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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature
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Title: Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. XII. No. 31. October, 1873.

Author: Various

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LIPPINCOTT'S MAGAZINE

OF

_POPULAR LITERATURE AND SCIENCE_.

Vol XII, No. 31.

OCTOBER, 1873.



TABLE OF CONTENTS
  FROM PARIS TO MARLY BY WAY OF THE RHINE [Illustrated] By EDWARD STRAHAN.
    IV.--A Day In Strasburg.
  FROM THE POTOMAC TO THE OHIO. [Illustrated]
  AN EPISODE IN THE LIFE OF A STRONG-MINDED WOMAN By MARSHALL NEIL.
  THE KING OF BAVARIA. by E.E.
  ON THE CHURCH STEPS By SARAH C. HALLOWELL.
    Chapter X.
    Chaper XI.
    Chapter XII.
  A STRANGE LAND AND A PECULIAR PEOPLE By WILL WALLACE HARNEY.
  SIMILITUDE By EMMA LAZAROS.
  OUR HOME IN THE TYROL [Illustrated] By MARGARET HOWITT.
    Chapter XI.
    Chapter XII.
  UNSAID By CHARLOTTE F. BATES.
  LAURENTINUM By A.A.B.
  A PRINCESS OF THULE By WILLIAM BLACK.
    Chapter XVI.--Exchanges.
    Chapter XVII.--Guesses.
    Chapter XVIII.--Sheila's Strategem.
  THE LAST OF THE IDYLLS By F.F. ELMS.
  OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.
    An Evening In Calcutta By W.H.S.
    No Danbury For Me By SARSFIELD YOUNG.
    Another Ghost By S.C. CLARKE.
  NOTES.
  LITERATURE OF THE DAY.
    Books Received.



ILLUSTRATIONS
  TEARING UP THE PONTOON BRIDGE.
  STRASBURG CATHEDRAL IN FLAMES.
  THE HIGHEST SPIRE IN EUROPE.
  THE GREAT CLOCK.
  CHURCH OF SAINT THOMAS.
  BEAUTY'S QUINTESSENCE.
  VOICI LE SABRE!
  STREET OF THE GREAT ARCADES.
  BEER-GARDEN OF THE DAUPHIN.
  SUCKLED IN A CREED OUTWORN.
  THE BLESSING OF THE BAB.
  THE BOTANIST.
  VIEW NEAR ANTIETAM, MARYLAND.
  POTOMAC TUNNEL, NEAR HARPER'S FERRY.
  BATTLE-GROUNDS OF THE POTOMAC VALLEY.
  SCENE AMONG THE MARYLAND ALLEGHANIES.
  SCENE AT CUMBERLAND NARROWS.
  CLIFF VIEW, CUMBERLAND NARROWS.
  VALLEY FALLS, WEST VIRGINIA.
  FISH CREEK VALLEY, WEST VIRGINIA.
  CHEAT RIVER VALLEY AND MOUNTAINS.
  CHEAT RIVERS NARROWS.
  SCHLOSS SCHWALBEN.




THE NEW HYPERION.

FROM PARIS TO MARLY BY WAY OF THE RHINE.

IV.--A DAY IN STRASBURG.


[Illustration: TEARING UP THE PONTOON BRIDGE.]

Behold me, then, with five hours around my neck, like so many
millstones, in Strasburg, on the abjured Rhine! Had I not vowed never
to visit that bewitched current again? Was it not by Rhine-bank that
I learned to quote the minnesingers and to unctuate my hair? From her
owl-tower did not old Frau Himmelauen use to observe me, my cane, and
my curls, and my gloves? Did not her gossips compare me to Wilhelm
Meister? And so, when he thought he was ripe, the innocent Paul
Flemming must needs proceed to pour his curls, his songs and his love
into the lap of Mary Ashburton; and the discreet siren responded, "You
had better go back to Heidelberg and grow: you are not the Magician."

Yet before that little disaster of my calf period I sighed for the
Rhine: I used its wines more freely than was perhaps good for me, and
when the smoke-colored goblet was empty would declare that if I were a
German I should be proud of the grape-wreathed river too. At Bingen
I once sat up to behold the bold outline of the banks crested with
ruins, which in the morning proved to be a slated roof and chimneys.
And when at Heidelberg I saw the Neckar open upon the broad Rhine
plain like the mouth of a trumpet, I felt inspired, and built
every evening on my table a perfect cathedral of slim, spire-shaped
bottles--sunny pinnacles of Johannisberger.

And now, decoyed to the Rhine by a puerile conspiracy, how could I
best get the small change for my five hours?

[Illustration: STRASBURG CATHEDRAL IN FLAMES.]

Should I sulk like a bear in the parlor of the Maison Rouge until the
departure of the Paris train, or should I explore the city? Some wave
from my fond, foolish past flowed over me and filled me with desire.
I felt that I loved the Rhine and the Rhine cities once more. And where
could I better retie myself to those old pilgrim habits than in this
citadel of heroism, a place sanctied by recent woes, a city proved
by its endurance through a siege which even that of Paris hardly
surpassed? One draught, then, from the epic Rhine! To-morrow, at
Marly, I could laugh over it all with Hohenfels.

The Muenster was before me--the highest tower in Europe, if we except
the hideous cast-iron abortion at Rouen. I recollected that in my
younger days I had been defrauded of my fair share of tower-climbing.
Hohenfels had a saying that most travelers are a sort of children, who
need to touch all they see, and who will climb to every broken tooth
of a castle they find on their way, getting a tiresome ascent and hot
sunshine for their pains. "I trust we are wiser," he would observe,
so unanswerably that I passed with him up the Rhine quite, as I may
express it, on the ground floor.

I marched to the cathedral, determined to ascend, and when I saw the
look of it changed my mind.

The sacristan, in fact, advised me not to go up after he had taken my
fee and obtained a view of my proportions over the tube of his
key, which he pretended to whistle into. We sat down together as I
recovered my breath, after which I wandered through the nave with
my guide, admiring the statue of the original architect, who stands
looking at the interior--a kind of Wren "circumspecting" his own
monument. At high noon the twelve apostles come out from the famous
horologe and take up their march, and chanticleer, on one of the
summits of the clock-case, opens his brazen throat and crows loud
enough to fill the farthest recesses of the church with his harsh
alarum.

A portly citizen was talking to the sacristan. "I hear many objections
to that bird, sir," he remarked to me, "from fastidious tourists: one
thinks that a peacock, spreading its jewels by mechanism, would have
a richer effect. Another says that a swan, perpetually wrestling with
its dying song, would be more poetical. Others, in the light of late
events, would prefer a phoenix."

The dress of the stout citizen announced a sedentary man rather than a
cosmopolitan. He had a shirt-front much hardened with starch; a white
waistcoat, like an alabaster carving, which pushed his shirt away
up round his ears; and a superb bluebottle-colored coat, with metal
buttons. It was the costume of a stay-at-home, and I learned afterward
that he was a local professor of geography and political science--the
first by day, the last at night only in beer-gardens and places of
resort.

[Illustration: THE HIGHEST SPIRE IN EUROPE.]

"Nay," I said, "the barnyard bird is of all others the fittest for a
timepiece: he chants the hours for the whole country-side, and an old
master of English song has called him Nature's 'crested clock.'"

"With all deference," said the bourgeois, "I would still have a
substitute provided for yonder cock. I would set up the Strasburg
goose. Is he not our emblem, and is not our commerce swollen by the
inflation of the _foie gras_? In one compartment I would show him fed
with sulphur-water to increase his biliary secretion; another might
represent his cage, so narrow that the pampered creature cannot even
turn round on his stomach for exercise; another division might be
anatomical, and present the martyr opening his breast, like some
tortured saint, to display his liver, enlarged to the weight of three
pounds; while the apex might be occupied by the glorified, gander in
person, extending his neck and commenting on the sins of the Strasburg
pastry-cooks with a cutting and sardonic hiss."

You have not forgotten, reader, the legend of the old clock?

Many years ago there lived here an aged and experienced mechanic.
Buried in his arts, he forgot the ways of the world, and promised his
daughter to his gallant young apprentice, instead of to the hideous
old magistrate who approached the maiden with offers of gold and
dignity. One day the youth and damsel found the unworldly artist
weeping for joy before his completed clock, the wonder of the earth.
Everybody came to see it, and the corporation bought it for the
cathedral. The city of Basel bespoke another just like it. This
order aroused the jealousy of the authorities, who tried to make
the mechanic promise that he would never repeat his masterpiece
for another town. "Heaven gave me not my talents to feed your vain
ambition," said the man of craft: "the men of Basel were quicker to
recognize my skill than you were. I will make no such promise." Upon
that the rejected suitor, who was among the magistrates, persuaded his
colleagues to put out the artist's eyes. The old man heard his fate
with lofty fortitude, and only asked that he might suffer the sentence
in the presence of his darling work, to which he wished to give a
few final strokes. His request was granted, and he gazed long at the
splendid clock, setting its wonders in motion to count off the last
remaining moments of his sight. "Come, laggard," said the persecuting
magistrate, who had brought a crowd of spectators, "you are taxing the
patience of this kind audience." "But one touch remains," said the old
mechanic, "to complete my work;" and he busied himself a moment among
the wheels. While he suffered the agonies of his torture a fearful
whir was heard from the clock: the weights tumbled crashing to
the floor as his eyes fell from their sockets. He had removed the
master-spring, and his revenge was complete. The lovers devoted
their lives to the comfort of the blind clockmaker, and the wicked
magistrate was hooted from society. The clock remained a ruin until
1842, when parts of it were used in the new one constructed by
Schwilgue.

[Illustration: THE GREAT CLOCK.]

I found my bluebottle professor to be a Swiss, thirty years resident
in the city, very accessible and talkative, and, like every citizen by
adoption, more patriotic than even the native-born.

"It was a cheerless time for me, sir," said he as we contemplated
together the facade of the church, "when I saw that spire printed in
black against the flames of the town."

I begged frankly for his reminiscences.

"The bombardment of 1870," said the professor, "was begun purposely,
in contempt of the Bonapartist tradition, on the 15th of August,
the birthday of Napoleon. At half-past eleven at night, just as the
fireworks are usually set off on that evening, a shell came hissing
over the city and fell upon the Bank of France, crushing through the
skylight and shivering the whole staircase within: the bombardment
that time lasted only half an hour, but it found means, after much
killing and ruining among the private houses, to reach the buildings
of the Lyceum, where we had placed the wounded from the army of
Woerth. While the city was being touched off in every direction, like
a vast brush heap, we had to take these poor victims down into the
cellars."

"Do you think the bombs were purposely so directed?" I asked.

"Don't talk to me of stray shots!" said the burgher, hotly enough.
"The enemy was better acquainted with the city than we were ourselves,
and his fire was of a precision that extorted our admiration more than
once. Cannons planted in Kehl sent their shells high over the citadel,
like blows from a friend. An artillery that, after the third shot,
found the proper curve and bent the cross on the cathedral, cannot
plead extenuating circumstances and stray shots."

"Was the greatest damage done on that first night?"

[Illustration: CHURCH OF SAINT THOMAS.]

"Ah no! The bombardment was addressed to us as an argument, proceeding
by degrees, and always in a _crescendo_: after the 15th there was
silence until the 18th; after the 18th, silence up to the 23d. The
grand victim of the 23d, you know, was the city library, where lay
the accumulations of centuries of patient learning--the mediaeval
manuscripts, the _Hortus deliciarum_ of Herrade of Landsberg, the
monuments of early printing, the collections of Sturm. Ah! when
we gathered around our precious reliquary the next day and saw its
contents in ashes, amid a scene of silence, of people hurrying away
with infants and valuable objects, of firemen hopelessly playing on
the burned masterpieces, there was one thought that came into
every mind--one parallel! It was Omar the caliph and the library of
Alexandria."

"And you imagine that this offence to civilization was quite
voluntary?" I argued with some doubt.

"It is said that General Werder acted under superior orders. But, sir,
you must perceive that in these discretionary situations there is no
such dangerous man as the innocent executant, the martinet, the person
of routine, the soldier stifled in his uniform. I saw Werder after the
capitulation. A little man, lean and bilious. Such was the opponent
who reversed for us successively, like the premisses of an argument,
the bank, the library, the art-museum, the theatre, the prefecture,
the arsenal, the palace of justice, not to speak of our churches. A
man like that was quite capable of replying, as he did, to a request
that he would allow a safe-conduct for non-combatants, that the
presence of women and children was an element of weakness to the
fortress of which he did not intend to deprive it.' The night
illuminated by our burning manuscripts was followed by the day which
witnessed the conflagration of the cathedral. Look at that noble
front, sir, contemplating us with the hoary firmness of six hundred
years! You would think it a sad experience to see it, as I have seen
it, crowned with flames which leaped up and licked the spire, while
the copper on the roof curled up like paper in the heat; and to hear,
as I heard, the poor beadles and guards, from the height of yonder
platform, calling the city to the aid of its cathedral. The next day
the mighty church, now so imperfectly restored, was a piteous sight.
The flames had gone out for want of fuel. We could see the sky through
holes in the roof. The organ-front was leaning over, pierced with
strange gaps; the clock escaped as by miracle; and the mighty saints,
who had been praying for centuries in the stained windows, were
scattered upon the floor. On the 25th the systematic firing of the
faubourgs began, and the city was filled with the choking smell of
burning goods: on the 28th the citadel was kindled."

[Illustration: BEAUTY'S QUINTESSENCE.]

"And what opposition," I naturally demanded, "were you able to make to
all this? I believe your forces were greatly shortened?"

"We were as short as you can think, sir. Most of the garrison had
been withdrawn by MacMahon. The soldiers still among us were miserably
demoralized by the entrance of the fugitives from Woerth. Our defence
was the strangest of mixtures. The custom-house officers were armed
and mobilized: the naval captain Dupetit-Thouars happened to be in
the walls, with some of the idle marine. Colonel Fievee, with his
pontoneers, hurriedly tore up the bridge of boats leading over to
Kehl, and united himself with the garrison. From the outbreak of the
war we civilians had been invited to form a garde nationale, but never
was there a greater farce. We were asked to choose our own grades, and
when I begged to be made colonel, they inquired if I would not prefer
to be lieutenant or adjutant. Most of us, those at least who had voted
against the imperial candidates, never received a gun. Our artillery,
worthy of the times of Louis XIV., scolded in vain from the ramparts
against the finest cannons in the world, and we were obliged to watch
the Prussian trenches pushing toward the town, and to hear the bullets
beginning to fall where at first were only bombs."

"The capitulation was then imminent."

"There were a few incidents in the mean time. The deputation from
Switzerland, of ever-blessed memory, entered the city on the eleventh
of September. Angels from heaven could not have been more welcome. You
know that a thousand of our inhabitants passed over into Switzerland
under conduct of the delegate from Berne, Colonel Bueren, and that they
were received like brothers. From Colonel Bueren also we learned for
the first time about Sedan, the disasters of Bazaine and MacMahon, and
the hopelessness of the national cause. We learned that, while they
were crowning with flowers the statue of our city in Paris, they had
no assistance but handsome words to send us. Finally, we learned
the proclamation of the French republic--a republic engendered in
desolation, and so powerless to support its distant provinces! We too
had our little republican demonstration, and on the 20th of September
the prefect they had sent us from Paris, M. Valentin, came dashing in
like a harlequin, after running the gauntlet of a thousand dangers,
and ripped out of his sleeve his official voucher from Gambetta. Alas!
we were a republic for only a week, but that week of fettered freedom
still dwells like an elixir in some of our hearts. For eight days I, a
born Switzer, saw the Rhine a republican river."

"Give me your hand, sir!" I cried, greatly moved. "You are talking to
a republican. I am, or used to be, a citizen of free America!"

"I am happy to embrace you," said the burgher; and I believe he was on
the point of doing it, literally as well as figuratively. "I, for my
part, whatever they make of me, am at least an Alsatian. But I am half
ashamed to talk to an American. On the 29th I went to see our troops
evacuate the city by the Faubourg National. I found myself elbow to
elbow in the throng with the consul from the United States: never in
my life shall I forget the indignant surprise of your compatriot."

"Why should our consul be indignant at disaster?" I demanded.

[Illustration: VOICI LE SABRE!]

"Why, sir, the throng that rolled toward the grave Prussian troops was
composed of desperadoes inflamed with wine, flourishing broken guns
and stumps of sabres, and insulting equally, with many a drunken oath,
the conquerors and our own loyal general Uhrich. The American consul,
blushing with shame for our common humanity, said, 'This is the second
time I have watched the capitulation of an army. The first time it was
the soldiers of General Lee, who yielded to the Northern troops. Those
brave Confederates came toward us silent and dignified, bearing arms
reversed, as at a funeral. We respected them as heroes, while here--'
But I cannot repeat to you, sir, what your representative proceeded
to add. That revolting sight," continued my informant, "was the last
glimpse we had of France our protector. When we returned to the city a
Prussian band played German airs to us at the foot of Kleber's statue.
We are Teutonized now. At least," concluded the burgher, taking me by
the shoulders to hiss the words through my ears in a safe corner, "we
are Germans officially. But I, for my part, am Alsatian for ever and
for ever!"

[Illustration: STREET OF THE GREAT ARCADES.]

Greatly delighted to have encountered so near a witness and so minute
a chronicler of the disasters of the town, I invited the professor
to accompany me in exploring it, my interest having vastly increased
during his recital; but he pleaded business, and, shaking both my
hands and smiling upon me out of a sort of moulding formed around his
face by his shirt-collars, dismissed me. So, then, once more, with a
hitch to my tin box, I became a lonely lounger. I viewed the church of
Saint Thomas, the public place named after Kleber, who was born here,
some of the markets and a beer establishment. In the church of Saint
Thomas I examined the monument to Marshal Saxe, by Pigalle. I should
have expected to see a simple statue of the hero in the act
of breaking a horseshoe or rolling up a silver plate into a
bouquet-holder, according to the Guy-Livingstone habits in which he
appears to have passed his life, and was more surprised than edified
at sight of the large allegorical family with which the sculptor has
endowed him. In the same church I had the misfortune to see in
the boxes a pair of horrible mummies, decked off with robes and
ornaments--a count of Nassau-Saarwerden and his daughter, according to
the custodian--an unhappy pair who, having escaped our common doom of
corruption by some physical aridity or meagreness, have been compelled
to leave their tombs and attitudinize as works of art. In Kleber's
square I saw the conqueror of Heliopolis, excessively pigeon-breasted,
dangling his sabre over a cowering little figure of Egypt, and looking
around in amazement at the neighboring windows: in fact, Kleber
began his career as an architect, and there were solecisms in the
surrounding structure to have turned a better balanced head than
his. In the markets I saw peasants with red waistcoats and flat faces
shaded with triangles of felt, and peasant-girls bareheaded, with a
gilded arrow apparently shot through their brains. I traversed the
Street of the Great Arcades, and saw the statue of Gutenberg, of whom,
as well as of Peter Schoeffer, the natives seem to be proud, though
they were but type-setters. Finally, in the Beer-hall, that of the
dauphin, I tasted a thimble-ful of inimitable beer, the veritable beer
of Strasburg. Already, at half-past eight on that fine May morning,
I persuaded myself that I had seen everything, so painful had my feet
become by pounding over the pavements.

My friend the engineer had agreed to breakfast with me at the hotel.
When I entered the dining-room with the intention of waiting for him,
I found two individuals sitting at table. One was no other than the
red-nosed Scotchman, the Eleusinian victim whom I had watched
through the bottle-rack at Epernay. Of the second I recognized the
architectural back, the handsomely rolled and faced blue coat and the
marble volutes of his Ionic shirt-collar: it was my good friend of the
cathedral. Every trace of his civic grief had disappeared, and he wore
a beaming banquet-room air, though the tear of patriotism was hardly
dry upon his cheek.

As I paused to dispose of my accoutrements the red nose was saying,
"Yes, my dear sir, since yesterday I am a Mason. I have the honor," he
pursued, "to be First Attendant Past Grand. It will be a great thing
for me at Edinburgh. Burns, I believe, was only Third Assistant,
Exterior Lodge: the Rank, however, in his opinion, was but the
guinea's stamp. But the advantages of Masonry are met with everywhere.
Already in the train last night I struck the acquaintance of a fine
fellow, a Mason like myself."

"Allow me to ask," said the cheerful bluebottle, "how you knew him for
a Mason like yourself?"

"I'll tell you. I was unable to sleep, because, you see, I had
to drink Moet for my initiation: as I am unaccustomed to anything
livelier than whisky, it unnerved me. To pass the time I went softly
over the signals."

"What signals, if I may be so indiscreet?"

"Number one, you scratch the nose, as if to chase a fly; number two,
you put your thumb in your mouth; number three--"

"H'm!" said the professor doubtfully, "those are singular
instructions, scratching the nose and sucking the thumb. It strikes
me they have been teaching you nursery signals rather than Masonry
signals."

[Illustration: BEER-GARDEN OF THE DAUPHIN.]

