar is 
decked beside it. Waxen tapers are lighted. The room 
is hung with black. 

Bid his brother, his captive nobles, his surviving ser 
vants, come and see if this be indeed their prince. They 
assemble around, kneel and weep, take his hands, his feet, 
and press them to their lips and breasts. He was their 
sovereign, their " good lord," the chief of a glorious house, 
the last, the greatest, of his line. 



400 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLEMENS 

NEW ENGLAND WEATHER. 

S. L. CLEMENS. 

[Mark Twain was noi the first to deal with the weather of New 
England from a humorous point of view. One of New England's 
most famous orators and greatest men, Kufus Choate, had previously 
celebrated the "glorious uncertainty" of the climate of the wind- 
tormented East. We may precede the amusingly-extravagant effort 
of our recent humorist with a quotation of Choate's treatment of the 
same subject : 

" Take the New England climate in summer, you would think the 
world was coming to an end. Certain recent heresies on that subject 
may have had a natural origin there. Cold to-day, hot to-morrow ; 
mercury at 80 in the morning, with wind at southwest, and in three 
hours more a sea turn, wind at east, a thick fog from the very bottom 
of the ocean, and a fall of forty degrees of Fahrenheit; now so dry as 
to kill all the beans in New Hampshire, then floods carrying off the 
bridges of the Penobscot and Connecticut ; snow in Portsmouth in 
July, and the next day a man and a yoke of oxen killed by lightning 
in Khode Island. You would think the world was twenty times com 
ing to an end. But, I do not know how it is, we go along ; the early 
and the latter rain falls, each in its season, and seed-time and harvest 
do not fail ; the sixty days of hot corn weather are pretty sure to be 
measured out to us. The Indian summer, with its bland southwest 
wind and mitigated sunshine, brings all up ; and on the twenty-fifth of 
November, or thereabouts, being Thursday, three millions of grateful 
people, in meeting-houses , or around the family board, give thanks 
for a year of health, plenty, and happiness." 

Mark Twain does not seem to find so much to be thankful for, but 
even to him the glory of the ice-jewelled trees in midwinter serves as 
absolution for weeks of preternaturally bad weather.] 

I REVERENTLY believe that the Maker who made us 
all makes everything in New England but the weather. 
I don't know who makes that, but I think it must be 
raw apprentices in the Weather Clerk's factory, who ex 
periment and learn how in New England, for board and 



CLEMENS] NEW ENGLAND WEATHER. 401 

clothes, and then are promoted to make weather for 
countries that require a good article and will take their 
custom elsewhere if they don't get it. 

There is a sumptuous variety about the New England 
weather that compels the stranger's admiration and re 
gret. The weather is always doing something there, 
always attending strictly to business, always getting new 
designs and trying them on the people to see how they 
will go. But it gets through more business in the spring 
than in any other season. In the spring I have counted 
one hundred and thirty-six kinds of weather inside of 
four-and-twenty-hours. It was I that made the fame and 
fortune of that man that had that marvellous collection 
of weather on exhibition at the Centennial that so as 
tounded the foreigners. He was going to travel all over 
the world and get specimens from all climes. I said, 
" Don't you do it ! you come to New England on a favor 
able spring day." I told him what we could do in the 
way of style, variety, and quantity. Well, he came, and 
he made his collection in four days. As to variety, why, 
he confessed he got hundreds of kinds of weather he had 
never heard of before. And as to quantity, well, after 
he had picked out and discarded all that was blemished 
in any way, he not only had weather enough, but weather 
to spare ; weather to hire out, weather to sell ; weather 
to deposit, weather to invest; weather to give to the 
poor. 

The people of New England are by nature patient and 
forbearing ; but there are some things that they will not 
stand. Every year they kill a lot of poets for writing 
about " Beautiful Spring." These are generally casual 
visitors, who bring their notions of spring from some 
where else, and cannot, of course, know how the natives 
feel about spring. And so, the first thing they know, the 
in. aa 34* 



402 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CLEMENS 

opportunity to inquire how they feel has permanently 
gone by. 

Old Probabilities has a mighty reputation for accurate 
prophecy, and thoroughly well deserves it. You take up 
the papers and observe how crisply and confidently he 
checks off what to-day's weather is going to be on the 
Pacific, down South, in the Middle States, in the Wisconsin 
region, see him sail along in the joy and pride of his 
power till he gets to New England, then see his tail drop. 
He doesn't know what the weather is to be in New Eng 
land. He can't any more tell than he can tell how many 
Presidents of the United States there are going to be. Well, 
he mulls over it, and by and by he gets out something 
about like this : " Probable northeast to southwest winds, 
varying to the southward and westward and eastward 
and points between ; high and low barometer sweeping 
around from place to place ; probable areas of rain, snow, 
hail, and drought, succeeded or preceded by earthquakes, 
with thunder and lightning." Then he jots down this 
postscript from his wandering mind to cover accidents: 
"But it is possible that the programme may be wholly 
changed in the mean time." 

Yes, one of the brightest gems of the New England 
weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it. There is only 
one thing certain about it, you are certain there is going 
to be plenty of weather, a perfect grand review ; but 
you can never tell which end of the procession is going 
to move first. You fix up for the drought; you leave 
your umbrella in the house and sally out with your 
sprinkling-pot, and ten to one you get drowned. You 
make up your mind that the earthquake is due ; you 
stand from under and take hold of something to steady 
yourself, and the first thing you know you get struck by 
lightning. These are great disappointments; but they 



CLEMENS] NEW ENGLAND WEATHER. 403 

can't be helped. The lightning there is peculiar ; it is so 
convincing ; when it strikes a thing it doesn't leave enough 
of that behind for you to tell whether well, you'd think 
it was something valuable and a Congressman had been 
there. And the thunder! When the thunder commences 
merely to tune up, and scrape and saw and key up the 
instruments for the performance, strangers say, " Why, 
what awful thunder you have here!" But when the 
baton is raised and the real concert begins, you'll find 
that stranger down in the cellar with his head in the 
ash-barrel. 

Now as to the size of the weather in New England, 
lengthwise, I mean. It is utterly disproportionate to the 
size of that little country. Half the time when it is packed 
as full as it can stick, you will see that New England 
weather sticking out beyond the edges, and projecting 
around hundreds and hundreds of miles over the neighbor 
ing States. She can't hold a tenth part of her weather. 
You can see cracks all about, where she has strained her 
self trying to do it. 

I could speak volumes about the inhuman perversity of 
the New England weather, but I will give you but a single 
specimen. I like to hear rain on a tin roof, so I covered 
part of my roof with tin, with an eye to that luxury. 
Well, sir, do you think it ever rains on the tin ? No, sir ; 
skips it every time. 

Mind, in this speech I have been trying to do honor to 
the New England weather; no language could do it jus 
tice. But, after all, there are at least one or two things 
about that weather (or, if you please, effects produced by 
it) which we residents would not like to part with. If 
we had not our bewitching autumn foliage, we should still 
have to credit the weather with one feature which compen 
sates for all its bullying vagaries, the ice-storm, when 



404 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS, [FLAGQ 

a leafless tree is clothed from bottom to top, ice that is 
as bright and clear as crystal ; every bough and twig is 
hung with ice-beads, frozen dew-drops, and the whole 
tree sparkles, cold and white, like the Shah of Persia's 
diamond plume. Then the wind waves the branches, and 
the sun comes out and turns all those myriads of beads 
and drops to prisms, that glow and hum and flash with all 
manner of colored fires, which change and change again 
with inconceivable rapidity, from blue to red, from red to 
green, from green to gold ; the tree becomes a sparkling 
fountain, a very explosion of dazzling jewels, and it stands 
there the acme, the climax, the supremest possibility in 
art or nature, of bewildering, intoxicating, intolerable 
magnificence ! One cannot make the w r ords too strong. 

Month after month I lay up hate and grudge against the 
New England weather; but when the ice-storm comes at 
last, I say, "There, I forgive you now; the books are 
square between us; you don't owe me a cent; go and sin 
no more ; your little faults and foibles count for nothing ; 
you are the most enchanting weather in the world." 



OLD ROADS AND WOOD-PATHS. 

WILSON FLAGG. 

[Modern science is not all a detail of dry facts. We have scientists 
with very warm blood in their veins, and as enthusiastic in their love 
of nature as the most ardent poet of the woods and fields. Such a one 
is or rather was Wilson Flagg, the author of " Birds and Seasons 
of New England," " Woods and By-Ways of New England," " Hal 
cyon Days," and other works of mingled scientific and poetic obser 
vation. John Burroughs, Higginson, Thoreau, and others might be 



FLAGG] OLD ROADS. 495 

named who, like him, mingle with a scientific closeness and accuracy 
of observation the strongest enthusiasm in their love for the woods and 
wilds. From " Halcyon Days" we extract two related essays, instinct 
with a feeling which most imaginative persons have experienced when 
in the depths of the woods or wandering along vagrant roads. Mr. 
Flagg was born in Massachusetts in 1805, and died in 1884.] 

I CANNOT say that I am an admirer of those tasteful op 
erations which are commonly termed improvements, and 
seldom observe them without a feeling of regret. More 
of the beauty of landscape is destroyed every year by 
attempts to improve it than by the ignorant or avaricious 
woodman who cuts down his trees for the railroad or the 
ship-yard. There is a certain kind of beauty which ought 
to be cherished by the people of every land, including 
all such appearances as have arisen from operations not 
designed to create embellishment. As soon as we begin 
to cultivate a garden or decorate a house or an enclosure 
with the hope of dazzling the public eye, at that moment 
the spell of beauty is broken, and all the enchantment van 
ishes. There is something exceedingly delightful in the 
ornaments that have arisen spontaneously in those grounds 
which, after they were once reduced to tillage, have been 
left for many years in tbe primitive hands of Nature. Yain 
are all our attempts to imitate these indescribable beau 
ties, such as we find along the borders of an old rustic 
farm, on an old road-side, or in a pasture that is over 
grown with spontaneous shrubbery. 

This kind of scenery is common in almost all those old 
roads which are not used as thoroughfares, but as avenues 
of communication between our small country villages. 
Our land is full of these rustic by-ways ; and the rude 
scenery about them is more charming to my sight than 
the most highly ornamented landscapes which have been 
dressed by the hand of art. A part of their oharm arises, 



406 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FLAQQ 

undoubtedly, from their association in our minds with the 
simplicity of life that once prevailed among our rural 
population. But this is not all. I believe it arises chiefly 
from the almost entire absence of decoration, save that 
which Nature has planted with her own hands. Wherever 
we see a profusion of embellishments introduced by art , 
though they consist wholly of natural objects, we no longer 
feel the presence of Nature's highest charm. Something 
very analogous to sunshine is shut out. The rural deities 
do not dwell there, and cannot inspire us with a fulness 
of satisfaction. It is difficult to explain the cause, but 
when I am rambling the fields or travelling over one of 
these old roads with that sort of quiet rapture with which 
we drift along in a boat down a narrow stream through 
the green woods in summer, the very first highly-arti 
ficial object I encounter which bears evidence of being put 
up for exhibition dissolves the spell, and I feel, all at once, 
as if I had stepped out of Paradise into the land of world 
lings and vanity. 

The beauty of our old roads does not consist in their 
crookedness, though it cannot be denied that this quality 
destroys their monotony and adds variety to our prospect 
by constantly changing our position. Neither does their 
beauty consist in their narrowness, though it will be ad 
mitted that this condition renders them more interesting 
by bringing their bushy sidewalks nearer together. Their 
principal charm comes from the character of their road 
sides, now overgrown with all that blended variety of 
herbs and shrubbery which we encounter in a wild pas 
ture. We hear a great deal of complaint of old roads 
because they are crooked and narrow and because our 
ancestors did not plant them with trees. But trees have 
grown up spontaneously in many places, sometimes form 
ing knolls aiid coppices of inimitable beauty; and often 



FLAGG] OLD ROADS. 407 

an irregular row of trees and shrubs of different species 
gives intricacy and variety to the scene. 

And how much more delightful is a ride or a stroll over 
one of these narrow roads than through the most highly 
ornamented suburbs of our cities, with their avenues of 
more convenient width ! The very neglect to which they 
have been left, together with the small amount of travel 
ling over them, has caused numberless beauties to spring 
up in their borders. In these places Nature seems to have 
regained her sovereignty. The squirrel runs freely along 
the walls, and the hare may be seen peeping timidly out 
of her burrow at their foundation, or leaping across the 
road. The hazel-bushes often form a natural hedge-row 
for whole furlongs ; and 'the sparrow and the robin, and 
even some of the less familiar birds, build their nests in 
the green thickets of barberries, viburnums, cornels, and 
whortleberry-bushes that grow in irregular rows and tufts 
along the rough and varied embankments. 

Near any old road we seldom meet an artificial object 
that is made disagreeable by its manifest pretensions. 
Little one-story cottages are frequent, with their green 
slope in front, and a maple or an elm that affords them 
shelter -and shade. The old stone wall festooned with 
wild grape-vines comes close up to their enclosures ; and 
on one side of the house the garden is seen with its un 
pretending neatness, its few morning-glories trained up 
against the walls, its beds of scarlet runners reared upon 
trellises formed of the bended branches of the white 
birch driven into the soil, its few rose-bushes of those 
beautiful kinds which have long been naturalized in our 
gardens. When I behold these objects in their Arcadian 
simplicity, I lose all faith in the magnificent splendors of 
princely gardens. I feel persuaded that in these humble 
scenes dwells the highest kind of beauty, and that he is n 



408 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [*'LAGG 

happy man who cares for no more embellishments than 
his own hands have undesignedly added to the simple 
charms of Nature. 

Let us, therefore, carefully preserve these ancient wind 
ing roads, with all their primitive eccentricities. Let no 
modern vandalism, misnamed public economy, deprive the 
traveller of their pleasant advantages, by stopping up 
their beautiful curves and building shorter cuts for econo 
mizing distances. Who that is journeying for pleasure is 
not delighted with them, as they pass on through pleasant 
valleys, under the brows of hills, along the banks of green 
rivers or the borders of silvery lakes ; now half-way up 
some gentle eminence that commands a view of a neigh 
boring village, or winding round a hill and giving us a 
new view of the scenes we have just passed ? They are 
no niggardly economists of time; but they seem as if pur 
posely contrived to present to the eye of the traveller 
everything that renders the country desirable to the 
sight ; now leading us over miles bounded by old gray 
stone walls half covered with sweet-briers, viburnums, 
and golden-rods ; then again through fragrant woods 
under the brink of precipices nodding with wild shrub 
bery, and seeming to emulate the capricious windings of 
the stream in its blue course among the hills. How pleas 
ant, when journeying, to enter a village by one of these 
gentle sweeps that gives us several glimpses of its scenes, 
in different aspects, before our arrival ! How much in 
deed would be done for us by Nature, if we did not, in 
conformity with certain notions of improvement, con 
stantly check her spontaneous efforts to cover the land 
with beauty ! 

WOOD-PATHS. 

There is no person who is not sensitive to the beauty 
of a natural wood. All men feel the comfort of its shade 



FLACJQ] WOOD-PATHS. 409 

and protection, the freshness of its perfumed gales, the 
quiet of its seclusion, and its many pleasant accompani 
ments of birds, fruits, and flowers. We do not learn by 
tuition to appreciate these objects ; they are adapted not 
only to our native wants, but they are the real cause of 
many of the poetic thoughts and images that abound in 
all literature. We feel, while rambling under these lofty 
trees, and over this carpet of leaves and mosses, that 
nothing which art has accomplished will compare with 
the primitive works of nature. There is no architecture 
BO sublime as that of a forest ; there are no gardens like 
the little paradises to be found here, wherever accident 
has left a dell or a dingle open to the sun ; there is no music 
like that of its solitary birds ; no worship so sincere as in 
these temples ; no cloistered solitude so sweet as under 
these shadowy boughs. 

Yet how much greater are the charms of a natural 
wood if it be intersected by wood-paths ! When a farmer 
makes a passage for his wagon through a forest, he oper 
ates without artistic design, and his work harmonizes 
with nature. He thinks only of facilitating progress 
through his territory ; for, though he may be alive to all 
pleasant rural sights and sounds, he cannot pause from 
his labors to do anything for mere embellishment. He 
is governed only by his ideas of utility and convenience. 
Yet the works of decorative art are tame and prosaic 
by the side of this rude pathway, which has expelled no 
wild plant from its habitats, nor a single forest warbler 
from its retreats. We experience within it a true sensation 
of nature, with a pleasant reminder of simple rural life. 
It is hallowed by its humble purpose of utility, by its free 
dom from artifice, by its perfect submission to the care of 
nature and chance, by its beauty without adornment. 

The wood-path becomes henceforth an avenue to all the 
in. s 35 



410 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

delights of the season. It introduces us to the productions 
of the forest in their most interesting condition. The 
trees that spread their branches overhead shelter it from 
cold and heat, and permit thousands of beautiful shrubs 
to grow there that would be fatally crowded in the dense 
parts of the wood. Multitudes of flowers appear con 
tinually in its borders, one host following another in glow 
ing succession, and looking upon us in our journey as 
with the eyes of so many little sentinels of light and 
beauty placed here to make the scene delightful to the 
sense and the imagination. Like birds that multiply 
around a human dwelling in the wilderness, flowers 
always become numerous in these woodland paths, and 
consecrate them to nature. 

There is nothing here to call up any disagreeable ideas 
of pride and pretence, or to excite envy by the ostentatious 
parade of wealth. Nature never insults the most humble 
person who enters her sacred precincts. The rich and 
the poor, the learned and the unlearned, if they have any 
love of truth and beauty, are equally pleased and in 
structed. They surrender their hearts to the simplicity 
of the scenes around them, forget the cares that perplex 
their minds, and find pleasure in every object they meet. 
Here a/e both freedom and seclusion ; for, though every 
foot of land has an owner, no invidious signs of appro 
priation are made apparent to the pilgrim of these walks. 
Everything has grown up without culture ; for these wild 
ings are the flowers that Nature strewed at her feet when 
she first stepped out of paradise to bless and beautify the 
earth. No spaded soil about the roots of the flowering 
shrubs indicates their petted value to some proprietor ; no 
nicely-cut turf at the borders of the path shows the exer 
cise of the topiary art, and the consequent exclusion of 
nature and freedom. 



FLAGQ] WOOD-PATHS. 411 

The flowers that peep out from this grassy path and its 
tangled borders are eclipsed in splendor by the prouder 
ones of the garden. They are 'lovely in their wildness 
and spontaneous grouping; but, like the stars of heaven, 
they affect the imagination more than the sight. Though 
fashion may contemn their beauty, Nature cherishes and 
preserves them ; and to a poetic eye they have charms 
that cannot be heightened by art. For everything that 
blossoms here, or greens the turf, or jewels the trees and 
shrubbery with purple and scarlet fruit, or scatters in 
cense in their path, was present at the bridal of the earth 
and sky. The gales that have always swept through 
these trees are familiar with their perfume ; morning and 
evening greet them, and are acquainted with their beauty ; 
the little brooks know them ; sunshine and shadows have 
played and fondled with them ; the wild bee has sipped 
of their honey, and the birds have nestled in their foliage. 

In these fern-embroidered aisles and under these foliated 
arches, where the birds have warbled ever since the morn 
ing stars sung together, here will we linger when we 
would worship in Nature's sanctuary, and draw from her 
an inspiration that will make the scenes of earth as 
delightful as those of romance. We will seek the wood- 
haunts of the Naiad, where she sits by her fountain, dis 
tributing her favors to herb, tree, and flower, and among 
these dripping dells we will greet her as the " mother of 
dews." We will drink of her waters with the thrush and 
-the wood-pigeon, and bear home baptismal drops from 
her well in the leaf-cups of the sarracenia, and incense 
from her altar in branches jof eglantine and sweet-fern. 
We will sit under these wide-spreading oaks and take 
our repast with the squirrel, while from the tall tree-top 
he watches our motions. 

We pass, as it were, in a happy dream, through vistas 



412 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [FLAGG 

under tall trees, forming with their foliage and the sky a 
netted canopy of green and blue, where delicate aerial 
voices of mingled chirping and song inspire every 
wanderer with their own cheerfulness. Sometimes there 
is a stillness almost sublime; in a moment are awakened 
certain musical and mysterious sounds that fill the mind 
with dim conceptions of something more beautiful still 
unseen and unknown ; then a confusion of voices without 
discord ; a universal hum, so soft and so melodious that 
every bird that sings may be distinctly heard above it, 
his voice made sweeter by this harmonious din. As we 
view the surface of some still water, embossed with the 
reflection of embowering shrubbery and of the herbs 
that fringe the border, the fountain seems to look upon 
us with distinct vision and to know us. Suddenly wo 
are under the open sky; we have been led out of the 
wood into the retreat of the hare, who is startled from 
her repose by our unexpected intrusion. 

Oh, happy path to blisses unknown in the outer world ! 
Guide to joys that revellers cannot feel nor the ambi 
tious know! Wherever there is gladness or beauty, or 
melody of birds and fountains, or little dells full of roses 
and honeysuckles, or dripping rocks green with velvet 
mosses and variegated lichens, to all this wood-path 
leads the way ; now safe through copses of tangled green- 
brier and clematis ; through borders of roses untrained 
by art and not planted by man ; through beds of rasp 
berries intermingled with ferns, and thickets of tremulous 
aspens interwoven with sunshine ; then under solemn 
pines, opening into a grander solitude, where dwells per 
petual twilight, halls familiar with darkness at noonday 
and visited only by the rays of the morning and evening 
sun. 

