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Title: Graham's Magazine: Vol. XLI No. 3 September, 1852

Date of first publication: 1852

Author: George R. Graham (1813-1894)

Date first posted: Mar. 1, 2017

Date last updated: Mar. 1, 2017

Faded Page eBook #20120409

This ebook was produced by: David T. Jones, Ross Cooling, Mardi Desjardins & the online Distributed Proofreaders Canada team at http://www.pgdpcanada.net


Vol. XLI.      September, 1852.      No. 3.

Table of Contents

Our Way Across The Sea

The Giant’s Causeway

Hymn for the Dedication of a Church

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia

Distribution of the Human Race

Excerpts From an Epistle to a Friend

Oh, Would I Were a Child!

A Night in the Dissecting-Room

The Dead at Thermopylæ

The Opium Eater’s Dream

The Tutor’s Daughter




Memory’s Consolation

We Laid Her Down to Rest

The Pedant


Chaucer and His Times

The Three Sisters

Lay of the Crusader

Joy Murmurs in the Ocean

A Visit

The World-Conqueror

Gather Ripe Fruit, Oh Death!

The Lucky Penny

To Mary, Asking for a Song

A Poet’s Thought

The Countess of Montfort

The Mysteries of a Flower

Too Much Blue

To —— ——

The Trial by Battle


Sonnet.—The Mariner.

Review of New Books

Transcriber’s Notes can be found at the end of this eBook.

W. Holl

Our Way Across The Sea.



Published by permission of LEE & WALKER, 188 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia,

Publishers and Importers of Music and Musical Instruments.

[First Voice Soprano]

  Home fare thee well The


[Second Voice Tenor]

  Home fare thee well The

[First Voice Soprano]

  ocean’s storm is o’er The weary

  pennon woos the seaward wind Fast speeds the

  bark, And now the less’ning shore Sinks in the

  wave, with those we leave be hind: Fare, fare thee


[Second Voice Tenor]

  ocean’s storm is o’er The weary

  pennon woos the seaward wind Fast speeds the

  bark, And now the less’ning shore Sinks in the

  wave, with those we leave behind:

[First Voice Soprano]

  well! Land of the free: No tongue can tell the love I

  bear to thee! Fare, fare thee well! Land of the

  free, No tongue can tell the love I bear to thee.


[Second Voice Tenor]

  Fare, fare thee well! Land of the free: No tongue can tell the love I

  bear to thee. Fare, fare thee well!

  Land of the free, No tongue can tell the love I bear to thee.


  We wreathe the bowl to drink a gay good bye

  For tears would fall unbidden in the wine,

  And while reflected was the mournful eye,

  The sparkling surface e’en would cease to shine.

        Then fare, fare well;

          Once more, once more,

        The ocean swell

          Now hides my native shore.


  See where yon star its diamond light displays,

  Now seen, now hid behind the swelling sail,

  Hope rides in gladness on its streaming rays,

  And bids us on, and bribes the fav’ring gale.

        Then hope we bend

          In joy to thee,

        And careless wend

          Our way across the sea.


Vol. XLI.     PHILADELPHIA, SEPTEMBER, 1852.     No. 3.


Only imagine yourself, says a writer in the Journal of Commerce, in a little row-boat, passing around the northern coast of Ireland. In the distance, you seem to look upon an immense castle, flanked by double rows of cylindrical columns. It seems so fortress-like, this massive structure rising from the depths of the sea, that you expect to find guards and wardens, soldiery and arms; but as you approach nearer it loses that castellated appearance, and gradually lessens in magnitude until there remains only a huge stone wall, extending around the coast for miles. It is composed of gigantic pillars, cut into prisms, three-sided, five-sided, eight-sided—side fitting to side—variously jointed, joint corresponding to joint, innumerable irregularities conformed into such beautiful regularity, that you are struck with awe at so perfect a monument of skill, and ask involuntarily to what great artist your praise is due; what year marked the foundation-stone; what force formed each cylinder, and joined in uniform contact such irregular masses? The toil of many a lifetime has been spent on far meaner designs, and proud wealth has gloried in much less wonderful relics of man’s invention.

Passing onward and still onward, for this columnar structure bounds a great extent of seacoast, you come upon a vast gateway of stone work, like the rest, but formed into a wide arch, not Gothic, nor Norman, but unique, and perfect as peculiar. Its entrance is kept by huge waves, that for centuries have been rolling higher and higher, to bar the gateway that is open still, so your tiny boat rises with their swelling, and you pass through, not, as you had expected, to find the sky above you still, but into the recesses of a mighty cavern, whose vaulted roof is formed of stones, many cornered and many colored. You should be there at sunset, as we were, to see the dashing waters sparkling with gold, and the stones radiant with crimson light. You would be awed into silence; for there is something fearful in the thought of a chamber built without hands; but should your feelings find vent in words, your ears would be stunned by the deafening sound of even your sweet voice, dear Bel, so heavy is the echo there. I had been always very anxious to see the inside of this famous cave, with its ocean door, and its stony wall hung with sea-weed tapestry, but I assure you I was not less eager to see the outside of it again; I had no ambition to interfere with a solitude too desolate for aught save the cawing of rooks, and the twittering of swallows.

The average height of the basaltic columns constituting the Giant’s Causeway is thirty feet; but the whole neighborhood is strewn with detached fragments of the same species of rock, that in their picturesque confusion seem the broken pillars of some ruined temple. These columns in combination, these heptagons, hexagons, octagons and triangles all joined in perfect symmetry, as if hewn for corresponding measurements, form, when you have climbed the rocky ascent to their level summit, a tessellated pavement, where one may promenade in scorn of the fierce waves that incessantly dash against their base, as if they sought to hurl the firm rocks into oblivion. It is quite amusing to listen to the wonderful harangues of the numerous barefooted urchins that follow you all the way along the shore, offering themselves for guides, and their tongues for teachers. They were all born within sight of the “auld Giant’s” dominions, and the only history they ever learned is comprised in wild legends about the stones and crannies that the giant once ruled. From morning to evening they walk before you, behind you, and seem to rise from the stones on every side of you, offering their “spacermens” of the “Giant’s Punch Bowl,” “his honor’s walking-stick,” and various other remarkable relics, “the very last” of which has been sold and resold for twenty years back, and will be for twenty years to come, to every visitor who will “lend them the loan of a sixpence to break their fast with.”

The little ragamuffins tell you that their father is dead, and their mother is poor; and in the grief of your heart you buy, and buy, and buy, until you have no more money to pay, and no more hands to carry their useless pebbles; and finding new faces, and hearing new tales continually, the plot thickens so unmercifully, that you cease to believe any thing because you have believed so much, and in self-defense are forced to turn away from the masonic pile that owns no mason—from the old arm-chair that no cabinet-maker ever planned—from the huge bowl where none but a giant could drink—and the organ-pipes to whose identity the roaring waves lend so real an illusion. But a sight of the Giant’s Causeway, in spite of its nonsensical traditions and its fabulous legends, is a commentary too impressive ever to be forgotten, on the power and might of its great Creator. And long years hence it will stand, firm and enduring, as it ever has stood, in its solemn, awful grandeur, to annihilate the atheist’s doubt, and to silence the sceptic’s sneer.






How glorious is thy dwelling,

  O Lord of Hosts, on high,

Where angel anthems swelling

  Fill all the boundless sky:

In more than Eden splendor

  The heavenly mansions shine,

Where praise the ransomed render,

  In worship all divine.


On earth, among the lowly,

  Thou hast a gracious reign—

The kingdom of the holy,

  The church, the born-again;

And temples, reared by mortals.

  The homes of truth and love.

Are hallowed as the portals

  Of Paradise above.


Make this thy habitation,

  And here thy name record;

With blessing and salvation

  Our prayers and toils reward;

Let dews of grace descending,

  On every heart distill;

And humble throngs come bending

  To know and do thy will.


The Spirit’s living beauty

  To all thy servants give,

And strength for every duty,

  That each to thee may live;

Till, in his chariot gleaming,

  The Saviour comes to bear

The souls of his redeeming

  To heavenly mansions fair.


It has been frequently said the building at the north-west corner of Broad and George streets looks poverty caste, that is, its external indications lead to a suspicion it is of a poor family, while if it were rough-caste it would have such a tidy, smart look, that no mere passer-by would suspect there are any poor relations connected with it. That edifice is a small arena where a few courageous men do battle for Truth. Were they to consent to rough-caste, or stucco, or plaster over the unsightly surface of their street fronts, while they are in debt, they would make a false show to the public which would be altogether inconsistent with the object of the Society to which that edifice belongs. The object of that Society is to ascertain the truth, and to point it out to the human race, beginning of course with citizens of Philadelphia. It must not be imagined, reader, gentle or fair or both, that the Society to which the rough brick walls alluded to belongs, is engaged in any fanciful or visionary or transcendental occupation. It does not spend time in listening to testimony or seeking evidence of truth of the kind asserted to exist in the doctrines of Hanneman, of Preisnitz, of Broussais, or in the published certificates of the efficacy of Perkins’ metallic tractors, or somebody’s galvanic rings, or anybody’s sarsaparilla syrup, or in Kossuth’s theory of intervention, or in the editorial predictions printed in the daily newspapers; but the members of the Society in question battle for Truth which is truth, and not for the flimsy dictum of men. They seek to ascertain the facts of the Creation, and the yet hidden causes which bind them together in relations of eternal harmony and peace. They seek in the atmosphere for signs to lead to the comprehension of the laws which regulate its movements; they study the vegetable growths of forest and field to learn how to increase the products of the soil; they inquire into the nature and habits and structure of the living inhabitants of the air, the earth, and the seas, to know the best and easiest modes of rendering them profitable to society; they dive beneath the surface of the land, and drag to light the buried remains of those animals which dwelt on earth countless years before man made any mark of his presence in the universe, indeed before he had existence: and in that building they bring together, under one view, the physical, palpable evidence of their statements, and expose all to the gaze of the inquisitive without charge. The inquiries or researches of men of the class constituting the Society to which the not very polished structure belongs, have led to the discovery of various coal-beds and mines of metallic ores, and the means of illuminating our cities with gas. They are plain, simple, unostentatious citizens, who seek the truths, the facts of the creation for the common good of all. This circumstance is in itself almost enough to satisfy any intelligent man of the world the Society must be pecuniarily poor, and therefore, at present, unable to plaster over the walls of their workshop, merely to make them agreeable to the eyes of those who do not care to view the wonders within.

The building of which we speak was founded on the 25th of May, 1839, by the “Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia,” a society which was begun on the 25th of January, 1812, and incorporated by an act of the Legislature of the State of Pennsylvania on the 24th of March, 1817.

The object of the Institution is to cultivate the Natural Sciences exclusively, and to diffuse a knowledge of them amongst the people. Of the 409,000 inhabitants of Philadelphia, about 150 only are now engaged in this laudable enterprise, which is little known and little understood by the community. Its members include representatives of almost all vocations; clergymen, physicians, lawyers, merchants and mechanics, who devote simply leisure moments to the study of natural history. For this purpose they have formed a museum and library of books on the natural sciences and on the arts. At this time, the museum contains nearly 150,000 objects of natural history, and the library almost 14,000 volumes.

The “Hall of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia” is forty-five feet front on Broad street, and one hundred and fifteen feet on George street, with an elevation of fifty feet. The style of architecture is plain and unpretending; and, as already intimated, the exterior remains unfinished for want of funds, all the resources of the Society being required to meet the current expenses incurred for preserving the objects in the museum, binding, books, warming and lighting, etc. etc.

The visitor is admitted at a door on Broad street, and ascends a flight of stairs, on the left hand as he enters the vestibule. He finds himself in a spacious saloon, one hundred and ten feet in length and forty-two feet broad, lighted from the roof and tall windows at the east and west extremities. Three ranges of galleries, supported on light and graceful iron columns, surround the apartment. The walls are hidden by glass-cases, filled almost to overflowing with specimens of natural history. Three ranges of flat cases occupy the floor, in which are arranged fossil organic remains, illustrative of that department of natural science termed palæontology. The American specimens are in the southern, and the foreign in the middle and northern range of cases; the whole constituting a collection of more than 60,000 individual specimens. Among them are some of great rarity and interest. There are several of those gigantic fish-lizards, called ichthyosaurians, imbedded in massive limestone; teeth and bones of the mastodon, of elephants, of an extinct species of bird, found in New Zealand, called the Dinornis; impressions of coal-plants, etc. etc. On the southern side of the hall is a collection of skeletons and parts of skeletons of mammals, birds, reptiles and fishes; and the extraordinary collection of human skulls, brought together here from all parts of the world, by the late Dr. Samuel George Morton, so extensively known for his publications in various departments of the history of the human race. On the northern side is a collection of mammals, representing about 200 species of the various quadrupeds. The cases on the galleries are occupied by the extraordinary collection of birds, which is three times more extensive than that of the British Museum; it contains at this time 27,000 specimens, of which no less than 22,000 are labeled and beautifully mounted, and as well displayed as the want of space will permit. Among the mammals are a specimen of the polar bear, obtained during the voyage recently made under the command of Capt. De Haven, in search of Sir John Franklin, and a fine male specimen of the Rocky Mountain sheep, a very rare animal, this being, it is believed, the second specimen ever brought to this city; the first was obtained by Capt. Lewis, during his famous expedition with Clarke to the Rocky Mountains, more than thirty-five years ago.

Besides the collections alluded to, there are others of great interest which are not exhibited for want of space. The collection of crustaceans or crabs, and that of reptiles, are equal to any in Europe. The specimens of shells number 25,000; and of minerals more than 4000; but they are not at present accessible to the public for want of room to display them. The herbarium or hortus siccus, contains 46,000 species of plants.

The value of the library is not easily estimated by the number of its volumes. It contains many works which are not possessed by any other library in the United States; and on this account is often visited by scientific men from a distance.

The Society meets every Tuesday evening throughout the year; and publishes periodically a journal of its proceedings, which is circulated among the learned societies of all parts of the world.

Since the year 1828 the museum of the Academy has been open gratuitously two afternoons in every week; tickets of admission on Tuesday and Friday afternoons, from one o’clock P. M. till sunset, are furnished on application to any member of the Society.

The Institution is sustained by the annual contributions of the members, and by donations from those generous persons who are friends of natural science. The names of donors to the museum and library are attached always to whatever they present, and are published in the journal of proceedings.

A full history of this most valuable but little known institution has been recently printed; copies of it may be obtained, at a trifling cost, from the doorkeeper on days when the hall is open to the public.





In the scale of being man rises above mere animal life and sensation, however delicate and varied, and beyond mere instinct, whatever that mysterious faculty may be, to rational existence, which constitutes him “the minister and interpreter of nature.” The most sagacious and instinctive of the brute creation live and die without the least comprehension of the vast system of which they form a part; but man is capable of surveying the whole with thought and reflection, of understanding its economy and purpose, of tracing the Author of the work, and marking the display of his perfections, of yielding to Him adoration and homage, and sanctifying the varied scene to moral uses. Sometimes, in the spirit of lurking infidelity to the announcements of Scripture respecting the attention paid to our race by Divine Providence, philosophy has paraded before us its demonstrations concerning the plan of the universe, and called upon us to contemplate its stately forms and vast dimensions. We may obey its summons, and return from the contemplation with renewed ability to “vindicate the ways of God to man.” For what knows the sun of his own brightness, or the lightnings of their force, or the planets of their velocity, or the ten thousand stars of their mighty proportions? The universe of material things can neither think nor feel, but is perfectly unconscious of itself; whereas man can appreciate to a certain extent its design, derive enjoyment from its objects, track their course, comprehend their laws, gather from them an intellectual apprehension of the wondrous Artificer, make them subservient to morals and devotion; and thus the grandeur of nature illustrates the greatness of man.

Linnæus placed man in the order of Quadrumana, or four-handed, in fellowship with the monkey tribe, and even considered the genus Homo as consisting of two species, the ourang-outang being the second, the congener of the human being. Cuvier, with an obvious propriety, has departed from this classification, and placed man in an order by himself, that of Bimana, or two-handed, in allusion to the prehensory organs with which he is furnished. They are instruments of essential moment to their possessor, and form a characteristic mark of his nobility, for, strictly speaking, he is the only bimane. In several physical respects, man is far inferior to many of the lower animals. The elephant is his superior in bulk and power, the hawk in sight, the antelope in swiftness, the hound in scent, and the squirrel in agility. No animal, in the infancy of existence, continues for so long a period in a state of helplessness and dependence, or suffers for an equal interval infirmity in age. To every other animal nature supplies an appropriate clothing, for which they “toil not, neither do they spin”—the office of man; without which, he would live and die in the nakedness of his birth. No parallel to his case can be found in the animal kingdom, in relation to the slowness of his growth, the variety of his wants, and the numerous diseases to which he is exposed; and while animals directly adapt to their support the food that is suited to them—the lion his flesh, and the ox his grasses—the greater part of the human aliment, according to the practice of all nations, is subject to preparing processes, more or less rude or perfect, in order to be rendered agreeable and nutritious. These are apparently the hardships of the human condition; but a regard to their moral and intellectual effect will strip them of the character of disadvantages. If endowed with a high degree of physical force, if free from the necessity of culinary preparation, if naturally arrayed against the exigencies of climate, and thus constituted with a greater amount of personal independence—it may reasonably be inferred, that civilization would not have made its present advances, that mental capacity would have remained largely undeveloped, and the career of man have exhibited a succession of melancholy oscillation, between intemperate ferocity and selfish indolence. The sense of his weakness and the pressure of his wants have contributed to call forth his resources, to stir up “the gift and faculty divine,” to rouse inventive powers to action which would otherwise have continued dormant, and to excite benevolent affections, by the demand he is compelled to make for the society of his kind; and thus the very disabilities of his mere animal being tend to evoke his higher nature, and to accomplish one of the designed ends of his creation by sheer intellectual power, that of having “dominion over the fowl of the air, and over the fish of the sea, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing that creepeth on the earth.”

The human population of the globe has been commonly rated at eight hundred millions, but this is probably an error in excess. The statements of geographers vary considerably, as appears from the following estimates of two of the most distinguished, MM. Malte Brun and Balbi. The former justly remarks, that all the calculations that have been made upon the subject are chimerical, and that it is impossible to state any which shall even approximate to the truth.

Malte Brun.Balbi.    
Population ofEurope170,000,000227,700,000

But however uncertain the numbers of the human race, maritime and inland discovery show the wide dispersion of the species, to the extreme bounds of vegetable life; and the extraordinary facility of the human frame in accommodating itself to diverse circumstances. There are but few tracts of land which have not within their limits an indigenous human population. The antarctic continent, the Falkland Isles, and Kerguelen’s Land, with Nova Zembla and Spitzbergen in the northern zone, are the principal exceptions. St. Helena is also another; for when that island was discovered, in 1501, it was only occupied by sea-fowl, occasionally visited by seals and turtles, and covered with forest-trees and shrubs. However small the coral islands of the Pacific, and remote from continents, they have in general their families of men. The New World, though very scantily peopled, has the Esquimaux at its northern extremity, within ten degrees of the pole, and the Fuegians at its southern end, perhaps in the lowest condition in which humanity exists upon the face of the globe. In the Ancient World, we every where meet with traces of man and of his works, except in the zone of deserts; and even here he has planted his race in the oases, the verdant islets of the great ocean of sand. In situations high and low, dry and moist, cold and hot, we find members of the family to which we belong, enduring the extremes of temperature; a degree of heat which on the banks of the Senegal causes spirits of wine to boil, and of cold in the north-east of Asia which freezes brandy and mercury.

Esquimaux Hut.

This wide diffusion of the species, occupying every variety of climate, soil, and situation, necessarily involves the fact of man being omnivorous, or able to derive support from all kinds of aliment; for otherwise, if the nourishment depended exclusively upon animal or vegetable food, various regions where the race exists and multiplies would be incompatible with the easy maintenance of human life. In the cold and frozen north, beyond the range of the cereal plants, where excessive poverty marks the only vegetation that appears, the tribes of Esquimaux draw their support entirely from the land and marine animals, principally from fish and seals; and this is also the case with the miserable Petcheres, inhabiting a corresponding district in the southern hemisphere, the chill and barren shores of Tierra del Fuego. On the other hand, the condition of many interior tropical countries is not propitious to the subsistence of an extended population of the domestic animals and the common cerealia, owing to the number of the beasts of prey and the interchange of a flooded and a parching soil; and there we find large families of men chiefly sustained by a peculiar farinaceous diet, the fruits of the plantain and the palm. In the temperate zone, a plentiful supply of both animal and vegetable food is met with, which mingle in the aliment of the inhabitants. Thus, as we approach the poles, man does not live by bread at all, the Esquimaux being unacquainted with it; while approaching the equator he is mainly supported by vegetable nutriment; and intermediate between them, he is strikingly omnivorous, various kinds of grain and flesh composing the staff of life. Some naturalists have proposed a classification of mankind, according to the species of food by the use of which they are distinguished. Thus we have carnivorous, or flesh-eaters; Ichthyophagists, or fish-eaters; Frugivorous, or fruit and corn-eaters; Acridophagists, or locust-eaters; Geophagists, or earth-eaters; Anthropophagists, or man-eaters; and Omnivorous, or devourers of every thing. But we have no tribes of men that exclusively belong to any one of these classes. The only clear division that can be made of the human race, taking their food as a characteristic, is the very general one already stated, between the inhabitants of polar, temperate, and tropical regions; and growing intercommunication is constantly lessening the amount of difference even here, by transporting the aliment yielded in abundance in one district to another naturally destitute of it. The locust-eaters include some of the wandering Arabs of northern Africa and western Asia, where the crested locust, one of the largest species of the tribe, is made use of for food, both fresh and salted; in which last state it is sold in some of the markets of the Levant. Morier, in his Second Journey to Persia, observes, that locusts are sold at Bushire as food, to the lowest of the peasantry, when dried; and he adds, that “the locusts and wild honey, which St. John ate in the wilderness, are perhaps particularly mentioned to show, that he fared as the poorest of men.”

In considering the distribution of mankind, it is an obvious reflection that, to secure the general diffusion of human life, the same necessity did not exist, as in the case of plants and animals, for parent stocks to be originally planted in different regions of the globe. It has been correctly remarked, that had an individual of each tribe of plants, and a pair of each tribe of animals, been called into being in one and the same spot, the Linnæan hypothesis, large regions, separated by wide seas and lofty chains of mountains from the country containing that single spot, would forever have remained almost, if not entirely, destitute of plants and animals, unless at the same time means had been provided for their dispersion far more effectual than any which we behold in operation, and a constitution more accommodated to diverse climates had been given to them. To accomplish the dissemination of animal and vegetable life, to an extent commensurate with the capacity of the globe, separate regions were supplied with distinct stocks of plants and animals. But the case of man required no such arrangement to secure a large occupancy of the earth with his species. Endued with a constitution capable of accommodating itself to extreme diversities of climate, and with intelligence to invent methods of protection against atmospheric influences; enabled also by the same intelligence to devise means of transport over the most extensive seas, and across the most formidable ranges of mountains, it is clear, that, possessed of these capabilities, the whole habitable earth might be replenished with his race from the location of a single pair. This is the doctrine of the Mosaic history, and also of another part of the sacred record, which declares that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth;” and notwithstanding numerous and important diversities, the conclusions of philosophical inquiry are clearly in harmony with it, establishing the unity of mankind.

Before touching upon the question of the common nature and origin of the human race, a necessary preliminary to the question of their diffusion, it may be requisite to state the sense of certain terms of common occurrence in natural history, as species, genus, and varieties. A race of animals, or plants, which constantly transmit from one generation to another the same peculiar organization, constitute what is technically called a species; and two races are held to be specifically distinct, where a marked difference or organization exists, which is unvaryingly transmitted. A species, therefore, includes those animals and plants which may be presumed to have sprung from the same parent stock. “We unite,” says De Candolle, “under the designation of a species, all those individuals who mutually bear to each other so close a resemblance as to allow of our supposing that they may have proceeded originally from a single being, or a single pair.” The term genus has a more comprehensive signification. It is applied to a group of animals or plants, the several tribes of which seem constructed after a common general model, each being distinguished from the rest by a peculiarity of organization, for which we cannot account but by supposing them to have proceeded from originally different individuals. Animals of the horse kind, which includes the ass and the zebra, furnish an example of genus. They display the phenomena of general resemblance, but with such marked differences, which are regularly transmitted, that we cannot suppose them the common offspring of the same individuals, but to have descended from originally different pairs. Animals of the feline race, as the cat and the tiger, and of the bovine kind, as the ox, buffalo, and bison, are similar instances of genera. A genus, therefore, embraces several species. But within the limits of a species varieties occur, or deviations from the type exhibited by the parent stock, which are due to external causes, climate, soil, food, and other agencies, which have an obvious and marked effect upon animal and vegetable forms, however little their operation is understood. Some of these varieties are transient, but others become fixed and permanent in the race, and are so optically striking, as in several cases to suggest the idea of a specific difference, where the species is identical. Now, the question to be considered in relation to man is, whether the diversities which he exhibits in different parts of the globe are compatible with his race coming under the denomination of a species, having a common ancestry; or whether it forms a genus including several tribes, having a general resemblance, but so characteristically different as to lead the philosophical investigator to the verdict, that the diverging streams of humanity have originated independent of each other, and have not proceeded from the same fountain head.

In prosecuting this inquiry, one method to be adopted is to review the principal external differences observable among mankind, as to complexion, structure, and stature; and examine, whether analogous diversities appear among the lower animals within the limits of the same species. If it is ascertained that corresponding phenomena to the human variations occur in the case of animals belonging to an identical species, the chief objection is obviated to the unity and common origin of the human kind.

1. The most obvious distinction displayed by mankind is that of color, in relation to the skin, hair, and eyes, which, with few exceptions, are well known to have a certain correspondence, intimating their dependence on a common cause. Thus light-colored hair is very generally in alliance with light blue or gray eyes; but a relation of the complexion of the skin to the hue of the hair is still more invariable. Persons of light hair have a fair and transparent skin, which assumes a ruddy tint by exposure to the light and heat of the sun, while the complexion of black-haired individuals is of a darker cast, and acquires a bronze shade in proportion to the intensity of the solar influence admitted to it. The dark-haired women of Syria and Barbary are indeed frequently very white; but this is owing to the careful avoidance of exposure to the effect of climate, which Prichard calls a being “bleached by artificial protection from light, or at least from the solar rays.” He discriminates three principal varieties of mankind, taking the color of the hair as the leading character, which he styles the melanic, the xanthous, and the leucous. The melanic or black variety, includes all individuals or races who have black or very dark hair; the xanthous or fair class embraces those who have either brown, auburn, yellow, flaxen, or red hair; and the leucous or white variety comprises those who are commonly called albinos, whose hair is either pure white or cream-colored.

The great majority of the human race belong to the melanic or black-haired variety, with a corresponding hue of the skin. This hue varies from the deepest black to a copper and olive color, and to a much lighter shade. The Senegal Negroes are jet black, and the natives of Malabar, with other nations of India, are nearly so. In some races, the black combines with red, and in others with yellow, as in the instance of the copper and olive colored tribes of America, Africa, and Asia; and the same indigenous population furnishes examples of great discrepancy as to the character of the tint. “The great difference of color,” says Bishop Heber, of the Hindoos, “between different natives struck me much. Of the crowd by whom we were surrounded, some were black as Negroes, others merely copper-colored, and others little darker than the Tunisines, whom I have seen at Liverpool. It is not merely the differences of exposure, since this variety of tint is visible in the fishermen who are naked all alike. Nor does it depend on caste, since very high caste Brahmins are sometimes black, while Pariahs are comparatively fair. It seems, therefore, to be an accidental difference, like that of light and dark complexions in Europe; though where so much of the body is exposed to sight, it becomes more striking here than in our own country. Two observations,” he elsewhere observes, “struck me forcibly; first, that the deep bronze is more naturally agreeable to the human eye than the fair skins of Europe, since we are not displeased with it even in the first instance, while it is well-known that to them a fair complexion gives the idea of ill health, and of that sort of deformity which, in our eyes, belongs to an albino.” The same class includes the swarthy Spaniards, and the inhabitants of southern Europe in general, who have dark hair, with the melanic complexion only strongly dilute, which characterizes the olive, copper-colored, and negro nations. In the xanthous or light-haired variety, who have commonly gray or azure-blue eyes, combined with a fair complexion, which acquires a ruddy instead of a bronze tinge on exposure to heat, some whole tribes in the temperately cold regions of Europe and Asia are included. Red or yellow hair and blue eyes peculiarly characterized the old Gothic races according to the testimony of Tacitus, and are prevalent among their descendants at present. But examples of the xanthous variety present themselves in every dark-haired race, and we gather from Homer, that it was not uncommon among the Greeks of his time to find a melanic family. “The Jews, like the Arabs,” says Prichard, “are generally a black-haired race; but I have seen many Jews with light hair and beards, and blue eyes; and in some parts of Germany, the Jews are remarkable for red, bushy beards. Many of the Russians are light-haired, though the mass of the Slavonian race is of the melanous variety. The Laplanders are generally of a dark complexion, but the Finns, Mordouines, and Votiaks, who are allied to them in race, are xanthous. Many of the northern Tungusians, or Mantschu Tartars, are of the xanthous variety, though the majority of this nation are black-haired.” Even among the more swarthy races of the melanic class, as the Negroes of Senegal, examples of fair-haired individuals, with the corresponding complexions, occur; and the native stock of Egypt supplies similar instances, as appears from the light brown hair of some of the mummies. The leucous or white variety includes no entire race of people; but occasionally albinos, with perfectly white hair and skin, and red or pink eyes, appear in all countries—among the xanthous tribes of Europe, the copper-colored nations of America, and the pure blacks of Africa. The phrase, white Negroes, though a literal contradiction, exactly expresses the physical fact—a white individual of a black stock. In some instances, pure white and black children have mingled in the same family, the offspring of black parents.

The cause of the introduction of these varieties of color among the inferior animals of the same species, which have become permanent, is involved in great obscurity; but we have good reason to suppose that differences of climate, situation, food, and habits, are some of the influential agencies in their production, chiefly perhaps the former, which appears to operate to a considerable extent in the various coloring of the human race. Both the plants and animals of hot regions display the deepest colors with which we are acquainted, while lighter shades are characteristic of those that are situated in cold countries. Within the tropics, the birds, beasts, flowers, and even fishes have the respective hues of their feathers, hairs, petals, and scales uniformly very deeply tinctured; while, as we recede from the equator, the color of the animal races progressively becomes of a lighter cast, till, approaching the poles, white is their common livery. The same remark is true very generally of the complexion of mankind. The black, dark-brown, and copper colors prevail in equatorial districts; the lighter olive is distinctive of the nations immediately north of the tropic of Cancer; and still lighter shades become more universal in the higher latitudes. The Abyssinians are much less dark than the Negro races, for though their geographical climate is the same, their physical climate is very different, the high, table-land of the country placing them in a lower temperature. Shut up within the walls of their seraglios, and secluded from the sun, the Asiatic and African women are frequently as white as the Europeans; while, in our own country, exposure to the sun is well-known to produce a deeper complexion, and artificial protection from its influence is adopted to preserve a fair and unfreckled skin. The larvæ of many insects deposited in dark situations are white, and acquire a brownish hue upon being confined under glasses that admit the influence of the solar rays. Facts of this kind indicate the powerful operation of diverse climates in the various coloring of the human skin, and are sufficient to show, that the different complexions of mankind are mere varieties of species, introduced and made permanent by the continued action of local causes.

2. The next most obvious and important of the human differences involves variety of structure, especially in the shape of the skull. Taking this as the basis of a classification, Professor Blumenbach proposed a division of mankind into five grand classes—the Caucasian, Mongolian, Ethiopic, American, and Malay, which has been very generally adopted. The principal descriptive particulars of each, as given by that distinguished naturalist, are the following:

In the Caucasian race, the head is of the most symmetrical shape, almost round; the forehead of moderate extent; the cheek-bones rather narrow, without any projection; the face straight and oval, with the features tolerably distinct; the nose narrow, and slightly arched; the mouth small, with the lips a little turned out, especially the lower one; and the chin full and rounded. This is the most elegant variety of the human form, and the most perfect examples of it are found in the regions of Western Asia, bordering on Europe, which skirt the southern foot of the vast chain of the Caucasus, from whence the class derives its name, and which is near what is supposed to be the parent spot of the human race. Here are the Circassians and Georgians, the most exquisite models of female beauty. But the Caucasian class includes nations very dissimilar apart from the form of the head. Its members are of all complexions, from the Hindoos and Arabs, some of whom are as black as the Negroes, to the Danes, Swedes, and Norsemen, who are fair, with flaxen hair and light blue eyes. The class comprises the ancient and modern inhabitants of Europe, except the Laplanders and Finns. It comprises also the ancient and modern inhabitants of Western Asia, as far as the Oby, the Belurtagh, and the Ganges—such as the Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Sarmatians, Scythians, Parthians, Jews, Arabs and Syrians, the Turks and Tartars proper, the tribes of Caucasus, the Armenians, Affghans, and Hindoos. It includes likewise the Africans who live on the shores of the Mediterranean, and throughout the Sahara, the Egyptians and Copts, the Abyssinians, and the Guanches, or ancient inhabitants of the Canary Islands, with those Europeans who have colonized America and other parts of the world. The color of the Caucasian class seems mainly to depend on climate, on the degree of solar heat to which there is exposure, for they are all born with light complexions, and become dark only as they grow up, and are more freely acted on by the sun. Their hue is found to deepen by a regular gradation from the farthest north, where the members of this class are very fair, through the olive-colored inhabitants of Southern Europe, and the swarthy Moors of Northern Africa, till the gradation ends with the deep black natives of the African and Arabian deserts, and of inter-tropical India. The lighter shades of color, however, prevail among the Caucasians, and hence they are correctly styled the white race, though some of them are jet black. Their hair is variously melanic and xanthous, always long, and never woolly like that of the Negroes.

In the Mongolian class, that of the brown man of Gmelin, the head, instead of being round, is almost square; the face is broad and flat, with the parts imperfectly distinguished; the arches of the eye-brows are scarcely to be perceived. The complexion is generally olive, sometimes very slight, and approaching to yellow; but none of this class are known to be fair. The eyes are small and black; the hair, dark and strong, but seldom curled, or in great abundance; and there is little or no beard. This division embraces the tribes that occupy the central, east, north, and south-east parts of Asia; the people of China and Japan, of Thibet, Bootan, and Indo-China, the Finns and Laplanders of Northern Europe, and the Esquimaux on the shores of the Arctic ocean. Climate influences the color of many of this class, those parts of the body protected from the sun being much lighter than those that are uncovered. Dr. Abeel mentions, that when he saw the Chinese boatmen throw off their clothes, for the purpose of entering the water to push along the boats, they appeared, when quite naked, as if dressed in light-colored trowsers.

In the Ethiopic division, that of the black man of Gmelin, the head is narrow and compressed at the sides: the forehead very convex and vaulted; the cheek-bones project forward; the nostrils are wide, the nose spread, and is almost confounded with the cheeks; the lips are thick, particularly the upper one; the lower part of the face projects considerably; and the skull is in general thick and heavy. The iris of the eye, which is deep-seated, and the skin of this class, are black, as well as the hair, which is generally woolly. These characteristics of the Negroes vary less than those of the two former classes, because they are chiefly confined to one climate within the tropics, whereas the Mongolians and Caucasians are spread through every variety of temperature, from the equator to the polar circle. The division comprises the native Africans to the south of the Sahara and Abyssinia, and of course those who have been transported to the West Indies and America, the natives of New Holland, and various tribes scattered through the islands of the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Archipelago. Though, for the reason stated, this class exhibits a great general uniformity, examples are not wanting of beauty of feature, and fine stature and proportions, in several races belonging to this department of mankind.

The American variety, that of the red man of Gmelin, approaches to the Mongolian, but the head is less square; the cheek-bones are prominent, yet not so angular as in the Mongol; the forehead is low, the eyes deep-seated, and the features, viewed in profile, are strongly marked. The skin is red, or of an obscure orange, rusty iron, and copper color, sometimes nearly black, according to climate and circumstances. The native American tribes and nations, excepting the Esquimaux, and the descendants of African and European colonists, belong to this class.

In the Malay class, that of the tawny man of Gmelin, the top of the head is slightly narrowed; the face is less narrow than that of the Negro; the features are generally more prominent; the hair is black, soft, curled, and abundant; the color of the skin is tawny, but sometimes approaching to that of mahogany. The division embraces the principal tribes of the Indian archipelago, and all the islanders of the Pacific excepting those which belong to the Ethiopic variety.

The preceding five great divisions of Blumenbach are reduced by some naturalists to three, who consider the Malay class to be only a sub-variety of the Caucasian, and the American a sub-variety of the Mongolian. Cuvier gives only three distinct, well-marked divisions, the white or Caucasian, the yellow or Mongolian, and the Negro or Ethiopic; at the same time stating that several tribes diverge so remarkably, that they can scarcely be referred to any one of these varieties. In reality, the more extended arrangement of Blumenbach is but a very imperfect classification of mankind, for not only individuals but whole tribes, incorporated in each particular division, have distinctive characters which separate them from the rest of the class, and some peculiarities of one division are frequently traceable in the others. The Caucasians might be readily divided into a large number of races, each having definite characteristics. This is the case also with the Ethiopic class, for there is nearly as much difference between the New Hollanders and the woolly-headed Africans, included in the same department of the human species, and between a Bosjesmen, a Caffre, and a Negro of Soudan, who are also comprised in the Ethiopic variety, as between a Caucasian, Mongolian, and Malay. It has also occurred, that from the spirit of conquest and peaceful colonization, nations belonging to the divisions of Blumenbach have become commingled, and have produced, by intermarriage, races which cannot be distinctly traced to either the one or the other of the parent classes. The Mongols, for instance, have spread out from central Asia and largely intermixed with the Caucasians, especially toward their western frontiers, while the Caucasians have intruded into every quarter of the globe, and blended themselves with the native inhabitants of the countries they have overrun. The Europeans and Negroes produce Mulattos; Europeans and Mulattos produce Tercerons; Europeans and Tercerons produce Quadroons, in whom the alleged contamination of dark blood is no longer visible, and the Negro character disappears. On the other hand, the offspring of a Mulatto and a Negro, pairing with a Negro, the decided African character appears in the children. Indians and Europeans produce Mestizos; Indians and Negroes produce Zambos; Europeans and Zambos and Indians and Zambos produce respective varieties. It is obvious, therefore, that the preceding divisions of mankind, principally derived from the supposed origin of nations, can only be regarded as extremely general.

Attending exclusively to the form of the human skull, Dr. Prichard discriminates three leading varieties:—The symmetrical or oval form, which is that of the European and western Asiatic nations; the narrow and elongated skull, of which the most strongly marked example is perhaps the cranium of the Negro of the Gold Coast; the broad and square-faced skull of the Mongols afford a fair specimen, and the Esquimaux an exaggerated one.

3. The other principal physical variations observable between different nations refer to the proportion of the limbs, to stature, to the texture of the skin, and to the character of the hair. Large hands and broad and flat feet are among the peculiarities of the Negro; and in general, the arm below the elbow is more elongated in proportion to the length of the upper arm and the height of the person, than in the case of Europeans. But among the latter, individual examples of the same constructions occur; while among the former, instances of structure after the European type may be found. As it respects stature, the variations are not remarkable in relation to the majority of mankind; but a striking discrepancy appears upon comparing a few isolated tribes. America exhibits the extremes of stature—in the Esquimaux who are generally below five feet, and in the Patagonians who are usually more than six, and frequently as much as seven; but individual specimens of both extremes are observed among the inhabitants of almost every country. Europe has often presented the human form developed in gigantic and dwarfish proportions. The contrasts are striking with reference to the texture of the skin; that of the Negroes and some of the South Sea islanders being always cooler, more soft and velvety than that of the Europeans. Connected probably with varieties of the skin in texture are the various odors which it is well-known belong to different races. “The Peruvian Indians,” says Humbolt, “who in the middle of the night distinguish the different races by their quick sense of smell, have formed three words to express the odor of the Europeans, the Indian Americans, and the Negro.” The diversities are great and obvious in the character of the hair from that of the Negro, which is short and crisp, and has acquired the name of wool, to the long, flowing, and glossy locks of the Esquimaux, between which there are many gradations.

Precisely parallel varieties are ascertained to arise in the same race of animals. Those of the domestic kind “vary from each other in size much more than individuals the most different in stature among mankind.” The small Welsh cattle compared with the large flocks of the southern counties in England; or the Shetland ponies with the tall-backed mares of Flanders; the bantam breed with the large English fowls, are well known examples. More striking instances are mentioned by naturalists. In the isles of the Celebes, a race of buffaloes is said to exist, which is of the size of a common sheep; and Pennant has described a variety of the horse in Ceylon, not more than thirty inches in height. The swine of Cuba, imported into that island from Europe, have become double the height and magnitude of the stock from which they were derived. The disproportionate arm of the Negro and leg of the Hindoo meet an exact parallel in the swine of Normandy, the hind-quarters of which are so out of keeping with the fore, that the back forms an inclined plane to the head; and as the head itself partakes of the same direction, the snout is but a little removed from the ground. Among domesticated animals, no species afford more striking specimens of modification in structure than the hog tribe. The external forms which the race has assumed surpass in monstrosity the most extraordinary diversities of the human frame. “Swine,” observes Blumenbach, “in some countries have degenerated into races which, in singularity, far exceed every thing that has been found strange in bodily variety among the human race. Swine with solid hoofs were known to the ancients, and large breeds of them are found in Hungary and Sweden. In like manner the European swine first carried by the Spaniards in 1509 to the island of Cuba—at that time celebrated for its pearl-fishery—degenerated into a monstrous race, with toes that were half a span in length.” The texture of the skin of several species of animals is different in a wild and in a domesticated condition; and the character of the hair exhibits analogous variations to that of the tribes of mankind. In the instance of a neglected flock of sheep, the fine wool is soon succeeded by a coarser kind, and the breed approximates to the argali, or wild sheep of Siberia, the original stock, which are covered with hair. The covering of the goat and dog displays the same variety. Thus, the several external distinctions from each other which the nations of men develop, must be admitted to be plainly compatible with their forming a single species, when distinctions of a parallel nature, but more numerous and singular, have arisen within the limits of a species in the inferior animal creation. It may be difficult, nay impossible, to explain the phenomena of external variation—but surely it would be a matter of surprise if it did not exist, considering the variation of external circumstances—artic cold and tropical heat—flowery savannas and arid deserts—civilization and barbarism—liberty and oppression—scantiness of food and an abundant supply—nutritious food and a feebly supporting fare—the feeling of security and the sense of danger.

If the existence of varieties of structure and complexion offers no argument against the common nature and origin of the millions of mankind in the slightest degree valid, their identity as a species is strongly supported by adverting to the general laws of their animal economy. These have reference to the manner of their birth, the period of gestation, the duration of life, and the casualties in the form of diseases to which they are subject; and, in all these respects, a general coincidence proclaims the unity of the human population of the globe. As to longevity, it is the case indeed that the barbarian tribes are shorter-lived than the cultivated races; but this is owing to the physical hardships under which they suffer, and to ignorance of the appropriate remedies to use under the assailments of sickness, freedom from the former and a knowledge of the latter being possessed by all civilized nations. Facts prove that, in circumstances favorable to extreme longevity, the Europeans, the most polished communities, have no preëminence over the tribes of Africa, among the least advanced in the social scale. Mr. Easton, of Salisbury, gives the following instances of advanced age from the Europeans and Asiatics—

In A. D.   Aged.
Appollonius at Tyana99   130
St. Patrick491   122
Attila500   124
Leywarch Hêw500   150
St. Coemgene618   120
Piastus, King of Poland861   120
Thomas Parr1635   152
Henry Jenkins1670   169
Countess of Desmond1612   145
Thomas Damme1648   154
Peter Torton1724   185
Margaret Patters1739   137
John Rovin and Wife1741   172 & 164
St. Mougah or Kentigern1781   185

In juxtaposition with this list, we may place the following observation of Humbolt relating to the native Americans: “It is by no means uncommon,” he remarks, “to see at Mexico, in the temperate zone, half-way up the Cordillera, natives—and especially women—reach a hundred years of age. This old age is generally comfortable; for the Mexicans and Peruvian Indians preserve their strength to the last. While I was at Lima, the Indian, Hilario Sari, died at the village of Chiguata, four leagues distant from the town of Arequipa, at the age of one hundred and forty-three. She had been united in marriage for ninety years to an Indian of the name of Andrea Alea Zar, who attained the age of one hundred and seventeen. This old Peruvian went, at the age of one hundred and thirty, a distance of from three to four leagues daily on foot.” Dr. Prichard, from various sources, collected a variety of remarkable instances of Negro longevity, of which the two following are samples—

December 5th, 1830—Died at St. Andrews, Jamaica, the property of Sir Edward Hyde East, Robert Lynch, a negro slave in comfortable circumstances, who perfectly recollected the great earthquake in 1692, and further recollected the person and equipages of the Lieutenant-governor Sir Henry Morgan, whose third and last governorship commenced in 1680; viz.—one hundred and fifty years before. Allowing for this early recollection the age of ten years, this negro must have died at the age of one hundred and sixty.

Died, February 17th, 1823, in the bay of St. John’s, Antigua, a black woman named Statira. She was a slave, and was hired as a day-laborer during the building of the gaol, and was present at the laying of the corner-stone, which ceremony took place one hundred and sixteen years ago. She also stated that she was a young woman grown, when the President Sharp assumed the administration of the island, which was in 1706. Allowing her to be fourteen years old at that time, we must conclude her age to be upward of one hundred and thirty years.

The same authority received from a physician at St. Vincent’s as an answer to his query this statement—

“I have known a great many very old Negroes, whose exact ages could not be ascertained. At the time of the hurricane in 1831, I had a record of the mortality in the whole of my practice from the year 1813, and in every year there were deaths of Negroes computed to be sixty, seventy, or eighty years of age, and upward. My father will be eighty-four years old in May next, and the Negro woman who carried him about as a child is still living, and at the age of ninety-six enjoying good health, upright in figure, and capable of walking several miles.” It may be true that the Negroes regarded in mass exhibit a shorter term of life than the European average; but this is sufficiently explained by the privations of their lot in the colonies to which they have been transported, and by an unfavorable climatic influence and geographical site in their native country. The preceding facts show, that there is no law forbidding the Negro to attain a longevity equal to that of the European, in circumstances friendly to it; while placing the European in subjection to the same amount of toil in the West Indies, or planting him amid the swamps, the luxuriant vegetation, the inundations, and heat of Western Africa, and his term of life in general would not come up to the Negro standard. It appears from the researches of Major Tulloch, as embodied in statistical reports printed by the House of Commons, that neither the Saxon, nor Celtic, nor mixed race, composing the troops of Great Britain, can withstand—even under the most favorable circumstances—the deleterious influence of a tropical climate. It is shown, also, that this result is not to be attributed to intemperance, the besetting vice of all soldiers; for though temperance diminishes the effects of climate, and adds to the chances of the European, it is by no means a permanent security. So far as regards the vast regions of the earth, the most fertile, the richest, the question as to their permanent occupancy by the Saxon and Celt—as Britain, or France, or any other country, is now occupied by its native inhabitants—appears, from these reports, to be answered in the negative. “The Anglo-Saxon is now pushing himself toward the tropical countries; but can the Saxon maintain himself in these countries? It is to be feared not. Experience seems to indicate that neither the Saxon nor Celtic races can maintain themselves, in the strict sense of the word, within tropical countries. To enable them to do so, they require a slave population of native laborers, or of colored men at least. The instances of Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and Columbia, where the Spanish and Portuguese seem to be able to maintain their ground, do not bear so directly on the question as many may suppose; for, in the first place, we know not precisely the extent to which these have mingled with the dark and native races; and secondly, the emigrants from Spain and Portugal partook, in all probability, more of the Moor, Pelasgic, and even Arab blood, than of the Celt or Saxon.”

A careful comparison of different tribes leads to the conclusion, that the general phenomena of human life, or those processes which are termed the natural functions, the laws of the animal economy, are remarkably uniform, making allowance for the influence of climates, of modes of living, of localities, and of the accidents which interrupt the natural course. The age of puberty announces itself by corresponding symptoms, and that of advanced life by analogous signs of decrepitude, the decrease of the humors, the loss or decay of sight, and of the other senses, and a change in the color of the hair. All communities of men appear open to the attack of all kinds of disease, though a few haunt particular districts, and of course only prey upon those who are exposed to their invasion. In some cases, it is only the old inhabitants of these neighborhoods that are attacked, as in the instance of the plica polonica, which afflicts the Sarmatic race on and near the banks of the Vistula, from which the German residents are in a great measure free. But this proves no specific difference between the two, but only shows that, to acquire a predisposition to certain local complaints is a work of time, and will probably appear in new settlers after the lapse of centuries. There is a well-marked variety in the constitution of nations, and in their liability to certain given disorders; but the difference between the torpid American and the irritable European is not greater than the common varieties of constitution which meet us within the bounds of the same family, and which render its different members peculiarly subject to different complaints. The conclusion to which these considerations point—that of the identity of mankind as a species—is strongly supported by the fecundity of the offspring of parents of different races. Hunter and other naturalists have advanced it as a law, that if the offspring of two individual animals belonging to different breeds is found to be capable of procreation, the parent animals—though differing from each other in some particulars—are of the same species; and if the offspring so engendered is sterile, then the races from which it descended are originally distinct. This is a position to which there are many exceptions; but it is undoubtedly true, that the energy of propagation is very defective in the product of a union of different species. Tried by this test, the inference is in favor of a common nature belonging to all mankind; for the mixture of originally far-separated human races has repeatedly resulted in a numerous population, physically equal, and in many instances superior, to either branch of the ancestral stock.

A variety of evidence—psychical and moral, physical and philological—rebukes the ancient boast of Attica, that the Greeks descended from no other stock of men; the first occupants of the country springing out of the soil—an opinion held by the populace, but not the creed of the philosophers. One of the most distinguished anatomists of the day, who cannot be suspected of any prejudice upon the question—Mr. Lawrence—draws this induction from an extensive series of facts and reasonings—“that the human species—like that of the cow, sheep, horse, and pig, and others—is single; and that all the differences which it exhibits are to be regarded merely as varieties.” In what particular spot the location of the primal pair was situated, and what race now makes the nearest approximation to the original type, are points of some interest, but of no importance, and are now involved in an obscurity which it is impossible to remove. That the primitive man occupied some part of the country traversed by the Tigris and Euphrates appears to be the best supported opinion, as it is the most general; and from thence there is no difficulty in conceiving the diffusion of the race to the remotest habitable districts, in the course of ages. In the infancy of society, an increasing population would speedily outstrip the means of subsistence to be found in a limited district, inducing the necessity of emigration to an unoccupied territory—a proceeding which the natural love of adventure, with the spirit of curiosity and acquisition, so influential in later ages, could not fail to facilitate. Considering the connection of Asia, Africa, and Europe, the approximation of the northern parts of the two great continents, with the contiguity of the islands of Asia to it, we cannot marvel that the races spreading out to these points, should devise means to cross rivers, scale mountains, penetrate into deserts, and navigate the sea. The spur of necessity, the excitement of enterprise, the stimulus of ambition, the occurrence of accident, and sometimes the influence of fear, created by the commission of crime, have all contributed to this result; but perhaps man has more frequently than otherwise become the involuntary occupant of isolated and distant isles. Three inhabitants of Tahiti had their canoe drifted to the island Wateoo, a distance of five hundred and fifty miles; and Malte Brun relates that, in 1696, two canoes, containing thirty persons, were thrown by storms and contrary winds upon one of the Philippines, eight hundred miles from their own islands. Kotzebue also states that, in one of the Caroline isles he became acquainted with Kadu, a native of Ulea. Kadu, with three of his countrymen, left Ulea in a sailing-boat for a day’s excursion, when a violent storm arose, and drove them out of their course. For eight months they drifted about in the open sea, according to their reckoning by the moon, making a knot on a cord at every new moon. Being expert fishermen, they were able to maintain themselves by the produce of the sea; and caught the falling rain in some vessels that were on board. Kadu—being a diver—frequently went down to the bottom, where it is well known that the water is not so salt, taking a cocoanut shell with only a small opening to receive a supply. When these castaways at last drew near to land, every hope and almost every feeling had died within them; but, by the care of the islanders of Aur, they were soon restored to perfect health. Their distance from home, in a direct line, was one thousand five hundred miles.






    Good Friend—dear heart—companion of my youth,

  Whose soul was honor, and whose words were truth;

  Methinks I see your smile of quick surprise,

  As o’er these rhymes you glance your curious eyes.

  But is it strange, if in an idle hour,

  I cull these blossoms from the Muses’ bower?

  Frail though they be, and blown but for a day,

  The heart’s best language they may best convey;

  In climes more genial, more adorned than ours,

  The poet and the lover talk with flowers;

  Then, though some richer gift were mine, to send,

  This should be thine, my old familiar friend.

  If for a while it cheat thee of a care,

  With fond remembrance of the things that were—

  Renew a thought, a hope that once was dear,

  Or hint an adage for a future year,

  I scarce shall think these lines were vainly writ,

  Nor quite disown my Muse’s random wit.


    Time, that has made us boys, and makes as men,

  Will never, never bring the past again;

  But wingéd memory half the wish supplies,

  Which he who bears the scythe and glass denies:

  He—the grim sexton of our dying years—

  She—“Old Mortality” of sepulchres—

  Both lay their fingers where our lives have flown,

  And touch, in turn, each monumental stone.


    Recall, my friend, the days when sent to school,

  We framed our first idea of tyrant rule.

  Long ere we turned the world’s dark pages o’er,

  Glued with the vassal’s tears, the martyr’s gore—

  Knew that a Cæsar passed a Rubicon,

  Or wrongful Britain laid a Stamp-act on,

  We drudged in study at another’s will,

  While the free light fell warm on wood and hill—

  Wrought with the service of an eye askance,

  Beneath a master’s rogue-detecting glance:

  Possessed with fear, lest trick or task might draw

  The rod that fell without the forms of law;

  Possessed with wrath to see our wealth expire—

  Tops, apples, penknives in the penal fire.

    How oft the slate, whose sable field should show

  Platoons of figures ranked in studied row—

  Squadrons of sums arrayed in careful lines—

  Victualled with grocer’s bills of fruits and wines,

  Betrayed a scene that crowned a day’s disgrace,

  Before that sternly, sadly smiling face—

  Trees, houses, elephants, and dogs and men,

  Where half the Arabian’s science should have been;

  And only this much learned, of figured lore,

  That time subtracted—always left a score.


    But when those long-loved hours were come, that took

  From those reveréd hands the rod and book,

  Our, like all vassal hearts, set quickly free,

  Sought at a bound the largest liberty.

  Self-exiled then, to meadow stream and wood,

  We dropped half-read the tale of Robin Hood;

  Though guiltless of his suits of Lincoln green,

  Dear, as to him, was every sylvan scene.

    Shade of old Crusoe, with thy dog and gun,

  And thy lone isle beneath a southern sun!

  Shades of the lords that made such rare disport

  Beneath the oaks of Arden’s rural court!

  As o’er my little day I cast my view,

  Contrasting what I know, with what I knew,

  Your lot no hardship seems: to you were given

  The world of nature and the lights of heaven,

  What time the sun came flaming from the deep,

  Bursting the curtained clouds of morning sleep,

  Or night, majestic, paced the solemn skies,

  Wrapped in a woof of starry mysteries—

  All times, all seasons, as they came and went,

  Soothed with sweet thought the ills of banishment.

  No rude, unbidden guest invaded there,

  Nor the harsh din of congregated care;

  The heart, all ruffled in the haunts of men,

  Like to a quiet sea became again—

  Like to the deep reflection of the skies,

  Its faith-born hopes, and sage moralities.


    This much, at least, my devious muse would say:

  Our golden age, my friend, has passed away—

  Passed, with the careless dress, and elfin looks,

  That showed our books were trees and running brooks.

  But something more I would awhile recall,

  Then let, with lingering hand, the curtain fall.

  Dear to this heart—O now how passing dear,

  With the sad change of each dispatchful year!—

  Seems every waif of hours when life was new,

  Though home’s small scene contained its little view.

  Home that, however mean or grand, supplies

  A gay kaleidoscope to youthful eyes.

  Say not, gray Wisdom, that its wonders pass,

  The mere deceit of beads and broken glass.

  Here, to thy rugged front, and locks of snow,

  Thy solemn eye, and beard’s descending flow,

  I dare avouch, of life’s most pleasing way,

  The best is gilded with the morning ray.

  See all our life the coinage of our eye;

  (O shut thy book—let go philosophy!)

  In Youth the pennies pass, ’tis no less strange

  That Age and Manhood clink the silver change.

  Through all estates our joys alike are vain;

  Then chide not one who turns to youth again.

  One rainbow vision of youth’s earnest eyes

  Is worth a stack of staid philosophies.


    Fields, waters, forests where we roamed of yore,

  What thronging memories haunt ye evermore:

  In yonder glen the brook is gliding still,

  Whose turf-dammed waters turned the mimic mill.

  Yon wood still woos us to its deep embrace,

  Whose shadows wrought a summer’s resting place,

  When from our brows the caps were careless thrown,

  The hunter’s tackle and the game laid down,

  As the long daylight, wearing towards a close,

  Breathed the soft airs of languor and repose.

  There, stretched at length, we mused, with half shut eye,

  To the leaf-kissing wind’s light lullaby,

  That, ever and anon, with murmur deep,

  Did through the pine’s Æolian organ creep.

  Tired with the varied travel of the day,

  The sound of game unheeded passed away—

  The bursting thunder of a partridge wing—

  The frolick blue-jay’s nasal caroling—

  The tawny thrush, that peeped with curious look,

  A rustic starer, from his leafy nook—

  The crow, hoarse cawing as we met his eye—

  The squirrels, bickering on the oaks hard by;

  Red-liveried elves, who taught their brains to say—

  “Whene’er the cat doth sleep the mice may play.”

  No more they feared the gun’s successless skill,

  Banged with clear malice, and intent to kill,

  But shelled their nuts with self-complacent air,

  And chid as, plainly, for invading there.

    Through loopholes of the intertwisted green

  Came the far glimpse of many a sylvan scene—

  Parts of a smiling vale, a glorious sphere,

  Warm with the vigorous manhood of the year;

  Deep-bosomed haunts, where honest-handed toil

  Renewed the strength that dressed his native soil,

  While the gray spire, towards the drooping west,

  With heavenward finger, showed a world of rest.





  Oh, would I were a child again!

    A child with spirit free,

  Singing glad songs of merriment

    Beneath the hawthorn tree,

  Watching the many-colored clouds

    Pursue their course on high,

  Trying to count the silver stars

    That gem the evening sky,

  Weaving, beside bright sparkling streams,

    A wreath of sunny flowers,

  Or reading wondrous fairy tales,

    In green, sequestered bowers.

  The lights, the sounds of Nature then

    My happy hours beguiled;

  Would I could feel their power again—

    Oh, would I were a child!


  I chose my sprightly playmates then

    For simplicity and mirth,

  I cared not for the lofty

    Or the great ones of the earth;

  Rich in the love of cherished friends,

    I asked no monied store,

  Save to relieve the beggar’s wants,

    That wandered to my door.

  I wrote my artless verses then

    Without effort, toil, or aim,

  And read them to a list’ning group,

    Without a hope of fame;

  By worldly views, ambitious dreams,

    My thoughts were undefiled;

  Would I were now as free from care—

    Oh, would I were a child!


  Yet soon my youthful heart began

    To spurn a life like this,

  I deemed the far-off glittering world

    A fairy land of bliss;

  I left my playmates to their sports

    And castles built in air;

  I dreamed of scenes through which I moved

    A lady, proud and fair,

  And, while my short and simple tasks

    With careless haste I conned,

  I longed to study learned lore

    My feeble powers beyond—

  Like Rassalas around me

    The Happy Valley smiled,

  Yet I longed to leave its limits

    And cease to be a child.


  The magic circle of the world

    I now have stood within,

  Yet I turn from its frivolity,

    I tremble at its sin.

  And Knowledge! my long cherished hope,

    The object of my love,

  She still eludes my eager quest,

    Still soars my grasp above;

  I add from her bright treasury

    New jewels to my store,

  Yet miserable, I murmur

    That I cannot grasp in more,

  Before me seem exhaustless heaps

    Of mental riches piled,

  Yet still, in learning’s brightest gifts,

    I feel myself a child.


  Oh foolish, oh repining heart,

    Thus willfully to cast

  Vain wishes to the Future,

    Fond longings to the Past!

  Panting to overleap the bounds

    Of childhood’s simple track,

  Anxious to ’scape from woman’s cares

    And trace the journey back;

  Should I not rather be content

    To pass from youth to age

  Striving to do my appointed work

    In life’s short pilgrimage?

  Then let me school my rebel heart,

    And calm my fancies wild,

  And be in meek, submissive love

    Indeed a little child.





Fatherly, motherly,

Sisterly, brotherly

  Feelings had changed:

Love by harsh evidence

  Thrown from its eminence,

    Even God’s providence

      Seeming estranged.         Bridge of Sighs.