"My good friend," said the Scot with extreme politeness, yet not
without dignity, "you cannot understand it, because you were not
present. I received a Light which burned my eyelashes. The sage always
examines a mystery before he decides upon it. My Masonic friend will
be here at breakfast to-day: he promised me. Only wait for him. He
can explain these things better than I, you will see. The little
experiments with our noses and thumbs, you understand, are
symbols--Thummim and Urim, or something of that kind."

"Or else nonsense. You have been quizzed, I fear."

The North Briton bridled his head, knitted his brows and pushed back
his chair; then, after a moment of pregnant and stormy silence, he
turned suddenly around to me, who was enjoying the comedy--"Hand me
the cheese."

To be taken for a waiter amused me. Never in the world would a
domestic have dared to present himself in a hotel habited as I was.
I was in the same clothes with which I had left Passy the morning
previous: my coat was peppered with dust, my linen bruised and dingy,
my tie was nodding doubtfully over my right shoulder. A waiter in my
condition would have been kicked out without arrears of wages.

The professor, looking quickly around, recognized me with a ludicrous
endeavor to relapse into the fiery and outraged patriot. He expended
his temper on the red nose. "Take care whom you speak to," he cried
in a high, portly voice, and pointing to my japanned box, which I had
slung upon a curtain-hook. "Monsieur is not an attache of the house.
Monsieur is doubtless an herb-doctor."

[Illustration: SUCKLED IN A CREED OUTWORN.]

There are charlatans who pervade the provincial parts of France,
stopping a month at a time in the taverns, and curing the ignorant
with samples according to the old system of _simulacra_--prescribing
kepatica for liver, lentils for the eyes and green walnuts for vapors,
on account of their supposed correspondence to the different organs.
I settled my cravat at the mirror to contradict my resemblance to a
waiter, threw my box into a wine-cooler to dispose of my identity with
the equally uncongenial herbalist, and took a seat. Nodding paternally
to the coat of Prussian blue, I proceeded to order Bordeaux-Leoville,
capon with Tarragon sauce, compote of nectarines in Madeira jelly--all
superfluous, for I was brutally hungry, and wanted chops and coffee;
but what will not an unsupported candidate for respectability do when
he desires to assert his caste? I was proceeding to ruin myself
in playing the eccentric millionaire when the door opened, giving
entrance to a group of breakfasters.

"There he is--that's the man!" said the homoeopathist, much excited,
and indicating to the blue coat a brisk, capable-looking gentleman of
thirty-two in a neat silver-gray overcoat. The latter, after slightly
touching his nose, nodded to the Scotchman, who in return drew himself
up to his full height and formally wiped his mouth with a napkin, as
if preparing himself for an ovation. Happily, he contented himself
with rubbing his own nose with each hand in turn, and bowing so
profoundly that he appeared ready to break at the knees.

"_Kellner_!" said the silver-gray, making a grand rattle among the
plates and glasses, "some wine! some water! some ink! an omelette! a
writing-pad! a _filet a la Chabrillant_!"

The last-named dish is one which Sciolists are perpetually calling
_filet a la Chateaubriand_, saddling the poetic defender of
Christianity with an invention in cookery of which he was never
capable. I approved the new-comer, who was writing half a dozen notes
with his mouth full, for his nicety in nomenclature: to get the right
term, even in kitchen affairs, shows a reflective mind and tenderness
of conscience. My friend the engineer arrived, and placed himself in
the chair I had turned up beside my own. I was ashamed of the rate at
which I advanced through my capon, but I recollected that Anne Boleyn,
when she was a maid of honor, used to breakfast off a gallon of ale
and a chine of beef.

My canal-maker interrupted me with a sudden appeal. "Listen--listen
yonder," he said, jogging my knee, "it is very amusing. He is in a
high vein to-day."

The gray coat, who had already directed four or five letters, and was
cleaning his middle finger with a lemon over the glass bowl, had just
opened a lofty geographical discussion with the bluebottle. I cannot
express how eagerly I, as a theorist of some pretension in Comparative
Geography, awoke to a discussion in which my dearest opinions were
concerned.

"Geography," the active gentleman was saying as he dipped his finger
in water to attach the flaps of his envelopes--"geography, my dear
professor, is the most neglected of modern sciences. Excuse me if I
take from under you, for a moment, your doctoral chair, and land you
on one of the forms of the primary department. I would ask a simple
elementary question: How many parts of the globe are there?"

"Before the loss of Alsace and Lorraine," said the professor with
plaintive humor, "I always reckoned six."

"Very well: on this point we agree."

"Six!" said the Scotchman in great surprise. "You are liberal: I make
but five."

"Not one less than six," said the patriot, vastly encouraged with the
support he got: "am I not right, sir? We have, first, Europe--"

"Ah, professor," said the silver-gray, interrupting him, "how is this?
You, such a distinguished scholar--you still believe in Europe? Why,
my dear sir, Europe no longer exists--certainly not as a quarter
of the globe. It is simply, as Humboldt very truly remarks in his
_Cosmos_, the septentrional point of Asia."

The surprise seemed to pass, at this point, from the face of the
Scot to that of the Strasburger. After reflecting a moment, "Really,"
murmured he, "I recollect, in _Cosmos_--But how, then, do you reach
six parts of the globe?"

"Only count, professor: Asia, one; Africa, two; Australia, three;
Oceanica, four; North America, five; and South America, six."

"You cut America in two?"

"Nature has taken that responsibility. Each part of the world being
necessarily an insulated continent, an enormous island, it is too much
to ask me to confound the northern and southern continents of America,
hung together by a thread--a thread which messieurs the engineers"--he
bowed airily to my companion--"have very probably severed by this
time."

The honest professor passed his hand over his forehead. "The deuce!"
he said. "That is logic perhaps. Still, sir, I think it is rather
hardy in you to double America and annihilate Europe, when Europe
discovered America."

"The Europeans did not discover America," replied the young
philosopher. "The Americans discovered Europe."

The professor of geography remained stunned: the homoeopathist gave
utterance to a cry--one of admiration, doubtless.

"An American colony was settled in Norway long before the arrival of
Columbus in Santo Domingo: who will contradict me when Humboldt says
so? Only read your _Cosmos_!"

"The dickens! prodigious! prodigious!" repeated the man of blue. The
young silver coat went on:

[Illustration: THE BLESSING OF THE BAB.]

"I have been three times around the world, professor. The terrestrial
globe was my only chart. I have studied in their places its divisions,
continents, capes and oceans; also the customs, politics and
philosophies of its inhabitants. I have a weakness for learning; I
have caused myself to be initiated in all secret and philosophical
societies; I have taken a degree from the Brahmans of Benares; I
have received the accolade from the emir of the Druses; I have been
instructed by the priests of the Grand Lama, and have joined the
Society of Pure Illumination, the sole possessors of the Future Light.
I have just returned from Persia, where I received the blessing of the
great Bab; and, like Solomon, I can say, _Vanitas vanitatum_!"

The red nose was by this time quite inflated and inflamed with
disinterested pride. The blue was crushed, but he made a final effort,
as the silver-gray made his preparations to depart and adjusted his
breakfast-bill. "Pardon me, sir," he said, with a little infusion of
provincial pride. "I am not a cosmopolitan, a Constantinopolitan or a
Babist. But I enjoy your conversation, and am not entirely without
the ability to sympathize in your geographical calculations. I
am preparing at the present moment a small treatise on Submarine
Geography; I am conducting, if that gives me any right to be heard,
the geographical department in the chief gymnasium here: in addition,
my youngest sister lost her ulnar bone by the explosion of an obus in
the seminary on the night of August 18th, when six innocent infants
were killed or maimed by the Prussians, who put a bomb in their little
beds like a warming-pan."

[Illustration: THE BOTANIST.]

"Never mind the warming-pan," said the traveler kindly, seeing that
the professor was making himself cry, and unconsciously quoting
Pickwick.

"I will not dilate on my title to trouble you for a few words more.
I perceive that I shall have a good deal to modify in my modest
treatise. I beg you to give us your views on some of the modifications
now going on in the East, especially the Turkish question and the
civilization of China."

"My dear professor," said the youthful Crichton sententiously, "do not
disturb yourself with those problems, which are already disposed of.
In twenty years the sultan will become a monk, to get rid of the chief
sultana, who has pestered his life out with her notions of woman's
rights, and who wore the Bloomer costume before the Crimean war. As
for the question about China, it is better to let sleeping dogs lie:
it has been a great mistake to arouse China, for it is a dog that
drags after it three hundred millions of pups. Only see the effect
already in Lima and San Francisco! Before a century has elapsed all
Asia, with Alaska and the Pacific part of America, to say nothing of
that petty extremity you persist in calling Europe, will be in the
power of China. Your little girls, professor, will be more liable to
lose their feet than their arms, for it is a hundred chances to one
but your great-grand-nieces grow up Chinawomen."

"Astonishing!" murmured the professor of geography.

"Admirable!" cried the doctor.

I had hitherto said nothing, though I was capitally entertained.
At length I ventured to take up my own parable, and, addressing the
pretended disciple of the Brahmans, I asked, "Can you enlighten us,
sir, on the true reason of the revolt of the slave States in America?"

The cosmopolitan, by this time standing, turned to me with a courteous
motion of acquiescence; and, after having given me to understand by an
agreeable smile that he did not confound me with his pair of victims,
he said pompously, "The true cause was that each Northern freeholder
demanded the use of two planters, now mostly octoroons, for
body-servants."

"You don't say so?" said the school-teacher, profoundly impressed.

The Scotchman looked like him who digesteth a pill. I decided quickly
on my own role, and briskly joined the conversation. Fishing up my
botany-box and extracting the little flower, "Nothing is more likely
when you know the country," I observed. "I have lived in Florida,
gentlemen, where I undertook, as Comparative Geographer and as amateur
botanist" (I looked searchingly at the professor, who had called me
an herb-doctor), "to fix the location of Ponce de Leon's fountain and
observe the medicinal plants to which it owes its virtue. America,
I must explain to you, is a country where proportions are greatly
changed. The pineapple tree there grows so very tall that it is
impossible from the ground to reach the fruit. This little flower now
in my hand becomes in that climate a towering and sturdy plant, the
tobacco plant. The wild justice of those lawless savannahs uses it as
a gibbet for the execution of criminals, whence the term 'Lynchburg
tobacco.' You cannot readily imagine the scale on which life expands.
It was formerly not necessary to be a great man there to have a
hundred slaves. For my part, sixty domestics sufficed me" (I regarded
sternly the homoeopathist, who had taken me for a waiter): "it was but
a scant allowance, since my pipe alone took the whole time of four."

"Oh," said the Scotchman, "allow me to doubt. I understand
the distribution of blood among the planters, because I am a
homoeopathist; but what could your pipe gain by being diluted among
four men?"

"The first filled it, the second lighted it, the third handed it and
the fourth smoked it. I hate tobacco."

The witticism appeared generally agreeable, and I laughed with the
rest. The cheerful philosopher in the gray coat passed out: as he left
the room, followed subserviently by his interlocutors, he bowed very
pleasantly to me and shook hands with my guardian the engineer.

"You know him?" I said to the latter.

"Just as well as you," he replied: "is it possible you don't recognize
him? It is Fortnoye."

"What! Fortnoye--the Ancient of the wine-cellar at Epernay?"

"Certainly."

"In truth it is the same jolly voice. Then his white beard was a
disguise?"

"What would you have?"

"I am glad he is the same: I began to think the mystifiers here were
as dangerous as those of the champagne country. At any rate, he is a
bright fellow."

"He is not always bright. A man with so good a heart as his must be
saddened sometimes, at least with others' woes, and he does not always
escape woes of his own."

This sentiment affected me, and irritated me a little besides, for I
felt that it was in my own vein, and that it was I who had a right
to the observation. I immediately quoted an extract from an Icelandic
Saga to the effect that dead bees give a stinging quality to the very
metheglin of the gods. We exchanged these remarks in crossing the
vestibule of the hotel: a carriage was standing there for my friend.

"I am sorry to leave you. I have a meeting with a Prussian engineer
about bridges and canals and the waterworks of Vauban, and everything
that would least interest you. I must cross immediately to Kehl. I
leave you to finish the geography of Strasburg."

"I know Strasburg by heart, and am burning to get out of it. I want to
cross the Rhine, for the sake of boasting that I have set foot in the
Baden territory. By the by, how have I managed to come so far without
a passport?"

"_This_ did it," said my engineer, tapping the tin box, which a waiter
had restored to me in a wonderful state of polish. "I put a plan or
two in it, with some tracing muslin, and allowed a spirit-level to
stick out. You were asleep. I know all the officials on this route.
I had only to tap the box and nod. You passed as my assistant. Nobody
could have put you through but I."

"You are a vile conspirator," said I affectionately, "and have all the
lower traits of the Yankee character. But I will use you to carry me
to Kehl, as Faust used Mephistopheles. By the by, your carriage is
a comfortable one and saves my time. I have two hours before I need
return to the train."

"It is double the time you will need."

EDWARD STRAHAN.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]




FROM THE POTOMAC TO THE OHIO.


[Illustration: VIEW NEAR ANTIETAM, MARYLAND.]

An old writer who dearly loved excursions, Francis Rabelais, inserted
in one of his fables an account of a country where the roads were in
motion. He called the place the Island of Odes, from the Greek
[Greek: odss], a "road," and explained: "For the roads travel, like
animated things; and some are wandering roads, like planets, others
passing roads, crossing roads, connecting roads. And I saw how the
travelers, messengers and inhabitants of the land asked, Where does
this road go to? and that? They were answered, From the south to
Faverolles, to the parish, to the city, to the river. Then hoisting
themselves on the proper road, without being otherwise troubled or
fatigued, they found themselves at their place of destination."

This fancy sketch, thrown off by an inveterate joker three hundred
years ago, is justified curiously by any of our modern railways; but
to see the picture represented in startling accuracy you should find
some busy "junction" among the coal-mountains. Here you may observe,
from your perch upon the hill, an assemblage of roads actively
reticulating and radiating, winding through the valleys, slinking off
misanthropically into a tunnel, or gayly parading away elbow-in-elbow
with the streams. These avenues, upon minute inspection, are seen to
be obviously moving: they are crawling and creeping with an unbroken
joint-work of black wagons, the rails hidden by their moving pavement,
and the road throughout advancing, foot by foot, into the distance.
It is hardly too fanciful--on seeing its covering slide away,
its switches swinging, its turn-tables revolving, its drawbridges
opening--to declare that such a road is an animal--an animal proving
its nature, according to Aristotle, by the power to move itself. Nor
is it at all censurable to ask of a road like this where it "goes to."

The notion of what Rabelais calls a "wayfaring way," a _chemin
cheminant_, came into our thoughts at Cumberland. But Cumberland was
not reached until after many miles of interesting travel along a route
remarkable for beauties, both natural and improved. A coal-distributor
is certain, in fact, to be a road full of attractions for the tourist;
for coal, that Sleeping Beauty of our era, always chooses a pretty bed
in which to perform its slumber of ages. The road which delivers
the Cumberland coal, however, is truly exceptional for splendor of
scenery, as well as for historical suggestiveness and engineering
science. It has recently become, by means of certain lavish
providences established for the blessing of travelers at every turn, a
tourist route and a holiday delight.

It is all very well for the traveler of the nineteenth century to
protest against the artificial and unromantic guidance of the railway:
he will find, after a little experience, that the homes of true
romance are discovered for him by the locomotive; that solitudes and
recesses which he would never find after years of plodding in sandal
shoon are silently opened to him by the engineer; and that Timon now,
seeking the profoundest cave in the fissures of the earth, reaches it
in a Pullman car.

The silvery Capitoline dome at Washington floats up from among its
garden trees, seeming to grow higher and higher as we recede from it.
Quickly dominating the low and mean buildings which encumber and try
to hide it in its own neighborhood, it gradually rises superior to the
whole city, growing greater as Washington grows less. The first
part of the course is over the loop of road newly acquired and still
improving by the company--a loop hanging downward from Baltimore, so
as to sweep over Washington, and confer upon the through traveler the
gift of an excursion through the capital. This loop swings southwardly
from Baltimore to a point near Frederick, Washington being set upon it
like a bead in the midst. The older road, like a mathematical chord,
stretches still between the first points, but is occupied with the
carrying of freight. The tourist notices the stout beams of the
bridges, the new look of the sleepers, and the sheen of the double
lines of fresh steel rail: he observes some heavy mason-work at the
Monocacy River. Two hours have passed: at Frederick Junction he
joins a road whose cuttings are grass-grown, whose quarried rocks are
softened with lichen. He is struck by the change, and with reason,
for he is now being carried under the privileges of the first railroad
charter granted in America.

We may not here undertake the story of the iron track, though it is
from this very road that such a story must take its departure, and
though we cannot grant that that story would be exceeded by any in
the range of the author's skill as a matter of popular interest. This
railroad, this "Baltimore and Ohio" artery, connects, through its
origin, with the very beginnings of modern progress, and indeed with
feudalism; for it was opened in 1828 by Charles Carroll, the patriot
who had staked his broad lands of Carrollton in 1776 against the
maintenance of feudalism in this country. "I consider this," said
Carroll, after his slender and aristocratic hand had relinquished the
spade, "among the most important acts of my life--second only to
my signing the Declaration of Independence." Railroads, excepting
coal-mine trams, were as yet untried; Stephenson had not yet exhibited
the Rocket; for travel and transportation the locomotive was unknown,
and the Baltimoreans conceived their scheme while yet uncertain
whether horse-power or _stationary_ steam-engines would be the
best acting force. It was opened as far as Ellicott's Mills as a
horse-road, the idlers and beauties of Baltimore participating in the
excursion as a novel jest. In 1830, Baron Krudener, the envoy from
Russia, rode upon it in a car with sails, called the AEolus, a model
of which he sent to the emperor Nicholas as something new and hopeful.
Passing the Monocacy, we roll over a rich champaign country, based
upon limestone--the garden of the State, and containing the ancient
manor of Carrollton, through whose grounds, by one of its branches,
this road passes for miles. Near by are quarries of Breccia marble--a
conglomerate of cemented variegated pebbles--out of which were cut
the rich pillars in the House of Representatives at Washington. The
Monocacy is crossed, near whose bank lies the bucolic old Maryland
town of Frederick, to attain which a twig of the road wanders off for
the few necessary miles. Soon the piquant charms of Potomac scenery
are at hand, the mountains are marching upon us, and the road becomes
stimulating.

A jagged spur of the Blue Ridge, the Catoctin Mountain, strides out
to the river, and the railroad, striking it, wraps itself around the
promontory in a sharp curve, like a blow with the flat of an elastic
Damascus sword. The broad Potomac sweeps rushing around its base: it
is the celebrated Point of Rocks. The nodding precipice, cut into a
rough and tortured profile by the engineers, lays its shadow to sleep
on the whizzing roofs of the cars as they glitter by, (Shadows always
seem to print themselves with additional distinctness upon any moving
object, like a waterfall or a foaming stream.) There are a village and
a bridge at the Point, and the mountain-range, broken in two by the
river, recovers itself gracefully and loftily on the other side.

[Illustration: POTOMAC TUNNEL, NEAR HARPER'S FERRY.]

For half an hour more, as we rush to meet the course of the Potomac,
the broad ledges that heave the bed of the river into mounds, and
the ascending configuration of the shore, seem to speak of something
grand, and directly we are in the cradle of romance, at Harper's
Ferry.

To reach this village, perhaps the most picturesque in the country,
we must cross the Potomac from Maryland into Virginia. The bridge is
peculiar and artistic. It is about nine hundred feet long; its two
ends are curved in opposite directions, and at its farther extremity
it splits curiously into two bridge-branches, one of which supports
the road running up the Shenandoah, while the other carries the main
road along the Potomac. The latter fork of the bridge runs for half
a mile up the course of the Potomac stream over the water, the road
having been denied footing upon the shore on account of the presence
there of the government arsenal buildings. The effect to the eye is
very curious: the arsenal is at present razed to the level of the
ground (having been fired, the reader will remember, by the Federal
guard at the beginning of hostilities, and some fifteen thousand stand
of arms burnt to prevent their falling into Lee's hands), and there
is no topographical reason to prevent the track running comfortably on
dry ground. The arrangements, however, for purchasing the right to
a road-bed on the arsenal grounds, though under way, are not yet
complete, and the road marches on aquatically, as aforesaid.

Harper's Ferry, a town supported of old almost entirely by the arsenal
works, is a desolate little stronghold among towering mountains, the
ruins being in the foreground. The precipices on either side of the
river belong to the Elk Ridge, through which, at some antediluvian
period, the colossal current has hewed its way. At the base of
the Virginia side of the mountains, hugged in by the Potomac and
Shenandoah Rivers, and by Loudon and Bolivar Heights, cowers the town.

[Illustration: BATTLE-GROUNDS OF THE POTOMAC VALLEY.]