Everywhere there is a store of essences on the dewy air; 



FLAGQ] WOOD-PATHS. 413 

sometimes a scent of pines, such as a mild south wind at 
twilight will waft into our windows from a neighboring 
grove ; then the perfume of oaks, less sweet and aro 
matic, but like that which we may suppose to have sur 
rounded the oracle of Dodona. ~Now a mild breeze will 
waft us the scent of strawberry-beds, bearing a message 
to the bee that tells where the flowers have spread their 
feast of nectar. At every season the air about these paths 
is full of sweet odors, that would communicate to our 
senses the proximity of certain plants. Not a flower ap 
pears that does not give some balmy notice of its presence ; 
not a zephyr wanders through this avenue but with wings 
laden as if it had passed over the plains of Araby. 

While strolling in one of these paths, where the ruts 
of the wagoner's wheels are hardly perceptible along the 
green turf, I am affected with a glow of pleasure that can 
not be felt in a nicely-gravelled walk through the grounds 
of a palace. I feel a sense of tranquil and poetic seclusion 
here, that would dissolve, as by a spell, at the least appear 
ance of ornamental design. It is difficult to explain the 
philosophy of this sentiment. But Nature, whose works 
perfectly harmonize with the rude wood-path and the 
artless operations of rustic toil, refuses her blessing to the 
nicely-trimmed avenue and the ambitious designs of wealth 
and pride. In a gravelled walk through a lordly estate 
there is neither seclusion nor repose; in the pathless wood 
seclusion soon becomes painful solitude ; but in the un 
adorned wood-path is sweet retirement, while an endless 
maze of verdure and flowers renders the solitude charming. 

Though the wood-path does not glow with the splendor 
and prodigality of a parterre, there is a never-ending 
variety of objects to enliven the senses and the imagina 
tion. Here are sweet violets dotting the greensward 
with heaven's own azure ; roses that breathe into the 
in. 35* 



414 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BARTOL 

atmosphere the very aroma of purity ; vines that throw 
their drapery over branches that form our canopy, making 
the air ambrosial with their fragrant blossoms in summer, 
and tempting our sight with their purple clusters in au 
tumn. Here are mossy couches so soft, so beautiful, so 
hallowed, that the young maiden who should sit upon 
them becomes a goddess; and the student of nature turned 
pilgrim here would worship her with more devotion than 
he yields to science. 

Take her, thou young enthusiast, and make her the 
dryad of this wood. Lead her up this rustic avenue, 
where violets will breathe out their grateful odors to the 
pressure of her maiden feet. Seat her in the shade of a 
druidical oak, and fill her lap with roses, which are the 
symbols of love, and with the flowers of the blue myosotis, 
sacred to remembrance. Bind her forehead with arbutus, 
as unfading as amaranth, and bring for her repast straw 
berries that cluster about these daisied grounds. Then 
will you feel that mankind are unhappy only as they wan 
der from the simplicity of nature, and that we may regain 
our lost paradise as soon as we have learned to love nature 
more than art, and the heaven of such a place as this more 
than the world of cities and palaces. 



MODERN BUSINESS METHODS. 

C. A. BARTOL. 

[Cyrus Augustus Bartol, the author of " Pictures of Europe," 
"Radical Problems," "Principles and Portraits," and other works, 
is a Unitarian clergyman, born in Maine in 1813. From the essay on 
" Business," in the last-named work, we make a short extract, illustra 
tive of the dishonesty and the spirit of gambling with which mercantile 



BARTOL] MODERN BUSINESS METHODS. 415 

affairs are now deeply imbued. It is quite in order to call a halt on 
the unnatural high pressure of business as at present conducted, which 
was never before, and we may hope will never again be, equalled. 
The only sure cure, perhaps, is that suggested by Mr. Bartol, the 
arousing of a general interest in other things besides the now all-ab 
sorbing pursuit of money-making.] 

BUSINESS has no peculiarity properly exempting it from 
ethical rules applicable to domestic, civil, or ecclesiastical 
affairs. It is alike amenable to the law of truth, never in 
its favor to be repealed. The ship-owner who told the 
insurer not to make out the bespoken policy because his 
vessel had been heard from, he having learned she was 
lost and knowing the policy would be pressed upon him, 
as it immediately was, sacrificed his veracity to his case. 
The importer, eager to sell damaged copperas to his cus 
tomer who hoped the dealer had not heard of a rise in the 
article abroad, bit the neighbor who was trying to bite 
him, and both played each other false. The dealer who 
hides defects and heightens the virtues in his goods, and 
goes -then to church to glorify the truth in a doxology or 
collect of prayer, worships mammon, and makes an idol 
of God. If I chant or cheapen wares of my own or an 
other's, what odds does it make whether they be roads 
and blocks of building or sour fruit on an apple-stand ? 
What signifies the size of your operation when an unfair 
purpose renders it small just in proportion as it is large ? 
You may handle Erie or Hudson or Pennsylvania Central 
or New York and Hartford ; but if you do it in disguise, 
let me stand in the shoes of the poor woman who puts the 
biggest oranges on top, or turns the rotten peach inside, 
or is tempted to count eleven for twelve, rather than in 
the seven-leagued boots you play the highwayman and 
freebooter in, as you travel, and hurry to ruin others, and 
damn yourself! A man is a swindler who offers a mort- 



416 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BARTO. 

gage on real estate that does not exist. What shall we 
say of the atrocity of selling bonds to pay for building the 
railway which is made the basis, when it is but begun and 
runs to completion only in the scheming brain, while the 
stacks of linen paper in handsome print are shuffled and 
dealt like packs of cards, and held under lock and key in 
Irunks and safety -vaults, as if any robber would touch 
them, knowing what they are and that no hand will ever 
be tired cutting off with scissors their promising coupons ? 
Treasurers and bank-presidents, who confound in their 
transactions their official capacity with their personal 
wants, and trade on the funds in their hands or use the 
credit of the corporation to prevent or break their fall, do 
in their guilty selves accuse of a dishonored and degraded 
condition the community in which they can hold up their 
heads. We have come to that state in which it is held by 
some judges a cruelty and an outrage when a thief is im 
prisoned or a defalcator pursued; but not from the emptier 1 
pockets do the loud apologies and sentimental pleas for 
swindling proceed ! In the first and least departure from 
candor all enormity of- evil has its germ. He who says 
business is business and religion is religion, to advocate 
their divorce, really says business is fraud, just as one 
says all is fair in politics ; and he who says there is no 
friendship in trade makes trade a worse hell than Calvin 
ever consigned heretics to, and blasphemes God's decree 
that all true trade is friendship, and no bargain should be 
made in which both parties are not better off. If in cer 
tain circumstances, as is alleged, a man must cheat or 
starve, then let us have the starvation ; for one instance 
of integrity so sublime would outweigh the effect of mil 
lions in the Indian famine. Starvers, as once were beg 
gars, would become an order in the church, their martyr 
dom grander than that of the stake or the cross. There 



BARTOL] MODERN BUSINESS METHODS. 417 

is plenty of amiability ; but our heart-strings are limp, 
relaxed from rectitude. They need to be wound up by 
conscience, and toned and tuned to humane conduct. We 
do not want any confessors of the old stamp or new pro 
fessors of poverty, but saints on 'Change and sufferers for 
convictions that are better than any creed. When an 
English lord forsook the liberal party and called their 
notions cant, Earl Russell answered, " There is no cant so 
bad as the re-cant of patriotism." It is a poor dress of 
righteousness that will not stand any moral climate, but 
has to be put off and laid aside to suit custom and fashion 
in particular latitudes. It is not the wedding-garment, 
opening heaven to the guest. 

Yet who expects absolute verity on both sides in a bar 
gain ? Of the cunning that gave them the advantage how 
many will boast ! They got that furniture or picture from 
the distressed owner or ignorant dealer for such a pitiful 
price, concealing their knowledge and joy under cold in 
difference, and a mask of unwinking eyes, and pretending 
their purchase was naught : mean and forsworn hypocrites 
that they are, instead of the noble masters of knowledge 
for which they would pass ! "Let him find out for him 
self; 'tis not my business to tell him the age of my horse, 
texture of my stuff, lien on my land, or goodness of my 
note of hand !" So by successive touches the sharper, 
who is own cousin to the trickster, whets his tool. " What 
do you pretend to ask ?" is thought a respectful question, 
as if you had a price you expected to come down from, 
and there were a false bottom in every contract, when 
God fixes the principle of barter -in the fact that some 
thing each has is worth more to the other, and the only 
equity is to find out how much. Hucksters' Bow, to which 
I was sent as a boy, in the town where I lived, to fetch 
purchases home, is a long street and runs through all the 
in. bb 



418 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BARTOL 

cities of the world! Not only mendacity, but waste of 
talent and time is in all the subterfuges and demands of 
this bantering and chaifering style ; and the great Judge 
will call us to account for the loss of life and faculty in 
this deceitful crying up and crying down, which puts a 
useless or devilish diligence for productive industry, and, 
in the competitions of the great auction which business 
becomes, stirs so much ill blood, and substitutes for strife 
with guns and fists but a new war of words. 

###**#*## 
The fact that our business sins are so in excess of all 
other transgressions shows that acquisitiveness is the pro 
pensity most overstrained. Everybody speculates. Men 
on fixed salaries, clerks in banks and mills, are tempted 
by the ventures into which their employers plunge, to use 
for their own ventures their employers' means. These 
little figures in the columns can so easily be counted up 
wrong, and these notes and papers that represent value 
are so light and readily shifted, and houses and lands, ships 
and goods, factories and roads, in this printed form, can 
be so quickly put in one's pocket and carried so far away, 
and the time may be so long before the exchange or mis- 
reckoning is found out, that by facile opportunity all but 
the absolutely upright are seduced to take a hand in the 
vast stake played for on the table of chance, as if gam 
bling were not outlawed, so that protection of property 
is the unsolved question of the day. Who shall guard its 
guards? An immense evil in all worldly values, under 
the spur of this eager pursuit, is their uncertain rate. It 
would seem that a quite honest dollar cannot be found ; 
and those who tamper with the currency, and would make 
its volume like any book with as many pages as are wanted 
from the printing-press, plead the fluctuation of gold : metal 
or parchment, greenback or consol, is but a representative 



BARTOL] MODERN BUSINESS METHODS. 419 

whose reality does not exist! Pyrrhonism has left the 
schools 'and gone upon 'Change. Hence the melancholy 
waste of faculty on the universal and insoluble problem 
of the worth of things. Every species of stock rises and 
sinks. There is no bottom and no top. The bulls push 
and the bears pull ! What an amount of strength, that 
might be employed in production, is wasted in calculation 
of sums that have continually to be done over again, and 
never come out altogether right ! Arithmetical accounts, 
books of double entry, and geometric surveys, before such 
exhausting tasks, are vain to help ; and what thousands 
are demoralized in this laborious idleness, and turned into 
busy drones ! No wonder that many, grinding thus like 
millstones without a grist, become crazed, and some Napo 
leon of commerce, for whom his millions have proved too 
much, from the long puzzle of the market goes with a 
turned head to count imaginary money in a mad-house. 
Man, as merchant only, " walketh in a vain show." My 
friend, in the press of affairs heaping up wealth which 
appears only in shares on the corporations' books, calls a 
barren cliff by the sea fancy property. But his is fanciful 
and the cliff real ; for there is somewhat permanent and 
unchangeable in the beauty where the soul takes its daily 
bath, in the horizon whose exquisite line of the meeting 
land and sea and wood-girdled hill does not waver, in the 
sky from whose inverted cup, as a horn of plenty to heart 
and imagination, daily blessings come, and even in the 
charming phenomenon of the tide, so punctual although 
never at rest, and in the perpetual and pervading glory, 
out of which life even as a shadow is cast ; while the pos 
sessions on which you can realize are more unsubstantial 
and cloudy than any vapor that floats overhead through 
the air. 

Abject poverty is a curse and a provocation to crime. 



420 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BABTOL 

But unbounded personal appropriation of the signs and 
symbols of wealth is the very lunacy of conceitr Riches 
are good for what we can do with them; but if we do 
nothing but invest and reinvest, using them with no gen 
erous design for others' benefit, but only as so much seed- 
corn and so many nest-eggs to produce more, we impover 
ish our fellows and might as well be poor ourselves. The 
miser is a pauper, his counting-room a poor-house ; and 
the worst sort of beggary will be the end and upshot of 
his destitution of love. None at last need charity so much 
as do they by whom it has never been shown ! This keen 
scent for gain leaves little conscience. The sharp man will 
be a sharper, and how near to being dishonest is he who 
is close ! Road and bank presidents, with enterprises out 
side their office, are tempted to divert corporate or public 
funds, in their hands or at their command, to their private 
risks. The accommodator and the accommodated, the 
lender and the borrower, are one man ! It is a dangerous 
position; and thoughtful business-men are beginning to 
ask if directors are not biassed, and whether a president 
's more safe for being a Croesus of large and manifold 
concerns. 

Moderation is the lesson taught from all this en 
forced commercial stagnation. Intemperate undertakings 
strengthen no more than liquors that make drunk. How 
hard in this country we have worked to get poor ! Busi 
ness-mania is that sort of fever on whose heat debility 
attends ; and we should have been richer to-day had we 
thought less of riches. Jehu, driving the chariot, is up 
set. How slowly and leisurely the car off the track is 
pried back ! Ten years it takes for our business-train to 
get in motion again. The correction and cure for the 
business-man is to have something beside his affairs to 
take up his thought. When one has so much to do that 



BARTOL] MODERN BUSINESS METHODS. 421 

he cannot attend to important matters or fulfil friendly 
relations outside the bargains he shoves and is pushed into 
a corner and impounded by, he is not doing his business 
well, and we need not be surprised if he fail. Only by a 
decent culture of all the faculties can the mind's balance 
be preserved ; and by its inward poise will outward foot 
ing be kept. One may as easily lop a bodily member and 
not go one-sided or lame, as starve his intellect and de 
populate his imagination, yet have good judgment re 
main ; and any warping or neglect of the moral sense will 
but aggravate the mischief. Other things being equal, 
we may trust the banker who loves the fine art that is 
above his finance, cherishes some exquisite taste and fol 
lows some branch of pure knowledge, rather than the one 
who, having only room for scales in his brain, will surely 
also have scales on his eyes. To prevent the creeping of 
cataract over the spiritual vision, we must not look out 
for worldly advantage till our gaze becomes a dazing 
stare, but practise ourselves to behold truth in all her 
forms. To our vocation let us add an avocation if we 
would keep sane. 

Some great affection for God or his creatures is needful 
too. Atrophy of the heart has been at the bottom of how 
much earthly niggardliness! Let love be a hoard and 
hive for others, not ourselves, and we shall be spendthrifts 
in no sense, but economists in all, and, in Charles Lamb's 
expression, keep poverty at a sublimer distance than if 
we had the exchequer of a king. Our Senator Sumner 
said he had never dipped his hand into the United States 
treasury, yet who held him poor ? Truly there is a for 
tune that has nor wheel ! 



in. 



422 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

BOATING DOWN THE GRAND CAfiON. 

W. H. RIDEING. 

[In all the annals of human enterprise there could not well he found 
a more daring and perilous feat than that achieved hy Major Powell 
and his hrave companions in their exploration of the Grand Canon of 
the Colorado. This mighty cleft in the earth's rock-surface, with its 
full mile of precipitous depth in some localities, was known to he full 
of hidden perils, of whose actual nature next to nothing had heen as 
certained. Yet once entered there was no turning hack, or not with 
out the risk of dangers equal to those of advancing. The preliminary 
story of this exploration which we have omitted describes a boat- 
journey down the canon of the Green River, which bristled with 
dangers sufficient to deter any ordinary men from risking the perils 
of the greater stream. Yet the bold adventurers dared this unknown 
abyss, and came through its frightful perils in safety, and the mystery 
of the Grand Canon vanished before the daring hand of science. Mr. 
Eideing is a native of England, where he was born in 1853. He has 
told the story of the exploration graphically and clearly.] 

THEY passed the junction of the Grand and Green, and 
on July 21st they were on the Colorado itself. The walls 
are nearly vertical, and the river is broad and swift, but 
free from rocks and falls. From the edge of the water to 
the brink of the cliffs is nearly two thousand feet, and the 
cliffs are reflected on the quiet surface until it seems to the 
travellers that there is a vast abyss below them. But the 
tranquillity is not lasting: a little way below this space 
of majestic calm it was necessary to make three portages 
in succession, the distance being less than three-quarters 
of a mile, with a fall of seventy-five feet. In the evening 
Major Powell sat upon a rock by the edge of the river to 
look at the water and listen to its roar. Heavy shadows 
settled in the cafion as the sun passed behind the cliffs, 
and no glint of light remained on the crags above, but the 



RIDEING] BOATING DOWN THE GRAND CANON. 423 

waves were crested with a white that seemed luminous. 
A great fall broke at the foot of a block of limestone fifty 
feet high, and rolled back in immense billows. Over the 
sunken rocks the flood was heaped up into mounds and 
even cones. The tumult was extraordinary. At a point 
where the rocks were very near the surface the water 
was thrown up ten or fifteen feet, and fell back in gentle 
curves as in a fountain. 

On August 3d the party traversed a canon of diversified 
features. The walls were still vertical in places, especially 
near the bends, and the river sweeping round the capes 
had undermined the cliifs. Sometimes the rocks over 
arched ; again curious narrow glens were found. The 
men explored the glens, in one of which they discovered 
a natural stairway several hundred feet high leading to a 
spring which burst out from an overhanging cliff among 
aspens and willows, while along the edges of the brooklet 
there were oaks and other rich vegetation. There were 
also many side-canons with walls nearer to each other 
above than below, giving them the character of grottos ; 
and there were carved walls, arches, alcoves, and monu 
ments, to all of which the collective name of Glen Canon 
was given. 

One morning the surveyors came to a point where the 
river filled the entire channel and the walls were sheer to 
the water's edge. They saw a fall below, and in order tq 
inspect it they pulled up against one of the cliffs, in which 
was a little shelf or crevice a few feet above their heads. 
One man stood on the deck of the boat while another 
climbed over his shoulders into this insecure foothold, 
along which they passed until it became a shelf which was 
broken by a chasm some yards farther on. They then 
returned to the boat and pulled across the stream for some 
logs which had lodged on the opposite shore, and with 



424 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [RIDEINO 

which it was intended to bridge the gulf. It was no easy 
work hauling the wood along the fissure, but with care 
and patience they accomplished it, and reached a point in 
the cliffs from which the falls could be seen. It seemed 
practicable to lower the boats over the stormy waters by 
holding them with ropes from the cliifs; and this was done 
successfully, the incident illustrating how laborious their 
progress sometimes became. 

The scenery was of unending interest. The rocks were 
of many colors, white, gray, pink, and purple, with saffron 
tints. At an elbow of the river the water has excavated 
a semicircular chamber which would hold fifty thousand 
people, and farther on the cliffs are of softly-tinted marble 
lustrously polished by the waves. At one place Major 
Powell walked for more than a mile on a marble pavement 
fretted with strange devices and embossed with a thousand 
different patterns. Through a cleft in the wall the sun 
fihone on this floor, which gleamed with iridescent beauty. 
Exploring the cleft, Major Powell found a succession of 
pools one above another, and each cold and clear, though 
the water of the river was a dull red. Then a bend in the 
canon disclosed a massive abutment that seemed to be set 
with a million brilliant gems as they approached it, and 
every one wondered. As they came closer to it they saw 
many springs bursting from the rock high overhead, and 
the spray in the sunshine forms the gems which glitter in 
the walls, at the base of which is a profusion of mosses, 
ferns, and flowers. To the place above where the three 
portages were necessary the name of Cataract Canon was 
given; and they were now well into the Grand Canon 
itself. The walls were more than a mile in height, and, 
as Major Powell says, a vertical altitude like this is not 
easily pictured. " Stand on the south steps of the Treas 
ury Building in Washington and look down Pennsylvania 



EIDKING], BOATING DOWN THE GRAND CANON. 425 

Avenue to the Capitol Park, and measure this distance 
overhead, and imagine cliffs to extend to that altitude, and 
you will understand what I mean," the explorer has writ 
ten ; " or stand at Canal Street in New York and look up 
Broadway to Grace Church, and you have about the dis 
tance ; or stand at the Lake Street bridge in Chicago and 
look down to the Central Depot, and you have it again." 
A thousand feet of the distance is through granite crags, 
above which are slopes and perpendicular cliffs to the 
summit. The gorge is black and narrow below, red and 
gray and flaring above. 

Down these gloomy depths the expedition constantly 
glided, ever listening and ever peering ahead, for the 
canon is winding and they could not see more than a few 
hundred yards in advance. The view changed every 
minute as some new crag or pinnacle or glen or peak 
became visible ; but the men were fully engaged listening 
for rapids and looking for rocks. Navigation was exceed 
ingly difficult, and it was often necessary to hold the boats 
from ledges in the cliffs as the falls were passed. The 
river was very deep and the canon very narrow. The 
waters boiled and rushed in treacherous currents, which 
sometimes whirled the boats into the stream or. hurried 
them against the walls. The oars were useless, and each 
crew labored for its own preservation as its frail vessel 
was spun round like a top or borne with the speed of a 
locomotive this way and that. 

While they were thus uncontrollable, the boats en 
tered a rapid, and one of them 'was driven in-shore, but, 
as there was no foothold for a portage, the men pushed 
into the stream again. The next minute a reflex wave 
filled the open compartment and waterlogged her : breaker 
after breaker rolled over her, and one capsized her. The 
men were thrown out, but they managed to cling to her, 
in. 36* 



426 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [KIDEINQ 

and as they were swept down the other boats rescued 
them. 