Medical students are merry fellows. This is one of the settled convictions of the world. Any one who dare assert that medical students are not lively, reckless youths, would be considered very ignorant, or devoid of truth. And the world in a received opinion is right for once. The majority of them, bred at home, the sons of wealthy parents, are sent to large cities, to pass in crowds the season of lecture; and, being suddenly removed beyond restraint, and countenanced by each other, it is little wonder they break into youthful extravagance, that too often ends in habits of sin and misery. The short passage between the hospital and dissecting-room rings with laughter, and the wild exuberance of youth blooms like a flower, rich and rank among graves. The hotel in which I have passed the winter, is in the neighborhood of a medical college, and my two little rooms look down upon the street along which troups of students pass laughing and chatting—in their queer dresses, made up of sacks, blouses, and caps. From time to time, as my health would permit, I have, reminded by these youths, given the history of a medical student, who came from the same sunny plains upon which I passed three of my happiest years. I give it here much curtailed, and only regret that facts cannot be made more entertaining.

The scenery of the U-na-ka plains is exceedingly beautiful and peculiar. Yet one traveling from early morn till even, over roads level as a railway, may at last become wearied with a sameness of quiet beauty that seems to be without end. But to see the specimens preserved in Frankenstein’s sketches, is to have a life-pension in pictured loveliness. The green sward, cropped close by huge droves of cattle, stretches out for miles and miles, dotted by groves of bur-oak, interlacing their gnarled boughs, upon which the bright green foliage hangs denser than that of any other species of American tree, or threaded by silvery rivulets that glide slowly along between flowery banks, as if they seemed loath to leave the paradise they adorn, or broken by little wood-covered mounds that swell up like islands in a flowery sea; or one sees a little lake calmly mirroring the quiet heavens above, like a beautiful nun in a cloistered convent. No rocks, no distant mountains melting in the hazy noon—no wide seas or sweeping rivers—no swelling uplands, yet in their own, quiet way the U-na-ka plains are as beautiful as they.

As the Frankensteins selected knots of still beauty to immortalize on canvas, so the Hon. William Fletcher selected a scene of exceeding beauty in the midst of which to place his home, and gratify his taste for retirement, where he could look the fairest nature in the face. A dreamy, indolent man of fine intellect, he had struggled for years at the bar with various success, when, through the influence of some friends, he was elevated to the bench, and shortly after, a near relative dying, left him an immense fortune. The judge gave up his judgeship, presented his fine library to a nephew, and, with wife and only child, retired to his U-na-ka farm, to settle down over books and dreams for the remainder of his useless life. He would have certainly accomplished this sleepy purpose, but for the only child—a boy—who acted upon the Hon. Mr. Fletcher like a corn, with the difference that love, not hate, made the young development of himself exceedingly troublesome.

The younger Fletcher, humored by the indolent father and fond mother, had every whim gratified, every wish anticipated. When the educated selfishness proposed breaking his neck by riding a colt that seemed unmanageable, the proposition was acceded to by the foolish parents amid earnest protestations, prayers, and loud lamentations. From the time he fell from the table, in a fit of indigestion, having gorged himself with plum-cake, to his nineteenth year, when he discharged a load of small shot from his double-barrel Manton into the back of John, the coachman, and cost his father a large sum to keep his heir out of jail, Dudley Fletcher had his own way—and a bad way it was. Yet Dudley was popular. He had plenty of money, and no care for it. His selfishness was ignorant thoughtlessness, for he did many generous acts—if they cost him little trouble. His hand went to and from his well-filled purse quite easily—and he flung his father’s money from him like a lord.

When in his nineteenth year, one pair of sparkling black eyes at least saw Dudley dash by upon his blood mare without dislike. These eyes belonged to a little girl, the daughter of one of the Hon. Fletcher’s tenants; and however beautiful the orbs were, the setting was in keeping. A prettier specimen of Heaven’s choicest handiwork never peeped out in hill and woodland. Upon the most exclusive carpets she would have been a distinguished feature, so delicate, graceful and beautiful was she; but in the U-na-ka wilds, she looked like a water-lily turning up its pure, pale face from a marshy pool. Dudley, just at the age when youths, like creepers, stretch out their arms to cling to something, saw and loved the little cottager—the tenant’s daughter. Dudley had ever been gratified with all he sighed for, and, of course, saw no obstacle in the path to obtain what he so earnestly admired. He waded in to pluck the lily, never seeing the slime and earth that might cling to him in the act. To do the youth justice, however, he was as sincere and honest in his hopes, as thoughtless, selfish youths ever are. He paled apace—his appetite came like country cousins, unexpectedly; he read much poetry, and wandered about at unseasonable hours. His fond, good mother, said the private tutor kept Dudley too close at his books. The Hon. Fletcher said the boy had the dyspepsia—the tutor hinted the truth, but no one listened.

How the youth prospered in his wooing, the tutor himself soon had striking proof. This private pedagogue was a large, dirty man, who wore his hair standing on end, and kept his nails in mourning. Somewhat indignant at not being heard when he suggested the real cause of Dudley’s trouble, this mortal made himself a committee of one, to investigate and report. By close watching he discovered that his pupil was in the habit of stealing out at a late hour of the night to stroll past the cottage, whistling as he went a popular melody. By closer observations he discovered that soon after this performance, a white little fairy flitted by and disappeared in the willow grove, that fringed the brook. Ah! ha! thought the tutor, we will have occular proof. He gave himself up to a few days’ hard thinking, which resulted in a plot. One dark night, shortly after he had the Hon. Fletcher and his hopeful closeted in deep discourse, while the mother sat with her knitting close by, throwing in a few maternal remarks upon Dudley’s ill-health and close application, the redoubtable tutor wrapped himself comfortably in the idea of a successful trick, and stalked past the cottage and whistled, well as he was able, the popular melody. Then he stole into the willow grove. The night, as I have said, was dark and stormy. The heavens, veiled by heavy clouds, gave no light, and the willows swung to and fro in the fitful winds that swept through them. The tutor listened—he heard a quick, light step, and turned. Alas! no loving arms were clasped around his neck, no gentle words were whispered in his ears, but, in their place, a cudgel fell upon his nose, breaking down that important feature. The blow knocked the tutor down, but recovering, with a wild cry of murder, he fled—his speed greatly increased by a shower of thumps that for awhile rained upon his back. He reached the house, and, with a face like Banquo’s, rushed through the library, frightening the Hon. Fletcher, wife, and son terribly.

The next morning the elder Mr. Fletcher was wondering what confounded scrape that fool tutor had been in. Thomas Wickley, the father of the pretty Mary, entered his apartment. He came in, as justly indignant fathers always do upon the stage, and told his story very much as Reynolds or Coleman would have had him.

“You say my son has been paying improper attention to your daughter?”

“I do.”

“And that you beat him for it?”

“Yes—and I guess he carries the marks this morning, for I made them last night.”

The Hon. Fletcher opened wide his blue eyes, and then burst into a roar of laughter. Wickley looked at the unseasonable merriment sullen and indignant. The Hon. Fletcher smoothed his wrinkled front immediately.

“Excuse me, sir; my merriment is out of place. I feel deeply for you—but I can soon convince you of a slight mistake.”

“No you can’t,” was the rude response.

“Yes, I think I can; and let me assure you, I give no countenance to such things. If you wish, they shall be married, or this fellow must quit my house. Wait one moment, I have sent for my son.”

“Judge Fletcher, you are an honest man, if you are rich,” began Wickley, when he was interrupted by the entrance of Dudley. The young man started when he saw the visitor; but his face was as smooth as youth and soap could make.

“You say you beat my son last night—he did not leave the house: You say you beat him—he certainly does not look in that plight.”

The man stared, evidently puzzled; but fumbling at his pocket, he pulled out a bundle of letters, and spread them before his honor.

“I don’t know who I did beat last night. I did beat some one, that’s a fact. But maybe you’d tell me who writ them?”

The judge took the first papers. It was Dudley’s writing, and, at arm’s length, looked frightfully like poetry. He examined it closely, and found a lyric of seventeen verses, of an amorous, mystic character. The reader must not think me romancing if I give as specimens a few lines of the best. Men in love will spin out just such gossamer threads, that, floating in the merry sunlight of youth, look very beautiful. A steady member of the bar, who, I doubt not, is at this moment in his dull, grim office, pouring over musty law books, looking as if the jingle of a rhyme would be as annoying as a poor client, did, once upon a time, address volumes of verse to me, until he found that I was in a fair mood to label all as “rejected addresses,” when he suddenly took to special pleading with eminent success. To poor Dudley’s poetry.

  ’Tis sad, sweet May, to part with thee,

    More sad than words may tell;

  To give thy form to Memory,

    To breathe a last farewell;

  How long thy every thought and tone

    Of mine have been a part;

  And now to tread life’s path alone,

    Oh! well may break my heart.


  As dew is to the drooping flower,

    As night-stars to the sea,

  As sunlight to the summer hour,

    Is thy sweet voice to me.

  Oh! gentle May—soul of my heart⁠—

    Oh! wild-bird of the wood;

  Thy holier nature grows my part

    Of all that’s pure and good.

“Did you write this stuff?” asked the father, after he had, with cruel deliberation, read the seventeen verses, while Dudley stood by, his face covered with blushes.

“I did, sir.”

“And what do you mean by it—am I to understand that you have been secretly addressing this man’s daughter?”

“Yes, sir. I love Mary Wickley, and intend to marry her.”

This little speech had been carefully prepared in anticipation of just such a scene; and Dudley intended to speak it boldly and well, as the preface to an eloquent effort in behalf of virtuous love and a cottage ornée. But, alas! between the resolution and the act lay a wide difference. He faltered out the first sentence, and the last words died, suffocated in his throat; and he stood before the cold, calm face of the judge, more like a criminal than an advocate. Mr. Wickley was quite astonished and puzzled at Judge Fletcher’s not following up his bold, virtuous sentence of marriage or expulsion. Mary’s father was dismissed with vague promises of justice, and Dudley locked in his room. After which, Judge Fletcher, wife, and tutor, went into solemn deliberation with closed doors. The result of that consultation was a determination to send Dudley into honorable exile. “He is old enough to enter upon the study of a profession,” said the judge, “and we will place him in Doctor Calomel’s office, and let him live with his aunt, Mrs. Col. Hays. He will see something of the world, and be cured of absurdities in behalf of love and poverty.”

The dim twilight of the next early dawn saw Dudley seated by the driver upon the stage, and, as he felt the huge affair swing under him, the horses trotting briskly along, the cool fresh breeze fanning his cheeks, and birds making vocal the road-side, the sensation was not that of the utter desolation that fell upon the heart of the little girl who saw the blushing morn and merry birds through tears. The one had change of scene, and elegant solitude, leisure and quiet to minister to his miseries—the other choked down her grief before a harsh unfeeling parent, and turned to weary drudgery, lightened by no kind words, no looks of gentle sympathy. Save us from our friends should read—Lord, save us from our natural guardians.

Dudley, in the midst of the vast city, opened his books under the guidance of Doctor Calomel, and entered society under the guardianship of Mrs. Col. Hays. Dr. Calomel taught him the grand mystery of dosing—Mrs. Col. Hays gave him lessons in the sublime mystery of being dosed. This lady, elegant, beautiful, and rich, had great sway in what is considered “the world.” Her house was thronged with fashionable nonentities—her will undisputed, and her wishes carefully considered by a dozen other families, who held in common with her iron sway over society. She was cold, correct, graceful—in fact, a thoroughbred woman of the world. No stain had ever fallen upon her snowy character; she turned with freezing dignity upon the slightest departure from rectitude, and yet was the most perfect teacher of vice Satan ever commissioned. Dudley was dazzled and delighted; and when he compared the splendor of his aunt’s drawing-room, satined, slippered, powdered and perfumed, the contrast between Mary—poor little Mary—and those fashionables in his mind, was great; and when Mrs. Col. Hays made a casual allusion to that “little love-scrape” in the country, shame entered and took side with love. He did not love her less, but he pitied her more; and the brave thought of an humble home and happy fireside took flight, never, never to return.

Mrs. Col. Hays—lady of Col. Cabell Hays—had some unseen spirit whispered harshly in your ear, while you were sitting in your cushioned pew, listening to that divine man, the Rev. Theodore Smoothe, preach from a marble pulpit, upon the righteousness of right and the sinfulness of sin, that you had opened a rosewood door and shown the downward path carpeted and beautiful to a poor, innocent boy, that, under your care, was hastening on to misery and death—what an awful chill would have fallen upon your soul. Yet this is what you have to answer for; and no beautifully sculptured stone, telling of a virtuous wife and Christian neighbor, will save you!

Dudley continued to love the little May, he could not help that; but it was not with the pure love that once made life so beautiful. He wrote long, burning letters frequently to her, and received long, truthful letters in return. With what a beating heart she stole in the crowd that thronged the village post-office upon the day the great coach came in, and sitting timidly upon a coil of rope, heard her name called out by the greasy postmaster, as he sorted over the letters. With what a trembling hand she gave the pay and hastened away with the dear unopened letter. How she hid herself in retired places, in the woods, in the cellar or garret, and read and read, through tears of joy, the delicious poison. What Dudley received in his gay life he transmitted in letter to the poor girl. How the heart sickens at the miserable lies that line a way like this.

A year rolled by, and Dudley returned to pass a summer’s vacation at his father’s house. How changed they found him. No longer a willful, bashful boy, he now came out in all the colors of an accomplished, impudent, empty-headed scamp. I will not pause to tell of his meetings with Mary—of the many hours passed together without the knowledge of parents or friends. Six weeks fled by, and Dudley returned to his books, to society, to vices he now followed up with an eagerness that can only be accounted for by a restless desire to drown all remembrance of the past. He received letters frequently from Mary, long, sad, wretched letters, blotted with tears. He answered them with hasty scrawls, one note to a dozen letters, and at last ceased to answer them at all. He ceased to study, his nights were passed in brawls, drunken orgies, his days in sleeping off the effect of bad wine and exhausting revelry.

I have not the heart to detail the sufferings of poor little Mary. How she toiled on from day to day, between sleepless nights of agony and shame, until her cheeks seemed washed away by tears. Her parents, suspecting the truth, treated her harshly. Summer had faded into autumn, and autumn into winter. Weeks and weeks had gone by without a word from Dudley. When filled with despair, one night, after a harsh lecture from her misguided father, she promised on the morrow to tell him all. With this promise she was permitted to retire, but not to rest. Soon as the door of her little room was closed, she sat down and wrote for her parents the bitter truth. Then gathering her cloak about her shoulders, she fled into the dark, wintry night. She would go, she would seek Dudley, for what purpose she could not say—but at home there was no hope, no life.

Through the long dismal night the poor girl walked along the rough frozen road that led to the city. Over wide dreary fields that seemed to stretch out in the gloom of night, miles and miles away: through groaning woods, that shrieked in the winds as they rubbed their giant arms together: past farm houses—with windows, from which twinkled little lights, and where the deep-mouthed watch-dog bayed fierce and honestly: through sleeping villages—where the winds swept, making the signs creak dismally, the once timid and delicate girl pushed on. She had no fear, for she had no thought for the present. In the present, there lay a dull, aching pain about her heart; all the rest of her fevered being was far off, in the huge, great city with Dudley. The little, timid, commonplace girl was now a heroine. In her father’s cottage her mother walked quietly about her pleasant duties, singing a low, sad melody that her children might sleep—the fire was sparkling brightly upon the hearth, lighting up the walls and rafters of that holy place, while she, the dearest, loveliest of all, was fleeing alone, in the stormy night, far, far away.

That night wore slowly on, and toward morning the rear-guard of the northern storm came hurrying by. In scattered groups of hosts, as if flying from a foe, the great clouds rolled down over the distant horizon, and left the bright stars sparkling coldly in the clear atmosphere of the winter’s night. Then came morning, and the winds ceased. The earth seemed waiting in breathless silence for the glorious morn. Little Mary—sick, tired Mary—saw nothing of this. She staggered on, sometimes falling; but again getting up and hurrying on. About noon the stage came by, and the driver, seeing a frail creature—almost a child—walking weariedly, invited her to ride. She mechanically accepted. Inside the vehicle—all closed in with carpet lining, that seemed to flap the cold air about, and smelled of old leather—she found two passengers. One, a countryman, shivering in a woolsey over-coat; the other, so lost in the folds of a buffalo robe, he could not be made out. Mary seated herself upon the middle seat, but a lurch of the stage threw her forward upon the buffalo robe, which unrolled, and an old gentleman peered savagely out, displaying a wrinkled front, in which age had more to do than anger. He was about uttering an ugly exclamation, when the sight of Mary’s sad, pale, young face checked him; and, moving over, he not only gave her a seat, but insisted upon folding a part of the warm robe about her.

In a few moments, the poor girl fell wearied upon the shoulder of her companion into sleep. The old man looked kindly down on the pale, thin face, over which he saw traces of tears, and beneath the cross exterior, a heart throbbed kindly for the suffering girl. Wondering what could bring grief to one so young, he saw the lips quiver, and tears well out from the veiled eyes—then sobs that came up like bubbles from drowning hope; and these passed away, and a gentle smile settled upon the fair face, as a mellow sunset upon a wintry scene. She was dreaming—the voice of her mother broke upon her ear, kind, gentle, forgiving; and he was there—the past all forgotten, the future all brightness. Sleep on, poor wretch: let the rough vehicle rock gently, and the strong horses trot evenly along, for she who now, in happy forgetfulness, moves swiftly on to death. Could the impenetrable curtain of the future be lifted from before each of us as we take our last ride, not only the criminal seated in his rude cart would shudder. What gay equipages, flashing along, would be turned to funeral marches, with at least one sincere mourner for the doomed and lost. What humble family groups, with hope in their midst, wending their way to church or home, would see earth darken down in gloom and tears. But, thank kind Heaven! the dread Unknown comes silently on, with all shadows behind; and we laugh or cry, as joys or cares possess us, up to the very second when his iron hand is at our heart, and eternity opens before us.

Through long hours she slumbered—still dreaming—sometimes smiling, oftener in tears; but still sleep sealed up her aching sense. The stage stopped, and driver and horses were changed; and still on rattled the rough stage, now over a wide MacAdamized road, thronged with vehicles of all sorts, going, and coming. The passengers were called to sup in a town possessed of one brick street, two or three frame streets, and then, on every side, thinly populated suburbs, consisting of stables, smoke-houses, and shanties. The old gentleman led his little charge into the dirty-white barn-like hotel, at the door of which a negro began ringing a discordant bell, whereupon a number of slippered gentlemen, who were tilted back on chairs, chewing and smoking, suddenly disposed of their tobacco, and rushed into the dining-room, as if the tough beef-steak, heavy hot bread, and muddy coffee, were positively the last eatables left upon earth. Mary sat down, but could eat nothing; her old friend insisted upon her swallowing a cup of the hot coffee, and they returned to the stage.

Evening found them still upon the road. The stage lamps were lit, and they were whirled past carriages and wagons, through towns, and by glaring forges, where the sparks flew in showers around sinewy arms, to the music of heavy hammers and ringing anvils. This changed as the night stole on, and, in the dark stage, they seemed moving through a slumbering world—all shadows, and so still. Between feverish sleep and long fits of crying, the hours passed slowly away with Mary. About one o’clock the stage stopped, and the old gentleman, who had volunteered his guardianship, said he was at home.

“Won't you stop, and stay all night with us?” he asked kindly.

“O, no,” she responded hastily; “I must go.”

“Remain, and go on to-morrow. You will suffer, I fear.”

“No, no—I must go on. Is it far, now?”

“Yes, ’tis some distance yet. But, see, I must take this robe,” he added, hesitatingly.

“Oh yes, never mind me. I am much obliged, I thank you.”

She could say no more. The old man hesitated—walked a few paces, stopped—then entered the gate, and the stage was driven away. She did suffer, no longer protected by the robe, her little cloak afforded small shelter from the bitter cold night that blew into the stage, and was whirled about; and nestled she ever so close into a corner, still the cold would penetrate, and she shivered, suffering terribly. How long—Oh, how long the painful hours were! Between that midnight and the morn seemed an age. At last it came, and found the stage jolting over the pavements of the city of ——. She looked out in wonder and dread at the tall houses, towering up on either side, and the men and women hurrying to and fro in such strange haste.

The stage stopped in front of a large hotel, and a crowd of servants rushed out and surrounded the frozen vehicle—some mounting to the top like apes, others struggling at straps, pulling out trunks and carpet sacks, putting all in a pile upon the pavement, amidst screams, curses, and cries, perfectly stunning.

“Your baggage, Miss?” asked a clerk, with his pen behind his ears, and a good deal of impudent pomposity before.

“Is there any thing to pay?” answered the poor girl, perfectly bewildered.

“John, the way-bill?” shouted the clerk.

“No—nothing, Miss: marked paid—all right—walk in?”

Mary sat before the glowing grate in the handsome parlor, trying to determine in her own mind what next was to be done. More and more the painful reality of helplessness among strangers in a strange place impressed itself upon her mind. Her head ached dreadfully, her limbs pained her, and while the face was burning as with fever, it seemed impossible to get warm. She at last asked a servant timidly for the office of Dr. Calomel.

“Just round the corner, Miss. Here, I’ll show you,” he answered politely, and running to the corner, pointed out the old tarnished sign of the eminent practitioner.

Mary sought the place designated, entered a wide hall, and knowing nothing about bells, walked in and knocked gently at the first door. The knock was responded to by a thin old man, of very sombre appearance; who, with broom and brush in hand, seemed fresh from cleaning the rooms.

“Come in quick, young female, you’re too early for consultin’, but the doctor will be about directly. Come straight along, you’re lettin’ in considerable atmosphere.”

Thus strangely addressed, Mary was ushered into a large room, well-furnished and adorned with hideous pictures of various diseased heads, arms, legs, etc., that made one shudder. Cases of books, bones and preparations stood against the walls, while upon a rosewood table, in the centre of the room, were piled books and prints, all treating of the same disagreeable topics. Through an open door she saw another room, got up in the same style, and beyond this yet another, and in all three, the polished grates roared with bright coal fires.

Mary sat and waited nearly two hours, while the stately servant went on silently dusting and sweeping, answering the bell every few minutes, but never saying a word to the little visitor. At the end of that time, others came in and sat by her. Pale, wretched, distressed-looking women—some with babes afflicted with sad diseases; while men limped in, almost groaning with pain. Young gentlemen, handsomely dressed, sauntered in, and throwing off cloaks and coats, sat down to books in the adjoining room. They carried on conversation in a low tone, broken by occasional laughs that contrasted strangely with the half-suppressed complainings of the group around her. The doctor at last came hurriedly in. He was a small, spare man, with a gray head, and wrinkled, cross face, that, guarded by a pair of cold blue eyes, looked as unfeeling as the man really was. He passed from patient to patient—scolding this one, abusing that, and treating all as if they were dogs. Having run through his catalogue of poverty-stricken specimens of humanity, he turned abruptly to Mary, and asked⁠—

“What do you want?”

“I wish to see Dudley Fletcher, sir,” was the frightened reply.

The doctor eyed the little visitor with a cold, half-suppressed sneer for a second; and then, making no reply, looked at his watch, and left the house—having thus humanely disposed of his charity patients. As his buggy rattled away, the grim janitor told Mary that Dudley Fletcher was seldom about the office now-a-days—he might be in before dinner, but it was very doubtful. If she would leave a note, he would see that Mr. Fletcher received it. Mary was disposed to wait; but her presence had attracted the attention of the students in the adjoining room, and she noticed they whispered together and stared at her—so writing hastily a note, telling Dudley of her arrival and where she could be found, she sealed and directed it, then with a heavy heart returned to the hotel.

It is difficult to say what the deserted and heart-sickened girl proposed doing when Dudley did see her. She had no definite idea, no realization of aught save fevered suffering; but, if she could only see him once more, hear his voice, feel his arm about her aching form, it seemed as if all would be well again. But time stole slowly on, and no Dudley came: she started at the approach of strangers, expecting the familiar face of her betrayer. She escaped the impertinent stare of servants by going to the window, and looking down the thronged streets until her eyes were dim with tears. The noise of life around fell without a meaning upon her ear—it seemed a continual roar like a senseless rush of waters. She still stood by the window as evening came, and the shades of night fell upon the street, and saw the crowd thin, and the lights twinkle from post and store—still no Dudley came. The servants treated her so rudely, that, at last, she was forced to go; and fearing he might come yet and not find her, for more than an hour she lingered upon the street, in front of the wide flight of steps that led to the hotel.

It was now quite dark, and Mary still hung about the steps, when a man handsomely dressed came down them—passed, looking at her as the lamp-light fell upon her pale face, then turned and asked in a low tone if she wished to see any one. Thinking the questioner might be from Dudley, she answered quickly—

“Yes—I want to see Dudley Fletcher.”

“Ah! yes, yes, you will scarcely find him here.”

“Where can I find him, sir?”

“That is easier asked than answered, my little maiden, unless you know something before hand.”

“I don’t know—I came into town to-day. I wish to see him. Can’t you tell me where to go?”

“I will go with you, little one,” answered the man, looking uneasily at the lights around. “Come, I will take you where you can send for him—come with me.” He walked hastily on, and Mary followed: for some time he continued a few paces before her, but turning down a narrow street in which there were no gas-lamps, he put her arm in his, and said⁠—

“Now, my little girl, tell me all about it. Where did you come from, and what is it about Dudley Fletcher?”

“I came from Un-a-ka, sir—and I wish to see him.”

“A little love-affair now—eh! You’re his little sweetheart?”

To this Mary making no reply, her companion withdrew her arm, and placed his own around her. Frightened at this, she shrunk away, and, as he persisted, she suddenly sunk to the ground, and burst into tears. Had there been sufficient light, a very puzzled expression might have been seen upon the face of the gentleman as he lifted her from the pavement.

“Come,” he said, “don’t cry. I’ll not offend you again—where shall I take you?”

“To Dudley Fletcher,” she sobbed out. “Only show me his house, and then leave me.”

“Why, yes—he lives with his Aunt, Mrs. Hays; but I’ll take you there, so do not cry.”

They moved on in silence, and in a few minutes were in front of the marble mansion, blazing with light.

“Here,” said her companion, “is the house. Mrs. Col. Hays gives a party to-night. Go up those steps, ring the bell, and ask for Mr. Fletcher. I cannot accompany you farther.”

Scarcely stopping to thank her conductor, Mary staggered up the marble steps, while he turned hastily away, as if shunning a denouement. She paused at the door, weak, frightened and doubting, when a carriage stopped, and from it a party ran up the steps. Mary shrank from sight behind a pillar as they came. A gentleman rang the bell, and had scarcely touched the silver knob before the door swung noiselessly open and the party entered. Not daring to follow their example she still hesitated. From the door by which she stood ran a narrow porch of ornamented iron-work, and along this she stole to where the high window came to the floor and looked in. For a second she was dazzled. The magnificent rooms blazed with light from cut-glass chandeliers, the soft light fell upon delicate furniture of the most costly kind—upon pictures rare and beautiful—upon soft carpets over which fairy forms moved so exquisitely, while strains of delicious music came up from some distant room, that to the unexperienced eye of Mary all seemed a fairy scene—a creation of the imagination.

As the poor girl stood shivering in the cold, the snow began to fall, and shrinking closer to the warmth she could not feel, the whole scene presented a realization of Barry Cornwall’s exquisite poem of “Without and Within.” With only that diamond-pane between—a world wide contrast had existence. Upon one side was a piece of God’s exquisite workmanship, shivering, suffering, half-crazed, trampled upon and outcast—while upon the other, wanton luxury rolled in sin. Ah! who comes here, pacing so proudly, while bright eyes turn admiringly—what exceeding loveliness is led by the arm. The blood rushes to the pale face, the little heart throbs aloud, she presses closer to the pane, for it is him—it is Dudley. She of the bright complexion, large, soft eyes and mass of ringlets, is seated near that fated window, and he bends over her. She hears him speak—no, his low voice cannot come through the heavy pane, but she knows too well—ah! too well—the persuasive words that are falling from his lips, for she has learned to read his looks—the lessons have been burned into her heart.

The lights shine on. To strains of witching music forms pass to and fro in the mazes of the dance—jest and song, laughter and wine, flash and ring out for unheeded hours and hours—but she is gone. The pale wretch that pressed shivering against the window pane is gone. Down the dark thoroughfare, with the cold snow beating in her face, maddened, sobbing, sick to death, she flies. Oh! where? What demon leads her on? Why down that silent, deserted street? On, on, past quiet homes where the night-lamp yet gleams on peace and happiness—past shops where low drunkenness revels in late hours—on she unheeded flies. And now she stumbles over loose stones, and the air blows keener. Down the steep bank she reels—poor little Mary—she pauses for a moment. A mighty river, shrouded in darkness, sweeps on before her. Boats, tied to the bank, rub against each other, making a moaning noise, while the waves flap under their bows—this is all she hears, for the great stream sweeps on in silence. From the opposite shore a furnace glares, that glittering out red, sends a long line over the waves and lights her way to death. She steps along the plank to the deck of a boat—over that to the very edge—and then disappears. Disappears in the dark flood silently as the snow-flakes. The mighty river moves on like fate to eternity. Into its deep bosom it took what God had made and man cast out. For many hours after the music still sounded in the marble palace, and dancers gracefully answered the strains, for the silent street had no tale—the great river no revelation for the heartless throng.

A party of medical students were lounging round a billiard-table in a celebrated restaurant, the evening after the event just narrated. They were smoking, drinking, laughing, and at intervals knocking idly the ivory balls over the table. Their light sacks, or black velvet coats, with fancy caps, variously fashioned and tasseled, showed them to be youths whose fathers could pay for something beside the improvement of their brains.

“Will you be at class to-night, Tom?” asked one, of his comrade, as he rattled down his empty glass.

“To be sure, I don’t intend to miss a muscle of Crosstree. We had too much trouble in getting the infernal rascal.”

“We had that, and Cross. is a beauty, besides having been hung.”

“I want to see him carefully dissected,” said a handsome, light-haired youth, joining the group.

“Why, Ned, do you expect ever to undergo the innocent operation of being hung?”

“Can’t say. No telling what a fellow may come to in such a crowd as this. If Strong ever sings another sentimental song in my presence I’ll murder him—now mind.”

“Crosstree is a magnificent subject. I was looking at him to-day—old S. says he never saw a finer.”

“Class B has a finer, they say—a girl. They gave two hundred for her.”

“They wont be outdone. But I believe in the rope yet. Come, fellows—it’s getting late—let’s be off.”

“Where’s Dudley?”

“Drunk as usual.”

“Come, old boy,” said the first speaker, approaching our hero, who, stretched upon a sofa, was looking in the fire with a drunken stare. “Come, we’ll be too late.”

Dudley mechanically started to his feet, drank a quantity of brandy, and rushing forward, was caught by two of his brother students, and the whole party left the house together, laughing, chatting, whistling and singing, they wended their way toward the medical college. Dudley Fletcher, as his comrades afterward remarked, was unusually silent and even morose. Arriving at the college, the party mounted long fights of dark stairs ending in a door, that one of them unlocked and threw open, and all entered the dissecting-room. The janitor had left a bright coal-fire sputtering in the stove, and save this no other light fell upon the ghastly gloom. The large, square windows were open, as gusts of wind making the fire roar indicated, but in spite of this a dreadful, sickening odor of decay filled the room. Several lamps were lighted, and then the frightful reality became apparent.

Upon either side of a large room were placed narrow tables, on each of which lay a specimen of the desecrated dead; over the floor were scattered limbs strangely mutilated, bones with particles of flesh yet hanging to them, snow-white skeletons and grinning skulls. Upon the table nearer the fire was the body of a man lately hung. The frame was heavy and muscular, but the head presented the most awful sight the heart of man ever shuddered over. It was one swollen mass of purple blood, while around the neck lay a red line where the cruel cord had sunk in and disappeared from the force of the struggling weight. He had been found guilty of a fiendish murder, yet no heart could look on this and not shudder at the punishment. Why do the students leave this table and crowd around the next? Why hold up their lights and gaze in breathless awe? Do youth and innocence carry admiration and respect with them to the charnel-house? They whisper as they gaze upon the gentle form, so beautiful and still, that with wild hair disheveled seems to sleep upon the rude couch of death. Where is Dudley—why does he not gaze and whisper too? Upon entering the room he threw himself upon a low seat behind the stove, and falling from that to the floor, sleeps soundly in his drunkenness.

Star-eyed Science walks unmoved among the dead. The students are busy about the table of the murderer. Nothing is heard save the voice of the instructor, or noise of his instruments as he lays bare the hidden mysteries of life. Dudley sleeps on.

The fire burns down—the candles, flickering in the wind, are dim—the lesson is over. Putting out their lights, the students gather their coats and cloaks about them and leave. The last one is gone. The janitor, casting a hasty look at the fire, goes with them. The great bolt is shot into its place—the door is locked, and Dudley, forgotten and alone, sleeps on!

Hour after hour steals by. The fire, dimmer and dimmer, at length goes out, and darkness fills the room. The storm, with its sky of heavy clouds, sweeps away, and now the full moon comes up in silvery brightness. Cold, clear and cheerless the flood of light poured in at the open windows, lighting up like the ghost of day that chamber of death. Chilled through and through, Dudley awakes.

For a moment he gazed in startled wonder at the strange scene around him. Then a dim recollection of the night stole over his now sobered brain, and seizing his cap he strode toward the door—to find it locked! In vain he pulled and knocked, the echoes that rung through the silent room were his only answers. The stout door resisted all attempts to break it open. Foiled and disheartened he returned to the stove. Dudley shook with the cold that had numbed his limbs while sleeping, and now seemed to be penetrating to his very heart. Stooping, he raked among the ashes and found one live coal. Taking this gently up he made many efforts to kindle it to a blaze, but this last spark died out in the midst of his exertions. Nothing daunted, he looked to find some covering to shield him—nothing could be seen save the sheets thrown carelessly over the dead. These he proceeded to gather. Pulling the frail covering from form after form, leaving exposed the emaciated remnants of consumption, the half-destroyed remains of quick disease, without a shudder—why starts he at this over which the moonlight falls so brightly—why gasp for breath and stare so wildly?

This cannot be—this is a hideous dream. He strikes his forehead, wrings his hands, staggers forward. No, no, he cannot look again. A chill horror curdles about his heart and he reels toward the door. He had one look—but one—yet that is frozen into his very soul. How long in dreadful agony he stood gazing down the hall, peopled with the dead. He dared not turn to where she lay—the poor little timid girl—she who so confidingly had trusted him, and now rested among thieves, murderers, and cast-out poverty—claimed by Decay alone. He dared not look again—over her innocent form stood fearful Retribution—silent as the grave—terrible as Death. His eyes wandered from table to table, one by one, slower and slower, until they rested upon that long, grinning monument of consumption, upon which the moonlight fell, silvering the hard and bony points, that seemed like a skeleton covered with yellow parchment.

Oh! how he longed for liberty and life—for some power to lift the awful punishment from his soul. A confused thought of escape crept in—of the dark well running the length of the house down to vaults where the refuse flesh was cast. How deep and dark to his mind it seemed—deeper and deeper, miles and miles into the earth. The hall seems to lengthen out—how huge it is? Again he turns to the body that consumption owns—he tries to look from that to her—in vain. His eyes are fixed, they see no farther. Did that hand move?—it seemed to move. It did—the body turns—it raises and points its long, skinny arm at her—and shakes its horribly mutilated head. Another and another—and all raise slowly up and point at her. And now they speak—what confused blasphemy—what groans and cries! Hark! that well-known, once-loved voice, hear it—hear its gentle tones and die⁠—

“Oh! Dudley, come to me.”

He sees no more, he hears no more—gasping he falls, striking heavily against the oak door.

Early next morning the janitor found him lying senseless where he had fallen. He was carried to his room, and all that medical science could do was done. Slowly he returned to sense, but not health. The cold had perfected its work—his limbs were without life, and after many days he was carried back to his father’s house helpless as a child. So he yet remains, humble, sad and repentant.

In the little church-yard, not far from his home, is a green mound, where the soft falling snow of winter and the wild birds of spring see no name—no marble tomb, but where the long grass whispers in the summer winds, Dudley Fletcher may be frequently seen reading or musing silently, having been carried there, his only haunt from home.






  Bright was their fortune and sublime their doom,

  Who perished at Thermopylæ—their tomb

    An altar of their sons—their dirge, renown.


  Their epitaph not rust shall e’er efface,

  Nor Time, who changes all things else, debase,

    Nor later ages insolent disown.


  Their tomb contains, enshrined beside the dead,

  A mightier inmate, her for whom they bled,

    Glory—their country’s unforgotten fame.


  Witness the royal Spartan, who in death

  Did win high Valor’s, more than Pythian, wreath,

    A crown immortal, an unfading name.






I passed some time, a few months ago, in the seven-hilled city of the Bosphorus—in beautiful, but muddy Constantinople. I had seen and admired every thing that was to be seen and admired, as far as the Turks allow to a Christian dog. Often had I stood at the portal of the mosque of St. Sophia, and gazed with longing sighs upon the imperial seraglio just opposite, in the vain hope that some veiled beauty would appear at one of the balconies, observe me, and then raise her veil, that I might at home, in my native place—Gelnhaus—describe a Turkish Sultana; for my susceptible heart had been trained in every way, by repeated journeys to large towns and capitals. One evening, however, I remarked that several black slaves eyed me attentively and suspiciously: I imagined also something threatening and dangerous in their gestures; and as, at the same time, several shots were heard from the interior of the seraglio—which seemed to intimate that capital punishment was being inflicted upon criminals, whose crimes were, perhaps, nothing worse than a few longing sighs, wafted to the imprisoned fair ones—a panic seized me, which drove me from the spot in tempestuous haste, whilst I inwardly swore a solemn oath never again to venture within a hundred yards of the sultan’s palace.

Be it known to the world that I am the traveling agent for the house of Messrs. Steinlein & Son, wine-merchants of Frankfort on the Main. I myself am called Gabriel Mostert, born in the town which, on account of the old legend, I call the Barbarossa town; and which deserves quite as wide a reputation as the town of Pisa, in Italy, for it contains just such a leaning tower. My countenance is round and ruddy, my eyes are lively and intellectual, my form powerful and muscular—five-feet-three. I am possessed by a spirit of speculation. I am determined to establish a famous house—not what they call famous in Frankfort, Leipzig, or Hamburg—no, I will establish the firm only for my Barbarossa town, and my little Kate, whose father gives her to me only upon condition that I settle down respectably in Gelnhaus, as a dealer in dry goods, in Drap de Zephire, in Crêpe de Chine, and in veritable eau de Cologne. On this account, I persuaded my honored principals to a Constantinople speculation, which offered a fair profit. I had, in fact, read in the best papers of the day, that the present sultan was busy in placing every thing upon a European footing. There can be no European footing without a European head; and what is a European head without the inspiration of Champagne, Burgundy, and Johannisburg? My principals agreed to every thing: I sailed from Trieste with casks and bottles, anchored in the Bosphorus, and the next day was employed in preparations to attract the worshipers of Islam to my European inspiration.

The thing succeeded; my wines disappeared with charming celerity. Even the Mufti honored me with a visit, and assured me—while he tried my costly Johannisburg, of 1822, with the smack of a connoisseur—that his friend, the Abbot of Fulda, had done well to exalt this wine to his closet—it did indeed deserve to be drank in solitude, when not a breath, not a word could disturb the full enjoyment of the liquid gold. He tried a couple of bottles, and the European inspiration began then to beam so brilliantly from his eyes, that I verily believe, had any cunning missionary been at hand, he would have embraced Christianity.

My affairs then were prosperous, and yet not so; for although the wines had found purchasers, the money for them was not forthcoming. From time to time I paid a visit to my Turkish debtors. I was kindly received with pipes and coffee, but of my money—not a word. I look care never rudely to remind them of it, having been assured by some Armenian friends that the Moslems could bear no dunning, and that unpleasant hints were often rewarded with a most unpleasant bastinado. I was sure of my money in the end, for I had already heard that it was the custom of all distinguished Turks to pay off all their debts on a certain day of the year, just before the Ramazan. The Ramazan was not very distant, and until then I had to wait with patience. It is a dreadful thing for a fiery young merchant, whose fancy revels in interest and commission, to have to parade up and down the streets of Constantinople in useless, idle patience.

Thus, one beautiful afternoon, I sauntered toward Bujukdìre, the summer residence of the European ambassadors. Here their many beautiful daughters dwelt, but now my heart was filled with thoughts of Kate, and the future establishment for the sale of fancy articles and eau de Cologne. Nevertheless, I trembled with excitement; for my eye rested upon the dome of St. Sophia, and involuntarily the oft-recalled wish stirred in my soul—“Wert thou only, O dearly loved Gabriel Mostert, as prosperous a house as this venerable church, which receives, according to well-accredited testimony, an income of ten thousand guilders daily.”

Ten thousand guilders! What a sublime thought! Shakspeare, Schiller, and Goethe had had great thoughts, and Bethman and Rothschild have carried the poesy of trade to a wonderful extent—but this mosque of St. Sophia—I must control myself—I must clip the wings of my speculative fancy, or it will carry me too far—to Golconda or Potosi. Return to thy home, to the old town, where bloomed for Barbarossa the fair Gela, and where blooms now the burgomaster’s daughter, thy violet, and beside her, a shop stocked with all fancy articles, and with the delicious perfume of Karl Maria Farina of Cöln.

With such reflections I was obliged to moderate my lively imagination while I approached Bujukdìre, when I was awakened from my dreams of home, and brought back to reality upon the Bosphorus by a hearty slap upon my shoulder.

Salam, aleìkum!” I cried; and warding off the Turkish greeting, I sprang aside. I was too well acquainted with the proofs of esteem with which the Turks honor us poor Christians, when they find us in their way, not to immediately suppose that the slave of some noble Turk had chosen this means of informing me of his master’s presence. A loud laugh in my ears corrected this false idea. As I turned round, I saw my two worthy friends, Mynheer Jan von Delpt—the Dutch Ambassador’s cook, and Monsieur Fleury—the French Ambassador’s butler. We were right good friends, and had passed many a jovial evening together. They came now just at the right time; they would serve to divert me, and we could enjoy a social hour, for this evening they were, as they assured me, free; their masters had accepted an invitation from the Reis-Effendi.

“Come,” I said, as I seized both by the arm, and stopped them, “we’ll contrive quite a charming supper together. In wine you shall have free choice. You, Van Delpt, like something heavy—Port wine, or genuine Madeira. It shall not be wanting, and we will drink to the health of your Margery von Minderhout, in Amsterdam. You, M. Fleury, shall have Champagne from Sillery, and vive Demoiselle Manon Larochière, rue Montmartre. I stand by the true German. O, ye honored grapes of Rudesheim, with what shall I compare you, if not with little Kate of Castle street, Barbarossa town; your sweet flower, with the flower of her beauty—your animating fire, with the fire that gleams in her eyes. Come, friends, let us bring down the high ideal to actual life. The trio of our loves shall sound in Madeira, Champagne, and Rudesheim; and inspired fancy shall present to our raptured gaze the gracious forms of our beloved ones.”

I had, I thought, outshone myself in the poetry of this invitation. I wished to touch and win them—but my friends seemed neither touched by my resemblance of their loved ones, nor won by the picture of the costly wines that awaited them at my lodgings. They looked thoughtfully at each other, shook their heads, and withstood all my attempts to lead them back to the city. Then Van Delpt shook himself loose from me, and taking me by the shoulders, turned me round as the wind would a weathercock, and said, pointing to a little wooden house, upon the top of which floated a red silk flag⁠—

“Do you see that booth, and do you know what you can obtain there for a mere nothing?”

I answered in the negative.

“Then I will take the cover off the dish for you,” continued the cook; “you shall learn how we can enjoy Mahomet’s seventh heaven here on earth. Yes, Mynheer, there, in that unpretending booth the bliss of earth and heaven can be enjoyed for a few paras.”

I was perplexed. Van Delpt was usually a quiet matter-of-fact person. He did not seem to have taken more than his usual allowance of Genivee, the old Dutch phlegm had not vanished in the least from his features, only there was to be seen there an inspired expression, not before observable, which beamed forth very brilliantly as he looked at the little red house.

“Yes, monsieur,” chimed in the Frenchman, “you will not take it ill of us if we refuse your invitation. With you we should only intoxicate ourselves, there we shall be entranced! It is a delight which we have enjoyed once a year since we arrived in Stamboul. To-day, the Reis-Effendi has procured us this opportunity—who knows when it will come again? Come with us, M. Mostert, and inhale rapture, bliss, enchantment. Yes, M. Mostert, no champagne can procure for us that bliss to which I now invite you. I am a butler, and you know how much what I say must mean. I surely know all the joys which the grapes of Constantinople, Canary, or Vesuvius can yield. But what are they to the rapture that awaits us? Does empire please you—a kingdom is yours the instant you think of it. Would you be Grand Vizier, Kapudin Pacha, or minister plenipotentiary—in a flash it is as you wish. Come with us, and you will thank your friends, the fat cook and the lean butler, for procuring for you an unknown, but incomparable delight. I have determined to-day to be Henry the Fourth, but only until the moment when the rascal Ravaillac murders the excellent monarch; then I change myself into the Count St. Germain, who, it is well known, was three hundred years old when he visited the royal court of Versailles, and probably is still living somewhere, under a feigned name, in the fullness of youth and strength. Vive, Henri Quatre,” cried M. Fleury, while my brain whirled, and I allowed myself to be drawn toward the house with the red flag.

I knew Fleury, and could rely upon what he said. I might be a king, a sultan, or a Rothschild. There I paused—it was a grand idea—a poetical excitement made my heart beat faster in my breast. But prosaically enough came the change of faith between me and my wishes.

“No,” I said, “I must always remain a good Christian, according to the Augsburg confession; a different happiness awaits me in the little red house—money, plenty of money, and little Kate, in Gelnhaus.”

“You are, and always will be an enthusiast, Fleury,” replied Van Delpt to the Frenchman’s invitation. “You are, in spite of your employment for so many years in the diplomatic line, a true Frenchman, devoted to the fair. For my part I hold a middle course. I must have something solid. I will to-day be no happier than my renowned countryman, William Benkels, after he had discovered the salting of the herring. I aspire to the delight only of one moment, but that moment shall last—the great moment in which William Benkels stood before the first cask of successfully-salted herrings. It was in the year 1416. Imagine the man to yourselves, when he stood at last before the completed work, over which his mind had brooded for so many years, and which brought such a blessing upon his Fatherland. He foresaw in this moment, a thousand inventions to which this one must give birth; soused fish, pickles, sardines—every thing which can gain immortality through salt. He saw, by means of his invention, tons of gold pouring into the coffers of his Fatherland, and he heard his name lauded by posterity. Yes, thou immortal William Benkels, to-day I will be thou, and enjoy the rapture of that moment, when, standing before that cask, thine own greatness and the happy future thou hadst prepared for thy country was revealed to thee.”

These representations were not without their effect. My curiosity was excited. We now stood before the little house with the red flag. I saw some Turks staggering out, pale, hollow-eyed, and trembling in every limb. “Are those the devotees of your temple of bliss?” said, I to my companions. “They seem to me far more like the inmates of a hospital than men who have just succeeded in a speculation in rapture.”

Van Delpt pushed me in, and Fleury pressed forward eagerly. “Those are stupid Turks,” he said, “who wish to be always happy, and when one bliss ends they desire always another, which is contrary to the whole order of nature. But forward, Gabriel Mostert! you shall learn every thing within; light shall spring up for you there like the conflagration of Moscow. Vive Henri Quatre,” he shouted, and pushed me on.

“William Benkels forever!” cried the cook, who passed his arm around me and swung me into the little house. I stood, giddy from the sudden movement, in a large, darkened room. Although without it was perfectly light, here all illumination proceeded from a dimly burning lamp, hung in the middle of the apartment. Windows I could see none, and a strange, bewildering perfume filled the room. My friends bore me on, and before I could observe distinctly the objects which surrounded me, I felt myself seated upon a cushion, and Van Delpt and Fleury took their places beside me. I could not collect my ideas, I only saw a grinning Turk, dressed in red, who stepped forth from the darkness and approached with a silver plate, upon which were a number of little, reddish-brown balls, while a crystal goblet of water stood in the middle of it. My friends seized the balls and swallowed several of them.

“Now eat, Gabriel,” cried Van Delpt, while his left arm encircled me powerfully. “Feast upon delight. It is opium—the manna of immortality.”

His eyes started from his head—I seemed to gaze upon a madman. I tried to extricate myself from him but in vain. He endeavored, in the meanwhile, with his right hand to slip some opium balls into my mouth, but I set my teeth firmly, and shook my head.

Bon appetit, Monsieur,” said the Frenchman, who seized me upon the other side. Two hands with the horrible little balls, hovered before my eyes ready to force me to partake. “You must eat like us, you must be blessed as we shall be. Vive Henri Quatre!

“I will not,” I cried with horror. “If you don’t release me I’ll complain of you to your masters, and foreswear your friendship forever. What would my little Kate say were she to learn that I had taken opium—had dreamed like a Musselman, and been happy in such an unchristian way. Away with the balls of Satan. The Evil One with horns and hoofs has prepared them.”

“He must eat them,” cried the Dutchman and Frenchman in chorus, and the Turk grinned more frightfully. In the struggle, for a moment, my senses left me. A shout of triumph from my tormentors called me back to life.

“He has swallowed them!” cried they, and released me. In the same moment I saw them sink back upon their cushions, their eyes were fixed, a happy smile expanded their features; they were enjoying the happiness of the theriake, or opium-eater.

“He has not swallowed them!” cried I raging, and sprang up. “I closed my mouth and your cursed pills fell into the cushion beside me.” I ran out like one possessed. The Turk laughed scornfully after me, and I heard the Frenchman murmur in his sleep—“Vive Henri Quatre!” and the Dutchman groan out his “William Benkels forever!”

In the air without I recovered myself. I seemed open to all blissful influences—I was again happy and light-hearted. With what an exquisite display of colors did the sun mirror itself in the Bosphorus! how the domes of the mosques sparkled, as if composed of diamonds and rubies! How brilliant were the streets through which I walked—no, through which I floated. And at this moment I felt myself richer than the richest houses of which I had ever heard. Thus I arrived at a shady forest of dates. Here I sat me down in the overhanging shade of a palm, and gazed toward the west where the sun was setting, and where was the Barbarossa town, with its leaning tower and my charming Kate.



I carried always with me a costly Turkish pipe, with a long stem of rose-wood. The head I carried in my pocket, carefully wrapped in soft silk; the stem was so contrived that I used it for a cane.

Without knowing what I did, whilst my gaze was riveted upon the glorious landscape, and my thoughts were busy with my home, I pushed my cane in among the dry leaves and roots of the palm. Suddenly it was caught by something which attracted my notice, and I tried to draw it out quickly. The costly stem broke, and I looked, half-vexed and half-curious, to know what had caused the mischief.

With difficulty I extricated from the roots of the palm an old leathern purse, the strings of which were tied round another old leathern article. A wondrously joyful sensation stirred in my soul at the sight of these objects. What they were I knew not, and yet they filled me with delight. But when I had cleansed them from the dirt and mud, when I held an old, richly-embroidered purse in my hand, and in the other article recognized a little, pointed cap, then arose from the glowing memories of my childhood the wonderful story of the inexhaustible purse of Fortunatus and his wishing cap. Then all creation beamed around me, and a chorus of voices from the sky seemed to say to me, “Thou art the new Fortunatus. Fortune has favored thee with her most valuable gifts, which have remained so long in the lap of earth, hidden from all mortal eyes.”

I laughed aloud like a child. I was firmly convinced that it was all true, and I danced round the palm, with the purse and cap in my hands, like a madman. “What are lotteries, stocks, and Rothschild’s speculations in comparison,” cried I; “do I wish for a million—I have to use my purse for a day, and my cap serves me better than the swiftest courier.”

My reason at last returned, and the madman became again the prudent, calculating merchant.

“Make a calculation, and produce an exact facit,” said the merchant. I seated myself again, with tolerable composure, at the foot of the palm. I wished calmly to prove the power of the purse, but my hand trembled as I put it into it. My fingers twitched convulsively, the fascination of the noblest of metals penetrated every nerve, and there, in my hand, before my wondering, blissful gaze, lay a hundred franc piece, with the new stamp, “Louis Philippe, Roi des Français.” “O, Heaven! life is still fair,” I cried with Schiller’s Marquis Posa, and proved the power of my purse again and again, until the lap of my Turkish dress was covered with, hundred-franc-pieces.

My eyes feasted upon the treasure, my soul reveled in rapture.

“Prudence, prudence,” said the merchant within me. “May not the gold be false, or coined in the devil’s mint, and if you attempt to use it destroy your honor and reputation?” I tried it upon the leather of my sandals, and upon a little stone that I carried about with me for the purpose. It was pure Parisian coin. I put up my gold and filled my pockets with it. How blessed was I that I had withstood Van Delpt’s and Fleury’s entreaties. What was their happiness now—their manna of immortality? Dreams and froth! But I possessed the most desirable, glorious reality—my pockets full of gold, the inexhaustible purse, and the wonderful cap. Ay—the cap—its power must also be proved; I must know if by its art I could be this moment in the date forest on the Bosphorus, and the next in the cherry grove in Frankfort on the Main. In a flash I placed the little thing upon my head and thought of the Barbarossa town, and of the little balcony which looked into Kate’s room. What is a royal dispatch in comparison with the cap of Fortunatus? Without inconvenience from the elbows of neighbors, without the least change in my worthy person, I stood before the window through whose curtains I could look into Kate’s little room. I looked round me; the leaning tower, with its straight brother, were at my back; I was in my native town, the breeze of home stirred around me. Just then Kate stepped into the room. She carried a candle, was negligently dressed, and was humming an air from “Der Freischütz.” Was the girl altered, or had my too lively fancy deceived me, and presented to me at a distance as charming, what in reality seemed to me extremely vulgar? Where was the variety of charms that had so excited my love in Constantinople? Where was the airy grace that had surrounded the image of the absent one, as the air of Paradise encircles a Mohammedan houri? Kate was, in truth, no disagreeable-looking girl, but excessively commonplace; she had cheeks as fresh and round as an apple, pretty hair, a la giraffe, eyes whose color was rather undecided, and a form which, although it certainly was not wanting in roundness, did not move with exactly the grace of a dancing-master. I felt my heart grow cold at the sight of her. Heaven knows, my taste must have become wonderfully refined since I had been separated from her; knowledge of mankind and of the world must have sharpened my judgment. I never could love this creature—that was ineffaceably written in my soul. The purse and cap had given me the right to other claims than to be the son-in-law of the burgomaster of an obscure German village, and to demean myself by selling crêpe de Chine and eau de Cologne.

“Away, away from here, to the fairest of the fair!” I cried, inspired. “Who will dispute with me the possession of the most beautiful woman upon the earth?”

In an instant I stood in a high vestibule, upon a marble floor; from the frescoed walls shone the light of a hundred tapers; the fragrance-laden air of the tropics was around me, and silver fountains were playing without in the moonlight. A great mirror opposite reflected my image. I was clad in black, in my finest European suit. I wore the breast-pin with the turquoise and brilliants, which I had bought two years before in Frankfort, and I knew that I was in the palace of the Duke of Silvio Cremonio, in Rio Janeiro, to whose beautiful daughter I was about to be introduced. All this the wonderful cap had arranged and declared to me.

Fifty lackeys, in rich livery, flew to my assistance. Two ushers opened the folding-doors, and at their announcement, “The Marquis della Mostarda!” I stepped into a brilliant saloon.

I was in a maze—the dresses of the ladies, which blazed with diamonds and other precious stones, dazzled me. What was the home-made splendor of my former employers, Steinlein & Son, which I had so often admired in my yearly visit to them, compared with this.

What was the finery of the richest merchant’s daughter compared with the splendor of the ladies of Rio Janeiro. I noticed that my entrance created a sensation. The ladies remained standing, looked at me and whispered among themselves. A little stout gentleman pushed forward from the crowd toward me. It was the duke. He wore a richly embroidered dress, with ribbon and star.

He spoke to me, bidding we welcome, and although he spoke Spanish, and I had never learned the language, I understood it perfectly and conversed in it as easily as in my mother tongue.

“You are a welcome guest, dear friend,” said the duke, and graciously pressed my band. “You have been introduced to me as an excellent and wealthy lord. Wealth is always well received; wealth is the key to every thing; wealth captivates all hearts; permit me to present you to my wife and daughter.”

Oh, what joy and rapture! The moment had arrived in which I should behold the fairest of the fair—the most beautiful woman now dwelling upon the earth! I saw her! Words cannot describe her, thought cannot picture her, only the imagination may venture to conceive of her.

Her voice was song—her glance a revelation of heaven.

The young rose had touched her cheeks with its soft tint; the enamel of the lily was upon her brow; her charming lips vied with crimson coral; her soft, blond hair waved in natural curls around her lovely face, and a Persian poet would have compared her graceful form to the gazelle. Beside the heavenly Angelica sat her mother, who would still have been called handsome, although there was about her an air of pride and haughtiness, which was wholly wanting in the daughter. I felt that, by the possession of the purse and wishing cap, I had become an entirely different man. How often I had trembled and been agitated as I stood in the antechamber of some great man, waiting to present my catalogue of wines for the firm of Steinlein & Son. What trouble I had taken to learn by heart the conditions of sale, that I might not stutter and stammer when they were asked for. And now I stood like a cool, self-possessed man of the world before a Brazilian duchess and her beautiful daughter, while the duke, her father, held my hand, which did not tremble in the least, and said, laying a significant stress upon his words, “The Marquis della Mostarda, the stranger whom the imperial secretary has so kindly introduced to us. He is just from Europe, and can tell you of the latest fashions. He is a man of great merit, and, as I well know, all means will be tried to induce him to take up his residence here in the capital.”

The stout nobleman moved on to make room for me by the ladies. The duchess beckoned me toward her, and her proud bearing gave way to a gracious condescension. She cast upon me a smiling glance, the tender expression of which I recognised at once from the descriptions in the best romances of the day. Then, pointing to her daughter, she observed, “The child there will listen only too willingly to stories of strange lands. She is wonderfully interested in geography. Talk with her—tell her where the most costly shawls are made, of Brabant laces, and Parisian bijouterie; tell her of your Italian home, of fire-breathing Vesuvius, of the Colosseum at Rome and the Lagune in Venice.”

The duchess turned from me to a pale young man, simply dressed, whose eyes had been fixed upon me whilst I stood by the lady with a singular, I might almost say sinister expression. His features were finely cut, but it could not escape me, with my knowledge of mankind, that there played about the corners of the mouth a contemptuous, scornful expression; just such as Hoffman always gives to his diabolical characters. It seemed to me that, looking through me, he saw the wishing-cap in my bosom, and the purse in my vest pocket. With an uncomfortable sensation I turned from him to the angel-face of the Princess Angelica. Her musical tones broke upon the ear like the singing in Schelble’s Cecilia-chorus. A whole opera by Rossini seemed to fill my senses as I listened to her; trills and roulades, crescendo and decrescendo, adagio and allegro. Now it sounded mournfully as in the cavatina from “Tancredi,” now, it exulted like the song of victory in the “Siege of Corinth.” O thou heavenly Angelica, thou wast at once the music and the director, and if I looked at thee, I seemed to see the Venus de Medici, dressed in tulle, embroidered with gold, sleeves à la Gigot, brilliants in her ears and upon her fingers, and rubies around her neck. Her remarks were acute and witty, while, at the same time, she raised her forget-me-not eyes so beseechingly to my face, that I imagined I read in them Goethe’s “Sorrows of Werther” and the loves of Herrman and Dorothea. She was curious about literature and the stage. Then I was in my element. I told her of Madame Sontag and Paganini; how the former, before her marriage, had sung variations for the violin, and the latter had played the charming song “cara mamena.” I told her of the public favorites, and hummed several airs for her from “Der Weiner in Berlin.” All this with an ease and grace which stamped the Marquis della Mostarda as a most accomplished cavalier. Then I spoke of the great lights in modern poetry—of Heine and Count Plateu Hallermande—how the former lavished the flowers of his fancy in lamentations over an unhappy love, and the latter poured himself forth in metrical praise of Friendship. She listened attentively; then suddenly she sighed deeply, so deeply that I was alarmed, and asked her in my confusion whether, in speaking of these renowned poets, I had said any thing unpleasant to her?

“No, no!” said she, mournfully. “I have had a German governante; I understand German, and read the German poets. Both poets of whom you speak are dear to me, particularly the touching Heine. But there are other glorious things in Germany beside art and poetry. Do you not love Nüremburg gingerbread, my lord marquis? As you have lived so long in Germany, you cannot be a stranger to this delicious production.”

“Alas! it is now two years since my father received a little package of it, and since that time all the delicacies of this country have lost their charm for me. In vain do I breathe this delightful atmosphere, its fragrance is nothing to that of this rich manufacture from Germany.”

The princess was silent; she appeared to sink into a profound melancholy. The duchess leaned over to us, and said, in a confidential, motherly tone, “What is the matter, children? You seem troubled, my lord marquis; and, Angelica, your eyes are swimming with tears.”

“We were speaking of Nüremburg gingerbread,” answered the princess, softly.

The duchess also seemed troubled, looked up to heaven, and said, “Yes, there is something truly divine in that Nüremburg gingerbread.”

“To-morrow I shall have the honor of bringing you some,” replied I, hastily, as I bethought me of the wishing-cap. At this moment I heard a scornful chuckling near me; I looked up, and the pale stranger stood at my side. He looked contemptuously down upon me, then turned his head, and seemed to whisper something to the air. This behavior I considered assumed to mock me; but I determined not to heed the man, for how could he harm me, the possessor of the cap and purse of Fortunatus.