Across the river towers the mighty cupola of Maryland Height, far
overtopping the other peaks, and farther down the stream, like a
diminishing reflection of it, the softer swell of South Mountain. An
ordinary rifle-cannon on Maryland Height can with the greatest ease
play at bowls to the other summits. From this eminence one Colonel
Ford, on September 13, 1862, toppled down his spiked and coward
cannon: the hostile guns of the enemy quickly swarmed up the summit he
had abandoned, and the Virginia crests of Loudon and Bolivar belched
with rebel artillery. The town was surrendered by Colonel Miles at
the very moment when McClellan, pressing forward through the passes
of South Mountain from Frederick, was at hand to relieve it: Miles was
killed, and the considerable military stores left in the village were
bagged by Stonewall Jackson. Flushed with this temporary advantage,
Jackson proceeded to join Lee, who then advanced from Sharpsburg and
gave unsuccessful battle to the Union forces at Antietam Creek.

This stream pours into the Potomac just above, from the Maryland side.
It gives its name to one of the most interesting actions of the war.
The fields of Antietam and Gettysburg were the only two great battle
grounds on which the Confederates played the role of invaders and left
the protection of their native States. Antietam was the first, and if
it could have been made for Lee a more decisive failure, might have
prevented Gettysburg. It occurred September 15th to 18th, 1862. Lee
had just thoroughly whipped that handsome Western braggart, General
Pope, and, elated with success, thought he could assume the offensive,
cross the Potomac, and collect around his banner great armies of
dissatisfied secessionists to the tune of "Maryland, my Maryland."
McClellan (then in the last month of his command over the army of the
Potomac) pushed with unwonted vigor over the mountains, inspired, it
is said, by the accidental foreknowledge of Lee's whole Maryland
plan, and clashed with Lee across the bridges of this pretty highland
stream. As an episode he lost Harper's Ferry; but that was a trifle.
It was a murderous duel, that which raged around the Dunker church
and over the road leading from Sharpsburg to Hagerstown. Lee's forty
thousand men were shielded by an elbow of the Potomac; his batteries
of horse-artillery under Stuart were murdering the forces of Hooker,
when that general was relieved by the support of Mansfield; then
Mansfield was killed and Hooker wounded; and then Sedgwick was sent
up to replace Mansfield; then, when Sedgwick was getting the better of
Jackson and Hood, McLaws and Walker drew up to the Confederate left,
and burst completely through Sedgwick's line. Presently, Franklin and
Smith came across from the stream and reinforced the Federals, driving
the Southern advance back to the church, and Burnside rendered some
hesitating assistance; but then rushed up the force which had received
the surrender of Harper's Ferry, singing victory, and drove back
Burnside; and when McClellan, on the morning of the 19th, found that
Lee had withdrawn across the Potomac, he was too much discouraged with
his own hurts to venture a pursuit. He had lost twelve thousand men,
and Lee eight thousand. But Antietam, though for us a costly and
unsatisfactory victory, was for the South a conclusive lesson. The
Peter-the-Hermit excursion into Maryland lasted just two weeks, and
its failure was signal and instructive. Intended as an invasion that
should result in the occupation of Washington and Philadelphia, it led
to nothing but to Stuart's audacious raid into Pennsylvania with his
thousand troopers--a theatrical flourish to wind up an unsuccessful
drama. As for Harper's Ferry, its overwhelming punishment and
precipitate conquest were not without their use: the retention by
the Federals of the little depot of army stores on the Virginia bank
surprised and thwarted Lee. To reduce it, he had to pause, and ere the
operation was complete McClellan was upon him, and cornered him before
he was enabled to take up a firm position in Western Maryland and
prepare for the Pennsylvania invasion. The Ferry fell into our hands
again, but as a ruin. As for the elaborate bridge approaching it, its
history is the history of the Potomac campaign: three times has it
been destroyed by the Confederates, and twice by the Unionists. Eight
times it has been carried away by freshets.

An earlier interest, yet intimately connected with the rebellion,
belongs to Harper's Ferry. From the car window you see the old
engine-house where John Brown fortified himself, and was wounded and
captured, while these wooded hills were bathed with October red in
1859. The breaches in the walls where he stood his siege are still
apparent, filled in with new brickwork. No single life could have been
so effectually paid out as his was, for he cemented in the cause of
the North the whole abolition sentiment of the civilized world, and
gained our army unnumbered recruits. Truly said the slaves when he
died, "Massa Brown is not buried: he is planted."

Of the site of all these storied ruins we can only say again and again
that it is beautiful. The rocky steeps that enclose the town have
a Scottish air, and traveled visitors, beholding them, are fain
to allude to the Trosachs; but the river that rolls through the
mountains, and has whirled them into a hollow as the potter turns
a vase, is continental in its character, and plunges through the
landscape with a swell of eddy and a breadth of muscle that are like
nothing amid the basking Scottish waters.

On an eminence immediately overlooking Harper's Ferry, and some four
hundred feet thereabove, is the enormous turtle-shaped rock, curiously
blocked up over a fissure, on which Jefferson once inscribed his
name. Chimney Rock, a detached column on the Shenandoah near by, is a
sixty-foot high natural tower, described by Jefferson in his _Notes on
Virginia_. Upon the precipice across the river, on the Maryland side,
the fancy of the tourist has discovered a figure of Napoleon: it forms
a bas-relief of stupendous proportions, having the broad cliff for
background, and clearly defining the hair, the Corsican profile and
the bust, with an epaulette on the shoulder. The Blue Ridge, as it
traverses from this point the breadth of Virginia, breaks into various
natural eccentricities--the Peaks of Otter, rising a mile above the
sea, the Natural Bridge, Weyer's Cave, Madison's Cave--and gives issue
to those rich heated and mineralized springs for which the State is
famous.

[Illustration: SCENE AMONG THE MARYLAND ALLEGHANIES.]

The tinge of regret with which we leave Harper's Ferry is mitigated
by the hope that greater wonders may lie beyond. In two miles the
railroad, as if willing to carve out a picture-frame in which the
heroic river may be viewed, excavates the "Potomac Tunnel," as it is
named, through which the water is seen like a design in _repousse_
silver, with two or three emerald islands in it for jewel-work. The
perforation is eighty feet through, but in contrast with its rocky
breadth our picture-frame is not too deep: whenever we shift our
position, the view seems to increase in art-beauty, and as a final
comprehensive picture it recedes and crowds under the spandrels of the
arch the whole mountain-pass, with the confluence of the two rivers in
the finest imaginable aspect.

Poor Martinsburg! during the rebellion a mere sieve, through which the
tide of war poured back and forth in the various fluctuations of our
fortune! It is said to have been occupied by both armies, alternately,
fifteen times. The passenger sees it as a mere foreground of big
restaurant and platform, with a conglomeration of village houses in
the rear--featureless as the sheep which the painter of Wakefield put
in for nothing. One incident, however, supervenes. An old man, with
positive voice and manners, and altogether a curious specimen in
looks, gait and outfit, comes through the train with a pannier
of apples and groundnuts. He is pointed out as one of the men of
importance in Martinsburg, owning a row of flourishing houses. With
the anxious servility which wealth always commands, we purchase an
apple of this capitalist, blandly choosing a knotty and unsalable
specimen.

Pretty soon, as we look over into Maryland, we have indicated for
us the site of old Fort Frederick, until lately traceable, but now
completely obliterated. It was an interesting relic of the old Indian
wars. Shortly after Braddock's defeat on the Monongahela, when the
Indians had become very bold, and had almost depopulated this part of
Maryland, Fort Frederick was erected by Governor Sharpe as a menace,
and garrisoned with two hundred men. It was an immediate moral
victory, awing and restraining the savages, though no decided conflict
is known to have occurred from its construction to its quiet rotting
away within the present generation. Those were the days when Frederick
in Maryland and Chambersburg in Pennsylvania were frontier points, the
Alleghanies were Pillars of Hercules, and all beyond was a blank!

Still continuing our course on the Virginia side of the Potomac,
through what is known in this State as the Virginia Valley, while in
Pennsylvania the same intervale is called the Cumberland Valley, we
admire the increasing sense of solitude, the bowery wildness of the
river-banks, and the spirited freshness of the hastening water. At a
station of delightful loneliness we alight.

Here Sir John's Run comes leaping from the hills to slide gurgling
into the Potomac, and at this point we attain Berkeley Springs by
a dragging ascent of two miles and a half in a comfortable country
stage. Sir John's Run was called after Sir John Sinclair, a
quartermaster in the doomed army of Braddock. The outlet into the
Potomac is a scene of quiet country beauty, made dignified by the
hills around the river. A hot, rustic station of two or three
rooms, an abandoned factory building--tall, empty-windowed and
haunted-looking--gone clean out for want of commerce, like a lamp for
lack of oil. Opposite the station a pretty homespun tavern trellised
with grapes, a portrait of General Lee in the sitting-room, and a fat,
buxom Virginia matron for hostess. All this quiet scene was once the
locality of the hot hopes and anxieties of genius, and it is for this
reason we linger here.

When the little harbor at the mouth of Sir John's Run was still more
wild and lonely than now, James Rumsey, a working bath-tender at
Berkeley Springs, launched upon it a boat that he had invented of
novel principle and propulsive force. The force was steam, and Rumsey
had shown his model to Washington in 1780. First discoverers of
steam-locomotion are turning up every few months in embarrassing
numbers, but we cannot feel that we have a right to suppress the
claims of honest Rumsey, the protege of Washington. The dates are said
to be as follows: Rumsey launched his steamboat here at Sir John's Run
in 1784, before the general and a throng of visitors from the Springs;
in 1788, John Fitch launched another first steamboat on the Delaware,
and sent it successfully up to Burlington; in 1807, Robert Fulton set
a third first steamboat on the Hudson, the Clermont. Rumsey's motion
was obtained by the reaction of a current _squirted_ through the stern
of the boat against the water of the river, the current being pumped
by steam. This action, so primitive, so remote from the principle
of the engine now used, seems hardly worthy to be connected with
the great revolutionary invention of steam-travel; yet Washington
certified his opinion that "the discovery is of vast importance, and
may be of the greatest usefulness in our inland navigation." James
Rumsey, with just a suspicion of the irritability of talent, accused
Fitch of "coming pottering around" his Virginia work-bench and
carrying off his ideas, to be afterward developed in Philadelphia. It
is certain that the development was great. Rumsey died in England of
apoplexy at a public lecture where he was explaining his contrivance.

A sun-burnt, dark-eyed young Virginian now guides us up the
mountain-road to the Springs, where we find a full-blown Ems set
in the midst of the wilderness. The Springs of Berkeley, originally
included in the estates of Lord Fairfax, and by him presented to the
colony, were the first fashionable baths opened in this country. One
half shudders to think how primitive they were in the first ages, when
the pools were used by the sexes alternately, and the skurrying nymphs
hastened to retreat at the notification that their hour was out and
that the gentlemen wanted to come in. They were populous and civilized
in the pre-Revolutionary era when Washington began to frequent them
and became part owner in the surrounding land. The general's will
mentions his property in "Bath," as the settlement was then called.
The Baroness de Reidesel (wife of the German general of that name
taken with Burgoyne at Saratoga) spent with her invalid husband the
summer of 1779 at Berkeley, making the acquaintance of Washington and
his family; and whole pages of her memoirs are devoted to the quaint
picture of watering-place life at that date.

[Illustration: SCENE AT CUMBERLAND NARROWS.]

Berkeley Springs are probably as enjoyable as any on the continent.
There is none of that aspect of desolation and pity-my-sorrows so
common at the faded resorts of the unhappy South, yet a pleasant
rurality is impressed on the entertainment. The principal hotel is
a vast building, curiously rambling in style: the dining-room, for
instance, is a house in itself, planted in a garden. Here, when the
family is somewhat small and select, will be presented the marvels of
Old Dominion cooking--the marrowy flannel-cake, the cellular waffle,
the chicken melting in a beatitude of cream gravy: when the house
is pressed with its hundreds of midsummer guests these choice
individualities of kitchen chemistry are not attainable; but even
then the bread, the roast, the coffee--a great _chef_ is known by
the quality of his simples--are of the true Fifth Avenue style
of excellence. Captain Potts (we have come to the lands where the
hotel-keepers are military officers), an old moustache of the Mexican
war, broods over the large establishment like the father of a great
family. With the men he is wise on a point of horseflesh or the
quality of the brandy; with the matrons he is courtly, gallant,
anecdotic: the young women appear to idolize him, and lean their
pretty elbows on his desk half the day, for he is their protector,
chevalier, entertainer, bonbon-holder, adviser and elder brother, all
in one. Such is the landlord, as that rare expert is understood in
the South. As for the regimen, it is the rarest kind of Pleasure made
Medicinal, and that must be the reason of its efficacy. There is a
superb pool of tepid water for the gentlemen to bathe in: a similar
one, extremely discreet, for the ladies. Besides these, of which
the larger is sixty feet long, there are individual baths, drinking
fountains in arbors, sulphur and iron springs, all close to the hotel.
The water, emerging all the year round at a temperature of about
seventy-five degrees, remains unfrozen in winter to the distance of a
mile or more along the rivulet by which it escapes. The flavor is so
little nauseous that the pure issue of the spring is iced for ordinary
table use; and this, coupled with the fact that we could not detect
the slightest unusual taste, gave us the gravest doubts about the
trustworthiness of this mineral fountain's old and unblemished
reputation: another indication is, that they have never had the liquid
analyzed. But the gouty, the rheumatic, the paralyzed, the dyspeptic,
who draw themselves through the current, and let the current draw
itself through them, are content with no such negative virtues for it,
and assign

  To Berkeley every virtue under heaven.

The mountain-village known to Washington as "Bath" is still a scene
of fashionable revel: the over-dressed children romp, the old maids
flirt, the youthful romancers spin in each other's arms to music
from the band, and dowagers carefully drink at the well from the
old-fashioned mug decorated with Poor Richard's maxims; but the
festivities have a decorous and domestic look that would meet the pity
of one of the regular ante-rebellion bloods. After the good people
have retired at an early hour, we fancy the ghost of a lofty Virginia
swell standing in the moonlight upon the piazza, which he decorates
with gleams of phantom saliva. Attended by his teams of elegant
horses, and surrounded by a general halo of gambling, racing,
tourneying and cock-fighting, he seems to shake his lank hair sadly
over the poor modern carnival, and say, "Their tameness is shocking to
me."

There is a good deal of honest sport still to be had in the adjacent
hills: the streams yield trout, and various larger prey, for which the
favorite bait is a small ugly fish called helgamite. The woods contain
turkeys, pheasants, quail and woodcock. The region has a valuable
interpreter in the person of General David H. Strother, so agreeably
known to the public as "Porte Crayon," whose father was lessee of the
Springs, and who at one period himself conducted the hotel. He
addicts himself now to pen and pencil solely. In the village, where
he presides over a pretty cottage home, he has quite a circle of
idolaters: the neighbors' houses display on their walls his sketches
of the village eccentrics, attended by those accessories of dog or gun
or nag which always stamp the likeness, and make the rustic critic cry
out, "Them's his very features!" A large, boisterous painting in the
hotel represents his impressions of the village arena in his youth;
and ancient gamesters, gray-headed now, like to stroll in and
contemplate their own portraits grouped around the cock-pit in all
the hot blood of betting days and in the green dress-coats of 1840.
Strother (now an active graybeard) was profoundly stirred by
the outbreak of the rebellion. His friends were slaveholders and
Confederates: he lived upon the mountain-line dividing the rich,
proud, noble rebels of the eastern counties from the hungry and
jealous loyalists of West Virginia. He himself loved the State as
Bruce loved Scotland, but he loved country better. He shut himself
up with his distracting problem for three days in utter privacy: he
emerged with his mind made up, a Union soldier.

"It must have been awkward for a Virginian to cast his lot against
Virginia," we observed to the stagedriver who bore us back to the
station--an ex-Federal soldier and a faithful devotee of Crayon's.

"No awkwarder than for Virginia to go against her country: that's how
_we_ looked at it," retorted the patriot.

Bidding adieu to Berkeley and its paternal landlord, we resume the
steel road (that well-worn phrase of the "iron way" is a complete
misnomer) with another glance of familiarity at the beautiful
confluence of Sir John's Run with the Potomac, where the sunny waters
still seem to murmur of the landing of Braddock's army and the novel
disturbance of James Rumsey's steamer. The mountains extending from
this point, the recesses of the Blue Ridge, in their general trend
south-westerly through the State, are one great pharmacy of curative
waters. Jordan and Capper Springs, in the neighborhood of Winchester,
lie thirty or forty miles to the south; and beneath those are imbedded
the White, Black, Yellow, and we know not how many other colors in the
general spectrum of Sulphurs. It would perhaps be our duty to indicate
more exactly the Bethesdas of this vast natural sanitarium, to which
our present course gives us the key, but that task has already been
performed, in a complete and very attractive manner, by Mr. Edward A.
Pollard in his little work _The Virginia Tourist_. Our present task is
to attain the main wall of the Alleghany Mountains, which we do at the
town of Cumberland, after passing through the grand curved tunnel at
Pawpaw Ridge, and crossing Little Cacapon Creek, and traversing the
South Branch, which is the larger and true Potomac, and admiring the
lofty precipices, with arched and vaulted strata, on South Branch
Mountain and at Kelly's Rocks and Patterson Creek.

[Illustration: CLIFF VIEW, CUMBERLAND NARROWS.]

It is but a prosaic consideration, but the bracing air of the
mountain-ride from Berkeley Springs down to the railway station, and
the rapid career thence to Cumberland, have given us the appetites of
ogres. We carry our pilgrim scrip into the town of Cumberland without
much hope of having it generously filled, for this coaly capital,
lost among its mountains, had formerly the saddest of reputations for
hospitality. The three or four little taverns were rivals in the
art of how not to diet. Accordingly, our surprise is equal to our
satisfaction when we find every secret of a grand hotel perfectly
understood and put in practice at the "Queen City," the large house
built and conducted by the railway company. A competent Chicago
purveyor, Mr. H.M. Kinsley, who has the office of general manager
of the hotels belonging to the corporation, resides here as at the
head-quarters of his department, and is blessed every day by the
flying guests from the railway-trains, as well as the permanent
boarders who use Cumberland as a mountain-resort. The choicest
dainties from the markets of Baltimore, laid tenderly on ice in that
city and brought as freight in the lightning trains of the road, are
cooked for the tables, and the traveler "exercised in woes," who used
to groan over salt pork and dreadful dodgers, now finds the "groaning"
transferred to the overloaded board. The house is now in all the charm
of freshness and cleanliness, hospitably furnished, with deep piazza,
a pretty croquet-lawn with fountain, and other modern attractions,
the whole surrounded with what is no small gain in a muddy Maryland
town--a broad Schillinger cement pavement, which, like Mr. Wopsle's
acting, may be praised as "massive and concrete."

By day, Cumberland is quite given over to carbon: drawing her supplies
from the neighboring mining-town of Frostburg, she dedicates herself
devoutly to coals. All day long she may be seen winding around her
sooty neck, like an African queen, endless chains and trains and
rosaries of black diamonds, which never tire of passing through
the enumeration of her jeweled fingers. At night the scene is more
beautiful. We clambered up the nearest hill at sunset, while the
colored light was draining into the pass of Wills' Mountain as into
a vase, and the lamps of the town sprang gradually into sight beneath
us. The surrounding theatre of mountains had a singularly calm and
noble air, recalling the most enchanted days of Rome and the Campagna.
The curves of the hills are marvels of swaying grace, depending from
point to point with the elegance of draperies, and seating the village
like a gem in the midst of "great laps and folds of sculptor's work."
The mechanics and miners, as twilight deepened, began to lead their
sweethearts over these beautiful hills, so soft in outline that no
paths are necessary. The clouds of fireflies made an effect, combining
with the village lights below. Then as night deepened, as if they
were the moving principle of all the enchantment, the company's
rolling-mills, like witches' kettles, began to spirt enormous gouts
of flame, which seemed to cause their heavy roofs to flutter like the
lids of seething caldrons.

The commanding attraction of the western journey is necessarily the
passage of the Alleghanies. The climb begins at Piedmont, and follows
an ascent which in eleven consecutive miles presents the rare grade
of one hundred and sixteen feet per mile. The first tableau of real
sublimity, perhaps, occurs in following up a stream called Savage
River. The railway, like a slender spider's thread, is seen hanging at
an almost giddy height up the endless mountain-side, and curved hither
and thither in such multiplied windings that enormous arcs of it can
always be seen from the flying window of the car. The woods, green
with June or crimson with November, clamber over each other's
shoulders up the ascent; but as we attain the elevation of two
hundred feet above the Savage, their tufted tops form a soft and mossy
embroidery beneath us, diminishing in perspective far down the cleft
of the ravine. As we turn the flank of the great and stolid Backbone
Mountain we command the mouth of another stream, pouring in from the
south-west: it is a steeply-enclosed, hill-cleaving torrent, which
some lover of plays and cider, recollecting Shakespeare's Midsummer
Night's slumber beneath the crabapple boughs, has named Crabtree
Creek. There is a point where the woody gorges of both these streams
can be commanded at once by the eye, and Nature gives us few landscape
_pendants_ more primitively wild and magnificent than these.