Heavy clouds rolled in the canon, filling it with gloom. 
Sometimes they hung above from wall to wall and formed 
a roof; then a gust of wind from a side-caflon made a rift 
in them and the blue heavens were revealed, or they dis 
persed in patches which settled on the crags, while puffs 
of vapor issued out of the smaller gulches, and occasion 
ally formed bars across the canon, one above another, 
each opening a different vista. When they discharged 
their rains, little rills first trickled down the cliff, and 
these soon became brooks ; the brooks grew into creeks 
and tumbled down through innumerable cascades, which 
added their music to the roar of the river. As soon as 
the rain ceased, rills, brooks, creeks, and cascades disap 
peared, their birth and death being equally sudden. 

Desolate and inaccessible as the canon is, many ruins of 
buildings are found perched upon ledges in the stupendous 
cliffs. In some instances the mouths of caves have been 
walled in, and the evidences all point to a race forever 
dreading and fortifying itself against an invader. Why 
did these people choose their embattlements so far away 
from all tillable land and sources of subsistence? Major 
Powell suggests this solution of the problem. For a cen 
tury or two after the settlement of Mexico many expedi 
tions were sent into the country now comprised in Arizona 
and New Mexico for the purpose of bringing the town- 
building people under the dominion of the Spanish gov 
ernment. Many of their villages were destroyed, and the 
inhabitants fled to regions at that time unexplored ; and 
there are traditions among the existing Pueblos that the 
canons were these lands. The Spanish conqueroi-s had a 
monstrous greed for gold and a lust for saving souls. 
'< Treasure they must have, if not on earth, why, then, 



RIDEING] BOATING DOWN THE GRAND CANON. 427 

in heaven, and when they failed to find heathen temples 
bedecked with silver they propitiated heaven by seizing 
the heathen themselves. There is yet extant a copy of a 
record made by a heathen artist to express his conception 
of the demands of the conquerors. In one part of the 
picture we have a lake, and near by stands a priest pour 
ing water on the head of a native. On the other side a 
poor Indian has a cord around his throat. Lines run from 
these two groups to a central figure, a man with a beard 
and full Spanish panoply. The interpretation of the pic 
ture-writing is this : ' Be baptized as this saved heathen, 
or be hanged as this damned heathen.' Doubtless some 
of the people preferred a third alternative, and rather 
than be baptized or hanged they chose to be imprisoned 
within these canon-walls." 

The rains and the accidents in the rapids had seriously 
reduced the commissary by this time, and the provisions 
left were more or less injured. The bacon was uneatable, 
and had to be thrown away ; the flour was musty, and 
the saleratus was lost overboard. On August 17th the 
party had only enough food remaining for ten days' use, 
and, though they hoped that the worst places had been 
passed, the barometers were broken, and they did not 
know what descent they had yet to make. The canvas 
which they had brought with them for . covering from 
Green Eiver City was rotten, there was not one blanket 
apiece for the men, and more than half the party were 
hatless. Despite their hopes that the greatest obstacles 
had been overcome, however, on the morning of August 
27th they reached a place which appeared more perilous 
than any they had so far passed. They landed on one 
Bide of the river, and clambered over the granite pin 
nacles for a mile or two without seeing any way by 
which they could lower the boats. Then they crossed to 



428 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [RIDEING 

the other side and walked along the top of a crag. In 
his eagerness to reach a point where he could see the 
roaring fall below, Major Powell went too far, and was 
caught at a point where he could neither advance nor 
retreat: the river was four hundred feet below, and he 
was suspended in front of the cliff with one foot on a 
small projecting rock and one hand fixed in a little 
crevice. He called for help, and the men passed him a 
line, but he could not let go of the rock long enough to 
seize it. While he felt his hold becoming weaker and ex 
pected momentarily to drop into the canon, the men went 
to the boats and obtained three of the largest oars. The 
blade of one of them was pushed into the crevice of a rock 
beyond him in such a manner that it bound him across 
the body to the wall, and another oar was fixed so that 
he could stand upon it and walk out of the difficulty. He 
breathed again, but had felt that cold air which seems to 
fan one when death is near. 

Another hour was spent in examining the river, but a 
good view of it could not be obtained, and they once more 
went to the opposite side. After some hard work among 
the cliffs they discovered that the lateral streams had 
washed a large number of boulders into the river, form 
ing a dam over which the water made a broken fall of 
about twenty feet, below which was a rapid beset by 
huge rocks for two or three hundred yards. This was 
bordered on one side by a series of sharp projections of 
the canon-walls, and beyond it was a second fall, ending 
in another and no less threatening rapid. At the bottom 
of the latter an immense slab of granite projected fully 
half-way across the river, and upon the inclined plane 
which it formed the water rolled with all the momentum 
gained in the falls and rapids above, and then swept over 
to the left. The men viewed the prospect with dismay, 



RIDEINQ] BOATING DOWN THE GRAND CANON. 429 

but Major Powell had an insatiable desire to complete tho 
exploration. He decided that it was possible to let the 
boats down over the first fall, then to run near the right 
cliff to a point just above the second fall, where they 
could pull into a little chute, and from the foot of that 
across the stream to avoid the great rock below. The 
men shook their heads, and after supper a sorry supper 
of unleavened flour and water, coffee, and rancid bacon, 
eaten on the rocks the elder Howland endeavored to 
dissuade thu leader from his purpose, and, failing to do so, 
told him that he with his brother and Dunn would go no 
farther. That night Major Powell did not sleep at all, 
but paced to and fro, now measuring the remaining pro 
visions, then contemplating the rushing falls and rapids. 
Might not Howland be right ? Would it be wise to 
venture into that maelstrom which was white during the 
darkest hours of the night ? At one time he almost con 
cluded to leave the river and to strike out across the 
table-lands for the Mormon settlements. But this trip 
had been the object of his life for many years, looked 
forward to and dreamed of, and to leave the exploration 
unfinished when he was so near the end, to acknowledge 
defeat, was more than he could reconcile himself to. 

In the morning his brother, Captain Powell, Sumnei, 
Bradley, Hall, and Hawkins promised to remain with him, 
but the Howlands and Dunn were fixed in their deter 
mination to go no farther. The provisions were divided, 
and one of the boats was left with the deserters, who were 
also provided with three guns : Howland was also in 
trusted with duplicate copies of the records, and with 
some mementos the voyagers desired to have sent to 
friends and relatives should they not be heard of again. 
It was a solemn parting. The Howlands and Dunn en 
treated the others not to go on, telling them that it was 



430 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BIDEING 

obvious madness ; but the decision hud been made, and 
the two boats pushed out into the stream. 

They glided rapidly along the foot of the wall, grazing 
one large rock, and then they pulled into the falls and 
plunged over them. The open compartment of the ma 
jor's boat was filled when she struck the first wave below, 
but she cut through the upheaval, and by vigorous strokes 
was drawn away from the dangerous rock farther down. 
They were scarcely a minute in running through the rapids, 
and found that what had seemed almost hopeless from 
above was really less difficult than many other points on 
the river. The Howlands and their companion were now 
out of sight, and guns were fired to indicate to them that 
the passage had been safely made and to induce them to 
follow ; but no answer came, and after waiting two hours 
the descent of the river was resumed. 

A succession of falls and rapids still had to be overcome, 
and in the afternoon the explorers were once more 
threatened with defeat. A little stream entered the 
canon from the left, and immediately below the river 
broke over two falls, beyond which it rose in high waves 
and subsided in whirlpools. The boats hugged the left 
wall for some distance, but when the men saw that they 
could not descend on this side they pulled up-stream sev 
eral hundred yards and crossed to the other. Here there 
was a bed of basalt about one hundred feet high, which, 
disembarking, they followed, pulling the boats after them 
by ropes. The major, as usual, went ahead, and discovered 
that it would be impossible to lower the boats from the 
cliff; but the men had already brought one of them to 
the brink of the falls and had secured her by a bight 
around a crag. The other boat, in which Bradley had re 
mained, was shooting in and out from the cliffs with great 
violence, now straining the line by which she was held, 



RIDEING] BOATING DOWN THE GRAND CANON. 431 

and now whirling against the rock as if she would dash 
herself to pieces. An effort was made to pass another 
rope to Bradley, but he was so preoccupied that he did 
not notice it, and the others saw him take a knife out of 
its sheath and step forward to cut the line. He had de 
cided that it was better to go over the falls with her than 
to wait for her to be completely wrecked against the rocks. 
He did not show the least alarm, and as he leaned over to 
cut the rope the boat sheered into the stream, the stern- 
post broke, and he was adrift. With perfect composure 
he seized the large scull-oar, placed it in the stern row 
lock, and pulled with all his strength, which was consider 
able, to turn the bow down-stream. After the third stroke 
she passed over the falls and was invisible for several sec 
onds, when she reappeared upon a great wave, dancing 
high over its crest, then sinking between two vast walls 
of water. The men on the cliff held their breath as they 
watched. Again she disappeared, and this time was out 
of sight so long that poor Bradley's fate seemed settled ; 
but in a moment more something was noticed emerging 
from the water farther down the stream : it was the boat, 
with Bradley standing on deck and twirling his hat to 
show that he was safe. He was spinning round in a 
whirlpool, however, and Sumner and Powell were sent 
along the cliff to see if they could help him, while the 
major and the others embarked in the remaining boat and 
passed over the fall. After reaching the brink they do 
not remember what happened to them, except that their 
boat was upset and that Bradley pulled them out of the 
water. Powell and Sumner joined them by climbing along 
the cliff, and, having put the boats in order, they once 
more started down the stream. 

On the next day, August 29th, three months and five 
days after leaving Green Biver City, they reached the 



432 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [EIDEINO 

foot of the Grand Canon of the Colorado, the passage of 
which had been of continuous peril and toil, and on the 
30th they ended their exploration at a ranch, from which 
the way was easy to Salt Lake City. " Now the danger 
is over," writes Major Powell in his diary ; " now the toil 
has ceased ; now the gloom has disappeared ; now the fir 
mament is bounded only by the horizon ; and what a vast 
expanse of constellations can be seen! The river rolls by 
us in silent majesty ; the quiet of the camp is sweet ; our 
joy is almost ecstasy. We sit till long after midnight 
talking of the Grand Canon, talking of home, but chiefly 
talking of the three men who left us. Are they wander 
ing in those depths, unable to find a way out? are they 
searching over the desert-lands above for water? or are 
they nearing the settlements?" 

It was about a year afterward that their fate became 
known. Major Powell was continuing his explorations, 
and, having passed through Pa-ru-nu-weap (or Eoaring 
Water) Canon, he spent some time among the. Indians 
in the region beyond, from whom he learned that three 
white men had been killed the year before. They had 
come upon the Indian village starving and exhausted with 
fatigue, saying that they had descended the Grand Canon. 
They were fed and started on the way to the settlements, 
but the} 7 " had not gone far when an Indian arrived from the 
east side of the Colorado and told of some miners who had 
killed a squaw in a drunken brawl. He incited the tribe 
to follow and attack the three whites, who no doubt were 
the murderers. Their story of coming down the Grand 
Canon was impossible, no men had ever done that, and 
it was a falsehood designed to cover their guilt. Excited 
by a desire for revenge, a part} 7 stole after them, surrounded 
them in ambush, and filled them with arrows. This was 
the tragic end of Dunn and the Howland brothers. 



BRYANT] THE RIVULET. 433 

Little need be added. The unflinching courage, the 
quiet persistence, and the inexhaustible zeal of Major 
Powell enabled him to achieve a geographical exploit 
which had been deemed wholly impracticable, and which 
in adventurousness puts most of the feats of the Alpine 
Club in the shade. But the narrative may derive a further 
interest from one other fact concerning this intrepid ex 
plorer, whom we have seen standing at the bow of his 
boats and guiding them over tempestuous falls, rapids, 
and whirlpools, soaring among the crags of almost per 
pendicular canon-walls, and suspended by his fingers from 
the rocks four hundred feet above the level of the river: 
Major Powell is a one-armed man ! 



THE RIVULET, THE RIVER, AND THE OCEAN. 

The water, no less than the land, has served as an inspiring theme 
to the poets of modern times, and brook, river, lake, and ocean have 
been alike enchained in the delicate fetters of poetic verse. From the 
" Song of the Brook," as given in the mellifluous verses of William 
Wright, we have already offered a selection. The " Kivulet" of 
Bryant comes here first in order, on our route from the spring to the 
ocean. We can quote but a portion of this beautiful and thoughtful 
poem. 

THIS little rill, that from the springs 
Of yonder grove its current brings, 
Plays on the slope awhile, and then 
Goes prattling into groves again, 
Oft to its warbling waters drew 
My little feet, when life was new. 
When woods in early green were dressed, 
And from the chambers of the west 
in T cc 37 



434 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BRYANT 

The warmer breezes, travelling out, 

Breathed the new scent of flowers about, 

My truant steps from home would stray, 

Upon its grassy side to play, 

List the brown thrasher's vernal hymn, 

And crop the violet on its brim, 

With blooming cheek and open brow, 

As young and gay, sweet rill, as thou. 
# # # # * # # 

Thou changest not, but I am changed, 
Since first thy pleasant banks I ranged ; 
And the grave stranger, come to see 
The play-place of his infancy, 
Has scarce a single trace of him 
Who sported once upon thy brim. 
The visions of my youth are past, 
Too bright, too beautiful to last. 
I've tried the world, it wears no more 
The coloring of romance it wore. 
Yet well has Nature kept the truth 
She promised in my earliest youth. 
The radiant beauty shed abroad 
On all the glorious works of God 
Shows freshly, to my sobered eye, 
Each charm it wore in days gone by. 

# # * 5}J * ifC * 

And I shall sleep, and on thy side, 

As ages after ages glide, 

Children their early sports shall try, 

And pass to hoary age and die. 

But thou, unchanged from year to year, 

Gayly shalt play and glitter here ; 

Amid young flowers and tender grass 

Thy endless infancy shalt pass; 



SIGOURNEY] CONNECTICUT RIVER. 435 

And, singing down thy narrow glen, 
Shalt mock the fading race of men. 

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT. 



From Lydia Huntley Sigourney, a poetess who in her day attained 
great popularity, we copy one of the most favorable specimens of her 
productions. 

CONNECTICUT RIVER. 

Fair river ! not unknown to classic song, 
Which still in varying beauty roll'st along, 
Where first thy infant fount is faintly seen, 
A line of silver ? mid a fringe of green, 
Or where near towering rocks thy bolder tide, 
To win the giant-guarded pass, doth glide, 
Or where in azure mantle pure and free 
Thou giv'st thy cool hand to the tossing sea. 

Though broader streams our sister realms ma} boast, 

Herculean cities, and a prouder coast, 

Yet from the bound where hoarse St. Lawrence roars, 

To where La Plata rocks resounding shores, 

From where the arms of slimy Nilus shine, 

To the blue waters of the rushing Rhine, 

Or where Ilissus glows like diamond spark, 

Or sacred Ganges whelms her votaries dark, 

ISTo brighter skies the eye of day may see, 

Nor soil more verdant, nor a race more free. 

See ! where amid their cultured vales they stand, 

The generous offspring of a simple land ; 

Too rough for flattery, and all fear above, 

King, priest, and prophet 'mid the homes they love, 

On equal laws their anchored hopes are stayed, 

By all interpreted and all obeyed ; 



436 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [CHADWICK 

Alike the despot and the slave they hate, 
And rise, firm columns of a happy state. 
To them content is bliss, and labor health, 
And knowledge power, and meek religion wealth. 

The farmer, here, with honest pleasure sees 
His orchards blushing to the fervid breeze, 
His bleating flocks, the shearer's care that need, 
His waving woods, the wintry hearth that feed, 
His hardy steers, that break the yielding soil, 
His patient sons, who aid their father's toil, 
The ripening fields, for joyous harvest drest, 
And the white spire, that points a world of rest. 



In the same metre, and somewhat in the same tone, as Head' 
Drifting," John White Chadwick thus sings a sea-shore lyric : 

BY THE SEA-SHORE. 

The curved strand 

Of cool, gray sand 
Lies like a sickle by the sea ; 

The tide is low, 

But soft and slow 
Is creeping higher up the lea. 

The beach-birds fleet, 

With twinkling feet, 
Hurry and scurry to and fro, 

And sip, and chat 

Of this and that 
"Which you and I may never know. . . . 



CHAD WICK] BY THE SEA-SHORE. 437 

Each higher wave 

Doth touch and lave 
A million pebbles smooth and bright ; 

Straightway they grow 

A beauteous show, 
With hues unknown before bedight. 

High up the beach, 

Far out of reach 
Of common tides that ebb and flow, 

The drift-wood's heap 

Doth record keep 
Of storms that perished long ago. . . . 

Where ends the beach, 

The cliffs upreach 

Their lichen-wrinkled foreheads old ; 
' And here I rest, 

While all the west 
Grows brighter with the sunset's gold. 

Far out at sea, 

The ships that flee 
Along the dim horizon's line 

Their sails unfold 

Like cloth of gold, 
Transfigured by that light divine. 

A calm more deep, 
As 'twere asleep, 
Upon the weary ocean falls ; 
So low it sighs, 
Its murmur dies, 

While shrill the boding cricket calls. 
in. 37* 



438 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ANONYMOUS 

peace and rest ! 
Upon the breast 

Of God himself I seem to lean, 

No break, no bar 

Of sun or star : 
Just God and I, with naught between. 

Oh, when some day 
In vain I pray 
For days like this to come again, 

1 shall rejoice 

With heart and voice 
That one such day has ever been. 

In a very different strain, in which the dreamy softness of the sunny 
sea is exchanged for the boding thunder of the ocean's storm- voice, an 
anonymous author thus sings his 

SONG OF THE OCEAN. 

This the burden of the breakers 
As upon the beach they shiver, 
Wild sea-birds that have flown hither 
Glad to fold their fleecy pinions ; 
This the weird and solemn anthem 
Played in God's supreme cathedral 
By the blue sky domed, and closely 
Walled in with the dim horizon 
On the sea, that mighty organ, 
With the winds for stops, the tempest 
For its thundering diapason, 
This the choral song they sang me : 

"Man, who for a space endureth, 
Fed with wild and wayward fancies ; 



ANONYMOUS] SONG OF THE OCEAN. 439 

Man, whom every siren lureth 
With her feeble necromancies ; 

Mock me not with idle laughter, 
Thou, so weak and evanescent : 

I, the Past and the Hereafter, 
Put to scorn thy fleeting Present. 

" Weak in all thy pomp and power, 

Hoping, dreaming, praying, sinning, 
Creature of a shining hour, 

Know, I am from the beginning. 
Who shall limit my dominions, 

Chain me down to time or distance ? 
Lo ! the vast spread of my pinions 

Sweeps the borders of existence. 

" Ere man came, Time's crowning wonder, 

This my wave, that throbs and rages, 
At God's feet was hurled in thunder 

On the wild strand of the ages. 
Still I sing my dirge, un weary, 

O'er lost hopes once loved and cherished : 
I shall chant the Miserere 

When the race of man has perished." 

Thus the ocean, white and wondrous, 
Breaking on its beach in triumph, 
Drawing back in lamentation 
From its dim and foamy limit, 
Sang to me in runic thunder, 
While above me lapsed the summer, 
While around the wet sands glistened, 
And the sunbeams, like a glory, 
Lit the long line of the breakers. 



440 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [SPOFFORD 

From Harriet Prescott Spofford's beautiful poem of a day's sea- 
drift, with the unpromising title of "Inside Plum Island," we select 
a few of the concluding verses : 

There, all day long, the summer sea 
Creams murmuring up the shingle ; 

There, all day long, the airs of earth 
With airs of heaven mingle. 



Singing we went our happy way, 

Singing old songs, nor noted 
Another voice that with us sung, 

As wing and wing we floated. 

Till hushed we listened, while the air 

With music still was beating, 
Yoice answering tuneful voice, again 

The words we sang repeating. 

A flight of fluting echoes, sent 

With elfin carol o'er us, 
More sweet than bird-song in the prime 

Rang out the sea-blown chorus. 

Behind those dunes the storms had heaped 

In all fantastic fashion, 
Who syllabled our song in strains 

Remote from human passion ? 

What tones were those that caught our own, 
Filtered through light and distance, 

And tossed them gayly to and fro 
With such a sweet insistence ? 



COFFIN] THE OCEAN. 441 

What shoal of sea-sprites, to the sun 

Along the margin nocking, 
Dripping with salt dews from the deeps, 

Made this melodious mocking ? 

We laughed, a hundred voices rose 

In airiest, fairiest laughter ; 
We sang, a hundred voices quired 

And sang the whole song after. 

One standing eager in the prow 

Blew out his bugle cheerly, 
And far and wide their horns replied 

More silvery and clearly. 

And falling down the falling tide, 

Slow and more slowly going, 
Flown far, flown far, flown faint and fine, 

We heard their horns still blowing. 

Then, with the last delicious note 

To other skies alluring, 
Down ran the sails ; beneath the Bluff 

The boat lay at her mooring. 

"We all have " ships at sea," as we all have " castles in Spain," all, 
that is, except the Dryasdusts, who own nothing but what they can 
see and handle. Our ships seldom come to port, except in dreams, but 
we know that they are floating somewhere, deeply laden with costly 
treasures, and, until hope itself dies, we never despair of their coming. 

I have ships that went to sea 

More than fifty years ago : 
None have yet come homo to me, 

But keep sailing to and fro. 



442 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [COFFIN 

I have seen them, in my sleep, 
Plunging through the shoreless deep, 
With tattered sails and battered hulls, 
While around them screamed the gulls, 
Flying low, flying low. 

I have wondered why they stayed 
From me, sailing round the world, 

And I've said, " I'm half afraid 

That their sails will ne'er be furled." 

Great the treasures that they hold, 

Silks and plumes, and bars of gold ; 

While the spices which they bear 

Fill with fragrance all the air, 
As they sail, as they sail. 

Every sailor in the port 

Knows that I have ships at sea, 
Of the winds and waves the sport ; 

And the sailors pity me. 
Oft they come and with me walk, 
Cheering me with hopeful talk, 
Till I put my fears aside, 
And contented watch the tide 

Eise and fall, rise and fall. 