Suddenly a stir arose in the assembly. Exclamations of astonishment were heard from all sides, and a lackey, richly dressed, pressed forward to where the ladies were, with a large silver plate of fresh Nüremburg gingerbread in his hands. I stood amazed; the stranger smiled contemptuously. A stranger, the lackey said, had brought him the salver in the anteroom, with the express command to carry it directly to the Duchess of Silvio Cremonio. As they were about to question him, he unaccountably disappeared. A quiet joy lighted up Angelica’s charming countenance, her mother glanced inquiringly at the stranger, who answered her by a bow of acknowledgment.

“Doctor Joannes, of Ingolstadt,” said the princess, introducing the stranger to me. “Doubtless we must thank him for the beautiful present, which has so enriched our fête to-night. He knows how to prize the treasures of his fatherland, and has foreseen, with his usual tact, that here also he would find friends who would value the productions of his country.”

The doctor bowed smilingly to both ladies. The impertinent fellow hardly looked at me as the princess introduced him. And he was only a doctor and I a marquis. “There is, fortunately, a to-morrow,” thought I; “and although your gingerbread may gratify the taste of the moment, their eyes will be dazzled, and their souls enraptured with the exquisite jewelry, that I intend purchasing for them to-morrow at Rundell & Bridges, in London.” There was witchcraft in the appearance of the gingerbread—that was beyond a doubt. I now observed the man more closely as he conversed with the ladies. His manner toward them was humble and modest, but the diabolical expression about the mouth was not to be concealed.

“Let us make up a party for a game of marriage,” said the glorious Angelica, in her most dulcet tones, as she took my arm. “There is the card saloon. The rest are busy with roulette and faro, but I love marriage beyond every thing.”

“It is also my favorite game,” I replied, full of love for this beautiful creature. “For its sake have I come hither from Constantinople upon the Bosphorus.”

The princess gave me a significant look, and secretly pressed my hand. As I looked up, I saw Joannes gazing upon me with a threatening expression of hate. He then leaned over Angelica, and smilingly whispered something in her ear. Impertinence! He imagined himself all-engrossing with his gingerbread. I gingled the one hundred-franc pieces in my pocket—and the sound made a favorable impression upon the duke’s daughter.

“Yes, we will play marriage,” said she, looking tenderly at me. “Come, marquis every moment of delay is lost.”

The doctor impatiently stamped his foot, but composed himself immediately, and said in his gentlest tone, “Only two seconds, your grace, I hear the horses now—they are here.”

In fact, at this moment a vehicle drove furiously into the court-yard. The snorting of fiery horses, and the voices of servants were heard. Several of the company hastened to the window, and Angelica moved toward it also.

“It is only my new Viennese chariot and Andalusian ponies,” said the doctor, humbly, but so loud, that every one could hear him. “Will you come and see my establishment? I am rather proud of my choice.”

“See,” growled an old gentleman, in a brilliant uniform, “who could see any thing in this Egyptian darkness.”

“I beg pardon,” said Joannes, gently; “I had forgotten that you are not accustomed to see in the dark. That is easily remedied.”

He snapped his fingers, and in a moment the whole court-yard was as light as day from the blaze of many hundred torches secured to the palace walls, and the equipage stood revealed in their brilliant glare. A unanimous and admiring exclamation burst from all present. But I cried scornfully, “That is nothing new, I have often seen it done by Professor Dohler—an electric machine and dry weather are all that is required.” No one listened to me. Every one broke out in praises of the magnificent equipage. Harnessed to it were four horses of wondrous beauty, of the true Andalusian breed. I was forced to confess that I had never seen any thing like them, and to hide my annoyance in admiration. And then the coach—an easier, more gorgeous or graceful thing of the kind could not well be imagined. It rested upon the springs like the shell of Venus upon the waves. It was worthy to contain the fairest of the fair. This seemed to strike the fair Angelica herself. She relinquished my arm for the doctor’s, and said, with a heavenly smile, “You are a happy man, doctor; I cannot imagine a more exquisite sensation, than the possession of such an equipage would create.”

“It is yours, adored one!” whispered Joannes tenderly, yet so loudly that he evidently intended I should hear. “The world has no treasure too great for the queen of all hearts.”

“O heavens! what generosity!” cried Angelica. She hastened from the doctor to her mother, to tell the joyful news.

I looked angrily out of the window, and saw how the doctor’s coachman performed the most wonderful manœuvres, in the confined court-yard, with his fiery steeds. “Witchcraft! a real devil’s trick!” said I to myself, as I stepped back into the saloon, and walked hastily up and down.

I was jealous, furiously jealous—and what wonder? Did not Italian blood course through my veins—was I not the Marquis della Mostarda, from Naples? Thoughts of daggers and aqua toffana coursed through my brain when I looked at Joannes. Two persons in serious conversation passed me, a stately gentleman and an elderly lady. “They may say what they choose, but all is not right with the German doctor. He practices the Black Art, and ought to be thankful that the Holy Inquisition no longer exists. He gives presents here which an emperor could hardly afford, while he inhabits a miserable room in the suburbs, attended by no one but a dirty black poodle, who brings him his meals every day from the restaurateur’s.”

“And how every thing has altered here in this house since he arrived and paid his court to the beautiful Angelica,” continued the lady. “Before we saw poverty everywhere—the servants had no livery, and there had been no parties given since Olini’s time. Now the servants shine in rich embroidery, and at these rare entertainments, delicacies appear upon the table that one has hardly ever dreamed of, such as the gingerbread to-night, after Angelica had expressed her wonderful desire for it. We shall soon see the daughter of the Duke of Silvio Cremonio wife of Doctor Joannes.”

“No, no!” said the gentleman, thoughtfully shaking his head, “I thought so until to-night; but now I see that her parents have other views with regard to her.”

His glance rested upon me, and appearing to observe, for the first time, that I was near, he walked away. But I, knowing now that others regarded my rival as I did, prepared myself to contend with him for the incomparable Angelica.



“Shall we not then play marriage?” sounded the nightingale tones at my side, and I felt her delicate hand rest upon my arm.

“To my latest hour,” I cried, enraptured; and every thing was forgotten but the exquisite creature before me. We went to the saloon, and took our places in a quiet niche. In the centre of the apartment they were playing faro. There stood the doctor losing huge sums, and looking as if he were cursing his unlucky stars.

Oh heavens! how beautiful she was with her graceful head bent over the table, her heavenly eyes resting upon the cards, and her features composed to an expression of thoughtfulness. How could I think of the miserable game while she was sitting opposite to me? I thought of only one marriage, and that was with the fair one herself.

She played eagerly, but in her eagerness displayed the most child-like, guileless soul. When she won—and I always let her win—when my one hundred-franc pieces slipped over the green cloth toward her, and she looked at the heap of gold beside her, she clapped her hands like a child beaming with innocence and simplicity. I was blest; I looked at her, and lost with the greatest delight—for was not my purse inexhaustible?

“That is enough for to-night,” said she at last, smiling graciously as she entrusted the heap of gold to an old servant. “One must not go too far, even in their favorite enjoyments. To-morrow I hope to give you your revenge, dear marquis.”

She tripped away to her mother at the faro-table. I was intoxicated with delight—I was beside myself. She had called me dear marquis, and in a tone of voice which rung through my soul. In this blissful state I looked toward the faro-table, but Joannes was no longer there. “He must have lost all,” I said to myself, “and will trouble me no more with his Viennese chariots and Andalusian ponies.” I longed for solitude, and retired to a little room, lighted only by the tapers of the great saloon. Throwing myself upon an ottoman, I thought upon my love and my happiness. I compared my present with my former prospects. Poor Gabriel Mostert! How often hast thou been compelled to wait before great men’s doors, waiting for the permission, which was necessary, before I could venture to intrude. And now, when the Marquis della Mostarda appears, all doors are thrown open, and cringing lackeys attend everywhere to wait on him—all the treasures of the earth are spread out before him for his choice. To be sure just now the finger upon which Kate had put the forget-me-not ring pinched me a little. But why need the marquis keep a promise which the tradesman had made? The thing was not to be thought of. Spite of this reasoning, my conscience would not let me think of the burgomaster’s daughter without a twinge. But I called Angelica’s image to my aid, and little Kate vanished. “She is an angel from heaven, this duke’s daughter,” cried I aloud. Just at this moment a loud, distinct voice in an adjoining dark room enchained my attention.

“Dog, hateful monster!” I heard Doctor Joannes say, “bring me more money, or the compact which binds me to thee is null and void. Of what use is it to me if I must stand now, like a naked beggar, by the side of this Italian, who appears to possess the gold mines of Golconda, and who loses thousands to the beautiful, avaricious Angelica—and smiles all the while, as if he were playing for beans. Money! money! or I will torment thee! I will turn Christian and take thee with me to church.” Then I heard a suppressed whining. It was evident that Doctor Joannes was conversing with the dog, of whom I had already heard something in the saloon. He appeared to understand the poodle tongue, for he answered, when the dog ceased whining, in increasing rage. “Do you say I should have bargained with Moloch, if I wished for gold and jewels? That I cannot compete with the Italian in expense, for he is under some mighty influence, which has at its command all the treasures of the world? That you fear he will marry Angelica, and so destroy all my plans? Dog! cursed monster! Angelica must be mine! Do you dare to fear where I hope? Wo be to you if my forbearance comes to an end.” Then the poodle growled more angrily, and whined no more. It seemed as if the growling in his throat deepened into thunder. But again he was silent, and the doctor replied scornfully, “Your threats I despise, for you are my slave. You must serve me until the old fellow in Wiemar has completed me; it will be a long time before that happens. I shall enjoy life for many years, and you must fill up my cup of pleasure. I say again, Angelica must be mine. And money, money I must have, and that to-night. My old friend may never complete me, or I may turn Christian; and in either case you are balked of my poor soul!”

The dog replied by a tolerably distinct growling.

“Steal, steal—always steal,” replied the doctor, peevishly. “There is something so vulgar in it. Why do you not steal for me, and have it ready for me when I want it. You think stealing is something so purely human that hell itself can have no part in it. But I care not, and will be off with you again for booty. But not from the merchant’s safe or the miser’s chest shall the money come to-night; take me to the treasury of the Emperor of China; there, perhaps, I may find something worth the stealing.”

An icy shudder ran through me. It was beyond a doubt I was in the vicinity of a horrible magician and his famulus. There was a strange rustling in the room; something flew out of the open door, the windows clattered, and a violent wind blew suddenly without. Something impelled me to go into the room. The air was hot and sulphurous, the high folding-doors were open, and on the distant horizon I saw a meteor which vanished in an instant. Half-senseless, I staggered out again. Strange thoughts rushed through my mind. I seemed to have known this doctor and his dog before, and to recollect walking and rioting with them in Frankfort on the Main. But such ridiculous fancies I banished quickly from my mind. “I shall have to deal with him,” said I to myself; “but he can do me no harm, for if the worst comes to the worst, my cap can easily rescue me.”

Satisfied with this reflection, I entered the eating saloon. The trumpets had already announced that supper waited, and the duchess led the fairest of the fair to me, that I might conduct her to the table. How can I describe those moments of bliss! What were the English oysters and Steinberg wine to me? I valued them not at all; I said nothing, but gazed upon her, while in silver tones she revealed to me her whole child-like soul. The dear child was, as is the case with all innocent children—all wishes. She wished for several dresses of the finest and broadest Brabant lace, for a set of Oriental pearls, and for diamonds of larger size and purer water than those she was then wearing. Then followed a multitude of fashionable trifles, and sweetmeats, which last appeared particularly attractive to the lovely girl. I noted down every thing in my memory, and resolved that all should be presented to her at dinner the next day.

Doctor Joannes did not appear at table. It seemed to disturb the duchess, who made many inquiries concerning him, but could learn nothing satisfactory.

I thought it best to guard with diligent secrecy the fact that he had gone to China upon a light-fingered errand. In his absence I was relieved and happy. I might have been the star of the evening, and should have made many excellent observations upon men and manners, had I not infinitely preferred to listen to my gracious princess, who appeared well pleased at not being interrupted in her prattle.

Thus the moments flew by, and the hour for departure arrived. I was in no little embarrassment; richly dressed servants began to announce to the various guests the arrival of their equipages. How could I sustain the dignity of the Marquis della Mostarda? What could I do but retire to some obscure corner, and wish myself in my gloomy lodgings on the Bosphorus. But it was not so to be. A stately Moor, more brilliantly appareled than the rest, approached me, and, as my servant, announced that my vehicle was waiting. I took leave with the utmost dignity of my princely entertainers, who declared that they should certainty expect me the next day at noon, to accompany them on a drive to San Solario—the duke’s château. These, their last words, were accompanied by a heavenly smile from the princess.

In a state of perfect bliss I descended the marble steps, and saw by the torchlight a magnificent chariot and two footmen in waiting. The Moor assisted me to enter, and the horses, which might well vie with the doctor’s Andalusian ponies, flew through the streets of Rio Janeiro. We stopped before a stately mansion, my hotel, as an inward voice assured me. Footmen stood ready to receive me, and chamberlains to attend me to my sleeping apartment. In short, I should have fallen from one state of bewilderment into another, had I not been perfectly conscious of my position as fortune’s favorite. I slept under a silken coverlet, upon eider down. But my dreams were excessively stupid, not of the charming Angelica, as I had hoped, but of Van Delpt and Fleury, with their nonsensical William Benkels and Henri Quatre, and of little Kate, with her vulgar burgomaster papa.



In the morning, however, in spite of my restless night, I was early astir. I visited all the jewelers in Rio Janeiro, and bought all their most costly jewelry. The tradespeople were astonished, and the Marquis della Mostarda was the object of universal admiration. For the pearls which the lovely child had expressed such a desire for, I was obliged to take a little trip to Calcutta. I came back by the way of London, Mechlin, and Paris. Every thing lay before me in my room; exquisite stones from the Brazilian mines, bijouterie of all kinds from Paris, and a superb golden dressing case from Rundell & Bridges. These should secure for me the favor of the mother and daughter, while I endeavored to conciliate the father, by requesting him, in a most polite note, to accept a deposit of 20,000 double pistoles. Every thing was packed up and sent off. The consequences were a note of transporting sweetness from the daughter, upon silk paper, stamped with forget-me-nots, and a business-like letter from the father, assuring me that my money had not been thrown away. O, Angelica, thy beaming smile was with me at all times; for thy sake I could even have forgotten all the obligations of honor and honesty, and have stolen from the Emperor of China. But as yet I had paid for every thing, and the receipts were in my portefeuille. While my servants imagined that I was taking my siesta, I was dining sumptuously in the Rocher de Cancale, in Paris. A little excited by the champagne, I came back to Rio Janeiro, and at the appointed time my chariot stopped before the ducal palace. Need I say that both mother and daughter received me most kindly, and that Angelica, dressed in Mechlin lace over pink silk, with the bandeau of pearls, looked like a goddess.

“Loveliest one,” cried I, “there is no jewel upon earth which would not be ten times more brilliant upon your fair brow. Command me, I beg. Every thing that you desire shall be yours in a quarter of an hour—the mammoth diamond from the turban of the great Mogul.”

“Another time,” said the innocent creature, smiling. “Enough for to-day; now we will drive to San Solario.”

I offered the use of my carriage, but Angelica was bent upon trying her Andalusian horses for the first time. Indeed, it hardly seemed safe to trust ourselves with the suspicious animals, and there was something unpleasantly strange in the idea of being driven by a poodle-dog; but Angelica desired it, her mother coincided in her wishes, and I, as cavalier-servante, must obey. However, I quietly calculated the chances of the venture, and seized an opportunity, when Angelica and her mother were looking another way, to put my little cap upon my head, under my hat, and then felt prepared for any emergency. Should the horses run away, I had only to seize upon the princess and wish myself, with her, upon the parade ground in Berlin, or any other place I might choose—and we should be at once safe and concealed. In the meanwhile, I observed the coachman narrowly. Our glances met, and he regarded me with a fierce, penetrating expression. He wore a beard of enormous growth, and his moustaches were large in proportion. His fiery eyes, his flat nose, and his broad mouth, which was always showing his glistening teeth, gave one the vivid idea of a snarling, rascally poodle.

“You can do me no harm,” I said to myself, as I entered the coach, “for I can remove myself from your rascally neighborhood at any moment that I think best.”

The ponies flew through the streets. Ladies and gentlemen crowded to the balconies and windows to see us pass. The devil certainly drove magnificently, never deviating a hair’s breadth from the right line, and avoiding obstructions in the most skillful manner, though so narrowly, that it was enough to make my flesh creep with horror. The gates of the city now lay behind us. The duchess commanded him to drive more slowly, that we might enjoy the beauty of a charming South American landscape. And now, through my forgetfulness, and all absorbing love for the beautiful Angelica, an accident occurred, which well-nigh destroyed my credit with the duchess and her lovely daughter. We were speaking of all imaginable things—of the Carnival of Venice, of St. Peter’s, in Rome, and of Mahomet’s tomb, at Medina. I was describing the wonderful manner in which the Prophet’s coffin hung suspended between heaven and earth, and expressed my astonishment at the incredible circumstance.

“Indeed, that must be very wonderful!” said Angelica, with child-like sympathy; “I should so like to be there.”

“So should I,” I replied, mechanically, without reflecting that the cap which instantly fulfilled all such wishes was upon my head. Scarcely had the three syllables passed my lips, when I found myself in an immense vaulted apartment, whose high ceiling was undiscernible to the eye. Pillars of marble, porphyry, and jaspar, reared themselves from the floor, which was covered with the most costly carpets. I saw before me the silver doors of a smaller apartment standing open. In the midst hovered, without losing its balance, an object which resembled a coffin. “Allah! Allah!” resounded around me, and everywhere I saw prostrate the pious worshipers of Islam. I tried to collect myself. “A Giaour!” cried many voices, suddenly. “Seize the Christian dog, who defiles the tomb of the Holy Prophet—stone him.” They had recognized me, and were thronging toward me with cries of “Death!” The danger was imminent—but relief was close at hand. In the next moment I was sitting quietly in the carriage of the Duchess of Silvio Cremonio, opposite to the fairest of the fair.

A pallor overspread the features of both ladies, and they trembled excessively. The mother regarded me with terror and astonishment, the daughter more with curiosity.

“By all the saints!” began the mother, in a trembling voice, “I have never met with so remarkable an adventure in a drive before; suddenly, in the midst of an intensely interesting conversation, my lord marquis, you vanish, as if blown away like a mote tossed about by the wind. And now, just as wonderfully, and, as if created from nothing, you appear again in your seat. What does this mean, dear Mostarda? You certainly owe us an explanation.”

“’Tis nothing! A mere trifle,” I replied, confused. “It is a disease that I inherit, but the attacks are very rare, nor do they, as you have seen, last long. It is a very peculiar kind of cramp. One is drawn entirely into himself, into the merest speck, into the plexus solaris of the soul. There is no danger in the case—before one can turn round, it is over. I shall be extremely sorry if such a trifle has alarmed you, ladies.”

I thought I had invented an extremely plausible lie; but the old duchess shook her head, and after a few moments, said, her anxious glance resting, meanwhile, upon her daughter, “But this cramp is a terrible thing; you should consult our physician. It is of very little consequence as long as you are single; but if, when you are a husband and father, you should be seized with your plexus solaris, or whatever you call the thing, and should not be able to recover from it—think what a dreadful thing it would be for your poor family. And what respect could any children have for a father who, perhaps, in the middle of some edifying reproof, was to vanish from their eyes, and then, just as suddenly, shoot up before them again, like a mushroom. You must take something, marquis; you must confine yourself to a solid, strengthening diet, that your body may gain such force as to be able to resist this plexus solaris of the soul. I will send you some chocolate, and some of the wonderful plant, Anakatscha; and I hope to see you well in a few weeks.”

In the anguish of my soul I promised every thing; I would drink the chocolate, avoid all hasty movements, and take a three hours siesta every day. Angelica’s innocent spirit had already found something else to busy itself with, which absorbed all her attention. While the duchess was talking, I had taken out a little bonbonniere of gold, which I had bought for my own use in the morning. The bonbonniere was musical, that is, it played the bridal chorus from “Der Freischütz,” and the Barcarolle from “La Muette de Portici.” I offered bonbons to the ladies, and made the box play these little airs. The charming princess was delighted; she touched the pretty toy, gazed wonderingly at it, and then held it to her ear, exclaiming, “Ah, how delightful to possess such a darling; how charming to have it in one’s boudoir, always ready to beguile the weary hours with music.” Of course, the bonbonniere was instantly declared to be her own. She blushed, cast down her eyes, and assured me that nothing but her great esteem for me would permit her to receive this gift, after all the costly presents of the morning; but I was thankful that the chapter of the plexus solaris was over, and that the villa of San Solario was at hand.



At the grated gate of the park Doctor Joannes received us. He was dressed with much more care than on the preceding evening, for, although he still wore the same common black dress, and his hair hung in simple curls on either side of his pale face; in his lace jabot sparkled a diamond of the first water; his fingers were loaded with costly rings, and upon his light cane of bamboo shone in all its native splendor, a ruby as large as a billiard-ball. He did not appear to notice me, but bowed humbly to the ladies, and begged their forgiveness for intruding himself without an invitation; being driven to San Solario, as he said, by the desire to know whether they were satisfied with the Viennese chariot and Andalusian ponies. His whole manner expressed that tender sensibility which is in such favor with the ladies of the present day. They appeared delighted to see him. The lovely princess, sweet innocence, began, in her winning way, to admire the ornaments with which the doctor was adorned. She admired the diamonds and the rings; but when she saw the ruby, she broke out in most musical laughter, and declared that it must have belonged to Gulliver’s Ghlumdalclitch, for none but the queen of the giants could wear such a stone.

“O, gracious princess,” said I, casting a scornful glance upon Doctor Joannes, “these stones are never worn by ladies. They are marks of distinction among the Chinese mandarins; and I do not think such a one is to be found anywhere but in the imperial treasury at Peking.”

The doctor colored slightly, and his glance threatened me with revenge and ruin. But he soon turned quietly to the ladies, smiled himself at the great size of the stone, and confessed that it was this very peculiarity which had induced him to purchase it of a mandarin, who had left Rio Janeiro this very afternoon.

I was obliged to acknowledge that he had extricated himself from the difficulty well, and to leave him in peace for the present.

It was a magnificent afternoon, and the villa San Solario was a place of perfect enchantment. All the public gardens and squares in Gelnhaus and Heidelberg, were as common linen to cashmere, compared with San Solario. In Gelnhaus, if I chanced to hear a nightingale chirp, or a cricket sing, I fell immediately into a poetical ecstasy; and here there was a whole orchestra of woodland musicians performing overtures and symphonies on the boughs of the cedars and palms, while gorgeous birds were flitting about like animated flowers.

That rascal Joannes took his place by Angelica’s side, and, while the ladies were occupied with some sentimental love story, I gave myself up to my strange, wild, poetical dreaming. But I was wakened from my profound reverie by the sharp tones of the duchess. “Have you another attack, my lord, marquis?” said she; “you indulge in strange reveries. Why do you not listen to the exquisite story which the doctor is relating to us—it would melt a heart of stone. But you are so buried in thought, that you hear not a word of it; and if we did not pardon much to the weakness of your nerves, we should really be offended.” The doctor looked at me with the most impudent malice, and the princess Angelica smiled strangely, as if she suspected that I was not all right in my mind, or that I was an unrefined sort of person, who had yet to learn how to conduct himself toward people of rank; but I collected myself, and said, “These affecting stories have an injurious effect upon my nerves, it is true, and the physicians have forbidden me to listen to them. Even in early childhood my nurse’s tales always affected me strangely, and the story of a doctor who journeyed through the air upon a fiery dog, to visit the Emperor of China, or rather his treasury, made such an impression upon me, that it always seems to me as if it had really occurred only yesterday.”

Now, it was my time to stare maliciously at the doctor. Astonishment, rage, and curiosity were painted in his countenance. He had a hard struggle to prevent a self-betrayal; the veins in his forehead swelled fearfully, his cheeks glowed, and his eyes would have killed me if they could. But he recovered his composure again before the ladies noticed his confusion, and became just as interestingly pale as before—gentle and retiring as a young maiden, who is just entering the gay world; he coincided with them in their observations upon the beautiful country, and especially praised the situation of the villa, and the plan upon which the grounds were laid out.

This pleased the duchess—for the plans were her own.

We had now reached a spot where the whole beauty of the park and the surrounding country was spread out before us; but so oppressive were the rays of the evening sun, that it was almost impossible to remain for a moment in contemplation of the glorious landscape. The duchess declared that she would erect a public pavilion here, which should enable people to enjoy the charming scene without, undisturbed by the burning heat.

“In the meanwhile, I can assist you for the moment, with a little piece of chemical art,” said Joannes, very gently, as he detained the ladies. “It were a pity not to remain here until evening, and enjoy all the beauties of the sunset.” With these words he opened a box, which he took from his pocket. I regarded it curiously, but could discover nothing but common snuff. With a solemn air he scattered a few grains of the brown dust in a semi-circle on the ground; and, lo!—in a moment—roses and jessamines, vines and fig-trees, peach-trees and dwarf-palms sprouted up from the earth. They soon grew to a convenient height, and then arched themselves overhead in a roof, the green of which was charmingly relieved by many gay-colored flowers. But the doctor performed even more than be promised. With the arbor, there appeared also luxuriant ottomans, and an elegant table, upon which were crystal dishes, filled with the most delicious confitures, and glasses of lemonade and almond milk. The ladies appeared entirely satisfied with every thing; were not much surprised, and were very glad that the knowledge of natural magic had been carried so far, because it permitted one so easily to serve a friend in time of need.

I was vexed, and another cutting remark was upon my tongue, when an unexpected sight filled me with sweet memories of my home upon the Rhine, and excited my appetite. The arbor had borne fruits. Juicy figs and magnificent peaches were seen among the dark green leaves; but, better than all, there was the genuine fruit of Rhineland—the delicious grape. My heart leaped up within me, and I could scarcely refrain from singing—

“The Rhine, the Rhine, ’tis there our vines are blooming.”

“Does it please you, most honored friend?” asked the doctor, with extreme politeness, as he pointed to the rich, full bunches. “Pluck them yourself, while I wait upon the ladies. You will find them of the finest species, and just in the right state for eating.”

I could not withstand him. I plucked and ate—and the more I ate the greater became my hunger for them. Oh! how my spirits warmed, as I tasted the well-known Rutland grape, the Orleans, Riesling, Traminer, and the delicious, cooling Muscatel. The world around me vanished, and this fruit of the Rhine was—for the moment—life and love. A loud laugh from the ladies and the doctor awoke me from my dream of delight. Amazed, I looked up and around. Angelica pointed maliciously to the stripped vines, and I saw, to my horror, that I had eaten all the fruit, and that I was just stretching out my hand for the last grape upon the arbor. I was deeply mortified, but in the next moment my mortification was changed into dismay. What had I done? How could I have so forgotten myself as to enjoy the fruits of the witchcraft of my rival: I was—if not poisoned—at least bewitched. He gazed at me maliciously; and as he laughed contemptuously, the wicked fire that he had stolen from hell darted from his eyes.

“What is the matter, my lord?” began the duchess, who must have noticed the change in my manner and countenance. “Are you bewitched? Are you going to have another attack?”

“How bewitched? What attack?” cried I, almost beside myself. “We—all three—your gracious highness, the heavenly Angelica, and I—I, the Marquis Della Mostarda, are bewitched by the devil’s arts and a cursed dog. Doctor Joannes will lure on our poor souls into the power of his poodle, with Nüremburg gingerbread, delicious confectionary, and magic fruit. But his power reaches not to me—I am under mightier protection.”

I rushed away, and directed my steps toward the shadiest part of the garden. “What a pity that the poor man suffers from such attacks,” I heard the duchess say behind me. “What a pity,” echoed the princess, sweetly. But the doctor was well content that I had left the field clear for him.



In the shady palm-forest, I walked wildly up and down. What was the use, to me, of my wondrous gifts, if this doctor, with his witchcraft, always contrived to humble me, and to obliterate from the minds of the ladies all that I might effect by my gold and rich presents. I could no longer spare him. The duke and duchess were worthy, God-fearing people; and Angelica went every day to mass, and every week to confession. They should know who they were entertaining as a friend—who was luring their lovely daughter on to her destruction. But what could I adduce against him? That he had journeyed to China upon a poodle-dog, and there stolen money and precious stones from the emperor’s treasury? Good Heavens! If I had advanced such a statement Angelica would have looked suspiciously at me, and the duchess would have felt my pulse, and anxiously asked—“Are your nerves again excited? Is this a fresh attack, my lord?” No, no; nothing was to be done in this way. Only some mighty blow at his credit could free me from my rival. How was it, that from the depths of my soul I seemed to hear a distinct voice, saying—“You know well both him and his poodle; bethink yourself where you have seen them before; he is a person of distinction, well known throughout Europe.” But I thought until my head ached, and could remember nothing. Suddenly, a plan occurred to me, which would put an end to all my embarrassment. Was not the doctor occupied at this moment in creating arbors for the ladies—and was not his poodle sitting upon the coach-box, whistling Caspar’s song from Der Freischütz? Could I not instantly repair to the doctor’s studio, and procure proofs of his dealings with the evil one?

No sooner thought than done. I set my cap more firmly upon my head, and in the next moment I was sitting in the doctor’s studio, surrounded by the most ordinary articles of furniture and dress. The papers upon the table were of no consequence, but the handwriting appeared to me remarkable. The ancient form of the letters, and the various flourishes with which they were adorned, belonged to the Middle Ages. I stepped up to another table, upon which lay several books and a map.

“He loves reading,” thought I: “from the reading in which a man delights, one can easily discover the bent of his mind; and perhaps he has made marginal notes which will betray him, and afford sure proofs of his guilt.” The first book that I opened was the earliest edition of Faust—it was the merest fragment; and nowhere through the book could I find a scrap of writing except at the end, where, in red ink, in the doctor’s easily-recognized handwriting, was the single word, “good.” Did this word refer only to the masterly genius of Goethe, or did it characterize the escape of Faust from his well-merited punishment; an escape which probably filled the doctor with hope that he also might continue unharmed in his league with the Evil One. I opened another book: it was another edition of the same work, with the same blood-red “good” at the end. It was the same with every book that I could find—nothing but Faust, with the same comment at the end. In the latest edition, however, where Faust and Mephistophiles leave Margaret in prison, in the last scene, there was a distinctly-written “very good” at the end.

This “very good” made the strangest impression upon me. At last I lighted upon a handsomely bound book, which proved to be an edition of the admirable drawings with which Ramberg has illustrated Goethe’s great work. As I held this book in my hand I had the distinct impression that the riddle was about to be solved—and so it proved. Was I dreaming?—No. In the first picture upon which I cast my eyes, I recognised in Faust and his Demon Doctor Joannes—my rival, the wooer of the heavenly Angelica—and his hateful poodle, who was now figuring as coachman to the Duke of Silvio Cremonio. My glimmering recollection became a living picture; and I understood well, why the doctor had defied the demon dog—“because the old fellow in Weimar had not completed him.” And because he was as yet only a fragment—because M. von Goethe had delayed his conclusion he was permitted to live in the world, and make me and my Angelica miserable. I would write to Weimar, to M. von Goethe, instantly, and represent to him the dreadful consequences of his delay. No—it were much better, by virtue of my cap, to present myself before him, and plead my own cause in proprid persona.

But now the most tormenting fears took possession of me. I seemed to hear in the distance Angelica’s cry for help, and the shrill tones of her mother entreating my aid. O, Goethe, Faust, and Mephistophiles! I feared the worst. In a flash I was at San Solario. The coach was no longer there; and the old gardener informed me that, at the approach of evening, the ladies had returned to town, accompanied by Doctor Joannes. I still seemed to hear Angelica’s cry for help, and the entreaties of her mother. A moment more, and I stood in the door-way of the palace of Silvio Cremonio; and, looking into the court, saw the direst confusion reigning everywhere. Footmen were running hither and thither with burning torches, and I heard Angelica’s name pronounced in tones of pity, and the doctor’s accompanied with curses. I pressed through the bewildered crowd, rushed up the marble steps, and into the drawing-room. There stood the stout old duke, who came toward me with outstretched arms, but unable to articulate a word. The duchess came also; and with the rage of a lioness robbed of her young in her face and manner seized my hand, and said—

“O, welcome, marquis; more welcome now than ever. Angelica has been torn from us by that demon doctor. You warned us, but I was foolishly deaf to your warnings! O, help us; for you, too, possess the most wonderful natural gifts—else, where could you have procured the beautiful jewels and rich lace!”

“Torn from you by the doctor?” cried I, almost frantic. “Is it possible that this miserable villain, who only exists in print and copperplates, has dared to carry off a Brazilian princess?”

“Dared it before my very eyes!” replied the duchess. “He was this afternoon, as you saw, extremely polite, and more charmingly pale than ever. He assisted me into the coach; but when Angelica was about to enter he flung to the door, seized her, and seating himself with her upon the box, drove through the streets in the wildest manner. Just the other side of the city gates the horses reared, snorted fire, and something like a fiery chariot bore away the doctor, Angelica, and the coachman to the east, where they vanished in that thunder-cloud that you see there.”

“There I recognize Faust!” I cried. “This driving off in flames is an old trick of his; but he shall not long rejoice over his beautiful prey. In a few moments, I will restore Angelica to your arms; you will again be a happy mother, and the princess—”

“Shall be your reward,” said the lady, interrupting me. “I have seen your passion, and am convinced that your love for her is the cause of the weakness of your nerves. Bring the dear child back to us, and you shall receive the blessing of a happy mother.”

“And of a happy father,” added the old duke.

“Away then to the strife with the doctor and his dog!” cried I, entranced. “What is the laurel of fame, in comparison with the price for which I strive?”

The duchess commanded the chaplain to attend in the chapel, and I put on my cap. With a wish only I was hovering in the air in the fiery car, and lightnings were quivering around, while the thunder rolled beneath me. Beside me lay fainting and motionless the dear innocent child, the graceful Angelica. She knew nothing of what was passing around her, and lay there like a careless, sleeping child.

Faust and Mephistophiles were talking together.

“On the peak of Teneriffe we will rest,” said the former.

“And the marriage shall take place at Gretna Green,” said the latter.

“The bride is mine,” cried I, boldly; and in an instant I laid her at the feet of her parents, who were expecting us at the chapel door. As if awakening from a dream, the beautiful being lifted her head, and stroking back her curls, cast an inquiring glance around. But this was no time for explanation. The storm had broken fearfully over the palace, and the duchess foreboded danger.

“You will be happy in marriage, dear children,” said she. “You, Angelica, because you will want for nothing; and you, my lord, because you will gratify every wish of hers. How much pin-money shall you allow her—a hundred thousand pistoles a year?”

“A million!” cried I, “if she is only mine.” My head burned, my heart beat as though it would leap from my breast. The storm grew more fearful, the high Gothic window of the chapel was illuminated by the lightning, and the doctor’s face was plainly seen, grinning frightfully in, and by his side that accursed poodle.

“Hey, hey, Gabriel Mostert!” the doctor seemed scornfully to say. “You are a sad rogue, and the devil will have you, too.”

“I’ll have you, too,” howled the dog, in echo.

I could not fling off the horror that seized me. The priest had now reached the place where my audible assent was necessary; I grew dizzy, and my hand clutched at the altar—a thunder-clap of indescribable violence at this moment burst from the sky—the light of the tapers threatened to be extinguished. All grew dim before my eyes. Then, like shadows, the forms of Van Delpt and Fleury rose up as marriage-witnesses near the altar; the priest, the ducal parents, the princely bride, and the whole retinue dwindled away into infinite littleness, and then into nothing. The marble pillars of the chapel sunk into the earth—the lofty dome bowed down, and became a common ceiling, and out of the dimness gradually appeared, before my uncertain sight, the red interior of the—opium-booth, in Bujukdìre, and a row of slumbering Turks against the walls. My two friends, Van Delpt and Fleury, were standing before me, shaking me roughly by the arms and shoulders, in order to bring me entirely to myself.

“Every thing has its time,” said the cook, with melancholy phlegm, “and you must now abdicate. Your sleep was rather restless at the last, and so we awaked you. I was very happy, I assure you, as William Benkels, but all earthly happiness is a dream, and the dream vanishes like a vapor.”

“What do you mean?” cried I, without understanding him. “Where is my charming Angelica? Where’s my purse? Where’s my wishing-cap? I’m not here, I’m in Brazil—in Rio Janeiro.”

“Nothing but a dream,” cried M. Fleury. “You swallowed opium as well as we, mon cher, and so you’ve had heavenly dreams. But that is all over; be quiet now, my good fellow, and we’ll have some strong coffee; that will prevent disagreeable consequences.”

Pale, and trembling in all my limbs, with the assistance of my friends I reached Van Delpt’s room, where we spent the night in drinking strong coffee, and relating the glories of which we had dreamed.

While I pen these lines to while away the time, I am in quarantine at Trieste—an excellent provision against the plague, but very disagreeable is it to be detained as a suspicious person. But my time will soon be over. I shall hasten on the wings of love to little Kate, the burgomaster’s daughter.

As to my business in Constantinople, it all ended happily. The Mufti, Reis-Effendi, and all the other dignitaries of the Sublime Porte, settled their accounts before the Ramazan; and Messrs. Steinlein & Son were as well satisfied with the balance, as I was with the commission that fell to my share; by means of which I shall set up a shop, with a good stock of Crêpe de Chine and other fashionable articles, as well as veritable Eau de Cologne. My arms are stretched out toward my home, and my heart laughs to greet it; and in the new ledger of my life stand entered in golden letters—“Little Katy for ever.”





On a calm, but very clouded summer evening, I entered a beautiful valley, bordering on the Juniata river, from which I had been absent nearly three years. Many of my happiest days had been spent amidst its rural shades and warm-hearted people. One, whom all the neighborhood held in veneration, had been my tutor during several years of my youth, and in the family circle under his roof, my heart had found much to contribute to its enjoyments. His two sons filled the places of brothers to one who had none, and their young sister, lovely and modest as the violet of the valley, had won a yet dearer title to my affection. Nearly three years seemed a long time to pass far from these associations, but I had spent it in acquiring a profession on which would depend my future advancement in life, and was now hastening to revisit the valley, and receive from her venerable father the hand of my gentle Linda.

How often during the bright and beautiful days which had hitherto favored my journey, the joyful anticipation of the warm welcome which would greet my return, came with gushing fullness over my heart.

After leaving the stage on the public road, I had hired a horse, and entered a lane leading, through embowering woods, to that portion of the valley which contained the endeared home of other days. In the lightness of my heart I sang catches of songs as my horse gayly bore me along the well-remembered road. But night came on while I was yet in the thick forest, with a mantle darker than usual. Heavy clouds veiled the scene around, and as the gloom increased, my meditations assumed a more serious nature. I might lose the way, and my horse was a stranger to it. The few stars visible gave so little light through the foliage of the woods, that the track soon became undefined. The silence of this darkness was not broken by the night-wind which seemed to have died on its winged way. Thus circumstanced, it was more prudent to proceed slowly.

Was that a footstep? Did not the underwood rustle as if parted by something passing through it? I looked around, but saw nothing amidst the deep gloom, when suddenly the reins were snatched from my hand, and an attempt made by some one to drag me from the horse. I had just time to draw and fire a pistol, a groan followed the discharge, and the strong arm that had grasped me loosed its hold, while a person fell heavily to the ground. Giving my horse the spur, I was soon borne out of the wood.

On reaching the open country and looking back, I saw no one, but hastily resumed my journey.

It was the hour of retiring to rest, when the welcome light from the window of the Grange, the home of my friend, Mr. Milton, met my view. How eagerly I dismounted and hurried across the lawn in front of the mansion. My hand was on the latch of the door, the next moment it was opened, and I felt myself pressed to the heart of my kind old tutor, to whom a letter had announced my coming. As we entered the parlor another form approached, a little hand was clasped in mine, and Linda, covered with blushes and looking more lovely than ever, faltered my welcome. Late as was the hour, they had yet waited supper for me, and we sat down with hearts too full of joyful emotions to do justice to the bountiful supply of the table.

Although my cup of happiness was so full, the strange and unpleasant adventure in the forest shared my thoughts, and the uncertainty of the fate of my assailant pressed rather heavily on one whose habits had always been peaceful. The scene of the encounter was not more than four miles from the Grange.

And yet I delayed informing those so interested in my welfare of the occurrence, partly because their earnest inquiries related to the period of my absence, and I would not interrupt the first gushings of joy and tenderness by any thing unpleasant.

“And where are my friends James and Ernest?” I asked, for their vacant chairs were placed at the table.

Some one entering the door behind me, covered my eyes playfully with his hands; I caught those hands, and turned to embrace my early fellow student and warm-hearted friend James, who had waited until my meeting with his sister was over, and now poured out the frank greeting of his kind and generous nature.

“But where is Ernest to share our happiness?” he inquired. “What can detain him to this late hour? He rode out this evening to meet you, Charles, and I expected to see him with you.”

“I regret I did not meet him. There is another road to meet the stage route, perhaps he took that.”

“Oh no, he went by the same which you traveled. It is strange you did not see him.”

As James spoke, he directed a look of anxious inquiry toward his father, who sighed, and turning to me, said “Ernest has caused me much pain lately. He is sadly altered.”

I looked surprised, but he did not explain, and the silence of the next few minutes left me to ponder on his words.

Ernest altered!—the studious, mild, spiritual Ernest? How altered?—in what way? It could not be favorably, for he had already been my standard of excellence, and in my enthusiastic admiration he could rise no higher. Was it for the worse? Heaven forbid! Yet some years had passed since we parted, and, alas! for changeful man, even Ernest might have fallen into error.

In his continued absence the time seemed slowly and anxiously to pass away. Linda rose to retire, and as I pressed her hand in saying “good-night,” I observed a look of sadness, and a starting tear had changed the expression of her sweet face. As had always been her custom from childhood, she knelt for her father’s blessing, and when his venerable hand, pressed on the rich clusters of her dark brown hair, and “God bless you, my child,” came from his lips, she earnestly added, “And may he protect my brother from all danger.”

I could not help sharing the general anxiety, and felt more unwilling to impart to them the late encounter in the wood, lest it should increase their fears for the safety of Ernest. Yet what enemy had he? and the road leading to his home would be plain to him on the darkest night. But I might with the same reason ask, What enemy had I? And who was my assailant? If a highwayman, he would have demanded my purse.

As I turned on my pillow after retiring to the chamber alloted to me, I vainly sought repose. The journey of the day had been a long and weary one, although supported by the joyous anticipations of a buoyant spirit: tired I felt, but not sleepy, for a strange feeling of uncertainty and anxiety was now upon me, which was not relieved by the murmur of voices in the next apartment. My chamber, which was the same I had occupied in boyhood, was only separated from the next by a wooden partition, so common in country houses, and what was spoken there, even in a low voice, could be heard with a little attention by me. Shall I confess this attention was not wanting on my part? For the first time in my life I listened willingly to the communications of others not intended for my ear. My conscientious scruples were quieted by the reflection that long-existing ties bound me to the interests of the family, and besides, was I not about to unite myself to its dearest member, and had I not something like a brother’s right to learn what were the sorrows or troubles of Ernest, whose name was more than once spoken in the subdued but agitated voice of my venerated old friend, his father, whose chamber I knew adjoined mine. My name was also mentioned, and regret expressed by James that he had not confided in me and entered into an explanation. This certainly exonerated me from all blame in eaves-dropping, and I listened without dreading the admonitions of my inward monitor.

“I will share your pillow to-night, my dear father,” said James, “for I fear you cannot sleep.”

“As you please, my dear son,” he replied, “and surely we have cause for alarm. Oh! Ernest, Ernest, you whom I thought by intellectual culture and literary acquirements to place above the trials and troubles of this world, that after all you should act so rashly.”

“Nay, my dear father, I trust nothing wrong has happened. My brother received a note just before his departure; but I do not know that it was from Bertha. It is true his love for her is most fervent, and another insult from Durell would arouse him almost to frenzy.”

Here they spoke so low I could not connect the words, but “encounter—revenge—insult—Bertha—attack—ride—chastise”—and others as strange met my ear.

And who was Bertha? I now recollected a lovely girl of some fourteen summers, that bore that name, and at the time I left the valley, resided with her widowed mother in a neat cottage about three miles from the Grange. The name was an unusual one, unlike the simple appellations of her neighbors, and it is one of the pleasing effects of the settlement of our country by colonists from so many different nations, that some of the wildly beautiful names brought from other lands may still be heard in the deep shadows of our valleys, on the rugged brow of the mountain, by the gush of the waterfall, or in the flower-studded prairies of the West. To this also, may be attributed the varied style of beauty in our land which travelers have remarked.

There is no true standard of American loveliness; the blonde, the brunette; the eye soft as the gazelle or bright as the glancing meteor: features so differently moulded, some full of commanding dignity, others replete with [missing content]

Forms rounded into the freshness of a Hebe, or delicate and graceful as the tendrils of the vine. Figures, tall and majestic in their proportions, or small and fairy-like in their beauty. Each have their peculiar charm: but I have digressed too far, and must return to the scenes of that distressing night.

Bertha was now no longer a child, but a beautiful woman, and had taken possession of the heart of my friend Ernest, in defiance of the nine Muses, and all the brilliant array of classic dames and ancient heroines with which study had stored his memory. How relieved I felt to know that this was the change which had come over him; how unjust it was to his merits to suspect for a moment that he could act unworthily. But he had a rival and might be in danger, and again I listened; when what was my dismay and horror to hear the father and brother express their fears that he had attacked his insolent rival, and been injured in the contest. My heart beat as if it would have burst from my breast. What if my friend had in the darkness mistaken me for this Durell. What if my unknown assailant was Ernest, and alas? what if—but I could think and listen no longer, and sank back on my pillow, with an intense feeling of agony it is impossible to describe.

Recovering myself by a strong effort, I sprang from the bed and hastily threw on my clothes. I believe my intention was to rush out of the house, and seek in the forest the relief or confirmation of my fears.

The noise I made drew the attention of James, who soon entered the chamber. He was not undressed, yet seemed surprised to find me up.

“Why are you rising, Charles? It is yet two hours before day.”

I could not answer for some moments. At last I faltered out,

“I have overheard your conversation with your father, and like yourselves, must feel unhappy.”

“My dear friend,” he cried, “I wish we had explained all to you before. My anxiety about Ernest will not allow me to sleep. I will arouse the gardener to go with me in search of him, and would have done so before, but knowing my brother’s sensitive and delicate feelings, I feared if he was safe he might be displeased.”

“I will accompany you,” I replied, “do not awaken Richard.”

“No, no, you are not well, Charles. How you shake. Why, you are as pale as ashes. Richard can go, for my father will not let me venture alone.”

Still I persisted in following him down stairs, and with cautious footsteps we passed Linda’s door; but our care was useless, it was ajar, and a light burning on the table. Her brother looked in, Linda was not there, but on re-entering the passage we caught a glimpse of her form leaning from a window at the extreme end, and gazing out on the road.

She started as we approached, and an exclamation rather of distress than alarm broke from her—“My brother! my Ernest!”

“Be calm, dear sister,” said James; “I am going to seek him. He may have gone to the next town, and the night being dark, his friends have detained him until morning.”

“Alas! I cannot hope this,” said Linda; “for Ernest would not willingly give pain and anxiety to our father. I fear some evil has befallen him.” And she burst into tears.

I could not approach to soothe her anguish, for her words were torture to my heart, as I accused myself of being the cause of all this distress.

“Are you going, too, Charles?” she inquired, raising her tearful eyes to mine. Before I could answer, the voice of Mr. Milton called me, and I hastened to his chamber. He was sitting up in bed, and the painful anxiety of the last few hours had visibly affected his usually healthy appearance. His had been a green old age, so beautiful in its gradual decline, but now his features appeared sharp, and his face very pale.

“Charles,” said he, “I can scarcely tell you how wretched I feel. You cannot comprehend the reality of our alarm, as you know so little of the circumstances that cause it. In a few words, then, I will inform you. Ernest loves and is beloved. A stranger, without character, came lately into the neighborhood, and struck with the beauty of Bertha (whose sweet childhood you must remember) has rudely pressed his attendance on her when walking, and intruded frequently into her mother’s dwelling. Finding his suit rejected, and hearing of Bertha’s engagement to my son, he has spoken of him in the most insulting manner, and Ernest, learning his inexcusable conduct, has forbidden him ever to enter the cottage again. To this he has only returned insolent language, and perseveres in his annoyance when my son is absent. Ernest, naturally so mild, is now quite changed, and has threatened him with chastisement. The note received by my son I fear conveyed the knowledge of some fresh intrusion on our sweet Bertha, and we dread his meeting this insolent stranger again. In riding through the forest he may have crossed his path, and been provoked to chastise him, and in the struggle may have received some fatal injury from one so devoid of principle and honor. And now, do you not think we have great cause for alarm, at the continued absence of Ernest?”

I was too agitated to answer, and he continued:

“My kind Charles, I knew how deeply you would sympathise in our feelings. Ernest ought to have met you at the stage, and returned with you. This would have prevented any collision with his foe. Oh! why did he not do so? My dear, my unhappy son!” and tears coursed his venerable cheeks.

Linda and James had followed me to the chamber, and now hastened to soothe and console him with hopes that cheered not their own hearts. Suddenly he addressed me again with startling energy:

“Why do you not speak, Charles? Can you suggest nothing to comfort me? Was all silent in the forest as you passed through, or did you hear a noise? I adjure you by your hopes of heaven to answer me! Do not fear my weakness. The great Being who sustains my age will not forsake me now.”

I had advanced to the bedside, and sinking down, buried my face in the covering. The truth was on my lips, struggling for utterance—but could I thus destroy all their hopes, brand myself as the murderer of Ernest, and be separated from Linda forever? I sprang, in the energy of despair, to my feet.

“’Tis madness to remain longer,” I exclaimed, clasping my hands in agony, “we are losing time; come, come. Oh, wretched me!”

“He is beside himself,” cried Linda, in a voice of terror; “speak to him, James.”

I was rushing from the room, when he intercepted me.

“Stay one moment, dear Charles, I will go immediately. Linda, support our father. Alas! I fear my friend has heard or seen something in that forest that makes his alarm even greater than ours. Heaven grant we may be in time to save my brother.”

I broke from him and ran along the passage, he followed, and swift as lightning we descended the staircase. By this time the housemaid and gardener were aroused, and running from opposite directions, increased the confusion. James gave the necessary orders, and assisted Richard to saddle the horses, when we hastily mounted, and attended by him, galloped toward the woods I had so lately entered with such different feelings.

As we moved silently and swiftly along, the gray dawn began to appear in the east, but the increasing light cheered not my oppressed heart, for I dreaded its revealings.

How often in my happy youth, before I left the valley, had I watched with delight the gradual unfolding of the landscape, as the magic glances of the dawn lighted the rock, the hill, the wood, or when it mounted higher, heralding the glorious sun, and reflecting its rosy hues on the waters of the Juniata. Young life, with its dewy freshness, joyed in that which was congenial to its feelings, but how little suited to the darkness within me now; I almost shrank from the playful breeze that fanned my cheek.

As we entered the deeply shadowed wood I dreaded to look forward. Would I see the pale form of Ernest, fallen by my rashness, for worse than rashness it now appeared to me? Why did I fire so suddenly? If I had grappled with the person who attempted to drag me from the horse, I might have overcome without fatally injuring him. Had I spoken one word, the sound of my voice would have convinced Ernest of his mistake. But to reason thus was now useless, and only added to my anguish.

“Charles,” said James, in a low agitated voice, “what is that beneath yonder oak?”

One plunge of my horse brought me to the object; a white handkerchief, stained with blood, lay on the spot which I thought must be that of last night’s assault.

I raised it quickly, exclaiming—“Thank God! he is not here!”

James could not understand my feelings, and replied—“True, but whose is that blood? Oh! if it is my brother’s he may have been dragged away!”

Alas! I knew too well I had left him there, but hope dawned in my breast. The wound had not been immediately fatal—he might be alive—might yet live long to bless his family, and to forgive me. Hope made me strong again. We searched every thicket around, and then hastened toward the main road. A lane on the right led to the little village, near which Bertha resided. We turned into it, and in a short time the cottage was in view; its lowly roof almost hid by overhanging branches from the trees around it.

The distressed James hurried me on, in the hope of hearing something to relieve our anxiety. We soon reached the gate, and springing from our horses, entered the little flower-garden in front. Although the sun had not yet risen, the sound of footsteps passing rapidly through the house was distinctly heard. Presently two persons, who appeared to be neighbors, came hastily out of the door to meet us.

“Is the doctor with you?” inquired one of them.

“What doctor? Who is injured?” exclaimed James, rushing past them into the house.

I followed him, trembling in every limb. Several persons were in the room we entered, but I saw but one—and what a sight was that?

Stretched on a bed, lay a tall form motionless. The face was turned toward the wall, but the pale hands were white as the counterpane. With a cry of agony and grief, James threw himself on his knees by its side. I saw no more, for nature gave way, and I sunk on the door in a state of insensibility.

When restored to perfect consciousness, I found myself lying on a sofa in a small parlor. The window shutters were half closed to exclude the light.

“Where am I?” I exclaimed, attempting to rise, but a gentle hand prevented me, and turning I saw a lady, advanced in life, but with a most benignant countenance, who had been watching by my couch. It was the mother of Bertha, the widow of an American officer.

“Be composed, sir,” she said, “we have all suffered much anxiety on your account, and your friend Ernest would not leave the house until assured you were in no danger.”

“Ernest!” I exclaimed, “is he alive? Oh, Heaven be praised!”

“He is alive and well,” she replied, with some surprise; “but now I recollect that you and his brother were both shocked by supposing the wounded person was Ernest. It was the stranger who has so constantly annoyed us, and yet we regret he is hurt. He had only fainted from loss of blood when you entered the room, but has been shot in the leg, and probably will be lame through life.”

It is impossible to describe the sudden and joyful change in my feelings. I thought not of the stranger, but of Ernest my friend, the brother of my Linda, restored to us safe and well. How the happiness of my overcharged heart struggled for utterance at my lips, but I could not speak it, and having listened almost breathlessly to the recital of the lady, now rose once more from the sofa. But again she stayed my steps.

“Listen to me a moment longer,” she said. “Your friend Ernest after leaving the Grange last evening to meet you stopped here, and this delay prevented him from arriving at the stage-road until too late to see you, but he learned that you had proceeded on horseback toward his father’s residence, more than an hour before. Thick clouds shadowed the sky, and it was dark and late when he returned through the forest, when his attention was arrested by the groans of some person. Hastily alighting, and following the sounds, he discovered this man wounded, and having raised him with some difficulty, he placed him on the horse, and brought him here as the nearest house. But Ernest has since been arrested on suspicion of wounding him, although we all know he is innocent. His brother has gone with him and the officers of the law to the next town.”

“Do not detain me a moment,” I exclaimed, “Ernest is innocent! It was I who, in self-defense, shot at Durell, who attacked me in the forest last night, no doubt mistaking me in the darkness for my friend.”

The party with Ernest had been gone but a short time, and were soon overtaken by one of the neighbors, when they immediately returned to the cottage, and I, certainly the happiest of the group, with a face too full of truth to be doubted, told my story, which entirely exonerated Ernest, and myself too. The officers then departed, and a surgeon having examined and bandaged the limb of Durell, who had only received a flesh wound, he appeared so mortified and chagrined at his mistake and exposure, and so anxious to leave the cottage, that it was thought best to remove him on a litter to the village inn. He soon recovered, and one morning made an early departure, leaving his bill to be paid by me. Subsequently we learned he was a gambler, and had probably sought the seclusion of the valley to evade the pursuit of the law. But enough of him.

What a joyous party returned to the Grange, to which Richard had been dispatched at an early hour, to relieve the anxiety of Linda and her father. Bertha, whose beauty had wrought all our past trouble, accompanied us, but I scarcely looked at her, as she rode by the side of Ernest, for I could for some time think only of him, and surprised my friend very often by the tight pressure I gave his hand whenever I could reach it.

On our arrival at the Grange, I explained the cause of the distress and anxiety I had shown there on the night before, and oh! how sincerely my heart joined in the pious and simply beautiful thanks to God, from the lips of my old tutor, as we surrounded his hospitable board. How truly I felt that a benign and overruling Providence alone could bring joy out of sorrow.

Years have passed since then, years of happiness with Linda, but the memory of that night and morning can never be effaced from my mind. Yet it has taught me a grateful dependence on the Giver of all good, and one of the earliest lessons learned by the little happy group who call us parents, was to look on the bright side of life, and never imagine sorrows which may have no reality.





  Aurora smiles! the sun is on the sea!

    Angels are painting pictures in the sky;

  Eolian breezes warble wild and free,

    Singing the infant giant’s lullaby.

  He comes to bless; he smiles to beautify:

    But lately laving in a sea of glory,

  New-born, new-crowned, he reigns a prince on high,

    With brightness god-like and with mission holy,

  The brilliant hero of a day’s brief story.


  Sun of the Morn! in gilded car ascend;

    Give gold to dew-drops; silver to the spring;

  Thy light and heat harmoniously blend,

    The earth to gladden in thy journeying.

  Eagle of heaven! outspread thy glorious wing—

    Onward—and upward! higher yet—and higher!

  Ambition’s hero, day’s unrivaled king—

    Millions of mortals see thee to admire,

  The prince of planets wrapped in robe of fire!


  Enthroned, exalted, beautifully grand!

    Clothed in a mantle of effulgent light;

  Crowned by the eternal King of kings, whose hand

    Arrays in majesty such satellite—

  Courtiers that dance around thee with delight;

    A band of guardians ever watching o’er thee,

  Beaming with thy own beauty through the night,

    Veiling their faces when they come before thee,

  Like Gheber worshipers when they adore thee.


  Sun of the Noon! thy highest good is won!

    The zenith of the heavens is thy throne!

  In all his pride the “Man of Macedon”

    Ne’er ruled an empire mighty as thine own,

  Stretching from shore to shore, from zone to zone!

    Thy frown can wither and thy smile create—

  Thou goest forth companionless—alone!

    Thou sittest like a god in royal state:—

  Was ever seen so great a potentate?


  Behold, great monarch, thy declining reign!

    Ambition bade thee over all to tower:

  Full was thy fame! Alas! ’twas doomed to wane—

    To fade like meteor glare or summer flower!

  ’Twas thus great Cæsar gloried in his power,

    Till Rome was startled by his funeral knell:

  Thus Cromwell shone, the starlet of an hour:

    And thus Napoleon rose—and thus he fell!

  List, Phœbus! hearest thou the vesper bell?


  Sun of the Eve! thy sceptre is departed!

    Clouds come as kinsmen round thy dying bed:

  But whilst they gaze as mourners broken-hearted,

    They wrap them in thy royal robe of red;

  They steal thy golden crown from off thy head—

    Ay, pluck thy locks and soil thy silver sheen!

  The heavens with bonfires the glad tidings spread,

    “Sol is no more, and Cynthia is queen!”

  Earth shouts “Glad tidings!” happy at the scene.


  Glad tidings? Yes, the sun was merciless—

    He withered flowers—he parched the prairie plain!

  With Galileo many now confess

    His character was not without a stain.

  Of spots upon his visage they complain

    Who late extolled his brightness to the skies;

  And thousands censure his declining reign

    Who sang “Excelsior!” when they saw him rise.

  Thus lives Ambition’s hero—thus he dies!


  Tears for the weary,

    Smiles for the gay:

  Hearts that are dreary

    Dream far away.

  Vows have been broken—

    Tears have been shed—

  Love’s gentle token

    Lies withered and dead.


  Dead and forsaken!

    O leave me alone!

  I would not awaken

    The memories gone.

  Then utter no whisper—

    Breathe not a sigh—

  Like evening’s last vesper

    Affection must die.

O. J. V.





Still flows the Ganges the mightiest of Eastern waters! As erst it flowed when rocking the cradle of our common humanity with its green waves—laving the shores whence issued all our race—as like the Heraclean boy it fought and conquered in its tossing cot rolling on the Ganges’ breakers, all hydras which would smother its birth and growth, so do its descendants turn with affection to their natal stream, like the returning Heraclidæ to Greece of old. How rich in scenes of human joy and wo—how replete with the misty veddahs—how full of the corpses of India’s children, sacrificed to its beatific current, rolls the ancient river, its banks green with the growth of ages, with tropic vegetation stretching its umbrageous arms like huge antennæ over the waters of many colors, as they borrow their dolphin-hues from the thousand suns dipped in its waves, from the multifold reflections of the hoary Himmalayeh. And still its fertile flow marks no flight of time or change in the religion of its children. Still wanders the Brahmin, continent and secluded, on its banks, and offers his all to the three-fold Divinity. The air whispering its light susurrus amid the purple and scarlet flowers that form the home of the humming-birds, whirring in their sweet-laden journey like the home-coming bees of Hybla—the ripple of the foaming tide as the lily-tops bow to its inspired influence—the song of the mourning mother as she strips her child for the sacrifice, commune with the mighty Bramah, and repeat the tales of Seeva. And the darkness comprehends it. . . . . .