This ascent was made by the engineers of the company in the early
days of railroads, and when no one knew at what angle the friction of
wheels upon rails would be overcome by gravity. On the trial-trip the
railroad president kept close to the door, meaning, in the case of
possible discomfiture and retrogression, to take to the woods! But all
went well, and in due time was reached, as we now reach it, Altamont,
the alpine village perched two thousand six hundred and twenty-six
feet above the tide.

The interest of the staircase we have run up depends greatly on its
pioneer character. No mountain-chain had been crossed by a locomotive
before the Alleghanies were outraged, as we see them, here and by this
track. As the railroad we follow was the first to take existence in
this country, excepting some short mining roads, so the grade here
used was the first of equal steepness, saving on some English roads of
inferior length and no mountainous prestige. Here the engineer, like
Van Arnburgh in the lion's den, first planted his conqueror's foot
upon the mane of the wilderness; and 'in this spot modern science
first claimed the right to reapply that grand word of a French
monarch, "_Il n'y a plus de Pyrenees_!"

[Illustration: VALLEY FALLS, WEST VIRGINIA.]

We are on the crest of the Alleghanies. On either side of the
mountain-pass we have threaded rise the higher summits of the range;
but, though we seem from the configuration of the land to be in
a valley, we are met at every turn by the indications familiar to
mountain-tops--indications that are not without a special desolation
and pathos. Though all is green with summer, we can see that the
vegetation has had a dolorous struggle for existence, and that the
triumph of certain sparse trees here and there is but the survival
of the strongest. They stand scattered and scraggy, like individual
bristles on a bald pate. Their spring has been borrowed from summer,
for the leafage here does not begin until late in June. The whole
scenery seems to array itself for the tourist like a country wife,
with many an incompleteness in its toilet, and with a kind of haggard
apology for being late. Rough log-houses stand here and there among
the laurels. The tanned gentlemen standing about look like California
miners, as you see them in the illustrations to Bret Harte's stories.
Through this landscape, roughly blocked out, and covered still
with Nature's chips and shavings--and seeming for that very reason
singularly fresh and close to her mighty hand--we fly for twenty
miles. We are still ascending, and the true apex of our path is only
reached at the twentieth. This was the climax which poet Willis came
out to reach in a spirit of intense curiosity, intent to peer over and
see what was on the other side of the mountains, and with some idea,
as he says, of hanging his hat on the evening star. His disgust, as a
bard, when he found that the highest point was only named "Cranberry
Summit," was sublime.

"Willis was particularly struck," said the landlord of the Glades
Hotel, "with a quality of whisky we had hereabouts at the time of his
visit. In those days, before the 'revenue,' an article of rich corn
whisky was made in small quantities by these Maryland farmers. Mr.
Willis found it agree with him particularly well, for it's as pure as
water, and slips through your teeth like flaxseed tea. I explained to
him how it gained in quality by being kept a few years, becoming
like noble old brandy. Mr. Willis was fired with the idea, and took a
barrel along home with him, in the ambitious intention of ripening it.
In less than six months," pursued the Boniface with a humorous twinkle
in his eyes, "he sent for another barrel."

The region where we now find ourselves among these mountain-tops is
known as the Glades--a range of elevated plateaux marked with all the
signs of a high latitude, but flat enough to be spread with occasional
patches of discouraged farms. The streams make their way into the
Youghiogheny, and so into the Ohio and Gulf of Mexico, for we have
mounted the great watershed, and have long ago crossed both branches
of the sun-seeking Potomac! We are in a region that particularly
justifies the claim of the locomotive to be the great discoverer of
hidden retreats, for never will you come upon a place more obviously
disconcerted at being found out. The screams of the whistle day by day
have inserted no modern ideas into this mountain-cranium, which, like
Lord John Russell's, must be trepanned before it can be enlightened.
The Glades are sacred to deer, bears, trout. But the fatal rails guide
to them an unceasing procession of staring citizens, and they are
filled in the fine season with visitors from Cincinnati and Baltimore.
For the comfort of these we find established in the Glades two
dissimilar hotels.

The first hostelry is the Deer Park Hotel, just finished, and
really admirable in accommodations. It is a large and very tasteful
structure, with the general air of a watering-place sojourn of the
highest type--a civilized-looking fountain playing, and the familiar
thunder of the bowling-alley forming bass to the click of the
billiard-room. Here, as in Cumberland, we find an artificial
forwardness of the dinner-table in the midst of the most unpromising
circumstances. The daintiest meats and cates are served by the deftest
waiters. The fact is, the hotel is owned by the company, and the
dinners are wafted over, in Arabian Nights fashion, from the opulent
markets of Baltimore. To prepare a feast, in this desolation, fit for
the nuptials of kings and emperors, would be a very simple matter
of the telegraph. Altogether, the aspect of this ornate,
audacious-looking summer palace is the strangest thing, just where it
is, to be seen on the mountains. The supreme sweetness of the air, the
breath of pine and hemlock, the coolness of midsummer nights, make the
retreat a boon for July and August. In autumn, among the resplendent
and tinted mountain-scenery, with first-rate sport in following the
Alleghany deer, the charms are perhaps greater.

The other resting-place of which we spoke is at the Glades Hotel in
the town of Oakland--the same in which Mr. Willis quenched his poetic
thirst. Oakland, looking already old and quaint, though it is a
creation of the railroad, sits immediately under the sky in its
mountain, in a general dress and equipage of whitewashed wooden
houses. A fine stone church, however, of aspiring Gothic, forms a
contrast to the whole encampment, and seems to have been quickly
caught up out of a wealthy city: it is a monumental tribute by the
road-president, Mr. Garrett, to a deceased brother; the county, too,
in its name of Garrett, bears testimony to the same powerful and
intelligent family. As for the "Glades," it is kept by Mr. Dailey in
the grand old Southern style, and the visitor, very likely for the
first time in his life, feels that he is _at home_. It is a curious
thing that the sentiment of the English inn, the priceless and
matchless feeling of comfort, has now completely left the
mother-country to take refuge with some fine old Maryland or Virginia
landlord, whose ideas were formed before the war. We have at the
"Glades" a specimen. In Captain Potts of Berkeley we found another.
This kind of landlord, in fact, should be a captain, a general or a
major, in order to fill his role perfectly. He is the patron and
companion of his guests, looking to their amusement with all the
solicitude of a private householder. His manners are filled with a
beaming, sympathetic and exquisite courtesy. He is necessarily a
gentleman in his manners, having all his life lived that sporting,
playful, supervisory and white-handed existence proper at once to the
master of a plantation and the owner of a hotel. His society is
constantly sought, his table is pounced upon by ladies with backgammon
in the morning, by gentlemen with decks of cards at night. Always
handsome, sunburnt, and with unaffected good-breeding, he is the king
of his delicious realm, the beloved despot of his domain. We have left
ourselves, in sketching the general character, no space to descend to
particulars on Mr. Dailey; but he was all the time before us as a
sitter when we made the portrait. A stroll with him around his farm,
and to his limpid little chalybeate spring, after one of his
famously-cooked, breakfasts of trout and venison, leaves an impression
of amity that you would not take away from many private
country-houses.

[Illustration: FISH CREEK VALLEY, WEST VIRGINIA.]

The affluents of the Little and Great Yok (so the Youghiogheny is
locally called) are still stocked with trout, while a gentleman
of Oakland has abundance of the fish artificially breeding in his
"ladders," and sells the privilege of netting them at a dollar the
pound. As for the wild fish, we were informed by a sharp boy who
volunteered to show us the chalybeate spring, and who guided us
through the woods barefoot, making himself ill with "sarvice" berries
as he went,--we were instructed by this naturalist that the trout were
eaten away from the streams "by the alligators." This we regarded as a
sun-myth, or some other form of aboriginal superstition, until we were
informed by several of the gravest and most trustworthy gentlemen of
several different localities on the mountains that there really is
a creature infesting these streams supposed by them to be a young
alligator, reaching a length of twelve inches, and doubtless
subsisting on fish. An alligator as a mountain-reptile had not entered
into our conception: can these voracious saurians, playing in the
alpine affluents of the Mississippi, possibly be identical with the
vast and ugly beasts of the lower bayous and the Gulf? We leave the
identification for some reptile-loving philosopher.

[Illustration: CHEAT RIVER VALLEY AND MOUNTAINS.]

Descending the western slope of the mountains, we prick up our
attention, although the grade is gradual and easy. We know that we are
coming to the crowning glory of the ride, the region celebrated for
its more than Arcadian beauty, and consecrated by the earliest glories
of our war--by the mountain Iliad of McClellan, the initial action at
Philippi, and the prompt trampling out of West Virginia secession
by the victories of Cheat River. This tameless, mountain-lapped,
hemlock-tinted river had long been our fancied cynosure. "Each mortal
has his Carcassonne," said, after a French poet, the late lamented
John R. Thompson, using the term for what is long desired and never
attained; and Mr. Matthew Arnold, in writing of a "French Eton," says,
"Whatever you miss, do not miss seeing Carcassonne." As Carcassonne
exists in French landscape, exists in the tourist's mind and desire, a
standard of beauty and historic suggestion, such to us had become
this swart and noble river. Now it happens that Thompson has left a
description, in his most polished prose, of glorious Cheat River. As
our own powers of description are very inferior, we make no scruple
of borrowing, or, as Reade calls it, "jewel-setting:" "The grandest
achievement of the engineer (whose name, Benjamin H. Latrobe, should
always be stated in connection with the road) is to be found, however,
in the region of Cheat River, where to the unscientific eye it would
appear almost impossible that a road-bed could ever have been built.
For two miles beyond Rowlesburg, where the Cheat River is crossed on a
massive bridge of iron, there is a continuous succession of marvels
in railway-work, of which the Tray Run viaduct is a dream of lightness
and grace, yet so firm in its welded strength that thousands of tons
of merchandise pass over it daily without causing, the slightest
oscillation of its airy arches. Here, too, the wonders of mechanical
skill are placed in striking juxtaposition with the wonders of Nature,
whose obduracy has been so signally overcome. The sense of security
was heightened in our case by a furious storm which burst upon us.
We were seated on the fender or' cow-catcher,' watching the majestic
marshaling of the thunder-clouds over the mountain-tops, and enjoying
to the full the excitement of the moment, when suddenly the wind
blew a terrific gust, filling the air with dust and dry leaves, and
threatening to carry us individually over the precipice. The train
was stopped, and we sought shelter in the comfortable car, which then
moved on through the driving floods that continued to descend for half
an hour, forming cataracts on every side of us. But the water ran off
harmlessly from the solid track, and our engine bade defiance to the
tempest, which hurled huge branches of the trees into the angry abyss
beneath. The triumph of Science over Nature was complete; and as the
sinking sun threw a glow over the Glades where the clouds had parted,
I think my companions caught some inspirations of the 'Poetry of the
Rail-way.'"

[Illustration: CHEAT RIVERS NARROWS.]

At Grafton we have choice of two routes: one, to Wheeling, leads us by
the beautiful scenery of the Tygart, where the Valley River Falls are
laughing and glistening all day and all night, and by the stupendous
Bollman bridge at Bellaire, almost two miles long, to Wheeling. But we
continue on a straight course to Cincinnati, having promised ourselves
to see the contrast between the City of Monuments and the Metropolis
of Pork. Grafton offers us the accommodations of another of the
company's hotels, where, as at Cumberland, we are daintily and
tenderly fed. At Parkersburg we find another superb bridge, over a
mile in length; at Athens an imposing insane asylum, to take care of
us if all these engineering wonders have deprived us of our senses;
and finally in Cincinnati, just a day after our departure from
Baltimore, the gleam of the Ohio River and the fulfillment of our
intention.




AN EPISODE IN THE LIFE OF A STRONG-MINDED WOMAN.


_Extracts from a Journal_.


November 1, 18----. It is just three years to-day since I began to
keep this journal. I am so glad now that I persisted in doing so,
in spite of the temptations that have often assailed me to throw it
aside. How else could I realize, bring home to myself, these past
three years, strong and vivid as my remembrance of them is? No effort
of mere recollection could have preserved for me as this book has done
a record of my struggles and failures, and of my victories. Yes, I
write the word proudly, _victories_, for I have been beyond my hopes
successful. How well I remember my dear mother's distress at my queer
notions, as she called them--her entreaties, her tender illogical
protests against my making myself "conspicuous"! Dear mother! I can
see now that it was very natural she should have disliked and dreaded
my becoming a "strong-minded woman," for anything narrower than her
ideas of a woman's education and sphere one cannot imagine. She was an
excellent specimen of the old-fashioned mother and wife, and I believe
sincerely thought her whole duty in life and the intention of her
creation was "to suckle fools and chronicle small beer."

Let me see: yes, here it is at the very beginning--November 1, 18----.
How faded the ink looks! Let me read it: "To-day I told mother I meant
to attend a course of medical lectures: we had a scene, and she called
in Cousin Jane to reason with me. How I detest Cousin Jane! She is
nothing but a mass of orthodox dogmatism. Of course we quarreled over
it, and she ended by telling me I was disgracing the family, and
was no true woman. Well, we shall see which of us has the truer
comprehension of a woman's sphere."

It is three years since I wrote that. Those lectures were my first
step, and, like all first steps, cost me more of a struggle than
anything I have done since. As I look back over these three years, I
see that every hope and aspiration I then cherished has been more than
realized. I can trace the steady progress of my intellect. I can go
back to the days when I started to earn my own living--when I thought
it a great thing to have gained a few dollars by my own labor. Yes, I
am very glad to have this record of the past: it makes me strong and
hopeful of the future. I have never regretted my decision to make an
independent life for myself. I have sought only to do that for which
Nature had gifted me, and from which nothing but custom and prejudice
debarred me; and in claiming my own position I am conscious of having
helped other women, and of having led the way for those who may be
less courageous than I am.

All this might sound very conceited and self-confident to any one who
should read it, but I do not write to be read by other eyes than my
own: my journal is the reflex of my thoughts and feelings; so I may be
frank with myself. And why should I _not_ be proud of my independence,
as well as any other human creature?

But I must prepare my speech for to-morrow. They say they can't do
without me, and I really believe they mean it; for though some women
besides myself have opinions, and can put them into words, they mostly
lack the courage that I certainly possess. What a delicious sense of
freedom and unfettered action I have in my life! I don't think I have
laid down the special powers of my sex in asserting my freedom; but
you must wait, little book, for the confession that is on the tip of
my pen. Work first: that is my motto.

_Nov_. 10. Ten days since I opened my journal, and such busy days as
they have been! Three speeches, and half a pamphlet written! I have
done what people commonly term "a man's work" this week. How I despise
all these time-honored phrases, which, dead letters as they are,
act as links to strengthen the chain that binds women in a state of
inferiority. Why not say "a _woman's_ work"? But that is a different
sort of thing, I should be told: a woman should stay at home and take
care of her house and children. Why so, say I, if she has no house,
and does not wish for husband and children, feeling that they would
impede her in her work? All women are not born to be wives and
mothers: some have other work to do. But I need not argue with my
journal: it is of my way of thinking; my ideas meet no opposition
here. "But this is not at all womanly," my critic would say, had
I one, which I have not: "you have not said a word of the really
important event of the week." Dare I say that I had half forgotten it?
A man has asked me to marry him! The great event of a woman's life has
been within my reach, and I refused it. Mr. Whitaker is a very nice
fellow, but too adoring by half. I want an equal, not a slave--a
friend, a companion, not a man drawn to me by his imagination and
desiring to put me on a pedestal before marriage, that he may reverse
our position afterward. And then, too, marriage would hamper and
restrict me. I must not give up to mankind what is meant for a party.
But here I have a reflection to make, the result of my three years'
experience since I became a "strong-minded woman." It is always
maintained that a woman who chooses the life and holds the views that
I do destroys her attraction and charm for the other sex, and that no
man, however clever and successful she may be, will want to marry
a woman who puts her intellect into trousers instead of petticoats.
There was never a greater mistake. I have had four offers of marriage
since I "unsexed" myself (that's the proper expression, I believe),
and all from most respectable, well-to-do, worthy men; and I really
think they all cared for me. I cannot help having a certain sense of
gratified vanity about this, for, in spite of my critics, I am a woman
still. I have earned a rest to-night, so I'll stop writing and go to
bed.

_Nov_. 16. I feel lonely to-night. I am not often lonely: perhaps my
little book will comfort me. Sometimes I have said to myself that my
motto was that of a star: "Einsam bin ich, nicht allein." To-night it
is not so. That Mr. Lawrence who was introduced to me to-night had a
striking face, but there was a sort of masculine manner about him that
I don't fancy. Manliness I like, but he seemed to be so sure that
I was not his equal; and yet he treated me with perfect respect and
courtesy. Some one whispered in my ear, "He is a great society swell."
I have never seen anything of what is called society: I was not born
with a title to admission within its circle, and I have always been
too proud to seek it; yet I confess I have a curiosity to see what it
is like. I suppose I should see the best result that the old way of
looking at women can produce--the pink-cotton system, I call it.
I don't believe that man would ever dream of contradicting me in a
question of fact, or of using his strongest logical weapons against
me in a discussion: he would only play with me mentally. How angry the
very thought makes me! And yet he would defer to my opinion, and
pay me all respect, and listen to everything I said, however silly,
because I am a woman. What a strange, inconsistent mingling of
discordant ideas! A toy and a divinity! His manners were, however,
very agreeable: I suppose he is what is called a man of the world.
Rather a poor thing to be: his manners are dearly bought. He said
something about his cousin Mrs. Fordyce calling on me. Well, if she
does, I shall perhaps have a glimpse at the _beau monde_. I wonder if
all the men in society look as high-bred as he does? He is probably
narrow-minded naturally, but he is one result of our scheme of
civilization, which has its good as well as its bad points. Dear me!
I certainly did not mean to make an analysis of Mr. Lawrence's
character. Good-night, my little book!

_Nov_. 20. I cannot write to-night, and yet I must, I must. My head
is bursting with thoughts and visions, my heart is swelling with new
sensations. What an evening I have had! I shall never, never think
myself courageous again. I, who have faced crowds with calmness, to
quail before forty or fifty men and women, not one of whom was more
intelligent or better educated than myself! But let me write it out if
I can. I accepted Mrs. Fordyce's invitation to a little party. It
was graciously given, and I, fool that I was, thought it was to do
me honor that I was asked. I did not know then that these women of
society will commit a baseness for a new sensation or to gratify an
emotion of curiosity. I have been so admired, so looked up to by the
men who have surrounded me, I never dreamed of being the object of
mere curiosity or amusement. Well, I went. The room was half full of
men and women, talking, laughing, moving about. I was alone, and from
the moment of my entrance into that blaze of light I felt lonely and
weak; but I crossed the room and spoke to my hostess. She greeted
me graciously, and then some one else came up, and I stood aside.
Suddenly the sense of eyes upon me came over me. How those women
stared! Never before had I been among women and felt no bond of
sisterhood. How was it? was I unsexed, or they? There seemed a gulf
between us: I read it in their eyes, it came to me in the air, a
subtle but keen conviction. And how exquisite they were!--so soft and
smooth and white, with no lines on their foreheads or creases round
their mouths. I had never had such a sense of beauty given me before
by anything but pictures. I wondered the men did not kneel to them: I
felt as if I could myself if they would let me. As I stood there, my
heart beating quick, and something in my throat beginning to choke me,
dazzled and bewildered by the scene, a voice said--oh how gently!--in
my ear, "Miss Linton, will you let me take you into the other rooms?
There are one or two pictures you will enjoy." I tried not to start,
but I trembled in spite of myself, the relief was so great. There we
stood--he, Henry Lawrence, taller and handsomer and prouder-looking
than any man in the room, looking down upon me and offering me his
arm! I think I felt as I should if a lifeboat came to take me off a
wreck--in a modified degree, I mean. I took his arm with a few rather
inarticulate words of thanks, and we strolled through the other rooms,
he listening to me with such earnest attentiveness, bending his head
at every word, seeming so absorbed in me, so forgetful of the women
who gazed at me as if I were a pariah, and the men who smiled on them
as they did so. I confess it, I felt as if he stood between me and
the mocking, coldly scrutinizing glances about me. I felt guarded,
protected, and I could not struggle against the feeling, weak though
I knew it was: it seemed irresistible. I suppose, being a woman like
other women, I inherit traditional weakness, and cannot break the
bonds of former generations in a day. Be it as it may, he did not seem
to know or notice that I was not myself: he only seemed interested and
absorbed. I did not feel as if I were taxing his courtesy, and soon
I recovered my self-possession and talked naturally: my spirits rose,
and my natural self-assertion returned to me. I enjoyed looking at the
women, watching their ways and listening to the sound of their voices.
It was a revelation of a new world to me, and I said as much to him.

"What in particular is it," he said, "that strikes you so?"

"I think," I answered, "it is the harmony of the whole effect."

"A thorough-bred woman always produces an harmonious effect," he said.

Something in his tone jarred me, and I said hastily, "I don't think
development should be sacrificed to harmony: incompleteness is better
than perfection sometimes."

He smiled sweetly: "Yes, but I am afraid we should hardly agree about
the development of women, though I should like to hear you talk of
it."

"Why should we not discuss and disagree?"