I have waited on the piers, 

Gazing for them down the bay, 
Days and nights, for many years. 

Till I turned heart-sick away. 
But the pilots, when they land, 
Stop and take me by the hand, 
Saying, " You will live to see 
Your proud vessels come from sea, 

One and all, one and all." 



MARSH] MINUTE FORMS OF LIFE. 443 

So I never quite despair, 

]STor let hope or courage fail ; 
And some day, when skies are fair, 

Up the bay my ships will sail. 
I can buy then all I need, 
Prints to look at, books to read, 
Horses, wines, and works of art, 
Every thing except a heart : 

That is lost, that is lost. 

Once when I was pure and young, 

Poorer, too, than I am now, 
Ere a cloud was o'er me flung, 

Or a wrinkle creased my brow, 
There was one whose heart was mine ; 
But she's something now divine, 
And though come my ships from sea, 
They can bring no heart to me, 

Evermore, evermore. 

E. B. COFFIN. 



MINUTE FORMS OF LIFE. 

G. P. MARSH. 

[George Perkins Marsh, the author of our present Half-Hour, was 
eminent alike in politics, science, and general literature. Born in Ver 
mont in 1801, he was appointed United States minister to Turkey in 
1849, and minister to Italy in 1861. His studies in philology are indi 
cated hy his " Compendious Grammar of the Old Northern or Ice 
landic Language," "Lectures on the English Language," and "The 
Origin and History of the English Language." His other principal 
work is " Man and Nitm-* " published in an enlarged form later under 



444 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MARSH 

the title of " The Earth as Modified by Human Action." He died in 
1882. Our selection is from the last-named work.] 

BESIDES the larger inhabitants of the land and of the 
sea, the quadrupeds, the reptiles, the birds, the amphibia, 
the Crustacea, the fish, the insects, and the worms, there 
are other countless forms of vital being. Earth, water, 
the ducts and fluids of vegetable and of animal life, the 
very air we breathe," are peopled by minute organisms 
which perform most important functions in both the living 
and the inanimate kingdoms of nature. Of the offices 
assigned to these creatures, the most familiar to common 
observation is the extraction of lime, and, more rarely, of 
silex, from the waters inhabited by them, and the deposit 
of these minerals in a solid form, either as the material of 
their habitations or as the exuvia3 of their bodies. The 
microscope and other means of scientific observation 
assure us that the chalk-beds of England and of France, 
the coral reefs of marine waters in warm climates^ vast 
calcareous and silicious deposits in the sea and in many 
fresh-water ponds, the common polishing earths and slates, 
and many species of apparently dense and solid rock, are 
the work of the humble organisms of which I speak, often, 
indeed, of animalcule so small as to become visible only by 
the aid of lenses magnifying thousands of times the linear 
measures. It is popularly supposed that animalculse, or 
what are commonly embraced under the vague name of 
infusoria, inhabit the water alone; but naturalists have 
long known that the atmospheric dust transported by 
every wind and deposited by every calm is full of micro 
scopic life or of its relics. The soil on which the city of 
Berlin stands contains, at the depth of ten or fifteen feet 
below the surface, living elaborators of silex ; and a micro 
scopic examination of a handful of earth connected with 
the material evidences of guilt has enabled the naturalist 



MARSH] MINUTE FORMS OF LIFE. 445 

to point out the very spot where a crime was committed. 
It has been computed that one-sixth part of the solid mat 
ter let fall by great rivers at their outlets consists of still 
recognizable infusory shells and shields ; and, as the fric 
tion of rolling water must reduce many of these fragile 
structures to a state of comminution which even the 
microscope cannot resolve into distinct particles, and 
thus identify as relics of animal or of vegetable life, we 
must conclude that a considerably larger proportion of 
river deposits is really the product of animalcules. 

It is evident that the chemical, and in many cases the 
mechanical, character of a great number of the objects 
important in the material economy of human life must be 
affected by the presence of so large an organic element in 
their substance, and it is equally obvious that all agricul 
tural and all industrial operations tend to disturb the natu 
ral arrangements of this element, to increase or to diminish 
the special adaptation of every medium in which it lives 
to the particular orders of being inhabited by it. The 
conversion of woodland into pasturage, of pasture into 
plough-land, of swamp or of shallow sea into dry ground, 
the rotations of cultivated crops, must prove fatal to mil 
lions of living things upon every rood of surface thus de 
ranged by man, and must, at the same time, more or less 
fully compensate this destruction of life by promoting the 
growth and multiplication of other tribes equally minutw 
in dimensions. 

I do not know that man has yet endeavored to avail 
himself, by artificial contrivances, of the agency of these 
wonderful architects and manufacturers. We are hardly 
well enough acquainted with their natural economy to 
devise means to turn their industry to profitable account, 
and they are in very many cases too slow in producing 
visible results for an age so impatient as ours. The over- 
iii. 38 



446 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [MARSH 

civilization of the nineteenth century cannot wait for 
wealth to be amassed by infinitesimal gains, and we are 
in haste to speculate upon the powers of nature, as we do 
upon objects of bargain and sale in our trafficking one with 
another. But there are still some cases where the little we 
know of a life, whose workings are invisible to the naked 
eye, suggests the possibility of advantageously directing 
the efforts of troops of artisans that we cannot see. Upon 
coasts occupied by the corallines, the reef-building animal 
cule does not work near the mouth of rivers. Hence the 
change of the outlet of a stream, often a very easy matter, 
may promote the construction of a barrier to coast navi 
gation at one point, and check the formation of a reef at 
another, by diverting a current of fresh water from the 
former and pouring it into the sea at the latter. Cases 
may probably be found, in tropical seas, where rivers have 
prevented the working of the coral animalcules in straits 
separating islands from each other or from the mainland. 
The diversion of such streams might remove this obstacle, 
and reefs consequently be formed which would convert an 
archipelago into a single large island, and finally join that 
to the neighboring continent. 

Quatrefages proposed to destroy the teredo in harbors 
by impregnating the water with a mineral solution fatal 
to them. Perhaps the labors of the coralline animals 
might be arrested over a considerable extent of sea-coast 
by similar means. The reef-builders are leisurely archi 
tects, but the precious coral is formed so rapidly that the 
beds may be refished advantageously as often as once in 
ten years. It does not seem impossible that branches 
of this coral might be attached to the keel of a ship and 
transplanted to the American coast, where the Gulf 
Stream would furnish a suitable temperature beyond the 
climatic limits that otherwise confine its growth ; and 



MARSH] MINUTE FORMS OF LIFE. 447 

thus a new source of profit might perhaps be added to 
the scanty returns of the hardy fishermen. This experi 
ment is certainly well worth trying. 

In certain geological formations, the diatomacese de 
posit, at the hottom of fresh-water ponds, beds of silicious 
shields, valuable as a material for a species of very light 
fire-brick, in the manufacture of water-glass and of hy 
draulic cement, and ultimately, doubtless, in many yet 
undiscovered industrial processes. An attentive study of 
the conditions favorable to the propagation of the diato 
macese might perhaps help us to profit directly by the 
productivity of this organism, and, at the same time, dis 
close secrets of nature capable of being turned to valu 
able account in dealing with silicious rocks and the metal 
which is the base of them. 

Our acquaintance with the obscure and infinitesimal 
life of which I have now been treating is very recent, and 
still very imperfect. We know that it is of vast impor 
tance in geology, but we are so ambitious to grasp the 
great, so little accustomed to occupy ourselves with the 
minute, that we are not yet prepared to enter seriously 
upon the question how far we can control and utilize the 
operations, not of unembodied physical forces merely, but 
of beings, in popular apprehension, almost as immaterial 
as they. . . . 

Nature has no unit of magnitude by which she measures 
her works. Man takes his standards of dimension from 
himself. The hair's breadth was his minimum until the 
microscope told him that there are animated creatures to 
which one of the hairs of his head is a larger cylinder 
than is the trunk of the giant California sequoia to him. 
He borrows his inch from the breadth of his thumb, his 
palm and span from the width of his hand and the spread 
of his fingers, his foot from the length of the organ so 



448 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

named ; his cubit is the distance from the tip of his middlo 
finger to his elbow, and his fathom is the space he can 
measure with his outstretched arms. To a being who 
instinctively finds the standard of all magnitudes in his 
own material frame, all objects exceeding his own dimen- 
si >ns are absolutely great, all falling short of them abso 
lutely small. Hence we habitually regard the whale and 
the elephant as essentially large and therefore important 
creatures, the animalcule as an essentially small and there 
fore unimportant organism, Eut no geological formation 
owes its origin to the labors or the remains of the huge 
mammal, while the animalcule composes, or has furnished, 
the substance of strata thousands of feet in thickness, 
and extending, in unbroken beds, over many degrees of 
terrestrial surface. If man is destined to inhabit the 
earth much longer, and to advance in natural knowledge 
with the rapidity which has marked his progress in 
physical science for the last two or three centuries, he 
will learn to put a wiser estimate on the works of crea 
tion, and will derive not only great instruction from 
studying the ways of nature in her obscurest, humblest 
walks, but great material advantage from stimulating her 
productive energies in provinces of her empire hitherto 
regarded as forever inaccessible, utterly barren. 



DEVELOPMENT OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS. 

D. G. BRINTON. 

[In the list of American archaeologists the name of Dr. Daniel Gar 
rison Brinton ranks among the highest, and his works are probably the 
most valuable contributions to this science yet made by an American 
nuthor. These works are diversified in their scope, including " The 



BRINTON] DEVELOPMENT OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS. 449 

Florida Peninsula," "The Myths of the New "World," "The Ke- 
ligious Sentiment," "Ancient Hero Myths," and an edition, yet in 
progress, of the literature of the American aborigines, " The Maya 
Chronicles," " The Comedy-Ballet of Giiegiience," etc., with numer 
ous periodical papers on archaeological subjects. Dr. Brinton was born 
in Chester County, Pennsylvania, in 1834.] 

OP the various ideas in religious history there are three 
which, through their permanence and frequent revival, 
we may justly suppose in accordance with the above- 
mentioned canons to contain a large measure of truth, 
and yet to be far from wholly true. They may be con 
sidered as leading moments in religious growth, yet withal 
Jacking something or other essential to the satisfaction of 
the religious sentiment. The first of these is the idea of 
the perfected individual; the second, the idea of the perfected 
commonwealth ; the third, that of personal survival. These 
have been the formative ideas (Ideen der Gestnltung) in the 
prayers, myths, rites, and religious institutions of many 
nations at widely-separated times. 

Of the two first mentioned it may be said that every 
extended faith has accepted them to some degree. They 
are the secret of the alliances of religion with art, with 
government, with ethics, with science, education, and sen 
timent. 

These alliances have often been taken by historians to 
contain the vital elements of religion itself, and many ex 
planations based on one or another assumption of the kind 
have been proffered. Religion, while it may embrace any 
of them, is independent of them all. Its relations to 
them have been transitory, and the more so as their aims 
have been local and material. The brief duration of the 
subjection of religion to such incongenial ties was well 
compared by Lord Herbert of Cherbury to the early 
maturity of brutes, wbo attain their full growth in a year 
in. dd 38* 



450 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BRINTON 

or two, while man needs a quarter of a century. The 
inferior aims of the religious sentiment were discarded 
one after another to make way for higher ones, which 
were slowly dawning upon it. In this progress it was 
guided largely by the three ideas I have mentioned, which 
have been in many forms leading stimuli of the religious 
thought of the race. 

First, of the idea of the perfected individual. 

Many writers have supposed that the contemplation of 
Power in nature first stirred religious thought in man. 
Though this is not the view taken in this book, no one 
will question that the leading trait in the gods of bar 
barism is physical strength. The naive anthropomor 
phism of the savage makes his god of a mighty arm, a 
giant in stature, puissant and terrible. He hurls the 
thunderbolt, and piles up the mountains in sport. His 
name is often The Strong One, as in the Allah, Eloah of 
the Semitic tongues. Hercules, Chon, Melkarth, Dorsa- 
nes, Thor, and others were of the most ancient divinities 
in Greece, Egypt, Phoenicia, India, and Scandinavia, and 
were all embodiments of physical force. Such, too, was 
largely the character of the Algonkin Messou, who 
scooped out the great lakes with his hands and tore up 
the largest trees by the roots. The huge boulders from 
the glacial epoch which are scattered over their country 
are the pebbles he tossed in play or in anger. The cleft 
in the Andes, through which flows the river Funha, was 
opened by a single blow of Nemqueteba, chief god of the 
Muyscas. In all such and a hundred similar legends, easy 
to quote, we see the notion of strength, brute force, mus 
cular power, was that deemed most appropriate to divinity, 
and that which he who would be godlike must most sedu 
lously seek. When .filled with the god, the votary felt a 
surpassing vigor. The Berserker fury was found in the 



BRINTON] DEVELOPMENT OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS. 451 

wilds of America and Africa, as well as among the Fiords. 
Sickness and weakness, on the contrary, were signs that 
the gods were against him. Therefore, in all early stages 
of culture, the office of priest and physician was one. 
Conciliation of the gods was the catholicon. 

Such deities were fearful to behold. They are repre 
sented as mighty of stature and terrible of mien, calcu 
lated to appall, not attract, to inspire fear, not to kindle 
love. In tropical America, in Egypt, in Thibet, almost 
where you will, there is little to please the eye in the 
pictures and statues of deities. 

In Greece alone, a national temperament, marvellously 
sensitive to symmetry, developed the combination of max 
imum strength with perfect form in the sun-god, Apollo, 
and of grace with beauty in Aphrodite. The Greeks were 
the apostles of the religion of beauty. Their philosophic 
thought saw the permanent in the Form, which outlives 
strength, and is that alone in which the race has being. 
In its transmission love is the agent, and Aphrodite, un 
matched in beauty and mother of love, was a creation 
worthy of their devotion. Thus with them the religious 
sentiment still sought its satisfaction in the individual, 
not indeed in the muscle, but in the feature and expres 
sion. 

When the old gods fell, the Christian fathers taught 
their flocks to* abhor the beautiful as one with the sensual. 
St. Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian describe Christ 
as ugly of visage and undersized, a sort of Socrates in 
appearance. Christian art was long in getting recognition. 
The heathens were the first to represent in picture and 
statues Christ and the apostles, and for long the fathers 
of the church opposed the multiplication of such images, 
saying that the inward beauty was alone desirable. Chris 
tian art reached its highest inspiration under the influence 



452 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

of Greek culture after the fall of Constantinople. In the 
very year, however, that Rafaello Sanzio met his pre 
mature death, Luther burned the decretals of the pope in 
the market-place of Wittenberg, and preached a doctrine 
as hostile to art as was that of Eusebius and Chrysos- 
tom. There was no longer any hope for the religion of 
beauty. 

Nevertheless, under the influence of the revival of an 
cient art which arose with Winckelmann towards the close 
of the last century, a gospel of aesthetics was preached. 
Its apostles were chiefly Germans, and among them Schil 
ler and Goethe are not inconspicuous names. The latter, 
before his long life was closed, began to see the emptiness 
of such teachings, and the violence perpetrated on the 
mind by forcing on the religious sentiment the food fit 
only for the aesthetic emotions. 

The highest conception of individual perfection is reached 
in a character whose physical and mental powers are sym 
metrically trained and always directed by conscious rea 
son to their appropriate ends. Self-government, founded 
on self-knowledge, wards off the pangs of disappointment 
by limiting ambition to the attainable. The affections 
and -emotions, and the pleasures of sensation as well, are 
indulged in or abstained from, but never to the darkening 
of the intellect. All the talents are placed at usury; 
every power exercised systematically and fruitfully with 
a consecration to a noble purpose. 

This is the religion of culture. None other ranks among 
its adherents so many great minds ; men, as Carlyle ex 
presses it, of much religiosity, if of little religion. The 
ideal is a taking one. Such utter self-reliance, not from 
ignorance, but from the perfection of knowledge, was that 
which Buddha held up to his followers : " Self is the God 
of self: who else should be the God?" In this century 



BRINTON] DEVELOPMENT OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS. 453 

Goethe, Wordsworth, beyond all others Wilhelm von 
Humboldt, have set forth this ideal. Less strongly intel 
lectual natures, as Maine de Biran, De Senancourt, and 
Matthew Arnold, listen with admiration, but feel how un 
known to the mass of human kind must remain the tonguo 
these masters speak. 

Thus did the religious sentiment seek its satisfaction 
in the idealization, first of physical force, then of form, 
and last of mental force, but in each case turned away 
unsatisfied. Wherein did these ideals fail? The first- 
mentioned in exalting power over principle, might over 
right. As was well said by the philosophical Novalis. 
" The ideal of morality has no more dangerous rival than 
the ideal of physical strength, of the most vigorous life. 
Through it man is transformed into a reasoning beast, 
whose brutal cleverness has a fascination for weak minds." 
The religion of beauty failed in that it addressed the aes 
thetic emotions, not the reasoning power. Art does not 
promote the good ; it owes no fealty to either utility or 
ethics : in itself, it must be, in the negative sense of the 
words, at once useless and immoral. " Nature is not its 
standard, nor is truth its chief end." Its spirit is repose, 
"the perfect form in perfect rest;" whereas the spirit of 
religion is action because of imperfection. Even the gods 
must know of suffering, and partake, in incarnations, of 
the miseries of men. 

In the religion of culture what can we blame ? That it 
is lacking in the impulses of action through the isolation 
it fosters; that it is and must be limited to a few, for it 
provides no defence for the weaknesses the many inherit ; 
that its tendency is antagonistic to religion, as it cuts 
away the feeling of dependence, and the trust in the un 
known ; that it allows too little to enthusiasm ever to 
become a power. . . . 



454 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

The Idea of the perfected Commonwealth : This is the 
conception at the base of all theocracies, forms of govern 
ment whose statutes are identified with the precepts of 
religion. Instead of a constitution there is the Law, given 
and sanctioned by God as a rule of action. 

The Law is at first the Myth applied. It's object is as 
much to propitiate the gods as to preserve social order. 
It is absolute because it is inspired. Many of its ordi 
nances as drawn from the myth are inapplicable to man, 
and are unjust or frivolous. Yet, such as it is, it rules 
the conduct of the commonwealth and expresses the ideal 
of its perfected condition. 

All the oldest codes of laws are religious, and are alleged 
revelations. The Pentateuch, the Avesta, the Laws of 
Manu, the Twelve Tables, the Laws of Seleucus, all carry 
the endorsement, "And God said." Their real intention is 
to teach the relation of man to God, rather than the rela 
tions of man to man. On practical points on the rights 
of property, on succession and wills, on contracts, on the 
adoption of neighbors, and on the treatment of enemies 
they often violate the plainest dictates of natural justice, 
of common humanity, even of family affection. Their 
precepts are frequently frivolous, sometimes grossly im 
moral. - But if these laws are compared with the earliest 
myths and cults, and the opinions then entertained of the 
gods, and how to propitiate them, it becomes easy to see 
how the precepts of the law flowed from these inchoate 
ima'ginings of the religious sentiment. 

The improvement of civil statutes did not come through 
religion. Experience, observation, and free thought taught 
man justice, and his kindlier emotions were educated by 
the desire to cherish and preserve which arose from family 
and social ties. As these came to be recognized as neces 
sary relations of society, religion appropriated them, in- 



BKINTON] DEVELOPMENT OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS. 455 

corporated them into her ideal, and even claimed them as 
her revelations. History largely invalidates this claim. 
The moral progress of mankind has been mainly apart 
from dogmatic teachings, often in conflict with them. An 
established rule of faith may enforce obedience to its 
statutes, but can never develop morals. " True virtue is 
independent of every religion, and incompatible with any 
which is accepted on authority." 

Yet thinkers, even the best of them, appear to have had 
difficulty in discerning any nobler arena for the religious 
sentiment than the social one. " Eeligion," says Matthew 
Arnold, " is conduct." It is the power " which makes for 
righteousness." "As civil law," said Yoltaire, "enforces 
morality in public, so the use of religion is to compel it in 
private life." " A complete morality," observes a contem 
porary Christian writer, " meets all the practical ends of 
religion." In such expressions man's social relations, his 
duty to his neighbor, are taken to exhaust religion. It is 
still the idea of the commonwealth, the religion of mo 
rality, the submission to a law recognized as divine. 
Whether the law is a code of ethics, the decision of a 
general council, or the ten commandments, it is alike held 
to be written by the finger of God, and imperative. Good 
works are the demands of such religion. . . . 

Thus the ideal of the commonwealth is found in those 
creeds which give prominence to law, to ethics, and to 
sentiment, the altruistic elements of mind. It fails, be 
cause its authority is antagonistic to morality in that it 
impedes the search for the truth. Neither is morality 
religion, for it deals with the relative, while religion should 
guide itself by the absolute. Eve"ry great religious teacher 
has violated the morality of his day. Even sentiment, 
attractive as it is, is no ground on which to build a church. 
It is, at best, one of the lower emotional planes of action. 



456 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BRINTON 

Love itself, which must be the kernel of every true religion, 
is not in earthly relations an altruistic sentiment. The 
measure and the source of all such love is self-love. The 
creed which rejects this as its corner-stone will build in 
vain. . . . 

But, as the two moments of religious thought which I 
have now discussed have both reached their culmination 
in a substantial repudiation of religion, that which stimu 
lates the religious sentiment to-day must be something 
different from either. This I take to be the idea of personal 
survival after physical death, or, as it is generally called, 
the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. 

This is the main dogma in the leading religions of the 
world to-day. "A God," remarks Sir William Hamilton, 
speaking for the enlightened Christians of his generation, 
" is to us of practical interest only inasmuch as he is the 
condition of our immortality." In his attractive work, 
La Vie Eternelle, whose large popularity shows it to ex 
press the prevailing views of modern Protestant thought, 
Ernest Naville takes pains to distinguish that Christianity 
is not a means of living a holy life so much as one of gain 
ing a blessed hereafter. The promises of a life after death 
are numerous and distinct in the New Testament. Most 
of the recommendations of action and suffering in this 
world are based on the doctrine of compensation in the 
world to come. 