“O Ganges,” rose the wail of the mother, “ever beneficent as when thou sprangest gushing in maiden purity from the front of Sivah, as kind as when thou visitedest this our chosen land, scattering blessings on every hand, receive now in thy divine bosom—the last, greatest offering of a mother’s heart, and bear it gently on to happiness.” She ceased; no sound but the swaying of the forest-boughs met the ear. Hush! there is a plash, a feeble cry, a dark object floating slowly down the stream! It is the sacrifice. Will it, must it perish, that fair, fragile image of its Maker? Is there no hand to save it? Naught human—naught but the spirit ever-watching. Look! it does not sink, it rests on the broad-leaved lotus, and passes slowly out of the shade of the banks and down the whitening current. Fragrant lilies, with sustaining leaves and petals uphold it from the yawning waters, even as the reedy Nile with conscious wave upheld the destined prophet. As Moses on the sacred stream was saved for future good, so was the infant on the rolling Ganges. Gently floating on its flowery bark, the child went down the eddying current, its soft Indian features upturned to the silver moonbeams, and the stars in the shadowy distance, now rocking fearfully over some little rapid of the stream, now circling round some green-clad point, where the pendent branches swept its cheek, the unconscious mariner floated on; and ever the kindly lotus, strengthened by the will of Bramah, extended its pressed leaves, gemmed with a thousand forms of insect life, still wider for its protection. The sweet echoes rang through the lily-cups to the vibrations of its fragrant petals. Soft melody of innocent life mingled with the voice of the waters. The good spirits sent by Bramah soothed the child now sleeping, and fanned its cheek with their breath, like the smoke of the welcome incense to the divine one. No eye saw the frail burden save Bramah’s, and the holy Ganges, on whose faithful bosom it reposed. And thus they passed down the stream, undisturbed, in the gray of the morning.

The old hermit, Nikaiyah, who, in the early twilight, pursued his devotions on the banks of the river, was making his orisons to the Ganges when the reddening water and glowing east gave tokens of the dawn. As he stooped to perform his ablutions, an object, dark upon the water, caught his eye. It was the lotus-cradle and its burden. The old man’s heart was moved, and, despite the voice of religion, which forbade to rob the Ganges, he listened to the voice of nature, and with many deprecations of the divine wrath, he took up the child and carried it to his humble dwelling. There was no name for the child, and, partly as a peace-offering to the wronged divinity, he called it Ganga! He brought up the infant until its sixteenth year, though troubled by many misgivings as to the propriety of the responsibility of which he had relieved the Ganges. Here, then, the child’s youth was passed in the wilderness. And she grew to be as fair as the hues of her cradle, with eyes glittering like the lotus-leaves when sparkling with the foam-fretting waves of the Ganges, as the first sunbeams strike upon the buds, and the grateful heat unfolds the flowers to the pleasant air of the morning, and the glory of floral existence. Swift passed the days of her childhood; and as gayly as the gaudy butterflies that flitted all day round her dwelling, she passed from day to day, and from object to object, in the bloom of youthful happiness. Bright as the glow-worm, when wooing his mate, was the time of her childish experience. To follow the gayly-painted parrots through the odorous groves of spices, and watch the busy dragon-flies as they chase each other among the blossoms; to bathe in the limpid stream which had kindly borne her thither, and recline on its ever-green banks, watching the flow of the waters; these were her daily occupations, and these she pursued alone, for the old man was absorbed in devotion, and always rapt in pious contemplation. But anxious for her future welfare, he would sometimes, after they had finished their simple meal of vegetables, take her by the hand and unfold the ancient veddahs, or sacred records, and tell her of the Metempsychosis; tell her of the holy Trine, that threefold-unity—the Creator, the Preserver, the Destroyer; the all comprehended in Bramah, the parts in Seeva and Vishnu. How by inferior eyes it is interpreted, the earth, the generator; water, the fructifier; fire, the annihilator. How was born the Ganges, the adored one, by the beneficence of Bramah, described its primal course, and how at last,

        ——“To India’s favored land

  It rolled o’er fields of nard and spicy meads,

  And won its heaven-directed way.”

That the divine, the incomprehensible, heed not the rage of the evil, undisturbed by foes in sacred peace. That he who would join their presence must, for his earthly sins, in others’ bodies do expiation; and after the lapse of purging ages, can alone be admitted to taste the heavenly fruit and enjoy the society of the godlike. Then, to please her maiden heart, would he narrate the tales and the sufferings of the unmarried dying, their miseries here and hereafter. And when the virgin Ganga, used to the forms of wilder nature, and remembering only her old protector, would wish to cling to her rude life in the wilderness, then, with a sigh at his own reverses, the old man would recount the ceremonies of the nuptial-feast, and gazing fondly on the Ganges-offering, pray that she might atone for all past offenses by a holy youth and a happy union. Sweet visions of the future, when he might behold his adopted at the solemn ceremony, modest, in the home of the bridegroom, kindly receiving the votive offering—the corn-crowned feast—the joyous revel, the sacred mysteries. Then recurring to the old mythology and the sacred rites, he describes the festival of the Vasanti, the genial goddess of the spring; when, like the bursting out of nature, the people throw away the fetters of caste and custom, and mingle in indiscriminate revelry; the rites of Sitala, the goddess of children, which the mothers celebrate on the hill-top, assembling, crowned with chaplets of roses, jessamine, and oleander, for the purposes of mirth; and the “nine days festival of flowers,” sacred to Ganri, the wife of Siva, the goddess of the harvest, whence comes her golden name. That this takes place at the vernal equinox, when the matronly Ganri casts her golden mantle over the ripened beauties of the verdant Vasanti. Then nature is in perfection—the air is impregnated with aroma, and the crimson poppy contrasts with the spikes of golden grain to form a wreath for the beneficent Ganri. She bears the lotus in her corn-stained hands, and often the implements of death, denoting that the goddess, whose gifts sustain life, is sometimes accessory to the loss of it—thus resembling the Isis and Cybelle of the Egyptians. The corn is sown, and when it germinates, they invoke the blessing of Ganri, and bear her image in solemn procession. Then on the glassy lake the effigy is borne in boats as primitive as those which bore the Argonauts to Colchis. The rising borders of the lake swarm with devout and joyous multitudes. The fair Hindostaneé, fragrant with garlands, wave their scarlet tokens, reflected from the transparent water, and chant their festal hymns. The procession winds slowly down the steep descent with the image of the benefactress, the propitious Ganri, in the centre, blazing with gold and gems, glittering in the tropic sun; the solemn music reëchoes among the narrow passes, announcing the approach of the divine one. The hoary sages bear with reverence the sacred burden. All is joy and innocent happiness. They reach the shore, passing beneath the long, black tresses of the attendant maidens, and embark with sober state to voyage around the lake. This rite performed, the sun ever shines more brightly on the harvest, and the dews descend gently on the young promise of the meadows. Ganri propitious smiles upon the undertakings of her favorite race. Ganga, then, would spring up in delight, and with sparkling eyes wish to remove from their quiet retreat and visit these brilliant festivals. Gently the old man reproaches her, and warns her of ambitious wishes. His kindly words fall as quiet and soothing on the soul of Ganga as the shades of evening on the silent leaves of the forest. But hark! from the distant jungle resounds the howl of the panther, and the muttering of the king of the beasts! The child shrinks fearful and awe-struck into the arms of her protector, as the timid leaves bow before the blast of the tempest. Faltering rose her voice as the quivering notes of the songster, when the thunder rolls in the ether, when fleeing its dread approach, she seeks her sheltered nest, her callow and expectant young, seizing the opportunity when great emotions bare the inner soul, and adapt it to softer impressions. Nikaiyah would speak of the love, the providence always waking; tell her of her perilous voyage on the Ganges, describe her preservation, and ask if she feared the wild beasts, who obeyed their master’s orders. Then the old doctrine of the transmigration would glimmer on her young mind, when explained with persuasive eloquence, like the faint first twinklings of Hesperus, and with as mild and benignant an influence. She would hang upon his words with large, attentive eyes, as he told her that even the ferial nature of the wildest monster was filled by a penance-doing spirit that once had felt as she did—alas! the expiation! Therefore the pious Brahmin forbore to destroy a living thing, fearful of injuring a brother—for then would the unfortunate begin his weary pilgrimage anew. Beware, mortal, of defeating the purposes of Bramah! That to avoid or shorten this term of suffering the good man lived secluded from the world, devoting himself to the study of his own breast, and seeking to know his Creator, or subjected himself to privation, to torture, and to death, to gain the reward of martyrdom unspotted by earthly taint, unwearied by earthly transmigration. Thus did the priests for themselves and others atoning, as did of old in Christian infancy Simon Stylites. For this had Nikaiyah shut himself up in the forest, in voluntary retirement, for a term of years which was even now expiring. Then to the mind of Ganga would come the thought of a previous life, when she might have roamed under some different form through the forest, returned by an accident to her human probation. Vague thoughts like these would steal upon her spirit, like the waves of a distant ocean, an indefinite sea of former existence, surging, rising on the memory, breaking on the shifting sands of the present; and she the storm-tost mariner struggling on the crest of the waves, ever mistaking the foaming phosphorescence of the surf for a light of friendly assistance; or if she turned to the future, that mist-shadowed nothing, she would alternately fancy herself floating smoothly on an unbroken sea, and gazing into its purple depths, sinister yet tempting; or pushing for some unknown shore, prone for great discovery. Thus is life to us all; we stand on the golden sand of an ever-changing present, listening to the echoes of the past receding with the ebbing tide among the hoarse-mouthed caverns; more often, unheeding, gaze upon the calm, open sea of the future, and, regardless of the billows that break tumultuous around us, think only of those serene hopes to come, those halcyon days of peace shining undimmed in times of deceptive distance.

The old man ceased. Night had fallen, and the unwholesome exhalations warned to retire from the unwholesome air—Ganga, soon wrapt in the sweet sleep of youth, lay dreaming over in ever new and magnified forms those doctrines of the Metempsychosis which Nikaiyah had explained to her. She was doomed, it seemed to her, to pass through the stages of an infinite change, and like the banyan tree, as fast as having reached a certain height she seemed to have attained perfection, and must needs bend down to take fresh root in earth. Unconscious that all this was but enlarging her soul and her sphere of good, as the banyan with fresh trunks enlarges its cool and refreshing circumference, and gives wider shelter to the weary and the oppressed. First, she was an ant, busy and careful as the proverb, toiling to increase the glory of the realm and queen; but a hostile invasion of robber tribes relieved her from that insignificant though useful existence—instantly she was rolling, a vast, glittering length, through the crackling under-brush, a gigantic boa; the angry lion, defiant to the last, retreated from those shining meshes, which slow curling in golden folds, could have hugged to death a generation of laocoons. Undisturbed monarch of the wood the monster coiled his serpentine length, glaring—O, horror! that such expression should come from Ganga’s eyes—angrily at the retreating beasts. But with a pang that was finished—she had been struck unawares. Where was she now—how cold! how bleak!—and the feathers! A vulture on the Himmalyah peaks, looking over to the southern sea’s blue on the horizon’s verge—nothing but snow—where were her beautiful valleys—she could fly down, at any rate. What a sensation—to be floating in mid-air unconscious of motion, for want of a standard to measure by; passing through the variously-tinted clouds, seeing naught—the dull flapping of noiseless wings. But now the primeval forest grows green upon the vision—now she swoops at a parrot, all green and yellow, chattering on a dead bough; unconscious she is struck by the arrow of a wandering boy. Now she is happy—a nightingale, singing melodiously in harmonious concert with a thousand sisters amid the sacred grove—fair girls, with jet-black eyes and locks darker than the night, come to hear the song of the nightingales—how sweetly the evening breeze, cool from the water, soughs through the whispering branches! There is something in yonder aisle of trees!—a youth and a maiden walking under the shadows, their arms encircling each other’s waist—soft hours of confidence, of fond anticipation never destined to be realized. They are just passing under the low, vine-covered sandal-tree, when the nightingale sees the leopard crouching among the branches that variegate with green his spotted sides—see the lovers, with heads mutually inclined, engaged in sweet converse—see the fierce beast, bending on the enormous machinery of his huge muscles, preparing for the spring! She will warn them—she flies rapidly to attract their attention—they are just exchanging farewells. O, Heavens! are they not eternal ones! The monster is in the act of rising on his spring—the lovers embrace—the nightingale flies with utmost, but as it seems, fruitless speed—when⁠——

Ganga awoke to the sweet reality of a peaceful security and her quiet home upon the sacred stream. The morning sun was shining brightly. Where was her old friend? Why had he not called her at dawn to perform her matin devotions? Alas! he was sitting dejected by the door, thinking of the trusting charge he was to commit to the tender mercies of the world; for the term of his vow had expired, and he must rejoin his brethren, the Brahmins, in the ministerings and services of the temple.

Sadly they collect their little property—weary prepare for their pilgrimage. Mournfully Ganga bids farewell to her tame favorites, who, conscious as it were of the sanctity in which they held life, had congregated fearlessly around their dwelling, fed daily by the hands of the maiden. Sadly, they turn their backs upon their happy home and journey on to worldly experience. The sun’s rays have scarce reached their noontide severity when they pass up the banks of the river, casting many a glance behind to the forest so long familiar; accompanied by their feathered favorites, who soon must miss the fostering care of Ganga. The river, like the course of life, ever rushing on and onward, awakens new reflections, and they heed not the voice of the birds nor the waving arbutus beckoning them homeward.

Years after the Ganges rolls by a ruined hut scarcely distinguishable from the rest of the forest, overgrown with green, and hung like funeral weeds with the vine and the trailing arbutus. Still cluster the lilies by the nurtured shore which had been trained by the hands of childhood—no longer do they raise their expectant heads to receive the caress of the maiden—no longer do their corymbi deck the jetty locks of Ganga. In the brightness and joy of the morning; she had come thither directed by the hand of the goddess. From that natal morn of infancy she had dwelt in innocence by the sacred stream—full of life and the glory of beauty, she had arrived at full-blown maturity. At the noon, when the sun, like her life, had reached its culmination, in the ripened noon, she departed. Anon comes the silence and darkness of evening overtaking the pair in the forest—the drama of life is advancing, and sorrows must obscure her path like the shadows from the mountains descending—like the clouds which hide the evening red and fleck the glorious sunset.

Spirit of innate devotion! alike thou directest the rude and the cultivated, the peasant and the prince to avert at times their gaze from lower things and turn them to the Infinite Author—yet oftenest by adversity thou drawest the spirit heavenward, and by sundering the golden links of earthly affection preparest the soul with stronger wing to follow the fleeting yet much loved object—alike in every clime, in every age thy influence is acknowledged. Whether to the Roman thou breathest on the trembling leaves of the sybil; to the Greek neechæst in thunder tones from the Delphic; to the Zenton floatest in the mists that shroud the northern hills, or the shore-coming waves of the Baltic—to the Dane resounds in the mighty Valhalla with the ponderous strokes of Odin; to the Copt glitters in the morning beams that gilds the sands and deserts, or to the Druid whisperest amid the foliage of the sacred oak—within the burning tropic thy power is recognised in the bountiful forms of exuberant Nature, in the wayside shrines that glisten in the forest and the vast temples that penetrate the bosom of the fruitful earth our mother.

Thus do the tropic luxuriance and the polar cold alike furnish ever new symbols for the Infinite, and by change contrast with the Eternal. The yellow glories of the fertile harvest but bear new witness to thy bounty, the pale beams of the Boreal light represent alone thy purity.

How many have fallen victims at thy shrine! victims of a mistaken zeal! Yet in India hast thou been most misrepresented. There have perished the human hecatomb yearly in thy service—there thou hast assumed those distorted forms borrowed from the visible effects in tropic nature—there have thy attributes been measured by the violent passions of thy dusky worshipers—yet, while thou hast thus sacrificed India’s race, thou hast left for later eyes those striking monuments of thy power, thy temples and shrines—those stupendous fanes which though sometimes grotesque are often sublime. In India’s lotus has arisen the leafy capitals of Grecian pillars. Thus is thy task not all in vain—thy bounty not all misplaced—for as the Goths have borrowed their arching aisles and groined roofs from the similitude of their sombre forests, so have the more graceful forms of Egyptian simplicity and Corinthian elegance had their origin among the lilies of the Ganges. The stupendous subterranean temples at Elephantum are destined to receive the returning priest Nikaiyah and his gentle charge; and within those awful precincts many a stout soul would have shrank with as timid horror as did Ganga.

Many days and nights had they passed in the wilderness, when, wearied with their long journey, the pious pair at length emerged from the forest. How pleasant the return of the sweet sunlight, the birds and the fragrant meadows. By day they had wandered on through the devious maze, pathless mid the thickset jungle, often forcing their way through the tangled vines and creepers which had with parasite embrace overcome some stately trunk which, withered now, lay lifeless in their tortuous folds. Gayly the old monarch of the forest had stood decked in his gorgeous livery, adorned with borrowed foliage—soon had they surpassed his towering height and wound him in as fatal a shroud as to Hercules was Creusa’s bridal garment. Thus ever shines most beautiful the destined one at the moment of ruin’s approach. By night they would retire to some sheltered nook, and there, lighted by the fireflies and lulled by the monotonous cicada, pass the hours of darkness—the tiger prowled round them and respected their sacred mission—the serpent averted his basilisk gaze when he met the full eye of the maiden. Now were all these perils past—they had come to the holy place guarded by the care of the Brahmins—and now Ganga, curious, surveys the open, fertile country—sees other maids as fair as she, and other men more manly than Nikaiyah—but the untaught child of nature was free from the vices of civilization and clung steadfastly to her old and well-tried protector. Anon they pass by the groups of penitents, whose distorted limbs and painful postures denote their self-imposed penance—these linger round the outer limits of the holy of holies like the thieves round a wonted prison, or as it seemed to them, like the wicked at the gates of Paradise. These all are left behind, and now the solemn silence betokens some revered and oft-honored shrine. They are at the bottom of the valley in which lies the cave-temple of Elephantum. Hills all around—receding, impending, bowing their leafy summits clothed in rich tropic verdure, gorgeous in the season of bloom—silence unbroken, save the dove as she laments her absent mate with wo as meek and patient as the injured Philomela. Silence, solemn silence—no sound but their echoing footsteps repeated on the hill sides. The air dull and motionless, pregnant with the aroma of the thousand-hued flowers which wind round the murmuring tree tops—no signs of human desecration to mar the temple of Nature. A heat of noon, like the scorching glow of a furnace. The hills rise with loftier summits and more precipitous sides as they advance—nearly excluding the sunlight. Mossy was now the way to their tread—soft were their silent footsteps—and from the rocky walls and moist underwood the deepening gorge exuded the silvery dew, which trickled noiseless and refreshing down. The humid exhalations softened the fierce heat of noon-day and quieted the burning thirst of the travelers. A holier influence seemed, soft as zephyrs, to breathe within these sacred glades and to refresh whomsoever it fell on. Thus with reverent step they journey noiseless on, when from some great distance the sweet sound of vocal harmony stole softly on their ears—rising, quivering, pausing, dying away among the whispering leaves—now rising loud and triumphant like the joyous clamor of victory; now lingering sadly sweet, with scarce audible vibration, like the sigh of the parting spirit. And ever as they advanced, bowing in silence to its solemn influence, it seemed to grow fainter and louder, but still to be ever removing, like the verge of the retreating horizon. They pass the bend of the valley and the whole scene of worship bursts upon their astonished eyes in all its sombre grandeur. The long troop of priests are winding in ever changing measure among the pillars of a vast subterranean hall, under-reaching the opposite hill side. Like pigmies they march beneath the colossal arches of the temple.

The gigantic shafts—of singular and fantastic shape, adorned with stony faces, glaring with jeweled eyes in the flickering torch-light—uphold a lofty roof, which seems yet near the base of the mountain—so towering rises the impending fortalice of nature over the works of man. Gigantic figures, in bas-relief, shine dimly portentous in the farther gloom. The solemn chant reverberates among the lofty arches, and the pale light of the sacrificial fires sickens the wan visage and circling fillets of the priestess. Four rows of massive columns divide the vast hall into as many avenues, retreating, narrowing in the distance, penetrating the heart of the mountain. From the inmost depths of the temple arises, faintly remote, the wail of the victim, lost in—and yet distinguishable amid the din of the clamorous musicians, and the clanging echoes of trumpets. The shuddering resonance of the trembling gong shivers the rocky arches—yet, wild above all is heard the occasional shriek of the sacrifice. Typical of the horrid rites, on the walls are carved the statues of a male leading a female to the glowing pyre, modest, and timidly reluctant; while in the blue gloom of the interior, from floor to roof, rises the Cerberus-headed statue of the Trinity, of Brahmah, Vishnu, and Sheva, with three-fold face—on all sides ever watching. Reverent the old man bows his head, and passes ’neath the sacred portal. Once more worthy, since his penance has expired, he mingles with his brethren. The awe-struck Ganga is delivered into the care of the attendant maidens.

The Hindoostanee, if unmarried, are obliged to enter into the service of the priests of the temples, of whom they become the virtual wives, although polygamy is allowed and practiced. These unfortunate creatures perform all the menial offices of worship, and have the care of the sacred things in and about the temple. Among this wretched sisterhood of infamy was Ganga thrown. Many of them were fair, though lacking the virgin innocence of the Ganges maid. Her simple story gained credence—her character won respect, and her beauty inflamed the susceptible hearts of all the holy brethren—yet more than all contributed the presence and influence of Nikaiyah to preserve her pure; for the old hermit had gained great fame for sanctity, well earned in his long exile. His voice was ever among the first in the holy council. Will the silent deference which honor the living continue to respect the dead?

The days passed quiet and undeeded by at Elephantum. Six moons had waxed and waned their crescents monthly, silvering the pillars of the temple; Nikaiyah, growing gray and hoary like the fading year, was bending under the burdens of life. As he neared the boundary of existence, he was ever more eagerly gazing into the future—more than over wrapt in devotion. Yet he would often seek to amuse his charge; and, by his authority, she had free scope to roam about the island. This she constantly did, when tired of the monotonous life in the temple, the silent reveries of the priests, the servile obedience of their menials, the never-varying round of duties, and the din and confusion of some high festival. With nature for her nurse, she had naturally become an ardent admirer of her beauties. Why was it she so often met the young Demetros in her rambles? Why was she constantly detecting him dogging her footsteps? Had he any commission to her?—if not, why did he follow her?—if so, why avoid her open presence?

Demetros was formerly one of the most zealous priests in the temple. His golden locks, however, owned some milder sun than that of Hindoostan. His clear and handsome brow and classic profile contrasted strongly with the swarthy and stern expression of the elder, and the lewd leer of the younger priests. Yet he was treated by all as a brother. All save one old Brahmin seemed ignorant of his origin, and he was silent.

One bright day, Ganga had wandered far from the precincts of the temple, and stood on a crag overhanging the sea, which she had once crossed with Nikaiyah. The waves played up at the very base of the rock; and, as she stood and gazed at the mimic breakers rippling against the shore, she almost fancied herself once more in her happy valley, watching the flow of the Ganges. Absorbed in the glorious prospect, she inadvertently approaches too near the edge of the rock. Look how the white foam chases the advancing wave. A crack—the rock crumbles: a plash—and Ganga is once more at the mercy of the treacherous element. Years have, however, added strength to her limbs, habit has rendered her fearless. Boldly she breasts the tide, and seeks for some shelving spot along the banks whereon to land. A sandy beach glistens in the sun a few rods before her; she makes for it. A seething, foaming rush in the water causes her to turn her head, and, oh! Heavens! the blue fins and greedy jaws of a shark are close behind her! Tearing through the water, which whitens in the spray of his wake, the monster gains upon her. She grows fainter, the waves beat in her ears with a dull, hollow sound; her efforts are feebler. The dazzling light of the glistening water blinds her as to the proper direction. She hears the shark; almost feels the ripple which precedes his coming. There is a cry somewhere, a loud rushing of water, and she knows no more until she opens her eyes upon the shore, to see Demetros, wet and bloody, bending anxiously over her.

Silence—the silence of a heart too troubled with conflicting emotions to trust itself to uttered thanks—could alone express the gratitude of Ganga.

Flushed with his exertions, the Apollo-like youth stood the picture of manly beauty, save where the trickling blood betrayed his recent battle with the monster. He kindly offered to escort her to the temple; and as they proceeded with increasing confidence, and guessing the meaning of her curious looks, he confessed to her that he was not her countryman: that years since, when he could scarce lisp his native tongue, he remembered a vast and glittering city, dedicated to Athena, in a country far to the North-West, which looked out on the sparkling Ægean. He then—a Greek—had wandered or been taken captive, he scarce remembered how, and had come to Elephantum. All these things were as a daydream to him: a dream of the morning of life, which the rising sun of manhood had well nigh dispelled like the gray haze of dawn. He had heard them talk of King Philip, and he thought of the war of the allies. He tells her how well he remembered his mother, for there was memory, like affection, strongest, that she must now sit bereaved and weep the absence of her fair-haired boy. To him, there was no hope of return, indeed he would not wish to now: and the tender glance awoke a sympathetic flutter in the heart of Ganga, when they entered the vale of the temple. What was that sound afar, and the confusion as they draw nearer the temple? They run to and fro, and chant the dirge for the departed. Why did the echoes howling through the vault repeat the name of Nikaiyah?

The old man was dead.

Little time was left for reflection. As if to assuage the poignancy of her grief, the Gods had sent a new and imminent danger to divert her attention. Scarce is she allowed to take a farewell look at her old friend, or shed a tear over his corpse, when the increasing clamor in the court of the temple rouses new fears and most horrible suggestions. Why were they making this indecent tumult, while their eldest and most revered fellow had just breathed his last? Alas! the loud tones of the controversy showed, but too plainly, how little his past influence was regarded, while it made her painfully aware of the dangers that surrounded her.

“Ganga to the pyre!”

“Ganga shall be mine!” reiterated alternately the older and the younger priests. What! then those whose passions were cooled with age would sacrifice her as a burnt-offering to the manes of the departed; the others would cast her into that pit of infamy which the priestesses shared in the temple. Dreadful alternative! Yet could Ganga hesitate? Ah! but would they leave it to her choice? It was but too evident that the stronger party would rule, and thus her fate would be decided. In agony, the young girl invoked the assistance of the Gods—above all, of the Ganges goddess, Sivah; the Ganges, in whose purifying stream she had at infancy been cleansed from sin—could she now but seek an innocent death in its waves!

But hush! there is a sudden silence. They have decided, and the rapid footsteps come to announce her fate. Shuddering, the poor child is dragged before the assembled multitude. It needs but one glance to see that both parties are baffled; and that, after all, the choice will be left with herself. She looks round on the eager crowd, thirsting for her life or for her honor, and her heart grows faint within her.

“Ganga,” rose the solemn voice of the oldest priest. “Ganga, choose between serving the Gods here, and joining them above.”

Proudly the glorious eye of the virgin beat down the lecherous looks of the priests, as she calmly replied⁠—

“I choose the pyre.”

“To-morrow then prepare the sacrifice.”

“Ay, to-morrow,” thought the victim, “my body will smoulder into ashes.” She raised her tearful eyes, and met the anguished look of Demetros. She saw no more, until—she awoke bound and in darkness.

Where she was, in what part of the temple confined, the gloom prevented her from distinguishing. Her fetters she could feel. She had awakened from a dream of childhood, a dream of innocent happiness, to the bitter reality of her situation. It was not then the voice of birds hailing the returning day which had aroused her, but the clanking of chains. How cold they felt upon her numbed limbs. How their icy pressure gnawed at her heart, and sapped, by slow degrees, her failing courage—her resolution of a few hours since. Thus was she bound for fiery atonement like that Iphigena at Aulis, of whom Demetros had told her. And should she, the fiery daughter of Hindoostan, give place in courage or in resignation to the Grecian maid. And yet she was so young to die, so unprepared to leave those pleasant scenes, in which she had roamed for a few short years, so unprepared for any purer state. How faint with hunger! how worn with anxiety, that refuses to dissolve into tears. And then—but what is that noise like a piling of faggots, the heavy fall of trees! Oh Gods! they are preparing the funeral pyre, she must be then near the front of the building. Yes, in that dark cell she never had, when free, looked at without shuddering. Ay, had not one of the priestesses pointed to it as the prison of the condemned? Hear the careless laugh of the laborers, as they mingle with their work congratulations on the morrow’s festival! The harsh voice of the presiding priest. And where were now her countrywomen? How were they passing the last night of her life? She seems to see the lights shining from their huts, as they arrange their gayest dresses for the procession, and wait the dawn to pluck fresh flowers to adorn the victim.

On the morrow, they could see her last sunrise without emotion, save as it announced a holyday and a joyous relief from labor. Fair girls would come to see a sister’s agony, and leaning caressingly on the arms of their betrothed, would exchange love-tokens by her death-bed. She would be tossing helpless on her fiery rack of torture, with the flames licking up greedily her dark hair, once bound with roses. Lovers, sitting under the broad shade, would converse of her happy release, as they plaited each other’s shining locks with jessamine for the dance. And then she should see the rigid features of her loved protector blackening under the flames, as they hissing rose to receive her in their fiery arms—curling like a serpent to enfold her. Her parching thirst would be heightened by the volumes of smoke rising from the burning, smouldering limbs of Nikaiyah. But the mothers would recline under the boughs of the opposite forest, and feed their children with soft, cooling fruits of the orange-tree. Why was not Demetros—known but too late—why was he not there to console her? Alas! were these not the ravings of madness? Yes, mad—mad! Why is not her lover too a god to preserve her: and senseless she repeats the old song of the Bayadere. She was saved, though a mere dancing-girl; why not an innocent virgin? Thus the poor girl sings the song of the God and the Bayadere, lost in the wild charm of the harmony and the picture, too flattering, of preservation.

    “So the choir, without compassion,

     But increase at heart her grief;

     And with eager hands extended,

     She leaps into the fiery death.

     But the God-youth now arises,

     From the circling flames removed,

     Clasping in his arms protecting,

     Soars upward with his well-beloved.

  The Gods are pleased with sinners repenting;

  And raise their once-lost children, immortal,

  With fiery arms to heaven above.”

“Ganga!” mingles with the dying echoes. What is it? That voice!

“Ganga! Ganga!” repeats a low well-known tone near her, and she is raised by the hand of Demetros. Noiseless he releases her from her fetters, and throwing the robe of a Brahmin over her shoulders, bears her away in the darkness. Swift and silent they pass into the open air—cool to the hot brow and fevered lips of Ganga. Half-leading and half-supporting her, her preserver conducts her down the rocky path to the sea-shore. Hurried was their conversation—it was but a whispered caution on his side; on hers, a murmur of gratitude. Demetros hastens to unmoor the boat, which, hid under the banks, awaited the needs of the priests. They embark on the quiet waters, and Ganga begins to breathe more freely and to express her thanks to her deliverer. With quick motion he signs to her to be silent, and bending his powerful frame with strong but quiet stroke, urges the boat—reeling under the shock—through the rippling tide. Soon they reach the main shore, and pass under the leafy protection of the banks, just as the torches and cries on the island give token of the aroused and baffled Brahmins. Saved, they pass on like shadows under the arching boughs of the forest.

Verdant in summer are the shores of the foaming Hydaspes. The broad, yet impetuous stream roars on its rocky, seaward course. Itself in breadth resembling the vast expanse of ocean: yet not with the slow, mighty surging of the great deep, does it lave its confining banks; but rolling with struggling wave it rebounds from the repulsing strand, like a ball from the head of the buffalo. Yet it is no shallow stream, that, with puny murmur, frets impatient on its rough bed; but the yawning waters disclose abysses which could swallow the mighty elephant. On its banks reposes the lion, when tired with hunting the antelope. On the crags sits the rapacious eagle, watching his finny victims. One mightier than the lion, one more cruel than the eagle, now waited for his human prey, wary and shrewd in watching, on the Indian side of the river.

Why do the youth and the maiden start and pause on the skirt of the forest? They gaze with impatient, hollow eyes on the long-sought banks of the Hydaspes. Their emaciated forms and tangled hair, their sun-scorched features and cautious mien betray their long wandering, their contest with a thousand perils. Why do they not hasten to pass the goal of their journey, and escape from the fury of the pursuing priests into neighboring, friendly Indo-Scythia? Is it not the hope of this result with which the young fugitive has cheered the heart of his weary though courageous companion? And will they, who have long months been traversing the dangerous wilds of the forest, hesitate to plunge into the fierce stream and swim to the region of safety? Farewell to all fond hopes, they recognize all around them the swarthy race who bow to the rule of the Brahmins. If but a scattered few were tilling the soil, they might still escape their attention. Alas! there is a mighty host encamped on the stream, with arms and warlike engines, with holy priests, with banners and vigilant sentinels.

The quiet camp was disturbed by the neighing of horses, the shouting of their drivers, and the shrill blast of the war-elephant. A long row of these cumbrous but terrible animals was placed in front of the waiting army, and nearest the bank of the river. The murmur of a vast multitude, that confused sound of many voices, was mixed with the echoing hoofs of thousands of horses, while the occasional beat of the drum united with the swelling chant of the war-song. Glittering with bright armor, the warriors moved around the camp, eager for the deadly conflict.

The terrified wanderers were seized and conducted into the presence of the king—Porus, the ruler of the country. Porus, the gigantic in stature, the Indian Hercules, and in cunning the Indian Nestor, there awaited the coming of Alexander, the attack of the great Macedonian, whose fame had preceded his approach. The world’s conqueror had turned his ambitious arms to the fair land of India. Her “barbaric pearl and gold” had tempted his soldiery—her vast domain the ambition of the general. He had even then crossed the Indus, and advancing to the outer bank of the Hydaspes, was now preparing to pass this bounding stream and assault the power of Porus.

Here, then, the cunning Indian had placed his army, burning to protect their native soil, where the steep banks of the river afforded a natural fortification. Here, most unfortunately, had the fugitives from Elephantum first emerged from the friendly shade of the forest into the open, fatal light of day. Thus again captives, they are led before the monarch. There, fearful of betraying their fatal secret, their confused answers arouse the suspicions of Porus, and by him they are committed to the care of the guards, to await through the long and anxious night the announcement of their fate on the morrow. Conscious that their pursuers must now overtake them, Ganga, now wholly despairing, refutes the empty consolation of Demetros. Wearied nature, however, asserts its sway—the worn-out fugitives pass the night in dull, dreamless sleep, in the camp of their enemies.

How goes the night? The clouds in the angry south-western sky announce the approach of the thunder. What picture do the winds behold as they cross to the farther shore of the Hydaspes? Is it a sleeping camp? It is the busy note of preparation—the bustle of a moving multitude—the tramp of soldiers moving toward the stream with steady step, unheeding the war of the elements and the clashing of steel upon steel, as they pass. It is the march of the Greeks. The great phalanx, now divided for secrecy, advances with quiet firmness to cross the stormy Hydaspes. Their skillful leader, taught by many campaigns, has chosen this tempestuous night, when the tumult of nature may drown the noise of the army. Perceiving the advantages of his adversary, he has thus determined to outwit him, and by crossing the dangerous river in secrecy and silence, to meet the enemy upon the level plains on the farther side of the stream. Occasional flashes of lightning are the only guides to their path. The rain patters upon the metal helmets of the infantry, and the war-mail of the horses. Snorting with terror, the animals are forced along by the governing will of their masters. The heavy peals of thunder roll through the sky like the rumbling of a thousand chariot-wheels, as they fly over the field of battle. The great host reaches the banks of the stream, which, roused by the storm, rages doubly threatening, chafing with white foam like the steed impatient of his rider. The affrighted horses start back from the leap into the boiling current, seething and hissing like the swift-winged flight of the loosened arrow. With hardly less of terror the soldiers recoil from the roaring waters, rolling sullen now in silence with vast depth, now rushing swiftly over some protruding rock vainly opposing their progress. Shame on the warriors who heedless of death when animated by the despair of defeat, or roused by the clamor of victory, now yield to the power of water! And will the great Polemarch, for whom Macedonia was too small, who sighed for other worlds to subdue, be tamed by the rage of a brooklet when he has crossed the mighty Indus? On! on, good horse! Hasten foot-soldiers, and overcome the pride of the Indian! Will you rather cross this stream in light of day, when every wave will be tinged with your arrow-spent blood? Will you rather climb yon craggy banks, when crowned by the glittering columns of the enemy, and overhung with the trunks of the destroying elephant? On! and trust to your well-tried strength, the kindness of the gods, and the response of the auspicious omen! There is for a moment a gleaming in the air—the flashing steel of the youthful hero—then a loud plunge in the water, and all save one shining crest has vanished. It passes on and on, away from the gaze of the hesitating army; then instantly a mighty rush, and the river is alive with horses, curling under the strokes of the swimmers. The resounding plates of the armor sound faint and hollow beneath the water. The howling blast sweeps ever new waves over the heads of the struggling soldiers. The flashing in the heavens illumes for a moment the stormy scene—shows men and horses mingling in wild confusion, tossing, rising above the black waves—shows some far down the stream, mounted on panting steeds, struggling to regain their foothold, plunging in the yielding water—shows the brief expression of dying agony ere it sinks down in the darkness—the glad look of triumph, as some one more fortunate gains the opposite strand and climbs the beetling precipice—shows all silent and unmoving the shore where Porus is waiting—shows the great war-horse and his rider clear against the dull sky, as they watch the progress of the swimming army—and then the black pall shuts down over all, and envelops in one common gloom; and naught more is seen until sunrise, naught more heard but the surging of the angry Hydaspes.

This, then, is the eve of battle. Porus, wrapped in a false security, puffed up with the sight of the host of dependents around him, awaits, unconscious of danger, expecting the enemy will cross the river on the morrow. The vigilant and active Greeks once more on the level plain, await the day to point the way to greater achievements.

As the warm sunbeams awaken the expanding flowers, and arouse the harmony of the birds in the morning, so with the first light the noise of the waking camp, and the matin worship of the Brahmins who accompany the armies, dispel the happy oblivion which had lulled in brief repose the anxious minds of the fugitives. Confined within the narrow circle of a tent, and closely guarded, they can only judge by the ear of the events which are passing around them. They hear, early as the dawn, the muster of soldiers, the marshaling of squadrons, and the united step of the moving ranks. Then there is silence for a moment. Then the sharp, echoing gallop of two thousand horses, and jarring sound of an hundred and twenty chariot-wheels revolving on their creaking axles, approach rapidly, sweep by the tent, and die away in the distance. Then a long pause, broken only by the low, confused murmur of the remaining and expectant multitude, the adjusting of arms, and the repairing of tinkling armor. Presently a solitary horseman is heard approaching at a wild gallop, then another, and another, apparently fleeing from some danger behind—they can almost hear the palpitating hearts of the horses as they panting approach, seeking the safety of the main army. But why no sound of chariots?

Ganga knows not that her lover’s countrymen have already crossed the Hydaspes, and that the noise of horses and chariots was the departure from the camp of a detachment sent out to sustain the first brunt of the engagement under the command of the son of Porus. Neither learns she of their defeat, and the loss of their chariots, except as she may argue some great calamity from the confusion and noise without among the Indian warriors. And now they hear the departure of the noisy host, and then must await the announcement of their fate on their return, or on the approach of the Macedonian. The camp seems deserted, except by a few guards, and a small number of elephants, left for its defense. We must follow the fortunes of the departing army.

Glorious and worthy of their king appeared the camp and the army of Porus. The sun scarcely risen, looked down upon the thousand banners of rich and varied colors that fluttered above the tents, hanging loose and flapping gently in the morning breeze. The scene resembled the splendor and the pomp of some great festival, rather than the stern realities of war. To this appearance added greatly the numerous throng of merchants, sutlers, and attendants, that wait upon an Indian army. The camp-followers, who in number far exceeded the soldiers, consisted of magicians, soothsayers, rope-dancers, sharpers, thieves, fakirs, blind-beggars, jewelers, carpenters, tailors, tent-makers, corn-grinders, and farriers. Attached also to each division of the army were a number of clerical Brahmins, who regularly officiated, offering up prayer and sacrifice to the deities, as in the temples. On this gay scene of Asiatic splendor the sun gazed no longer than while reaching half the way to the zenith—for then had returned the defeated detachment, warning them to be on the alert for the enemy. Porus, well knowing that his present situation was ill-adapted to receive and repulse an attack, hastily collected his army and removed to a level, sandy plain, where his cavalry and chariots might wheel about with ease on the firm soil. The four great elements of an Indian army are the elephants, chariots, cavalry, and infantry. On the cavalry little dependence is placed, the infantry being regarded as the strength of the army, and the elephants, but more particularly the chariots, being used as powerful auxiliaries. The immense height of the elephants was supposed to fill the enemy with fear; the chariots were used to carry the principal officers, the cavalry being principally employed in pursuing the defeated. The main body of Porus’ army was composed of thirty thousand foot, flanked by four thousand horse, three thousand chariots, and two hundred elephants. These last bore towers upon their huge backs, filled with soldiers armed with arrows, darts, and other missile weapons. The animal himself was often more terrible and destructive than his riders. The chariots were of vast dimensions, and drawn oftentimes by five horses. The horses of the cavalry were covered with a fine netted-armor, and their bridles, cruppers, and saddles, adorned with gold and gems, with dyed hair and silver roses. The infantry, armed with every species of weapon—some rough and indented, for hacking, others long and barbed, and others still heavy and obtuse, resembling the ponderous mace wielded by the knights in the middle ages. With all, the sword was indispensable. These vast columns, then, moved on in glittering ranks to meet the enemy, led by the royal elephant on which sat Porus, shining with gems, and conspicuous for his great size.

Calmly, and conscious of his power, the crafty Indian drew up his line of battle. In the front line were placed the elephants as a bulwark for the infantry, who were immediately behind them. The cavalry were extended as wings on either flank, and in front skirmished the chariots. Such the array of Porus, as he awaited the attack of Alexander.

The major part of the Grecian army had crossed the river in safety, and meeting with the detachment sent out by Porus, had attacked and defeated it with great slaughter, and captured all the chariots. Among the slain was their leader, the son of Porus; and this bereavement had filled the breast of the king with double indignation. Inflamed with various passions, the Indian might well have felt confident of the result of the battle, as he turned from surveying his own mighty force to contemplate the numbers of his enemy, who were but 11,000 strong—being made up of 6000 foot, and 5000 horse. But in the front rank rode the great Alexander, mounted on the now aged Bucephalus. The steed had borne his master safely through many a field since his fiery, generous ardor had first yielded to the stern will of the young hero before the court of Philip. And behind the great conqueror was the far-famed phalanx, whose solid columns, like the Imperial Guard of Napoleon in modern times, whenever they were ordered to advance, decided the fate of the day. The bristling pikes, dense and threatening, gleamed before the advancing ranks like the foam as it sparkles on the crest of the breakers, and, like the destroying wave, they fell with overwhelming force upon the enemy, sweeping all before them. There, too, were the hippotoxotai, the mounted bowmen, equally expert to lead the attack with death-dealing shafts, or cover the retreating army. The hardy veterans were not allowed defensive armor for the back, as they were never to turn to flight. Instead of the cumbrous though secure thorax, which protected alike the shoulders and the breast, they wore the lighter hemi-thorax, defending the chest alone. In addition they bore the shield, (aspis,) made either of light wood or hide, and covered with metal. The pozoi, or foot-soldiers, bore ashen spears, and swords suspended from the shoulders. The archers’-bow was strung with horse-hair, or hide, and the arrows were pointed with iron, and winged with feathers. The phalanx was sometimes rectangular, sometimes crescent-shaped, and again often in the form of a Roman wedge, (cuneus;) this latter form was especially used in the attack, in forcing or cleaving a path among the columns of the enemy—the first being employed in resisting a great shock, like the charge of cavalry. In this respect it somewhat resembled the hollow-square of the present day. The Hipparchs lead the cavalry to the charge—the Strategi have the general control of the infantry.

These varied elements of the hostile armies being arrived in sight of each other, prepare for the contest whose result is to decide the fate of Ganga.

Alexander, being in advance with his cavalry, found himself suddenly face to face with the whole army of the enemy and unsupported, for his infantry had not yet arrived. They however soon came up, and as they were much fatigued, he caused his horse to make many evolutions, and by feigned attacks thus gained time to rest the foot soldiers. The same reason which led Porus to draw up his infantry and elephants in the centre, induced Alexander to avoid that part of the army in the attack. Accordingly with his cavalry he charged the left wing, while Coenus attacked them in the rear. A thousand bowmen are at the same time detached for the same service; sweeping round in ever diminishing circles, like the swift flight of swallows, the archers overwhelm the enemy with a cloud of arrows. Confused by this sudden attack they face about to defend themselves, and are instantly charged by Alexander in person. They now retreat, as behind an impregnable fortification, to the rear of the line of elephants. But look! by a rapid and simple counter-march the elephants are in the centre of the phalanx, surrounded by the pikes of the infantry. Their huge sides are thrust full of spears, with little apparent effect, and the wounded and now furious beasts rush impetuous through the ranks of the thickest battalions, and while the Macedonians are collecting again, down come the rallying Indian horse. Beware, Alexander, or your seaward progress is stayed, and your new empires as yet unwon, will remain so forever. See! the great hero is equal to the emergency—the charge of the heavier Macedonians breaks a second time the Indian ranks. All is now confusion—the enraged elephants trample down friend and foe in indiscriminate death. Most opportunely the phalanx now advances—surrounded, the Indians are cut down by the heavy swords of the infantry. Then Catoras, who had remained with the rest of the Greeks on the outer banks of the Hydaspes, crosses, and his fresh troops finish the defeat of Porus. That valiant prince, the last to fly, and conspicuous from his great height on the back of his elephant, brought up the rear in the defeat, as he had led the van at the commencement of the battle. At length he, too, surrenders under promise of regal treatment. The victorious Greeks now fly to despoil the camp of the enemy—for this was ever a prominent characteristic in the ancient soldier, that as he was brave during the battle so he was mean and cruel at its close—often stopping in the most critical moment of an engagement to plunder the dead. Here rich spoils await them, and the gorgeous luxury of the east finds but little mercy at the hands of the rude Macedonians.

Demetros, as he listens to the cries of the victors, detects the accents of his native Greek. Joyous he reassures the maiden, trembling before at the power of the Brahmins, and now equally shrinking from the shouts of friends—for how knows she that she shall not be torn from her lover and delivered up to the lusts of a brutal soldiery? And even if she gains unharmed the presence of the king, may he not refuse to release or preserve her? The tumult approaches nearer—the curtains are torn rudely open by bloody hands, and the trembling pair are saved from the hands of the spoilers by a taxiarch who chances to be passing, and by him they are conducted into the presence of Alexander. The hero stood refreshing himself with wine, from the hands of the attendants, after the fatigues of the battle. Still young and small in stature, the conqueror did not evince by his general mien the genius that burned within him; his face, however, showed the marks of a sprightly disposition and of great determination, although marred by the traces of excessive drinking. Alexander was not at this period so wholly sunk in sensuality as to be incapable of an occasional act of justice, even where the supplicant was a beautiful woman. Convinced of the truth of their statements by the answers of Demetros and by his Grecian look, he promises them a return to Athens in the fleet.

All their trials, as they fondly believe, now over, they prepare for the voyage and journey to Greece. Why was it that Ganga could not share entirely in the joy of Demetros? He was but returning to his native soil, revisiting the scenes of his childhood—for him his country’s gods prepared the welcome home—he had been absent on a weary pilgrimage and now brought back one jewel, one precious treasure, for so he thought as he gazed on the lovey maiden, to the paternal hearth. What though the vestal flame of affection had been extinguished in the death of his relatives, and the hearth-stone of his race had become cold from neglect—he now brought a fresh, warm heat to re-enkindle the sacred fire which he fondly hoped would burn with ever increasing brilliancy, and unite their hearts with ever increasing warmth of affection. But she, born under the burning sun of India, ever associated the name of fire with the glowing pyre of sacrifice—she must leave her native land in which, alas! she has no bonds of affection, no ties of sympathy, save the pleasing remembrance of her innocent childhood in the wilderness, and the kind old man, her real parent, who was now no more. She could not avoid the comparison between the natural beauties of her tropic forests and the artificial embellishments of more northern Greece. Were the flowers as fragrant, the moonbeams as soft? Did the birds sing as sweetly, the streams flow as pure there as in her father-land? In vain, Demetros, you talk to the untutored child of Nature, whose poetry, whose life and happiness consist in Nature’s beauties, of the splendors of the great Attic city, the magnificence of its edifices, or the wisdom and the eloquence of its children. Will those ravishing strains of music with which the Greeks are amused at their luxurious banquets, sound as sweet to the ear of the exile as the murmuring breeze of the morning and the droning wings of the humming-bird? Can the waters of the scented bath be as pure, as limpid and refreshing as the stream of the matronly Ganges? Can the ornate roofs of the Coutron be as pleasing to the eye of the bather as the vault of a tropic sky when half-seen and half-concealed by the branches thickly interwoven of the luxuriant tropic forest? And if you mourn the loss of a friend, you may at least visit and strew flowers upon his tomb, and thus derive a sadly sweet consolation. But the Indian girl must yearn in vain for the graves of her fathers—and standing on the Grecian strand, she gazes with wistful eyes over the blue sea’s margent where repose the remains of Nikaiyah, the waves will bring to her sighs only hoarse tones roaring back.

And yet, what had she to wait for or to love in India? Were there not cruel priests thirsting for her blood, urged on by what they believed the voice of the gods? Besides, as her ripened intellect began to unfold in maturity, she feels those affections and aspirations peculiar to every female heart, more and more enlarged and developed, she conceives a passion, softened by the most maidenly modesty, for the noble youth who has twice rescued her from death; once from the monster while she was bathing on the coast of the Elephantine isle, and once from the glowing funereal pyre where smouldered the limbs of Nikaiyah, and who now affording her every proof of affection, offers her an asylum in his native land. These conflicting emotions disturb the heart of Ganga. But the stern voice of fate gave her but one choice—death in India or life in Greece. Nature, the love of life, prevails, and they depart for their northerly journey.

It was nearly sunset when, after following for nine months the course of the conquering Alexander down the mighty Indus, they reached the sea-shore, where eight hundred galleys and boats were, under the command of Nearchus, about to coast the southern borders on their homeward voyage, and enter the mouth of the Euphrates to join the conqueror at Babylon, where his career was to be disgracefully closed.

The rocking tide, strong at this point from the influx of the Indus, bore upon its broad bosom the fleet of the Greeks, reflecting from its glowing surface the numerous ensigns of the various chiefs. Here were the lofty triremes, the men-of-war, whose progress through the water was effected by oars alone—while from their bows projected the émbola or hostile beaks, the iron-sheathed prows which often transfixed the vessels of the enemy—corresponding to the Roman rostra, which, when captured, adorned the stand of the orator as well-earned trophies. Here, too, were the lower, flat-bottomed transports, or merchant-men, who, lacking the numerous oars of the many-banked war ships, accelerated their sluggish course by sails. Here the cheniskos, the carved goose upon the bows, floated in its native element, seemingly in advance and the guide of the following vessel. At the bows and stern were sheltering decks; in the open centre, tier above tier, rose the seats of the laborious rowers, increasing in number as the greater height and longer sweep of the oars required more hands to control them. Here were distinct, the laboring oars-men, the officers, the sailors proper, and the marines, who were cased in heavier armor than the infantry. Demetros and Ganga, embarked in a transport, stood upon the prow watching the quiet progress of the fleet. Immediately in front of them was a vessel, whose loftiness and numerous banks of oars would have sufficiently indicated its warlike character without the distinguishing mark of the brazen helmet which gleamed at the mast-head. The sides were protected by walls of hide, designed to shelter the combatants in battle from the missiles of the enemy—the sharp beak of metal cut with scarce visible ripple through the water—the sides were painted with gay colors—the parasemon, the figure-head, carved upon the bow representing the threatening fangs of a serpent—behind, rose the lofty stern, and on it was sculptured the guardian image, the tutelar deity of the ship. Here the carved Poseidon the Grecian Neptune, god of the whole expanse of ocean, rose as it were from his watery abode, which sparkled in the wake of the vessel beneath him. The shaggy monarch, with beard as coarse as the algae of his native waters, drawn, with upright trident, in his sea-shell car, coursed over the foaming breakers, his stern visage softened by the presence of the lovely Aphrodite (Venus,) her name representing her birth (Aphros—from the foam of the sea.) Attendant Eros, with fatal quiver, nestles beside her, and with loosened cestus she guides by her charms the will of the aquatic king. Tritons and nymphs sport gayly in their train. To him the mariner sacrifices, for

      “——Where’er he guides

  His finny coursers, and in triumph rides,

  The waves unruffle and the sea subsides.”

The fugitives as they stand gazing upon the fair scene converse of these old Hellenic myths, and talk of the power of Zeno, who is the Grecian Brahma. No sound is now heard but the soft breeze upon the water and the measured sweep of the oars, keeping time with monotonous beat to the song of the trieraules, the ship’s musician, as he encourages the rowers with the old legends of the Trojan war, as narrated by the prince of bards, the blind Chian, Homer, ever the favorite of Alexander. The plashing oars respond and chime with

 “Achilles’ wrath to Greece the direful spring

  Of woes unnumbered.”

Chime with the Ilian chant of the “crest-waving Hector,” and “Ares the sacker of cities.”

Absorbed in the charm of the harmony and the soft Grecian rhythm, they stand intent and heed not the passage of time until a silvery light recalls their attention to the rear, and there, beyond the bright track of the moonbeams, appear the low shores and forests of India, dim in the distance, fast sinking beneath the horizon.


  Where on the Ægean shore a city stands,

  Built nobly, pure the air, and light the soil;

  Athens, the eye of Greece, mother of arts

  And eloquence————

  See there the olive grove of Academe,

  Plato’s retirement, where the Attic bird

  Trills her thick-warbled notes the summer long;

  There flowery hill Hymethus with the sound

  Of bees’ industrious murmur, oft invites

  To studious musing;——————

  ——————Within the walls then view

  The schools of ancient sages; his who bred

  Great Alexander to subdue the world.

  Thence what the lofty, grave tragedians taught,

  High actions and high passions best describing.

  Thence to the famous orators repair,

  Those ancient, whose resistless eloquence

  Wielded at will that fierce democracy,

  Shook the arsenal, and fulmined over Greece.

  To sage philosophy next lend thine ear,

  From heaven descended to the low-roofed house

  Of Socrates; see there his tenement,

  Whom well-inspired the oracle pronounced

  Wisest of men; from whose mouth issued forth

  Mellifluous streams that watered all the schools

  Of Academics old and new——————.”

It is the 15th of the month Bœdromion, when commence the Eleusinian Mysteries—the greater mysteries celebrated alone in the city of Cecrops—those sacred rites founded by Demeter herself (the Grecian Ceres) when wandering in long search for her daughter Persephone, she was kindly received and entertained in Attica, when she rewarded their hospitality by giving them the fruits of the earth, and these holiest and noblest institutions of the Hellenic religion. What parent bends to take a farewell of his wife and child ere he departs to perform his duties of dadouchos, or torch-bearer, to whom alone it was permitted to marry? The golden-hair of the Grecian father mingles with the dark locks of the woman and her son as they unite in the parting embrace. She is not of the Autocthones, no child of the soil, or she would join her husband in the initiation. Far other rites has she early bowed to in the flowering forests of India—these she has changed for Grecian faith, but yet yearns for something purer—may she not hope for it? Faith ever rules all hearts more or less, and often most the weakest—thus to the most erring child of earth is given return and repentance—thus to the feeblest soul the sublimest trust is granted. Will not Demetros “point to other worlds and show the way” for Ganga?

Curious the mother and the delighted child have watched day by day the progress of the Eleusinian, observed during the nine days festival, Demetros leading the procession. That first night he had entered the holy of holies—that mystic temple he had entered crowned with myrtle—there, pure and cleansed from sin, washed with holy water, he had listened to the reading, the exposition of the holy mysteries, from the rigid leaves of the stone volume which contained the divine inspiration—then followed the long processions in which the child might one day join, but never the foreign mother—the pilgrimage to the sea-shore for purification—the fasting and sacrifice—the sacred procession with baskets of pomegranates and poppy-seeds, borne on a wagon drawn by oxen—the torch procession to the temple at Eleusis—the bearing of the image of Jachus, the son of Demeter, and on the night of the sixth day the final initiation, the entrance into the lighted sanctuary, where they beheld what was permitted to no other eyes. But why cannot the mother share in the Dionysiac festival, the nocturnal orgies of Bacchus? Educated under the stern rule of temperate Brahmins, this principle of continence would be alone sufficient to restrain her, where she not also withheld by that innate modesty which belongs to every child of nature.

It is evening, and two persons recline in the cool shade on the summit of Mount Anchesmus, near the temple of Jupiter. A child sports round them occasionally, withdrawing their attention from the contemplation of the red-tinged top of the Acropolis, the silver stream of the Ilissus, the murmuring Cephissus and the maritime port of Piræus, where the waves of the Ægean mingle their solemn roar with the hymns of the sailors, the buzz of the populous city, and the strains of the tortoise-formed lyre.

The sun is slowly sinking in the west, with the clear radiance peculiar to happy Greece, but, as it seems to the mother, with less majesty than when it dipped its burning orb, as into Lethe’s wave, in the lotus-filled waters of the Ganges. Solemnly they converse of their happy youth when all things to come wore ever brightening hues, when future deeds surrounded them like the stars now emerging countless from the night. And now the aulic tones whisper softly in the ether around them, filling all things with sweet melody, and catching the ear of the listening child; recalling to Demetros the period of infancy, when in like manner at eventide he had raised his head from the lap of his mother; to Ganga the time when, in the protecting arms of Nikaiyah, she had hearkened to the notes of the Indian nightingales.

Sadly Ganga speaks of them as those she shall never behold. Hopefully the Eleusinian priest unfolds his faith in immortality—pure and sweet fell his words on her mind, when divested of Brahmin superstition, as the placid moonbeams now silvering his golden locks and kissing the brow of the sleeping infant. Here was no hideous transmigration to pass through atoning, but all was clear and blessed as the innocent period of childhood—there, where the starry points showed glimpses of the radiant heaven, they would rejoin, in the happy company of the gods, their friends now made immortal. There, as true Olympians, enjoy the happiness of the blessed.

Their prophetic eyes seem to behold in the misty future the deified reclining, on the golden-clouds which cap the hill of Musaeus. Silently descend the shades of evening on the city of Athens, and on the pair as they muse on the mount by the temple of Jupiter.

Centuries have passed since the times of Elephantum and Eleusis. The “eye of Greece” now desolate, still courts the shade of Hymethus—the suns rise and set no more on the home of the Arts and the Muses—no longer gild the morning rays a glittering Acropolis—no longer chime the aulic notes with the song of the Chian-Homer. Still wanders the Brahmin, no longer at Elephantum, in India’s groves alone, unchanged amid the changing scenes around him. Still flows the Ganges, the mightiest of eastern waters.





  When the beauteous rose of morning

    Wears her diadem of dew,

  And the foot-print of the zephyr

    Rests upon the waters blue;

  When the moon is softly waning

    ’Neath the morrow’s ruddy light,

  And the cool breath of the morning

    Fans the jeweled brow of night;


  When the maiden morning blushes,

    As it wakens from repose,

  And the jealous zephyr brushes

    Off the dew kiss from the rose,

  Then I watch the starbeams fading,

    As the light comes up the sky,

  Until with the morn they whisper

    That the loved one still is nigh.


  When the god of day is shining

    As it rides a car of light,

  When the glory of the mid-day

    Wears a crown of purest white—

  When a train of breathing flowers

    With their incense load the air,

  And the breath from southern valleys

    Tell of all things bright and fair;


  When the snowy clouds are floating

    In the summer’s sunny sheen,

  And the splendor of the mid-day

    Adds a glory to the scene—

  Then I wander sad and lonely

    ’Mid the beautiful and fair,

  For my soul is still with Mary,

    And I feel her spirit there.


  When the gentle hour of evening

    Wears her robe of blue and gold,

  And the castles, plains and valleys

    Are in airy clouds unrolled;

  When the night-birds trim their plumage,

    And the flowers meet the dew—

  When the moonbeam greets the sunset

    In her home of crimson hue—


  When the sunset and the moonlight

    Are commingled into one,

  Like to molten gold and crimson,

    When the gorgeous day is done—

  Then I think ’t is heaven’s portals

    Brightly glowing in the west,

  And my lost one seems to beckon

    To the regions of the blest.


  When the cold and fearful midnight

    Wears her coronet of jet,

  And a jeweled veil of darkness

    Round the form of earth has met—

  Or the frowning clouds are tossing

    The disheveled hair of night,

  And the angry lightning flashes

    With a fitful, fearful light—


  When the night is dark and stormy

    As the passions of the soul,

  And the knell of fleeted glories

    Echoes in the thunder’s roll;

  When the lurid lightning flashes

    With its angry light above,

  It is naught I see beyond it

    To my lost, my early love.





  The summer winds were lightly strung,

    The golden eve drew near,

  The gentle zephyrs sweetly sung,

    To call from us a tear;

  Oh! sadly sweet that mournful strain

    That called her to the blest,

  As ’neath the green and fertile plain

    We laid her down to rest.


  The smile of love that rested there

    Upon her blooming cheek,

  Doth shine in that bright world of prayer,

    Where angels only speak.

  We look to see that face in vain—

    That gentle heaving breast—

  But ’neath the green and fertile plain

    We laid her down to rest.


  That gentle voice is hushed in death—

    She closed her weary eyes—

  While angels watched the parting breath,

    And took her to the skies.

  Yes! Death, to break the golden chain,

    Appeared a welcome guest—

  And ’neath the green and fertile plain

    We laid her down to rest.






(Concluded from page 167.)


I think that the better half, and much the most agreeable one, or the pleasures of the mind is best enjoyed while one is upon one’s legs. Malthus.