"I do not like to disagree with a woman at all, especially with a
woman whom I admire," he said, bending his blue eyes on me with a look
such as I had never seen before in a man's eyes. It was what I
suppose would be called a chivalric look; and yet chivalry was only an
improved barbarism.

Mrs. Fordyce came up just then, and introduced some gentlemen to me;
and while they were talking Mr. Lawrence turned away. In a few
moments he was back again with a lovely-looking young girl on his arm,
blushing and yet self-possessed, with the same exquisite simplicity
of manner he has himself. "My cousin Alice Wilton asks me to introduce
her to you, Miss Linton," he said.

I have always--shall I confess it?--patted young girls on the head:
this one I could no more have patronized than I could a statue of
Diana. She was very charming to look at as she stood beside her
cousin, and yet--No, I will make no exception: she was charming in
every way, and I felt more at my ease that a woman had been presented
to me.

Mr. Lawrence put me in my carriage. As he closed the door he said,
"Your maid is not with you?"

I replied that I had none; on which he said to the driver, "Drive
slowly: I mean to walk as far as the hotel with the carriage."

"Won't you get in?" I cried from the window.

He seemed not to hear me, but started off at a rapid pace, and I gave
up the attempt, wondering at what seemed to me an eccentric choice. It
was unnecessary for him to go with me at all, but I thought, "He
has been, I suppose, brought up to think no woman can take care of
herself." He was ready to open the door as I got out, and I longed to
ask him why he had not driven with me; but I hesitated: something tied
my tongue, and in a moment he had said "Good-night," and was gone with
hasty steps into the darkness. I must stop, I am so tired.

_December_ 3. It seems to me I am growing to be a dreadful egotist.
I put nothing down now in this little book but just what concerns
myself--nothing of the great subjects of universal interest which
have always absorbed most of my thoughts, but just my own doings
and sayings. At this very moment I desire only to write about my
afternoon, and the way in which I spent it. I will indulge myself, and
the record may serve me. How it had snowed all day! how it did snow
this afternoon when I started out, wrapped in my waterproof, accoutred
to encounter the storm, and rejoicing in the absence of long skirts
and hooped petticoats! With my India-rubber boots I felt I could plod
through any snow-drift, and I gained a pervading sense of exhilaration
from the beating of the storm in my face. I chose a certain street I
had come to know, which ran straight through the town and on into a
more thinly-settled suburb. It was a good, clear path, and I should
be able to have a splendid walk without meeting probably more than a
dozen people in the course of it. Just as I passed the last square of
closely-built town-houses, and began to come upon the stretching white
landscape before me, as I trudged along, turning my head a little
aside to escape the brunt of the driving snow, I heard an exclamation
of surprise, and a man's voice said, "You _here_, Miss Linton?"

It was he, Mr. Lawrence. There he stood, his eyes brilliant with the
excitement of the storm, his cheek aglow with exercise, looking, as
the old women say, "the very picture of a man." I am very sensitive to
beauty, and his seems to me very great: it draws me to him.

"Yes it is I," I said (we had both stopped). "I wanted exercise and
air, and something to change my frame of mind; so I came out for a
tramp."

He turned with me, and we walked on. In a moment more he said, "Will
you take my arm? It will be easier to keep step and walk fast then."

I took it, and he looked down at me and said, with an inscrutable
smile, which haunts me yet, I suppose because I can't make out its
meaning, "Do you believe in fate?"

"If you mean by fate something which the will is powerless to resist,
against which it is unavailing to struggle, I do not," I answered. "Do
you, Mr. Lawrence?"

He laughed, not a pleasant laugh, albeit musical, but as if his smile
had been one with some hidden meaning in it: "I hardly know what I
believe. Certainly some power seems to lay traps for our wills at
times, and waylay us when they are off duty. As, for instance," he
went on, "I wanted to see you to-day, and I did not go to see you: my
will acted perfectly well, and I seemed able to resist any temptation.
I came out here to walk alone, thinking that I should be even farther
away from you here than elsewhere, when, lo! you start up in my path,
and here we are together. It is just as if some malicious spirit
had mocked me with an idea of my own strength, only to betray me the
better through my weakness." He spoke with an intensity which seemed
out of place, and strangely unlike his usual calm manner. Somehow,
a feeling of great delight had come over me as he spoke. I felt
pleased--why I do not know--at his evident impatience and annoyance.

"But why," said I, "did you turn with me? _There_ would have been the
moment for your will to act."

"You think so? That is hardly fair, Miss Linton. Does one brand a
soldier as a coward and a laggard who has fought and won a battle, and
has sunk exhausted upon his arms to sleep, if he is discomfited and
dismayed when, just as slumber has him in its arms, a fresh foe sets
upon him? No, I _could_ not turn back."

His eyes were bent on me again, and something in them stirred my soul
to its depths. Such a delicious feeling seemed stealing over me--a
feeling of mixed power and weakness. I felt my color rise, but I
looked ahead over the snowfields and said, "I don't see why you should
have turned back. Why should you want to be with me and not be with
me? I wanted to see you too."

I started as he spoke again, for his voice and manner were both
changed--all the quiver and intensity gone out of them. "The 'reason
why' of a mood is hard to find sometimes, and when found one has a
conviction that no one but one's self would see its reasonableness,"
he said with a laugh cold and musical. "Let us talk of something we
can both be sure to understand."

He seemed far away again. For a moment he had seemed so near--nearer,
I think, than I ever remember to have felt a man to be. Then he
talked, and talked very well, and made me talk, though it was not as
easy as it usually is to me, and though we spoke of things that are
generally to me like the sound of a trumpet to the war-horse. My
spirit did not rise: the words would hardly come. I wanted to be alone
and think it over--think over his words, his manner, his voice, the
look in his eyes, and see what they meant, and, if I could, why he had
changed so suddenly to me.

When we had walked some distance farther he himself proposed turning
back, and took me home. As we neared the hotel I could not resist
asking him why he had not come home with me that night in the carriage
instead of walking, or running rather, beside it.

Such a strange look came over his face as I asked him, and his
lips set with a stern expression as he said stiffly, icily, "I had
realized, Miss Linton, how utterly different our ways of looking at
life must be; or else perhaps it is that you do not hold me to be
enough of a knight to consider a woman's position before my own
comfort and pleasure."

"I don't understand you," said I, bewildered. "I _asked_ you to get
into the carriage."

"I know it," he replied; "but in such matters no gentleman can allow
a woman's kindly impulse of courtesy to compromise her in any way: he
must think first of her, and all the more because she has thought of
him."

"What do you mean by compromise?" I exclaimed. "I am quite independent
enough of public opinion to be a free agent in such matters: you must
not forget that I am a very different woman from a society belle."

"Quite true," he answered, stung by my tone, "but I do not claim to be
unsexed because--because--" He stammered.

"Because I am? You are very right to live according to your lights,
Mr. Lawrence, but I must decline to see life by them. Good-night!" His
tone was more than I could bear, and I turned abruptly from him: we
had reached the hotel, and without a word more I ran up stairs to my
parlor. The door was ajar: I entered hastily and pushed it to, but he
had followed me on the instant, and now stood with it in his hand.

"I cannot let you send me away without saying one word," he said. "I
never meant to say that you were unsexed. I beg you will forgive me if
I offended you. I had no right in the world to judge for you. It was a
presumptuous impulse to protect, to guard you that prompted my action
the other night--my words just now. Forgive me. As for my prejudices,
they shall not displease you again: only remember as my excuse that
a man of my class has but one way of looking at a woman
whom--he--" He drew a long breath, hesitated, and then said with an
effort--"admires."

The word was cold and formal, but his voice and manner were warm and
earnest. His mood seemed changed: he seemed again near me, and an
irresistible attraction toward him possessed me, body and soul. There
was something in his very attitude, as he stood by the door with his
head bent down, that seemed to win me. What was it that came over me?
What subtle power is it by which one nature draws another without any
apparent or audible summons? I do not know; but this I know, that
as he said the words I have just written down a floodgate within me
seemed raised, and with a mighty rush my spirit bounded toward him.
And yet I did not move.

"Forgive you?" I said. "Yes, a thousand times!"

He looked up, said, "Thank you!" very softly, and turned to the door.
When he reached it he stopped, turned again, and came up to me. "Will
you give me your hand in token of forgiveness and friendship?" he
said.

I said nothing, but held out my hand. He took it in both of his, and
then in a moment more my arms were about his neck, and our lips had
met. He kissed me again and again, held me very close for an instant,
and then, untwining my arms from their hold, he abruptly left
the room. That was three hours ago, and I have sat here thinking,
thinking, ever since. What does it all mean? Writing it out has helped
me, as I thought it would. Two things have become clear to me: I am
quite conscious that I have sought Mr. Lawrence at least as much as he
has me. I have always believed it to be as natural for a woman who was
once freed from the foolish prejudices of education and tradition to
hold out her hand to any one who attracted her as for a man to seek a
woman. Now I have proved it to be true. He does attract me. Why deny
it, either to myself or him? I do not, I will not. This I see and know
to be true. The other thing which seems clear to me is, that he is
only drawn by one side of his nature--that he does not want to love
me, perhaps can only half love me. Then, if that be so, I have done
wrong to show him my feelings. With his ideas about women, he would
feel it to be almost unmanly to fold his arms on his breast if a woman
put hers about his neck, as I did; and I fear I forced my love upon
him. I feel as I should think a man feels who has taken an unfair
advantage of a woman's fancy for him, and got from her graces and
favors to which her whole heart does not assent. I am not ashamed of
loving him: bear me witness, little book, I am not ashamed of loving
him, nor indeed of telling him so; only I would not "betray his will,"
as he said this afternoon. No, no: if he comes to me, it must be with
a whole and willing heart. Now that's resolved, what next? Write
to him of course, and tell him I am sorry to have led him into this
position, and say, "I won't do so again." Did a woman ever write to a
man before and beg his pardon for letting him kiss her? for throwing
her arms about his neck? I doubt it, but what does that matter? I
belong to the new era, and I will be the "Coming Woman." I laugh, but
I feel, after all, more like crying. Good-night, little book. I will
write to Mr. Lawrence in the morning. Now for bed.

_Dec_. 4. I wrote to him this morning, and sent my note by a
messenger. I could not work, I could neither think nor write, till his
answer came. He had made the bearer of my note wait, and wrote me
just a few words to ask if he might not see me to-night. I wrote back
"Yes," and now it is only four o'clock: he will not come till
eight. It seems an impossible time to wait, and I must not waste
the afternoon as I did the morning. Let me see: shall I finish that
article on English love-poetry, past and present, in which I mean to
show how the germ of degradation and decay always existed, even in the
chivalric idea of woman's nature and sphere, and how it has gone on
developing itself in the poetry which is its truest expression, till
we have got its different stages from the ideal of the school which
really had a gloss of elevation and fine sentiment about it--the woman
of Herrick and Ben Jonson, and later on of Lovelace and Montrose, to
the woman of Owen Meredith and Swinburne, who, instead of inspiring
men to die for her honor, makes them rather wish her to live to be
the instrument of their pleasure? It was not a bad idea, and I think
I could have traced the gradations very well. But I cannot write, I
cannot think. Let me recall my letter to him. Ah, here is one of the
dozen copies I made before I could make it what I wanted:

"MY DEAR MR. LAWRENCE: I must ask you to forgive me, for I am
conscious of having been thoughtless and selfish. I yielded to an
impulse yesterday, and I put you in an unfair position. I never meant
to do it, and I will never do it again. I trust we may be friends, and
I am

"Yours truly,

"MARGARET LINTON."

That was all I said: I wish now I had said more. Ah me! will evening
never come?

       *       *       *       *       *

Before I go to bed I must write a word or two. Ah, how much happier I
am than I was last night! He came at eight punctually. I trembled all
over when I shook hands with him: I think he must have seen it, but
he said nothing. What a wonderful thing this thing they call high
breeding is! One feels it in a moment, and yet it seems intangible,
indescribable. He has it, I should think, in perfection, and he is the
only person I have ever known who possessed it, except, perhaps that
young girl, his cousin, whom he presented to me at the party. For
a while we talked--at least he did--easily and pleasantly, and then
suddenly he said, smiling at me, "Do you know, I think you are a very
generous woman?"

"Do you? Why?" said I.

"Because you are willing to shoulder other people's peccadilloes.
Don't you know a woman should never do that, especially for a man, who
is naturally selfish and can always take care of himself?"

I did not like the word _peccadilloes_, but I only said, "So can a
woman take care of herself."

"Do you really believe that?" he said with a gleam in his blue eyes.

"Really, I do. I am sure, at least, that I can take care of myself."

"Are you?" said he. We were sitting beside each other on the sofa, and
in another moment he had put his arm about me and drawn me to him. I
could not resist him--his voice, his eyes, his sweet words. I loved
him and was happy. It was a heaven of delight to be so near him; and
how natural it seemed! He said little, nor did I speak many words:
he held me in his arms, kissed me many times on my hands, cheeks and
lips; and then suddenly, almost abruptly, he left me, pleading an
engagement. But my happiness did not go with him. I am happy in the
conviction that he loves me, and I feel strong to make him all my own.
He will come again to-morrow. He did not say so: no need to say so--he
will surely come. He is poor, I know. What of that? I earn a good
income, and together we can defy the world. I shall be able to convert
him from his prejudices and narrow notions, now that he loves me.
What an acquisition to our cause! He loves me as I am. I have yielded
nothing, I have sacrificed nothing--not one iota of principle, not an
inch of ground. He has come to me because he loves me. I can influence
him to think as I do of woman's nature and sphere. My single life will
convince him of the justice of my ideas, and having known me, he can
never "decline on a lower range of feelings and a narrower sphere than
mine."

I am triumphant, I am successful: I could sing a song of rejoicing.
Have I not always felt sure that a woman's true attraction does not
depend on the false attitude in which she is placed by men? This man
has seen me as I am, and I have drawn him to me.

_Dec_. 11. It seems scarcely possible that it is but one week since I
wrote those words above, yet the date stares me in the face, and tells
me that but seven days and seven nights have passed since then. It
seems to me as if all my past life held less of emotion, of
sensation, less of _living_, than this one week; and what absolute,
uncompromising pain it has all been! It seems to me as if I had been
through every stage of suffering in succession; yet to what does it
all amount? what has caused it all? what has racked me with all these
various gradations of torture? Just this: since that night, that
triumphant, happy night, I have neither heard from nor seen Mr.
Lawrence. Silence, unbroken silence, has been between us. I have
borne it, but oh how badly!--not calmly or with quiet self-control
and strength; but I have borne it with passionate out-cry and restless
struggles. I have sobbed myself to sleep at night: I have roamed
aimlessly about during the day, or lain on a lounge, book in hand,
pretending to read, but in reality listening, waiting, longing to hear
his step, his knock, to have some message, some sign, come to me from
him. Then it has seemed to me as if there was but one other human
creature in the world, and that was he--as if all the manifold needs
and wants, losses and gains, of humanity had no longer the slightest
meaning for me. I have no sense of any ambition, any aim, any
obligation pressing upon me. I find nothing within myself to feed upon
but a few pale memories of him, and my whole future seems concentred
in his existence. I do not think I can bear to live as I am now. It
is all profoundly dark to me. Why does he not come? I can think of no
possible explanation--none. I am resolved to think it out to an end,
and then act: it is this passiveness which is killing me.

I am resolved: I will write, and will ask him to come to me, and when
he comes I will say what I feel. Some mistaken hesitation is keeping
him away. I will say, "We love one another: let us unite our lives and
live them together, yoked in all exercise of noble end."

_Letter from Henry Lawrence to George Manning_.

DECEMBER 11.

DEAR GEORGE: I will begin by telling the truth, and here it is: I am
in a scrape. I know you won't think much of the simple fact, but the
scrape is very different from any of my former ones, and I don't see
how I can get out of it honorably. I can see you raise your eyebrows,
and hear you say with an incredulous smile, "Why, Harry, I have heard
you ridicule honor a thousand times where women are concerned, and of
course this scrape involves a woman." You are right there--it does;
or rather a woman has involved me, and there lies the scrape. As for
honor, I laugh at most of the things I believe in, just because it's
the fashion of the day--and I belong to the day I live in--_not_ to
wear one's heart on one's sleeve. Then, too, sometimes one finds that
logically one thinks a thing, an idea, a feeling absurd, and yet when
one's life comes into collision with it, somehow up springs something
within you which I suppose might be called an instinct, and forces you
to respect and cherish and uphold the very feeling or idea which you
have always ridiculed.

Well, I'll tell you my story, and then perhaps you'll tell me what to
do. About--let me see--a month ago I went with some men one evening,
out of pure idleness, to a public meeting. The men who spoke were
all stupid, and roared and mouthed stuff "full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing," and I was thinking how I could get away and have
a game of cards at the club, when suddenly a voice like music smote
upon my astonished ears. I looked up, and there on the platform stood
a woman, speaking, by Jove! and doing it well, too. I listened and
looked, and should have enjoyed it if it had not disgusted me so in
theory. I must confess, barring the fact of her being there, there
was nothing objectionable about her. She was handsome, and had a
magnificent voice: she talked a hundred per cent, better than the men
who preceded her; and it was well for the meeting that it was over
when she stopped: any other speaker would have made a terrible
anti-climax. The two fellows with me proposed our being introduced to
her, and half from curiosity, half--I swore to speak the truth--half,
George, from attraction (hear me out, old fellow: she was
feminine-looking and very handsome)--I went forward and was presented.
She interested and attracted me, the more so perhaps that from the
moment our eyes met I was conscious that there existed between us a
strong natural affinity, latent, but capable of being developed. I
called on her the next day, and made my cousin Clara invite her to a
party. Clara, who is thoroughly unconventional, and would do anything
to please me, did so without a second thought. But imagine my distress
when, as I entered the drawing-room a little late, I saw my fair
Amazon standing in a doorway, not only alone, but alone in the midst
of curious and scornful glances. My courtesy was at stake, my chivalry
was roused, and she looked very handsome and very like any other woman
brought to bay. She had the most charming expression, compounded of
bewilderment and defiance, on her face when my eyes fell on her,
and it changed to one that pleased me still better (which I won't
describe) when our eyes met. You, you unbelieving dog, think that
because she is "strong-minded" she must be repulsive and immodest. But
there is a charming inconsistency about female human nature.

But to go on with my story. I felt quite like a champion, I assure
you, for, after all, it was shabby of the women to give her the cold
shoulder, and cowardly of the men to stand aloof; so I devoted myself
to her, and asked Alice Wilton to be presented to her. Miss Linton has
not a particle of _usage du monde_, nor is she what would be called
high-bred; but she is self-possessed and gentle in her manner, and
makes a good enough figure in the company of ladies and gentlemen.
Here I confess my weakness. I did think her very attractive, and I
was conscious that I had a power over her which I did not forbear to
exercise. The result of this was that when we parted she had every
reason to expect to see me very soon again, and I had inwardly
resolved never to see her again if I could help it. I did keep away,
and then luck would have it that I met her taking a walk one
snowy afternoon. I suspected she had come out to get away from the
remembrance of me, as I had to get away from the desire to see her;
and she was so moved by seeing me that I could not help showing her
that I cared for her, and perhaps seemed to care more than I did.
It was a sore temptation, and I yielded to it. Wrong? Do you think I
don't know that it was wrong? But the worst is to come. I walked back
with her, and an accident led to our having one of those conversations
that people have when they are under the influence of emotion and
cannot give it vent in its natural way, but must do something or talk.
If I could have put my arms about her and kissed her, we could have
got on without words: as it was, I said I hardly know what, and she,
being very much in earnest and very unsophisticated, showed me how
much she cared for me. I vow, George, if I had had a moment to think,
to gather my self-control--But I had not, and so we ended by my
finding her arms round my neck, after all. I rushed away with hardly
a word, and walked and walked, and thought and thought. The next day
comes a note from her--what one would call a manly, straightforward
acknowledgment that she had led me into a position that was an unfair
one, and that she regretted it. Nothing franker or more generous could
have been conceived, but somehow it roused within me the impulse to
make her conscious of the weakness of her sex. My masculine conceit
rose and demanded an opportunity of self-assertion. I went to her,
and she seemed more attractive than ever. Her independence and
self-reliance nettled me, and I was mean enough to yield to the desire
to see if she could resist me. But I was richly punished, for the
knowledge rolled over me like a wave that she loved me, and I left
her, stung by the consciousness of having taken an unworthy advantage
of a simple and trustful nature. I know that this is high tragedy, and
will meet with your displeasure. I can hear you say, "Confound you,
Harry! why don't you marry her?"