Mohammed taught the same tenet with equal or even 
greater emphasis. In one sura he says, " To whatever is 
evil may they be likened who believe not in a future life ;" 
and elsewhere, "As for the blessed ones, their place is 
Paradise. There shall tfrey dwell so long as the heavens 
and the earth endure, enjoying the imperishable bounties 
of God. But as for those who shall be consigned to misery, 
their place is the Fire. There shall they abide so long as 



BRINTON] DEVELOPMENT OF RELIGIOUS IDEAS. 457 

the heavens and the earth shall last, unless God wills it 
otherwise." 

In Buddhism, as generally understood, the doctrine of 
a future life is just as clear. Not only does the soul 
wander from one to another animal body, but when it has 
completed its peregrinations and reaches its final abode it 
revels in all sorts of bliss. For the condition of Nirvana, 
understood by philosophical Buddhists as that of the ex 
tinction of desires even to the desire of life, and of the 
complete enlightenment of the mind even to the recog 
nition that existence itself is an illusion, has no such 
meaning to the millions who profess themselves the fol 
lowers of the sage of Kapilavastu. They take it to be a 
material Paradise with pleasures as real as those painted 
by Mohammed, wherein they will dwell beyond all time, 
a reward for their devotions and faith in this life. 

These three religions embrace three -fourths of the human 
race and all its civilized nations, with trifling exceptions. 
They displaced and extinguished the older creeds and in 
a few centuries controlled the earth ; but as against each 
other their strife has been of little avail. The reason is, 
they share the same momentum of religious thought, dif 
fering in its interpretation not more among themselves 
than do orthodox members of either faith in their own 
fold. Many enlightened Muslims and Christians, for ex 
ample, consider the descriptions of Paradise given in the 
Koran and the Apocalypse to convey wholly spiritual 
meanings. . . . 

The central doctrine of the teachings of Jesus of Naza 
reth, the leading impulse which he gave to the religious 
thought of his age, was that -the thinking part of man 
survives his physical death, and that its condition does 
not depend on the rites of interment, as other religions 
then taught, but on the character of its thoughts during 
in. u 39 



458 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BRINTON 

life here. Filled with this new and sublime idea, he de 
veloped it in its numerous applications, and drew from it 
those startling inferences which, to this day, stagger his 
followers, and have been in turn the terror and derision 
of his foes. This he saw, that against a mind inwardly 
penetrated with the full conviction of a life hereafter, 
obtainable under known conditions, the powers of this 
world are utterly . futile, and its pleasures hollow phan 
toms. . . . 

While the religious doctrine of personal survival has 
thus a position defensible on grounds of reason as being 
that of the inherent permanence of self-conscious truth, 
it also calls to its aid and indefinitely elevates the most 
powerful of all the emotions, love. This, as I have shown 
in the second chapter, is the sentiment which is character 
istic of preservative acts. Self-love, which is prominent in 
the idea of the perfected individual, sex-love, which is the 
spirit of the multiform religious symbolism of the repro 
ductive act, and the love of race, which is the chief motor 
in the religion of humanity, are purified of their grosser 
demands and assigned each its meet post in the labor of 
uniting the conceptions of the true under the relation of 
personality. 

The highest development of which such love is capable 
arises through the contemplation of those verities which 
are abstract and eternal, and which thus set forth, to the 
extent the individual mind is capable of receiving it, the 
completed notion of diuturnity. This highest love is the 
"love of God." A Supreme Intelligence, one to which all 
truth is perfect, must forever dwell in such contemplation. 
Therefore the deeper minds of Christianity define man's 
love of God as God's love to himself. " Eternal life," says 
Ernest Naville, "is in its principle the union with God and 
the joy that results from that union." The pious William 



STODDARD] A SOUTH-SEA IDYL. 459 

Law wrote, "No man can reach God with his love, or 
have union with Him by it, but he who is inspired with 
that one same spirit of love with which God loved him 
self from all eternity, before there was any creation." 



A SOUTH-SEA IDYL. 

C. W. STODDARD. 

[Charles Warren Stoddard, the author of our present selection, was 
born at Kochester, New York, in 1848. He removed to California in 
1855, and began to write verse at an early age. In 1864 he went to 
the Hawaiian Islands, where his life since has been mainly spent, and 
where he obtained the material for his beautiful and poetical series of 
" South-Sea Idyls," from one of which we give an extract. He has 
also published "Poems," and " Mashallah : a Flight into Egypt." 
In 1885 he became Professor of English Literature in Notre Dame 
University, Notre Dame, Indiana.] 

FROM a bluff whose bald forehead jutted a thousand feet 
into the air, and under whose chin the sea shrugged its 
great shoulders, Kahele, my boy, that delightful contra 
diction, who was always plausible, yet never right, 
Kahele and I looked timidly over into the sunset valley 
of Meha. The " Yalley of Solitude" it was called ; albeit, 
at that moment, and with half an eye, we counted the 
thirty grass-lodges of the village, and heard the liquid 
tongues of a trio of water-falls, that dived head-first into 
the groves at the farther end of the valley, where the 
mountain seemed to have opened its heart wide enough to 
let a rivulet escape into the sea. But the spot was a palpa 
ble and living dream, and no fond rivulet would go too 
hastily through it : so there was a glittering sort of mono- 



460 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STODDAKD 

gram writ in water, and about it the village lodges were 
clustered in a very pleasing disorder. 

The trail dropped down the cliff below us in long, swing 
ing zigzags, and wound lazily through the village; crossed 
the stream at the ford ; dipped off toward the sea, as though 
the beach, shining like coarse gold, were a trifle too lovely 
to be passed without recognition ; and then it climbed 
laboriously up the opposite cliff, and struck off into space. 
In ten seconds a bird might have spanned the deep ravine, 
and caught as much of its loveliness as we ; but we weren't 
birds, and, moreover, we had six legs apiece to look after, 
so we tipped off from the dizzy ridge that overhung the 
valley of Meha to the north, and gradually descended into 
the heat and silence of the place, that seemed to make a 
picture of itself when we first looked down upon it from 
our eyry. 

We found the floor of the valley very solemn and very 
lonely when we at last got down into it. Three youngsters, 
as brown as berries, and without any leaves upon them, 
broke loose from a banana-orchard and leaped into a low 
Aow-tree as we approached. They were a little shy of my 
color, pale-faces being rare in that vicinity. Two women 
who were washing at the ford and washing the very gar 
ments they should have had upon their backs discovered 
us, and plunged into the stream with a refreshing splash, 
and a laugh apiece that was worth hearing, it was so gen 
uine and hearty. Another youngster hurried off from a 
stone wall like a startled lizard, and struck on his head, 
but didn't cry much, for he was too frightened. A large 
woman lay at full length on a broad mat, spread under a 
pandanus, and slept like a turtle. I began to think there 
were nothing but women and children in the solitary val 
ley, but Kahele had kept an eye on the reef, and, with an 
air of superior intelligence, he assured me that there wero 



STODDARD] A SOUTH-SEA IDYL. 461 

many men living about there, and they, with most of the 
women and children, were then out in the surf, fishing. 

" To the beach, by all means !" cried I ; and to the 
beach we hastened, where, indeed, we found heaps of cast- 
off raiment, and a hundred footprints in the sand. What 
would Mr. Eobinson Crusoe have said to that, I wonder ! 
Across the level water, heads, hands, and shoulders, and 
sometimes half-bodies, were floating about, like the am 
phibia. "We were at once greeted with a shout of wel 
come, which came faintly to us above the roar of the 
surf, as it broke heavily on the reef, a half-mile out from 
shore. It was drawing toward the hour when the fishers 
came to land, and we had not long to wait before, one 
after another, they came out of the sea like so many mer 
men and mermaids. They were refreshingly innocent of 
etiquette, at least of our translation of it ; and, with a 
freedom that was amusing as well as a little embarrassing, 
I was deliberately fingered, fondled, and fussed with by 
nearly every dusky soul in turn. " At last," thought I, 
" fate has led me beyond the pale of civilization ; for this 
begins to look like the genuine article." 

With uncommon slowness, the mermaids donned more 
or less of their apparel, a few preferring to carry their 
robes over their arms ; for the air was delicious, and ropes 
of sea-weed are accounted full dress in that delectable lati 
tude. Down on the sand the mermen heaped their scaly 
spoils, fish of all shapes and sizes, fish of every color ; 
some of them throwing somersaults in the sand, like 
young athletes ; some of them making wry faces in their 
last agony ; some of them lying still and clammy, with 
big, round eyes like smoked-pearl vest-buttons set in the 
middle of their cheeks ; all of them smelling fish-like, and 
none of them looking very tempting. Small boys laid 
hold on small fry, bit their heads off, and held the silver- 
in. 39* 



462 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STODDARD 

coated morsels between their teeth, like animated sticks 
of candy. There was a Fridayish and Lent-like atmos 
phere hovering over the spot, and I turned away to watch 
some youths who were riding surf-boards not far distant, 
agile, narrow-hipped youths, with tremendous biceps 
and proud, impudent heads set on broad shoulders, like 
young gods. These were the flower and chivalry of the 
Meha blood, and they swam like young porpoises, every 
one of them. 

There was a break in the reef before us; the sea kne\\ 
it, and seemed to take special delight in rushing upon the 
shore as though it were about to devour sand, savages, 
and everything. Kahele and I watched the surf-swimmers 
for some time, charmed with the spectacle. Such buoy 
ancy of material matter I had never dreamed of. Kahele, 
though much in the flesh, could not long resist the temp 
tation to exhibit his prowess, and, having been offered a 
surf-board that would have made a good lid to his coffin, 
and was itself as light as cork and as smooth as glass, 
suddenly threw off his last claim to respectability, seized 
his sea-sled, and dived with it under the first roller, which 
was then about to break above his head, not three feet from 
him. Beyond it, a second roller reared its awful front, 
but he swam under that with ease ; at the sound of his 
" open sesame" its emerald gates parted and closed after 
him. He seemed some triton, playing with the elements, 
and dreadfully " at home" in that very wet place. The 
third and mightiest of the waves was gathering its strength 
for a charge upon the shore. Having reached its outer 
ripple, again Kahele dived, and reappeared on the other 
side of the watery hill, balanced for a moment in the 
glassy hollow, .turned suddenly, and, mounting the tower 
ing monster, he lay at full length on his fragile raft, using 
his arms as a bird its pinions, in fact, soaring for a mo- 



STODDARD] A SOUTH-SEA IDYL. 453 

merit with the wave under him. As it rose, he climbed 
to the top of it, and there, in the midst of foam seething 
like champagne, on the crest of a rushing sea-avalanche 
about to crumble and dissolve beneath him, his surf-board 
hidden in spume, on the very top bubble of all, Kahele 
danced like a shadow. He leaped to his feet and swam in 
the air, another Mercury tiptoeing a heaven-kissing hill, 
buoyant as vapor, and with a suggestion of invisible wings 
about him, Kahele transformed for a moment, and for a 
moment only ; the next-second my daring sea-skater leaped 
ashore, with a howling breaker swashing at his heels. It 
was something glorious and almost incredible ; but I saw 
it with my own eyes, and I wanted to double his salary 
on the spot. 

Sunset in the valley of Meha. The air full of floating 
particles, that twinkled like diamond-dust; the great 
green chasm at the head of the valley illuminated by one 
broad bar of light shot obliquely through it, tipped at the 
end with a shower of white rockets that fringed a water 
fall, and a fragment of rainbow like a torn banner. That 
deep, shadowy ravine seemed, for a moment, some mys 
tery about to be divulged ; but the light faded too soon, 
and I never learned the truth of it. The sea quieter than 
usual ; very little sound, save the rhythmical vibration of 
the air, that suggested flowing waters and quivering 
leaves; the lights shifted along the upper cliffs; a silver- 
white tropic-bird sailed from cloud to cloud, swiftly and 
noiselessly, like a shooting star. A delicious moment, but 
a brief one : soon the sun was down, and the deepening 
shadows and gathering coolness set all the valley astir. 

Camp-fires w r ere kindled throughout the village ; column 
after column of thin blue smoke ascended in waving 
spirals, separating at the top in leaf-shaped clouds. It 
was like the spiritual resurrection of some ancient palm- . 



464 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STODDABD 

grove ; and when the moon rose, a little later, flooding 
the Yale of Solitude with her vague light, the illusion was 
perfected; and a group of savages, scenting the savory 
progress of their supper, sat, hungry and talkative, under 
every ghostly palm. Clear voices ascended in monotonous 
and weird recitative ; they chanted a monody on the death 
of some loved one, prompted, perhaps, by the funereal 
solemnity of the hour; or sang an ode to the moonrise, 
the still-flowing river, or the valley of Meha, so solitary 
in one sense, though by no means alone in its loneliness. 

Kahele patronized me extensively. I was introduced 
to camp after camp, and in rapid succession repeated the 
experiences of a traveller who has much to answer for 
in the way of color and the peculiar cut of his garments. 
I felt as though I was some natural curiosity, in charge 
of the robustious Kahele, who waxed more and more 
officious every hour of his engagement; and his tongue 
ran riot as he descanted upon my characteristics, to the 
joy of the curious audiences we attracted. 

Some hours must have passed before we thought of 
sleep. How could we think of it, when every soul was 
wide awake, and time alone seemed to pass us by" uncon 
sciously ? But Kahele finally led me to a chiefs house, 
where, under coverlets of kapa, spiced with herbs, and in 
the midst of numerous members of the household, I was 
advised to compose my soul in peace and patiently await 
daylight. I did so, for the drowsy sense that best illus 
trates the tail-end of a day's journey possessed me, and I 
was finally overcome by the low, monotonous drone of a 
language that I found about as intelligible as the cooing 
of the multitudinous pigeon. The boy sat near me, still 
descanting upon our late experiences, our possible future, 
and the thousand trivial occurrences that make the recol 
lections of travel forever charming. The familiar pipe, 



STODDARD] A SOUTH-SEA IDYL. 465 

smoked at about the rate of three whiffs apiece, circulated 
freely, and kept the air mildly flavored with tobacco ; and 
night, witn all that pertains to it, bowed over me, as in an 
unguarded moment I surrendered to its narcotizing touch. 

There was another valley in my sleep, like unto the one 
I had closed my eyes upon, and I saw it thronged with 
ancients. ~No white face had yet filled those savage and 
sensuous hearts with a sense of disgust, which I believe 
all dark races feel when they first behold a bleached skin. 
Again the breathless heralds announced the approach of a 
king, and the multitudes gathered to receive him. I heard 
the beating of the tom-toms, and saw the dancers ambling 
and posing before his august majesty, who reclined in the 
midst of a retinue of obsequious retainers. The spearsmen 
hurled their spears, and the strong men swung their clubs; 
the stone-throwers threw skilfully, and the sweetest singers 
sang long meles in praise of their royal guest. A cry of 
fear rent the air as a stricken one fled toward the city of 
refuge; the priests passed by me in solemn procession, 
their robes spotted with sacrificial blood. War-canoes 
drew in from the sea, and death fell upon the valley. I 
heard the wail for the slaughtered, and saw the grim idols 
borne forth in the arms of the triumphant ; then I awoke 
in the midst of that dream-pageant of savage and barbaric 
splendor. 

It was still night ; the sea was again moaning ; the cool 
air of the mountain rustled in the long thatch at the door 
way ; a ripe bread-fruit fell to the earth with a low thud. 
I rose from my mat and looked about me. The room was 
nearly deserted ; some one lay swathed like a mummy in 
a dark corner of the lodge, but of what sex I knew not, 
probably one who had outlived all sensations and perhaps 
all desires ; a rush, strung full of oily kukui nuts, flamed 
in the centre of the room, and a thread of black smoke 
TTI. ee 



466 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [STODDARD 

climbed almost to the peak of the roof; but, falling in with 
a current of fresh air, it was spirited away in a moment. 

I looked out of the low door : the hour was such a one 
as tinges the stoutest heart with superstition ; the land 
scape was complete in two colors, a moist, transparent 
gray, and a thin, feathery silver, that seemed almost pal 
pable to the touch. Out on the slopes near the stream re 
clined groups of natives, chatting, singing, smoking, or 
silently regarding the moon. I passed them unnoticed; 
dim paths led me through guava-jungles, under orange- 
groves, and beside clusters of jasmine, overpowering in 
their fragrance. Against the low eaves of the several 
lodges sat singers, players upon the rude instruments of 
the land, and glib talkers, who waxed eloquent, and ges 
ticulated with exceeding grace. Footsteps rustled before 
and behind me ; I stole into the thicket, and saw lovers 
wandering together, locked in each other's embrace, and 
saw friends go hand in hand conversing in low tones, or 
perhaps mute, with an impressive air of the most complete 
tranquillity. The night-blooming cereus laid its ivory 
urn open to the moonlight, and a myriad of crickets 
chirped in one continuous jubilee. Voices of merriment 
were wafted down to me ; and, stealing onward toward 
the great meadow by the stream, where the sleepless 
inhabitants of the valley held high carnival, I saw the 
most dignified chiefs of Meha sporting like children, while 
the children capered like imps, and the whole community 
seemed bewitched with the glorious atmosphere of that 
particular night. 

Who was the gayest of the gay, and the most lawless of 
the unlawful? My boy, Kahele, in whom I had placed 
my trust, and whom, until this hour at least, I had re 
garded as a most promising specimen of the reorganized 
barbarians. 



HALE] THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY. 467 

Perhaps it was all right ; perhaps I had been counting 
his steps with too much confidence ; they might have 
been simply a creditable performance, the result of care 
ful training on the part of his tutors. I am inclined to 
think they were. At any rate, Kahele went clean back 
to barbarism that night, and seemed to take to it amaz- 
ngly. I said nothing. I thought it wiser to seem to hold 
the reins, though I held them loosely, than to try to check 
the career of my half-tamed domestic and to find him be 
yond my control : therefore I sat on one side taking notes, 
and found it rather jolly on the whole. 

The river looked like an inky flood with a broken sil 
ver crust ; canoes floated upon its sluggish tide like long 
feathers ; swimmers plied up and down it, now and then 
" blowing," whale-fashion, but slipping through the water 
as noiselessly as trout. I could scarcely tell which wah 
the more attractive, Nature, so fragrant and so volup 
tuous, or man, who had become a part of Nature for the 
hour, and was very unlike man as I had been taught to 
accept him. 

Not till dawn did the dance or the song cease ; not till 
everybody was gray and fagged and tongues had stopped 
wagging from sheer exhaustion. I returned to my mats 
long ere that, to revolve in my mind plans for the follow 
ing day. 



THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY. 

E. E. HALE. 

[In the art of giving an aspect of probability to the most preposter 
ous situations Edward Everett Hale stands pre-eminent among Ameri 
can writers. In his numerous short stories he has invented an extraor 
dinary diversity of imaginative plots, yet his narrations are invested 



468 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HALE 

with such soberness of detail and such close attention to dates, locali 
ties, and other essentials of historic correctness that in reading them 
we are half inclined to swallow the grotesquely impossible. Of these 
works we may name " The Man without a Country," " My Double, and 
How he Undid me," " The Brick Moon," " His Level Best," and the 
novel "Philip Nolan's Friends." But these are only a few of very 
many stories. "The Man without a Country" attracted great atten 
tion, and, preposterous as its plot is, many persons were deceived into 
the belief that it was a detail of actual occurrences, and that Philip 
Nolan really endured the extraordinary punishment described. We 
need here but remark that the story was written during the war, with 
the design of vividly showing to secessionists what was involved in 
becoming recreant to one's native land. Mr. Hale is a native of Mas 
sachusetts, and was born in 1822. He is by profession a Unitarian 
minister, and has been stationed at Boston since 1856. As a prelimi 
nary to our extract, we may say that Philip Nolan was concerned in 
Burr's conspiracy, and on his trial cursed the United States and hoped 
never to see that country again. The sentence of the court was that 
he should be taken at his word, and should never be permitted to see 
or hear the name of the United States again. In our selection we omit 
these opening portions of the story.] 

THE rule adopted on board the ships on which I have 
met " the man without a country" was, I think, trans 
mitted from the beginning. No mess liked to have him 
permanently, because his presence cut off all talk of home 
or of the prospect of return, of politics or letters, of peace 
or of war, cut off more than half the talk men liked to 
have at sea. But it was always thought too hard that he 
should never meet the rest of us, except to touch hats, 
and we finally sank into one system. He was not per 
mitted to talk with the men, unless an officer was by. 
"With officers he had unrestrained intercourse, as far as 
they and he chose. But he grew shy, though he had 
favorites: I was one. Then the captain always asked 
him to dinner on Monday. Every mess in succession took 
up the invitation in its turn. According to the size of 



HALE] THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY. 469 

the ship, you had him at jour mess more or less often at 
dinner. His breakfast he ate in his own state-room, he 
always had a state-room, which was where a sentinel or 
somebody on the watch could see the door. And what 
ever else he ate or drank he ate or drank alone. Some 
times, when the marines or sailors had any special jollifi 
cation, they were permitted to invite " Plain-Buttons," as 
they called him. Then Nolan was sent with some officer, 
and the men were forbidden to speak of home while he 
was there. I believe the theory was that the sight of his 
punishment did them good. They called him " Plain-But 
tons" because, while he always chose to wear a regulation 
army-uniform, he was not permitted to wear the army- 
button, for the reason that it bore either the initials or thv, 
insignia of the country he had disowned. 