Dreading as I do any thing which might tempt my patient readers to anticipate adventure, plot, or catastrophe in these chapters, I must premise that the bit of episode, which I am about to relate, is all for the sake of introducing a friend, whose gifts and example wrought a critical change in my studies. It will transfer the attention to certain localities of our neighboring state.

Americans need not go to Vaucluse or Vallambrosa for the picturesque; there are scenes among our mountains and our virgin forests which, though different from any thing in the old world, are yet unsurpassed. Especially among the solitudes of that great chain of mountains which runs like a spine from north-east to south-west across many states, there are spots where the sublime and the enchanting meet, and where the most longing soul might find itself sated with the exuberance of beauty.

Amidst such seclusions had dwelt my neighbor De Mornay, while yet a youth. He was not a native, indeed, for he was not an American. During the latter years of our Revolution, when Pulaski, Gallatin, and other distinguished foreigners, came to share our fortunes, a Breton gentleman arrived, and disembarked at City Point, below Richmond, with certain mercantile claims upon the State of Virginia. Shortly after his arrival, he made large purchases of land upon the upper waters of the James River; but he had scarcely completed his bargain when he was carried off by one of the fevers of the country. The only representative whom he left was a beautiful boy of fourteen, Albert de Mornay, already mentioned as the subject of this chapter.

With all the acumen and warmth which prevail in the best French character, Albert had a decided turn for the contemplative and the mystical, which was encouraged and fostered by his insulation among some of the loveliest recesses of nature. The forests through which he roamed, unbroken by woodman’s axe, and bounded over by the aboriginal deer; the frowning crags which towered over his precipitous path, far up beyond the reach of adventurous footsteps, where the young eagles waited in the eyry for the rapacious parents’ return; the streams, rushing over clean channels in the rock, and pellucid to the bottom, even when many feet in depth; the wide champaign prospects, opened up and down the valley, from certain eminences; all these peculiarities of a mountainous region tended to subdue in young Albert whatever existed of the busy and the pragmatical, and to send him musing to the upland levels, or to the shady spots where crags beetling over the black waters produced the effect of a grotto.

His French blood was like that which ran in the veins of Victor de St. Paul, De Rancy, St. Cyr and Pascal. Though a Protestant by education, he nevertheless loved Fenelon; and in turning over the cases of uncut volumes, which his father had ordered from Paris, to constitute his library, Albert soon found himself detained over Bourdaloue and Guion. How remote this taste was from any that prevailed either in France or America, in the latter part of the last century, it is scarcely necessary to say. The French revolution, and the political quarrels of America, almost extinguished the meditative element in society. Generous philosophy and contemplative religion were never in a lower state. In order to preserve any remnants of ascetic or tranquil piety, amidst such commotions, it was necessary to grow up in solitude and to converse with the past. Even monasteries in Europe became places of political gladiatorship, and unfrocked monks were wearing the red cap, and spouting regicide speeches at the Jacobins. These were no halcyon days, but times of tempest.

Far, far from these, under the clear skies, and among the gigantic mountain groves of the Allegheny, the days of Albert floated by. The rare appearance of a post-rider, and the occasional gift of a stray newspaper, informed him indeed from time to time of the successive quakings and eruptions in the old political world; but these were much like the convulsions of another planet. His ties to them were very much sundered. He lived in two worlds, but neither of them was the world of turbulent political affairs; he passed daily between the paradise of books, in which he held high converse with the mighty dead, and the paradise of nature, in which he communed with God himself. His training, though solitary, was not incomplete. The best part of every man’s education is that which he gives himself. Yet Albert was not entirely alone.

When the elder De Mornay found himself to be dying, he committed his young son to the only friend whom he knew in that part of America; this was another Frenchman, who bore the name of Guerin, a royalist refugee, once a doctor of the Sorbonne, but now (such changes were not uncommon) secularized, and seeking his bread by the only science which he could turn into a useful art, namely, mathematics. Singular was the providence which had thrown the orphan boy into the arms of such a man. Guerin was rather below the middle stature, but with that symmetry of person which leaves nothing to desire. His complexion was fair; his brow was open and serene, surmounting a clear, large, innocent, contemplative eye; the brown hair had gathered itself at the sides of his well-formed head, leaving the crown in a state of natural tonsure, befitting his former vocation. Delicate lips and regular teeth, taken in connection with hands which had known no early labor, conveyed the impression of rank and refinement. When forced to fly, the exile finds celibacy to be an advantage. Guerin was happy even in the wilds of America; he was more than happy when be found not only a ward and companion, in his friend’s son, but a thousand friends revived, in his library.

No one could be less fitted to bring up a young man in the ways of the world; but then he could induct him into all the mysteries of classic and romantic knowledge. He spoke Latin with a purity which has always been coveted in the seminaries of France. He had spent some years at Rome, and was at home in all the works of Dante, Ariosto, Boccacio, Tasso and Petrarca. So much had he been secluded from public affairs, that the old world was almost as familiar to him as the new. True, he was strange to woodcraft and the ways of the huntsman. Never had he discharged a gun; its lock was as mysterious to him as a catapulta. Never had he acquired the gentle art of taking the mountain trout; and when he sat on the green bank, and lifted up his eyes from Lucretius or Seneca, he looked amazed at the line running off Albert’s reel, and at the speckled creatures which the gentle but arch boy landed at his feet.

Never were master and scholar better matched; and the relation is a tender one. If Guerin was more pensive than jocose, he could nevertheless relish wit and humor, and he perceived that Albert was daily unfolding new tendencies toward the spiritual and superhuman. The teacher could therefore consent to be laughed at for his bad English, and to bear his share of the burden when Albert had brought down a buck. His brown-study would often be broken by some song of his companion, generally English, such as

  Under the greenwood tree,

  Who loves to lie with me,

  And turn his merry pote

  Unto the sweet-bird’s throat,

        Here shall he see

        No enemy,

  But winter and rough weather.

The qualities of Guerin were fit correctives of Albert’s. The teacher was placid, but not mystical; cheerful, but not enthusiastic; scholarly, but not philosophic; kind, but not heroic. Without him, Albert might have been an ignorant zealot, or a fanatical soldier; he never could have been malign or weak. The changes of opinion which had turned so many French priests into infidels, had only made Guerin half a Protestant. He was too yielding and too timid to those of his early profession; nor did his circumstances demand it. But he acquired forbearance, and enlarged the circle of his survey. In turning over the volumes at Crowscrag, the mountain home of Albert, he learned to recognize some virtue even in a Huguenot, and to admire the argument, and taste the truth of writers such as Chamier, Plessis du Mornay, Claude, Sauria, and Bonnet. He and his pupil talked them over among the limestone rocks and caverns of the mountains. But Guerin had cravings which his mercurial ward could not understand. The abbé, as he loved to call him, as if penetrated by the mysterious “Zeit-Geist,” swelled with inward longings for communion with the spiritual. The sound of the great ocean came to him even in his solitude; while Albert felt that truth, if ever reached, was for men, for man. Both were religious in their thoughts; but Albert’s religion was less of form and dogma, and more of expansive affection and lofty aspirations. The kind-hearted priest often charged to the account of Protestantism certain traits in his young friend, which he could not understand, and wondered to see him dissatisfied with all the beauties and glories of his mountain-home.

Albert possessed a dog, which, as if to mock the attempts of the abbé at English consonants, was named Thwackthwart; an awful mouthful, and second only to the proverbial exercise for foreigners, of “thirty thousand thorns thrust through the thick of their thumbs.” The aforesaid Thwackthwart was of that color which you would not willingly denominate, lest you should find it was gray, when you had called it brown; a terrier of such a symmetric shape and attractive shagginess, that at length his ugliness acquired a sort of beauty. I am sure the reader has just such a dog in his mind’s eye, even if he has never had its teeth in the calf of his leg. He was exceedingly useful in a mountain-house, and accompanied Albert on every expedition. As there were no ladies at Crowscrag to be alarmed by such an event, it was not unusual, when the chase had been active, or the weather tempting, for Albert to absent himself several days at a time. However unwelcome this may have been to the abbé, he did not complain, but mildly took his seat at the little round table, and gave his orders to Sambo, the servant. Sambo was on the wane of years, but had once been an athletic man, with noticeable signs of Indian blood in his face, while he passed for an African. He was older than any of them, as a dweller in these wilds, and even remembered when buffalo were known to cross low parts of the Allegheny chain.

One night, early in May, Guerin was seated at the door of the lonely wooden mansion, which, from its situation under the eastern brow of a rocky mountain, was named Crowscrag. The weather was warm for the season, and a heavy cloud in the southwest was giving forth signs of an approaching thunder-gust. The muttering of the coming storm, and the angry flashes increased as night came on. At length when darkness had begun to prevail, each renewal of the lurid glare revealed wide tracts of the gray valleys, and disclosed yawning depths in the ragged hills, while the rain descended in torrents. Albert was still absent, and though both courageous and robust, was, in the estimation of his friend, exposed to manifold dangers. There was no house within many miles, except a temporary lodge on the opposite mountain, which had been used as a station in topographical surveys. This, though several miles distant, was so situated as to be visible by daylight; and Guerin often endeavored to catch a glimpse of it with his pocket-telescope, during intervals of the electric illumination. Midnight came, however, and yet no tidings of the wanderer. The good abbé paced the floor for hours, but at length yielded to weariness, and slept soundly. When he awoke to the clear shining of another day, he felt a pang at not seeing Albert; and he never saw him more.



Vadit, fremit, refringit virgulta pede vago.

Catullus. Attys, v. 86.

The grandfathers of some who read this have told them how the settlements of their childhood were put in fear by the irruption of the Indians; an evil as little feared in our own day as the ravages of the minotaur or other mythic monsters. These onsets were frequently made into the secluded valleys of that rugged district through which the Kanawha finds its course to the Ohio, from the great spine of mountains which traverses Virginia and Carolina. Striking across from the Ohio to the Sciota, the Shawnees used to pursue a “trail” well-known to hunters, and passing in its route the town of Major-Jack, where Chilicothe now stands. Thither in more than one instance they carried away captive men, women and children. Although their usual practice was to slay and scalp all able-bodied men, yet the aboriginal caprice sometimes led them to make exceptions in favor of a fine fellow taken even in arms; as for example when the chief who was prowling was visited with some mysterious yearning to supply by adoption the loss of a darling son. These statements are necessary to explain the absence of Albert, who, to say truth, had fallen into the hands of a party of Shawnees, after being surprised in the mountain lodge to which he had retreated from the storm. I am not about to tell an Indian story; such may be better heard in any frontier inn; I will therefore return to my disconsolate abbé.

When Guerin awoke to the reality of his loss, and had allowed two days to pass without any signs of his young friend, he was almost beside himself. Scarcely was there a man on earth less fitted for the adventures of a new country. Yet he set on foot a variety of explorations, by means of mountain rangers, and more especially of Sambo, whose habits and training assimilated him to the native tribes. The mountain lodge showed signs, obscure indeed to the eye of civilization, but patent and convincing to the sagacity of foresters, that a party had halted there. It was manifest that there had been a recent fire, and some remnants of a wild turkey were near the edifice of logs. What was more significant, the body of poor Thwackthwart was found a few miles nearer to the river. Following this clew, Sambo divined, by infallible signs, that a party had taken canoes at a certain bluff, where also was discovered an illegible sentence freshly cut, or began to be cut, on the smooth bark of a beech. The heart-broken priest, as his only resource, betook himself to Richmond for aid and counsel; and after waiting there for some months, with no news of de Mornay, he sadly obeyed a vocation to the island of Martinique, fully persuaded that his companion had fallen under the ruthless weapons of the savage; an event by no means uncommon in that stage of our history.

This most untoward event it was, which brought me acquainted with the friend whom of all others I shall ever remember with the liveliest and tenderest regard; perpetually applying to him since his death the expressions of Shenstone’s celebrated epitaph⁠—

  “Here, quanto minus

   Cum reliquis versari,

   Quam tui meminisse!”

Let me purposely abridge the horrors of the tale. De Mornay, after being taken by a wearisome series of posts northward through what is now the state of Ohio, was inducted into the Indian life not far from a British block-house near Lake Erie. One day, when he was accompanying his chief and father, We-mo-tox, or Burning Broomgrass, to a talk with the whites, he was recognized by a Highland major, who had a brother among the Frazers of North Carolina. A correspondence ensued, and the gallant Major Frazer, in the depth of winter, set out with De Mornay, who was gaunt and half-crippled from the exposures and chagrins of captivity, and brought him in a sort of triumph to the banks of the Roanoke. I was on a visit at Duncan Frazer’s, when the major, long expected, arrived with the young stranger, whose story had come before him. Pallid and haggard as he was, with long, tangled hair, and habiliments in which the deer-skin oddly mingled with the cut of a garrison tailor on the lakes, Albert struck me as I have seldom been struck by a first appearance. The deep black eye shone with a melancholy lustre of natural gayety subdued by sudden and early grief. Gentleness, pain, courage and meditation were in his brow, his glance, and his reluctant smile. That night I prayed him to share my habitation and my pursuits, and he was my companion till—how shall I utter it—he sank away during years of beautiful decline.



      So shalt thou see and hear

The lovely shapes and sounds intelligible

Of that eternal language, which thy God

Utters, who from eternity doth teach

Himself in all, and all things in himself.


There is something hard to express in the retrospect which one takes in chilly and over-prudent old age, of the periods when youth was boiling over, and when the mind, so far from being ashamed of its enthusiasms, rather gloried in them. It is not merely in trances of youthful love, that the soul is ’rapt into a condition above what is normal and beyond what can be enduring; friendship, poetry, romance and even learning (wo to the scholar who knows it not) have their times of incantation. But to give full occasion for such experience there must be a nice conjuncture of place and age and person; which befel me under some signal aspect of the celestial signs when our quiet groves were visited by Albert de Mornay. A few months had graven on him the characters of years. Though at a later period he came to some knowledge of his departed Mentor, the meek and venerable Guerin, Albert at this time lamented him as lost, and mourned over the lessons of wisdom which, in the buoyancy of a spirit which now seemed frivolous, he had neglected and all but derided. Now the full shadow of his preceptor’s tenets, example and character, fell upon him with too sombre a veil. What he remembered was chiefly the recluse pensiveness of the solitary. Books which he might otherwise have forgotten, and discourses to which he had scarcely known himself to be attending, while he was adjusting his rifle or making flies for the angle, revisited his thoughts like memories of the dead. It was Plato, it was Petrarca, it was Fenelon, that became the resort of his gentle spirit. And as he grew paler, as his voice became softer and more feminine, so his sentiments assumed a sad or rather an aspiring mood, much in contrast with the loudness and exuberance of his mountain days of health. Mingled with this were a group of qualities which fastened me to him as “with hooks of steel.” No more to guide the foaming steed, or cheer the hunting company with his sonorous voice, he hung over the volumes of ancient lore, and sat at the embowered window gazing on the moon which twinkled all night on the reflecting ripples of the Roanoke.

Greek tragedy possesses a secret charm for such moments, which is undetected even by many a ripe scholar in our baby-whirling age. It was Electra, it was Antigone, and it was Alcestis, that rose before the enchanted eye of the once gay Frenchman, with the austere but unearthly loveliness of antique sculpture. To me this was a lesson but partially comprehended, yet I owe to Albert my transition from the vexing punctilios of the grammarian to the high contemplations of literary and poetic enthusiasm.

Friendship adds intelligence to letters. I felt then and feel now the force of the nisi hoc sciat alter. In solitary lucubration I might have grown into the accomplished school-master; but I should never have had an ear for the august harmonies which sometimes swell through the terrestrial infidelity of Lucretius, if I had not heard the heroic measures read with the dulcet music of a companion’s voice. I never should have been able, as at a later day, to pore serenely over Goethe’s Iphigenia. I never should have comprehended the enigmas of the Religio Medici. I never should have loved the sententious sweetness of Quesnel. I never should have found myself awakened, as at a trumpet’s alarum, by the undoctrinal and vague, but stimulating rhapsodies of Schleiermacher’s Reden. I never should have made pilgrimage, as I did long after, from the old capital of Burgundy to the mount where St. Bernard was born. All this I owed to the contagion of a lofty and loving soul.



Parole adorne di lingua piu d’una.

Milton. Sonnet IV.

Fancy to yourself two enthusiasts sitting under a magnificent liriodendron (pity it is that common usage should have degraded the glory of our forests into a poplar; it is no poplar, and even the name tulip-tree has a hybrid sound, half Norman half Anglo-Saxon; “it follows not,” says holy but funny Fuller, “that the foreign tulip is better than the rose because some usurping fancies would prefer it;”) fancy, I say, gentle Alice, and gentle reader, two students of old books under a lofty tree, on a knoll in sight of a broad Southern river, with the bank all bespread with volumes. One of these youths is tall, slender, and—“call it fair, not pale,” because two damask rose-leaves give a hectic beauty to the skin through which the eloquent blood courses almost visibly and all too rapidly. The brown hair, long and neglected, falls about the neck and over the linen collar of a country jacket. The great, liquid eye now rolls and now fixes, and the teeth, which medical observation recognizes as more pearly in consumptives, are disclosed in a speaking smile, as the attenuated and almost dainty fingers turn over the heavy leaves of a Greek folio. The approach of fatal disease (we remember Kirk White and Godman) seems only to quicken the appetency and spiritualize the enjoyment of knowledge. Dewy bushes, birds in the branches, a flock of sheep on the green hill-side, and a squadron of lazy boats in the distance, only aid the pursuit. Study is not confined to cells and conventual towers.

Pedant. The greatest solitude I ever felt was in a great city; when I was in an old, tumble-down street in London.

Albert. O give me the open air of heaven! I used to spout speeches in the Virginia mountains, where I could halloo to the echoes and fear no overhearing. But that was when I dreamed of the forum and the senate. It is past!

Pedant. Cicero makes much of these shades, as he calls them. He says Eloquence did not flourish in war-times. “Pacis est comes otiique socia, et jam hene constitutæ civitatis quasi alumna quæmdam Eloquentia.” The gabble and fuss of much that is called learned talk in our towns is destructive of deep feeling and thus of high art.

Albert. Yes, and as my honored abbé used to quote from Goethe, concerning such a litterateur: “All the springs of natural feeling, which were open in all their fullness to our fathers, are shut to him. The paper-hangings, which fade on his walls in the course of a few years, are a token of his taste and a type of his works.”

Pedant. Yet we lack great libraries here in our remote place.

Albert. We must be ignorant of many things to know any. True—though said by a man I hate—Helvetius. My friend, let me play the old man and warn you. You spread your nets too wide. You sow in more fields than you can ever reap. You have a reluctance to be an undistinguished happy man. You should read oftener in the Phædo, for you have more Greek than I. Often am I lifted above common thoughts as I read this wonderful dialogue. What a passage this is, about the dying swan, (chap. 30) and the argument of Simmias (chap. 36) about the lyre and its harmonies!

Pedant. Thus for I can read Plato best in a version.

Albert. A version! It is my aversion. There goes my first pun. Think of Pope’s Homer! Open the books at Vaucluse for a sample, as your uncle draws a hand of tobacco from a hogshead. Here—take the Odyssey, xvii. 26-36. What can be simpler than the original—what more meretricious than the copy?

Ἀρτέμιδι ἰκέλη ἠὲ χρυσέῃ Ἀφροδίτῃ

Pope thus:

 “The beauteous cheeks the blush of Venus wear,

  Chastened with coy Diana’s pensive air.”

And then, in plain English, “Weeping, she threw her arms about her dear boy, and kissed his brow and his two fair eyes, and murmuring plaintively, spake these winged words!”

But Pope, doubtless in wig and ruffles, thus:

 “Hangs o’er her son, in his embraces dies;

  Rains kisses on his neck, his face, his eyes;

  Few words she spoke, though much she had to say.

  And scarce those few, for tears, could force their way.”

Pedant. Hold—I give up, Pope; but all translators have not his redundancy and pomp of words.

Albert. There are few good translators; and me judice, the latest are the best. Wolfius is a miracle. Our Frenchmen have shown their sense by giving the ancient poets in prose; for it is death to classic metres and classic thought to entangle them in Alexandrines, with male and female rhymes. Taylor’s Plato is close enough and bald enough, but it is harder than the Greek. It is easy to turn simplex munditiis into “simple in mundicity,” but it becomes neither sense nor English. Cervantes knew what he was about, when he compared a version to the wrong side of a piece of tapestry; you make out the figures, but where are the tone, the beauty, the expression?

Pedant. Then you must learn Hebrew to read the Bible.

Albert. O, that I could! As it is—one chapter of St. John’s Greek is glorious, beyond all the scores of version from St. Jerome to Campbell. I never could endure the barbarisms of the Vulgate, even from the lips of my honored abbé. I think even he blushed when he recited—Amen, amen dico vobis: quia plorabitis et flebitis vos, etc., S. Joann. cap. xvi, 20. Yet it is better in its senility than the French-polish of Castalio. And your English Bible has a venerableness from the lordly old English of its day. Our French Bibles smack of the salon; the tournure of phrase is colloquial and courtly.

Pedant. My friend Pfeffers protests that the gospels are fabricated.

Albert. Pfeffers is a fool—pardon me—your friend Pfeffers is duped by the cold, bloodless philosophers of the High Dutch universities. So Hardouin undertook to prove that Homer, and Virgil, and all, were vamped up by monks in the Middle Age. Papae! When that is done, I will demonstrate that the Temple of Neptune at Paestum was built by the crusaders, and that the Antinous was chipped out of marble by a couple of Savoyard image-boys in the year 1789. The microscopic objections of Bahrdi and Paulus are just such infinitesimal lichens and abrasions and scratchings as a strong lens will detect on the cheek of the Discobolos, or the Venus of Florence. Is there sweetness in that breath of wild roses which comes over us from the west? Was it made to be enjoyed? Is it correlate with this olfactory sense? Then is the seventeenth chapter of St. John a heavenly aroma, formed for this inward craving of a departing soul. Take me back to my wild Indians, and their medicine-men with gourds and wampum, rather than to the drivel of a learning once Christian, but now materialistic or godless! That manna was good, but it has bred worms. Corruptio optimi pessima est.

Pedant. Dearest De Mornay, you flush and injure yourself.

Albert. Thanks to thee, Paul Guerin, that thou leftest me lessons which live in the soil of this heart and germinate after thy departure! God grant that grief and the suns of Martinique may not despoil the earth of the purest of the emigrant clergy.

That day we had to carry Albert into the house, and his subsequent studies and conversations were chiefly in a swinging hammock of Mexican grass, suspended in our northern veranda.



Il me semble que considerant la foiblesse de nostre vie, et à combien d’escueils ordinaires et naturels elle est exposée, on n’en devroit pas faire si grande part à la naissance, à l’oisiveté te à l’apprentissageage.

Montaigne, ch. 57.

In a second visit to Europe after the death of De Mornay, I sought out the hamlet where his father lived. It was Chateaux-Prix sur L’Emmat. The place is very French, being in the neighborhood of a dismantled fortification. But the green slopes are still kept trim for promenades. Long, long rows of Lombardy poplars, very different from the spindling things we have, stretch a mile along the water. The low, red houses, with red tiles, huddle together about the red church, like a brood crowding around the hen. In the evenings, the brown peasants in blouses, and the brown mothers and maids in broad straw plats, cluster under vines at the doors, with long loaves of bread and flasks of country wine. Clumps of Grenoble walnut-trees—we call them English—half conceal with their full foliage the immense rood of timber which predominates over a village spring. Near this, as the sun sinks, are heard the sound of the tabor and pipe, and the clatter of sabots, as the boys and girls run to the merry-making. Donkeys are loose among the road-side thistles, and the long twilight is not over before all are in bed.

But the De Mornays had flitted out of France, and I found them—almost the only remaining Huguenots in Louvain, which once was so famous a Protestant town.[1] The portrait of Gaston du Plessis, Albert’s grand-uncle, hanging at Doctor De Mornay’s, might—with another dress—have passed for a likeness of my friend; but it was in feather and coat-armor. Madame Guers, a young widow, heard with tears my remembrances of her cousin. It was she who carried me to see the Hôtel de Ville, built some time in the fifteenth century, and told me gay romances of the Dukes of Brabant. She had never heard of Froissart! I cannot remember whether it was here or at Liège that I wondered at the Holy Family of Quentin Matsys. The Louvain beer is famous, and I advise tourists to acquaint themselves with the Brabant John Barleycorn at the Maison des Brasseurs, or Brewer’s Hall, or at the convent of Parc, with its fish-ponds, not far distant.

Being still out of my head about teaching, I was dinned with talk concerning the Methode Jacotot, which is as little remembered there as Manual Labor Schools with us. And, surely, a comical method it was! For Jacotot presumed to teach every thing out of one book, by an everlasting repetition. Hundreds of schools were set up on this plan.

Rambling old man that I am! It is time my chapters came to an end. Alice is horrified at my reading out of Homer a passage in the twentieth book of the Odyssey, and says she shall dream of it. I defy Pfeffers to find any thing more ghastly in German story. It is where the guests are suddenly struck mad. They burst forth into sardonic laughter. Blood issues from their mouths, and tears pour from their eyes. Meanwhile Theoclymenus, gifted with sudden clairvoyance, beholds the sun perishing from the heavens, the porch filled with spectres, and the walls sweating gore. Why has it not been quoted by our Northern spiritualists?

Before I end my dictations and resolve to bid Alice close her portfolio, let me give one or two discoveries concerning old age, which my readers will better understand when they have had the “three warnings.”

Old folks do not acquire wisdom in a natural way; that is, as they acquire short breath, puckered lips, gray hairs, crowsfeet, weak knees and shuffling feet. Habit is habit. Idle youth—idle age. I love books as much and as fondly as when I was in my father’s garret. But my glasses are too young for me, and McAlister is five hundred miles away, and folios are hard to manage, and my grand-daughter is in peril of laryngitis by reading so loud to me, and my eyes close in the middle of periods, and my pipe goes out ten times a-day.

When I was young I thought life pleasant, but I also thought that after three-score I should be ready to yield it without a sigh. I do not know how it is, but my love of life has a tenacity as tough as my corded fingers. Every preparation for “that vast ocean I must sail so soon” is induced ab extra. The instinctive tendency is to live a little longer.

In old age I fancy myself not very much attended to. This I suppress; but for the life of me I cannot help observing that in all companies my chair becomes insular. The young men prefer learning of the young women. The young women attend to me sweetly—but as it were by afterthought, from sense of duty.

As an old man, I perceive that young creatures are too gay. The loud laugh reaches me, but I have lost the bon mot which caused it. The books they are in raptures about are not in my collection. Was I ever thus? And did those grave looks of my seniors proceed from something like this in their heedless offspring? Heigh-ho! It is time for me to look for hat and stick, as a conviva satur.

The teeth which Gardette furnished me are the admiration of all companies; and I speak with only a perceptible click produced by the play of the gold and porcelain. Yet what I say is evidently less relished than when I used to be in blue broad-cloth and hair-powder, and with six unstarched cravats about my neck. My Latin quotations are unintelligible, for I retain the old continental sound of the vowels, and cannot break my organs into the Anglicism of payter, frayter, and nigh-sigh, for pater, frater, and nisi. I can’t learn to change the Spanish Quijote into Quixotte, with a double T; or to talk “of paying over over ten dollars,” when I mean “paying over more than ten dollars.” Alice has never found her favorite “reliable” in any English author before the days of Sir Robert Peel; or any classic writer who ever uttered the phrase “on to-morrow.” I am old-fashioned enough to present to each other visitors who meet at a morning call, and to show them to the door; nor can I wear my hat in the house, bald as I am. Quere. Whether Methusalem had these disabilities in proportion to his longinquity?

I may be in error, but so my Commissionaire Jean d’Ypres told me.



        “He is insensibly subdued

To settled quiet; he is one by whom

All effort seems forgotten: one to whom

Long patience hath such mild composure given,

That patience now doth seem a thing of which

He hath no need.”


They say old age is cold, but this summer weather boils my blood, and drives me to every corner where a little motion among the leaves affords a surmise of gentle airs. Which reminds me of the comic sufferings of my friend Pfeffers, when first he made trial of our cis-atlantic climate. He so panted and perspired, that we feared he might go off in a paroxysm of some tropical disease. It was many a long year ago, yet Pfeffers is still alive; by this token, that he is my guest at this present writing. His tongue retains a few scarcely perceptible Shibboleths of his German original. Long ago, he threw himself heart and soul into our American usages, and married an American wife. Age sits lightly on him. He is brown, and square built, and he dresses young. An auburn wig surmounts his mahogany visage with formidable dignity. Pfeffers is an ornithologist, and—with a zeal almost furious—has traversed all our Southern States in pursuit of the fowls of the air. That he has escaped poisoning himself with the arsenic which he uses in his taxidermy is to be ascribed to the volumes of tobacco-smoke which he has inhaled during half a century.

In the odd changes of life’s wheel, some of my youthful companions have turned up in strange places. Pfeffers has just informed me, that he met at Memphis—not in Egypt—an old lady, who remembered having seen me in Dublin. It was no other than Grace O’Meara, whom I left a bouncing girl in her gallant father’s house, and who is now a hale but wrinkled grandmamma. Through her report, I learned that Guerin—the friend of my beloved De Mornay—lived to a very great age in the island of Martinique, where he continued, till the last, to pursue his philosophical and humane studies. Gentle Frenchman—how many, less deserving, are honored with monumental marbles!

My literary reminiscences were much freshened by Pfeffers, and his presence carried me back to the vine-clad heights of the Rhine. What delicious fragrance comes back to one’s inner sense from the balmy fields of juvenile experience! Surely this is one of the principal compensations of benign Providence to men in years. Old age itself does not always impair the faculty of living over again the innocent pleasures of life. Garrulous we are, it cannot be denied, at our time of life, and every octogenarian is prone to be a laudator temporis acti. But if young folks were wise, they would lend willing ears, and thus would have us in our best moments, to wit—when we are rejoicing in the past, rather than tasking the outworn powers to receive the new impressions of the present.

I seem to float again upon the Rhine, and again to hear the song of the vine-dressers, suspended from the craggy and terraced slopes where the white wines of princes are produced.

Pfeffers and I have diverged more and more as we have grown older, and each is rigid in his cramps and oddities. Except in smoking, there is scarcely a point on which we agree. He loves to read Rabelais; whom, maugre all the eulogies of Coleridge and other great men, I continue to loathe as a filthy old man. He glories in Jean-Paul, whom I never could comprehend. He places Dante and Goethe above all poets, while I stick to Shakspeare, Milton and Schiller. He is a red-democrat, croaks songs of Freiligrath, and rehearses rhapsodies of Kinkel; I am a conservative, an old federalist, and a hater of emeutes. He follows Blum and Heine, and is a Lichtfreund, or illuminé, ready to guillotine priests and proclaim a millenium of unbelief; I am a churchgoer, and almost a Quaker in my quiet musings. He derides all such dreams as those of Guerin and De Mornay, and votes all the Pascals, Nicoles, Fenelons and Gurneys to be milksops and pietistic fools; I equally scorn his Bruno Bauers and Carlyles. His old age is fiery, restless, testy and unmerciful; on the contrary, I grow calmer, and more averse to agitation. He is a thorough-paced abolitionist, of the ruat cælum school; I am disposed to follow Sir Robert Walpole’s quiteta non movere. We live in a pleasing pain of endless controversy, which puts out his pipe a dozen times a-day, while it only causes my clouds of smoke to roll away in heavier volume.

My chief amusement has been in planting trees for the use of posterity, and in decorating a little church which the ladies of our neighborhood have been rearing out of the work of their own hands. I have inserted in my will—after a competency for Alice—a provision looking toward the perpetuation of a school, in the spot where my happy pedagogic days were past. The shadows of the evening have brought with them a grateful calm. As I contemplate the setting sun, it is soothing to consider that it will rise to-morrow on a land which grows greater and happier every day; a land which, in spite of occasional agitations, has settled itself with dignity on the principles of Washington; a land in which fanatical bonfires die out without any conflagration.

Adieu, gentlest reader! If these chapters seem to you rambling and empty, be assured they seem not less so to me. Yet the utterance of trifles has given me a relief; and if they add a pleasure to any who peruse them, it will be to me a content and a recompense.





  Brood sombrous clouds above a midnight sea;

    Rude, rifted rocks rise round the final shore

    Of life’s wide world. Through the thick mist that o’er

  The scene spreads sadness, lo! all silently

  Glides a lone, wearied, shattered bark along;

    Sun, moon and stars are darkened unto him,

    Its aged voyager. His eyesight dim,

  Nor joy nor pleasure can to him belong—

  Ferried fast on by many drooping hours,

    Nears he the leaden stream’s wide mouth, at last,

    Whose waters wildly roar as run they past

  Into eternity’s vast flood. All powers

  Fail now to him. With numerous sorrows rife,

  Enters he then the haven of immortal life.





We consider the age of Chaucer as the true starting-point of the English literature properly so called. In Italy letters appear to have revived after the long and gloomy period characterized by the somewhat false term of “the dark ages,” with astonishing rapidity. Like germs and seeds of plants which have lain for centuries buried deep in the unfruitful bowels of the earth, and suddenly brought up by some convulsion of nature to the surface, the intellect of Italy burst forth, in the fourteenth century, into a tropical luxuriance, putting out its fairest flowers of poetry, and its solidest and most beautiful fruits of wisdom and of wit. Dante died seven years before, and Petrarch and Boccaccio about fifty years after, the birth of Chaucer, who thus was exposed to the strongest and directest influence of the genius of these great men. How great that influence was, we shall presently see. The great causes, then, which modified and directed the genius of Chaucer were—first, the new Italian poetry, which then suddenly burst forth upon the world, like Pallas from the brain of Jupiter, perfect and consummate in its virgin strength and beauty; second, the now decaying Romanz or Provençal poetry; and third, the doctrines of the Reformation, which were beginning, obscurely but irresistibly, to agitate the minds of men; a movement which took its origin, as do all great and permanent revolutions, in the lower depths of the popular heart, heaving gradually onward, like the tremendous ground-swell of the equator, until it burst with resistless strength upon the Romish Church in Germany and in England, sweeping all before it. Wickliffe, who was born in 1324, only four years before Chaucer, had undoubtedly communicated to the poet many of his bold doctrines: the father of our poetry and the father of our reformed religion were both attached to the party of the celebrated John of Gaunt, and were both honored with the friendship and protection of that powerful prince: Chaucer, indeed, was the kinsman of the earl, having married the sister of Catherine Swinford, first the mistress and ultimately the wife of “time-honored Lancaster;” and the poet’s varied and uncertain career seems to have faithfully followed all the vicissitudes of John of Gaunt’s eventful life.

Geoffrey Chaucer was born, as he informs us himself, in London; and for the date of an event so important to the destinies of English letters, we must fix it, on the authority of the inscription upon his tomb, as having happened in the year 1328; that is to say, at the commencement of the splendid and chivalrous reign of Edward III. The honor of having been the place of his education has been eagerly disputed by the two great and ancient universities of Oxford and Cambridge; the former, however, of the two learned sisters having apparently the best established right to the maternity—or at least the fosterage—of so illustrious a nursling. Cambridge founds her claim upon the circumstance of Chaucer’s having subscribed one of his early works “Philogenet of Cambridge, clerk.” He afterward returned to London, and there became a student of the law. His detestation of the monks appears, from a very curious document, to have begun even so early as his abode in the grave walls of the Temple; for we find the name of Jeffrey Chaucer inscribed in an ancient register as having been fined for the misdemeanor of beating a friar in Fleet street.

The first efforts of a revival of letters will always be made in the path of translation; and to this principle Chaucer forms no exception. He was an indefatigable translator; and the whole of many—nay, a great part of all—his works bears unequivocal traces of the prevailing taste for imitation. How much he has improved upon his models, what new lights he has placed them in, with what skill he has infused fresh life into the dry bones of obscure authors, it will hereafter be our business to inquire. He was the poetical pupil of Gower, and, like Raphael and Shakspeare, he surpassed his master: Gower always speaks with respect of his illustrious pupil in the art of poetry; and, in his work entitled “Confessio Amantis,” places in the mouth of Venus the following elegant compliment:⁠—

And grate wel Chaucer, when ye mete,

As my disciple and my poéte:

For in the flowers of his youth,

In sundry wise, as he well couthe,

Of ditees and of songés glade

The which he for my sake made, etc.

These lines also prove that Chaucer began early to write; and probably our poet continued during the whole course of his eventful life, to labor assiduously in the fields of letters.

His earliest works were strongly tinctured with the manner, nay, even with the mannerism, of the age. They are much fuller of allegory than his later productions; they are distinguished by a greater parade of scholarship, and by a deeper tinge of that amorous and metaphysical mysticism which pervades the later Provençal poetry, and which reached its highest pitch of fantastical absurdity in the Arrêts d’Amour of Picardy and Languedoc. As an example of this we may cite his “Dream,” an allegorical composition written to celebrate the nuptials of his friend and patron John of Gaunt, with Blanche, the heiress of Lancaster.

Chaucer was in every sense a man of the world: he was the ornament of two of the most brilliant courts in the annals of England—those of Edward III. and his successor Richard II. He also accompanied the former king in his expedition into France, and was taken prisoner about 1359, at the siege of Retters; and in 1367 we find him receiving from the crown a grant of 20 marks, i. e. about 200l. of our present money.

Our poet, thus distinguished as a soldier, as a courtier, and as a scholar, was honored with the duty of forming part of an embassy to the splendid court of Genoa, where he was present at the nuptials of Violante, daughter of Galeazzo, Duke of Milan, with the Duke of Clarence. At this period he made the acquaintance of Petrarch, and probably of Boccaccio also: to the former of these illustrious men he certainly was personally known; for he hints, in his “Canterbury Tales,” his having learned from him the beautiful and pathetic tale of the patient Griselda:⁠—

Learned at Padua of a worthy clerke

Francis Petrarke, the laureate poét:

Highte thys clerke, whose rhethorique sweet

Enlumined al Itale of poesy.

It was during his peregrinations in France and Italy that Chaucer drew at the fountain-head those deep draughts from the Hippocrene of Tuscany and of Provence which flow and sparkle in all his compositions. It is certain that he introduced into the English language an immense quantity of words absolutely and purely French, and that he succeeded with an admirable dexterity in harmonizing the ruder sounds of his vernacular tongue; so successfully, indeed, that it may be safely asserted that very few poets in any modern language are more exquisitely and uniformly musical than Chaucer. Indeed, he has been accused, and in rather severe terms, of having naturalized in English “a wagon-load of foreign words.”

In 1380 we find Chaucer appointed to the office of Clerk of the Works at Windsor, where he was charged with overlooking the repairs about to be made in St. George’s Chapel, then in a ruinous condition.

In 1383 Wickliffe completed his translation into the English language of the Bible, and his death, in the following year, seems to have been the signal for the commencement of a new and gloomy phase in the fortunes of the poet. Chaucer returned to England in 1386, and, the party to which be belonged having lost its political influence, he was imprisoned in the Tower, and deprived of the places and privileges which had been granted to him. Two years afterward he was permitted to sell his patents, and in 1389 he appears to have been induced to abandon, and even to accuse, his former associates, of whose treachery toward him he bitterly complains.

In reward for this submission to the government, we afterward find him restored to favor, and made, in the year 1389, Clerk of the Works at Westminster. It is at this period that he is supposed to have retired to pass the calm evening of his active life in the green shades of Woodstock, where he is related to have composed his admirable “Canterbury Tales.” This production, though, according to many opinions, neither the finest nor even the most characteristic of Chaucer’s numerous and splendid poems, is yet the one of them all by which he is now best known: it is the work which has handed his name down to future generations as the earliest glory of his country’s literature; and as such it warrants us in appealing, from the perhaps partial judgments of isolated critics, to the sovereign tribunal of posterity. The decisions of contemporaries may be swayed by fashion and prejudice; the criticism of scholars may be tinged with partiality; but the unanimous voice of four hundred and fifty years is sure to be a true index of the relative value of a work of genius.

Beautiful as are many of his other productions, it is the “Canterbury Tales” which have enshrined Chaucer in the penetralia of England’s Glory Temple; it is to the wit, the pathos, the humanity, the chivalry of those tales that our minds recur when our ear is struck with the venerable name of Chaucer. In 1390 we find the poet receiving the honorable charge of Clerk of the Works at Windsor; and, two years later, a grant from the crown of 20l. and a tun of wine annually. Toward the end of the century which his illustrious name had adorned, he appears to have fallen into some distress; for another document is in existence securing to the poet the protection of the crown (probably against importunate creditors;) and in 1399 we find the poet’s name inserted in the lease of a house holden from the Abbot and Chapter of Westminster, and occupying the spot upon which was afterward erected Henry VII.’s chapel, now forming one of the most brilliant ornaments of Westminster Abbey. In this house, as is with great probability conjectured, Chaucer died, on the 25th of October, 1400, and was buried in the Abbey, being the first of that long array of mighty poets whose bones repose with generations of kings, warriors, and statesmen, beneath the “long-drawn aisles.”

In reading the works of this poet the qualities which cannot fail to strike us most are—admirable truth, freshness, and livingness of his descriptions of external nature; profound knowledge of human life in the delineation of character; and that all-embracing humanity of heart which makes him, as it makes the reader, sympathise with all God’s creation, taking away from his humor every taste of bitterness and sarcasm. This humor, colored by and springing from universal sympathy, this noblest humanity—we mean humanity in the sense of Terence’s: “homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum puto”—is the heritage of only the greatest among mankind; and is but an example of that deep truth which Nature herself has taught us, when she placed in the human heart the spring of Laughter fast by the fountain of Tears.

We shall now proceed to examine the principal poems of Chaucer, in the hope of presenting to our readers some scale or measure of the gradual development of those powers which appear, at least to us, to have reached their highest apogee or exaltation in the “Canterbury Tales.”

In the first work to which we shall turn our attention, Chaucer has given us a translation of a poem esteemed by all French critics the noblest monument of their poetical literature anterior to the time of Francis I. This is the “Romaunt of the Rose,” a beautiful mixture of allegory and narrative, of which we shall presently give an outline in the words of Warton. The “Roman de la Rose” was commenced by William de Lorris, who died in 1260, and completed, in 1310, by Jean de Meun, a witty and satirical versifier, who was one of the ornaments of the brilliant court of Charles le Bel. Chaucer has translated the whole of the portion composed by the former, together with some of Meun’s continuation; making, as he goes on, innumerable improvements in the text, which, where it harmonizes with his own conceptions, he renders with singular fidelity. “The difficulties and dangers of a lover, in pursuing and obtaining the object of his desires, are the literal argument of the poem. This design is couched under the allegory of a rose, which our lover, after frequent obstacles, gathers in a delicious garden. He traverses vast ditches, scales lofty walls, and forces the gates of adamantine castles. These enchanted holds are all inhabited by various divinities; some of which assist, and some oppose, the lover’s progress.” The English poem is written, like the French original, in the short rhymed octo-syllabic couplets so universally adopted by the Trouvères, a measure well fitted, from its ease and flowingness, for the purpose of long narratives. We have said that the translation is in most cases very close; Chaucer was so far from desiring to make his works pass for original when they had no claim to this qualification, that he even specifies, with great care and with even a kind of exultation, the sources from whence his productions are derived. Indeed, at such early periods in the literature of any country, writers seem to attach as great or greater dignity to the office of translator than to the more arduous duty of original composition; the reason of which probably is, that in the childhood of nations as well as of men, learning is a rarer, and therefore more admired, quality than imagination.

The allegorical personages in the “Romaunt of the Rose” are singularly varied, rich, and beautiful. Sorrow, Envy, Avarice, Hate, Beauty, Franchise, Richesse, are successively brought on the stage. As an example of the remarks we have just been making, we will quote a short passage from the latter part of Chaucer’s translation, i. e. from that portion of the poem composed by John of Meun: it describes the attendants in the palace of Old Age: we will print the original French and also the extract:⁠—

  Travaile et douleur la hébergent,

  Mais ils la lient et la chargent,

  Que Mort prochaine luy présentent,

  En talant de se repentir;

  Tant luy sont de fléaux sentir;

  Adoncq luy vient en remembrance,

  En cest tardifve présence.

  Quand il se voit foible et chenue.


  With her, Labour and eke Travaile

  Lodgid bene, with sorwe and wo.

  That never out of her court go

  Pain and Distress, Sekenesse and Ire,

  And Melancholie that angry sire,

  Ben of her palais Senatoures;

  Goning ana Grutching her herbegeors.

  The day and night her to tourment,

  With cruel death they her present,

  And tellen her erliche and late,

  That Deth standith armid at her gate.

Here Chaucer’s improvements are plainly perceptible; the introduction of Death, standing armed at the gate, is a grand and sublime thought, of which no trace is to be found in the comparatively flat original; not to mention the terrible distinctness with which Chaucer enumerates Old Age’s Senators, Pain, Distress, Sickness, Ire, and Melancholy; and her grim chamberlains, Groaning and Grudging.

The next poem which we shall mention is the love-story entitled “Troilus and Cresseide,” founded on one of the most favorite legends of the Middle Ages, and which Shakspeare himself has dramatized in the tragedy of the same name. The anachronism of placing the scene of such a history of chivalric love in the heroic age of the Trojan War is, we think, more than compensated by the pathos, the nature, and the variety which characterize many of the ancient romances on this subject. Chaucer informs us that his authority is Lollius, a mysterious personage very often referred to by the writers of the Middle Ages, and so impossible to discover and identify that he must be considered as the Ignis Fatuus of antiquaries. “Of Lollius,” says one of these unhappy and baffled investigators, “it will become every one to speak with deference.” The whole poem is saturated with the spirit not of the Ionian rhapsodist, but of the Provençal minstrel. It is written in the rhymed ten-syllabled couplet, which Chaucer has used in the greater part of his works. In the midst of a thousand anachronisms, of a thousand absurdities, this poem contains some strokes of pathos which are invariably to be found in every thing Chaucer wrote, and which show that his heart ever vibrated responsive to the touch of nature.

Though we propose, in a future volume, to give such specimens and extracts of Chaucer as may suffice to enable our readers to judge of his manner, we cannot abstain from citing here a most exquisite passage: it describes the bashfulness and hesitation of Cressida before she can find courage to make the avowal of her love:⁠—

And as the newe-abashed nightingale

That stinteth first, when she beginneth sing,

When that she heareth any herdis tale,

Or in the hedgis any wight stirring,

And after siker doth her voice outring:

Right so Cresseide, when that her drede stent,

Opened her herte and told him her entent.

We may remark here the extraordinary fondness for the song of birds exhibited by Chaucer in all his works. There is not one of the English poets, and certainly none of the poets of any other nation, who has shown a more intense enjoyment for this natural music: he seems to omit no opportunity of describing the “doulx ramaige” of these feathered poets, whose accents seem to be echoed in all their delicacy, their purity and fervor, in the fresh strains of “our Father Chaucer”:⁠—

    Sound of vernal showers

      On the twinkling grass,

    Rain-awakened flowers,

      All that ever was

Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass!

We have mentioned the anachronism of plan in this poem; it abounds in others no less extraordinary. Among these, he represents Cresseide as reading the Thebaid of Statius (a very favorite book of Chaucer,) which he calls “The Romance of Thebis;” and Pandarus endeavors to comfort Troilus with arguments of predestination taken from Bishop Bradwardine, a theologian nearly contemporary with the poet.

The “House of Fame,” a magnificent allegory, glowing with all the “barbaric pearl and gold” of Gothic imagination, is the next work on which we shall remark. Its origin was probably Provençal, but the poem which Chaucer translated is now lost. We will condense the argument of this poem from Warton:—“The poet, in a vision, sees a temple of glass decorated with an unaccountable number of golden images. On the walls are engraved stories from Virgil’s Eneid and Ovid’s Epistles. Leaving this temple, he sees an eagle with golden wings soaring near the sun. The bird descends, seizes the poet in its talons, and conveys him to the Temple of Fame, which, like that of Ovid, is situated between earth and sea. He is left by the eagle near the house, which is built of materials bright as polished glass, and stands on a rock of ice. All the southern side of this rock is covered with engravings of the names of famous men, which are perpetually melting away by the heat of the sun. The northern side of the rock was alike covered with names; but, being shaded from the warmth of the sun, the characters here remained unmelted and uneffaced. Within the niches formed in the pinnacles stood all round the castle

All manera of minstrellis,

And gestours, that tellen tales

Both of weping and eke of game;

and the most renowned harpers—Orpheus, Arion, Chiron, and the Briton Glaskeirion. In the hall he meets an infinite multitude of heralds, on whose surcoats are embroidered the arms of the most redoubted champions. At the upper end, on a lofty shrine of carbuncle, sits Fame. Her figure is like those of Virgil and Ovid. Above her, as if sustained on her shoulders, sate Alexander and Hercules. From the throne to the gates of the hall ran a range of pillars with respective inscriptions. On the first pillar, made of lead and iron, stood Josephus, the Jewish historian, with seven other writers on the same subject. On the second, made of iron, and painted with the blood of tigers, stood Statius. On another, higher than the rest, stood Homer, Dares Phrygius, Livy, Lollius, Guido of Colonna, and Geoffrey of Monmouth, writers on the Trojan story. On a pillar of ‘tinnid iron clere’ stood Virgil; and next him, on a pillar of copper, appeared Ovid. The figure of Lucan was placed upon a pillar of iron ‘wrought full sternly,’ accompanied by many Roman historians. On a pillar of sulphur stood Claudian. The hall is filled by crowds of minor authors. In the meantime crowds of every nation and condition fill the temple, each presenting his claim to the queen. A messenger is sent to summon Eolus from his cave in Thrace, who is ordered to bring his two clarions, Slander and Praise, and his trumpeter Triton. The praises of each petitioner are then sounded, according to the partial or capricious appointment of Fame! and equal merits obtain very different success. The poet then enters the house or labyrinth of Rumor. It was built of willow twigs, like a cage, and therefore admitted every sound. From this house issue tidings of every kind, like fountains and rivers from the sea. Its inhabitants, who are eternally employed in hearing or telling news, raising reports, and spreading lies, are then humorously described: they are chiefly sailors, pilgrims, and pardoners. At length our author is awakened by seeing a venerable person of great authority; and thus the vision abruptly terminates. From the few lines we have quoted, it may be seen that this poem, like the “Romaunt of the Rose,” is written in the octosyllabic measure. Though full of extravagances, exaggerations of the already too monstrous personifications of Ovid, this work extorts our admiration by the inexhaustible richness and splendor of its ornaments; a richness as perfectly in accordance with Middle Age art, as it is extravagant and puerile in the tinsel pages of the Roman poet. That multiplicity of parts and profusion of minute embellishment which forms the essential characteristic of a Gothic cathedral is displaced and barbarous when introduced into the severer outlines of a Grecian temple or a Roman amphitheatre.

It now becomes our delightful duty to speak of the “Canterbury Tales;” and we can hardly trust ourselves to confine within reasonable limits the examination of this admirable work, containing in itself, as it does, merits of the most various and opposite kinds. It is a finished picture, delineating almost every variety of human character, crowded with figures, whose lineaments no lapse of time, no change of manners, can render faint or indistinct, and which will retain, to the latest centuries, every stroke of outline and every tint of color, as sharp and as vivid as when they came from the master’s hand. The Pilgrims of Chaucer have traversed four hundred and fifty years—like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness—arid periods of neglect and ignorance, sandy flats of formal mannerism, unfertilized by any spring of beauty, and yet “their garments have not decayed, neither have their shoes waxed old.”

Besides the lively and faithful delineation—i. e. descriptive delineation of these personages, nothing can be more dramatic than the way in which they are set in motion, speaking and acting in a manner always conformable to their supposed characters, and mutually heightening and contrasting each other’s peculiarities. Further yet, besides these triumphs in the framing of his Tales, the Tales themselves, distributed among the various pilgrims of his troop, are, in almost every case, master-pieces of splendor, of pathos, or of drollery.

Chaucer, in the Prologue to the “Canterbury Tales,” relates that he was about to pass the night at the “Tabarde” inn in Southwark, previous to setting out on a pilgrimage to the far-famed shrine of St. Thomas of Kent—i. e. Thomas à Becket—at Canterbury. On the evening preceding the poet’s departure there arrive at the hostelry⁠—

Wel nine and twenty in a compagnie

Of sondry folk, by aventure y-fulle

In felowship, and pilgrimes wer they alle,

That toward Canterbury wolden ride.

The poet, glad of the opportunity of traveling in such good company, makes acquaintance with them all, and the party, after mutually promising to start early in the morning, sup and retire to rest.

Chaucer then gives a full and minute description, yet in incredibly few words, of the condition, appearance, manners, dress, and horses of the pilgrims. He first depicts a Knight, “brave in battle, and wise in council,” courteous, grave, religious, experienced; who had fought for the faith in far lands, at Algesiras, at Alexandria, in Russia; a model of the chivalrous virtues:

And though that he was worthy, he was wise,

And of his port make as is a mayde.

He was a veray parfit gentle knight.

He is mounted on a good, though not showy, horse, and clothed in a simple gipon or close tunic, of serviceable materials, characteristically stained and discolored by the friction of his armor.

This valiant and modest gentleman is accompanied by his son, a perfect specimen of the damoyseau or “bachelor” of this, or of the graceful and gallant youth of noble blood in any period. Chaucer seems to revel in the painting of his curled and shining locks—“as they were laid in presse”—of his tall and active person, of his already-shown bravery, of his “love-longing,” of his youthful accomplishments, and of his gay and fantastic dress. His talent for music, his short, embroidered gown with long wide sleeves (the fashion of the day,) his perfect horsemanship, his skill in song-making, in illuminating and writing, his hopeful and yet somewhat melancholy love for his “lady”⁠—

So hote he loved, that by nightertale

He slept no more than doth the nightingale⁠—

nothing is omitted; not a stroke too few or too many.

This attractive pair are attended by a Yeman or retainer. This figure is a perfect portrait of one of those bold and sturdy archers, the type of the ancient national character; a type which still exists in the plain, independent peasantry of the rural districts of the land. He is clad in the picturesque costume of the greenwood, with his sheaf of peacock arrows, bright and keen, stuck in his belt, and bearing in his hand “a mighty bowe”—the far-famed “long-bow” of the English archers—the most formidable weapon of the Middle Ages, which twanged such fatal music to the chivalry of France at Poictiers and Agincourt. His “not-bed,” his “brown viságe,” tanned by sun and wind, his sword and buckler, his sharp and well-equipped dagger, the silver medal of St. Christopher on his breast, the horn in the green baldric—how life-like does he stand before us!

These three figures are admirably contrasted with a Prioress, a lady of noble birth and delicate bearing, full of the pretty affectations, the dainty tendernesses of the “grande dame religieuse.” Her name is “Madame Eglantine;” and the mixture, in her manners and costume, of gentle worldly vanities and of ignorance of the world; her gayety, and the ever-visible difficulty she feels to put on an air of courtly hauteur; the lady-like delicacy of her manners at table, and her fondness for petting lap-dogs⁠—

Of smale houndes had she, that she fed

With rosted flesh, and milk, and wastel-bread,

But sore she wept if on of hem were dead,

Or if men smote it with a yerde smart,

For al was conscience, and tender herte,⁠—

this masterly outline is most appropriately framed (if we may so speak) in the external and material accompaniments—the beads of “smale coráll” hanging on her arm, and, above all, the golden brooch with its delicate device of a “crowned A,” and the inscription Amor vincit omnia. She is attended by an inferior nun and three priests.

The Monk follows next, and he, like all the ecclesiastics, with the single exception of the Personore or secular parish priest, is described with strong touches of ridicule; but it is impossible not to perceive the strong and ever-present humanity of which we have spoken as perhaps the most marked characteristic of Chaucer’s mind. The Monk is a gallant, richly-dressed, and pleasure-loving sportsman, caring not a straw for the obsolete strictness of the musty rule of his order. His sleeves are edged with rich fur, his hood fastened under his chin with a gold pin headed with a “love-knot,” his eyes are buried deep in his fleshy, rosy cheeks, indicating great love of rich fare and potent wines; and yet the impression left on the mind by this type of fat, roystering sensuality is rather one of drollery and good-fellowship than of contempt or abhorrence.

Chaucer exhibits rich specimens of the various genera of that vast species “Monachus monachans,” as it may be classed by some Rabelœsian Theophrastus. The next personage who enters is the Frere, or mendicant friar, whose easiness of confession, wonderful skill in extracting money and gifts, and gay discourse, are most humorously and graphically described. He is represented as always carrying store of knives, pins, and toys, to give to his female penitents, as better acquainted with the tavern than with the lagar-house or the hospital, daintily dressed, and “lisping somewhat” in his speech, “to make his English swete upon the tongue.”

This “worthy Limitour” is succeeded by a grave and formal personage, the Merchant: solemn and wise is he, with forked beard and pompous demeanor, speaking much of profit, and strongly in favor of the king’s right to the subsidy “pour la saufgarde et custodie del mer,” as the old Norman legist phrases it. He is dressed in motley, mounted on a tall and quiet horse, and wears a “Flaundrish beaver hat.”

The learned poverty of the Clerke of Oxenforde forms a striking contrast to the Merchant’s rather pompous “respectability.” He and his horse are “leane as is a rake” with abstinence, his clothes are threadbare, and he devotes to the purchase of his beloved books all the gold which he can collect from his friends and patrons, devoutly praying, as in duty bound, for the souls of those

Who yeve him wherewith to scolaie.

Nothing can be more true to nature than the mixture of pedantry and bashfulness in the manners of this anchoret of learning, and the tone of sententious morality and formal politeness which marks his language.

We now come to a “Serjeant of the Lawe,” a wise and learned magistrate, rich and yet irreproachable, with all the statutes at his fingers’ ends, a very busy man in reality, “but yet,” not to forget the inimitable touch of nature in Chaucer, “As seemed besier than he was.” He is plainly dressed, as one who cares not to display his importance in his exterior.

Nor are preceding characters superior, in vividness and variety, to the figure of the “Frankelein,” or rich country-gentleman, who is next introduced: his splendid and hospitable profusion, and the epicurean luxuriousness of the man himself, are inimitably set before us. “It snewed in his house of mete and drink.”

Then comes a number of burgesses, whose appearance is classed under one general description. These are a Haberdasher, Carpenter, Webbe (or Weaver,) Dyer, and Tapiser⁠—

——Alle yelothed of o liverè,

Of a solempes and gret fraternitè,⁠—

that is, they all belong to one of those societies, or mestiers, which play so great a part in the municipal history of the Middle Ages. The somewhat cossu richness of their equipment, their knives hafted with silver, their grave and citizen-like bearing—all is in harmony with the pride and vanity, hinted at by the poet, of their wives, who think “it is full fayre to be yeleped Madame.”

The skill and critical discernment of the Cook are next described: “Well could he know a draught of London ale,” and elaborately could he season the rich and fantastic dishes which composed the “carte” of the fourteenth century. He joins the pilgrimage in hope that his devotion may cure him of a disease in the leg.

A turbulent and boisterous Shipman appears next, who is described with minute detail. His brown complexion, his rude and quarrelsome manners, his tricks of trade, stealing wine “from Burdeux ward, while that the chapman slepe,” all is enumerated; nor does the poet forget the seaman’s knowledge of all the havens “from Gothland to the Cape de Finistere,” nor his experience in his profession: “In many a tempest had his berd be shake.”

He is followed by a Doctour of Phisike, a great astronomer and natural magician, deeply versed in the ponderous tomes of Hippocrates, Hali, Galen, Rhasis, Averrhoes, and the Arabian physicians. His diet is but small in quantity, but rich and nourishing; “his study is but little on the Bible,” and he is humorously represented as particularly fond of gold, “for gold in phisiks is a cordiall.”

Next to the grave, luxurious, and not quite orthodox doctor, enters the “Wife of Bath,” a daguerreotyped specimen of the female bourgeoise of Chaucer’s day; and bearing so perfectly the stamp and mark of her class, that, by changing her costume a little to the dress of the nineteenth century, she would serve as a perfect sample of her order even in the present day. She is equipped with a degree of solid costliness that does not exclude a little coquetry; her character is gay, bold, and not ever rigid; and she is endeavoring, by long and frequent pilgrimages, to expiate some of the amorous errors of her youth. She is a substantial manufacturer of cloth, and so jealous of her precedency in the religious ceremonies of her parish, that, if any of her female acquaintance should venture to go before her on these solemn occasions, “so wroth was she, that she was out of alle charitee.”

Contrasted with this rosy dame are two of the most beautiful and touching portraits ever delineated by the hand of genius—one “a pour Persoune,” or secular parish priest; and his brother in simplicity, virtue, and evangelic parity, a Plowman. It is in these characters, and particularly in the “Tale” put into the mouth of the former, that we most distinctly see Chaucer’s sympathy with the doctrines of the Reformation: the humility, self-denial, and charity of these two pious and worthy men, are opposed with an unstudied, but not the less striking pointedness, to the cheatery and sensuality which distinguish all the monks and friars represented by Chaucer. So beautiful and so complete is this noble delineation of Christian piety, that we will not venture to injure its effect by quoting it piecemeal in this place, but refer our readers to the volume in which the whole of Chaucer’s Prologue will be found at length.

Then we find enumerated a Reve, a Miller, a Sompnour (an officer in the ecclesiastical courts,) a Pardoner, a Manciple, and “myself,” that is, Chaucer.

The Miller is a brawny, short, red-headed fellow, strong, boisterous and quarrelsome, flat-nosed, wide-mouthed, debauched; he is dressed in a white coat and blue hood, and armed with sword and buckler.

His conversation and conduct correspond faithfully with such an appearance; he enlivens the journey by his skill in playing on the bagpipe.