Very easy to say; but look at the situation, which is not so simple
as you probably think. Of course any girl of my own class would never
build an edifice of eternal and sacred happiness on such a foundation
as a few warm looks and eloquent words, or even a caress, might
furnish. In plain words, neither she nor I would think marriage
a necessary or even likely sequence to such a preamble. But it is
different with Miss Linton. I am sure, I am confident--laugh if you
like--that she has never given any man what she has given me, either
in degree or kind. Her eccentric notions about women's nature and
position would protect her from tampering with her own feelings or
those of another; and then, too, there has been so much hard reality,
so much serious business, in her life that the sweet follies of
girlhood have not been hers. Shall I say that I cannot help feeling
her innocence and inexperience make her more attractive? I am
not sure, even, that they do not balance her self-reliance and
independence, which certainly repel me. All this I did not dream of
at first. I am not a scoundrel or a coxcomb. It came to me the other
afternoon all at once, when she threw her arms about my neck. I have
been selfish, and perhaps stupid. "Why not marry her?" you say. I have
asked myself that question, and this is my answer: No passion in the
world could make me insensible to the humiliation of her career, and I
should be obliged not only to accept it in the past, but to recognize
it in the future. My wife must be my social equal and the natural
associate of high-bred women. I must be able to take any man by the
throat who looks at or speaks of her as does not please me. This
woman's character, intellect, manners and appearance are public
property for all purposes of criticism and comment. She is unsexed.
My wife must be dependent on me, clinging to me. This woman has always
stood, and will always stand alone; and yet I have thought that she
was capable of such deep, strong, concentrated feeling that the man
who owned her heart might do with her as he liked. This, I admit, has
tempted me to think of marriage, for, after all, George, it would be
a luxury to be very much loved. This woman would love a man in another
fashion from that which prevails in society.

But I have put the idea away from me, and here I am, determined not to
marry her, and yet feeling that I have unintentionally wronged her.
I have not been near her these seven days. I know she expects me--she
has every right to expect me--but I will not go till I have decided
what to say and do. I am too weak to go otherwise. Write to me,
George, and advise me; and remember that she is not like the women of
whom we have both known so many. She has no more idea of flirting than
had Hippolyta queen of the Amazons or Zenobia queen of Palmyra--those
two strong-minded women of old days. I am joking, but I assure you
I am not jolly. I am afraid, George, that she truly loves me, and,
unsexed though she be, love has made a woman of her, and I fear is
unmanning me.

  Yours always,
  HENRY LAWRENCE.

P.S. I open my letter to say that it is too late for you to write when
you receive this: it will be over. I have just got a note from her
asking to see me. I shall speak frankly, but I feel like a hound. As
ever, H.L.


_Journal_.

_Dec_. 11. I am resolved to write it all down as it happened. I wrote
him a note this afternoon, and this evening he came--handsome, pale
and quiet. He walked up to me, took my hand in his, pressed it and let
it go. He did not wait for me to speak, fortunately, for I could
not have spoken: I could not have commanded my voice. He said--oh
so quietly and steadily!--"I should have come to see you to-night, I
think, if you had not asked me: I had so much to say."

"I thought you would never come," I answered.

He rose and walked hurriedly up and down the room, then paused in
front of me and said--his words seem burned into my brain--"You are
a woman who deserves frankness, and I will be utterly and absolutely
frank with you. I have done very wrong in behaving as I have done.
I had no right, no justification, for it, and I beg you to forgive
me--humbly I beg it on my knees;" and he knelt before me.

I was bewildered and pained beyond measure. I thought I knew not what,
but a tissue of wild absurdities rushed through my brain to account
for his words--anything rather than think he did not love me.

"With many women this confession would be unnecessary," he went on.
"You are genuine and simple, and attach a real meaning to every word
and act, because you do not yourself speak or act without meaning. How
can I, then, part from you without asking your forgiveness for what I
have said and done?"

"Part from me!" I exclaimed, holding out my hands to him: he had risen
now. "Oh, Mr. Lawrence, let us be frank with one another. There is no
need to part. Do you think your poverty is any barrier between us? It
is but an added bond. Can I not work too? And we will learn to think
alike where we now differ. Why should we part? We love each other. Why
should we not marry? What can part us but our own wills? I love you,
you know it, and I think you love me; at least I am sure I could
teach you to love me." He stood while I spoke, his arms hanging by his
sides. What more I said I hardly know. I think--I am sure, indeed--I
told him, standing there, how I loved him. I felt I must speak it once
to one human being. A great foresight came to me: I seemed to see my
life stretching before me, long, lonely, desolate: no other love like
this could come, full well I knew that, and I could not enter on that
dreary path without setting free my soul. Yes, I spoke out to him.
Words of power they were--power and fire and longing. Perhaps I
alone, of all women, have told a man of my love when I knew it to be
hopeless. My hope had died when he first spoke. Had he loved me, he
had spoken otherwise. That I was woman enough to see; but if it be
unwomanly to feel in every pulse-throb the need of expression, to know
that I should die of suppressed passion, tenderness, love, if I did
not speak it all, did not tell him once how I loved him, how I could
have lived his servant, his slave, happy and content--how his smile
seemed the sun and his caresses heaven to me--how I was hungry with
the hunger of my very soul to spend on him the garnered treasure of my
heart,--if this be unwomanly, I was indeed unsexed. I seemed exalted
out of myself, and full of power.

He heard me, and it moved him. He spoke again when I had finished. He
had not lifted his eyes to mine, and did not then. He said, "I could
not marry you: it would be the worst possible thing for both of us.
Your life would be miserable--mine most wretched. You must see that
there are other things in life besides love, and other things which
influence its happiness. Everything would separate us except our
personal affinity. Our education, our ideas, beliefs, our past lives,
our aims for the future, make a gulf between us. We could never bridge
it," He paused.

I laughed aloud: he looked at me then in surprise. "I laugh," said I,
"because I see how absurd it was to fancy that you loved me. A bridge
between us! If you loved me as I love you, our love would turn water
into land, melt mountains into plains: we would cross dry-shod to one
another."

"Do you love me so?" he said, his blue eyes gleaming, and making
a step toward me. I had power enough to make him feel, and feel
strongly, but that was not enough.

"No," I said, "Mr. Lawrence, you must take nothing from me now: I can
give nothing now."

"But if I want all?" he said.

I laughed again. "But you do not," I said. "I have told you I love
you and would marry you. You cannot, you say. Then that ends all
between us. I love you too much to be able to give you only what you
give me."

"We cannot marry," he repeated: "it would be ruin to both of us."

"Go away!" I said: "I would rather be alone." I was spent, and felt
feeble and weak.

"Let me tell you, first, that I admire you, esteem you, infinitely:
let me say this before I go; and you will think of me kindly." He said
this pleadingly.

I looked at him wonderingly. Did he not _yet_ know how much I loved
him? My courage and pride were ebbing fast away. Faintly I said,
"Before you go kneel down in front of me, and let me touch your
forehead with my lips." He did so, and I bent forward and took his
head in both my hands and kissed it. Somehow as I did it the strange
thought came to me that if I had ever had a son, just so I have kissed
his head. It was a yearning feeling, with such tenderness in it that
my heart seemed dissolving. Many times. I kissed it and held it, and
then, "Good-bye, my only love," I said. "I could have loved you very
well."

His eyes were wet with tears as he raised his head. "I shall never
forget you: you are nobleness itself," he said. "God bless and prosper
you, Miss Linton!" Then he went.

That is all, all, and life is where it was a month ago; only, "I wear
my rue with a difference." He was my inferior. I was higher and nobler
and purer than he, but I loved him, and the greatest joy I could know
would have been to lead my life with him. So it is over, and this book
had best be put away. I will go back to my old life, and see what I
can make of it. I am glad to have known what love meant: I shall be
gladder after a while, when this ache is over. If he could but have
loved me as I loved him--if he could! But he could not, and it was not
to be. I must learn to be again a strong-minded woman.

_Letter from Henry Lawrence to George Manning._

DEAR GEORGE: I'm off for Europe to-morrow. I behaved _like a man_ and
broke the whole thing off. She behaved like a man too, told me how
much she loved me, and then accepted the position. I feel like a girl
who has jilted a fellow, and it's a very poor way to feel. Never flirt
with a strong-minded woman. I believe she cared for me, and I think
very likely when I'm fifty I shall think I was a fool not to have
braved it out and married her. I'm sure if I don't think it then,
I shall when I reach the next world; but then, like the girl in
Browning's poem, "she will pass, nor turn her face."

I feel very blue, and I think I'd better ask Alice to marry me. Yours,
H.L.

MARSHALL NEIL.




THE KING OF BAVARIA.


Of all the prominent personages who, through their official position
or individual power, or both combined, occupy at present the eye
of the public, probably not one is more unjustly criticised or
more generally misunderstood than Ludwig II., king of Bavaria. As
a reigning monarch, young, handsome, secluded in his habits and
unmarried, he is of course exposed to all the inquisitive observation
and exaggerated gossip which the feminine curiosity and masculine envy
of a court and capital can supply--gossip which is eagerly listened
to by the annual crowd of foreigners who spend a few days in Munich
to visit the Pinakothek, listen to a Wagner opera, and catch, if
possible, a glimpse of the romantic young king; and is by them carried
home to find public circulation at third hand through the columns of
sensation newspapers. And when to this personal criticism is added
the strife of opinion over his political acts, and the ill-will of the
extreme Church party in consequence of his liberal tendencies, it may
easily be believed that his real character is but little known, and is
in many cases deliberately falsified. A brief review of the facts and
circumstances of his reign may serve to correct, in some degree, the
false impressions which have so long prevailed.

In 1864, in the midst of the confusion of the Schleswig-Holstein war,
which was then agitating all Germany, King Max died, and his eldest
son, Ludwig, only nineteen years old, was summoned from the quiet
routine of his university studies to ascend the throne of Bavaria. In
childhood his health had been extremely delicate, and on that account
he had been educated in unusual privacy--training which, joined to
his naturally reserved and meditative disposition, and the various
disenchantments of his public career, may satisfactorily account for
his present confirmed love of solitude. The position to which he was
so unexpectedly called was an exceedingly difficult one for a mind
filled, as his was, with ideal visions of liberty and progress,
and totally inexperienced in the ways of a selfish world and in the
profundity of Jesuitical intrigues; and the unavoidable embarrassments
of the time had been increased by the course of his immediate
predecessors. Ludwig I., through a sentimental love of the
picturesque, had encouraged the multiplication of monasteries and
convents and brotherhoods of wandering friars, and Maximilian, though
naturally tolerant, and still more liberalized by the influence of his
Protestant queen, was a firm believer in the divine right of kings;
and having joined hands with the clerical party in putting down the
revolution of 1848, found himself afterward so far compromised in
their behalf that he was unable to oppose their aggrandizing plans; so
that in his reign the priests, and especially the Jesuits, attained to
a greater degree of power than they had ever before known.

The young king for a while carried on the government after his
father's policy, and with the same ministerial officers; but he
soon began to show signs of independence of character, the first
manifestation of which was an attempt to curtail the power of the
Jesuits, especially in the matter of public instruction. This was,
of course, enough to rouse the enmity of the whole Society of Jesus
against him, and its members have been busy ever since in thwarting
all his plans and doing their utmost to render him unpopular with his
subjects.

Unfortunately, the king soon gave his people a plausible excuse for
fault-finding by the unbounded favor which he bestowed upon Wagner,
whose ideas and whose music were at that time alike obnoxious to the
majority of Germans. The favorite theory of this great genius, but
arrogant and unscrupulous man, was the elevation of the German nation
through the aesthetic and moral influence of a properly developed
theatre; and the king was ready to offer every facility for the
practical realization of this visionary plan. But the Jesuits scented
heresy in the alliance between the experienced composer and the
youthful dreamer, and the liberal party were indignant that Wagner's
affairs should be made a cabinet question at a time of such great
national anxiety. The dissatisfaction rose to such a height at last
that it became necessary for Wagner to leave Munich, and for his royal
patron to break off, apparently at least, the unpopular intimacy. The
people were right, to some extent, in denouncing Wagner, whose course
in Munich, as elsewhere, had been selfish and ungrateful, and in
blaming the king for indulging his individual tastes to the neglect
of his duties as a ruler; but the youth and inexperience of the latter
were a sufficient excuse for excess of enthusiasm, and reproach may
well be forgotten in astonishment and admiration at the capacity of
this mere boy to understand and feel those wonderful musical dramas
which were then almost universally laughed at or condemned, though
their gradual but steady rise in public appreciation seems now to
warrant their claim to be considered as "the music of the future."

In December, 1865, a little more than a year after his accession,
King Ludwig acknowledged the union of Italy under Victor Emmanuel--an
important step, which at once arrayed the Catholic Church against him
as its enemy. He also endeavored to effect a reconciliation between
Vienna and Berlin, but his mediation did not avail; nor could he
hinder the alliance of Bavaria with Austria in the war of 1866. But as
soon as peace was concluded he quitted the policy of his father, which
he had hitherto, for the most part, followed, and selected as members
of his cabinet men of liberal principles and progressive ideas,
calling to, its head Prince Hohenlohe, a known friend of Prussia and a
firm opposer of the Austrian alliance.

One of the first projects of the new ministry was to free the public
schools, as far as possible, from the influence of the clergy. These
and other liberal movements aroused the whole force of the
Ultramontane party, and a terrible strife ensued, resulting in
Hohenlohe's resignation, which the king was unwillingly obliged to
accept. Hohenlohe was succeeded by Count Bray, a man devoted to
feudalism and the Church, who had been minister under Ludwig I. and
Maximilian II. The clerical party were exultant in their triumph. They
saw that trouble was brewing between France and Prussia, and trusted
that Count Bray would be able to prevent any alliance between the
latter state and Bavaria. They would have preferred a coalition with
France and Austria against Prussia and the kingdom of Italy, with the
ultimate purpose of reinstating the pope as a temporal sovereign. To
this end they were willing to degrade Bavaria to a province of Rome,
and would gladly have dethroned the king if they could have done so;
their hatred of him having been increased in the mean time by his
public recognition of Dr. Doellinger's protest against the decree of
papal infallibility. But when the crisis came their hopes were
speedily frustrated by the king's prompt decision to stand by Prussia
in the contest. He at once declared his intention to Parliament, which
had until then appeared willing to grant only the supplies necessary
to maintain Bavaria in a state of armed neutrality. The decision was
the king's alone--"_My word is sacred_" was his principle of
action--but after he had taken the first step his ministers supported
him throughout the struggle with patriotic zeal. He immediately issued
a proclamation calling his people to arms against their hereditary
enemy, and his message, "_We South Germans are with you_" was the
first pledge of sympathy and assistance that cheered the king and the
citizens at Berlin.

King Ludwig's conduct in this matter is especially deserving of
praise, because his kingdom is of sufficient size and importance to
make its absorption into the empire a great sacrifice of individual
pride; particularly when it is remembered that Prussia, of which
Bavaria had long been jealous, was to be the leading power in the new
union of states, and Prussia's king the emperor. But from the time of
Ludwig's accession he had looked forward with hope to a consolidation
of the numerous states of Germany into one nation; and the
opportunity, though coming sooner than he or any one else had
anticipated, found him not unprepared for the change. When the storm
against Hohenlohe was at its height, he said, "Does that party really
think that the steps which have already been taken toward the unity of
Germany will be retracted? Then they do not know me. I have not read
Schiller in vain. I too can say, 'All the power, all the influence,
which belongs to me as a constitutional prince I will lay in the
scale of the idea of the unity of Germany.' I should greatly prefer to
devote myself to peaceful pursuits, to clear the way for my people to
elevate themselves through education and material prosperity, and to
help them open the noble treasure of ideas bequeathed to them by our
thinkers and poets; but when a foreign enemy is standing at Germany's
gates I hold it my duty not only to give my army, my lands and my
property for the public good, but to offer myself to the commander
in-chief as a common soldier of the united German empire." On another
occasion he said, "I acknowledge in my country only one party--that
of truly noble men, who, through extensive knowledge, pure thoughts
and useful deeds, serve the commonwealth, whether these be skillful
workmen, citizens, peasants, scholars, honest magistrates, who, like
myself, serve the people conscientiously, officers who are friends as
well as leaders of the soldiers, worthy priests of all confessions,
who are real physicians of souls, righteous judges, teachers of my
people, or noblemen who add to the distinction of title that of true
nobility of soul, and set a worthy example in all good things: all
these, and only these, are of my party."

And again: "I desire of my Creator not the satisfaction of gratified
ambition, but the joy of knowing that after my death it will be said
of me, 'Ludwig II. strove to be a true friend to his people, and he
succeeded in making them happier." And again: "It would gratify me
more to obtain a true solution of my country's social problems than to
become, by force of arms, ruler of all Europe; nor should I be willing
to incur the responsibility of a single life lost through my pursuit
of any selfish plan."

These quotations are sufficient to show the enlightened views of the
king in regard to his duties as a ruler; and his whole conduct since
his accession has proved his desire to free his subjects from the
chains of bigotry and superstition in which they have so long been
bound. His constant opposition to the machinations of the Jesuits,
his increasing neglect of the religious shows and ceremonies in which
Munich delights, and his open support of Dollinger and the liberal
Catholics, indicate plainly enough that he is no slave of the Church
of which he is by birth and training a member; but his example and
influence cannot, as yet, effect much against the strong majority of
Ultramontanists in Parliament and the crowds of priests who still hold
spiritual sway over the greater portion of his people. One peculiar
hindrance to the success of any progressive measure in Bavaria lies in
the absurd regulation which makes every ex-cabinet minister a member
of a separate government council, the consent of which must be
obtained before any new royal or parliamentary decree can be put in
force; and as the majority of these ex-ministers are Ultramontanists
or otherwise behind the times, it will be seen that the progressive
party, though with the king at their head, are constantly thwarted
by this auxiliary force of the Jesuits and old fogies outside the
government.

With regard to the private life of the king, his secluded habits are
a source of general complaint. The Bavarians, and especially the
citizens of Munich, would like him to mix freely with his people in
the streets and at places of public resort, as Ludwig I. was in the
habit of doing, and to settle down with wife and children around
him, after the manner of good King Max; to head all their festive
processions, preside at the opening of their annual fairs, and lend
himself to legendary customs which have long lost their significance,
and to social gayeties in which he can find no pleasure. And because
he refuses to take his airings in the crowded streets, to head
the processions on Corpus Christi and St. John's Day, to wash the
disciples' feet on Holy Thursday, to preside at the Michaelmas
horse-races and puppet-shows, and to marry for the sake of increasing
the brilliancy of the court and perpetuating the Wittelsbach dynasty,
he is denounced alike by devotees and worldlings, who judge him, not
by what he does that is good and useful, but by what he does not do
to gratify them. Because he spends the greater part of the year in
retirement at his castles in the country, coming to Munich only for
the session of Parliament in the winter, he is accused of indifference
to the prosperity of his state and the welfare of his subjects.

But he himself says, "It is incumbent upon a prince to meditate upon
the duties of his calling, which he can surely do better when alone
with God and Nature than in the confusion of a court." His ministers
and all who have occasion to approach him in a business capacity
declare that at every such interview they are surprised at his
thorough knowledge of the subject under discussion, as also at his
keen insight into character and motives.

To an unprejudiced observer--say to an intelligent foreigner who
remains in Bavaria long enough, not only to hear all the gossip, but
to see and judge for himself as to the merits of the case--the
career of this young king is exceedingly interesting and worthy of
admiration. It is something, in these times of political intrigue and
diplomatic evasion, that a king can say, "My word is sacred," without
awakening in any mind a remembrance of broken faith and forgotten
obligations. It is something, amid the corruptions of a dissolute
capital and the temptations of a royal court, that the sovereign,
young, full of tender sentiment, and unprotected by the marriage tie,
lives on with virtue unimpeached; not even the bitterest enemy daring
to breathe a word against the purity of this modern Lohengrin. It is
something that a man born to the splendors of a throne should
prefer to these the simplicity of Nature, the solitude of woods
and mountains, the companionship of music that searches the soul's
sincerity, and of books that have no recognition of royalty in their
announcement of immortal and universal truths.

In the endless criticism of which the king is the subject attention is
often called, sometimes in pity, sometimes in blame, to the fact that
he has no intimate friend or friends. Those who make this reproach
forget that his station demands a certain degree of isolation, unless
he would lay himself open to the charge of favoritism, and the object
of his preference to the flatteries and manoeuvrings of the parasites
that infest a court. Of the men of his own age whose rank would
entitle them to associate with the king on terms of familiarity, there
is not one who has sufficient sympathy with his tastes and pursuits
to be chosen by him as a companion; and the tyranny of etiquette
and custom forbids him to seek out a congenial friend from among the
untitled scholars and thinkers who judge him tenderly and justly from
afar. Moreover, his early unfortunate essays in this direction may
well have taught him to be reserved and cautious in be-stowing his
confidence and love. The man whose splendid genius enthralled, and
still enthralls, the intellect of the king had not the moral qualities
to secure his esteem; the woman whose beauty once took his senses
captive he soon found to be unworthy of his heart; and disappointments
such as these are a lesson for a lifetime to a character such as his.

Fortunately, he has abundant resources within himself for the
entertainment of his self-chosen solitude. The education which was so
early interrupted by a summons to the throne has been continued with
zeal through the study of the best authors in various languages. He
always has some favorite work at hand for the edification of a chance
mood or unoccupied moment; and in his frequent short journeys, however
slight provision he may make for his wardrobe, a port-manteau well
filled with books is sure to accompany him. When in the country a good
portion of his time is spent on horseback. With a single attendant at
some distance behind him, he rides for hours, stopping occasionally at
some peasant's cottage or roadside inn to refresh himself with a glass
of water or a simple meal, treating his temporary entertainers the
while with an unreserved friendliness which has won him the devoted
affection of his lowly neighbors, and which he never displays within
the precincts of the court.