I remember, soon after I joined the navy, I was on shore 
with some of the older officers from our ship and from the 
Brandywine, which we had met at Alexandria. We had 
leave to make up a party and go up to Cairo and the Pyra 
mids. As we jogged along (you went on donkeys then), 
some of the gentlemen (we boys called them " Dons," but 
the phrase was long since changed) fell to talking about 
Nolan, and some one told the system which was adopted 
from the first about his books and other reading. As he 
was almost never permitted to go on shore, even though 
the vessel lay in port for months, his time at the best hung 
heavy ; and everybody was permitted to lend him books, 
if they were not published in America and made no allu 
sion to it. These were common enough in the old days, 
when people in the other hemisphere talked of the United 
States as little as we do of Paraguay. He had almost all 
the foreign papers that came into the ship, sooner or later ; 
only somebody must go over them first and cut out any 
advertisement or stray paragraph that alluded to America 
in. 40 



470 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HALE 

This was a little cruel sometimes, when the back of what 
was cut out might be as innocent as Hesiod. Right in 
the midst of one of Napoleon's battles, or one of Canning's 
speeches, poor Nolan would find a great hole, because on 
the back of the page of that paper there had been an ad 
vertisement of a packet for New York, or a scrap from 
the President's message. I say this was the first time I 
ever heard of this plan, which afterwards I had enough 
and more than enough to do with. I remember it, because 
poor Phillips, who was of the party, as soon as the allu 
sion to reading was made, told a story of something which 
happened at the Cape of Good Hope on Nolan's first voy 
age; and it is the only thing I ever knew of that voyage. 
They had touched at the Cape, and had done the civil 
thing with the English admiral and the fleet, and then, 
leaving for a long cruise up the Indian Ocean, Phillips had 
borrowed a lot of English books from an officer, which in 
those days, as indeed in these, was quite a windfall. Among 
them, as the devil would order, was the " Lay of the Last 
Minstrel," which they had all of them heard of, but which 
most of them had never seen. I think it could not have 
been published long. Well, nobody thought there could 
be any risk of anything national in that, though Phillips 
swore old Shaw had cut out the " Tempest" from Shake 
speare before he let Nolan have it, because he said " the 
Bermudas ought to be ours, and, by Jove, should be one 
day." So Nolan was permitted to join the circle one after 
noon when a lot of them sat on deck smoking and reading 
aloud. People do not do such things so often now ; but 
when I was young we got rid of a great deal of time so. 
Well, so it happened that in his turn Nolan took the book 
and read to the others ; and he read very well, as I know. 
Nobody in the circle knew a line of the poem, only it 
was all magic and Border chivalry and was ten thousand 



HALE] THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY. 471 

years ago. Poor Nolan read steadily through the fifth 
canto, stopped a minute and drank something, and then 
began, without a thought of what was coming, 

** Breathes there the man with soul so dead, 
Who never to himself hath said," 

1 1 seems impossible to us that anybody ever heard this 
for the first time ; but all these fellows did then, and poor 
Nolan himself went on, still unconsciously or mechani 
cally, 

" This is my own, my native land I" 

Then they all saw something was to pay ; but he expected 
to get through, I suppose, turned a little pale, but plunged 

on, 

" "Whose heart hath ne'er within him burned 
As home his footsteps he hath turned 
From wandering on a foreign strand ? 
If such there breathe, go, mark him well." 

By this time the men were all beside themselves, wishing 
there was any way to make him turn over two pages ; 
but he had not quite presence of mind for that; he 
gagged a little, colored crimson, and staggered on, 

" For him no minstrel raptures swell ; 
High though his titles, proud his name, 
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim, 
Despite these titles, power, and pelf, 
The wretch, concentred all in self," 

and here the poor fellow choked, could not go on, but 
started up, swung the book into the sea, vanished into 
his state-room, "And by Jove," said Phillips, "we did 
not see him for two months again. And I had to make 



472 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HALE 

up some beggarly story to that English surgeon why I 
did not return his Walter Scott to him." 

That story shows about the time when Nolan's bragga 
docio must have broken down. At first, they said, he 
took a very high tone, considered his imprisonment a 
mere farce, affected to enjoy the voyage, and all that ; but 
Phillips said that after he came out of his state-room he 
never was the same man again. He never read aloud 
again, unless it was the Bible, or Shakespeare, or some 
thing else he was sure of. But it was not that merely. 
He never entered in with the other young men exactly as 
a companion again. He was always shy afterwards, when 
I knew him, very seldom spoke, unless he was spoken 
to, except to a very few friends. He lighted up occasion 
ally, I remember late in his life hearing him fairly elo 
quent on something which had been suggested to him by 
one of Flechier's sermons, but generally he had the ner 
vous, tired look of a heart-wounded man. 

When Captain Shaw was coming home, if, as I say, it 
was Shaw, rather to the surprise of everybody they 
made one of the Windward Islands, and lay off and on 
for nearly a week. The boys said the officers were sick 
of salt-junk and meant to have turtle-soup before they 
came home. But after several days the Warren came to 
the same rendezvous ; they exchanged signals ; she sent 
to Phillips and these homeward-bound men letters and 
papers, and told them she was outward-bound, perhaps to 
the Mediterranean, and took poor Nolan and his traps on 
the boat back to try his second cruise. He looked very 
blank when he was told to get ready to join her. He had 
known enough of the signs of the sky to know that till 
that moment he was going " home." But this was a dis 
tinct evidence of something he had not thought of, per 
haps, that there was no going home for him, even to a 



HALE] THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY. 473 

prison. And this was the first of some twenty such 
transfers, which brought him sooner or later into half our 
best vessels, but which kept him all his life at least some 
hundred miles from the country he had hoped he might 
never hear of again. . . . 

[We omit here a variety of dramatic incidents, tending to make 
more vivid and distressing the punishment of the unhappy prisoner, 
or descriptive of his occupations, feelings, and opinions, and take up 
the narrative again nearer its end.] 

Later in life, when I thought I had some influence in 
Washington, I moved heaven and earth to have him dis 
charged. But it was like getting a ghost out of prison. 
They pretended there was no such man, and never was 
such a man. They .will say so at the Department now! 
Perhaps they do not know. It will not be the first thing 
in the service of which the Department appears to know 
nothing. 

There is a story that Nolan met Burr once on one of our 
vessels, when a party of Americans came on board in the 
Mediterranean. But this I believe to be a lie ; or, rather, 
it is a myth, ben trovato, involving a tremendous blowing- 
up with which he sunk Burr, asking him how he liked 
to be " without a country." But it is clear from Burr's 
life that nothing of the sort could have happened ; and I 
mention this only as an illustration of the stories which 
get a-going where there is the least mystery at bottom. 

So poor Philip Nolan had his wish fulfilled. I know 
but one fate more dreadful : it is the fate reserved for those 
men who shall have one day to exile themselves from their 
country because they have attempted her ruin, and shall 
have at the same time to see the prosperity and honor to 
which she rises when she has rid herself of them and their 
iniquities. The wish of poor Nolan, as we all learned to 
in. 40* 



474 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HALE 

call him, not because his punishment was too great, but 
because his repentance was so clear, was precisely the 
wish of every Bragg and Beauregard who broke a soldier's 
oath two years ago, and of every Maury and Barron who 
broke a sailor's. I do not know how often they have re 
pented. I do know that they have done all that in them 
lay that they might have no country, that all the honors, 
associations, memories, and hopes which belong to " coun 
try" might be broken up into little shreds and distributed 
to the winds. I know, too, that their punishment, as they 
vegetate through what is left of life to them in wretched 
Boulognes and Leicester Squares, where they are destined 
to upbraid each other till they die, will have all the agony 
of Nolan's, with the added pang that every one who sees 
them will see them to despise and to execrate them. They 
will have their wish, like him. 

For him, poor fellow, he repented of his folly, and then, 
like a man, submitted to the fate he had asked for. He 
never intentionally added to the difficulty or delicacy of 
the charge of those who had him in hold. Accidents 
would happen ; but they never happened from his fault. 
Lieutenant Truxton told me that, when Texas was an 
nexed, there was a careful discussion among the officers 
whether they should get hold of Nolan's handsome set of 
maps and cut Texas out of it, from the map of the world 
and the map of Mexico. The United States had been cut 
out when the atlas was bought for him. But it was voted, 
rightly enough, that to do this would be virtually to reveal 
to him what had happened, or, as Harry Cole said, to make 
him think Old Burr had succeeded. . . . 

[We have not space to enter into all the detail of Philip Nolan's 
sad life, and therefore omit a portion of the narrative to give the 
closing scene, as detailed in a letter to the fictitious narrator of tho 
"strange story."] 



HALE] THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY. 475 

" LEVANT, 2 2' S. @ 131 W- 

" DEAR FRED : I try to find heart and life to tell you 
that it is all over with dear old Nolan. I have been with 
him on this voyage more than I ever was, and I can un 
derstand wholly now the way in which you used to speak 
of the dear old fellow. I could see that he was not strong, 
but I had no idea the end was so near. The doctor has 
been watching him very carefully, and yesterday morning 
came to me and told me that Nolan was not so well, and 
had not left his state-room, a thing I never remember 
before. He had let the doctor come and see him as he lay 
there, the first time the doctor had been in the state 
room, and he said he should like to see me. O dear I do 
you remember the mysteries we boys used to invent about 
his room, in the old Intrepid days ? Well, I went in, and 
there, to be sure, the poor fellow lay in his berth, smiling 
pleasantly as he gave me his hand, but looking very frail. 
I could not help a glance round, which showed me what a 
little shrine he had made of the box he was lying in. The 
stars and stripes were triced up above and around a picture 
of Washington, and he had painted a majestic eagle, with 
lightnings blazing from his beak and his foot just clasping 
the whole globe, which his wings overshadowed. The 
dear old boy saw my glance, and said, with a sad smile, 
t Here, you see, I have a country !' And then he pointed 
to the foot of his bed, where I had not seen before a great 
map of the United States, as he had drawn it from mem 
ory, and which he had there to look upon as he lay. 
Quaint, queer old names were on it, in large letters : ' In 
diana Territory,' ' Mississippi Territory,' and * Louisiana 
Territory/ as I suppose our fathers learned such things ; 
but the old fellow had patched in Texas, too ; he had car 
ried his Western boundary all the way to the Pacific, but 
on that shore he had defined nothing. 



476 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [HALE 

" ' Oh, Danforth,' he said, ' I know I am dying. I cannot 
get home. Surely you will tell me something now? 
Stop ! stop ! do not speak till I say what I am sure you 
know, that there is not in this ship, that there is not in 
America, God bless her! a more loyal man than I. 
There cannot be a man who loves the old flag as I do, 
or prays for it as I do, or hopes for it as I do. There 
are thirty-four stars in it now, Danforth. I thank God 
for that, though I do not know what their names are. 
There has never been one taken away ; I thank God for 
that. I know by that that there has never been any 
successful Burr. Oh, Danforth, Danforth,' he sighed out, 
' how like a wretched night's dream a boy's idea of per 
sonal fame or of separate sovereignty seems when one 
looks back on it after such a life as mine! But tell me, 
tell me something, tell me everything, Danforth, before 
I die!' 

" Ingham, I swear to you that I felt like a monster that 
I had not told him everything before. Danger or no 
danger, delicacy or no delicacy, who was I, that I should 
have been acting the tyrant all this time over this dear, 
sainted old man, who had years ago expiated, in his whole 
manhood's life, the madness of a boy's treason ? ' Mr. 
Nolan,' said I, ' I will tell you everything you ask about. 
Only, where shall I begin ?' 

" Oh, the blessed smile that crept over his white face I 
and he pressed my hand and said, ' God bless you !' i Tell 
me their names,' he said, and he pointed to the stars on 
the flag. < The last I know is Ohio. My father lived in 
Kentucky. But I have guessed Michigan and Indiana and 
Mississippi, that was where Fort Adams is, they make 
twenty. But where are your other fourteen ? You have 
not cut up any of the old ones, I hope ?' 

*' Well, that was not a bad text, and I told him the 



HALE] THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY. 477 

names in as good order as I could, and he bade me take 
down his beautiful map and draw them in as I best could 
with my pencil. He was wild with delight about Texas, 
told me how his cousin died there; he had marked a gold 
cross near where he supposed his grave was ; and he had 
guessed at Texas. Then he was delighted as he saw Cal 
ifornia and Oregon ; that, he said, he had suspected partly, 
because he had never been permitted to land on that shore, 
though the ships were there so much. l And the men,' 
said he. laughing, ' brought off a good deal beside furs.' 
Then he went back heavens, how far! to ask about the 
Chesapeake, and what was done to Barren for surrender 
ing her to the Leopard, and whether Burr ever tried 
again, and he ground his teeth with the only passion he 
showed. But in a moment that was over, and he said, 
'God forgive me, for I am sure I forgive him.' Then he 
asked about the old war, told me the true story of his 
serving the gun the day we took the Java, asked about 
dear old David Porter, as he called him. Then he settled 
down more quietly, and very happily, to hear me tell in an 
hour the history of fifty years. 

" How I wished it had been somebody who knew some 
thing ! But I did as well as I could. I told him of the 
English war. I told him about Fulton and the steamboat 
beginning. I told him about old Scott, and Jackson ; told 
him all I could think of about the Mississippi, and New 
Orleans, and Texas, and his own old Kentucky. And do 
you think, he asked who was in command of the 'Legion 
of the West.' I told him it was a very gallant officer 
named Grant, and that, by our last news, he was about to 
establish his head-quarters at Yicksburg. Then, ' Where 
was Yicksburg?' I worked that out on the map; it was 
about a hundred miles, more or less, above his old Fort 
Adams ; and I thought Fort Adams must be a ruin now. 



478 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS, [HALE 

* It must be at old Tick's plantation, at Walnut Hills,' said 
he : ' well, that is a change !' 

" I tell you, Ingham, it was a hard thing to condense the 
history of half a century into that talk with a sick man. 
And I do not now know what I told him, of emigration, 
and the means of it, of steamboats and railroads and 
telegraphs, of inventions and books and literature, of 
the College and West Point and the Naval School, but 
with the queerest interruptions that ever you heard. You 
see it was Eobinson Crusoe asking all the accumulated 
questions of fifty-six years ! 

" I remember he asked, all of a sudden, who was Presi 
dent now ; and when I told him, he asked if Old Abe was 
General Benjamin Lincoln's son. He said he met old 
General Lincoln, when he was quite a boy himself, at 
some Indian treaty. I said no, that Old Abe was a Ken- 
tuckian like himself, but I could not tell him of what 
family ; he had worked up from the ranks. ' Good for 
him !' cried Nolan ; ' I am glad of that. As I have brooded 
and wondered, I have thought our danger was in keeping 
up those regular successions in the first families.' Then I 
got talking about my visit to Washington. I told him of 
meeting the Oregon Congressman, Harding; I told him 
about the Smithsonian, and the Exploring Expedition ; I 
told him about the Capitol, and the statues for the pedi 
ment, and Crawford's Liberty, and Greenough's Washing 
ton. Ingham, I told him everything I could think of that 
would show the grandeur of his country and its pros 
perity ; but I could not make up my mouth to tell him a 
word about this infernal Eebellion ! 

" And he drank it in and enjoyed it as I cannot tell you. 
He grew more and more silent, yet I never thought he 
was tired or faint. I gave him a glass of water, but ho 
just wet his lips, and told me not to go away. Then he 



HALE] THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY. 479 

asked me to bring the Presbyterian ' Book of Public 
Prayer,' which lay there, and said, with a smile, that it 
would open at the right place, and so it did. There was 
his double red mark down the page ; and I knelt down 
and read, and he repeated with me, ' For ourselves and our 
country, O gracious God, we thank Thee, that, notwith 
standing our manifold transgressions of Thy holy laws, 
Thou hast continued to us Thy marvellous kindness/ 
and so to the end of that thanksgiving. Then he turned 
to the end of the same book, and I read the words more 
familiar to me : ' Most heartily we beseech Thee with 
Thy favor to behold and bless Thy servant, the President 
of the United States, and all others in authority,' and 
the rest of the Episcopal collect. ' Danforth,' said he, ' I 
have repeated those prayers night and morning, it is now 
fifty-five years.' And then he said he would go to sleep. 
He bent me down over him and kissed me ; and he said, 
' Look in my Bible, Danforth, when I am gone.' And I 
went away. 

" But I had no thought it was the end. 1 thought he 
was tired and would sleep. I knew he was happy, and I 
wanted him to be alone. 

" But in an hour, when the doctor went in gently, he 
found Nolan had breathed his life away with a smile. He 
had something pressed close to his lips. It was his father's 
badge of the Order of the Cincinnati. 

u We looked in his Bible, and there was a slip of paper 
at the place where he had marked the text : 

" ' They desire a country, even a heavenly : wherefore 
Clod is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath 
prepared for them a city.' 

" On this slip of paper he had written, 

" ' Bury me in the sea ; it has been my home, and I love 
it. But will not some one set up a stone for my memory 



480 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TROWBRTDGE 

at Fort Adams or at Orleans, that my disgrace may not 
be more than I ought to bear ? Say on it, 

' In Memory of 
'PHILIP NOLAN, 

' Lieutenant in the Army of the United States. 

1 He loved his country as no other man has loved her ; hut 

no man deserved less at her hands.' " 



THE VAGABONDS. 

J. T. TROWBRIDGE. 

[We have given a selection from Trowhridge's highly humorous 
prose. He has written so many poems of high dramatic merit that it is 
difficult to select one of distinctively superior value to the others. In 
this dilemma we permit the public to select for us, and give that poem 
on which the stamp of popular appreciation has been most decidedly 
set.] 

WE are two travellers, Roger and I. 

Roger's my dog Come here, you scamp ! 
Jump for the gentlemen, mind your eye ! 

Over the table, look out for the lamp ! 
The rogue is growing a little old ; 

Five years we've tramped through wind and weather. 
And slept out-doors when nights were cold, 

And ate and drank and starved together. 

We've learned what comfort is, I tell you ! 

A bed on the floor, a bit of rosin, 
A fire to thaw our thumbs (poor fellow ! 

The paw he holds up there's been frozen), 
Plenty of catgut for my fiddle 

(This out-door business is bad for strings), 



THE VAGABONDS. 481 

Then a few nice buckwheats hot from the griddle, 
And Roger and I set up for kings ! 

No, thank ye, sir, I never drink ; 

Roger and I are exceedingly moral, 
Aren't we, Roger? See him wink! 

Well, something hot, then, we won't quarrel. 
He's thirsty, too, see him nod his head ? 

What a pity, sir, that dogs can't talk ! 
He understands every word that's said, 

And he knows good milk from, water-and-chalk. 

The truth is, sir, now I reflect, 

I've been so sadly given to grog, 
I wonder I've not lost the respect 

(Here's to you, sir !) even of my dog. 
But he sticks by, through thick and thin ; 

And this old coat, with its empty pockets, 
And rags that smell of tobacco and gin, 

He'll follow while he has eyes in his sockets. 

There isn't another creature living 

Would do it, and prove, through every disaster, 
So fond, so faithful, and so forgiving, 

To such a miserable, thankless master! 
No, sir ! see him wag his tail and grin ! 

By George ! it makes my old eyes water ! 
That is, there's something in this gin 

That chokes a fellow. But no matter ! 

We'll have some music, if you're willing, 

And Roger (hem ! what a plague a cough is, sir!) 

Shall march a little. Start, you villain! 
Paws up ! Eyes front ! Salute your officer! 
in. v ff 41 



432 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TROWBRIDGB 

'Bout face ! Attention ! Take your rifle ! 

(Some dogs have arms, you see !) Now hold your 
Cap while the gentlemen give a trifle 

To aid a poor old patriot soldier ! 

March ! Halt I Now show how the rebel shakes 

When he stands up to hear his sentence. 
Now tell us how man}^ drams it takes 

To honor a jolly new acquaintance. 
Five yelps, that's five ; he's mighty knowing ! 

The night's before us, fill the glasses ! 
Quick, sir ! I'm ill, my brain is going ! 

Some brandy ! thank you ! there ! it passes I 

Why not reform ? That's easily said ; 

But I've gone through such wretched treatment, 
Sometimes forgetting the taste of bread, 

And scarce remembering what meat meant, 
That my poor stomach's past reform ; 

And there are times when, mad with think ; ng, 
I'd sell out heaven for something warm 

To prop a horrible inward sinking. 

Is there a way to forget to think ? 

At your age, sir, home, fortune, friends, 
A dear girl's love, but I took to drink ; 

The same old sfory ; you know how it ends. 
If you could have seen these classic features, 

You needn't laugh, sir ; they were not then 
Such a burning libel on God's creatures : 

I was one of your handsome men ! 

If you had seen HER, so fair and young, 
Whose head was happy on this breast ! 



TROWBRIDGE] THE VAGABONDS. 483 

If you could have heard the songs I sung 

When the wine went round, you wouldn't have guessed 
That ever I, sir, should be straying 

From door to door, with fiddle and dog, 
Eagged and penniless, and playing 

To you to-night for a glass of grog ! 

She's married since, a parson's wife : 

'Twas better for her that we should part, 
Better the soberest, prosiest life 

Than a blasted home and a broken heart. 
I have seen her ? Once : I was weak and spent 

On the dusty road ; a carriage stopped : 
But little she dreamed, as on she went, 

Who kissed the coin that her fingers dropped ! 

You've set me talking, sir ; I'm sorry ; 

It makes me wild to think of the change ! 
What do you care for a beggar's story ? 

Is it amusing ? you find it strange ? 
I had a mother so proud of me ! 

'Twas well she died before Do you know 

If the happy spirits in heaven can see 

The ruin and wretchedness here below ? 



Another glass, and strong, to deaden 

This pain ; then Eoger and I will start. 
I wonder, has he such a lumpish, leaden, 

Aching thing in place of a heart ? 
Hels sad sometimes, and would weep, if he could, 

No doubt, remembering things that were, 
A virtuous kennel, with plenty of food, 

And himself a sober, respectable cur. 