The Manciple was an officer attached to the ancient colleges; his duty was to purchase the provisions and other commodities for the consumption of the students; in fact, he was a kind of steward. Chaucer describes this pilgrim as singularly adroit in the exercise of his business, taking good care to advantage himself the while.

Another of the most elaborately painted pictures in Chaucer’s gallery is the “Reve,” bailiff or intendant of some great proprietor’s estates. He stands before us as a slender, long-legged, choleric individual, with his beard shaven as close as possible, and his hair exceedingly short. He is a severe and watchful manager of his master’s estates, and had grown so rich that he was able to come to his lord’s assistance, and “lend him of his owen good.” His horse is described, and even named, and he is described as always riding “the hindereat of the route.”

Nothing can surpass the nature and truthfulness with which Chaucer has described the Sompnour. His face is fiery red, as cherubim were painted, and so covered with pimples, spots, and discolorations, that neither mercury, sulphur, borax, nor any purifying ointment, could cleanse his complexion. He is a great lover of onions, leeks, and garlic, and fond of “strong win as red as blood;” and when drunk he would speak nothing but Latin, a few terms of which language he had picked up from the writs and citations it was his profession to serve. He is a great taker of bribes, and will allow any man to set at naught the archdeacon’s court in the most flagrant manner “for a quart of wine.”

The last of the pilgrims is the “Pardonere,” or seller of indulgences from Rome. He is drawn to the life, singing, to the bass of his friend the Sompnour, the song of “Come hither, love, to me.” The Pardoner’s hair is “yellow as wax,” smooth and thin, lying on his shoulders: he wears no hood, “for jollité;” that is, in order to appear in the fashion. His eyes (as is often found in persons of this complexion—note Chaucer’s truth to nature) are wide and staring like those of a hare; his voice is a harsh treble, like that of a goat; and he has no beard. Chaucer then enumerates the various articles of the Pardoner’s professional budget; and certainly there never was collected a list of droller relics: he has Our Lady’s veil, a morsel of the sail of St. Paul’s ship, a glass full of “pigges bones,” and a pewter cross crammed with other objects of equal sanctity. With the aid of these and the hypocritical unction of his address, he could manage, in one day, to extract from poor and rustic people more money than the Parson (the regular pastor of the parish) could collect in two months.

The number of the pilgrims now enumerated will be found by any one who takes the trouble to count them to amount to thirty-one, including Chaucer; and the poet describes them setting out on their journey on the following morning. Before their departure, however, the jolly Host of the Tabarde makes a proposition to the assembled company. He offers to go along with them himself, on condition that they constitute him a kind of master of the revels during their journey; showing how agreeably and profitably they could beguile the tedium of the road with the relation of stories. He then proposes that on their return they should all sup together at his hostelry, and that he among them who shall have been adjudged to have told the best story should be entertained at the expense of the whole society. This proposal is unanimously adopted; and nothing can be finer than the mixture of fun and good sense with which honest Harry Bailey, the host, sways the merry sceptre of his temporary sovereignty.

This then is the framework or scaffolding on which Chaucer has erected his Canterbury Tales. The practice of connecting together a multitude of distinct narrations by some general thread of incident is very natural and extremely ancient. The Orientals, so passionately fond of tale-telling, have universally—and not always very artificially—given consistency and connection to their stories by putting them into the mouth of some single narrator: the various histories which compose the Thousand and One Nights are supposed to be successively recounted by the untiring lips of the inexhaustible Princess Scheherezade; but the source from whence Chaucer more immediately adopted his framing was the Decameron of Boccaccio. This work (as it may be necessary to inform our younger readers) consists of a hundred tales divided into decades, each decade occupying one day in the relation. They are narrated by a society of young men and women of rank, who have shut themselves up in a most luxurious and beautiful retreat on the banks of the Arno, in order to escape the infection of the terrible plague then ravaging Florence.

If we compare the plan of Chaucer with that of the Florentine, we shall not hesitate to give the palm of propriety, probability, and good taste to the English poet. A pilgrimage was by no means an expedition of a mournful or solemn kind, and afforded the author the widest field for the selection of character from all classes of society, and an excellent opportunity for the divers humors and oddities of a company fortuitously assembled. It is impossible, too, not to feel that there is something cruel and shocking in the notion of these young, luxurious Italians of Boccaccio whiling away their days in tales of sensual trickery or sentimental distress, while without the well-guarded walls of their retreat thousands of their kinsmen and fellow-citizens were writhing in despairing agony. Moreover, the similarity of rank and age in the personages of Boccaccio produces an insipidity and want of variety: all these careless voluptuaries are repetitions of Dioneo and Fiammetta: and the period of ten days adopted by the Italian has the defect of being purely arbitrary, there being no reason why the narratives might not be continued indefinitely. Chaucer’s pilgrimage, on the contrary, is made to Canterbury, and occupies a certain and necessary time; and, on the return of the travelers, the society separates as naturally as it had assembled; after giving the poet the opportunity of introducing two striking and appropriate events—their procession to the shrine of St. Thomas at their arrival in Canterbury, and the prize-supper on their return to London.

Had Chaucer adhered to his original plan, we should have had a tale from each of the party on the journey out, and a second tale from every pilgrim on the way back, making in all sixty-two—or, if the Host also contributed his share, sixty-four. But, alas! the poet has not conducted his pilgrims even to Canterbury; and the tales which he has made them tell only make us the more bitterly lament the nonfulfillment of his original intention.

Before we speak of the narratives themselves, it will be proper to state that our poet continues to describe the actions, conversation, and deportment of his pilgrims: and nothing can be finer than the remarks put into their mouths respecting the merits of the various tales; or more dramatic than the affected bashfulness of some, when called upon to contribute to the amusement of their companions, and the squabbles and satirical jests made by others.

These passages, in which the tales themselves are, as it were, incrusted, are called Prologues to the various narratives which they respectively precede, and they add inexpressibly to the vivacity and movement of the whole, as in some cases the tales spring, as it were, spontaneously out of the conversations.

Of the tales themselves it will be impossible to attempt even a rapid summary: we may mention, as the most remarkable among the serious and pathetic narratives, the Knight’s Tale, the subject of which is the beautiful story of Palamon and Arcite, taken from the Teseide of Boccaccio, but it is unknown whether originally invented by the great Italian, or, as is far more probable, imitated by him from some of the innumerable versions of the “noble story” of Theseus current in the Middle Ages. The poem is full of a strange mixture of manners and periods: the chivalric and the heroic ages appear side by side: but such is the splendor of imagination displayed in this immortal work, so rich is it in magnificence, in pathos, in exquisite delineations of character, and artfully contrived turns of fortune, that the reader voluntarily dismisses all his chronology, and allows himself to be carried away with the fresh and sparkling current of chivalric love and knightly adventure. No reader ever began this poem without finishing it, or ever read it once without returning to it a second time. The effect upon the mind is like that of some gorgeous tissue, gold-inwoven, of tapestry, in an old baronial hall; full of tournaments and battles, imprisoned knights, and emblazoned banners, Gothic temples of Mars and Venus, the lists, the dungeon and the lady’s bower, garden and fountain, and moonlit groves. Chaucer’s peculiar skill in the delineation of character and appearance by a few rapid and masterly strokes is as perceptible here as in the Prologue to the Tales: the procession of the kings to the tournament is as bright and vivid a piece of painting as ever was produced by the “strong braine” of mediæval Art: and in point of grace and simplicity, what can be finer than the single line descriptive of the beauty of Emilie—so suggestive, and therefore so superior to the most elaborate portrait—“Up rose the sun, and up rose Emelie?”

The next poem of a serious character is the Squire’s Tale, which indeed so struck the admiration of Milton—himself profoundly penetrated by the spirit of the Romanz poetry—that it is by an allusion to the Squire’s Tale that he characterizes Chaucer when enumerating the great men of all ages, and when he places him beside Plato, Shakspeare, Æschylus, and his beloved Euripides: he supposes his Cheerful Man as evoking Chaucer⁠—

And call up him who left half told

The story of Cambuscan bold.

The imagery of the Squire’s Tale was certainly well calculated to strike such a mind as Milton’s, so gorgeous, so stately, so heroic, and imbued with all the splendor of Oriental literature; for the scenery and subject of this poem bear evident marks of that Arabian influence which colors so much of the poetry of the Middle Ages, and which probably began to act upon the literature of Western Europe after the Crusades.

In point of deep pathos—pathos carried indeed to an extreme and perhaps hardly natural or justifiable pitch of intensity—we will now cite, among the graver tales of our pilgrims, the story put into the mouth of the Clerke of Oxenforde. This is the story of the Patient Griselda—a model of womanly and wifely obedience, who comes victoriously out of the most cruel and repeated ordeals inflicted upon her conjugal and maternal affections. The beautiful and angelic figure of the Patient Wife in this heart-rending story reminds us of one of those seraphic statues of Virgin Martyrs which stand with clasped hands and uplifted, imploring eye, in the carved niches of a Gothic cathedral—an eternal prayer in sculptured stone⁠—

——Patience on a monument,

Smiling at Grief!

The subject of this tale is, as we mentioned some pages back, invented by Boccaccio, and first seen in 1374, by Petrarch, who was so struck with its beauty that he translated it into Latin, and it is from this translation that Chaucer drew his materials. The English poet indeed appears to have been ignorant of Boccaccio’s claim to the authorship, for he makes his “Clerke” say that he had learned it from “Fraunceis Petrarke, the laureat poéte.” Petrarch himself bears the strongest testimony to the almost overwhelming pathos of the story, for he relates that he gave it to a Paduan acquaintance of his to read, who fell into a repeated agony of passionate tears. Chaucer’s poem is written in the Italian stanza.

Of the comic tales the following will be found the most excellent—The Nun’s Priest’s Tale, a droll apologue of the Cock and the Fox, in which the very absurdity of some of the accompaniments confers one of the highest qualities which a fable can possess, viz. so high a degree of individuality that the reader forgets that the persons of the little drama are animals, and sympathizes with them as human beings; the Merchant’s Tale, which, like the comic stories generally, though very indelicate, is yet replete with the richest and broadest humor; the Reve’s Tale, and many shorter stories distributed among the less prominent characters. But the crown and pearl of Chaucer’s drollery is the Miller’s Tale, in which the delicate and penetrating description of the various actors in the adventure can only be surpassed by the perfectly natural yet outrageously ludicrous catastrophe of the intrigue in which they move.

There is certainly nothing, in the vast treasury of ancient or modern humorous writing, at once so real, so droll, and so exquisitely enjoué in the manner of telling. It is true that the subject is not of the most delicate nature; but, though coarse and plain-speaking, Chaucer is never corrupt or vicious: his improprieties are rather the fruit of the ruder age in which he lived, and the turbid ebullitions of a rich and active imagination, than the cool, analyzing, studied profligacy—the more dangerous and corrupting because veiled under a false and morbid sentimentalism—which denies a great portion of the modern literature of too many civilized countries.

It is worthy of remark that all the tales are in verse with the exception of two, one of which, singularly enough, is given to Chaucer himself. This requires some explanation. When the poet is first called upon for his story, he bursts out into a long, confused, fantastical tale of chivalry, relating the adventures of a certain errant-knight, Sir Thopas, and his wanderings in search of the Queen of Faërie. This is written in the peculiar versification of the Trouvères (note, that it is the only tale in which he has adopted this measure,) and is full of all the absurdities of those compositions. When in the full swing of declamation, and when we are expecting to be overwhelmed with page after page of this “sleazy stuff,”—for the poet goes on gallantly, like Don Quixote, “in the style his books of chivalry had taught him, imitating, as near as he can, their very phrase”—he is suddenly interrupted by honest Harry Bailey, the Host, who plays the part of Moderator or Chorus to Chaucer’s pleasant comedy. The Host begs him, with many strong expressions of ridicule and disgust, to give them no more of such “drafty rhyming,” and entreats him to let them hear something less worn-out and tiresome. The poet then proposes to entertain the party with “a litel thinge in prose,” and relates the allegorical story of Melibœus and his wife Patience. It is evident that Chaucer, well aware of the immeasurable superiority of the newly-revived classical literature over the barbarous and now exhausted invention of the Romanz poets, has chosen this ingenious method of ridiculing the commonplace tales of chivalry; but so exquisitely grave is the irony in this passage, that many critics have taken the “Rime of Sir Thopas” for a serious composition, and have regretted it was left a fragment!

The other prose tale, (we have mentioned Melibœus,) is supposed to be related by the Parson, who is always described as a model of Christian humility, piety, and wisdom; which does not, however, save him from the terrible suspicion of being a Lollard, i. e., a heretical and seditious revolutionist.

This composition hardly can be called a “tale,” for it contains neither persons nor events; but it is very curious as a specimen of the sermons of the early Reformers: for a sermon it is, and nothing else—a sermon upon the Seven Deadly Sins, divided and subdivided with all the pedantic regularity of the day. It also gives us a very curious insight into the domestic life, the manners, the costume, and even the cookery of the fourteenth century. Some critics have contended that this sermon was added to the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer at the instigation of his confessors, as a species of penitence for the light and immoral tone of much of his writings, and particularly as a sort of recantation, or amende honorable, for his innumerable attacks on the monks. But this supposition is in direct contradiction with every line of his admirable portrait of the Parson; and, however natural it may have been for the licentious Boccaccio to have done such public penance for his ridicule of the “Frati,” and his numberless sensual and immoral scenes, his English follower was “made of sterner stuff.” The friend of John of Gaunt, and the disciple of Wickliffe, was not so easily to be worked upon by monastic subtlety as the more superstitious and sensuous Italian.

The language of Chaucer is a strong exemplification of the structure of the English language. The ground of his diction will be ever found to be the pure, vigorous, Anglo-Saxon English of the people, inlaid—if we may so style it—with an immense quantity of Norman-French words. We may compare this diction to some of those exquisite specimens of incrusting left us by the obscure but great artists of the Middle Ages, in which the polish of metal or ivory contrasts so richly with the lustrous ebony.

The difficulty of reading this great poet is very much exaggerated: a very moderate acquaintance with the French and Italian of the fourteenth century, and the observance of a few simple rules of pronunciation, will enable any educated person to read and to enjoy. In particular it is to be remarked that the final letter e, occurring in so many English words, had not yet become an e mute; and must constantly be pronounced, as well as the termination of the past tense, ed, in a separate syllable. The accent also is more varied in its position than is now common in the language. Read with these precautions, Chaucer will be found as harmonious as he is tender, magnificent, humorous, or sublime.

Until the reader is able and willing to appreciate the innumerable beauties of the Canterbury Tales, it is not to be expected that he can make acquaintance with the graceful though somewhat pedantic “Court of Love,” an allegorical poem, bearing the strongest marks of its Provençal origin; or with the exquisite delicacy and pure chivalry of the “Flower and the Leaf,” of which latter poem Campbell speaks as follows, enthusiastically but justly:

“The Flower and the Leaf is an exquisite piece of fairy fancy. With a moral that is just sufficient to apologise for a dream, and yet which sits so lightly on the story as not to abridge its most visionary parts, there is, in the whole scenery and objects of the poem, an air of wonder and sweetness, an easy and surprising transition, that is truly magical.”

We cannot conclude this brief and imperfect notice of this great poet without strongly recommending all those who desire to know something of the true character of English literature to lose no time in making acquaintance with the admirable productions of “our Father Chaucer,” as Gascoigne affectionately calls him; the difficulties of his style have been unreasonably exaggerated, and the labor which surmounts them will be abundantly repaid, “it will conduct you,” to use the beautiful words of Milton, “to a hill-side; laborious indeed at the first ascent, but else so smooth, so green, so full of goodly prospects and melodious sounds on every side, that the harp of Orpheus was not more charming.”



“Gabrielle, you should not stay out so late alone.”

“It isn’t late, sister dear, for a summer’s evening. The church clock struck eight just as I turned into the little path across the field.”

The first speaker, who was the eldest, raised her head from her work, and, looking at Gabrielle, said:

“For you it is too late. You are not well, Gabrielle. You are quite flushed and tired. Where have you been?”

“Nowhere but in the village,” Gabrielle said.

She paused a moment, then added, rather hurriedly:

“I was detained by a poor sick woman I went to see. You don’t know her, Joanna, she has just come here.”

“And who is she?” Joanna asked.

“She is a widow woman, not young, and very poor. She spoke to me in the road the other day, and I have seen her once or twice since. She had heard our name in the village, and to-night I promised her that you or Bertha would go and call on her. She has been very unhappy, poor thing. You will go, sister?”

“Certainly. You should have told me before. Go, now, and take off your bonnet. You have walked too quickly home on this hot night.”

Another lady entered the room just as Gabrielle was leaving it, and addressed her almost as the first had done:

“You are late, Gabrielle. What has kept you out so long?”

“Joanna will tell you,” Gabrielle answered. “I have only been finding some work for you, sister,” and with a smile she went away.

They were two stern, cold women—Joanna and Bertha Vaux. They lived together—they two and Gabrielle—in a dark old-fashioned house, close to a little village, in one of the southern counties of England. It was a pretty picturesque village, as most English villages are, with little clusters of white-washed, rose-twined cottages sprinkled through it, and a little rough-stone country church, covered to the very top of the spire so thickly with ivy, that it looked like a green bower. Here and there were scattered a few pleasant houses of the better sort, standing apart in sunny gardens, and scenting the air around with the smell of their sweet flowers.

But the house in which Joanna and Bertha and Gabrielle lived was always gloomy and dark and cold. It was a square brick house, with damp, unhealthy evergreens planted in front, upon which the sun never shone—summer or winter; the flags which paved the front of the door and the steps of the door, were greened over with cheerless moss; and fungi grew up in the seams of the pavement. The windows, with their thick, black, clumsy frames, almost all faced the north, so that the cold, dark rooms were never lighted up with sunshine; but looked even more dreary in the summer time, with the empty fireless grates, than on winter days. Yet the house seemed to suit well the tastes of the two elder of the Misses Vaux.

It had stood empty for some years before they took it; for its last occupier had committed suicide in one of the rooms—it was just the house for such a thing to have happened in—and the superstitious horror which the event created in neighborhood coupled with the dark and cheerless appearance of the house, were the causes why it remained so long unlet and so much neglected.

About six years ago, the Misses Vaux had come quite strangers to the village; and, in a short time were settled as tenants of the lonely house. They were young women then—not more than three and four-and-twenty; but already grave, severe, and stern. They dressed always in mourning, and rarely was a smile seen on their cold lips; but they spent their time almost entirely in performing acts of charity, in visiting the sick, and in making clothes for the poor. For miles round they were known and looked up to with mingled reverence and awe. But theirs was a strange, soulless charity—more like the performance of heavy penance than of acts of love.

There was a mystery about their antecedents. No one knew whence they came, or who they were; they had neither relations nor friends; they lived alone in their gloomy house, and only at long intervals—sometimes of many months—did they receive even a single letter. They were two sad, weary women, to whom life seemed to bring no pleasure, but to be only a burden, which it was their stern duty to bear uncomplainingly for a certain number of years.

Gabrielle—the beautiful, sunny-natured Gabrielle—was not with them when they first came to the village; but three years ago she had joined them, and the three had lived together since. She was then about fifteen;—a bright, joyous, beautiful creature, without a thought of sadness in her, or the faintest shadow of the gloom that rested on her sisters. Even now, although she had lived for three years in the chilling atmosphere that surrounded them, she was still unchanged, almost even as much a child—as gay, thoughtless, and full of joy, as when she first came. It reminded one of a snowdrop blooming in the winter, forcing itself through the very midst of the surrounding snow, to see how she had grown up with this cold, wintry environment. But the gloomy house looked less gloomy now that Gabrielle lived in it. There was one little room with a window looking to the south (one of three that had a sunny aspect,) which she took to be her own, and there she would sit for many hours, working by the open window, singing joyously, with the sunlight streaming over her, and the breath of the sweet flowers that she had planted in a garden as close under her window as the sun would come, stealing deliciously into the room. It was quite a pleasant little nook, with a view far over green undulating hills and yellow waving corn-fields, which sparkled and glittered like plains of moving gold in the deep bright rays of the setting sun. And Gabrielle, sitting here and gazing on them, or roaming alone amongst them, was quite happy and light-hearted. Even her stern sisters were thawed and softened by her presence; and, I think, felt as much love for her as it was in their nature to feel for any one; for, indeed, it was impossible to resist altogether her cheering influence, which spread itself over every thing around her with the warmth of sunshine.

On this evening on which our tale begins, and for some days previous to it, Gabrielle had been graver and quieter than she often was. She joined her sisters now in the common sitting-room; and, with her work in her hand, sat down beside them near the window, but she answered their few questions about her evening ramble with only feigned gayety, as though she was occupied with other thoughts, or was too weary to talk; and, presently, as the twilight gathered round them, they all sank into silence. The one window looked across the road in which the house stood, to a dark plantation of stunted trees that grew opposite: a very gloomy place, which, even in the hottest summer-day, had always a chill, wintry feeling, and from which even now a damp air was rising; and, entering the open window, was spreading itself through the room.

“How unlike a summer evening it is in this room!” Gabrielle suddenly broke the silence by exclaiming almost impatiently. “I wish I could, even for once, see a ray of sunshine in it. I have often wondered how any one could build a house in this situation.”

“And do you never imagine that there are people who care less for sunshine than you do, Gabrielle?” Bertha asked, rather sadly.

“Yes, certainly, sister; but still it seems to me almost like a sin to shut out the beautiful heaven’s sunlight as it has been shut out in this house. Winter and summer, it is always alike. If it was not for my own bright little room up stairs, I think I never should be gay here at all.”

“Well, Gabrielle, you need not complain of the gloominess of this room just now,” Miss Vaux said. “At nine o’clock on an August evening I suppose all rooms look pretty much alike.”

“Oh, sister, no!” Gabrielle cried. “Have you never noticed the different kinds of twilight? Here, in this house, it is always winter twilight, quite colorless, and cold, and cheerless, but in other places, where the sun has shone, it is warm, and soft, and beautiful; even for an hour, or longer, after the sun has quite set, a faint rosy tinge, like a warm breath, seems to rest upon the air, and to shed such peace and almost holiness over every thing. That was the kind of twilight, I think of it so often, that there used to be at home. I remember, so very, very long ago, how I used to sit on the ground at my mother’s feet in the summer evenings, looking out through the open window at the dear old garden, where every thing was so very still and quiet that it seemed to me the very trees must have fallen asleep, and how she used to tell us fairy stories in the twilight. Sisters, do you remember it?” Gabrielle asked, her voice tremulous, but not altogether, so it seemed, with emotion that the recollection had called up.

“I do,” Miss Vaux said, in a voice clear and cold, and hard as ice. From Bertha there came no answer.

“It is one of the few things I recollect about her,” Gabrielle said again, very softly, “the rest is almost all indistinct, like a half-forgotten dream. I was only four years old, you say, Joanna, when she died?”

“You know it; why do you ask?” Miss Vaux said, harshly and quickly.

There was a pause. It was so dark that none of their faces could be seen, but one might have told, from the quick nervous way in which, unconsciously, Gabrielle was clasping and unclasping her hand, that there was some struggle going on within her. At last, very timidly, her voice trembling, though she tried hard to steady it, she spoke again.

“Sisters, do not be angry with me. Often, lately I have wished so very much to ask you some things about my mother. Oh, let me ask them now. Dear sisters, tell me why it is that you never speak to me, or almost allow me to speak, of her? Is it because it grieves you so much to think of her death, or is there any other cause”—her voice sank so low that it was almost a whisper—“why her name is never mentioned amongst us? I have kept silence about this for so long, for I knew you did not wish to speak of it; but, oh sisters, tell me now! Ought I not to know about my own mother?”

“Hush!” Miss Vaux said, in a voice stern and harsh. “Gabrielle, you do not know what you are asking. Let it be enough for you to learn that any thing I could tell you of your mother could give you nothing but pain to hear—pain which we would gladly spare you yet, knowing, as we so well do, the great bitterness of it. I ask you for all our sakes, yours as much as ours, never again be the first to mention your mother’s name!”

She had risen from her seat, and stood upright before Gabrielle, the outline of her tall, dark figure showing clearly against the window. In her voice there was not one trace of emotion; her whole manner was hard, and cold, and unimpassioned; like that of one who had, long ago, subdued all gentle feelings.

Gabrielle’s tears were falling fast, but she made no answer to Miss Vaux’s words. She stood much in awe of both her sisters, especially of the eldest, and knew well how hopeless all remonstrance with her would be.

After a few moments Bertha laid her hand on Gabrielle’s shoulder, saying, with something of gentleness in her voice:

“You distress yourself too much, my child. Trust more in us, Gabrielle. We would try to keep sorrow from you; do not make it impossible.”

“Yes, yes; I know it is meant kindly toward me,” Gabrielle said, gently, “but you forget that I suffer from being in ignorance. I cannot forget that you are concealing something from me.”

“Which I would to God I could conceal from you forever,” Miss Vaux said. “Gabrielle, foolish child, do not seek for sorrow; it will come quickly enough of itself;” and she turned from her with some muttered words that her sister could not hear.

Gabrielle tried to speak again; but Bertha raised her hand warningly, and they were all silent; Gabrielle with her face bowed down upon her hands in the thick twilight.

“We will close the window and have lights,” Bertha said, after some time had passed; “the night air is getting cold.”

With a deep sigh Gabrielle rose, and drew down the open window, standing there for some minutes alone, and looking out upon the dark evergreen grove.



“I am going into the village,” Miss Vaux said. “If you will tell me where that poor woman lives you were speaking of last night, Gabrielle, I will call upon her now.”

“Let me go with you,” Gabrielle said quickly. “I told her we would come together. Wait for me one minute, and I will be ready.”

“I scarcely see the need of it. You are looking pale and ill, Gabrielle. I would advise you to stay in the house and rest.”

“I have a headache, and the air will do it good,” Gabrielle answered. “Let me go, sister?”

“As you will, then,” Miss Vaux said, and Gabrielle went away to dress.

She had not yet recovered her usual gay spirits; but was still grave, quiet, and apparently occupied with her own thoughts, and the two walked side by side, almost without speaking, along the little path over the field which lay between their house and the village. It was a very bright, sunny summer’s day; too hot, indeed, for walking, but beautiful to look at. The heat seemed to weary Gabrielle, she walked so very slowly, and was so pale.

“This is the house, sister. We go through the kitchen; she has the room above.”

They raised the latch and went in. No one was in the lower room; so they passed through, and ascended a low, narrow staircase, almost like a ladder, which rose abruptly from a doorway at the farther side, until they reached another door which stood facing them, without any landing between it and the highest step. Gabrielle knocked, and a faint voice from within answered—“Come in;” and she entered, followed by her sister. It was a very small room, and very bare of furniture; for there was little in it but a deal bedstead, an old table, and one or two odd ricketty chairs, in one of which—that boasted of a pair of broken arms, and something that had once been a cushion—sat the woman they had come to visit.

Gabrielle went quickly up to her, and taking her hand said in a low voice⁠—

“I have brought my sister, as I promised—my eldest sister.”

The woman bowed her head without speaking then tried to rise from her seat, but she seemed very weak, and her hand trembled as she leaned on the arm of her chair.

“Do not rise, my good woman,” Miss Vaux said kindly; and her voice sounded almost soft—she was so used to attune it so as to be in harmony with a sick chamber—“do not rise; I see you are very weak,” and she drew a chair near, and sat down by her side

“You have come quite lately to the village, my sister tells me.”

“Quite lately, less than a week ago,” was the answer; but spoken in so low a voice that the words were scarcely audible.

“Were you ever here before? Have you any connection with the place?” Miss Vaux asked.

“No, none.”

“But you had probably some motive in coming here? Have you no relations or friends?”

“No, no,” the woman cried, suddenly bursting into tears, “I have no friends, no friends in the wide world.”

A gentle hand was laid on her shoulder; a gentle voice whispered some soft words in her ear, and the woman looked up into Gabrielle’s dark eyes, and murmured something between her sobs. Then they were all silent for a few moments.

“I think you are a widow,” Miss Vaux asked gently, when she had become calmer.

“Yes,” she answered slowly, as though the word had been dragged from her, so much it seemed to pain her to speak it.

“And have you any children?”

A moment’s pause, and then another “yes,” hardly intelligible from the choking sob which accompanied it.

Miss Vaux was silent, looking inquiringly into the woman’s face. It was partly turned from her, partly shaded with her thin hand; her large eyes looking up with a strange agonized look into Gabrielle’s eyes, her pale lips moving convulsively. Gabrielle’s face was almost as pale as hers; her look almost as full of agony.

Miss Vaux glanced from one to the other, at first with pity; then suddenly a quick change came over her face, a deep flush mounted to her brow, she darted from her seat, and—calm as she ordinarily was—her whole figure trembled as she stood before them, with her fierce gaze turned on them.

Pale as death, neither of them speaking, they bore her passionate look; quite motionless, too, except that Gabrielle had instinctively clasped the widow’s hand in hers, and held it tightly.

“Speak to me, Gabrielle!” Miss Vaux cried; and her voice, harsh, loud, and quivering with passion, echoed through the room—“tell me who this woman is?”

From the widow’s lips there burst one word—one word like a sudden bitter cry—“Joanna!”

She stretched out her arms imploringly, trying to grasp even her daughter’s dress; but Miss Vaux sprung from her, and stood erect in the center of the room; her tall figure drawn to its full height; her burning eye still turned with unutterable anger upon the crouching woman near her.

“You have dared to do this. You have dared to seek us out here, where we had hoped to hide ourselves from the scoffing of the bitter, heartless world; where we had tried by acts of charity, by suffering and penance, to blot out the recollection of the shame that you have brought upon us! Are we nowhere secure from you? What have we to do with you? You cast us off years ago.”

“Sister, sister,” cried Gabrielle’s imploring voice, “oh, remember, whatever she has done, that she is still our mother. Have mercy on her, for she cannot bear this!”

But sternly and coldly came Miss Vaux’s answer⁠—

“Did she remember that we were her children when she left us? Did she remember that our father was her husband? We all loved her then—she was very dear to us—but she turned all our warm love into bitterness. She destroyed our happiness at one stroke, for ever; she blighted, without a pang, all the hope of our young lives; she branded us with a mark of shame that we can never shake off; she plunged an arrow into the heart of each of us, which lies festering there now. Are these things to be forgiven? I tell you it is impossible! I will never forgive her—I swore it by my father’s deathbed—never while I live! Gabrielle, this is no place for you. Come home with me.”

“Hear me first?” the mother cried, creeping from the seat in which she had sunk back, and cowering, with hidden face, had listened to her daughter’s words, “hear me before you go! I have deserved every thing—every thing you can say; but oh, from you it is bitter to hear it! Oh! my daughter, listen to me.” She flung herself at Miss Vaux’s feet, on the bare floor.

“You speak of the sorrows I have brought upon you—the sorrow and the shame; but have they equalled what I have endured? Day and night—day and night—through months and years—fourteen long years—oh, think of it! I have wished to kill myself, but I dared not do it; I have prayed fervently to die. Oh, no, no, stay and listen to me! My last hope—my last hope in heaven and earth is only with you. Oh, my daughter! you say you loved me once—will not one spark of the old love live again? I will try yet once more to move you to pity. I have not told you all. I have not told you how, in my agony, I tried to find rest and peace; how I sought it everywhere—wandering from place to place alone, in hunger and thirst, in cold and weariness, in poverty and wretchedness; finding none anywhere, until at last, worn out with misery, I wandered here. And here I saw Gabrielle, my beautiful child, my love, my darling!”

The wan face lighted up with passionate love, as she looked at her who was kneeling by her side.

“She believed me when I told her of my sorrow. She comforted me with such sweet words, that they sank like healing balm into my soul, as though an angel’s voice had spoken. Do not take her from me!”

“Mother, do not fear,” Gabrielle’s soothing voice whispered, “I will stay with you—did I not promise it?”

“Gabrielle!” cried Miss Vaux, “come with me, and leave her. The tie that once bound us to her she herself has severed for ever; we have nothing further to do with her. Gabrielle, come!”

“I cannot come. She is my mother. I cannot leave her.”

“And we are your sisters. To whom do you owe most? We have watched over you through your life; we have shielded you from sorrow; we have loved you almost with the love that she ought to have given you. You have been the single joy that we have had for years. Have you no love to give us in return for all we have given you? Oh, Gabrielle—my sister, I pray you!—I, who am so little used to entreat any one, I pray you for the sake of the love we have borne you—for the sake of the honor that is still left us—for the sake of all that you hold sacred—come, come back with us!”

A low moan burst from the mother’s lips; for Gabrielle, weeping bitterly, rose from her knees, and threw herself into her sister’s arms.

“Heaven bless you for this!” Miss Vaux exclaimed; but interrupting her in a broken voice, Gabrielle cried—

“You do not understand me. I cannot return with you. No, sister. Any thing—any thing else I will do, but I cannot forsake her in her penitence. Can you do it yourself? Oh! sister, will you not take her home?”

“I will not.”

There was a long pause, broken once or twice by the deep sobs that seemed bursting the mother’s heart. Then Miss Vaux spoke again, earnestly, even imploringly—

“Gabrielle, I ask you once more, for the last time, to return with me. Foolish child, think what you are doing. You are bringing down your father’s dying curse upon your head—you are piercing the hearts of those who love you with new and bitter sorrow; you are closing—willfully closing—against yourself the door that is still open to receive you; you are making yourself homeless—a wanderer—perhaps a beggar. Oh, my dear sister Gabrielle, think once more—think of all this!”

“Sister, spare me further; your words wound me; but I have decided, and I cannot return with you. My mother’s home is my home.”

“Then I say no more,” Miss Vaux exclaimed, while her whole figure shook. “May God forgive you for what you do this day!”

The door closed, and Gabrielle and her mother were left alone.

Gently and lovingly Gabrielle raised her from the ground, led her to her seat, and tried to calm and soothe her—though she wept herself the while—with cheerful, tender words.

“Mother, are you not glad to have me with you—your own little Gabrielle? You said it would make you happy, and yet see how you are weeping. Hush! mother dear, hush! I will be always with you now, to nurse you, and take care of you, and comfort you, and you will get strong and well soon; and some day, mother, some day perhaps their hearts will soften, and they will forgive us both, and take us home to them, and we will all live again together, loving one another.” And Gabrielle tried to smile through the tears that were falling still.

“My child, I am weak and selfish,” the mother said. “I should have told you to go back to your home, and to leave me, but I could not do it. Yet even now my heart is reproaching me for what I have done. How are we to live? My Gabrielle, you do not know how I have struggled and labored, sometimes, only for a crust of bread.”

“Mother, you shall labor no more. My sisters are very just: all that is mine they will give me. We will live on very little; we will find out some quiet little village, where no one will know who we are, or where we came from, and there we will rest together. I will never leave you more—never more until death parts us.”

She hung upon her mother’s neck, kissing the pale brow and sunken cheek, and wiping away the tears that were yet falling: though more slowly and more calmly falling now.



“. . Of whom may we seek for succor, but of Thee, O Lord, who for our sins are justly displeased? . .

“. . earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life. . .”

“I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write. From henceforth blessed are the dead, which die in the Lord; even so saith the Spirit, for they do rest from their labors.”

It was a burial in a village church-yard, and standing by an open grave there was one mourner only, a woman—Bertha Vaux. Alone, in sadness and silence, with few tears—for she was little used to weep—she stood and looked upon her sister’s funeral; stood and saw the coffin lowered, and heard the first handful of earth fall rattling on the coffin lid; then turned away, slowly, to seek her solitary house. The few spectators thought her cold and heartless; perhaps if they could have raised that black veil, they would have seen such sorrow in her face as might have moved the hearts of most of them.

The sun shone warmly over hill and vale that summer’s day, but Bertha Vaux shivered as she stepped within the shadow of her lonely house. It was so cold there; so cold and damp and dark, as if the shadow of that death that had entered it was still lingering around. The stunted evergreens, on which, since they first grew, no sunlight had ever fallen, no single ray of golden light to brighten their dark, sad leaves for years, looked gloomier, darker, sadder, than they had ever looked before; the very house, with its closed shutters—all closed, except one in the room where the dead had lain—seemed mourning for the stern mistress it had lost. A lonely woman now, lonely and sad, was Bertha Vaux.

She sat in the summer evening in her silent, cheerless room. It was so very still, not even a breath of wind to stir the trees; no voice of living thing to break upon her solitude; no sound even of a single footstep on the dusty road; but in the solitude that was around her, countless thoughts seemed springing into life; things long forgotten; feelings long smothered; hopes once bright—bright as the opening of her life had been, that had faded and been buried long ago.

She thought of the time when she and her sister, fifteen years ago, had come first to the lonely house where now she was; of a few years later—two or three—when another younger sister had joined them there; and it seemed to Bertha, looking back, as if the house had sometimes then been filled with sunlight. The dark room in which she sat had once been lightened up—was it with the light from Gabrielle’s bright eyes? In these long, sad fifteen years, that little time stood out so clearly, so hopefully; it brought the tears to Bertha’s eyes, thinking of it in her solitude. And how had it ended? For ten years nearly, now—for ten long years—the name of Gabrielle had never been spoken in that house. The light was gone—extinguished in a moment, suddenly; a darkness deeper than before had ever since fallen on the lonely house.

The thought of the years that had passed since then—of their eventlessness and weary sorrow; and then the thought of the last scene of all—that scene which still was like a living presence to her—her sister’s death.

Joanna Vaux had been cold, stern, and unforgiving to the last; meeting death, unmoved; repenting of no hard thing that she had done throughout her sad, stern life; entering the valley of the shadow of death fearlessly. But that cold death-bed struck upon the heart of the solitary woman who watched beside it, and wakened thoughts and doubts there, which would not rest. She wept now as she thought of it, sadly and quietly, and some murmured words burst from her lips, which sounded like a prayer—not for herself only.

Then from her sister’s death-bed she went far, far back—to her own childhood—and a scene rose up before her; one that she had closed her eyes on many a time before, thinking vainly that so she could crush it from her heart, but now she did not try to force it back. The dark room where she sat, the gloomy, sunless house, seemed fading from her sight; the long, long years, with their weary train of shame and suffering—all were forgotten. She was in her old, lost home again—the home where she was born; she saw a sunny lawn, embowered with trees, each tree familiar to her and remembered well, and she herself, a happy child, was standing there; and by her side—with soft arms twining round her, with tender voice, and gentle, loving eyes, and bright hair glittering in the sunlight—there was one!

Oh, Bertha! hide thy face and weep. She was so lovely and so loving, so good and true, so patient and so tender, then. “Oh! how could’st thou forget it all, and steel thy heart against her, and vow the cruel vow never to forgive her sin? Thy mother—thy own mother, Bertha! think of it.”

A shadow fell across the window beside which she sat, and through her blinding tears Bertha looked up, and saw a woman standing there, holding by the hand a little child. Her face was very pale and worn, with sunken eyes and cheeks; her dress was mean and poor. She looked haggard and weary, and weak and ill; but Bertha knew that it was Gabrielle come back. She could not speak, for such a sudden rush of joy came to her softened heart that all words seemed swallowed up in it; such deep thankfulness for the forgiveness that seemed given her, that her first thought was not a welcome, but a prayer.

Gabrielle stood without, looking at her with her sad eyes.

“We are alone,” she said, “and very poor; will you take us in?”

Sobbing with pity and with joy, Bertha rose from her seat and hurried to the door. Trembling, she drew the wanderers in; then falling on her sister’s neck, her whole heart melted, and she cried, with gushing tears,

“Gabrielle, dear sister Gabrielle, I, too, am all alone!”

The tale that Gabrielle had to tell was full enough of sadness. They had lived together, she and her mother, for about a year, very peacefully, almost happily; and then the mother died, and Gabrielle soon after married one who had little to give her but his love. And after that the years passed on with many cares and griefs—for they were very poor, and he not strong—but with a great love ever between them, which softened the pain of all they had to bear. At last, after being long ill, he died, and poor Gabrielle and her child were left to struggle on alone.

“I think I should have died,” she said, as weeping, she told her story to her sister, “if it had not been for my boy; and I could so well have borne to die; but, Bertha, I could not leave him to starve! It pierced my heart with a pang so bitter that I cannot speak of it, to see his little face grow daily paler; his little feeble form become daily feebler and thinner; to watch the sad, unchildlike look fixing itself hourly deeper in his sweet eyes—so mournful, so uncomplaining, so full of misery. The sight killed me day by day; and then at last, in my despair, I said to myself that I would come again to you. I thought, sister—I hoped—that you would take my darling home, and then I could have gone away and died. But God bless you!—God bless you for the greater thing that you have done, my kind sister Bertha. Yes—kiss me, sister dear: it is so sweet. I never thought to feel a sister’s kiss again.”

Then kneeling down by Gabrielle’s side, with a low voice Bertha said:

“I have thought of many things to-day. Before you came, Gabrielle, my heart was very full; for in the still evening, as I sat alone, the memories of many years came back to me as they have not done for very long. I thought of my two sisters: how the one had ever been so good and loving and true-hearted; the other—though she was just, or believed herself to be so—so hard, and stern, and harsh—as, God forgive me, Gabrielle, I too have been. I thought of this, and understood it clearly, as I had never done before: and then my thoughts went back, and rested on my mother—on our old home—on all the things that I had loved so well, long ago, and that for years had been crushed down in my heart and smothered there. Oh, Gabrielle, such things rushed back upon me; such thoughts of her whom we have scorned so many years; such dreams of happy by-gone days; such passionate regrets; such hope, awakening from its long, long sleep—no, sister, let me weep—do not wipe the tears away: let me tell you of my penitence and grief—it does me good; my heart is so full—so full that I must speak now, or it would burst!”

“Then you shall speak to me, and tell me all, dear sister. Ah! we have both suffered—we will weep together. Lie down beside me; see, there is room here for both. Yes; lay your head upon me; rest it on my shoulder. Give me your hand now—ah! how thin it is—almost as thin as mine. Poor sister Bertha; poor, kind sister!”

So gently Gabrielle soothed her, forgetting her own grief and weariness in Bertha’s more bitter suffering and remorse. It was very beautiful to see how tenderly and patiently she did it, and how her gentle words calmed down the other’s passionate sorrow. So different from one another their grief was. Gabrielle’s was a slow, weary pain, which, day by day, had gradually withered her, eating its way into her heart; then resting there, fixing itself there for ever. Bertha’s was like the quick, sudden piercing of a knife—a violent sorrow, that did its work in hours instead of years, convulsing body and soul for a little while, purifying them as with a sharp fire, then passing away and leaving no aching pain behind, but a new cleansed spirit.

In the long summer twilight—the beautiful summer twilight that never sinks into perfect night—these two women lay side by side together; she that was oldest in suffering still comforting the other, until Bertha’s tears were dried, and exhausted with the grief that was so new to her, she lay silent in Gabrielle’s arms—both silent, looking into the summer night, and thinking of the days that were forever past. And sleeping at their feet lay Gabrielle’s child, not forgotten by her watchful love, though the night had deepened so that she could not see him where he lay.



“We will not stay here, sister,” Bertha had said. “This gloomy house will always make us sad. It is so dark and cold here, and Willie, more than any of us, needs the sunlight to strengthen and cheer him, poor boy.”

“And I, too, shall be glad to leave it,” Gabrielle answered.

So they went. They did not leave the village; it was a pretty, quiet place, and was full of old recollections to them—more bitter than sweet, perhaps, most of them—but still such as it would have been pain to separate themselves from entirely, as, indeed, it is always sad to part from things and places which years, either of joy or sorrow, have made us used to. So they did not leave it, but chose a little cottage, a mile or so from their former house—a pleasant little cottage in a dell, looking to the south, with honeysuckle and ivy twining together over it, up to the thatched roof. A cheerful little nook it was, not over bright or gay, but shaded with large trees all round it, through whose green branches the sunlight came, softened and mellowed, into the quiet rooms. An old garden, too, there was, closed in all round with elm trees—a peaceful, quiet place, where one would love to wander, or to lie for hours upon the grass, looking through the green leaves upward to the calm blue sky.

To Gabrielle, wearied with her sorrow, this place was like an oasis in the desert. It was so new a thing to her to find rest anywhere: to find one little spot where she could lay her down, feeling no care for the morrow. Like one exhausted with long watching, she seemed now for a time to fall asleep.

The summer faded into autumn; the autumn into winter. A long, cold winter it was, the snow lying for weeks together on the frozen ground; the bitter, withering east wind moaning day and night through the great branches of the bare old elms, swaying them to and fro, and strewing the snowy earth with broken boughs; a cold and bitter winter, withering not only trees and shrubs, but sapping out the life from human hearts.

He was a little, delicate boy, that child of Gabrielle’s. To look at him, it seemed a wonder how he ever could have lived through all their poverty and daily struggles to get bread; how that little feeble body had not sunk into its grave long ago. In the bright summer’s days a ray of sunlight had seemed to pierce to the little frozen heart, and warming the chilled blood once more, had sent it flowing through his veins, tinging the pale cheek with rose; but the rose faded as the summer passed away, and the little marble face was pale as ever when the winter snow began to fall; the large, dark eyes, which had reflected the sunbeams for a few short months, were heavy and dim again. And then presently there came another change. A spot of crimson—a deep red rose—not pale and delicate like the last, glowed often on each hollow cheek; a brilliant light burned in the feverish, restless eye; a hollow, painful cough shook the little emaciated frame. So thin he was, so feeble, so soon wearied. Day by day the small, thin hand grew thinner and more transparent; the gentle voice and childish laugh lower and feebler; the sweet smile sweeter, and fainter, and sadder.

And Gabrielle saw it all, and bowing to the earth in bitter mourning, prepared herself for this last great sorrow.

The spring came slowly on—slowly, very slowly. The green leaves opened themselves, struggling in their birth with the cold wind. It was very clear and bright; the sun shone all day long; but for many weeks there had been no rain, and the ground was quite parched up.

“No, Willie, dear,” Gabrielle said, “you mustn’t go out to-day. It is too cold for you yet, dear boy.”

“But, indeed, it isn’t cold, mother. Feel here, where the sun is falling, how warm it is; put your hand upon it. Oh, mother, let me go out,” poor Willie said, imploringly. “I am so weary of the hours. I wont try to run about, only let me go and lie in the sunlight!”

“Not to-day, my darling, wait another day; perhaps the warm winds will come. Willie, dear child, it would make you ill, you must not go.”

“You say so every day, mother,” Willie said sadly, “and my head is aching so with staying in the house.”

And at last, he praying so much for it, one day they took him out. It was a very sunny day, with scarcely a cloud in the bright, blue sky; and Bertha and Gabrielle made a couch for him in a warm, sheltered corner, and laid him on it. Poor child, he was so glad to feel himself in the open air again. It made him so happy, that he laughed and talked as he had not done for months before; lying with his mother’s hand in his, supported in her arms, she kneeling so lovingly beside him, listening with a strange, passionate mingling of joy and misery to the feeble but merry little voice that, scarcely ever ceasing, talked to her.

Poor Gabrielle, it seemed to her such a fearful mockery of the happiness that she knew could never be hers any more for ever; but, forcing back her grief upon her own sad heart, she laughed and talked gayly with him, showing by no sign how sorrowful she was.

“Mother, mother!” he cried, suddenly clapping his little, wasted hands, “I see a violet—a pure white violet, in the dark leaves there. Oh, fetch it to me! It’s the first spring flower. The very first violet of all! Oh, mother, dear, I love them—the little sweet-smelling flowers.”

“Your eyes are quicker than mine, Willie; I shouldn’t have seen it, it is such a little thing. There it is, dear boy. I wish there were more for you.”

“Ah, they will soon come now. I am so glad I have seen the first. Mother, do you remember how I used to gather them at home, and bring them to papa when he was ill? He liked them, too—just as I do now.”

“I remember it well, dear,” Gabrielle answered softly.

“How long ago that time seems now,” Willie said; then, after a moment’s peace, he asked a little sadly, “Mother, what makes me so different now from what I used to be? I was so strong and well once, and could run about the whole day long; mother, dear, when shall I run about again?”

“You are very weak, dear child, just now. We mustn’t talk of running about for a little time to come.”

“No, not for a little time; but when do you think, mother?” The little voice trembled suddenly: “I feel sometimes so weak—so weak, as if I never could get strong again.”

Hush, Gabrielle! Press back that bitter sob into thy sorrowful heart, lest the dying child hear it!

“Do not fear, my darling, do not fear. You will be quite well, very soon now.”

He looked into her tearful eye, as she tried to smile on him, with a strange, unchildlike look, as if he partly guessed the meaning in her words, but did not answer her, nor could she speak again, just then.

“Mother, sing to me,” he said, “sing one of the old songs I used to love. I haven’t heard you sing for—oh so long!”

Pressing her hand upon her bosom, to still her heart’s unquiet beating, Gabrielle tried to sing one of the old childish songs with which, in days long past, she had been wont to nurse her child asleep. The long silent voice—silent here so many years—awoke again, ringing through the still air with all its former sweetness. Though fainter than it was of old, Bertha heard it, moving through the house; and came to the open window to stand there and listen, smiling to herself to think that Gabrielle could sing again, and half weeping at some other thoughts which the long unheard voice recalled to her.

“Oh, mother, I like that,” Willie murmured softly, as the song died away, “it’s like long ago to hear you sing.”

They looked into one another’s eyes, both filling fast with tears; then Willie, with childish sympathy, though knowing little why she grieved, laid his arm round her neck, trying with his feeble strength to draw her toward him. She bent forward to kiss him; then hid her face upon his neck that he might not see how bitterly she wept, and he, stroking her soft hair with his little hand, murmured the while some gentle words that only made her tears flow faster. So they lay, she growing calmer presently, for a long while.

“Now, darling, you have staid here long enough,” Gabrielle said at last, “you must let me carry you into the house again.”

“Must I go so soon mother? See how bright the sun is still.”

“But see, too, how long and deep the shadows are getting, Willie. No, my dear one, you must come in now.”

“Mother dear, I am so happy to-day—so happy, and so much better than I have been for a long time, and I know it is only because you have let me come out here, and lie in the sunlight. You will let me come again—every day, dear mother?”

How could she refuse the pleading voice its last request? How could she look upon the little shrunken figure, upon the little face, with its beseeching, gentle eyes, and deny him what he asked—that she might keep him to herself a few short days longer?

“You shall come, my darling, if it makes you so happy,” she said, very softly: then she took him in her arms, and bore him to the house, kissing him with a wild passion that she could not hide.

And so for two or three weeks, in the bright, sunny morning, Willie was always laid on his couch in the sheltered corner near the elm trees; but though he was very happy lying there, and would often talk gayly of the time when he should be well again, he never got strong any more.

Day by day Gabrielle watched him, knowing that the end was coming very near; but, with her strong mother’s love, hiding her sorrow from him. She never told him that he was dying; but sometimes they spoke together of death, and often—for he liked to hear her—she would sing sweet hymns to him, that told of the heaven he was so soon going to.

For two or three weeks it went on thus, and then the last day came. He had been suffering very much with the terrible cough, each paroxysm of which shook the wasted frame with a pain that pierced to Gabrielle’s heart: and all day he had had no rest. It was a day in May—a soft, warm day. But the couch beneath the trees was empty. He was too weak even to be carried there, but lay restlessly turning on his little bed, through the long hours, showing by his burning cheek, and bright but heavy eye, how ill and full of pain he was. And by his side, as ever, Gabrielle knelt, soothing him with tender words; bathing the little hands, and moistening the lips; bending over him and gazing on him with all her passionate love beaming in her tearful eyes. But she was wonderfully calm—watching like a gentle angel over him.

Through the long day, and far into the night, and still no rest or ease. Gabrielle never moved from beside him: she could feel no fatigue; her sorrow seemed to bear her up with a strange strength. At last, he was so weak that he could not raise his head from the pillow.

He lay very still, with his mother’s hand in his; the flush gradually passing away from his cheek, until it became quite pale, like marble, the weary eye half closed.

“You are not suffering much, my child?”

“Oh! no, mother, not now. I am so much better!”

So much better! How deep the words went down into her heart.

“I am so sleepy,” said the little plaintive voice again. “If I go to sleep, wouldn’t you sleep, too? You must be so tired, mother.”

“See, my darling, I will lay down here by you; let me raise your head a moment—there—lay it upon me. Can you sleep so?”

“Ah! yes, mother; that is very good.”

He was closing his eyes, when a strong impulse that Gabrielle could not resist, made her rouse him for a moment, for she knew that he was dying.

“Willie, before you sleep, have you strength to say your evening prayer?”

“Yes, mother.”

Meekly folding the little thin white hands, be offered up his simple thanksgiving, then said, “Our Father.” The little voice toward the end was very faint and weak; and as he finished, his head, which he had feebly tried to bend forward, fell back more heavily on Gabrielle’s bosom.

“Good night, mother dear. Go to sleep.”

“Good night, my darling. God bless you, Willie, my child!”

And then they never spoke to one another any more. One sweet look upward to his mother’s face, and the gentle eyes closed for ever.

As he fell asleep, through the parted curtains, the morning light stole faintly in. Another day was breaking; but before the sun rose, Gabrielle’s child was dead. Softly in his sleep the spirit had passed away. When Bertha came in, after the few hours’ rest that she had snatched, she found the chamber all quiet, and Gabrielle still holding—folded in her arms—the lifeless form that had been so very dear to her.

There was no violent grief in her. His death had been so peaceful and holy, that at first she did not even shed tears. Quite calmly she knelt down by his side when they had laid him in his white dress on the bed, and kissed his pate brow and lips, looking almost reproachfully on Bertha, as—standing by her side—she sobbed aloud; quite calmly, too, she let them lead her from the room, and as they bade her, she lay down upon her bed, and closed her eyes as if to sleep. And then in her solitude, in the darkened room, she wept quite silently, stretching out her arms, and crying for her child.

For many years two gentle, quiet women lived alone in the little cottage in the dell, moving amongst the dwellers in that country village like two ministering angels; nursing the sick, comforting the sorrowful, helping the needy, soothing many a deathbed with their gentle, holy words; spreading peace around them wheresoever their footsteps went. And often in the summer evenings, one of them—the youngest and most beautiful—would wend her quiet way to the old church-yard, and there, in a green, sunny spot, would calmly sit and work for hours, while the lime-trees waved their leaves above her, and the sunlight shining through them, danced and sparkled on a little grave.





      Ginevra! Ginevra!

    Thy girlish lip is mute;

  And silent, in ancestral hall,

    Hangs now thy gilded lute;

  With trophies from the Holy Land

    Hath come thine own true Knight,

  To wildly wish the desert sand

    Had drank his blood in fight.


      Ginevra! Ginevra!

    By palmer wert thou told,

  That on the plains of Palestine

    My corse was lying cold;

  And credence giving to the tale,

    Went up wild prayer to die,

  While suddenly thy cheek grew pale,

    And lustreless thine eye.


      Ginevra! Ginevra!

    No more thy lulling voice,

  When twilight paints the sky, will trill

    The ballad of my choice;

  Thy parting gift, my buried bride,

    Will nerve this arm no more,

  When speeds my barb with fetlock dyed

    In Saracenic gore.


      Ginevra! Ginevra!

    Death holds in icy thrall

  Thy loveliness of form and face,

    In his unlighted hall;

  With laurels from the Holy Land

    Hath come thine own true Knight,

  To wildly wish the desert sand

    Had drank his blood in fight.





  Joy murmurs in the ocean,

    And laughs on shore outright;

  The world’s in glorious motion—

    Save mine, all hearts are light.


  To tread in sunlight places,

    With heart so strange the while—

  To gaze in gladsome faces,

    When all but you can smile—


  To live while Hope’s high heaven

    To others lends a ray,

  To you no gleam is given—

    Is this not grief, O say?





One winter evening it so happened that I was alone at home. A slight indisposition had kept me for two or three days within doors, and, though I was now well, it was thought advisable for me to remain quiet this night, and not go to any of the parties that carried off the rest of the family. And I was quite satisfied—then I used most to enjoy myself, when all alone at home; and with much good humor and many good wishes I said adieu to father and mother, sister and brothers, as some went to the opera, and some to a ball, and some to a concert. Then, though we were generally a very quiet household, with a drop or two of gloominess coming from . . . . . no matter what—we had just obtained a brighter place than usual: my eldest sister having become engaged to an excellent young man, and my youngest brother being just returned from college with very flattering testimonials, and full of hope and joyfulness, and love of his youngest sister, who also was equally in love with her brother. For myself, I was at that interesting period in a woman’s life where she, young still, but not in her first youth, feels disposed to settle down in some way, and is not without offers or opportunities, but still does not feel bound to sacrifice her freedom to any thing below her heart’s choice.

Well, they—my kith and kin—all went out, and I was left alone. I felt quite pleased with it. Putting out the lights, except one in each of the chandeliers in the two drawing-rooms, I began to walk slowly up and down the soft carpets, enjoying the solitude, and the pleasant light shedding itself from above over the rooms and their furniture. It was a romantic clair obscur, soft, and a little melancholy—and this evening I felt very romantic. A slight, not unpleasant, weakness remained after the past illness; but I was perfectly well, and with every moment a fresh gush of health and delicious life seemed to swell my heart and pervade my whole being: a certain soft emotion kept rising within me. On the whole, I felt not quite so happy at being alone the whole evening. I wished somebody would come and partake of my solitude; it was too full for me. My heart bounded with sympathy toward my fellow creatures; with good will to love, and to be loved; to interchange endearing words and good offices. I wanted only to give; I wanted only somebody good enough to receive; I felt my heart overflowing with good will for all the world and all the people in it. I left the door to the vestibule unlocked, in hope—not as in the extravagant fancies of my childhood—in hope that robbers and burglars would come in and give me an opportunity to develop some wonderful acts of courage or présence d’ésprit;—no, I did not wish for robbers to come, but I did wish for somebody; and I had a strong presentiment that somebody would come, that I should not remain alone the whole evening. I felt sure that I should have a visit—a visit that could not but become of importance either to me or to somebody else. Then, any body that would come in this evening must feel my influence—must experience something uncommon from the very volume of life that rolled in my veins, and that I would roll on him or her. A thousand feelings—a thousand thoughts—were in my heart and mind. But I walked silently to and fro in the rooms, now and then looking curiously down the street. Our house was a corner house: at the corner of the house opposite hung a street-lamp, not very bright nor brilliant, but still shedding a light, clear enough on the spot under it, and on the objects nearest around. Right under the lamp hung, and swung in the evening wind, a huge, red wooden glove (a glove-maker’s sign) with the forefinger (a very long forefinger) pointing right down. The snow fell in large flakes round the lamp and the red glove on the frozen white ground. Now and then came persons—mostly men—wrapped up in their cloaks, passing right under the lamp and the red glove, and were, as they passed, lighted up by the former. I thought I recognized friends or acquaintances in some of them, and often it would seem as if they steered their way directly toward my house, but then again they were wrapped up in the darkness, and the great red glove swung, and the lamp shed its light, and the snow fell fast over the solitary spot—and again I paced the carpets of the drawing-rooms. No matter: it was yet good time for visiting, it was early yet, and a visit I should certainly have that night; and many a face passed in the camera obscura of my mind—many a vision of my expected visitor. First, I saw one that had been very kind to me, but that I had been less kind to; one of these that we esteem, but can neither like nor love; but now, this night, if that person would come, I should be so kind, so—it would not be my fault if that person did not feel amiable and loveable. And then there was somebody who had wronged me, and made me suffer. Oh! that she might come, that I might do her good instead—that I might make her rich and happy; it would give me the greatest pleasure. And then there was a man that was more to me than I to him—that I liked; a brilliant, interesting man, that did not like me, but who was interested by me, liked to talk with me, and was a friend of mine. Oh! if he should come; he would love me, perhaps fall in love with me that evening! There was in me so much of that fire which makes every thing light up and radiate. Was he quite fire-proof? Well, still his spirit would light up by the light of mine; I knew it, and we would have such a talk about stars and showers of stars; about Copernicus, and Taylor, and Newton; and about electricity, and alchemy, and Berzelius: we would have such a great intellectual treat and conversation! And then there was another man, that liked me well, and would offer me heart and hand, if I would like him. Like him I could not; but feel very kindly, respectfully, almost tenderly for him, that I could—I did; and then he was a very good and very stately gentleman, and of a rank and fortune that well could flatter a little worldly vanity, and I had my share. Ah! if he should come this evening, and ask the question, I fear that I should not find heart to ask delay to consider, and so forth; I fear I should say “Yes,” at once, and fix my destiny before I was sure it was well. My heart was too warm to be wise. I almost feared that he would come and ask me. But then there was an elderly married man, and a genius, that I loved as young women love elderly gentlemen who are geniuses, and are kind to them—adoringly, passionately. Oh! that he might come. No danger of his asking dangerous questions; no danger of becoming engaged to him, and fixing one’s destiny before the heart was right fixed. If he should but come—what a delight to indulge looking at him—to give vent to the flow of thoughts and feelings with such a mind—to be inspired, and foolish, and nonsensical, in a sublime sense, as well he could be—to hear the effusions of that great heart, great as the world. He never had quite understood me; I never had been quite myself with him; this evening I should be so, he should know my heart. May-be he would ask me to do something for him—to give my purse, every shilling I possessed, to some poor persons—what a delight! And how I should treat him with tea, and wine, and cake, just as Hebe did Jupiter; and how he should enjoy it. Dear me, what an Olympian treat it would be! And then I saw a lady, whose very shadow on the wall I loved. Oh! that if she would but come, my dear, my bosom friend! What a delightful time we should have together, with tea and chat, and the outpourings of the heart. I would tell her every thing: she would counsel me wisely, as she was wont to do. Dear soul, how I loved her; tears filled my eyes in thinking of her, and that she would come—to be sure she was a hundred miles away, on her estate; but, no matter, it could very well happen that she should come. She liked to surprise people, and come unawares upon them, like the Emperor Nicholas. Very likely she would come this evening. My heart asked for it, and then I looked out of the window; the street-lamp flamed and flickered red; the great red glove swung to and fro, with the long forefinger pointing right out; the snow fell fast. I heard sleigh-bells ringing—a carriage was coming—may-be my friend in it. There it comes, right up against the house—my house. The light of the lamp glances over it—how snow-covered! Oh! I will kiss off the snow from her clothes—I will make her so comfortable and happy!