The king's favorite residence is Hohenschwangau, where he is building
a noble castle upon the site of a ruin which was originally a Roman
fortress and afterward a feudal stronghold. The new building is
modeled after the style of the Wartburg, and is composed of
various kinds of stone brought from different parts of Germany and
Switzerland, and selected for their beauty and durability. The work
has been in progress for about two years, and will probably require
ten or twelve years more to finish it, as the season for outdoor labor
in that mountainous region is necessarily short.. The surrounding
scenery is magnificent: lakes, mountains, gorges, waterfalls, gloomy
forests, sunny meadows, all that is grand and beautiful in Nature, are
here comprised within a single view.

The present castle stands on the spur of an adjacent hill, and
commands the same extensive prospect. Though of moderate size (too
small, indeed, to accommodate at the same time the king and the
queen-mother with their respective suites, for which reason it is
occupied by each only during the absence of the other), the appearance
of the castle is imposing, and its interior decorations render it
a most interesting point for the tourist, as well as a delightful
residence for its proprietors. The walls of all the principal
apartments are adorned with frescoes painted by some of the best
German artists, each room being devoted to a special subject. There is
the "Hall of the Swan-Knight," containing illustrations of that
most charming legend, the foundation of the world's best opera,
_Lohengrin_; the "Schwangau Chamber," with pictures concerning the
history of the locality; the "Bertha Chamber," containing the story of
the parents of Charlemagne; the "Ladies' Chamber," portraying the
life of German women in the Middle Ages, the principal figure being
a portrait of Agnes, wife of Otto von Wittelsbach, an ancestor of the
royal house; the "Hall of Heroes," containing illustrations of the
Vilkina Saga, Dietrich of Berne being supposed to have lived at
Hohenschwangau; the "Knights' Chamber," representing the knightly
customs of the Middle Ages; the "Oriental Chamber," with frescoes
recalling King Maximilian's travels in the East; and several other
rooms, in each of which is commemorated some striking point of German
history or some interesting record of national manners. The furniture
of all these apartments is rich and tasteful; and scattered here and
there are little indications of home-life which lend a new charm to
the stately abode. Thus, upon a table loaded with costly and beautiful
objects are two exquisite portraits, on porcelain, of the king and his
brother, suggesting at once the usual vicinity of their affectionate
mother; while the abundance of books in the king's private
sitting-room is a pleasant reminder of his studious habits. It is
curious to see how the swan, the device of this ancient property,
which was formerly called "Schwanstein", is represented in every
possible manner and material in the adornment of the castle. Swans
are pictured upon the armorial bearings at the entrance-gate; a bronze
swan spouts water from its uplifted beak in the garden fountain; while
below, upon the two lakes that enclose the park, groups of
living swans are floating about, as if to testify to the abiding
characteristics of the place. Within the building not only is the swan
a prominent figure in the frescoed story, but whichever way one turns
one sees a counterfeit presentment of the graceful bird. There is
Lohengrin in his enchanted boat impelled by his beloved swan, an
exquisite group in silver, and another like it in porcelain; swans are
carved upon the furniture, moulded upon the dishes, painted upon cups
and saucers, embroidered upon cushions and footstools: they serve as
ornaments to antique goblets, as covers to match-boxes, as handles to
vases. The paper-knife upon His Majesty's writing-table is carved
into the same likeness, and swans adorn the top of the pen-handle and
preside over the ink and sand bottles.

Besides the castle of Hohenschwangau, the king has a hunting-lodge
at Linderhof, which is being fitted up with great elegance in the
Renaissance style, and a palace on Lake Starnberg, where he spends
the greater part of his time, its nearness to Munich making it a
convenient residence.

As a consolation for the severities of winter and the utter lack
of beauty in the situation and surroundings of Munich, he has his
winter-garden, that mysterious enclosure at the top of the palace,
which is a perpetual irritant to the curiosity of the public, who
grudge to their ruler every token of that possession of his which
he seems to value above all the rest--his privacy. Now and then some
noted scholar or privileged acquaintance is invited to enter this
green retreat, so that its delights are not all unknown to the outside
world. The garden opens from the private apartments of the king, and
encloses a space of two hundred and thirty-four feet in length by
fifty (in one part ninety) feet in breadth, being, in fact, the upper
story of the west wing of the palace, with a raised and vaulted roof
of iron and glass. The landscape is arranged after the king's own
idea, and is entirely Oriental in vegetation and effect, the long
perspective of tropical luxuriance being closed by a distant view of
the Himalaya Mountains, so admirably executed that the illusion is
not dispelled until the beholder approaches very near to the wall upon
which it is painted. The garden is agreeably diversified by groups of
palms, plantains and other trees, by open lawns adorned with beds
of brilliant flowers, and by sheltered walks and secluded arbors. A
considerable space is occupied by a lake bordered with reeds, the home
of several swans, which float up and down in the dreamy silence: a
little way from the shore stands a small pavilion entirely hidden
in the dense shrubbery that surrounds it; and farther off a gorgeous
_kiosk_ raises its glittering cupolas and slender minarets above the
neighboring bushes and blossoming plants.

During the king's stay in Munich in the winter he takes but little
part in the gayeties of the season. He conforms, indeed, to the
customs of a court in giving the stated number of balls, dinners and
concerts; but it is easy to see that necessity, and not inclination,
prompts him to the task. There is plenty of work to occupy his mind
during the session of Parliament, and books enough to read and ponder
over in the solitude of his chamber; and so long as he is alert and
well prepared on every question of business to which his attention
is called, affable and polite to persons with whom he is brought into
official contact, gentle and generous to the poor and oppressed who
appeal to him in person--and no one can deny that he is all this--why
should he be blamed for preferring to spend his time as

  A being breathing thoughtful breath,

instead of making himself a gazing-stock for the curious and a
companion of the gay and the foolish of his generation?

It may be that in the far-off future, long after the titles and
prerogatives of royalty shall have been done away with and wellnigh
forgotten, the virtues of this king, who is so poorly appreciated by
his contemporaries, will be commemorated in some beautiful legend,
like that of his favorite story of the Swan-Knight; since even now,
when that chaste hero appears in the dazzling purity of his enchanted
armor upon the Munich stage, one turns involuntarily to recognize his
counterpart in the solitary occupant of the royal box. E.E.




ON THE CHURCH STEPS.


CHAPTER X.


Lenox again, and bluebirds darting to and fro among the maples. I had
reached the hotel at midnight. Our train was late, detained on the
road, and though my thoughts drove instantly to the Sloman cottage,
I allowed the tardier coach-horses to set me down at the hotel. I had
not telegraphed from New York. I would give her no chance to withhold
herself from me, or to avoid me by running away. There was no time
for her, as yet, to have read of the ship's arrival. I would take her
unawares.

So, after the bountiful Nora, who presides over the comfort of her
favorites, had plied me with breakfast-cakes and milk and honey, I
sauntered down toward the Lebanon road. Yes, sauntered, for I felt
that a great crisis in my life was at hand, and at such times a
wonderful calmness, almost to lethargy, possesses me. I went slowly up
the hill. The church-clock was striking nine--calm, peaceful strokes.
There was no tremor in them, no warning of what was coming. The air
was very still, and I stopped a moment to watch the bluebirds before I
turned into the Lebanon road.

There was the little gray cottage, with its last year's vines about
it, a withered spray here and there waving feebly as the soft April
air caught it and tossed it to and fro. No sign of life about the
cottage--doors and windows tight shut and barred. Only the little gate
swung open, but that might have been the wind. I stepped up on the
porch. No sound save the echo of my steps and the knocking of my
heart. I rang the bell. It pealed violently, but there were no
answering sounds: nothing stirred.

I rang again, more gently, and waited, looking along the little path
to the gate. There was snow, the winter's snow, lingering about the
roots of the old elm, the one elm tree that overhung the cottage.
Last winter's snow lying there, and of the people who had lived in the
house, and made it warm and bright, not a footprint, not a trace!

Again I rang, and this time I heard footsteps coming round the corner
of the house. I sat down on the rustic bench by the door. If it had
been Bessie's self, I could not have stirred, I was so chilled, so
awed by the blank silence. A brown sun-bonnet, surmounting a tall,
gaunt figure, came in sight.

"What is it?" asked the owner of the sun-bonnet in a quick, sharp
voice that seemed the prelude to "Don't want any."

"Where are Mrs. Sloman and Miss Stewart? Are they not in Lenox?"

"Miss' Sloman, she's away to Minnarsoter: ben thar' all winter for her
health. She don't cal'late to be home afore June."

"And Miss Stewart?--is she with her?"

"Miss Stewart? I dunno," said the woman, with a strange look about the
corners of her mouth. "I dunno: I never see her; and the family was
all away afore I came here to take charge. They left the kitchen-end
open for me; and my sister-in-law--that's Hiram Splinter's wife--she
made all the 'rangements. But I _did_ hear," hesitating a moment, "as
how Bessie Stewart was away to Shaker Village; and some does say "--a
portentous pause and clearing of her throat--"that she's jined."

"_Joined_--what?" I asked, all in a mist of impatience and perplexity.

"Jined the Shakers."

"Nonsense!" I said, recovering my breath angrily. "Where is this
Hiram's wife? Let me see her."

"In the back lot--there where you see the yaller house where the
chimney's smoking. That's Hiram's house. He has charge of the Gold
property on the hill. Won't you come in and warm yourself by the fire
in the kitchen? I was away to the next neighbor's, and I was sure I
hear our bell a-ringin'. Did you hev' to ring long?"

But I was away, striding over the cabbage-patch and climbing the
worm-fence that shut in the estate of Hiram. Some wretched mistake:
the woman does not know what she's talking about. These Splinters!
they seem to have had some communication with Mrs. Sloman: they will
know.

Mrs. Splinter, a neat, bright-eyed woman of about twenty-five, opened
the door at my somewhat peremptory knock. I recollected her in a
moment as a familiar face--some laundress or auxiliary of the Sloman
family in some way; and she seemed to recognize me as well: "Why! it's
Mr. Munro! Walk in, sir, and sit down," dusting off a chair with her
apron as she spoke.

"Miss Stewart--where is she? _You_ know."

"Miss Stewart?" said the woman, sinking down into a chair and looking
greatly disturbed. "Miss Stewart's gone to live with the Shakers. My
husband drove her over with his team--her and her trunk."

"Why, where was her aunt? Did Mrs. Sloman know? Why isn't Miss Bessie
with her?"

"Miss' Sloman said all she could--_afterward_ I guess," said the
woman, wiping her eyes, "but 'twan't no use then. You see, Miss'
Sloman had jined a party that was goin' to Minnesota--while she was in
Philadelfy, that was--and Miss Stewart she wasn't goin'. She reckoned
she'd spend the winter here in the house. Miss' Sloman's maid--that's
Mary--was goin' with her to the West, and I was to hire my
sister-in-law to take charge of things here, so that Miss Bessie
could have her mind free-like to come and go. But afore ever Mary
Jane--that's my sister-in-law--could come over from Lee, where she was
livin' out, Miss Bessie comes up and opens the house. She stayed there
about a week, and she had lots of company while she was here. I think
she got tired. They was people that was just goin' to sail for Europe,
and as soon as they went she just shut up and told me to send for Mary
Jane to take care of things. So Mary Jane never see her, and perhaps
she giv' you a crooked answer, sir, if you was inquirin' of her over
to the cottage."

"Where's Hiram? where's your husband? Can I have his team this
morning?"

"I guess so," said the sympathetic Mrs. Splinter. "He'll show you the
very house he druv' her to."

Hiram was hunted for and found; and an hour later I was bowling
along the Lebanon road behind the bay team he was so proud of. I
had concluded to take him' with me, as he could identify places and
people, and I knew well what castles the Shaker houses are for the
world's people outside. Hiram was full of talk going over. He seemed
to have been bottling it up, and I was the first auditor for his
wrath. "I know 'm," he said, cracking his whip over his horses' heads.
"They be sharp at a bargain, they be. If they've contrived to get a
hold on Bessie Stewart, property and all, it'll go hard on 'em to give
her up."

"A _hold_ on Bessie!" What dreadful words! I bade him sharply hold his
tongue and mind his horses, but he went on muttering in an undertone,
"Yo'll see, yo'll see! You're druv' pretty hard, young man, I expect,
so I won't think nothing of your ha'sh words, and we'll get her out,
for all Elder Nebson."

So Hiram, looked out along the road from under his huge fur-cap, and
up hill and down. The miles shortened, until at last the fair houses
and barns of the Shaker village came in sight. A sleeping village, one
would have thought. Nobody in the road save one old man, who eyed us
suspiciously through the back of a chair he was carrying.

"It must be dinner-time, I think," said Hiram as he drove cautiously
along. Stopping at a house near the bridge: "Now this is the very
house. Just you go right up and knock at that 'ere door."

I knocked. In a twinkling the door was opened by a neat Shaker sister,
whose round, smiling face was flushed, as though she had just come
from cooking dinner. I stepped across the threshold: "Bessie
Stewart is here. Please say to her that a friend--a friend from
England--wishes to see her."

"Sure," said the motherly-faced woman, for she was sweet and motherly
in spite of her Shaker garb, "I'll go and see."

Smilingly she ushered me into a room at the left of the hall. "Take
seat, please;" and with a cheerful alacrity she departed, closing the
door gently behind her.

"Well," thought I, "this is pleasant: no bolts or bars here. I'm sure
of one friend at court."

I had leisure to observe the apartment--the neatly-scrubbed floor,
with one narrow cot bed against the wall, a tall bureau on which some
brown old books were lying, and the little dust-pan and dust-brush on
a brass nail in the corner. There was a brightly polished stove with
no fire in it, and some straight-backed chairs of yellow wood stood
round the room. An open door into a large, roomy closet showed various
garments of men's apparel hanging upon the wall. The plain thermometer
in the window casement seemed the one article of luxury or ornament
in the apartment. I believe I made my observations on all these things
aloud, concluding with, "Oh, Bessie! Bessie! you shall not stay here."
I know that I was startled enough by the apparition of a man standing
in the open closet door. He must have been within it at my entrance,
and had heard all I said.

He came forward, holding out his hand--very friendly apparently. Then,
requesting me to be seated, he drew out a chair from the wall and sat
down, tilting it back on two legs and leaning against the wall,
with his hands folded before him. Some commonplace remark about the
weather, which I answered, led to a rambling conversation, in which
he expressed the greatest curiosity as to worldly matters, and asked
several purely local questions about the city of New York. Perhaps his
ignorance was feigned. I do not know, but I found myself relating, _a
la_ Stanley-Livingstone, some of the current events of the day. His
face was quite intelligent, tanned with labor in the fields, and his
brown eyes were kind and soft, like those of some dumb animals. I note
his eyes here especially, as different in expression from those of
others of his sect.

Several times during the conversation I heard footsteps in the hall,
and darted from my seat, and finally, in my impatience, began to pace
the floor. Kindly as he looked, I did not wish to question the man
about Bessie. I would rely upon the beaming portress, whose "_Sure_"
was such an earnest of her good-will. Moreover, a feeling of contempt,
growing out of pity, was taking possession of me. This man, in what
did he differ from the Catholic priest save in the utter selfishness
of his creed? Beside the sordid accumulation of gain to which his
life was devoted the priest's mission among crowded alleys and
fever-stricken lanes seemed luminous and grand. A moral suicide, with
no redeeming feature. The barns bursting with fatness, the comfortable
houses, gain added to gain--to what end? I was beginning to give very
short answers indeed to his questions, and was already meditating a
foray through the rest of the house, when the door opened slowly and
a lady-abbess entered. She was stiff and stately, with the most formal
neckerchief folded precisely over her straitened bust, a clear-muslin
cap concealing her hair, and her face, stony, blue-eyed and cold--a
pale, frozen woman standing stately there.

"Bessie Stewart?" said I. "She is here--I know it. Do not detain her.
I must see her. Why all this delay?"

"Dost thou mean Sister Eliza?" she asked in chilling tones.

"No, nobody's sister--least of all a sister here--but the young lady
who came over here from Lenox two months ago--Bessie Stewart, Mrs.
Sloman's niece." (I knew that Mrs. Sloman was quite familiar with some
of the Shakeresses, and visited them at times.)

Very composedly the sister took a chair and folded her hands across
her outspread handkerchief before she spoke again. I noticed at this
moment that her dress was just the color of her eyes, a pale, stony
blue.

"Sister Eliza: it is the same," in measured accents. "She is not here:
she has gone--to Watervliet."

Can this be treachery? I thought, and is she still in the house? Will
they hide from her that I am here? But there was no fathoming the
woman's cold blue eyes.

"To Watervliet?" I inquired dismally. "How? when? how did she go?"

"She went in one of our wagons: Sister Leah and Brother Ephraim went
along."

"When will they return?"

"I cannot say."

All this time the man was leaning back against the wall, but uttered
not a word. A glance of triumph shot from the sister's eyes as I rose.
But she was mistaken if she thought I was going away. I stepped to the
window, and throwing it open called to Hiram, who was still sitting
in his wagon, chewing composedly a bit of straw. He leaped out in an
instant, and leaning out to him I rapidly repeated in an undertone the
previous conversation: "What would you do?"

"Ten chances to one it's a lie. Tell 'em you'll set there till you see
her. They can't shake us off that way."

I drew in my head. The pair still sat as before. "Well," said I, "as
I _must_ see her, and as you seem so uncertain about it, I will wait
here."

And again I took my seat. The sister's face flushed. I had meant no
rudeness in my tone, but she must have detected the suspicion in it.
She crimsoned to her temples, and said hastily, "It is impossible for
us to entertain strangers to-day. A brother is dying in the house:
we are all waiting for him to pass away from moment to moment. We can
submit to no intrusion."

Well, perhaps it was an intrusion. It was certainly their house if
it did hold my darling. I looked at her steadily: "Are you sure that
Bessie Stewart has gone away from here?"

"To Watervliet--yea," she answered composedly. "She left here last
week."

My skill at cross-examination was at fault. If that woman was lying,
she would be a premium witness. "I should be sorry, madam," I said,
recalling the world's etiquette, which I had half forgotten, "to
intrude upon you at this or any other time, but I cannot leave here in
doubt. Will you oblige me by stating the exact hour and day at which
Miss Stewart is expected to return from Watervliet, and the road
thither?"

She glanced across the room. Answering the look, the man spoke, for
the first time since she had entered: "The party, I believe, will be
home to-night."

"And she with them?"

"Yea, unless she has elected to remain."

"At what hour?"

"I cannot tell."

"By what road shall I meet her?"

"There are two roads: we generally use the river-road."

"To-night? I will go to meet her. By the river-road, you say?"

"Yea."

"And if I do not meet her?"

"If thou dost not meet her," said the lady-abbess, answering calmly,
"it will be because she is detained on the road."

I had to believe her, and yet I was very skeptical. As I walked out of
the door the man was at my heels. He followed me out on to the wooden
stoop and nodded to Hiram.

"Who is that, Hiram?" I whispered as he leaned across the back of a
horse, adjusting some leathern buckle.

"That?" said Hiram under his breath. "That's a deep 'un: that's Elder
Nebson."

Great was the dissatisfaction of the stout-hearted Splinter at my
retreat, as he called it, from the enemy's ground.

"I'd ha' liked nothin' better than to beat up them quarters. I thought
every minit' you'd be calling me, and was ready to go in." And he
clenched his fist in a way that showed unmistakably how he would
have "gone in" had he been summoned. By this time we were driving on
briskly toward the river-road. "You wa'n't smart, I reckon, to leave
that there house. It was your one chance, hevin' got in. Ten chances
to one she's hid away som'eres in one of them upper rooms," and he
pointed to a row of dormer-windows, "not knowin' nothin' of your bein'
there."

"Stop!" I said with one foot on the shafts. "You don't mean to say she
is shut up there?"

"Shet up? No: they be too smart for that. But there's plenty ways to
shet a young gal's eyes an' ears 'thout lockin' of her up. How'd she
know who was in this wagon, even if she seed it from her winders? To
be sure, I made myself conspicuous enough, a-whistlin' 'Tramp, tramp,'
and makin' the horses switch round a good deal. But, like enough, ef
she'd be down-spereted-like, she'd never go near the winder, but just
set there, a-stitchin' beads on velvet or a-plattin' them mats."

"Why should she work?" I asked, with my grasp still on the reins.

"Them all does," he answered, taking a fresh bite of the straw. "It's
the best cure for sorrow, they say. Or mebbe she's a-teachin' the
children. I see a powerful sight of children comin' along while you
was in there talkin', a-goin' to their school, and I tried to ask some
o' them about her. But the old sheep who was drivin' on 'em looked at
me like vinegar, and I thought I'd better shet up, or mebbe she'd give
the alarm that we was here with horses and wagon to carry her off."