484 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WAY LAND 

I'm better now ; that glass was warming. 

You rascal ! limber your lazy feet ! 
We must be fiddling and performing 

For supper and bed, or starve in the street. 
Not a very gay life to lead, you think ? 

But soon we shall go where lodgings are free 
And the sleepers need neither victuals nor drink j 

The sooner the better for Eoger and me ! 



THE BIBLE AND THE ILIAD. 

FRANCIS WAYLAND. 

[Francis Way land was born in New York in 1796. He became an 
eminent Baptist divine, and in 1826 was chosen president of Brown 
University at Providence. He is best known by his writings, which 
are of high philosophical and literary value. Among them are " Ele 
ments of Moral Science,'' "Elements of Political Economy," and 
"Limitations of Human Responsibility." Of the latter Griswold 
remarks that it " will be looked upon as one of the great guiding 
monuments of human thought in the department to which it refers." 
We give one of his most eloquent passages. He died in 1865.] 

As to the powerful, I had almost said miraculous, effect 
of the Sacred Scriptures, there can no longer be a doubt 
in the mind of any one on whom fact can make an im 
pression. That the truths of the Bible have the power of 
awakening an intense moral feeling in man under every 
variety of character, learned or ignorant, civilized or 
savage ; that they make bad men good, and send a pulse 
of healthful feeling through all the domestic, civil, -and 
social relations; that they teach men to love right, to 
hate wrong, and to seek each other's welfare, as the chil 
dren of one common parent j that they control the baleful 



WAYLAND] THE BIBLE AND THE ILIAD. 485 

passions of the human heart, and thus make men pro 
ficients in the science of self-government ; and, finally, 
that they teach him to aspire after a conformity to a 
Being of infinite holiness, and fill him with hopes infi 
nitely more purifying, more exalted, more suited to his 
nature, than any other which this world has ever known, 
are facts incontrovertible as the laws of philosophy, or 
the demonstrations of mathematics. Evidence in support 
of all this can he brought from every age in the history 
of man, since there has been a revelation from God on 
earth. We see the proof of it everywhere around us. 
There is scarcely a neighborhood in our country, where 
the Bible is circulated, in which we cannot point you to 
a very considerable portion of its population whom its 
truths have reclaimed from the practice of vice, and 
taught the practice of whatsoever things are pure, and 
honest, and just, and of good report. 

That this distinctive and peculiar effect is produced 
upon every man to whom the gospel is announced, we 
pretend not to affirm. But we do affirm that, besides 
producing this special renovation, to which we have 
alluded, upon a part, it in a most remarkable degree 
elevates the tone of moral feeling throughout the whole 
community. Wherever the Bible is freely circulated, and 
its doctrines carried home to the understandings of men, 
the aspect of society is altered ; the frequency of crime is 
diminished ; men begin to love justice, and to administer 
it by law ; and a virtuous public opinion, that strongest 
safeguard of right, spreads over a nation the shield of 
its invisible protection. Wherever it has faithfully been 
brought to bear upon the human heart, even under most 
unpromising circumstances, it has, within a single gen 
eration, revolutionized the whole structure of society, and 
thus, within a few years, done more for man than all 
in. 41* 



486 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WAYLAND 

other means have for ages accomplished without it. For 
proof of all this, I need only refer you to the effects of 
the gospel in Greenland, or in South Africa, in the Society 
Islands, or even among the aborigines of our own country. 

But, before we leave this part of the subject, it may be 
well to pause for a moment, and inquire whether, in ad 
dition to its moral efficacy, the Bible may not exert a 
powerful influence upon the intellectual character of 
man. 

And here it is scarcely necessary that I should remark 
that, of all the books with which, since the invention of 
writing, this world has been deluged, the number of those 
is very small which have produced any perceptible effect 
on the mass of human character. By far the greater part 
have been, even by their cotemporaries, unnoticed and 
unknown. Not many a one has made its little mark upon 
the generation that produced it, though it sunk with that 
generation to utter forgetfulness. But, after the ceaseless 
toil of six thousand years, how few have b&en the works 
the adamantine basis of whose reputation has stood un 
hurt amid the fluctuations of time, and whose impression 
can be traced through successive centuries on the history 
of our species ! 

When, however, such a work appears, its effects are 
absolutely incalculable ; and such a work, you are aware, 
is the Iliad of Homer. Who can estimate the results 
produced by the incomparable efforts of a single mind? 
who can tell what Greece owes to this first-born of song ? 
her breathing marbles, her solemn temples, her unrivalled 
eloquence, and her matchless verse, all point us to. that 
transcendent genius who, by the very splendor of his 
own effulgence, woke the human intellect from the slum 
ber of ages. It was Homer who gave laws to the artist ; 
it was Homer who inspired the poet; it was Homer who 



WAYLAND] THE BIBLE AND THE ILIAD. 487 

thundered in the senate ; and, more than all, it was Homer 
who was sung by the people ; and hence a nation was cast 
into the mould of one mighty mind, and the land of the 
Iliad became the region of taste, the birthplace of the 
arts. 

Nor was this influence confined within the limits of 
Greece. Long after the sceptre of empire had passed 
westward, genius still held her court on the banks of the 
Ilissus, and from the country of Homer gave laws to the 
world. The light which the blind old man of Scio had 
kindled in Greece shed its radiance over Italy ; and thus 
did he awaken a second nation into intellectual existence. 
And we may form some idea of the power which this one 
work has to the present day exerted over the mind of 
man, by remarking that "nation after nation, and century 
after century, has been able to do little more than trans 
pose his incidents, new-name his characters, and paraphrase 
his sentiments." 

But, considered simply as an intellectual production, 
who will compare the poems of Homer with the Holy 
Scriptures of the Old and New Testament? Where in 
the Iliad shall we find simplicity and pathos which shall 
vie with the narrative of Moses, or maxims of conduct to 
equal in wisdom the Proverbs of Solomon, or sublimity 
which does not fade away before the conceptions of Job or 
David, of Isaiah or St. John ? But I cannot pursue this 
comparison. I feel that it is doing wrong to the mind 
which dictated the Iliad, and to those other mighty intel 
lects on whom the light of the holy oracles never shined, 
"Who that has read his poem has not observed how he 
strove in vain to give dignity to the mythology of his 
time ? Who has not seen how the religion of his coun 
try, unable to support the flight of his imagination, sunk 
powerless beneath him? It is the unseen world where the 



488 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [ 

master spirits of our race breathe freely and are at home ; 
and it is mournful to behold the intellect of Homer striving 
to free itself from the conceptions of materialism, and then 
sinking down into hopeless despair, to weave idle tales 
about Jupiter and Juno, Apollo and Diana. But the diffi 
culties under which he labored are abundantly illustrated 
by the fact that the light which poured upon the human 
intellect taught other ages how unworthy was the re 
ligion of his day of the man who was compelled to use it. 
"It seems to me," says Longinus, "that Homer, when ho 
ascribes dissensions, jealousies, tears, imprisonments, and 
other afflictions to his deities, hath, as much as was in his 
power, made the men of the Iliad gods, and the gods men. 
To men, when afflicted, death is the termination of evils ; 
but he hath made not only the nature, but the miseries, of 
the gods eternal." 

If, then, so great results have flowed from this one effort 
of a single mind, what may we not expect from the com 
bined efforts of several, at least his equals in power over 
the human heart ? If that one genius, though groping in 
the thick darkness of absurd idolatry, wrought so glorious 
a transformation in the character of his countrymen, what 
may we not look for from the universal dissemination of 
those writings on whose authors was poured the full 
splendor of eternal truth ? If unassisted human nature, 
spell-bound by childish mythology, have done so much, 
what may we not hope for from the supernatural efforts 
of pre-eminent genius which spake as it was moved by 
the Holy Ghost ? 



TINCKER] THE TERROR OF THE EARTHQUAKE. 489 

THE TERROR OF THE EARTHQUAKE. 

M. A. TINCKER. 

[Mary Agnes Tincker, a recent American novelist of fine ability, 
was born at Ellsworth, Maine, in 1833. During the civil war she acted 
as nurse in a Washington military hospital. In 1873 she went to 
Europe and became a resident of Italy. She has written numerous 
novels, among which are " Signor Monaldini's Niece," u By the 
Tiber," " The Jewel in the Lotos," and " Aurora." From the last- 
named work we select a vivid account of an earthquake, with the 
terrible scenes succeeding it. It is written with great beauty and 
spirit, and may be viewed as one of the choicest bits of American ficti 
tious literature.] 

IN the public salon some people began to sing a brindisi 
and chorus, 

" Versa, tocca, si beva, si canti ; 
Di letizia son radi gl' istanti ; 
Ma alia vista d'un nappo che spuma, 
Setnpre sfuma la noia dal cor." 

" I wish they wouldn't sing that, or sing anything," said 
a woman's voice in a balcony. " It makes me feel bad. An 
old man who went by a little while ago has given me a 
turn. He looked so strangely old and solemn, and behaved 
so oddly. He stopped and looked up at the hotel and all 
over it, not as if he were curious or interested, but as 
though he knew that he was taking his last look at it. 
And I heard him say, "Pray to the Madonna! Pray I 
Pray !" It seemed as though he expected to die to-night. 
I really wish I knew who he is. Feel how cold my hands 

have grown." 

" Versa dunque, si beva, si canti," 

sang the chorus. 

" Good-night, mamma," said a girlish voice in English in 



490 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TINCKER 

one of the upper chambers. " And if the weather should 
be fine we will go to-morrow ?" 

" Yes, dear, God willing. Good-night." 

The drinking-song ended. Some one was at the piano 
who struck the keys with a heavy hand, then played a 
slow bar or two. 

" Who can that be playing a funeral march in the 
salon r exclaimed the duchess. " Will no one stop him !" 

At the word a tremendous explosion filled the air, as 
if the solid earth itself had burst, the chandeliers in the 
salons swung to and fro, the ceilings folded up like a book, 
and those who were in the windows rocked to and fro 
and backward and downward. The hands outstretched 
to clasp each other did not meet, the lifted glass did not 
reach the lip, the player did not rise from the piano. 
Each and all were stricken with the paralysis of a swift 
horror and cast downward to a swift destruction. A 
deafening metallic crash, as of myriads of iron chains 
flung down violently, rendered inaudible the cries of per 
ishing thousands. Darkness fell, and a tempestuous cloud 
of dust swept over the scene, with a sharp, continuous 
rattle of falling stones, like musketry. 

Then there was silence. 

And then through the darkness and dust a single cry 
went up from the survivors, such a cry as may rise from 
human hearts at the last day. 

In less than half an hour after the earthquake all the 
survivors of Casamicciola not imprisoned by its fallen 
stones were gathered at the sea-shore. Men, women, and 
children who had escaped from their beds were there half 
clad, others mingled with them in all the elegance of full 
dress. There were poor and rich, natives and strangers, 
friends and foes ; but in that moment they remembered 
only that they were helpless human creatures in awful 



TINCKER] THE TERROR OF THE EARTHQUAKE. 491 

peril. At any moment another shock might open the 
earth under their feet or send the sea to overwhelm them. 
They clung together for courage, as brands are gathered 
to kindle a blaze, but they dared not speak a word to 
each other. Only sobs, sighs, and tremulously-whispered 
prayers broke from their lips as they stood in shivering 
expectation. 

The cloud of dust that yet swirled whitely about the 
ruins, hiding the few remaining lights, was reflected with 
a ghostly glimmer in the sea, and the sea crept to the land 
silent and hushed. It seemed to fawn upon the shore, 
like a frightened dog upon his master's feet. No shock 
had stirred its waves. 

Cries came forth from that cloud-covered darkness, tho 
cries of those who prayed for human help, and of thoso 
who called on death to relieve them of their torments, 
sounds half suffocated, as from caverns ; but the hearts of 
those who were gathered on the shore were frozen with 
terror and felt no compassion. Another voice mingled 
with these, but one above the earth, and wandering hither 
and thither underneath that incense-smoke of destruction. 

"Koberto!" it cried. "Oh, Ern<! Where are you? 
It is I, Michele I" 

But no one answered. 

Hither and thither, pausing to listen, searching up and 
down through the perilous unseen wilderness of stones, he 
went, repeating over and over that cry of anguish, "Oh, 
where are you ? Where are you ? It is I, Michele ! 
Boberto! Erne!" 

And there was no answer. 

Was it hours or minutes before some one launched a 
boat to carry the news to Naples and bring help ? Was 
it hours or days before the steamers anchored about 
the marina came to take the people away ? Who could 



492 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TINCKER 

count time? They rushed to get on board, pushing and 
trampling each other, fighting for a place, ready in their 
savage terror to push each other into the sea rather than 
remain. 

A few remained willingly ; among them a girl of twelve 
years, who cried out for her mother and brother, buried 
somewhere there. She had been allowed to go to the 
theatre that night, and the theatre, being of wood, had 
not fallen. Another was a young man, who waited for 
daylight to search for his sister in one of the hotels. In 
the darkness he could not even find the street leading to 
it. There was no street. 

Some soldiers came from the next town after a while, 
not more than a score, and a company of prisoners were 
brought to begin the work of rescue. It was terribly 
insufficient help, but the men worked bravely, heart and 
hand doing their utmost. Even with daylight it was 
hard to know where to search ; and even when the sites 
of the streets and houses were discovered it was danger 
ous to remove stones, except where some sign of life was 
given from beneath. It was possible to cover the buried 
yet deeper by inconsidered labor. 

The brother found and rescued his sister, and bore her 
away fainting in his arms. The little girl of twelve years 
moved away stones with her own hands, guided by her 
mother's voice beneath. Her small hands bruised them 
selves on brick and stick and stone unhelped, her eyes 
were wide open and shining brilliantly with mingled ter 
ror and courage, there was dust on her pretty festa dress 
and on her long bright hair that streamed over her shoul 
ders and caught the sunlight in sparks. She reached them, 
stone by stone, and helped them out, her mother and her 
brother. 

Many dead were taken out and carried down to the shore, 



TINCKER] THE TERROR OF THE EARTHQUAKE. 493 

where they were laid out under cover. Near where they 
lay a woman sat on the ground and rocked a cradle, hush 
ing those who passed by, lest they should wake the babe 
covered up there. The babe was dead and the mother 
mad. A poor woman dug wildly among a heap of stones, 
crying, " Tis here ! 'tis here ! I see it ! Help me !" And, 
scarce as help was, a passing soldier came to her aid. A 
half-hour's search brought forth what she sought, a 
broom that she had borrowed from a neighbor the day 
before. She was in a nightmare of terror and confusion. 
A hundred incidents, strange, ludicrous, and terrible, took 
place. 

Amid it all one man had worked for hours all alone. 
His eyes blood-shot, his face pale and soiled, blood oozing 
from his hands, sweat dropping down his face, his teeth 
eei hard, his breathing labored, he worked without a mo 
ment's rest, pausing now and then to listen, then going on 
tirelessly, but with care. Now and then a heavier weight 
would send the blood to his face with the strain of lifting, 
but the color dropped again as quickly as it had come. 
Now and then a vivid light of hope would spring into his 
eyes, then die out, leaving the brows drawn into a knot, 
of blackness where they met. 

He knew the spot, the garden and the chamber, and had 
studied the ruin before touching a stone. The lower and 
central parts of the house had fallen inward in a sort of 
vortex, the front had fallen into the street, and a part of 
the roof, separating itself, had slid aside into the garden. 
It was here that he searched. The timbers, separated from 
each other, but only a few of them broken, supported here 
and there the debris of the walls, leaving a void beneath; 
but the displacement of a stone might precipitate this 
unstable mass below. In other places there seemed to 
be a solid mass of stones and rubbish down to the ground, 
in. 42 



494 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TINCKER 

Michele lifted stone by stone from over these timbers 
with as fine a care as a surgeon uses when taking up an 
artery. 

All at once he uttered a cry and suspended his shaking 
hands a moment, not daring to touch what he saw. The 
last stone raised had disclosed a fold of blue velvet. Fe 
verishly clearing away what intervened, he bent and lifted 
a child in his arms, brushed the dust from its embroidered 
clothes and from the curly head that dropped aside nerve 
lessly. Then he got up and stumbled in wild haste over 
the stones, sobbing as he ran, " Oh, little Erne ! little 
Erne !" till he reached the marina and found a surgeon. 

" Don't say that he is dead, doctor !" he prayed, holding 
the child in his arms as a mother holds an infant, and 
gazing into the surgeon's face with tear-blinded eyes. 

" Poor little fellow !" the surgeon said. a Yes, he is 
dead. Don't you see ?" 

" Dead !" echoed Michele, stupefied. 

He laid the child down, smoothed the clothes and the 
hair, kissed the small hands and crossed them, kissed the 
small feet and straightened them, then hastened back to 
his work. His tears were stopped. The first touch of 
death had quieted him. His resolution was taken. 

How the hours passed he knew not. If the sun scorched 
him he knew not. He took no note of others working 
near him, nor of those who were taken out, dead or alive. 
His one thought was of the two boys he had been sent to 
guard, and of the terrible moment when he must see their 
father's face, if he should be alive when his master came. 
He hoped that he would not be alive. 

At last there came a moment when one step and pres 
ence drew his attention when no other could, and, looking 
up suddenly, though no one had spoken to him, he saw the 
ghost of D'Kubiera standing there before him. 



THE TERROR OF THE EARTHQUAKE. 495 

Michele threw himself forward at his master's feet. 

" Don't kill me !" he cried. " Wait till I find Don Eo- 
berto, and then I will go and drown myself. 1 said I 
would when I laid down Erne." 

" Hush ! hush !" was all the answer he received. 

The duke had brought two soldiers with him, and they 
all four worked together, Michele directing. " This was 
their chamber; this was the place of one bed, this the 
other. The window was between, and it has fallen out 
with the roof over it. The signor marchese must have 
been at the window. He was waiting for me to come. 
He was dressed." 

If the boy had been in the window at the moment of 
the shock, he might have been thrown into the garden or 
have fallen downward with the floor, though his brother's 
bed still remained attached to a fragment of the wall 
propped on the ruins beneath. To search below was to 
remove a mountain piecemeal. They worked toward the 
garden, therefore, carefully lifting the debris while trying 
to keep the timbers in place. They came upon Eoberto's 
night-gown and a pillow of his bed wedged in between 
two beams. D'Eubiera lost his calmness for an instant as 
he caught the little white robe to his breast. 

Presently an opening appeared through which they 
could look down into a dark hole beneath the window. 
The beams had there a large stone across them, which 
joined with them to arrest the tiles and stones already 
cleared away. Now they were to know ! If he had fallen 
outward, he was there. But a danger threatened in ar 
riving at him, for the stone which lay across the timbers 
nearly covered the entrance to the opening below, and 
was not only almost too heavy for them to remove, but, 
being only slightly supported, might fall when they tried 
to lift it in order to pass. 



496 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TINCKER 

" If you can hold the stone up a little while and let me 
through," Michele said, " I will go down and see what is 
there." 

The other three lifted, the duke with his left arm and 
shoulder underneath the weight, and Michele looked eagerly 
down. 

" Oh, Michele !" 

That faint cry came up out of the darkness and smote 
through them all like a flash of lightning. 

With the start the duke gave at that sound the weight 
on his arm slipped a little. " Hold the stone !" he shouted. 
" Don't let it fall, for your lives ! Down, Michele !" 

"Can I come down?" Michele asked, with his face bent 
low. 

" Yes, but don't step on me," the boy answered, faintly. 
" I cannot move. There's a stick across me." 

Michele slipped through the opening, hung suspended a 
moment with his hands on the beams, then let go. He 
bad but a foot or two to drop. 

"Hold on to the stone !" he called up. "If it falls we 
shall be crushed. Give me five minutes." 

It seemed five hours to the strained muscles and trem 
bling hearts above, but it was indeed scarcely more than 
five minutes before a child's head appeared, and a child's 
hands making a desperate effort to scramble up. 

" Oh, papa !" he cried, catching sight of his father, " help 
me out. I can't get out alone," and ceased his efforts. 

" Out with you instantly by yourself!" his father ex 
claimed. " Out, or I'll whip you ! Do you want Michele 
to be killed ? That's right. Bravo ! Try again. Now !" 

Tears rushed to the boy's eyes at the first stern words 
his father had ever spoken to him, and his face was full of 
astonishment. But he obeyed. So commanded, there was 
nothing he would not have attempted. Clinging like a 



TINCKER] THE TERROR OF THE EARTHQUAKE. 497 

cat, struggling, sinking, and rising again, he clambered 
up. 

" My brave boy !" said the father in his heart. " Thank 
God I taught him to be obedient and manly!" But he 
gave no sign of approval then, even when Roberto looked 
at him timidly with swimming eyes, waiting for permis 
sion to approach. He was gazing at the place where 
Michele's two hands were visible, then his head. In a 
moment he was up again. 

Then D'Rubiera suffered a faint moan to escape his 
lips. " Help me. to get my arm away, Michele," he said. 
" It is broken." 

The start he gave at the first sound of Roberto's voice 
had caused the stone he held to slip, and its whole weight 
had fallen on his arm, which was in fact broken. But he 
forgot the pain of it when he turned and faced his boy for 
one speechless instant, his free hand outstretched, his eyes 
alight. 

Roberto rushed to his father and clasped him round the 
neck. " Were you angry because I came away from Sas- 
sovivo?" he asked. "I couldn't help it, papa. Mamma 
made me come." 

"Hush, child! hush!" D'Rubiera said, putting him 
away. 

" Where is Erne ?" the boy asked. 

"My son, your brother is in heaven," his father said. 
"Don't ask any more questions now. Go down to the 
marina with Michele, and wait till I come. But first, 
Michele, show me what part of the house the duchess 
occupied." 