Away flew the carriage, with the lady and the snow-cloak, and the merry jingling bells. But there, now, the great red glove stands still, and the long forefinger points right down on a man wrapped up in a big cloak! I am sure it is the genius, and he is coming to pay me a visit. Dear great man! he comes right up to the house—yes, no—he comes not he turns to the left hand, it could not be he, he would not have passed me so! There, again the glove stands still, the finger points, and a slender figure passes under it—how like my friend the naturalist!—and he is coming right here—no, he is not—he turns to the right hand. And the light flickers, and the snow falls, and the glove swings over the now solitary spot—and I am still alone, and walk up and down the soft carpets in the romantic twilight.

After all, how gaudily life wears away! why should we not make the best of it? why not take the love and kindness that are offered, and make happy those that we can make happy? Why should we think so much of ourselves alone, and be so afraid of not being so happy as happy can be? we must think also of others, and be content for ourselves with a moderate share of happiness.

Well! if the friend so kind and noble-hearted, whose heart I can claim, now claims my hand, this evening he shall have it, I believe. I will make him happy, and his whole house comfortable, and everybody about him! I must have something to do, to love, to live for. Well!—if he comes! . . . And then I looked out of the window. There now, this time the forefinger of the red hand points most decidedly down on a tall, stately figure—and he is coming—yes, he is certainly coming—coming right to this house; he enters the door. It must be he! how I felt my heart beat! I almost wished it was not he. And to be sure, if it were he who entered the house, he never came up the steps, nor opened the unlocked door of my house and heart—no, not this time; and the half-dreaded, half-wished-for question was not asked now.

The next time that I looked out of the window the lamp was obscured by a lowering mist, and the great red hand was swinging—and black figures were seen passing under it, as through a black veil—my heart began to feel a little low and sad. But—it was not too late yet for a visit; some of our friends used to come very late; somebody would yet come.

Next time I looked again for my visitor, the mist had fully come down, and I could not see a bit more of the lamp, nor the red glove, nor of the mystical figures passing under it. But as I happened to look upward I saw that the sky had cleared, and that the stars shone bright and brilliant; the City of God stood all in light over the earthly city, obscured by mist and darkness. I was struck by the sight of a constellation that I had not seen before; and the truth was, that taken up by earthly objects since a time, I had forgotten to follow up the study of the firmament that I had begun, with the help of my friend the naturalist. Now I took my map and globe, and began to study: I put out the light in the great drawing-room, so as to leave the starlight alone, and made there my observatory. That side of the room looking toward a square was a fine space of sky to range over; and I began to range among the stars. After a while, I ascertained the names of several of the constellations new to me, and the names of their brightest stars; I made the acquaintance of several greater and smaller notabilities of the higher sphere, and read about them what wise men have thought and said. Then would come of themselves enlarging thoughts about the connexion of our planet and its human beings, and those shining worlds where lights and shadows, and weight and measure, are the same as here, and who, consequently, are related to us in soul and matter, in weal and wo, and who tell us of it in lovely shining stars. All this gave me great pleasure.

The servant came with the tea-tray; I was sitting alone, but had forgotten it. I enjoyed my tea and sandwiches, but only to return fresh to my study; and continued visiting among the stars, and making friends with them, till I felt bodily weary. I looked at the watch—it was near midnight; I sat down on the sofa in the small drawing-room: the light shone calmly and romantically as before; and I was as before—alone. Yet there was a pleasant calm—a feeling of plenitude and elevation in my soul—my heart was at rest. What was it that made me feel so well, though I had been disappointed in my visit? Left alone, I had not felt lonely nor at loss: I had studied the works of the Great Father; I had learned and adored, and so forgotten time, solitude, myself, earth and earthly wishes, and my expected visit. Oh! was it not clear that I had had a visit after all—a visit, not from mortal friends, but from immortal? They had whispered to me—“Hereafter thou shalt never feel lonely when alone; then we will come to thee.” And I was glad and thankful!

It will no doubt add to the interest with which this paper may be read, to know that it was written in English by Miss Bremer, and that it has not been necessary to alter a dozen words.—Ed.





 “And looking round, he sat down and wept,

because he saw no other worlds to conquer!”


  Alone! alone with night and Heaven,

    The mighty Macedonian stood;

  The searching stars looked down on him,

  To whom their glorious light seemed dim,

  To whom such boundless thoughts seemed given

    By old Hyphasis’ flood!


  Boundless yet on those haughty features

    There dwelt a mournfulness profound;

  And the shadow of a painful thought

  Upon that kingly brow was wrought,

  He who subdued earth’s countless creatures—

    He—the world-conqueror crowned!


  Yes! there, beside the silent river,

    On which the moonbeams sweetly slept—

  By which the green and graceful palm,

  Rose ever stately still and calm—

  There did the monarch’s heart-strings quiver—

    For lo! the victor wept!


  Yea, wept, though all the nations rendered

    Meek homage to his sovereign will;

  His soldier-bands their king adored—

  And all victorious with his sword,

  ’Mid trophies, crowns, and laurels splendid—

    Mark what was wanting still!


  “I see no other worlds!—and Heaven

    Bends o’er me with prophetic eye;

  Alas! my wild and wildering glance

  Can never pierce that starred expanse,

  Yon radiant sphere may not be given,

    My aims to gratify!


  Hath not this oft-told tale a moral,

    Impressive of the vanity

  To which all human hopes must tend—

  To where ambitious flights must end!—

  For still Earth’s proudest crown and laurel,

    Mock poor mortality!”


  Gather ripe fruit, oh death! exclaims the gifted,

    Full of fresh blossoms for the ripening hour;

  Adown whose sky the clouds afar have drifted—

    Whose golden hopes are gilding bud and flower;

  Who, through the vista long, of years advancing,

    Sees fame and honors round his pathway spread,

  And views green laurels in the distance glancing,

    All wreathed in beauty for his waiting head.


  Gather ripe fruit, oh death! the young bride crieth,

    Whilst blushing joys her trembling bosom thrill,

  And each enchanted hour so noiseless flieth,

    That no distracting fears her bright hopes fill.

  The future, all in rainbow-tints is glowing,

    Painted with hues from Love’s own gorgeous dyes;

  And life seems but a river, softly flowing

    ’Mid fragrant banks, ’neath bland and sunny skies.


  Gather ripe fruit, oh death! is ever ringing

    From anxious lips, with deep and earnest tone;

  Some joy, some hope, is ever fondly springing,

    Which clinging fancy deemeth theirs alone.

  All, youth and age alike, the reaper spurneth,

    The young in triumph point to those before;

  And age, from the grim spectre trembling turneth,

    And bids him glean from fields all ripened o’er!






“And what will you do with yours, Willy?”

“I dun know,” replied the heavy-looking urchin, while he turned the half-pence over and over in his hand; “two ha p’nees; it’s not much.” Ned pirouetted on one broad, bare foot, and tossed a summerset on the pavement, close to the pretty basket-shop at a corner of Covent-Garden Market, while “Willy” pondered over the half-pence. When “Ned” recovered his breath, and had shouldered the door-post for half a minute, he again spoke⁠—

“And that one, just riding away on his fine responsible horse, thought he’d make our fortune this frosty new-year’s morning, with his three-pence betwixt three of us—and his grand condition, that we should meet him on this spot, if living, this day twel’-months, and tell him what we did with the pennies! Hurroo! as if we could remember. I say, Willy, suppose you and I toss up for them—head wins?”

“No, no,” replied the prudent Willy, putting the half-pence into his pocket, and attempting to button the garment; an unsuccessful attempt, inasmuch as there was no button: “No; I’ll not make up my mind jist yet—I’ll may-be let it lie, and show it to him this day twal’-month. He may give more for taking care of un.”

“Easy, easy,” persisted Ned, “let tail win, if you don’t like head.”

“I’ll not have it, no way.”

“But where’s Richard gone?” inquired the careless boy, after varying his exercise by walking on his hands, and kicking his feet in the air.

“I dun know,” replied the other; “it’s most like he’s gone home: that’s where he goes most times: he comes the gentleman over us because of his edication.”

“He has no spirit,” said Ned, contemptuously; “he never spends his money like—like me.”

“He got the ‘lucky penny,’ for all that,” answered Willy, “for I saw the hole in it myself.”

“Look at that, now!” exclaimed Ned; “it’s ever the way with him; see now, if that don’t turn up something before the year’s out. While we sleep under bridges, in tatur-baskets, and ‘darkies,’ he sleeps on a bed; and his mother stiches o’ nights, and days too. He’s as high up as a gentleman, and yet he’s as keen after a job as a cat after a sparra.”

The two boys lounged away, while the third—the only one of the three who had earned his penny, by holding a gentleman’s horse for a moment, while the others looked on—had passed rapidly to a small circulating library near Cranbourne Alley, and laying down his penny on the counter, looked in the bookseller’s face, and said⁠—

“Please, sir, will you lend me the works of Benjamin Franklin—for a penny?”

The bookseller looked at the boy, and then at the penny, and inquired if he were the lad who had carried the parcels about for Thomas Brand, when he was ill.

The boy said he was.

“And would you like to do so now, on your own account?” was the next question. The pale, pinched-up features of the youth crimsoned all over, and his dark, deep-set eyes were illumined as if by magic.

“Be your messenger, sir?—indeed I would.”

“Who could answer for your character?”

“My mother, sir; she knows me best,” he replied with great simplicity.

“But who knows her?” said the bookseller, smiling.

“Not many, sir; but the landlady where we live, and some few others.”

The bookseller inquired what place of worship they attended.

The lad told him, but added, “My mother has not been there lately.”

“Why not?”

The deep flash returned, but the expression of the face told of pain, not pleasure.

“My mother, sir, has not been well—and—the weather is cold—and her clothes are not warm.” He eagerly inquired if he was wanted that day. The bookseller told him to be there at half-past seven the next morning, and that meanwhile he would inquire into his character.

The boy could hardly speak; unshed tears stood in his eyes, and after sundry scrapes and bows, he rushed from the shop.

“Holloa, youngster!” called out the bookseller, “you have not told me your mother’s name or address.” The boy gave both, and again ran off. Again the bookseller shouted, “Holloa!”

“You have forgotten Franklin.”

The lad bowed and scraped twice as much as ever; and muttering something about “joy” and “mother,” placed the book inside his jacket and disappeared.

Richard Dolland’s mother was seated in the smallest of all possible rooms, which looked into a court near the “Seven Dials.” The window was but little above the flags, for the room had been slipped off the narrow entrance; and stowed away into a corner, where there was space for a bedstead, a small table, a chair, and a box; there was a little bookshelf, upon it were three or four old books, an ink-bottle, and some stumpy pens; and the grate only contained wood-ashes.

Mrs. Dolland was plying her needle and thread at the window; but she did not realise that wonderful Daguerreotype of misery which one of our greatest poets drew; for she was not clad in

“Unwomanly rags,”

though the very light-colored cotton-dress—the worn-out and faded blue “comforter” round her throat—the pale and purple hue of her face proclaimed that poverty had been beside her many a dreary winter’s day. The snow was drizzling in little hard bitter knots, not falling in soft gentle flakes, wooing the earth to resignation; and the woman whose slight, almost girlish figure, and fair braided hair gave her an aspect of extreme youth, bent more and more forward to the light, as if she found it difficult to thread her needle; she rubbed her eyes until they became quite red; she rubbed the window-glass with her handkerchief (that was torn), and at last her hands fell into her lap, and large tears coursed each other over her pale cheeks; she pressed her eyes, and tried again; no—she could not pass the line thread into the fine needle.

Oh! what an expression saddened her face into despair. She threw back her head as if appealing to the Almighty; she clasped her thin palms together, and then, raising them slowly, pressed them on her eyes.

A light, quick, bounding step echoed in the little court—the mother knew it well: she arose, as if uncertain what to do—she shuddered—she sat down—took up her work, and when Richard, in passing, tapped against the window, she met the flushed, excited face of her son with her usual calm, quiet smile.

“Here’s a bright new-year’s-day, mother!” he exclaimed.

“Where?” she said, looking drearily out at the falling snow, and dusting it off her son’s coat with her hand.

“Every where, mother!”—he laid the book on the table—“I earned a penny, and I’ve got a place—there!”

“Got a place!” repeated the woman; and then her face flushed—“with whom? how?”

He detailed the particulars. “And I gave the penny, mother dear,” he added, “to read the ‘Works of Benjamin Franklin,’ which will teach me how to grow rich and good; I’ll read the book to you this evening, while you work.”

The flush on her cheek faded to deadly paleness.

“I don’t know what’s the matter with my eyes, Richard—they are so weak.”

“Looking on the snow, mother; mine grow weak when I look on the snow.”

How she caught at the straw!—“I never thought of that, Richard; I dare say it is bad. And what did ye with the penny, dear?”

“I told you, mother; I got the reading of the ‘Works of Benjamin Franklin’ for it, and it’s a book that will do me great good; I read two or three pages here and there of it, at the very shop where I am to be employed, when I was there for Thomas Brand, before he died. It was just luck that took me there to look for it—the book, I mean—and then the gentleman offered me the place; I’m sure I have worn, as Ned Brady says, ‘the legs off my feet,’ tramping after places—and that to offer itself to me—think of that, mother! Poor Tom Brand had four shillings a-week, but he could not make out a bill—I can; Benjamin Franklin (he wrote ‘Poor Richard’s Almanac,’ you know) says, ‘there are no gains without pains;’ and I’m sure poor father took pains enough to teach me, though I have the gains, and he had the——”

The entrance of his future master arrested Richard’s eloquence; he made a few inquiries, found his way into a back kitchen to the landlady, and, being satisfied with what he heard, engaged the lad at four shillings a-week; he looked kindly at the gentle mother, and uncomfortably at the grate; then slid a shilling into Mrs. Dolland’s hand, “in advance.”

“It was not ‘luck,’ Richard,” said she to her son, after the long, gaunt-looking man of books had departed; “it’s all come of God’s goodness!”

There was a fire that evening in the widow’s little room, and a whole candle was lit; and a cup of tea, with the luxuries of milk, sugar, and a little loaf, formed their new-year’s fête; and yet two-pence remained out of the bookseller’s loan!

When their frugal meal was finished, Mrs. Dolland worked on mechanically, and Richard threaded her needle; the boy read aloud to her certain passages which he thought she might like, he wondered she was not more elated at his success; she seemed working unconsciously, and buried in her own thoughts; at last, and not without a feeling of pain, he ceased reading aloud, and forgot all external cares in the deep interest he took in the self-helping volume that rested on his lap.

Suddenly he looked up, aroused by a sort of half-breathed sigh; his mother’s large eyes were fixed upon him—there was something in the look and the expression he thought he had never seen before.

“Richard,” she said, “is there any hope in that book?”

“Hope, mother! why, it is full, full of hope; for a poor lad, it is one great hope from beginning to end. Why, many a copy my father set from Poor Richard’s Almanac, though I don’t think he knew it. Don’t you remember ‘Help hands, for I have no lands,’ and ‘Diligence is the mother of good luck,’ and that grand, long one I wrote in small-hand—‘Since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.’”

“Yes, dear, those were pleasant days; I mind them well; when he went, all went.”

“No, mother,” replied the boy; “and I don’t know what is the matter to-day, you are not a bit like yourself; you used to say that God was always with us, and that hope was a part of God. And it is new-year’s day, and has begun so well; I have got a place—and a nice one; suppose it had been at a butcher’s or green-grocers? we should have been thankful—but among books and such like, with odd minutes for reading, and every penny of four shillings a-week—mother, you need not work so hard now.”

“I can’t, Richard,” she said; and then there was a long pause.

When she spoke again her voice seemed stifled. “I have been turning in my own mind what I could do; what do you think of ballad-singing—and a wee dog to lead me?”

“What is it, mother?” inquired the boy; and he flung himself on his knees beside her. “What sorrow is it?”

She laid her cheek on his head, while she whispered—so terrible did the words seem—“I am growing dark, my child; I shall soon be quite, quite BLIND.” He drew back, pushed the hair off her brow, and gazed into her eyes steadily.

“It is over-work—weakness—illness—it cannot be blindness; it will soon be all right again; they are only a very little dim, mother.” And he kissed her eyes and brow until his lips were moist with her tears.

“If God would but spare me my sight, just to keep on a little longer, and keep me from the parish (though we have good right to its help,) and save me from being a burden—a millstone—about your neck, Richard!”

“Now don’t mother; I will not shed a tear this blessed new-year’s day; I wont believe it is as you say; it’s just the trouble and the cold you have gone through; and the tenderness you were once used to—though I only remember my father a poor school-master, still he took care of you. You know my four shillings a-week will do a great deal; it’s a capital salary,” said the boy, exultingly; “four broad white shillings a-week! you can have some nourishment then.” He paused a moment and opened his eyes. “I suppose I am not to live in the house; if I was, and you had it ALL—Oh, mother, you wouldn’t be so comfortable!”

Presently he took down his father’s Bible, and read a psalm—it was the first Psalm:

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful;

“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law doth he meditate day and night;

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper”⁠—

The boy paused.

“There, mother! is there not hope in that?”

“There is, indeed—and comfort,” answered the widow; “and I am always glad when you read a book containing plenty of hope. The present is often so miserable that it is natural to get away from it, and feel and know there is something different to come; I have often sat with only hope for a comforter when you have been seeking employment; and I have been here without food or fire, or any thing—but hope.”

“And I used to think you so blythe, mother, when I came into the court, and heard you singing.”

“I have often sobbed through a song, Richard, and yet it was comfort, somehow, to sing it. I dare say there is a deal of hope in that new book of yours, but I wish it may be sanctified hope—hope of the right kind. Your poor father used to talk of unsanctified philosophy; but he was too wise, as well as too good for me—you ought to be good and wise, my child—God grant it!”

“To look at it, mother,” said the boy, with an earnestness beyond his years; “I was so full of joy at being employed, that I thought my heart would break, and now—” his young spirit bounded bravely above the trial—“no—not now will I believe what you fear; rest and comfort; you need not embroider at nights now; you can knit, or make nets, but no fine work.”

Strangers, to have heard him talk, would have imagined that his luxuriant imagination was contemplating four pounds instead of four shillings a-week; only those who have wanted, and counted over the necessaries to be procured by peace, can comprehend the wealth of shillings.

These two were alone in the world; the husband and father had died of consumption; he had been an earnest, true, book-loving man, whose enthusiastic and poetic temperament had been branded as “dreamy”—certainly, he was fonder of thinking than of acting; he had knowledge enough to have given him courage, but perhaps the natural delicacy of his constitution rendered his struggles for independence insufficient; latterly, he had been a schoolmaster, but certain religious scruples prevented his advancing with the great education movement beginning to agitate England; and when his health declined, his scholars fell away: but as his mental strength faded, that of his wife seemed to increase. She was nothing more than a simple, loving, enduring, industrious woman, noted in the village of their adoption as possessing a most beautiful voice; and often had the sound of her own minstrelsy, hyming God’s praise, or on week-days welling forth the tenderness or chivalry of an old ballad, been company and consolation to her wearied spirit.

Books and music refine external things; and born and brought up in their atmosphere, Richard, poor, half-starved, half-naked, running hither and thither in search of employment, and cast among really low, vicious, false, intemperate, godless children, was preserved from contagion. It was a singular happiness that his mother never feared for him; one of the many bits of poetry of her nature, was the firm faith she entertained that the son of her husband—whose memory was to her as the protection of a titular saint—could not be tainted by evil example. She knew the boy’s burning thirst for knowledge; she knew his struggles, not for ease, but for labor; she knew his young energy, and wondered at it; she knew the devotional spirit that was in him;—yet in all these things she put no trust: but she felt as though the invisible but present spirit of his father was with him through scenes of sin and misery, and encompassed him as with a halo, so that he might walk, like the prophets of Israel, through a burning fiery furnace unscathed.

These two—mother and son—were alone in their poverty-stricken sphere; and that new-year’s-day had brought to the mother both hope and despair; but though an increasing film came between her and the delicate embroidery she wrought with so much skill and care—though the confession that she was growing “dark,” caused her sharper agony than she had suffered since her husband’s death—still, as the evening drew on, and she put by her work, her spirit lightened under the influence of the fresh and healthful hope which animated her son. She busied herself with sundry contrivances for his making a neat appearance on the following day; she forced him into a jacket which he had out-grown, to see how he looked, and kissed and blessed the bright face which, she thanked God, she could still see. Together they turned out, and over and over again, the contents of their solitary box; and Richard, by no means indifferent to his personal appearance at any time, said, very frankly, that he thought his acquaintances, Ned Brady and William, or Willy “No-go,” as he was familiarly styled, would hardly recognise him on the morrow, if they should chance to meet.

“But if I lend you this silk handkerchief, that was your poor father’s, to tie round your neck, don’t let it puff you up,” said the simple-minded woman, “don’t; and don’t look down upon Ned Brady and William No-go, (what an odd name;) if they are good lads, you might ask them in to tea some night (that is, when we have tea;) they must be good lads, if you know them.”

And then followed a prayer and a blessing, and, much later than usual, after a few happier tears, another prayer, and another blessing, the worn-out eyes, and those so young and fresh, closed in peaceful sleep.

“Neddy, my boy!” stammered Mrs. Brady to her son, as she staggered to her wretched lodging that night, “it’s wonderful luck ye’ had with that penny; the four-pence ye’ won through it at “pitch and toss” has made a woman of me; I am as happy as a queen—as a queen, Neddy.” The unfortunate creature flourished her arm so decidedly that she broke a pane of glass in a shopkeeper’s window, and was secured by a policeman for the offence; poor unfortunate Ned followed his mother, with loud, incoherent lamentations, wishing “bad luck” to every one, but more especially to the police, and the gentleman that brought him into misery by his mean penny;—if it had been a sum he could have done any thing with—but a penny! what could be done with one poor penny, but spend it!

Willy’s penny went into a box with several other coins; his mother lacked the common necessaries of life—still Willy hoarded, and continued to look after his treasure as a magpie watches the silver coin she drops into a hole in a castle wall.

[To be continued.





The song, dear maid, you deign to ask,

  What churlish mortal could refuse;

Then, while I ply my pleasing task,

  Be thou at once my theme and muse.

While to such theme my gift I bring,

Fair muse, inspire me as I sing.


A song you ask—if music flow,

  To make thy gentle heart rejoice;

Ope but thy lips, and soon thou’lt know

  ’Tis but the echo of thy voice.

Such tones, if kindly, still prolong—

I cannot ask a sweeter song.


There’s music beaming from thy brow—

  Within thine eyes a tuneful tongue;

And gazing there, I fancy how

  The morning stars together sung.

Through passion’s waste, when wandering far,

Heaven grant thee for my guiding star.


Ask you for music? Go but forth,

  And air salutes each varied charm;

The wildest tempest from the north,

  Melodious dances o’er thy form.

Would that my tones had winning powers,

Like breezes when they kiss the flowers!


The birds are dumb in dreamy night,

  And silent wait the opening day;

But when he brings his wakening light,

  The morn rejoices in their lay.

From grove and brook sweet music floats,

Responsive to their happy notes.


Thus mute my voice when thou art gone,

  And thus my vigil waits thine eyes;

But when once more I view their dawn,

  My matin song will gladly rise,

E’er may it reach a willing ear,

And welcome prove, when thou art near.





A thought that lay anear a Poet’s heart,

Found utterance into this cloudy world,

And stirred some souls with rapture. This poor bard,

Whose home was where the rugged mountains stoop

Their foreheads o’er small streams that plash their feet,

Sang a sweet note that through a palace stole,

Fluttering a queen’s proud breast until she wept.

For the same God doth deftly tune the strings

Of all men’s souls to one melodious strain,

And Nature runs one silver chord through all,

Which, sadly touched, gives each a tearful thrill.






I wish now to return to the Countess of Montfort, who possessed the courage of a man and the heart of a lion.

Froissart—Chronicles, VOL. I. C. 72.

The age of knight errantry, as we read of it, and in some degree believe, as recited in the Morte d’Arthur, and the other British or Breton romances, had never any real existence more than its heroes, Lancelot du Lac, Tristran le Blanc, or Pellinant or Pellinore, or any of the heroes of “the table round;” the very date of whose alleged existence, centuries before chivalry or feudalism was heard of, precludes the possibility of their identity.

The age of chivalry, however, had a real being; it was in very truth “the body of a time, its form and pressure;” and that was the age of Edward the Third, and the Black Prince of England, of the Captal de Buch and Sire Eustache de Ribeaumont, of Bertrand du Gueselin, and Charles of Luxemburg, the valiant blind king of Bohemia, and those who won or died at Crecy and Poictiers.

That was the age, when knights shaped their conduct to the legends which they read in the old romances, which were to them the code of honor, bravery and virtue.

That was the age when “Dieu, son honneur et sa dame,” was the war-cry and the creed of every noble knight, when noblesse oblige was a proverb not—as now—without a meaning. And of that age I have a legend, reproduced from the old chronicles of old Froissart, so redolent of the truth, the vigor, and the fresh raciness of those old days, when manhood was still held in more esteem than money, and the person of a man something more valuable than his purse, that I think it may be held worthy to arrest attention, even in these days of sordid deference to the sovereign dollar, of stolid indifference to every thing in humanity that is of a truth good or great or noble.

“I wish now to return,” says Froissart, in a fine passage, a portion of which I have chosen as my motto, “to the Countess of Montfort, who possessed the courage of a man and the heart of a lion.”

Previous to this, the veracious chronicler of the antique wars of France and England has related, how by the death of the Duke of Brittany, who left no issue, the ducal coronet of that province, which together with Normandy and Anjou, had always since the Norman conquest maintained relations with the crown of England, was left in dispute between John Count de Montfort, the half-brother of the late duke, who had married the sister of Lewis Earl of Flanders, and a daughter of the late duke’s brother german, who was wedded to Charles, younger son of Guy Count de Blois, by the sister of Philip of Valois, the reigning king of France.

With which of these the absolute right rested, is not a matter of much moment; as it is with the romance of feudalism, not the accuracy of heraldic genealogies, that I am now dealing. Nor, were it important, have I at hand the means of deciding certainly; since the solution of the question depends on facts not clearly presented, as regarding the seniority of the brothers, the precise degrees of consanguinity, and the local laws of the French provinces.

Both parties appear to have relied on alleged declarations, each in his own favor, by the late duke, John of Brittany.

The Bretons it would seem, almost to a man, sided with the Count de Montfort; and this would in these days go very far toward settling the question.

King Philip of France, naturally took part with his niece, the wife of a great feudatory of his crown; Edward the Third of England, as naturally, favored the opposite claimant; expecting doubtless that he should receive the count’s homage as his vassal for Brittany, in case of his recovering his duchy by the aid of British arms.

The Count de Montfort was summoned before the king and peers of France to answer to the charge of having already done homage to the English king, as suzerain of a French province—a charge, by the way, which he absolutely denied—and to prove his title to the duchy before Parliament. To their decision he expressed his willingness to defer, and offered to abide by their judgment, but the same night, suspecting ill faith on the part of his rival and the French king, and fearing treachery, he withdrew secretly into his own duchy, of which he had already gained absolute possession, holding all its strong places with the free consent of the lords, the burgesses, the clergy and the commonalty of the chief towns, and being every where addressed as Duke of Brittany.

After the departure of the count from Paris, the Parliament, almost as a matter of course, decided against him—firstly, par contumace, or as we should now say, by default—secondly, for treason, as having done homage to a foreign liege lord—and thirdly, because the Countess of Blois was the daughter of the next brother of the late duke, while the Count John de Montfort was the youngest of the family.

I may observe here, that it is more than doubtful whether the alleged homage to Edward was at this time rendered; that the fact was positively denied by Montfort himself, and by his other historians; and furthermore, that the descent to the female line is very questionable in any French province or principality, the Salique law, adverse to the succession of females, prevailing in that country.

Be this, however, as it may, the princes and peers of France considering that the dispute between the rival claimants had resolved itself into a question between the rival crowns of France and England, which it virtually had, espoused to a man the party of Charles of Blois.

Thereupon, the dukes of Normandy, of Alençon, of Burgundy, of Bourbon, the Lord Lewis of Spain, the Constable of France, the Count de Blois, and the Viscount de Rohan, with all the princes and barons present, undertook to maintain the rights of Charles; entered Brittany with powerful forces; and, after some sharp fighting, shot the Count of Montfort up in Nantes, where he was shortly after delivered to the enemy, not without suspicion of treachery on the part of Sir Hervè de Léon, his late chief adviser, whom he had blamed severely for retreating too readily into the city, before the troops of Charles de Blois.

John de Montfort hereupon nearly disappears from history; Froissart supposing that he died a prisoner in the tower of the Louvre. But it appears that, after three years’ confinement, he made good his escape to England, and then, not before, did homage to Edward; who aided him with a force under William de Bohun, Earl of Northampton, to recover his duchy, which his sudden death after an unsuccessful attempt on Quimperlè, finally prevented. This is, however, in anticipation of the current of history, and more especially of those events which it is my purpose to illustrate in this sketch; for, from the very moment of his capture, the affairs, both civil and military, of the duchy were administered with the most distinguished energy, ability and success by his wife, sister of Lewis Count of Flanders, a race noble and brave by descent and nature, “the Countess of Montfort, who possessed the courage of a man and the heart of a lion.”

“She was in the city of Rennes,” says her historian, “when she heard of the seizure of her lord; and, notwithstanding the great grief she had at heart, she did all she could to reanimate her friends and soldiers. Showing them a young child, called John, after his father, she said, ‘Oh, gentlemen, do not be cast-down for what we have suffered by the loss of my lord; he was but one man. Look at my little child here, if it please God, he shall be his restorer and shall do you much service. I have plenty of wealth, which I will distribute among you, and will seek out for such a leader as may give you a proper confidence.’ When the countess had, by these means, encouraged her friends and soldiers at Rennes, she visited all the other towns and fortresses, taking her young son John with her. She addressed and encouraged them in the same manner as she had done at Rennes. She strengthened her garrisons both with men and provisions, paid handsomely for every thing, and gave largely wherever she thought it would have a good effect. She then went to Hennebon, near the sea, where she and her son remained all that winter, frequently visiting her garrisons, whom she encouraged and paid liberally.”

Truly a noble woman—a true wife, a true mother, a true princess of her principality—she sought no woman’s rights, but did a woman’s duty—her duty as her absent husband’s representative—her duty as her orphaned son’s protectress—her duty as her unsovereigned people’s sovereign lady. Nobility and circumstance obliged her; and nobly she discharged the obligation.

Much as I contemn women, whom a morbid craving after notoriety and excitement urges to grasp the attire, the arms, the attributes of the other sex; in the same degree do I honor, in the same degree admire and laud, the true-hearted woman, the true heroine, who not forcing or assailing, but obeying the claims of her nature, compels her temper to put on strength instead of softness, steels herself to do what she shrinks from doing, not because she arrogates the power of doing it better than the man could do it, but because she has no man to whom she might confide the doing of it.

The hen fighting the sparrow-hawk careless of self for her defenseless brood, is a spectacle beautiful to behold, filling every heart with genuine sympathy, because her act itself is genuine; is part and parcel of her sex, her circumstances, her maternity; in a word, is the act of the God of nature. The hen gaffed and cropped and fighting mains against the males of her own family in the beastly and bloody cock-pit, is a spectacle that would make the lowest frequenter of such vile arenas shudder with disgust, would wring from his lips an honest cry of shame.

Margaret of Anjou, in Hexham forest awing the bandit into submission by the undaunted royalty of her maternal eye—the Countess of Montfort, reanimating her faint-hearted garrisons, even by donning on steel harness for “her young child John”—Elizabeth of England, a-horse at Tilbury, for her protestantism and her people—Maria Theresa, waving her sabre from the guarded mount to the four quarters of heaven in the maintenance of her kingdom and her cause—Marie Antoinette of France, defying her accusers at the misnamed judgment seat, fearless of her butchers at the guillotine—these are the true types of nature, the true types of their sex, the true heroines, mastering the weakness of their sexual nature, through the might of their maternal nature—these are the hens championing their broods against the falcon.

But of this day of cant and fustian, the man-women, not heroines, called by no duty to the attire or the attributes of men, but panting indelicately for the notoriety, the fierce, passionate excitement of the political, nay! for aught that appears, of the martial arena—these are the hens, if they could but see themselves as they see effeminate, unsexed men, gaffed and cropped and fed to do voluntary battle in the sinks and slaughterhouses of humanity, against the gamecocks of their species.

The Lady Macbeths of a falser period, who fancy that, by proving themselves so much less the woman, they can shine out so much more the man.

“But I wish now to return,” with my old friend Froissart, “to the Countess de Montfort, who possessed the courage of a man, and the heart of a lion,” and I will add—the soul, the instincts and the excellence of a true woman.

During the winter succeeding the seizure of her lord, and the treason of Sir Hervè de Léon, who had attached himself to the Count de Blois, she remained peacefully occupied in Hennebon, in the education of her young child John; and how she educated him was seen in his after career, as a knight valorous and gentle, a prince beloved and popular.

But with the summer there came strife and peril, and protection became paramount to every thing beside.

During the winter, while the Countess de Montfort lay tranquil in Hennebon, the Count Charles de Blois lay as tranquilly in Nantes, which—as I have before related—had been treasonably surrendered to him by Sir Hervè de Léon and the citizens of the place. But now, that the fair weather had returned, that the swallows were disporting themselves in the summer air, the cuckoos calling by the river-sides, now that armies could hold themselves in the fields with plenty of all sorts around them, he summoned to him all those great princes of the royal blood, and all the noble barons and valiant knights who had fought with him in the last campaign. And, mindful of their promises, they drew all their forces to a head, and came with a great array of spears of France, and Genoese cross-bowmen, and Spanish men-at-arms, under the leading of the Lord Lewis d’Espagne, to re-conquer for him all that remained unconquered of the fair land of Brittany.

During the last year the strong Castle of Chateau-ceux had been won by them by sheer dint of arms, and Nantes, the capital of the province, by the vileness of the traitor Hervè de Léon; the next strongest place to these was the city of Rennes, which had been put into complete readiness for war by its late lord, and further fortified by the countess, who had entrusted it to Sir William de Cadoudal, a brave Breton knight, and in all probability an ancestor of the no less valiant George, of the same patronymic, the great Vendean chief and victim of Napoleon, co-murdered with the princely Duc d’Enghien.

This town the French lords surrounded on all sides, and assailed it with fierce and continual skirmishes at the barricades, and wrought it much damage by the persistency of their onslaughts; but still the defenders defended themselves so valiantly, resolute not to lose their liege-lady’s city, that the besiegers lost more than they gained—for many lives were lost on both sides, but far most on the French part; and yet more wounded—nor could they amend it any thing, nor win a tower, nor force a gate, though they made assaults daily, and plied the walls from mighty engines, with great store of artillery.

Now, when the Countess of Montfort heard how the French lords had returned into Brittany, and were laying waste the country and besieging her strong city, she sent one of the best of all her knights, Sir Amauri de Clisson, who should repair straightway to King Edward, in England, to entreat his assistance, upon condition that her young son should take for his wife one of the daughters of the king, and give her the title of Duchess of Brittany.

And the king, well pleased to strengthen his claim on that fair province, readily assented, and ordered Sir Walter Manny, one of the prowess and most skilled in war of all his knights, to gather together so many men-at-arms as he should with Sir Amauri’s advice judge proper; and to take with him three or four thousand of the best archers in England, and to take ship immediately to the succor of the Countess of Montfort.

And Sir Walter embarked with Sir Amauri de Clisson, and the two brothers Sir Lewis and Sir John de Land-Halle, the Haze of Brabant, Sir Herbert de Fresnoi, Sir Alain de Sirefonde, and many others, leaders of note; and men-at-arms not a few; and archers of England, six thousand, the best men in the realm, whose backs no man had seen. And they took their ships, earnest to aid the countess with a speed; but they were overtaken by a mighty storm and tempest, and forced to remain at sea forty days so that much ill fell out, and more would have befallen, but that it was not to be otherwise in the end, but that the countess should hold the duchy as her own, and her son’s for ever.

In the meantime, the Count Charles of Blois pressed closer and closer to the town, and harassed the people sorely, so that the gentlemen and soldiers being but a few, and the rogue townsmen many, when they saw that no succors came nor seemed like to come, they grew impatient; and when Sir William de Cadoudal was determined to make no surrender, they rose on him by night, and cast him into prison; and so basely and treacherously yielded up the place to the Count Charles, on condition only that the men of the Montfort party should have so let or hindrance to go whither they would, with their effects and followings, under assurance.

Then Sir William de Cadoudal joined the Countess de Montfort where she abode in Hennebon, but where she had yet no tidings from the King Edward of England, or from Sir Amauri de Clisson, or any whom she had sent in his company.

And she had with her in Hennebon the Bishop of Léon, the uncle of that traitor Sir Hervè de Léon, Sir Yves de Tresiquidi, the Lord of Landreman, Sir William de Cadoudal, the Governor of Gesincamp, the two brothers of Quirich, Sir Oliver, and Sir Henry de Spinefort, and many others.

Now the Count de Blois well foresaw that the countess once delivered into his hands with the child John de Montfort, the war was at an end for ever; and, without tarrying at Rennes when he had taken it, he marched direct upon Hennebon, to take it if he might by assault, and if not, to sit down before it; and the numbers of his host without was, as by thousands to hundreds of those within; and there were among them many great names for valor and for prowess—but there was that within which without was lacking, the indomitable heart, the immortal love of a true woman.

It was a little before noon on the 20th day of May, 1342, when the vanguard of that great host might be seen from the walls of Hennebon; and a beautiful sight it was to see them come; to behold the pennons and pennoncelles, the helmets and habergeons, the plumes and surcoats, flashing and shimmering in the sunshine, and waving in the light airs; and such numbers of men-at-arms that the eye might not compass them; all marshaled fairly beneath the square banners of their lordly and princely leaders, so that they seemed like a moving forest, so upright did they hold their lances. Then came the dense array, on foot, of the Genoese cross-bows, in their plate coats of Italian steel, with terrible arbalests; and the unrivaled infantry of Spain, a solid column, bristling like the Greek phalanx of old, with serried lines of spears.

The earth shook under the thick thunder of their horse-hoofs; the air was alive with the clash and clang of their steel harness; and all the echoes rang with the shrill flourishes of their trumpets, and the stormy roar of their kettle-drums.

But no terror did such sights or sounds strike to the hearts of that undaunted garrison—the deafening clang of the alarm-bells, the tremendous tocsin answered the kettle-drums and clarions; and all within the city armed themselves in hot haste. The flower of the French and Spanish chivalry galloped up to skirmish at the barriers, and the iron bolts and quarrels of the Genoese cross-bows fell like a hail-storm, even within the ramparts.

But ere that fierce storm had endured many minutes, up grated the portcullises, down rattled the drawbridges, and as the barriers were withdrawn—banners and spears, and barded destriers and knightly burgonets poured out from all the city gates at once, and burst in full career upon the skirmishers of the besiegers; then many a knight was borne to earth, and the chivalry of France and Spain fared ill before the lances of the Bretons; for they could not bide the brunt, but scattered back, dismantled and discomfited, to their main body; while the maces and two-handed glaives and battle-axes of the men-at-arms did bloody execution on the Genoese, who were not armed to encounter the charge of steel-clad horse, and to whom no quarter was given, not only that they were foreigners and Condottieri, but that themselves sparing none, they neither looked for, nor received mercy.

At vesper-time, on both sides they retired; the French in great fury at their repulse, the garrison of Hennebon well content with themselves and with that they had done.

On the next day again with the first rays of the sun, “the French made so very vigorous an attack on the barriers, that those within made a sally. Among them were some of their bravest, who continued the engagement till noon with great courage, so that the assaillants retired a little to the rear, carrying with them numbers of their wounded, and leaving behind them a great many dead.”

But not for that had they any respite or relaxation; for the lords of the French were so enraged at the dishonor which had thus twice befallen their arms, that they ordered them up a third time to the attack, in greater numbers than before, swearing that they would win the walls ere the sun should set; but for all their swearing they did not win that day, nor for all their fighting; for those of the town were earnest to make a handsome defense, combating under the eyes of their heroic chatelaine; and so stoutly held they out, that the assailants sent still to the host for succors till their last men were in the field, and none were left, with the baggage and the tents, but a sort of horseboys, scullions, and such rascals.

And still from the hot noontide, till the evening breeze began to blow in cool from the sea, the din of arms, and shouts, and war-cries, and the clamor of the wounded, rose from the barricades; and many gallant deeds of arms were done on that day on both sides, and many doughty blows given and received; but still the Lord Charles and his men made no way, but lost more than they gained.

And in the end the los and glory of the day, for the most daring deed, rested with a woman.

For the countess on that day had clothed herself cap-a-pie in armor, and mounted on a war-horse; though ever till that day she had been tender and delicate among women, of slender symmetry and rare soft beauty, with large blue eyes and a complexion of snow and golden tresses; and she galloped up and down the streets encouraging the inhabitants to defend themselves honorably—for she had no thought yet but to comfort them and kindle their spirit by her show of example; nor as yet did she know her own courage, or the strength that resides in the heart of a true woman.

“She had already,” to quote old Froissart, whose account is here so spirited and graphic in his own words, that I prefer giving the narration in that old quaint language, to adding any thing, or expanding the striking relation of facts too strong to bear expansion, “she had already ordered the ladies and other women to cut short their kirtles, carry the stones to the ramparts, and throw them on their enemies. She had pots of quicklime brought to her for the same purpose. That same day the countess performed a very gallant deed: she ascended a high tower, to see how her people behaved; and, having observed that all the lords and others of the army had quitted their tents, and were come to the assault, she immediately descended, mounted her horse, armed as she was, collected three hundred horsemen, sallied out at their head by another gate that was not attacked, and galloping up to the tents of her enemies, cut them down, and set them on fire, without any loss, for there were only servants and boys, who fled upon her approach. As soon as the French saw their camp on fire, and heard the cries, they immediately hastened thither, bawling out, ‘Treason! Treason!’ so that none remained at the assault. The countess seeing this, got her men together, and finding that she could not reënter Hennebon without great risk, took another road, leading to the castle of Brest, which is situated near. The Lord Lewis of Spain, who was marshal of the army, had gone to his tents, which were on fire; and, seeing the countess and her company galloping off as fast as they could, he immediately pursued them with a large body of men-at-arms. He gained so fast upon them, that he came up with them, and wounded or slew all that were not well mounted; but the countess, and part of her company, made such speed that they arrived at the castle of Brest, where they were received with great joy.

“On the morrow, the lords of France, who had lost their tents and provisions, took counsel, if they should not make huts of the branches and leaves of trees near to the town, and were thunder-struck when they heard that the countess herself had planned and executed this enterprise: while those of the town, not knowing what was become of her, were very uneasy; for they were full five days without gaining any intelligence of her. The countess, in the meanwhile, was so active that she assembled from five to six hundred men, well armed and mounted, and with them set out, about midnight, from Brest, and came straight to Hennebon about sunrise, riding along one side of the enemy’s host, until she came to the gates of the castle, which were opened to her: she entered with great triumph and sounds of trumpets and other warlike instruments, to the astonishment of the French, who began arming themselves to make another assault upon the town, while those within mounted the walls to defend it. This attack was very severe, and lasted till past noon. The French lost more than their opponents: and then the lords of France put a stop to it, for their men were killed and wounded to no purpose. They next retreated, and held a council whether the Lord Charles should not go to besiege the castle of Aurai, which King Arthur had built and inclosed. It was determined that he should march thither, accompanied by the Duke of Bourbon, the Earl of Blois, Sir Robert Bertrand, Marshal of France; and that Sir Hervè de Léon was to remain before Hennebon, with a part of the Genoese under his command, and the Lord Lewis of Spain, the Viscount of Rohan, with the rest of the Genoese and Spaniards. They sent for twelve large machines which they had left at Rennes, to cast stones and annoy the castle of Hennebon; for they perceived that they did not gain any ground by their assaults. The French divided their army into two parts: one remained before Hennebon, and the other marched to besiege the castle of Aurai. The Lord Charles of Blois went to this last place, and quartered all his division in the neighborhood.”

With the Count Charles de Blois we have naught to do, save in so much as his doings or sufferings have to do absolutely with the Countess de Montfort; I shall leave him, therefore, to win or lose the castle of Aurai, under the fortunes of war, while I shall follow the chances of that noble chatelaine, the countess, who remained, as we shall see, not only beset by enemies without, but by traitors within, the walls of Hennebon.

It may be as well to state here, however, that the Count Charles of Blois did not take Aurai, whether it was built by King Arthur or no—which, despot Dom Froissart, is rather more than doubtful—any more than the Lord Lewis d’Espagne took Hennebon, which he came perilous nigh to doing, yet had to depart frustrate.

So soon as the French host had divided itself into two parts, after the taste it had received of the quality of the Breton garrison within the walls of Hennebon, and of the noble character of its heroic chatelaine, they made no attempt any more to skirmish at the barriers, or to assault the walls, for in good sooth they dared not, but day and night they plyed those dreadful engines hurling in mighty beams of wood, steel-headed, and ponderous iron bars and vast blocks of stone, shaking the walls and ramparts, wheresoever they struck them, so that the defenders knew not at what moment they would be breached, and the city laid open to the pitiless foe.

And now the hearts of all, save of that delicate and youthful lady, failed them; and if she had set them, before, a fair example of chivalric daring, she set them now a fairer of constancy, more heroical than any action; of feminine endurance, and fortitude and faith, grander than any daring.

The false bishop, Guy de Léon, contrived to leave the town, on some false pretext, and hold a parley with his traitor kinsman, Hervè de Léon—but for whose villainy that bright young dame never had cased her gentle form in steel, nor wielded the mortal sword in warfare. Where traitors are on both sides, treason is wont to win; and so it well nigh proved in this instance; for the bishop returned with offers of free pardon to the garrison and passports to go whither they would, with their effects unhurt, so they would yield the town to Sir Hervè.

And, though the countess perceived what was on the wind, and besought the lords of Brittany with tears and sighs, that made her but more lovely, “for the love of herself, and of her son; friendless but for them; for the love of God himself, to have pity on her, and faith in heaven, that they should receive succor within three days,” it seemed that she could not prevail.

Nor was there not cause for apprehension; since it was clear to all that the ramparts could not stand one more day’s breaching; and, those once battered down, Hennebon and all within it were at the mercy of the merciless.

The bishop was eloquent, and fear and hope more eloquent yet; and ere, long after midnight, the council closed, all minds but those of three, Sir Yves de Tresiquidi, Sir Waleran de Landreman, and the governor of Guincamp, were won over to yield up the city to Sir Hervè; and even those three doubted. None so hopeful but to trust that to-morrow’s conference would be final; none so strong in courage as to dare support one other day’s assault.

All passed the night in doubt and fear; the countess alone in brave hope, and earnest prayer.

The day dawned, and—as men crowded to the ramparts, gazing toward the camp and the plain where Sir Hervè might be seen approaching with his Genoese, closing up to the town to receive possession—the countess arose from her knees, and she alone, of all in Hennebon, turned her eyes toward the sea; for she alone, of all to Hennebon, had faith in her God.

The sea! the sea! it was white with sails, from the mouth almost of the haven, to the dark line of the horizon, flashing to the new-risen sun with lanceheads and clear armor, fluttering with pennoncolles and banners, blazing with embroidered surcoats and emblazoned shields.

And the lady flung her casement wide, and gazed out on her people, in the market-place, along the ramparts, in the tumultuous streets, with disheveled hair, and disordered raiment, and clasped hands and flushed cheeks, and eyes streaming with tears of joy—“God and St. George!” she cried, in tones that rang to every heart like the notes of a silver trumpet—“God and St. George! an English fleet! an English fleet! It is the aid of God!”

And, as the people crowded to the seaward bastions, and saw the great ships rushing in before a leading wind, with their sails all emblazoned with Edward’s triple leopards; and the banners and shields of the English Manny, and of their own Amauri de Clisson, displayed from the yard-arms, and the immortal red cross blazing, above all, on its argent field, they, too, took up the cry.

“God and St. George! God and St. George! It is the aid of England! it is the aid of God!”

“Thereafter,” adds my author, whom I quote once more, for the last time, “when the Governor of Guincamp, Sir Yves de Tresiquidi, Sir Waleran de Landreman, and the other knights, perceived this succor coming to them, they told the bishop that he might break up his conference, for they were not now inclined to follow his advice. The bishop, Sir Guy de Léon, replied, ‘My lords, then our company shall separate; for I will go to him who seems to me to have the clearest right.’ Upon which he sent his defiance to the lady, and to all her party, and left the town to inform Sir Hervè de Léon how matters stood. Sir Hervè was much vexed at it, and immediately ordered the largest machine that was with the army to be placed as near the castle as possible, strictly commanding that it should never cease working day nor night. He then presented his uncle to the Lord Lewis of Spain, and to the Lord Charles of Blois, who both received him most courteously. The countess, in the meantime, prepared, and hung with tapestry, halls and chambers, to lodge handsomely the lords and barons of England whom she saw coming, and sent out a noble company to meet them. When they were landed, she went herself to give them welcome, respectfully thanking each knight and squire, and led them into the town and castle, that they might have convenient lodging: on the morrow she gave them a magnificent entertainment. All that night, and the following day, the large machine never ceased from casting stones into the town.

“After the entertainment, Sir Walter Manny, who was captain of the English, inquired of the countess the state of the town, and of the enemy’s army. Upon looking out of the window, he said, he had a great inclination to destroy the large machine which was placed so near, and much annoyed them, if any would second him. Sir Yves de Tresiquidi replied, that he would not fail him in this his first expedition; as did also the Lord of Landreman. They went to arm themselves, and sallied quietly out of one of the gates, taking with them three hundred archers; who shot so well, that those who guarded the machine fled; and the men-at-arms who followed the archers, falling upon them, slew the greater part, and broke down and cut in pieces this large machine. They then dashed in among the tents and huts, set fire to them, and killed and wounded many of their enemies before the army was in motion. After this, they made a handsome retreat. When the enemy were mounted and armed, they galloped after them like madmen. Sir Walter Manny, seeing this, exclaimed, ‘May I never be embraced by my mistress and dear friend, if I enter castle or fortress before I have unhorsed one of these gallopers.’ He then turned round, and pointed his spear toward the enemy, as did the two brothers of Land-Halle, le Haze de Brabant, Sir Yves de Tresiquidi, Sir Waleran de Landreman, and many others, and spitted the first coursers. Many legs were made to kick the air. Some of their own party were also unhorsed. The conflict became very serious, for reinforcements were perpetually coming from the camp; and the English were obliged to retreat toward the castle, which they did in good order until they came to the castle ditch: there the knights made a stand, until all their men were safely returned. Many brilliant actions, captures, and rescues might have been seen. Those of the town who had not been of the party to destroy the large machine now issued forth, and, ranging themselves upon the banks of the ditch, made such good use of their bows, that they forced the enemy to withdraw, killing many men and horses. The chiefs of the army, perceiving they had the worst of it, and that they were losing men to no purpose, sounded a retreat, and made their men retire to the camp. As soon as they were gone, the townsmen reëntered, and went each to his quarters. The Countess of Montfort came down from the castle to meet them, and with a most cheerful countenance, kissed Sir Walter Manny, and all his companions, one after the other, like a noble and valiant dame.”

Such was the heroism of that true lady. And so was her heroism and her faith rewarded. Hennebon was relieved; and the Count Charles de Blois soon died, but died not Duke of Brittany.





Flowers have been called the stars of the earth; and certainly, when we examine those beautiful creations, and discover them, analyzing the sunbeam, and sending back to the eye the full luxury of colored light, we must confess that there is more real appropriateness in the term than even the poet who conceived the delicate thought imagined. Lavoisier beautifully said—“The fable of Prometheus is but the outshadowing of a philosophic truth—where there is light there is organization and life; where light cannot penetrate, Death for ever holds his silent court.” The flowers, and, indeed, those far inferior forms of organic vegetable life which never flower, are direct dependencies on the solar rays. Through every stage of existence they are excited by those subtle agencies which are gathered together in the sunbeam; and to these influences we may trace all that beauty of development which prevails throughout the vegetable world. How few there are, of even those refined minds to whom flowers are more than a symmetric arrangement of petals harmoniously colored, who think of the secret agencies forever exciting the life which is within their cells, to produce the organized structure—who reflect on the deep, yet divine philosophy, which may be read in every leaf:—those tongues in trees, which tell us of Eternal goodness and order.

The hurry of the present age is not well suited to the contemplative mind; yet, with all, there must be hours in which to fall back into the repose of quiet thought becomes a luxury. The nervous system is strung to endure only a given amount of excitement; if its vibrations are quickened beyond this measure, the delicate harp-strings are broken, or they undulate in throbs. To every one the contemplation of natural phenomena will be found to induce that repose which gives vigor to the mind—as sleep restores the energies of a toil-exhausted body. And to show the advantages of such a study, and the interesting lessons which are to be learned in the fields of nature, is the purpose of the present essay.

The flower is regarded as the full development of vegetable growth; and the consideration of its mysteries naturally involves a careful examination of the life of a plant, from the seed placed in the soil to its full maturity, whether it be as herb or tree.

For the perfect understanding of the physical conditions under which vegetable life is carried on, it is necessary to appreciate, in its fullness, the value of the term growth. It has been said that stones grow—that the formation of crystals was an analogous process to the formation of a leaf; and this impression has appeared to be somewhat confirmed by witnessing the variety of arborescent forms into which solidifying waters pass, when the external cold spreads it as ice over our window-panes. This is, however, a great error; stones do not grow—there is no analogy even between the formation of a crystal and the growth of a leaf. All inorganic masses increase in size only by the accretion of particles—layer upon layer, without any chemical change taking place as an essentiality. The sun may shine for ages upon a stone without quickening it into life, changing its constitution, or adding to its mass. Organic matter consists of arrangements of cells or sacs, and the increase in size is due to the absorption of gaseous matter, through the fine tissue of which they are composed. The gas—a compound of carbon and oxygen—is decomposed by the excitement induced by light; and the solid matter thus obtained is employed in building a new cell—or producing actual growth, a true function of life, in all the processes of which matter is constantly undergoing chemical change.

The simplest developments of vegetable life are the formation of confervæ upon water, and of lichens upon the surface of the rock. In chemical constitution, these present no very remarkable differences from the cultivated flower which adorns our garden, or the tree which has risen in its pride amidst the changing seasons of many centuries. Each alike have derived their solid constituents from the atmosphere, and the chemical changes in all are equally dependent upon the powers which have their mysterious origin in the great centre of our planetary system.

Without dwelling upon the processes which take place in the lower forms of vegetable life, the purposes of this essay will be fully answered by taking an example from amongst the higher class of plants and examining its conditions, from the germination of the seed to the full development of the flower—rich in form, color, and odor.

In the seed-cell we find, by minute examination, the embryo of the future plant carefully preserved in its envelop of starch and gluten. The investigations which have been carried on upon the vitality of seeds appear to prove that, under favorable conditions, this life-germ may be maintained for centuries. Grains of wheat, which had been found in the hands of an Egyptian mummy, germinated and grew; these grains were produced, in all probability, more than three thousand years since; they had been placed, at her burial, in the hands of a priestess of Isis, and in the deep repose of the Egyptian catacomb were preserved to tell us, in the eighteenth century, the story of that wheat which Joseph sold to his brethren.

The process of germination is essentially a chemical one. The seed is placed in the soil, excluded from the light, supplied with a due quantity of moisture, and maintained at a certain temperature, which must be above that at which water freezes; air must have free access to the seed, which if placed so deep in the soil as to prevent the permeation of the atmosphere never germinates. Under favorable circumstances, the life-quickening processes begin; the starch, which is a compound of carbon and oxygen, is converted into sugar by the absorption of another equivalent of oxygen from the air; and we have an evident proof of this change in the sweetness which most seeds acquire in the process, the most familiar example of which we have in the conversion of barley into malt. The sugar thus formed furnishes the food to the now living creation, which, in a short period, shoots its first leaves above the soil; and these, which rising from their dark chamber are white, quickly become green under the operations of light.

In the process of germination a species of slow combustion takes place, and—as in the chemical processes of animal life and in those of active ignition—carbonic acid gas, composed of oxygen and charcoal, or carbon, is evolved. Thus, by a mystery which our science does not enable us to reach, the spark of life is kindled—life commences its work—the plant grows. The first conditions of vegetable growth are, therefore, singularly similar to those which are found to prevail in the animal economy. The leaf-bud is no sooner above the soil than a new set of conditions begin; the plant takes carbonic acid from the atmosphere, and having, in virtue of its vitality, by the agency of luminous power, decomposed this gas, it retains the carbon, and pours forth the oxygen to the air. This process is stated to be a function of vitality; but as this has been variously described by different authors, it is important to state with some minuteness what does really take place.

The plant absorbs carbonic acid from the atmosphere through the under surfaces of the leaves, and the whole of the bark; it at the same time derives an additional portion from the moisture which is taken up by the roots, and conveyed “to the topmost twig” by the force of capillary attraction, and another power, called endosmosis, which is exerted in a most striking manner by living organic tissues. This mysterious force is shown in a pleasing way by covering some spirits of wine and water in a wine-glass with a piece of bladder; the water will escape, leaving the strong spirit behind.

Independently of the action of light the plant may be regarded as a mere machine; the fluids and gases which it absorbs, pass off in a condition but very little changed—just as water would strain through a sponge or a porous stone. The consequence of this is the blanching or etiolation of the plant, which we produce by our artificial treatment of celery and sea-kale—the formation of the carbonaceous compound called chlorophyle, which is the green coloring-matter of the leaves, being entirely checked in darkness. If such a plant is brought into the light, its dormant powers are awakened, and, instead of being little other than a sponge through which fluids circulate, it exerts most remarkable chemical powers; the carbonic acid of the air and water is decomposed; its charcoal is retained to add to the wood of the plant, and the oxygen is set free again to the atmosphere. In this process is exhibited one of the most beautiful illustrations of the harmony which prevails through all the great phenomena of nature with which we are acquainted—the mutual dependence of the vegetable and animal kingdoms.

In the animal economy there is a constant production of carbonic acid, and the beautiful vegetable kingdom, spread over the earth in such infinite variety, requires this carbonic acid for its support. Constantly removing from the air the pernicious agent produced by the animal world, and giving back that oxygen which is required as the life-quickening element by the animal races, the balance of affinities is constantly maintained by the phenomena of vegetable growth. This interesting inquiry will form the subject of another essay.

The decomposition of carbonic acid is directly dependent upon luminous agency; from the impact of the earliest morning ray to the period when the sun reaches the zenith, the excitation of that vegetable vitality by which the chemical change is effected regularly increases. As the solar orb sinks toward the horizon the chemical activity diminishes—the sun sets—the action is reduced to its minimum—the plant, in the repose of darkness, passes to that state of rest which is as necessary to the vegetating races as sleep is to the wearied animal.

These are two well-marked stages in the life of a plant, germination and vegetation are exerted under different conditions; the time of flowering arrives, and another change occurs, the processes of forming the alkaline and acid juices, of producing the oil, wax, and resin, and of secreting those nitrogenous compounds which are found in the seed, are in full activity. Carbonic acid is now evolved and oxygen is retained; hydrogen and nitrogen are also forced, as it were, into combination with the oxygen and carbon, and altogether new and more complicated operations are in activity.

Such are the phenomena of vegetable life which the researches of our philosophers have developed. This curious order—this regular progression—showing itself at well-marked epochs, is now known to be dependent upon solar influences; the

“Bright effluence of bright essence increate”

works its mysterious wonders on every organic form. Much is still involved in mystery; but to the call of science some strange truths have been made manifest to man, and of some of these the phenomena must now be explained.

Germination is a chemical change which takes place most readily in darkness; vegetable growth is due to the secretion of carbon under the agency of light; and the processes of floriation are shown to involve some new and compound operations: these three states must be distinctly appreciated.

The sunbeam comes to us as a flood of pellucid light, usually colorless; if we disturb this white beam, as by compelling it to pass through a triangular piece of glass, we break it up into colored bands, which we call the spectrum, in which we have such an order of chromatic rays as are seen in the rainbow of a summer shower. These colored rays are now known to be the sources of all the tints by which nature adorns the surface of the earth, or art imitates, in its desire to create the beautiful. These colored bands have not the same illuminating power, nor do they possess the same heat-giving property. The yellow rays give the most LIGHT; the red rays have the function of HEAT in the highest degree. Beyond these properties the sunbeam possesses another, which is the power of producing CHEMICAL CHANGE—of effecting those magical results which we witness in the photographic processes, by which the beams illuminating any object are made to delineate it upon the prepared tablet of the artist.

It has been suspected that these three phenomena are not due to the same agency, but that, associated in the sunbeam, we have LIGHT, producing all the blessings of vision, and throwing the veil of color over all things—HEAT, maintaining that temperature over our globe which is necessary to the perfection of living organisms—and a third principle, ACTINISM, by which the chemical changes alluded to are effected. We possess the power, by the use of colored media, of separating these principles from each other, and of analyzing their effects. A yellow glass allows light to pass through it most freely, but it obstructs actinism almost entirely; a deep-blue glass, on the contrary, prevents the permeation of light, but it offers no interruption to the actinic, or chemical rays; a red glass, again, cuts off most of the rays, except those which have peculiarly a calorific, or heat-giving power.

With this knowledge we proceed in our experiments, and learn some of the mysteries of nature’s chemistry. If, above the soil in which the seed is placed, we fix a deep, pure yellow glass, the chemical change which marks germination is prevented; if, on the contrary, we employ a blue one, it is greatly accelerated; seeds, indeed, placed beneath the soil, covered with a cobalt blue finger-glass, will germinate many days sooner than such as may be exposed to the ordinary influences of sunshine:—this proves the necessity of the principle actinism to this first stage of vegetable life. Plants, however, made to grow under the influences of such blue media present much the same conditions as those which are reared in the dark; they are succulent instead of woody, and have yellow leaves and white stalks—indeed, the formation of leaves is prevented, and all the vital energy of the plant is exerted in the production of stalk. The chemical principle of the sun’s rays, alone, is not therefore sufficient; remove the plant to the influence of light, as separated from actinism, by the action of yellow media, and wood is formed abundantly—the plant grows most healthfully, and the leaves assume that dark green which belongs to tropical climes or to our most brilliant summers. Light is thus proved to be the exciting agent in effecting those chemical decompositions which have already been described; but under the influence of isolated light it is found that plants will not flower. When, however, the subject of our experiment is brought under the influence of a red glass, particularly of that variety in which a beautifully pure red is produced by oxide of gold, the whole process of floriation and the perfection of the seed is accomplished.

Careful and long-continued observations have proved that in the spring, when the process of germination is most active, the chemical rays are the most abundant in the sunbeam. As the summer advances, light, relatively to the other forces, is largely increased: at this season the trees of the forest, the herb of the valley, and the cultivated plants which adorn our dwellings, are all alike adding to their wood. Autumn comes on, and then heat, so necessary for ripening grain, is found to exist in considerable excess. It is curious, too, that the autumnal heat has properties peculiarly its own—so decidedly distinguished from the ordinary heat, that Sir John Herschel and Mrs. Somerville have adopted a term to distinguish it. The peculiar browning or scorching rays of autumn are called the parathermic rays: they possess a remarkable chemical action added to their calorific one; and to this is due those complicated phenomena already briefly described.

In these experiments, carefully tried, we are enabled to imitate the conditions of nature, and supply, at any time, those states of solar radiation which belong to the varying seasons of the year.

Such is a rapid sketch of the mysteries of a flower; “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

Under the influence of the sunbeam, vegetable life is awakened, continued, and completed; a wondrous alchemy is effected; the change in the condition of the solar radiations determines the varying conditions of vegetable vitality; and in its progress those transmutations occur, which at once give beauty to the exterior world, and provide for the animal races the food by which their existence is maintained. The contemplation of influences such as these realizes in the human soul that sweet feeling which, with Keats, finds that

A thing of beauty is a joy forever;

Its loveliness increasing, it will never

Pass into nothingness, but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.


               *    *    *    *    *


              Such the sun and moon,

Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon

For simple sheep; and such are daffodils,

With the green world they live in.





Early on a fine summer morning, an old man was walking on the road between Brussels and Namur. He expected a friend to arrive by the diligence, and he set out some time before it was due, to meet it on the road. Having a good deal of time to spare, he amused himself by watching any object of interest that caught his eye; and at length stopped to inspect the operations of a painter, who, mounted on a ladder placed against the front of a wayside inn, was busily employed in depicting a sign suitable to its name, “The Rising Sun.”

“Here,” said the old man to himself, “is an honest dauber, who knows as much of perspective as a cart-horse; and who, I’ll warrant, fancies himself a Rubens. How he brushes in that ultramarine sky!”

The critic then commenced walking backward and forward before the inn, thinking that he might as well loiter there for the diligence as walk on farther. The painter, meantime, continued to lay on fresh coats of the brightest blue, which appeared to aggravate the old gentleman very much. At length, when the sign-painter took another brush full of blue paint to plaster on, the spectator could endure it no longer, and exclaimed severely⁠—

“Too much blue!”

The honest painter looked down from his perch, and said, in that tone of forced calmness which an angry man sometimes assumes:

“Monsieur does not perceive that I am painting a sky?”

“Oh, yes, I see very well, you are trying to paint a sky, but I tell you again there is too much blue.”

“Did you ever see skies painted without blue, Master amateur?”

“I am not an amateur. I merely tell you, in passing—I make the casual remark—that that there is too much blue; but do as you like. Put more blue, if you don’t think you have troweled on enough already.”

“But I tell you, that I want to represent a clear, blue sky at sunrise.”

“And I tell you that no man in his senses would make a sky at sunrise blue.”

“By St. Gudula, this is too much!” exclaimed the painter, coming down from his ladder, at no pains this time to conceal his anger; “I should like to see how you would paint skies without blue.”

“I don’t pretend to much skill in sky-painting; but, if I were to make a trial, I wouldn’t put in too much blue.”

“And what would it look like if you didn’t?”

“Like nature, I hope, and not like yours, which might be taken for a bed of gentianella, or a sample of English cloth, or any thing you please—except a sky; I beg to assure you, for the tenth time, there is too much blue!”

“I tell you what, old gentleman,” cried the insulted artist, crossing his maul-stick over his shoulder, and looking very fierce, “I dare say you are a very worthy fellow when you are at home; but you should not be let out—alone.”

“Why not?”

“Why not? Because you must be crazy to play the critic after this fashion; too much blue indeed! What, I, the pupil of Ruysdael, the third cousin of Gerard Douw’s great-grandson, not know how to color a sky? Know that my reputation has been long established. I have a Red Horse at Malines, a Green Bear at Namur, and a Charlemagne at Aix-la-Chapelle, before which every passenger stops fixed in admiration!”

“Nonsense!” exclaimed the critic, as he snatched the palette from the painter’s hand. “You deserve to have your own portrait painted to serve for the sign of the Flemish Ass!” In his indignation he mounted the ladder with the activity of a boy, and began with the palm of his hand to efface the chef d’oeuvre of Gerard Douw’s great-grandson’s third cousin.

“Stop! You old charlatan!” shouted the latter, “you are ruining my sign! Why, it’s worth thirty-five francs. And then my reputation—lost! gone for ever!”

He shook the ladder violently to make his persecutor descend. But the latter, undisturbed either by that or by the presence of a crowd of villagers, attracted by the dispute, continued mercilessly to blot out the glowing landscape. Then, using merely the point of his finger and the handle of a brush, he sketched, in masterly outline, three Flemish boors, with beer-glasses in their hands, drinking to the rising sun; which appeared above the horizon, dispersing the gloom of a grayish morning sky. One of the faces presented a strong and laughable caricature of the supplanted sign-painter. The spectators at first were greatly disposed to take part with their countryman against the intrusive stranger. What right had he to interfere? There was no end to the impudence of these foreigners.

As, however, they watched and grumbled, the grumbling gradually ceased, and was turned into a murmur of approbation when the design became apparent. The owner of the inn was the first to cry “Bravo!” and even Gerard Douw’s cousin nine times removed, felt his fury calming down into admiration.

“Oh!” he exclaimed, “you belong to the craft, honest man, and there’s no use in denying it. Yes, yes,” he continued, laughing, as he turned toward his neighbors, “this is a French sign-painter, who wishes to have a jest with me. Well, I must frankly say he knows what he is about.”

The old man was about to descend from the ladder, when a gentleman, riding a beautiful English horse, made his way through the crowd.

“That painting is mine!” he exclaimed in French, but with a foreign accent. “I will give a hundred guineas for it!”

“Another madman!” exclaimed the native genius. “Hang me, but all these foreigners are mad!”

“What do you mean, monsieur?” said the innkeeper, uncommonly interested.

“What I say—I will give one hundred guineas for that painting,” answered the young Englishman, getting off his horse.

“That picture is not to be sold,” said the sign-painter, with an air of as much pride as if it had been his own work.

“No,” quoth mine host, “for it is already sold, and even partly paid for in advance. However, if monsieur wishes to come to an arrangement about it, it is with me that he must treat.”

“Not at all, not at all,” rejoined the Flemish painter of signs, “it belongs to me. My fellow-artist here gave me a little help out of friendship; but the picture is my lawful property, and I am at liberty to sell it to any one I please.”

“What roguery!” exclaimed the innkeeper, “My Rising Sun is my property; fastened on the wall of my house. How can it belong to anybody else. Isn’t it painted on my boards. No one but myself has the smallest right to it.”

“I’ll summon you before the magistrate,” cried he who had not painted the sign.

“I’ll prosecute you for breach of covenant,” retorted the innkeeper who had half paid for it.

“One moment!” interposed another energetic voice, that of the interloper; “it seems to me that I ought to have some little vote in this business.”

“Quite right, brother,” answered the painter. “Instead of disputing on the public road, let us go into Master Martzen’s house, and arrange the matter amicably over a bottle or two of beer.”

To this all parties agreed, but I am sorry to say they agreed in nothing else; for within doors, the dispute was carried on with deafening confusion and energy. The Flemings contended for the possession of the painting, and the Englishman repeated his offer to cover it with gold.

“But suppose that I don’t choose to have it sold?” said its real author.

“Oh, my dear monsieur,” said the innkeeper, “I am certain you would not wish to deprive an honest poor man, who can scarcely make both ends meet, of this windfall. Why, it would just enable me to lay in a good stock of wine and beer.”

“Don’t believe him, brother,” cried the painter, “he is an old miser. I am the father of a family; and being a painter, you ought to help a brother artist, and give me the preference. Besides, I am ready to share the money with you.”

“He!” said Master Martzen. “Why, he’s an old spendthrift, who has no money left to give his daughter as a marriage portion, because he spends all he gets on himself.”

“No such thing; my Susette is betrothed to an honest, young French cabinet-maker; who, poor as she is, will marry her next September.”

“A daughter to portion!” exclaimed the stranger artist; “that quite alters the case. I am content that the picture should be sold for a marriage portion. I leave it to our English friend’s generosity to fix the sum.”

“I have already offered,” replied the best bidder, “one hundred guineas for the sketch just as it is: I will gladly give two hundred for it if the painter will consent to sign it in the corner with two words.”

“What words?” exclaimed all the disputants at once.

The Englishman replied,

Pierre David.

The whole party were quiet enough now; for they were struck dumb with astonishment. The sign-painter held his breath, glared with his eyes, frantically clasped his hands together, and fell down on his knees before the great French painter.

“Forgive me!” he exclaimed, “forgive me for my audacious ignorance.”

David laughed heartily; and, taking his hand, shook it with fraternal cordiality.

By this time the news of the discovery had spread; the tavern was crowded with persons anxious to drink the health of their celebrated visitor; and the good old man, standing in the middle of the room, pledged them heartily. In the midst of the merry-making, the sign-painter’s daughter, the pretty Susette, threw her arms round her benefactor’s neck.

TO —— ——.




Look thou upon me with approving eyes,

  Oh, thou whose love is more than life to me!

  So shall my soul be strong, though I may see

Cold looks and stern to other faces rise.

Since first I promised to be thine alone,

  Hath one fond word from thee been dearer far

  Than loudest praises from all others are,


Or warmest smiles. Thou art my world, mine own;

And the one treasure that I prize above

  All else that earth can give—the one rich boon

  So dear, that if I lost it I should soon

Lie in the grave’s cold bosom, is thy love!

  Love me then ever, for I fain would be

  All onto thee, love, that thou art to me.





Easter-even, in the year of our Lord 1099, was held as a high festival in the fine city of Barcelona: it was the coronation-day of the young Count Raymond Berenger the Third, whose twelvemonth’s mourning for his lamented father and sovereign was to close with his own solemn inauguration. The count had accordingly, by his letters patent, convoked to his good city of Barcelona the bishops, barons, knights, and also the ambassadors from foreign courts, to witness him take his knighthood, and receive from the altar, and place upon his head, the garland of golden roses which formed the coronet of the Counts of Arragon.

At the appointed day, not only the prelates, barons, and chivalry of Spain repaired to the festival, but a great many foreign lords and princes: the Judge and the Archbishop of Albera, from Sardinia; the King of Arragon, from Saragossa; the King of Castile, from Madrid. The Moorish sovereigns of Tlemecen and Granada, not being able to come in person, had sent rich presents to the count, with congratulatory epistles by the hands of their ambassadors. Indeed, so great was the concourse to Barcelona on this day, that thirty thousand stirrups belonging to gentlemen of condition were counted in the city and its environs.

This concourse was too great for the count to receive at his own palace of Aljaferia, which stood a short distance from Barcelona: he was therefore compelled to limit the number of his guests to kings, prelates, princes, ambassadors, and their suites; and there were present in Barcelona at that time four thousand persons who claimed his hospitality as their right.

Throughout the day an immense crowd traversed the streets, visited the churches, or amused themselves with the tricks of the jugglers and mountebanks, passing from devotion to mirth, and from mirth to devotion; but toward evening every one took his way to the palace, for the count was to watch his arms that evening in the church of St. Saviour. The whole road to the palace, two miles from the city, was illuminated by torches, which were kindled before the close of the day, the moment the vesper-bell was rung. This broad avenue of light defined the route to the church of St. Saviour, and as soon as this was effected, the heralds appeared with the banners of the Count of Barcelona, and marshaled the people on each side, that the cortége might have room to pass, unobstructed by the pressure of the crowd. At the last stroke of the vesper-bell, the gates of the palace opened, amidst the joyful shouts of the multitude, who had been awaiting that event since the hour of noon.

The first who appeared in the procession were the noble knights of Catalonia, on horseback, wearing the swords of their forefathers; valiant blades, gapped by hard service in battle or tournament, bearing names like those of Charlemagne, Roland, and Réné.

Behind them came their squires, bearing the arms and naked swords of their masters, which, unlike the ancestral brands the knights had displayed, were bright and unstained; but they knew that in the hands of their owners they would soon lose their virgin brightness and lustre in the turmoil of battle.

Next appeared the sword of the lord count, made in the form of a cross, to recall continually to his mind that he was the soldier of God before he became an earthly prince. Neither emperor, king, nor count had ever before worn a sword better tempered, or more richly embossed with jewels on the handle. It was in the hands of Don Juan Ximenes de la Roca, one of the bravest knights in the world, who held it till the time should arrive when it would pass into those of its master. He was supported on each side by the Baron Gulielmo di Cervallo and Sir Otto de Monçada.

After the sword of the lord count came his equerries, in two chariots, bearing lighted torches, and charged with ten quintals of wax, to be offered as a gift to the church of St. Saviour, because the count had vowed a taper to the altar, to expiate the fault his filial duty had obliged him to commit, since, detained in his own country by the long illness of his father, he had not departed for the Crusade. This wax taper had gone in solemn procession through the city, to prove the penitence of the count, who felt grief as a knight, and remorse as a Christian.

After the chariots came the lord count himself, mounted on a steed magnificently caparisoned. He was a beautiful youth between eighteen and nineteen, wearing long ringlets on his shoulders, waving on either side, but restrained from concealing his open brow by a fillet of gold. He wore his close-fitting coat of war, for during the watch he would have to assume his armor; but this vestment was covered with a large mantle of cloth of gold, which fell even to his stirrups. Behind him followed his arms, carried by two nobles, consisting of a helmet, with the visor closed; a coat of mail of polished steel, inlaid with gold; a buckler, on which was engraved the garland of roses, the well-known sign of sovereignty of the Counts of Barcelona. The nobleman who bore these arms was accompanied by Roger, Count de Pallars, and Alphonse Ferdinando, Lord of Ixer, both with their swords drawn, to defend, if necessary, the royal armor.

After the armor of the lord count came, in pairs, the nobles upon whom he was to confer the honor of knighthood. They were twelve in number; and these, in their turn, were each to arm ten knights as soon as they had received the order; and these hundred and twenty came also in pairs, their fine horses magnificently caparisoned, and covered with cloth of gold.

Last of all, four abreast, came, first, the prelates; then the kings and the ambassadors from foreign courts, who represented the persons of their sovereigns; then the dukes, counts, and knights; each degree separated by the musicians, who rent the air with their trumpets, timbrels, and flutes. The last rank in the pageant was followed by the jongleurs, or jugglers, in the costume of savages, running on foot, or mounted on little horses without bridle or saddle, on whose backs they exhibited a variety of tricks.

Thus, by the aid of the flambeau, which changed night into day, and darkness into light, and with the mighty sound of drums, tymbals, trumpets, and other musical instruments, aided by the shouts of the jongleurs, and the proclamations of the heralds, who called out—“Barcelona! Barcelona!” the count was conducted to the church, having been seen by every one, on account of the slow progress of the procession, and the length of way between the palace and the sacred edifice. The hour of midnight, indeed, struck the moment the count alighted at the porch, where he was met by the Archbishop of Barcelona, and all the clergy.

The lord count, followed by all the nobles who were to receive their arms, entered the church, and watched them together, according to old custom on such occasions, reciting prayers and singing psalms in honor of their Saviour. They passed the night very happily in these devotional services, and attended matins, which service was performed by the archbishops, bishops, priors, and abbots.

When the day broke, the church was opened to the congregation of the faithful, who filled it in such a fashion, that it was wonderful how so many men and women could be so closely crowded together without injury to themselves or their neighbors. The archbishop then made himself ready to say mass, and the lord count put on a surplice, as if he intended to assist him; but over the surplice he wore a richer Dalmatica than emperor or king had ever appeared in, clasped at the throat with a diamond star, set round with pearls of inestimable value. Then he assumed the manipule, or girdle, which was also very splendid; and every time he was invested with a new garment, the archbishop repeated a prayer. This ceremony being finished, the archbishop said mass; but when the epistle was ended he paused—when the two godfathers of the count, Don Juan Ximenes de la Roca, and Don Alphonse Ferdinando, Lord of Ixer, approached the count, and one affixed the spur to his right heel, the other to his left—the solemn notes of the organ accompanying this part of the ceremonial. Then the count, approaching the altar, knelt before the shrine, and repeated to himself a whispered prayer, while the archbishop, standing by his aide, prayed aloud.

When this prayer was ended, the count took the sword from the altar, kissed meekly the cross that formed its handle, girded it to his loins, and then, drawing it from its scabbard, brandished the knightly weapon three times. At the first flourish, he defied all the enemies of the holy Catholic faith; at the second, he vowed to succor all widows, orphans and minors; and at the third, he promised to render justice all his life to high and low, rich and poor, to his own subjects, and to foreigners who might require redress at his hands. At this last oath, a deep sonorous voice replied “Amen.” Every body turned round to see the person from whom this response proceeded; it came, however, from a Provençal jongleur, who had crowded into the church, not-withstanding the opposition made by those who did not consider him fit to be in such good company; but the count, having heard the quality of his respondent, would not allow him to be turned out, declaring—“that it would ill become him at such a moment to refuse the prayer of any one, be he lord or vassal, rich or poor, provided it came from a pure and contrite heart.” The jongleur, in virtue of this declaration on the part of the lord count, was permitted to keep his place.

The lord count then, returning his sword to the scabbard, offered his person and his blade, by a solemn act of dedication, to God; praying him to take him into his holy keeping, and to give him the victory over all his enemies. The archbishop, after the lord count had uttered this prayer, anointed him with the holy chrisme on the right shoulder and arm; then he took the crown of golden roses from the altar and set it on his head, the godfathers of the lord count supporting the diadem on each side. At the same instant, the archbishops, bishops, abbots, kings, princes, and the two godfathers of the lord count chaunted in chorus, with loud voices, Te Deum Laudamus, during which the lord count took the golden sceptre in his left, and the globe in his right hand, and held them while the Te Deum was chanted and the gospel read. He then replaced them on the altar, and seated himself in his chair of state, before which twelve nobles led up twelve knights, whom they armed one after the other; these, in their turn, retired to one of the twelve chapels belonging to the church, and armed, in like manner, ten knights.

The coronation being concluded, the lord count, with his crown on his head, bearing the golden sceptre and globe in his hands, and wearing the dalmatica, star, and belt, came out of the church, and mounted his horse; but as he could not guide his steed, encumbered as he was with these insignia of his high power and dignity, two pairs of reins were attached to the bridle, that on the left being held by his godfathers; the others, which were of white silk, and forty feet in length, were held by the barons, the knights, and the most eminent citizens of Catalonia; and after these came six deputies from Valencia, six from Saragossa, and four from Tortosa; those who held the reins to the right or left marched on foot, to denote their subjection to the count, their lord paramount, who, in this stately manner, and with this magnificent cortége, toward noon returned to his palace of Aljaferia, amidst loud hurrahs and flourishes of trumpets. As soon as he alighted, he entered the dining-room, where a high throne had been prepared for him between two golden stools, on which he deposited the sceptre, the globe, and the crown. Then his two godfathers seated themselves near their sovereign, and the Kings of Arragon and Castile, the Archbishops of Saragossa and Arboise placed themselves by their side. At another table, the bishops, dukes, and all the new-made knights took their places; after them, the barons, envoys of the provinces, and the most eminent citizens of Barcelona, all marshaled according to their degree, were seated in due order, the whole assembly being waited upon by the junior nobility and knights.

The lord count himself was served by twelve nobles. His major domo, the Baron Gulielmo di Cervallo, brought in the first dish, singing a roundel; he was followed by twelve noblemen, each carrying a dish, and joining in full chorus. As soon as the roundel was concluded, he placed the dish before the lord count, and cut a portion, with which he served him; then he divested himself of his mantle and vest of cloth of gold, trimmed with ermine, and ornamented with pearls, and gave them to a jongleur. As soon as he had arrayed himself in vestments of the same rich material, the major domo brought, in like manner, and followed by the same nobles, the first dish of the second course, singing a roundel as before, and concluding the ceremony by the gift of his magnificent costume. He conducted, after this fashion, ten courses, with songs, and concluded with the usual rich largess, to the great admiration and astonishment of the whole assembly.

The lord count sat three hours at table, after which he rose, took up the globe and sceptre, and entering the next chamber, placed himself on a chair raised on a platform, with steps. The two kings were seated on each side the throne, and round them, on the steps, all the barons, knights, and eminent citizens. Then a jongleur approached, and sang a new sirvente, which he had composed for this august occasion, entitled—“The Crown, the Sceptre, and the Globe—”

“The crown being quite round, and this circle having neither beginning nor end, signifies the great power of God, which he has placed, not on the middle of the body, nor yet on the feet, but on your head, as the symbol of intelligence; and because he has placed it on your head, you ought always to remember this omnipotent God; may you, with this earthly and perishable crown, win the celestial crown of glory in the eternal kingdom.

“The sceptre signifies justice, which you ought to maintain and extend to all ranks; and as this sceptre is a long rod with a curve, fit to strike and chastise, thus justice should, in like manner, punish, that the wicked may leave off their bad ways, and the good may become better and better.

“The globe signifies, that as you hold the globe in your hand you also hold your country and your power; and since God has confided them to you, it is necessary that you should govern with truth, justice and clemency, that none of your subjects may sustain injury from yourself or any other person.”

The lord count appeared to hear this sirvente with pleasure, like a prince who laid the good counsel it contained to heart, and intended to put it in practice. The sirvente was followed by a song in twelve parts, and the song by a poem in three cantos; and when all was said and done, the lord count, who was much fatigued, took up the globe and sceptre, and went into his chamber to get a few minutes’ sleep, of which, indeed, he was much in need. His attendants had scarcely unclasped his mantle of state, before he was informed that a jongleur must speak with him, having affairs of interest to communicate, which would not bear delay. The lord count ordered him to be admitted.

The jongleur advanced two steps, and bent his knee to the ground.

“Speak!” said the count.

“May it please your lordship to order that you should be in private with your servant?”

Raymond Beranger made a sign to his people that he wished to be alone with the jongleur.

“Who are you?” asked he, as soon as the door was shut.

“I am,” said the jongleur, “the person who answered ‘Amen,’ in the church of St. Saviour, when your lordship vowed, sword in hand, to render justice to the high and low, the rich and poor, to foreigners as well as your own subjects.”

“In whose name do you ask justice?”

“In the name of the Empress Praxida of Germany, unjustly accused of adultery by Guthram de Falkemberg and Walter de Than, and condemned by her husband, the Emperor Henry the Fourth, to die, unless a champion, within a twelvemonth and a day, successfully defend her innocence against her accusers.”

“Why has she chosen such a singular messenger for this important mission?”

“Because none but the poor jongleur dared expose himself to the anger of a powerful prince, and the vengeance of two renowned knights like Guthram de Falkemberg and Walter de Than; and certainly I should not have ventured to do so myself, if my young mistress, Douce, Marchioness of Provence, who has such fine eyes and such a touching voice that no one can refuse what she asks, had not required it of me. I went, therefore, by her command, in search of a knight sufficiently brave to defend, and sufficiently powerful to dare to vindicate, the fame of an injured and innocent lady. I have traversed, in obedience to my mistress, France and Italy in vain, and even Spain, the very holy land of chivalry, and found no one disposed to championize the Empress of Germany. On the way to Barcelona I heard you named as a generous and courageous gentlemen. I entered the church at the moment you vowed, sword in hand, to defend the oppressed against the oppressor; and it appeared to me that the hand of God had led me there. I raised my voice, and cried ‘Amen, so be it!’”

“So let it be, then,” chivalrously replied the count; “for the honor of my name, and the increase of my renown, in the name of the Lord, I will hold myself ready to undertake this enterprise.”

“Thanks, my lord, for this grace; but, saving your good pleasure, you have no time to lose, for ten months have already elapsed, and you will have little left for your journey to Cologne.”

“Well; these festivals will be ended by Thursday night; on Friday we shall offer up our public thanks to God; and on Saturday we will put ourselves en route for Cologne.”

“Let it be so, according to your lordship’s pleasure,” replied the jongleur, making his farewell devoir to the Count of Barcelona. Before he could withdraw from his presence, the count detached from his neck a magnificent gold chain of great value, and threw it round that of the jongleur; for the lord count was as generous as he was brave, and the union of these qualities acquired for him the surname of Great, an appellation which the judgment of posterity has confirmed to the sovereign of Barcelona. He was pious, too; for these festival-days were designed to do honor to Easter, the day of the resurrection of the Redeemer; and the gracious rain that, after a long period of drought, descended on Catalonia, Arragon, and the kingdoms of Valencia and Murcia, the evening on which these religious fètes concluded, gave to his people the presage of a long and happy reign, of which, indeed, Barcelona still preserves the memory.

[To be continued.

This tale of chivalry is a free translation from one entitled Praxède, by Alexandre Dumas, and presents a complete description of the ancient trial, or appeal by battle, as formerly practiced in the middle ages. The champion was supposed to depend upon God for making the cause he had undertaken good, provided the party he represented were clear of the crime of which he or she was accused. This law remained on the statute book of Great Britain unrepealed until a few years since, when it was finally abolished. To those who love ancient customs, this translation from an eminent living author, deeply versed in such lore, may not prove either unacceptable or uninteresting.—Jane Strickland.





Whatever original thoughts people may think fit to boast of, there is scarcely any idea which must not before have passed through the minds of many. Let it be sufficient then to the good-natured reader, if some of the present thoughts may not happen to have occurred to him, or if they are not all remembered to have done so.

In preparing these Brevia, I have not knowingly adopted any one thought or expression of other writers. At the same time, I do not affect originality. Lucian, Cervantes and Rabelais have forestalled humor; Horace, Juvenal, and Perseus have exhausted satire; and upon the subject of love, Ovid and Tibullus have left us nothing new to say. The letter of Rousseau, so much admired for its exquisite tenderness and sensibility, beginning—“Mourons, ma douce amie,” is but an imitation of Chærea’s speech in one of Terence’s comedies, who expresses his raptures in the same ideas and expressions. “Nunc est projectò tempu cum perpeti me possum interjici;” and of Phædria’s speech in Phermio—“Ut mihi liceat tam dice quod amo, frui, jam depacisci mortem cupio.” Even the best writers, therefore, may be accused of plagiarism; but merely to have the same ideas, many of which are common to all mankind, is no proof of it.


Friendship divided amongst many, is like a mirror broken into separate small pieces, wherein each can partly see himself, but less of himself as the pieces are divided into more parts.

Our public boarding-schools are said to bring all boys forward; which is only true in part. Great liberty and numbers elevate boys of bold and daring dispositions, and give opportunities of tyrannising over meek and modest minds; thus, those spirits which ought to be restrained are ruined by indulgence, and those which ought to be cherished and encouraged are depressed.

Obstinacy and contradiction are like a paper kite; they are only kept up while you pull against them.

The best wives have been brought up in a family where there has been a subordination to men. Forsaken widows and disappointed aunts set up a hostile warfare against the other sex, and inculcate early prejudices in young women’s minds, which generally take too strong root to be eradicated.

People are generally in the end obliged to make an apology for those very virtues which alone dignify human nature. Friendship, good-nature, and generosity have often conducted a man to jail, where he has been obliged, before he could obtain assistance, to confess himself a fool, and to promise to divest himself of all such companions for the future; or, to adopt the most effectual method, totally to disavow the acquaintance of those virtues altogether, and pretend that they assumed the more worthy form and disguise of discretion and worldly wisdom, which authorised him to act as he did for the sake of his own interest.

Love often turns to the greatest hatred, as the sharpest vinegar is made from the sweetest sugar.

Economy is often tempted into expense, merely from the cheapness of it.

Books are quiet, amiable friends; their information is pleasing, because communicated without petulance, or affected superiority. You must even take some trouble to find out the knowledge you wish to acquire from them, notwithstanding your implicit respect and avowed ignorance. They are generally, too, at home, and their access requires little court.

How disappointed your acquaintances are, if you bear your misfortunes with calmness and cheerfulness! Some, indeed, derive consolation in thinking their assistance will not be asked; but most are mortified in not being able to insult you by their compassion, while they find arguments to heighten your distress.

How seldom utility is considered in our system of modern education! Personal accomplishments can not be of any use in this country, at least, to either men or women, above ten or twelve years; after which they are rather hid, or render the possession ridiculous. Ought the father of a family be able to distort his body in the fashionable polka, or the mother to sing a fine song.

A man gives entertainments only for criticism; and people, on their return home, revenge themselves for the obligation of the invitation, by laughing at his vanity for pretending to live at so much expense.

The Egyptians offered to their god Isis an herb—Persica—whose fruit was like a heart, and the leaf like a tongue. Modern professions and love offerings have a different fruit and a different leaf; the profession is all heart, and the fruit all tongue.

Doctor Johnson says, “that allowances are seldom made for ill success;” and it may be truly said, that reasons are seldom narrowly investigated for good success. Public men generally meet with more praise and blame, in both, than they deserve; and at the end of their lives the balance is probably even.

The easy, good-natured man is like one of the feræ naturæ: every body hunts him as their prey; and, instead of being cherished by every one, he is claimed as their property: if he is caressed, it is only to draw him into a snare.

A politician, like the Cyprian, seldom grants favors but to those who can amply repay them. Virtue, for them, may be its own reward: they only lavish their favors on those who contribute to their interest.

Every wife would make her husband as many compliments as Eve pays to Adam, in Milton, if he was the only man in the world; so would every man, if his wife was the only woman.

People are better pleased with the knavish lawyer—who instructs them how to cheat the adverse party in a cause, or to avoid the payment of a just claim, by a legal technicality, than with the honest one—who recommends an equitable arbitration.

Romance and comedy writers always make lovers rich before they marry: they know this is an essential requisite to the completion of happiness, both in the hero and the heroine. Unfortunately, young people follow the example of these romantic characters in love, but not in the acquisition of fortune: they forget that love alone will not make them happy, and that, like lunatics, as they come more and more to themselves, they will require more and more the comforts and conveniences of life, which, in the paroxysm of passion, were never attended to.

The people of Fire Island are accused of pillaging strangers who are shipwrecked. Are not the inhabitants of inland towns equally eager to divide the spoil of a deceased neighbor or friend, and to glut themselves with the idea of obtaining his property at half the value?

Prudent people never are beloved. Imprudence, by preventing envy, raises popularity; yet prudence is the sole friend of generosity. Generosity is like a beautiful and expansive river; we admire its beauty, and enjoy its advantages, but neither see nor think of the secret springs that feed it.

The idea of good or bad fortune attending a man, has been generally received in all ages. Cicero recommended Pompey to the Romans for their general, as he was a man of good fortune; and Cardinal Mazarin, when any officer was recommended to him, always asked, “Est il heureux?”

We never regard innovation, or even oppression, till it comes home to ourselves. In the life of Cromwell, an anecdote is told of a clerk in chancery, who had seen with great indifference all the alterations that had been made in the constitution both in church and state; but when he was told there was to be some new regulations in the sex’ clerk’s office—Nay, says he, if they begin once to strike out fundamentals, there is no telling where they will stop.

Public opinion is a tyrant—cruel are the sacrifices it demands.

How many fathers there are who always comfort themselves with saying, “I shall die poor, but let my sons make their way in the world as I have done!” To which some complaisant neighbor replies, “And I am sure, sir, they cannot do better!” But should not parents reflect that their sons have not only the same difficulties to encounter which they have had, but the additional disadvantage, that having been brought up in habits of luxury and idleness, to which the parents themselves in their youth were strangers.

Married people sometimes study to appear as fond as lovers, passing their time in billing and cooing like turtle doves. Let them remember that bankrupts in love, like those in fortune, appear in gaudy colors, to keep up their credit.

A deaf and dumb person being asked what is forgiveness, took out his pencil and wrote the answer to the written question thus: “It is the odor which flowers yield when trampled upon.” What a volume of exquisite poetry and at the same time forcible truth is contained in it.

I remember somewhere to have read of a tyrannical ruler, who is said to have publicly erected altars to cruelty and injustice. Many modern worshipers of the same hideous divinities are equally as zealous as this tyrant: but with the essential difference, that their altars are erected in private, within the penetralia of their own homes. Like the Egyptian priesthood, after having performed the most diabolical rites, they come forth arrayed in the white robes of innocence. And society is too apt, like the “ignobile vulgus” of Egypt, to greet them with the same reverence they did their priesthood. They, too, have their esoteric and exoteric theology—the one is their religion in private, the other abroad.

“The nobility of the Spencers has been enriched by the trophies of Marlborough; but I exhort them to consider ‘The Fairy Queen’ as the most precious jewel in their coronet.”

This lively paragraph may be found in the memoirs of Gibbon; and the sentiment therein conveyed is no less beautiful than true; for after all, what is military glory and renown when compared with the fame of the distinguished poet, historian, or man of letters. The hero, after the lapse of a few centuries shines like a very distant constellation, merely visible in the wide expanse of history, while the poet and historian continue to sparkle in the eyes of all men, like that radiant star of the evening, perpetually hailed by the voice of gratitude, affection, and delight.

“The lawyer,” said Burke, “has his forms and his positive institutions, and he adheres to them with a veneration altogether as religious as the divine. The worst cause cannot be so prejudicial to the litigant as his attorney’s ignorance of forms. A good parson once said, where mystery begins, there religion ends. May not the same be said of justice, that where the mystery of forms begin, there all justice ends.”

There is a great deal more truth in the above quotation from Burke, than is generally admitted by the followers of Coke and Littleton. The satire may be, perhaps, too broad, as the whole essay in which it occurs was a burlesque upon Bolingbroke; but, nevertheless, there is truth in the sarcasm. Law, as a system, even in this age of intelligence, is cumbered up with useless forms, absurd fictions, and unmeaning technicalities; serving only to strew with stumbling blocks the pathway to the temple of justice, which should ever be of safe and easy approach. The system of the administration of laws in this country, needs a thorough overhauling. The Augean stables were not half as much in want of the labors of an Hercules, as the departments of law of the labors of the modern reformer. And as the stables in the classic fable were cleansed by the turning of a river through them, so all that it wants now in reference to the administration of law, is, that the current of popular sentiment should be turned in that direction; and gathering strength as it goes

“Vires acquirit eundo,”

it will thoroughly cleanse and purify the Augean stables of the law.

The impudent man has wonderful advantages; he successfully assumes every talent, and pretends to every branch of learning; and passes the time, spent by others in recluse retirement and gloomy study, in making useful friends, and acquiring the habits of the world.

Any transitory marks of distinction, or ideal honors, produce future regret, and often poignant grief. The beauty of the ball is little flattered, twenty years afterward, by that praise and admiration which is past and forgotten, any more than the collegian, who gained every literary prize, which vainly taught him to expect admiration, applause, and respect through life.

Imprudence is so often the cause of misfortunes, that the Cardinal Richelieu used to say, that imprudence and misfortune were synonymous.

Memory is productive of more misery than happiness. Misfortune leaves unpleasing vestiges, whilst the remembrance of pleasures past creates regret.

Fortune, like the fickle female, despises the object of her power. She slights the very sighs that she creates; and whilst the suppliant is disregarded, she courts the hand which rejects her. Relentless and obdurate to her most passionate admirers, what she refuses to love, she often lavishes on indifference.


Aboard his brittle bark, on the rough sea,

  Lo! the bold mariner in safety rides,

  Nor fears he waves, nor dreads he running tides;

Ocean his home, no other home seeks he—

Nor storm nor tempest can his course control,

  Sways he the winds, in canvas them enchains,

  Bidding them bear him ’cross the watery plains;

His guide the needle, pointing to the pole—

Freighted with wealth, his white-winged vessel goes,

  Things useful fetching from each distant clime;

  Thus mankind, knit in brotherhood sublime,

Learn all that Art and Science can disclose—

“Who go to sea in ships”—their native right—

Deem all apparent danger pleasure and delight.

W. A.


The Blithedale Romance. By Nathaniel Hawthorne. Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields. 1 vol. 12mo.

In the first flush of a romancer’s fame, there is rarely any distinct recognition of the peculiar originality of his powers as distinguished from other great novelists, who equally fasten the interest and thrill the hearts of their readers. The still, small voice of analysis is lost amid thunders of applause. In the case of Hawthorne this mode of reception does but little justice either to the force or refinement of his powers. It is only when we explore the source of his fascination, when we go over the processes of his mind in creation, that we can realize the character and scope of his genius, and estimate, on true principles, the merit of each succeeding product of his pen. It is obvious to every reader that his mind is at once rich in various faculties, and powerful in its general action; that he possesses observation, fancy, imagination, passion, wit, humor; but a great writer can never be accurately described in those abstract terms which apply equally to all great writers, for such terms give us only the truth as it is about the author, not the truth as it is in him. The real question relates to the modification of his powers by his character; the tendency, the direction, the coloring, which his faculties receive in obeying the primary impulses of his individuality. This brings us at once to the sharpest test to which an author can be subjected, for it puts to him that searching query which instantly dissolves the most plausible bubbles—has he novelty of nature? Is he an absolutely new power in literature? It is Hawthorne’s great felicity that he can stand the remorseless rigor of this test. He is not made up by culture, imitation, appropriation, sympathy, but has grown up in obedience to vigorous innate principles and instincts seated in his own nature; his power and peculiarity can be analyzed into no inspirations caught from other minds, but conduct us back to their roots in his original constitution. Thus he has imagination, and he has humor; but his imagination is not the imagination of Shelley or the imagination of Richter; neither is his humor the humor of Addison or the humor of Dickens; they are both essentially Hawthorneish, and resent all attempts to identify them with faculties in other minds. His style, again, in its clearness, pliability, and melodious ease of movement, reminds us of the style of Addison, of Scott, and of Irving, in making us forget itself in attending to what it conveys; but for that very reason every vital peculiarity of it is original, for what it conveys is the individuality of Hawthorne, and there is not a page which suggests, except to the word-mongers and period-balancers of mechanical criticism, even an unconscious imitation of any acknowledged master of diction. This contented movement within the limitations of his own genius, this austere confinement of his mind to that “magic circle” where none can walk but he, this scorn of pretending to be a creator in regions of mental effort with which he can simply sympathize—all declare the sagacious honesty, the instinctive intellectual conscientiousness of original genius. Hunt him when and where you will—lay traps for him—watch the most secret haunts and cosiest corners of his meditative retirement—and you never catch him strutting about in borrowed robes, gorgeous with purple patches cut from transatlantic garments, or adroitly filching felicities from transcendental pockets. Inimitable in his own sphere, he has little temptation to be a poacher in the domains of other minds.

It is evident, if what we have said be true, that the criticism to be applied to Hawthorne’s works must take its rules of judgment from the laws to which his own genius yields obedience; for if he differs from other writers, not in degree but in kind, if the process and purpose of his creations be peculiar to himself, and especially if he draws from an experience of life from which others have been shut out, and has penetrated into mysterious regions of consciousness, a pioneer in the unexplored wildernesses of thought—it is worse than ridiculous to prattle the old phrases, and apply the accredited rules of criticism to an entirely new product of the human mind. The objections to Hawthorne, if objections there be, do not relate to the exercise of his powers but to his nature itself. His works are the offspring of that; proceed as certainly from it as a deduction from a premise; and criticism can do little in detecting any break in the links of that logic of passion and imagination, any discordance in that unity of law, which presides over the organization of each product of his mind. But we are willing to admit, that criticism may advance a step beyond this, and after conceding the power and genuineness of a work of art, can still question the excellence of the spirit by which it is animated; can, in short, doubt the validity, denounce the character, and attempt to weaken the influence, of the kind of genius its analysis lays open.

The justice of such a criticism applied to Hawthorne would depend on the notion which the critic has of what constitutes excellence in kind. The ordinary demand of the mind in a work of art, serious as well on humorous, is for geniality—a demand which admits of the widest variety of kinds which can be included within a healthy and pleasurable directing sentiment. Now Hawthorne is undoubtedly exquisitely genial, at times, but in him geniality cannot be said to predominate. Geniality of general effect comes, in a great degree, from tenderness to persons; it implies a conception of individual character so intense and vivid, that the beings of the author’s brain become the objects of his love; and this love somewhat blinds him to the action of those spiritual laws which really control the conduct and avenge the crimes of individuals.

In Hawthorne, on the contrary, persons are commonly conceived in their relations to laws, and hold a second place in his mind. In “The Scarlet Letter,” which made a deeper impression on the public than any romance ever published in the United States, there is little true characterization, in the ordinary meaning of the term. The characters are not really valuable for what they are, but for what they illustrate. Imagination is predominant throughout the work, but it is imagination in its highest analytic rather than dramatic action. And this is the secret of the strange fascination which fastens attention to its horrors. It is not Hester or Dimmesdale that really interest us, but the spectacle of the human mind open to the retribution of violated law, and quivering in the agonies of shame and remorse. It is the law and not the person that is vitally conceived, and accordingly the author traces its sure operation with an unshrinking intellect that, for the time, is remorseless to persons. As an illustration of the Divine order on which our conventional order rests, it is the most moral book of the age; and is especially valuable as demonstrating the superficiality of that code of ethics, predominant in the French school of romance, which teaches obedience to individual instinct and impulse, regardless of all moral truths which contain the generalized experience of the race. The purpose of the book did not admit of geniality. Adultery has been made genial by many poets and novelists, but only by considering it under a totally different aspect from that in which Hawthorne viewed it. Geniality in “The Scarlet Letter” would be like an ice-cream shop in Dante’s Inferno.

In “The House of Seven Gables,” we perceive the same far-reaching and deep-seeing vision into the duskiest corners of the human mind, and the same grasp of objective laws, but the interest is less intense, and the subject admits of more relief. There is more of character in it, delineated however on some neutral ground between the grotesque and the picturesque, and with flashes of supernatural light darting occasionally into the picture, revealing, by glimpses, the dread foundations on which the whole rests. It contains more variety of power than “The Scarlet Letter,” and in the characters of Clifford and Phebe exhibits the extreme points of Hawthorne’s genius. The delineation of Clifford evinces a metaphysical power, a capacity of watching the most remote movements of thought, and of resolving into form the mere film of consciousness—of exhibiting the mysteries of the mind in as clear a light as ordinary novelists exhibit its common manifestations—which might excite the wonder of Kant or Hegel. Phebe, on the contrary, though shaped from the finest materials, and implying a profound insight into the subtilest sources or genial feeling, is represented dramatically, is a pure embodiment, and may be deemed Hawthorne’s most perfect character. The sunshine of the book all radiates from her; and there is hardly a “shady place” in that weird “House,” into which it does not penetrate.

“The Blithedale Romance,” just published, seems to us the most perfect in execution of any of Hawthorne’s works, and as a work of art, hardly equaled by any thing else which the country has produced. It is a real organism of the mind, with the strict unity of one of Nature’s own creations. It seems to have grown up in the author’s nature, as a tree or plant grows from the earth, in obedience to the law of its germ. This unity cannot be made clear by analysis; it is felt in the oneness of impression it makes on the reader’s imagination. The author’s hold on the central principle is never relaxed; it never slips from his grasp; and yet every thing is developed with a victorious ease which adds a new charm to the interest of the materials. The romance, also, has more thought in it than either of its predecessors; it is literally crammed with the results of most delicate and searching observation of life, manners and character, and of the most piercing imaginative analysis of motives and tendencies; yet nothing seems labored, but the profoundest reflections glide unobtrusively into the free flow of the narration and description, equally valuable from their felicitous relation to the events and persons of the story, and for their detached depth and power. The work is not without a certain morbid tint in the general coloring of the mood whence it proceeds; but this peculiarity is fainter than is usual with Hawthorne.

The scene of the story is laid in Blithedale, an imaginary community on the model of the celebrated Brook Farm, of Roxbury, of which Hawthorne himself was a member. The practical difficulties in the way of combining intellectual and manual labor on socialist principles constitutes the humor of the book; but the interest centres in three characters, Hollingsworth, Zenobia, and Priscilla. These are represented as they appear through the medium of an imagined mind, that of Miles Coverdale, the narrator of the story, a person indolent of will, but of an apprehensive, penetrating, and inquisitive intellect. The discerner of spirits only tells us his own discoveries; and there is a wonderful originality and power displayed in thus representing the characters. What is lost by this mode, on definite views, is more than made up in the stimulus given both to our acuteness and curiosity, and its manifold suggestiveness. We are joint watchers with Miles himself, and sometimes find ourselves disagreeing with him in his interpretation of an act or expression of the persons he is observing. The events are purely mental, the changes and crises of moods of mind. Three persons of essentially different characters and purposes are placed together; the law of spiritual influence, the magnetism of soul on soul begins to operate; and the processes of thought and emotion are then presented in perfect logical order to their inevitable catastrophe. These characters are Hollingsworth, a reformer, whose whole nature becomes ruthless under the dominion of one absorbing idea—Zenobia, a beautiful, imperious, impassioned, self-willed woman, superbly endowed in person and intellect, but with something provokingly equivocal in her character—and Priscilla, an embodiment of feminine affection in its simplest type. Westervelt, an elegant piece of earthliness, “not so much born as damned into the world,” plays a Mephistophelian part in this mental drama; and is so skillfully represented that the reader joins at the end, with the author, in praying that Heaven may annihilate him. “May his pernicious soul rot half a grain a day.”

With all the delicate sharpness of insight into the most elusive movements of Consciousness, by which the romance is characterised, the drapery cast over the whole representation, is rich and flowing, and there is no parade of metaphysical acuteness. All the profound and penetrating observation seems the result of a certain careless felicity of aim, which hits the mark in the white without any preliminary posturing or elaborate preparation. The stronger, and harsher passions are represented with the same ease as the evanescent shades of thought and emotion. The humorous and descriptive scenes are in Hawthorne’s best style. The peculiarities of New England life at the present day are admirably caught and permanently embodied; Silas Foster and Hollingsworth being both genuine Yankees and representative men. The great passage of the volume is Zenobia’s death, which is not so much tragic as tragedy itself. In short, whether we consider “The Blithedale Romance” as a study in that philosophy of the human mind which peers into the inmost recesses and first principles of mind and character, or a highly colored and fascinating story, it does not yield in interest or value to any of Hawthorne’s preceding works, while it is removed from a comparison with them by essential differences in its purpose and mode of treatment, and is perhaps their superior in affluence and fineness of thought and masterly perception of the first remote workings of great and absorbing passions.

The History of the Restoration of Monarchy in France. By Alphonse de Lamartine. Vol. 2. New York: Harper & Brothers.

This volume deals with the events of “The Hundred Days,” giving a graphic picture of the incidents which occured between the return of Napoleon from Elba and his final overthrow at Waterloo. It is much more minute than any other history of the period, and occasionally gives elaborate descriptions of persons and occurrences unworthy of being rescued from the oblivion of their unimportance. Lamartine evidently dislikes both Napoleon and Napoleonism. The leading object of the present volume is to prove that France was sick of him, and that the army alone was in his favor. One passage seems a palpable hit at the usurpation of the “Nephew of my Uncle.” “If the people,” says Lamartine, “did not protest by civic opposition, they protested very generally by their sorrow and estrangement. History never recorded more audacity in the usurpation of a throne, or a more cowardly submission of a nation to an army. France lost on that day somewhat of its character, the law or its majesty, the liberty of its respect. Military despotism was substituted for public opinion. The pretorians made a mockery of the people. The Lower Empire of Rome enacted in Gaul one of those scenes which degrade history, and humiliate human nature. The only excuse for such an event is that the people were depressed under ten years of military government, that the army was rendered frantic by ten years of prodigies, and that its idol was a hero.”

For the Bourbons, Lamartine evinces a tender regard, and narrates their flight from France in a style of mental bombast which but ill rescues it from ridicule. The description of the Congress of Vienna is very brilliant, and the sketches of Talleyrand, Fouche, and Wellington, discriminating and powerful. The sentimentality of the author gives, as usual, its peculiar perversion to the facts of the narrative; things are commonly represented in their relation to the opinions of Lamartine, rather than in their relation to each other; and occasionally gross fictions are introduced to add to the scenic effect.

For instance, in the account of the battle of Waterloo, Wellington, at one stage of the contest, is said to have mounted his eighth horse, seven having been worn out or killed under him. He rode only one during the whole day. Again, in describing a charge of English horse, Lamartine represents the duke as causing brandy to be distributed to the dragoons, “to intoxicate the men with liquid fire, whilst the sound of the clarion should intoxicate the horses,” and then launching them himself “at full speed down the declivity of Mont-Saint-Jean.” This statement, likewise, the translator is authorized to deny. It is curious also that Lamartine, with his numerous additions, should have made one important omission of fact. Wellington was surprised at Waterloo; Lamartine represents him as negligent; but the truth was that he depended on Fouche, to give him intelligence of Napoleon’s march. Fouche, with his usual felicity in duplicating his treasons, sent intelligence to Wellington of Napoleon’s approach, and then dispatched orders for the arrest of his own messenger. Those who are accustomed to consider Wellington as the “iron duke,” and to transfer to him all the passionlessness which such an epithet suggests, will be surprised at the peculiar emphasis with which Lamartine speaks of his “voluptuousness.” This charge, we believe, was true in 1815.

Up the Rhine. By Thomas Hood. With Comic Illustrations. New York: Geo. P. Putnam. 1 vol. 12mo.

This volume, one of the pleasantest of Hood’s many pleasant books, was first published in 1840, and has never before been reprinted. It is composed of letters, written by the various members of a family traveling up the Rhine, and conceived somewhat after the model of Humphrey Clinker. Hood’s characters are a hypochondriac, a widow, a dashing young gentleman, and a servant maid; and it is in exhibiting the oddities and humors of these, rather than in any description of the scenery, that the charm of the book consists. The letters of Martha Penny, the servant maid, are the gems of the volume. Her spelling and grammar are so felicitous in their infelicities, as to amount to a kind of genius; and the character is one of the best that Hood ever delineated. Her letter, describing the effects of a storm at sea, is perhaps the richest in the volume. “To add to my frite,” she says, “down flumps the stewardis on her nees and begins shrieking we shall be pitcht all over! Think I if she give up we may prepair for our watery graves. At sich crisisus theres nothing like religun and if I repeted my catkism wunce I said it a hundered times over and never wunce rite. The only comfort I had besides Christianity was to give Missus warnin witch I did over and over between her attax. At last Martha says she we are going to a world where there is no sitivations. What an idear! But our superiors are always shy of our society, as if hevin abuv was too good for servants. Talking of superiers there was a Tittled Lady in Bed in the cabbin that sent every five minits for the capting, till at long and at last he got Crusty. Capting says she I insist on your gitting the ship more out of the wind. I wish I could says he. Dont you no who I ham, says she vary dignifide.” The last touch is especially fine.

A Step from the New World to the Old and Back Again: With Thoughts on the Good and Evil in Both. By Henry P. Tappan. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 2 vols. 12mo.

A new book of travels, devoted to a description of old scenes which have been traveled over and over again, is getting to be the terror of critics. We therefore took up the present volume with that languid intolerance of the subject which is ominous of dissatisfaction both with the writer and his book, but were agreeably surprised at the new interest which the author has contrived to cast over familiar objects. Prof. Tappan, indeed, is one of those independent and thoughtful tourists who never repeat the stale ecstasies and stereotyped amazement common to ordinary travelers on seeing objects they are prepared to admire, but views things through the medium of his own mind, and honestly records impressions made on his own heart and imagination. He is a quiet, scholarly, truthful, candid and intelligent man, sees much which others have missed seeing, and never loses his discrimination in his raptures. His observations are often striking and original, and the information he conveys is commonly valuable. His journey was confined to England, Scotland, the Rhine, Switzerland, France and Holland. The most interesting portion of all is that which relates to Holland. In visiting Abbotsford the author gives a provoking piece of news. It is well-known that the sale of Scott’s works had been sufficient to clear this estate of debt, and every purchaser of the English edition of his writings throughout the world felt that he was aiding in this good work. After the death of Scott’s son, the estate, some two thousand acres, descended to Scott’s grandson, young Lockhart, who has again embarrassed it. It is now occupied by a London broker.

Legends of Love and Chivalry. The Knights of England, France and Scotland. By Henry William Herbert. New York: Redfield. 1 vol. 12mo.

This volume contains Legends of the Norman Conquerors, of the Crusaders, of Feudal Days, and of Scotland—fourteen splendid tales in all. As is usual with him, Mr. Herbert deals in this volume with the strongest passions, and exhibits their workings in powerful characters and striking events. His mode of narration is vehement, and the reader who once commits himself to the rushing stream of his style can hardly pause for breath until he has arrived at the end. His knowledge of history is extensive and minute, and it is a knowledge painted in living pictures on his imagination rather than hoarded in his memory. The past is present to him—in persons, scenery, dialect and costume, and he writes of it as if he were recording what was passing before his eyes. This power of vitalizing and vivifying every thing he touches is manifested throughout these “Legends.” He conceives with each intensity that he becomes a partisan in dealing with his own creations; is furiously hostile to some, and as furiously favorable to others. The effect of his intense representations is felt both in the reader’s brain and blood. It is not until after the book is read that we feel conscious that the author’s sympathies and antipathies disturb his powers of discrimination in his judgments of historical characters.

Waverley Novels. Library Edition. Vol. 1. Waverley; or ’Tis Sixty Years Since. Boston: B. B. Mussey & Co. 12mo.

This is a new issue of Parker’s celebrated edition of the Waverley Novels, containing the author’s final additions, corrections and notes. It is printed in large type, is very cheap, and should meet with success. This, with Lippincott, Grambo & Co.’s edition, will doubtless induce a re-perusal of the novels of Scott. Nothing that has since been written has surpassed or even equaled them in the distinguishing features of romantic writing. It is Scott’s great and rare distinction that he created a school of novelists admitting the exercise of the most various genius, and that among the myriad writers who have felt his inspiration none has received or merited his fame. In England a hundred and twenty-five thousand copies of his novels have been sold, and the demand still continues. Scott should be read every five years. In the fourth perusal we have found his novels more interesting than the new romances of the day.

Graces and Powers of the Christian Life. By A. D. Mayo. Boston: Abel Tompkins. 1 vol. 12mo.

The present volume contains eleven sermons on topics suggested by the title, and they are all worthy of being read beyond that peculiar circle of readers, known technically as the “religious public.” The writer is evidently a man of a discerning and disciplined mind, writing from deep fountains of personal experience, and treating the gravest and deepest realities of life with the assured air of one whose soul has been in contact with the great spiritual facts he announces. Hence comes both the elevation and the practical soundness of his statements of duty and his exhortations to holiness. His style is pliable to his thoughts and emotions, stating plain things plainly, and rising as his subject rises into unforced dignity and eloquence. There is nothing of the rhetorician either in the selection of his matter, or his mode of expressing it, but an unmistakable sincerity and truthfulness distinguish every statement, argument and appeal. As a thinker he excels in spiritual discernment, though he is not deficient in that logical method by which a principle, clearly conceived in itself, is rigidly followed through all its applications to men and to affairs. His volume meets practical needs in many hearts, and only requires to have its character known to be extensively read. He belongs to that class of clergymen who really commune with spiritual and religious ideas, and therefore, though a writer of sermons, he never sermonizes.

Roughing it in the Bush; or Life in Canada. By Susanna Moodie. New York: Geo. P. Putnam. 2 parts.

Mrs. Moodie is the sister of Agnes Strickland, and while fully her equal in talent, excels both her and most of womankind in enterprise, fortitude and heroism. Her present work, detailing the dangers and discomforts of a life in the far-west of Canada, is full of fine descriptions of nature, evinces throughout a healthy and vigorous spirit, and contains many a scene of genuine humor. Her sketches of character, Yankee, French and English, are especially good.

Little Peddlington and the Peddlingtonians. By John Poole, author of Paul Pry, etc. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 2 vols. 16mo.

Since the “Memoirs of P. P., Clerk of the Parish,” no book has been published equal to this in the art of lifting the little into ludicrous importance. Its length makes it somewhat tiresome, but the leading idea is so well carried out—so well directed a fire is kept up at all the political literary and social follies of England—and the author is a humorist of such truth and keenness—that it deserves its place in the “Popular Library” to which it belongs.

Adventures of Col. Vanderbomb in Pursuit of the Presidency. Also, the Exploits of his Secretary. By J. B. Jones, Ex-editor of the Official Journal. Philadelphia: A. Hart (late Carey & Hart.)

This is a very humorous story of the political career of an imaginary candidate for the highest office in the gift of the sovereign people; a spirited satire upon the efforts of ambitious aspirants for political distinction and profits. The work is seasonable, and will be widely read. The illustrated cover is by Darley.

The Mother at Home; or The Principles of Maternal Duty Familiarly Illustrated. By John S. C. Abbott. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1 vol. 16mo.

This valuable little work has long enjoyed an extensive popularity, and been translated into numerous foreign languages. The present edition is illustrated with numerous fine wood-cuts and printed in the same elegant style as the author’s series of historical works. It should be in the hands of every mother, for though much of it is necessarily commonplace, there is much also which is new and suggestive.

Time and Tide; or Strive and Win. By A. S. Roe, Author of James Montjoy, etc. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1 vol. 12mo.

The author of this story is well-known as vigorous and truthful delineator of common life. The present volume is one of his best. It inculcates the moral implied in the title, a moral which is the key to all success in life. The characters are drawn with much force, and the incidents have the interest of reality. To the young the work will be found particularly interesting.

Whately’s English Synonyms. First American Edition. Boston: James Monroe & Co.

This edition is very carefully revised from the second London edition, and will be found to be of great service to the student and man of letters.

The Romance of the Revolution. Edited by Oliver B. Bunce. New York: Bunce & Brother.

This volume is filled with passages of stirring interest, appropriately arranged, selected from various authorities, embracing the most romantic incidents of the War of Independence. It is admirably illustrated with wood-engravings by Orr, printed in tints.

Transcriber’s Notes:

Archaic spellings and hyphenation have been retained. Punctuation has been corrected without note. Other errors have been corrected as noted below. For illustrations, some caption text may be missing or incomplete due to condition of the originals used for preparation of the ebook.


Page 229, lessons in magnitude ==> lessens in magnitude

Page 234, staff off life ==> staff of life

Page 254, aud Monsieur Fleury ==> and Monsieur Fleury

page 263, plucked and eat ==> plucked and ate

page 263, the more I eat ==> the more I ate

Page 264, was to done ==> was to be done

Page 265, in Rio Janiero ==> in Rio Janeiro

Page 267, sentence ended abruptly so added [missing content]. Possibly

                meant to connect with the following paragraph.

Page 273, She would alternate ==> She would alternately

Page 278, Macedonia was two small ==> Macedonia was too small

Page 278, the flashing steal ==> the flashing steel

Page 286, The mountain-lodge ==> The mountain lodge

Page 291, in an ancient registar ==> in an ancient register

Page 296, a daguerreotyed specimen ==> a daguerreotyped specimen

Page 309, courage or presénce d’ésprit ==> courage or présence d’ésprit

Page 312, Ned piroutted on ==> Ned pirouetted on

Page 314, and that Newyear’s-day ==> and that new-year’s-day

Page 315, that he thonght ==> that he thought

Page 316, John of Britanny == John of Brittany

Page 318, occupied in Hennibon ==> occupied in Hennebon

Page 321, brothers of Lande-Halle ==> brothers of Land-Halle

Page 321, not Duke of Britanny ==> not Duke of Brittany

Page 330, added [To be continued.

Page 333, each succeding product ==> each succeeding product

Page 334, we percieve the same ==> we perceive the same



[The end of Graham's Magazine: Vol. XLI No. 3 September, 1852 edited by George R. Graham]