In a few minutes Michele appeared again. 

" Signor colonel," he said, " there's a steamer going to 
Naples in fifteen minutes. Hadn't you better send away 
the signor marchese and and Don Ernesto? And at 
ui-gg 42* 



498 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [TINCKEH 

the same time you should have your arm set. You can 
trust me here while you are gone. I know what to do. 
And, besides, you see there is a mountain of stones here. 
It would be well if we could have more help. They 
wouldn't give it for my asking, but you would not be re 
fused. Anyway, the signor marchese ought to go away. 
It isn't sure that there will be no more earthquakes." 

D'Rubiera went, sent the living and the dead child to 
Naples, consigned to the care of a friend, had his arm set, 
procured one more man to help him, and returned to the 
hotel. 

He saw some men taking out two women who were 
clasped in each other's arms. One was dead ; the other 
breathed, but was senseless. They were Madame Lafrage 
and her English companion, the latter but slightly injured. 
Others had taken out an English mother and her daughter, 
both severely, but not dangerously, hurt. 

" The French lady's chamber was over madama's salone" 
Michele said. 

In fact, the railing and the larger stones of madama's 
balcony were visible among the debris at their feet ; but 
the floor had fallen out and was piled up with what had 
come down from the upper wall. As they worked away 
in silence, D'Rubiera doing what could be done with one 
hand, he suddenly uttered a cry of horror, and started 
back, letting go an object he had taken for the end of a 
tile and from which his grasp had displaced the accumu 
lated dust. 

It was a woman's hand, jewelled, white, and cold. A 
band of cameos in pink coral bound the slender wrist, on 
one of the tapering fingers a diamond flashed back like 
fire at the sun, on another was a jewelled wonder, a tiny 
serpent, coil above coil of emerald scales, reaching from 
joint to joint, a large pearl in the gaping, ruby-lined jaws. 



TINCKER] THE TERROR OF THE EARTHQUAKE. 499 

The hand was clinched and frozen to marble, all its life 
seeming to have gone into those glittering jewels. 

D'Kubiera drew back, sank on his knees, and covered 
his face. There was no life under those stones, and there 
was a more than natural horror. That fist seemed to 
threaten him out of another existence, and to his excited 
fancy the serpent with the pearl in its mouth was her 
cruel soul bearing away his child from him. 

" I sent her away, and she is dead because she was sent 
away," he thought. " She may call me her murderer and 
his. I sent her away." 

He would not think of her sins. He accused himself, 
though he was not guilty. Poor Laura ! If he had not 
meant to bear with her he should not have married her. 
He tried to be grieved and pitiful, but in vain. He was 
only horrified. 

" Take her up tenderly, Michele," he said. " I cannot 
look again." 

He turned his face away till he heard them going 
slowly past him, and heard Michele say, " Come, signor 
Colonel." 

Then he got up and followed them. 

A door had been brought, the body laid on it, and a 
cloth thrown over the face and bust. Only the feet were 
visible beneath a mass of crushed black gauze sewn with 
wild roses. What pretty feet they were! How dainty 
were the slippers and the silken hose! He recollected 
seeing her lace her slippers, and even that he had himself 
laced them in the early days of their married life. He 
reproached himself that he had ever ceased those lover- 
like attentions, if indeed it were he who had put a stop 
to them. They pleased her. Perhaps if he had always 
been devoted in the way she liked she would have been 
gentler. It was all his fault, all his! He would not 



500 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITTIER 

hear the voice of reason which tried in vain to justify 
or, at least, excuse him. Poor little feet which would 
never step again ! To see them move with life he would 
willingly have put his neck to the earth for them to tread 
upon. 

Night was approaching. People were constantly ar 
riving, seeking wildly for their friends; or others come 
to aid. At a short distance from the shore there were 
villas as yet unvisited. All was silence in those places. 
With a glass one might have discovered in the distance, 
here and there, a human figure clinging to a tree, a wall, 
a window, motionless in a convulsion of terror which had 
lasted almost four-and-twenty hours. 

The Duke of Sassovivo embarked with his dead for 
Naples. Michele, overpowered by fatigue, slept at his 
feet like a dog, curled up on the deck. They were with 
drawn a little from the others, and the duke spoke to no 
one. He sat thinking of the last hour he had spent with 
his sons, sitting at night between them as they slept. 
The stars shone, and the waters lisped about the boat 
glimmering with many a reflected light. It was like a 
dream. How long was it since he left Naples ? He did 
not know. Impossible that it should have been that very 
morning ! 



THE ETERNAL GOODNESS. 

J. G. WHITTIER. 

O FRIENDS ! with whom my feet have trod 

The quiet aisles of prayer, 
Glad witness to your zeal for God 

And love of man I bear. 



WHITTIER] THE ETERNAL GOODNESS. 501 

I trace your lines of argument ; 

Your logic linked and strong 
I weigh as one who dreads dissent, 

And fears a doubt as wrong. 

But still my human hands are weak 

To hold your iron creeds : 
Against the words ye bid me speak 

My heart within me pleads. 

Who fathoms the Eternal Thought ? 

Who talks of scheme and plan? 
The Lord is God ! He needeth not 

The poor device of man. 

I walk with bare, hushed feet the ground 

Ye tread with boldness shod : 
I dare not fix with mete and bound 

The love and power of God. 

Ye praise His justice ; even such 

His pitying love I deem : 
Ye seek a king ; I fain would touch 

The robe that hath no seam. 

Ye see the curse which over broods 

A world of pain and loss ; 
I hear our Lord's beatitudes 

And prayer upon the cross. 

More than your schoolmen teach, within 

Myself, alas ! I know, 
Too dark ye cannot paint the sin, 

Too small the merit show. 



502 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [WHITTIEB 

I bow my forehead to the dust, 

I veil mine eyes for shame, 
And urge, in trembling self-distrust, 

A prayer without a claim. 

I see the wrong that round me lies, 

I feel the guilt within ; 
I hear, with groan and travail-cries, 

The world confess its sin. 

Yet, in the maddening maze of things, 

And tossed by storm and flood, 
To one fixed stake my spirit clings : 

I know that God is good ! 

Not mine to look where cherubim 

And seraphs may not see, 
But nothing can be good in Him 

Which evil is in me. 

The wrong that pains my soul below 

I dare not throne above ; 
I know not of His hate, I know 

His goodness and His love. 

I dimly guess from blessings known 

Of greater out of sight, 
And, with the chastened Psalmist, own 

His judgments too are right. 

I long for household voices gone, 

For vanished smiles I long, 
But God hath led my dear ones on, 

And He can do no wrong. 



WHITTIER] THE ETERNAL GOODNESS. 503 

I know not what the future hath 

Of marvel or surprise, 
Assured alone that life and death 

His mercy underlies. 

And if my heart and flesh are weak 

To bear an untried pain, 
The bruised reed He will not break, 

But strengthen and sustain. 

No offering of my own I have, 

Nor works my faith to prove ; 
I can but give the gifts He gave, 

And plead His love for love. 

And so beside the Silent Sea 

I wait the muffled oar; 
No harm from Him can come to me 

On ocean or on shore. 

I know not where his islands lift 

Their fronded palms in air ; 
I only know I cannot drift 

Beyond His love and care. 

O brothers ! if my faith is vain, 

If hopes like these betray, 
Pray for me that my feet may gain 

The sure and safer way. 

And Thou, O Lord ! by whom are seen 

Thy creatures as they be, 
Forgive me if too close I lean 

My human heart on Thee ! 



504 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BURNETT 

A MINE-EXPLOSION. 

F. H. BURNETT. 

[Mrs. Frances Hodgson Burnett was born at Manchester, England, 
in 1849. She came to this country in 1865, and since 1873 has resided 
in Washington. Her high reputation as a novelist originated with 
her powerful and thrillingly-interesting story of English mining-life, 
" That Lass o' Lowrie's." Her later novels are devoted to American 
scenes. The selection we give is from " That Lass o' Lowrie's." Der 
rick, the mine-superintendent, is in love with Joan Lowrie, the ignorant 
but noble girl of the mines, who warmly returns his affection.] 

THE next morning Derrick went down to the mine as 
usual. There were several things he wished to do in these 
last two days. He had heard that the managers had en 
tered into negotiations with a new engineer, and he wished 
the man to find no half-done work. The day was bright 
and frosty, and the sharp, bracing air seemed to clear his 
brain. He felt more hopeful, and less inclined to view 
matters darkly. 

He remembered afterward that, as he stepped into the 
cage, he turned to look at the unpicturesque little town, 
brightened by the winter's sun, and that, as he went down, 
he glanced up at the sky and marked how intense ap 
peared the bit of blue which was framed in by the mouth 
of the shaft. 

Even in the few hours that had elapsed since the meet 
ing the rumor of what he had said and done had been 
bruited about. Some collier had heard it and had told it 
to his comrades, and so it had gone from one to the other. 
It had been talked over at the evening and morning meal 
in divers cottages, and many an anxious woman had 
warmed into praise of the man who had " had a thowt foi 
th' men." 

In the first gallery he entered, he found a deputation of 



BURNETT] A MINE-EXPLOSION. 505 

men awaiting him, a group of burly miners with picks 
and shovels over their shoulders, and the head of this 
deputation, a spokesman burlier and generally gruffer 
than the rest, stopped him. 

" Mester," he said; " we chaps 'ud loike tc ha' a word 
wi' yo'." 

" All right," was Derrick's reply: " 1 am ready to listen." 

The rest crowded nearer, as if anxious to participate as 
much as possible and give their spokesman the support 
of their presence. 

" It is na mich as we ha' getten to say," said the man, 
" but we're fain to say it. Are na we, mates ?" 

"Ay, we are, lad," in chorus. 

" It's about summat as we'n heerd. Theer wur a chap 
as towd some on us last neet as yo'd getten th' sack fro' 
th' managers, or leastways as yo'd turned th' tables on 
'em an' gi'en them th' sack yo'rsen. An' we'n heerd as it 
begun wi' yore standin' up fur us chaps, axin' fur things 
as wur wanted i' th' pit to save us fro' runnin' more risk 
than we need. An' we heerd as yo' spoke up bold, an' 
argied fur us an' stood to what yo' thowt war th' reet 
thing, an' we set our moinds on tellin' yo' as we'd heerd it 
an' talked it over, an' we'd loike to say a word o' thanks 
i' common fur th' pluck yo' showed. Is na that it, mates ?" 

"Ay, that it is, lad I" responded the chorus. 

Suddenly one of the group stepped out and threw down 
his pick. 

" An' I'm dom'd, mates," he said, " if here is na a chap 
as 'ud loike to shake hands wi' him." 

It was the signal for the rest to follow his example. 
They crowded about their champion, thrusting grimy paws 
into his hand, grasping it almost enthusiastically. 

" Good luck to yo', lad!" said one. " We'n noan smooth 
soart o' chaps, but we'n stand by what's fair an' plucky, 
in. w 43 



506 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BURNETT 

We shall ha' a good word fur thee when tha hast made 
thy flittin'." 

" I'm glad of that, lads," responded Derrick, heartily, 
by no means unmoved by the rough-and-ready spirit of 
the scene. " I only wish I had had better luck, that's all." 

A few hours later, the whole of the little town was 
shaken to its very foundations by something like an 
earthquake, accompanied by an ominous, booming sound, 
which brought people nocking out of their houses, with 
white faces. Some of them had heard it before ; all knew 
what it meant. From the colliers' cottages poured forth 
women, shrieking and wailing, women who bore chil 
dren in their arms and had older ones dragging at theii 
skirts, and who made their desperate way to the pit with 
one accord. From houses and workshops there rushed 
men, who, coming out in twoa and threes, joined each 
other, and, forming a breathless crowd, ran through the 
streets, scarcely daring to speak a word; and all ran 
toward the pit. 

There were scores at its mouth in five minutes ; in ten 
minutes there were hundreds, and above all the clamoi 
rose the cry of women : 

" My mester's down !" 

" An' mine !" 

" An' mine !" 

" Four lads o' mine is down !" 

" Three o' mine !" 

" My little un's theer, th' youngest, nobbut ten yeai 
owd, nobbut ten year owd, poor little chap ! an' on'y been 
at work a week !" 

"Ay, wenches, God ha' mercy on us aw'! God ha' 
mercy I" And then more shrieks and wails, in which the 
terror-stricken children joined. 



BURNETT] A MINE-EXPLOSION. 507 

It was a fearful sight. How many lay dead and dying 
in the noisome darkness below, God only knew! How 
many lay mangled and crushed, waiting for their death, 
Heaven only could tell ! 

In five minutes after the explosion occurred, a slight 
figure in clerical garb made its way through the crowd 
with an air of excited determination. 

" Th' parson's feart," was the general comment. 

" My men," he said, raising his voice so that all could 
hear, " can any of you tell me who last saw Fergus 
.Derrick?" 

There was a brief pause, and then came a reply from a 
collier who stood near. 

" I coom up out o' th' pit an hour ago," he said : " I wur 
th' last as coom up, an' it wur on'y chance as browt me. 
Derrick wur wi' his men i' th' new part o' th' mine. I 
seed him as I passed through." 

Grace's face became a shade or so paler, but he made no 
more inquiries. 

His friend either lay dead below, or was waiting for his 
doom at that very moment. He stepped a little farther 
forward. 

" Unfortunately for myself, at present," he said, "I have 
no practical knowledge of the nature of these accidents. 
Will some of you tell me how long it will be before we can 
make our first effort to rescue the men who are below ?" 

Did he mean to volunteer, this young whipper-snappe r 
of a parson? And if he did, could he know what he was 
doing? 

" I ask you," he said, " because I wish to offer myself 
as a volunteer at once : I think I am stronger than you 
imagine, and at least my heart will be in the work. I 
have a friend below, myself," his voice altering its tone 
and losing its firmness, "a friend who is worthy the 



508 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BURNETT 

sacrifice of ten such lives as mine if such a sacrifice could 
save him." 

One or two of the older and more experienced spoke 
up. Under an hour it would be impossible to make the 
attempt: it might even be a longer time, but in an hour 
they might, at least, make their first effort. 

If such was the case, the parson said, the intervening 
period must be turned to the best account. In that time 
much could be thought of and done which would assist 
themselves and benefit the sufferers. He called upon the 
strongest and most experienced, and, almost without their 
recognizing the prominence of his position, led them on in 
the work. He even rallied the weeping women and gave 
them something to do. One was sent for this necessary 
article and another for that. A couple of boys were dis 
patched to the next village for extra medical assistance, 
so that there need be no lack of attention when it was 
required. He took off his broadcloth and worked with 
the rest of them until all the necessary preparations were 
made and it was considered possible to descend into the 
mine. 

When all was ready, he went to the mouth of the shaft 
and took his place quietly. 

It was a hazardous task they had before them. Death 
would stare them in the face all through its performance. 
There was choking after-damp below, noxious vapors, to 
breathe which was to die ; there was the chance of crush 
ing masses falling from the shaken galleries; and yet 
these men left their companions one by one and ranged 
themselves, without saying a word, at the curate's side. 

" My friends," said Grace, baring his head, and raising a 
feminine hand, "my friends, we will say a short prayer." 

It was only a few words. Then the curate spoke again. 

" Eeady !" he said. 



BURNETT] A MINE-EXPLOSION. 009 

But just at that moment there stepped out from the 
anguished crowd a girl, whose face was set and deathly, 
though there was no touch of fear upon it. 

" I ax yo'," she said, " to let me go wi' yo' and do what I 
con. Lasses, some on yo' speak a word fur Joan Lowrie!" 

There was a breathless start. The women even stopped 
their outcry to look at her as she stood apart from them, 
a desperate appeal in the very quiet of her gesture as 
she turned to look about her for some one to speak. 

"Lasses," she said again, "some on yo' speak a word 
fur Joan Lowrie !" 

There rose a murmur among them then, and the next 
instant this murmur was a cry. 

" Ay," they answered, " we con aw speak fur yo'. Let 
her go, lads ! She's worth two o' th' best on yo'. Nowt 
fears her. Ay, she mun go, if she will, mun Joan Lowrie ! 
Go, Joan, lass, and we'n not forget thee !" 

But the men demurred. The finer instinct of some of 
them shrank from giving a woman a place in such a peril 
ous undertaking; the coarser element in others rebelled 
against it. 

" We'n ha' no wenches," these said, surlily. 

Grace stepped forward. He went to Joan Lowrie .and 
touched her gently on the shoulder. 

" We cannot think of it," he said. " It is very brave 
and generous, and God bless you ! but it cannot be. I 
could not think of allowing it myself, if the rest would." 

" Parson," said Joan, coolly, but not roughly, " tha'd ha' 
hard work to help thysen if so be as th' lads wur willin'." 

" But," he protested, " it may be death. I could not 
bear the thought of it. You are a woman. We cannot 
let you risk your life !" 

She turned to the volunteers. 

"Lads," she cried, passionately, "yo' munnot turn me 
in. 43* 



510 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. [BURNETT 

back. I sin I mun tell yo'," and she faced them like a 
queen, "theer's a mon down theer as I'd gi' my heart's 
blood to save." 

They did not know whom she meant, but they demurred 
no longer. 

" Tak' thy place, wench," said the oldest of them. " If 
tha mun, tha mun." 

She took her seat in the cage by Grace, and when she 
took it she half turned her face away. But when those 
above began to lower them, and they found themselves 
swinging downward into what might be to them a pit of 
death, she spoke to him. 

" Theer's a prayer I'd loike yo' to pray," she said. 
" Pray that if we mun dee, we may na dee until we ha' 
done our work." 

It was a dreadful work indeed that the rescuers had to 
do in those black galleries. And Joan was the bravest, 
quickest, most persistent of all. Paul Grace, following in 
her wake, found himself obeying her slightest word or 
gesture. He worked constantly at her side, for he, at 
least, had guessed the truth. He knew that they were 
both engaged in the same quest. When at last they had 
worked their way lifting, helping, comforting to the 
end of the passage where the collier had said he last saw 
the master, then, for one moment, she paused, and her 
companion, with a thrill of pity, touched her to attract 
her attention. 

" Let me go first," he said. 

" Nay," she answered, " we'n go together." 

The gallery was a long and low one, and had been ter 
ribly shaken. In some places the props had been torn 
away, in others they were borne down by the loosened 
blocks of coal. The dim light of the " Davy" Joan held 
up showed such a wreck that Grace spoke to her again. 



BURNETT] A MINE-EXPLOSION. 511 

" You must let me go first," he said, with gentle firm 
ness. " If one of these blocks should fall " 

Joan interrupted him : 

" If one on 'em should fall I'm th' one as it had better 
fall on. There is na mony foak as 'ud miss Joan Lowrie. 
Yo' ha' work o' yore own to do." 

She stepped into the gallery before he could protest, and 
he could only follow her. She went before, holding the 
Davy high, so that its light might be thrown as far for 
ward as possible. Now and then she was forced to stoop 
to make her way around a bending prop ; sometimes there 
was a fallen mass to be surmounted ; but she was at the 
front still when they reached the other end without finding 
the object of their search. 

" It he is na there," she said. " Let us try th' next 
passage." And she turned into it. 

It was she who first came upon what they were look 
ing for ; but they did not find it in the next passage, or 
the next, or even the next. It was farther away from the 
scene of the explosion than they had dared to hope. As 
they entered a narrow side-gallery Grace heard her utter 
a low sound, and the next minute she was down upon her 
knees. 

" Theer's a mon here," she said. " It's him as we're 
lookin' fur." 

She held the dim little lantern close to the face, a still 
face with closed eyes, and blood upon it. Grace knelt 
down too, his heart aching with dread. 

" Is he " he began, but could not finish. 

Joan Lowrie laid her hand upon the apparently motion 
less breast 'and waited almost a minute, and then she lifted 
her own face, white as the wounded man's, white and 
solemn, and wet with a sudden rain of tears. 

"He is na dead," she said. " "We ha' saved him." 



512 BEST AMERICAN AUTHORS. 

She sat down upon the floor of the gallery, and lifting 
his head laid it upon her bosom, holding it close as a 
mother might hold the head of her child. 

" Mester," she said, " gi' me th' brandy-flask, and tak' 
thou thy Davy an' go fur some o' th' men to help us get 
him to th' leet t>' day. I'm gone weak at last. I conna 
do no more. I'll go wi' him to th' top." 

When the cage ascended to the mouth again with its 
last load of sufferers, Joan Lowrie came with it, blinded 
and dazzled by the golden winter's sunlight as it fell upon 
her haggard face. She was holding the head of what 
seemed to be a dead man upon her knee. A great shout 
of welcome rose up from the by-standers. 

She helped them to lay her charge upon a pile of coats 
and blankets prepared for him, and then she turned to the 
doctor who had hurried to the spot to see what could be 
done. 

" He is na dead," she said. " Lay yore hond on his 
heart. It beats yet, mester, on'y a little, but it beats." 

"No," said the doctor, "he is not dead yet," with a 
breath's pause between the two last words. " If some of 
you will help me to put him on a stretcher, he may be 
carried home, and I will go with him. There is just a 
chance for him, poor fellow, and he must have immediate 
attention. Where does he live ?" 

"He must go with me," said Grace. "He is my 
friend." 

So they took him up, and Joan stood a little apart and 
watched them carry him away, watched the bearers 
until they were out of sight, and then turned again and 
joined the women in their work among the sufferers. 

END OF VOL. III. 



5407 



THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE 
STAMPED BELOW 



RENEWED BOOKS ARE SUBJECT TO IMMEDIATE 
RECALL 



LIBRARY, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS 

Book Slip-70m-9,'65(F7151s4)458 



? 511973 



Morris, C. 

Half -hours with 
the best American 
authors. 



PS507 

M67 

v.3 



LIBRARY 

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA 
DAVIS