I had a painful moment of indecision as Hiram paused in his narrative
and leisurely proceeded to evict a fly from the near horse's ear.
"I think we'll go on, Hiram," I said, jumping back to my seat again.
"Take the river-road."

Hiram had brought plentiful provision for his horses in a bag under
the seat. "Victualed for a march or a siege," he said as he dragged
out a tin kettle from the same receptacle when we drew up by the
roadside an hour after. "We're clear of them pryin' Shakers, and we'll
just rest a spell."

I could not demur, though my impatience was urging me on faster than
his hungry horses could go.

"I told Susan," he said, "to put me up a bit of pie and cheese--mebbe
we wouldn't be back afore night. Won't you hev' some?--there's a
plenty."

But I declined the luncheon, and while he munched away contentedly,
and while the horses crunched their corn, I got out and walked on,
telling Hiram to follow at his leisure. My heart beat fast as I espied
a wagon in the distance with one--yes, two--Shaker bonnets in it.
Bessie in masquerade! Perhaps so--it could not be the other: that
would be too horrible. But she was coming, surely coming, and the cold
prim sister had told the truth, after all.

The wagon came nearer. In it were two weather-beaten dames, neither of
whom could possibly be mistaken for Bessie in disguise; and the lank,
long-haired brother who was driving them looked ignorant as a child
of anything save the management of his horses. I hailed them, and the
wagon drew up at the side of the road.

It was the women who answered in shrill, piping voices: "Ben to
Watervliet? Nay, they'd ben driving round the country, selling garden
seeds."

"Did they know Bessie Stewart, who was staying in the Shaker village,
in the house by the bridge?"

"Sure, there had ben a stranger woman come there some time ago: they
could not tell--never heerd her name."

I was forced to let them drive on after I had exhausted every possible
inquiry, trusting that Hiram, who was close behind, would have keener
wit in questioning them, but Hiram, as it happened, did not come up
to them at all. They must have turned off into some farm-house lane
before they passed him. The afternoon wore on. It grew toward sunset,
and still we kept the river-road. There was no trace of the Shaker
wagon, and indeed the road was growing wild and lonely.

"I tell you what," said Hiram, stopping suddenly, "these beasts can't
go on for ever, and then turn round and come back again. I'll turn
here, and drive to the little tavern we passed about two mile back,
and stable 'em, and then you and me can watch the road."

It was but reasonable, and I had to assent, though to turn back
seemed an evil omen, and to carry me away from Bessie. The horses were
stabled, and I meanwhile paced the broad open sweep in front of the
tavern, across which the lights were shining. Hiram improved the
opportunity to eat a hearty supper, urging me to partake. But as I
declined, in my impatience, to take my eyes off the road, he brought
me out a bowl of some hot fluid and something on a plate, which I got
through with quickly enough, for the cool evening air had sharpened my
appetite. I rested the bowl on the broad bench beside the door, while
Hiram went backward and forward with the supplies.

"Now," said he as I finished at last, still keeping my eye upon the
road, "you go in and take a turn lyin' down: I'll watch the road. I'm
a-goin' to see this thing out."

But I was not ready to sleep yet; so, yielding to my injunction,
he went in, and I seated myself, wrapped in a buffalo robe from the
wagon. The night was damp and chill.

"Hedn't you better set at the window?" said the kind-hearted landlady,
bustling out. Hiram had evidently told her the story.

"Oh no, thank you;" for I was impatient of walls and tongues, and
wanted to be alone with my anxiety.

What madness was this in Bessie? She could not, oh she could not, have
thrown her life away! What grief and disquiet must have driven her
into this refuge! Poor little soul, scorched and racked by distrust
and doubt! if she could not trust me, whom should she trust?

The household noises ceased one by one; the clump of willows by the
river grew darker and darker; the stars came out and shone with that
magnetic brilliancy that fixes our gaze upon them, leading one to
speculate on their influence, and--

A hand on my shoulder: Hiram with a lantern turned full upon my face.
"'Most one o'clock," he said, rubbing his eyes sleepily. "Come to take
my turn. Have you seen nothing?"

"Nothing," I said, staggering to my feet, which felt like
lead--"nothing."

I did not confess it, but to this hour I cannot tell whether I had
been nodding for one minute or ten. I kept my own counsel as I turned
over the watch to Hiram, but a suspicion shot through me that perhaps
that wagon had gone by, after all, in the moment that I had been off
guard.

Hiram kept the watch faithfully till five that morning, when I too was
stirring. One or two teams had passed, but no Shaker wagon rattling
through the night. We breakfasted in the little room that overlooked
the road. Outside, at the pump, a lounging hostler, who had been
bribed to keep a sharp lookout for a Shaker wagon, whistled and waited
too.

"Tell you what," said Hiram, bolting a goodly rouleau of ham and eggs,
"I've got an idee. You and me might shilly-shally here on this road
all day, and what surety shall we hev' that they hevn't gone by the
other road. Old gal said there was two?"

"Yes, but the folks here say that the other is a wild mountain-road,
and not much used."

"Well, you see they comes down by the boat a piece, or they _may_ cut
across the river at Greenbush. They have queer ways. Now, mebbe they
_have_ come over that mountain-road in the night, while you and me
was a-watchin' this like ferrits. In that case she's safe and sound at
Shaker Village, not knowin' anything of your coming; and Elder Nebson
and that other is laughin' in their sleeves at us."

"Perhaps so."

"Now, this is my advice, but I'll do just as you say. 'Tain't no good
to lay around and watch that ere house _to day_. Ef we hedn't been in
such a white heat, we might just hev' hid round in the neighborhood
_there_ till she came along. But it's too late, for that now. Let's
you and me lay low till Sunday. She'll be sure to go to meetin' on
Sunday ef she's there, and you can quietly slip in and see if she is.
And to shut their eyes up, so that they won't suspect nothin', we'll
leave a message on one of your pasteboards that you're very sorry not
to hev' seen her, drefful sorry, but that you can't wait no longer,
and you are off. They'll think you're off for York: you've got York on
your cards, hevn't you?"

"Yes."

"You just come and stay to my house: we'll make you comfortable, and
there's only one day longer to wait. This is Friday, be'ent it? You'd
best not be seen around to the hotel, lest any of their spies be
about. They do a powerful sight o' drivin' round the country this time
o' year. And then, you see, ef on Sunday she isn't there, you can
go over to Watervliet, or we'll search them houses--whichever you
choose."

There seemed no help for it but to take Hiram's advice. We drove
homeward through the Shaker village, and drew up at the house again.
This time the door was opened by a bent, sharp little Creole, as
I took her to be: the beaming portress of the day before had been
relieved at her post.

"Nay, Bessie Stewart was not at home: she would go and inquire for me
when she was expected."

"No," I said carelessly, not wishing to repeat the scene of yesterday
and to present myself, a humiliated failure, before the two elders
again--"no: give her this card when she does come, and tell her I
could stay no longer."

I had not written any message on the card, for the message, indeed,
was not for Bessie, but for the others. She would interpret it that I
was in the neighborhood, anxious and waiting: she would understand.

"Home, then, Hiram," as I took my seat beside him. "We'll wait till
Sunday."


CHAPTER XI.


"You'd better eat sum'thin'," said Hiram over the breakfast-table on
Sunday morning. "Got a good long drive afore you, and mebbe a good
day's work besides. No? Well, then, Susan, you put the apple-brandy
into the basket, and some of them rusks, for I reckon we'll hev' work
with this young man afore night."

Susan, bless her good heart! wanted to go along, and as Hiram's
excitement was evidently at the highest pitch, he consented that she
should occupy the back seat of the wagon: "P'raps Miss Stewart'll feel
more comfortable about leavin' when she sees there's a woman along."

It was a rainy morning, and there were but few wagons on the road.
Arrived at the village, we encountered one little procession after
another of broadbrim straws and Shaker bonnets turning out of the
several houses as we drove past. They stepped along quickly, and
seemed to take no notice of us.

"Reckon we're the only visitors to-day," whispered Hiram as he stopped
at the horseblock in front of the meeting-house. "You know where you
hev' to set--on the left-hand side; and Susan, she goes to the right."

I followed Susan up the steps, and she hastened, as ordered, to the
right, while I took my seat on one of the back benches of the left,
against the wall. It was a barn-like structure, large, neat and
exquisitely chill. Two large stoves on either side possibly had fire
in them--an old man who looked like an ancient porter went to them
from time to time and put on coal--but the very walls reflected a
chill, blue glare. The roof was lofty and vaulted, and added to
the hollow coldness of the hall. The whole apartment was clean to
sanctity, and in its straitness and blank dreariness no unfit emblem
of the faith it embodied.

Around three sides of the hall, and facing the benches for visitors,
the Shaker fraternity were ranged. The hats and straight straw bonnets
hung decorously upon the wall over their heads: here and there a
sky-blue shawl or one of faded lilac hung beneath the headgear. Across
the wide apartment it was difficult to distinguish faces. I scanned
closely the sisterhood--old, withered faces most of them, with here
and there one young and blooming--but no Bessie as yet. Still, they
were coming in continually through the side door: she might yet
appear. I recognized my lady-abbess, who sat directly facing me, in a
seat of state apparently, and close to her, on the brethren's side of
the house, was Elder Nebson.

The services began. All rose, and sisters and brethren faced each
other and sang a hymn, with no accompaniment and no melody--a harsh
chant in wild, barbaric measure. Then, after a prayer, they entered
upon the peculiar method of their service. Round and round the room
they trooped in two large circles, sister following sister, brother
brother, keeping time with their hanging hands to the rhythm of the
hymn. Clustered in the centre was a little knot of men and women, the
high dignitaries, who seemed to lead the singing with their clapping
hands.

The circles passed each other and wove in and out, each preserving its
unbroken continuity. I looked for Elder Nebson: could it be that he
was joining in these gyrations? Yes, he was leading one of the
lines. But I noticed that his hands moved mechanically, not with the
spasmodic fervor of the rest, and that his eyes, instead of the dull,
heavy stare of his fellows, sought with faithful yet shy constancy the
women's ranks. And as the women filed past me, wringing their hands,
I scrutinized each face and figure--the sweet-faced portress, the
shrunken little creole ("A mulatto, she is," Hiram whispered--he had
taken his seat beside me--"and very powerful, they say, among 'em"),
and some fair young girls; two or three of these with blooming cheeks
bursting frankly through the stiff bordering of their caps. But I saw
not the face I sought.

"Them children! Ain't it awful?" muttered Hiram as a file of blue-coat
boys shambled past, with hair cut square across their foreheads and
bleached white with the sun. "Ain't got a grain of sense! Look at
'em!--all crowded clean out by the Shaker schools."

And surely they were a most unpromising little crowd. Waifs, snatched
probably from some New York whirlpool of iniquity, and wearing the
brute mark on their faces, which nothing in this school of their
transplanting tended to erase--a sodden little party, like stupid
young beasts of burden, uncouth and awkward.

As the girls came round again, and I had settled it in my mind that
there was certainly no Bessie in the room, I could watch them more
calmly. Eagerly as I sought her face, it was a relief, surely, that it
was not there. Pale to ghastliness, most of them, with high, sharpened
shoulders, and features set like those of a corpse, it was indeed
difficult to realize that these ascetic forms, these swaying devotees,
were women--women who might else have been wives and mothers. Some
of them wore in their hollow eyes an expression of ecstasy akin to
madness, and there was not a face there that was not saintly pure.

It was a strange union that assembled under one roof these nun-like
creatures, wasted and worn with their rigid lives, and the heavy,
brutish men, who shambled round the room like plough-horses. _Wicked_
eyes some of them had, mere slits through which a cunning and selfish
spirit looked out. Some faces there were of power, but in them the
disagreeable traits were even more strongly marked: the ignorant,
narrow foreheads were better, less responsible, it seemed.

The singing ended, there was a sermon from a high priest who stood out
imperious among his fellows. But this was not a sermon to the flock.
It was aimed at the scanty audience of strangers with words of
unblushing directness. How men and women may continue pure in the
constant hearing and repetition of such revolting arguments and
articles of faith is matter of serious question. The divine instincts
of maternity, the sweet attractions of human love, were thrown down
and stamped under foot in the mud of this man's mind; and at each
peroration, exhorting his hearers to shake off Satan, a strong
convulsive shiver ran through the assembly. "Bessie is certainly not
here: possibly she's still at Watervliet," I whispered to; Hiram as
the concluding hymn began. "But I'll have a chance at Elder Nebson and
that woman before they leave; the house."

The rain had ceased for some time, and as again the wild chant went
up from those harsh strained voices, a stray sunbeam, like a gleam of
good promise, shot across the floor. But what was this little figure
stealing in through a side-door and joining the circling throng?--a
figure in lilac gown, with the stiff muslin cap and folded
neckerchief. She entered at the farthest corner of the room, and I
watched her approach with beating heart. Something in the easy step
was familiar, and yet it could not be. She passed around with the
rest in the inner circle, and, leaning forward, I held my breath lest
indeed it might be she.

The circle opened, and again the long line of march around the room.
The lilac figure came nearer and nearer, and now I see her face. It is
Bessie!

With a cry I sprang up, but with a blow, a crash, a horrible darkness
swept over me like a wave, and I knew nothing.

When I came to myself I was lying on a bed in a room that was new to
me. A strong light, as of the setting sun, shone upon the whitewashed
wall. There was a little table, over which hung a looking-glass,
surmounted by two fans of turkey feathers. I stared feebly at the fans
for a while, and then closed my eyes again.

Where was I? I had a faint remembrance of jolting in a wagon, and of
pitying faces bent over me, but where was I now? Again I opened my
eyes, and noted the gay patchwork covering of the bed, and the green
paper curtain of the window in the golden wall--green, with a tall
yellow flower-pot on it, with sprawling roses of blue and red. Turning
with an effort toward the side whence all the brightness came, in a
moment two warm arms were round my neck, and a face that I could not
see was pressed close to mine.

"Oh, Charlie, Charlie! forgive, forgive me for being so bad!"

"Bessie," I answered dreamingly, and seemed to be drifting away again.
But a strong odor of pungent salts made my head tingle again, and
when I could open my eyes for the tears they rested on my darling's
face--my own darling in a soft white dress, kneeling by my bedside,
with both her arms round me. A vigorous patting of the pillow behind
me revealed Mrs. Splinter, tearful too: "He's come to now. Don't
bother him with talk, Miss Bessie. I'll fetch the tea."

And with motherly insistance she brought me a steaming bowl of
beef-tea, while I still lay, holding Bessie's hand, with a feeble
dawning that the vision was real.

"No," she said as Bessie put out her arm for the bowl, "you prop up
his head. I've got a steddyer hand: you'd just spill it all over his
go to-meetin' suit."

I looked down at myself. I was still dressed in the clothes that I
had worn--when was it? last week?--when I had started for the Shaker
meeting.

"How long?" I said feebly.

"Only this morning, you darling boy, it all happened; and here we are,
snug at Mrs. Splinter's, and Mary Jane is getting the cottage ready
for us as fast as ever she can."

How good that beef-tea was! Bessie knew well what would give it the
_sauce piquante_. "Ready for us!"

"Here's the doctor at last," said Hiram, putting his head in at the
door. "Why, hillo! are we awake?"

"The doctor! Dr. Wilder?" I said beamingly. How good of Bessie! how
thoughtful!

"Not Dr. Wilder, you dear old boy!" said Bessie, laughing and
blushing, "though I sha'n't scold you, Charlie, for that!" in a
whisper in my ear. "It's Dr. Bolster of Lee. Hiram has been riding all
over the country for him this afternoon."

"I'll go down to him," I said, preparing to rise.

"No you won't;" and Mrs. Splinter's strong arm, as well as Bessie's
soft hand, patted me down again.

Dr. Bolster pronounced, as well he might, that all danger was over.
The blow on my head--I must have struck it with force against the
projecting window-shelf as I sprang up--was enough to have stunned me;
but the doctor, I found, was inclined to theorize: "A sudden vertigo,
a dizziness: the Shaker hymns and dances have that effect sometimes
upon persons viewing them for the first time. Or perhaps the heat of
the room." He calmly fingered my pulse for a few seconds, with his
fat ticking watch in his other hand, and then retired to the bureau to
write a prescription, which I was indignantly prepared to repudiate.
But Bessie, in a delightful little pantomime, made signs to me to be
patient: we could throw it all out of the window afterward if need be.

"A soothing draught, and let him keep quiet for a day or so, will be
all that is required. I will call to-morrow if you would prefer it."

"We will send you a note, doctor, to-morrow morning: he seems so much
stronger already that perhaps it will not be necessary to make you
take such a long drive."

"Yes, yes, I'm very busy. You send me word whether to come or not."

And bustlingly the good doctor departed, with Mrs. Splinter
majestically descending to hold whispered conference with him at the
gate.

"Charlie, I _will_ send for Dr. Wilder if you are ready, for I'm never
going to leave you another minute as long as we live."

"I think," said I, laughing, "that I should like to stand up first on
my feet; that is, if I have any feet."

What a wonderful prop and support was Bessie! How skillfully she
helped me to step once, twice, across the floor! and when I sank down,
very tired, in the comfortable easy-chair by the window, she knelt on
the floor beside me and bathed my forehead with fragrant cologne, that
certainly did not come from Mrs. Splinter's tall bottle of lavender
compound on the bureau.

"Oh, my dear boy, I have _so_ much to say! Where shall I begin?"

"At the end," I said quietly. "Send for Dr. Wilder."

"But don't you want to hear what a naughty girl--"

"No, I want to hear nothing but 'I, Elizabeth, take thee--'"

"But I've been so very jealous, so suspicious and angry. _Don't_ you
want to hear how bad I am?"

"No," I said, closing the discussion after an old fashion of
the Sloman cottage, "not until we two walk together to the Ledge
to-morrow, my little wife and I."

"Where's a card--your card, Charlie? It would be more proper-like, as
Mrs. Splinter would say, for you to write it."

"I will try," I said, taking out a card-case from my breast-pocket.
As I drew it forth my hand touched a package, Fanny Meyrick's packet.
Shall I give it to her now? I hesitated. No, we'll be married first in
the calm faith that each has in the other to-day, needing no outward
assurance or written word.

I penciled feebly, with a very shaky hand, my request that the doctor
would call at Hiram Splinter's, at his earliest convenience that
evening, to perform the ceremony of marriage between his young friend,
Bessie Stewart, and the subscriber. Hiram's eldest son, a youth
of eight, was swinging on the gate under our window. To him Bessie
entrusted the card, with many injunctions to give it into no other
hands than the doctor's own.

In less time than we had anticipated, as we looked out of the window
at the last pink glow of the sunset, the urchin reappeared, walking
with great strides beside a spare little-figure, whom we recognized as
the worthy doctor himself.

"Good gracious! he _is_ in a hurry!" said Bessie, retiring hastily
from the window; "and we have not said a word to Mrs. Splinter yet!"

We had expected the little doctor would wait below until the
bridal-party should descend; but no, he came directly up stairs, and
walked into the room without prelude. He took Bessie in his arms with
fatherly tenderness: "Ah, you runaway! so you've come back at last?"

"Yes, doctor, and don't you let go of her until you have married her
fast to me."

"Ahem!" said the doctor, clearing his throat, "that is just what I
came to advise you about. Hiram told me this afternoon of the chase
you two had had, and of your illness this morning. Now, as it is half
over the village by this time that Bessie Stewart has been rescued
from the Shaker village by a chivalrous young gentleman, and as
everybody is wild with impatience to know the _denoument_, I want you
to come down quietly to the church this evening and be married after
evening service."

"To please everybody?" I said, in no very pleasant humor.

"I think it will be wisest, best; and I am sure this discreetest of
women," still holding Bessie's hand, "will agree with me. You need not
sit through the service. Hiram can bring you down after it has begun;
and you may sit in the vestry till the clerk calls you. I'll preach a
short sermon to-night," with a benignant chuckle.

He had his will. Some feeling that it would please Mrs. Sloman best,
the only person besides ourselves whom it concerned us to please,
settled it in Bessie's mind, although she anxiously inquired several
times before the doctor left if I felt equal to going to church.
Suppose I should faint on the way?

I was equal to it, for I took a long nap on the sofa in Mrs.
Splinter's parlor through the soft spring twilight, while Bessie held
what seemed to me interminable conferences with Mary Jane.

It was not a brilliant ceremony so far as the groom was concerned.
As we stood at the chancel-rail I am afraid that the congregation,
largely augmented, by this time, by late-comers--for the doctor had
spread the news through the village far and wide--thought me but a
very pale and quiet bridegroom.

But the bride's beauty made amends for all. Just the same soft white
dress of the afternoon--or was it one like it?--with no ornaments, no
bridal veil. I have always pitied men who have to plight their troth
to a moving mass of lace and tulle, weighed down with orange-blossoms
massive as lead. This was my own little wife as she would walk by my
side through life, dressed as she might be the next day and always.

But the next day it was the tartan cloak that she wore, by special
request, as we climbed the hill to the Ledge. It was spring
indeed--bluebirds in the air, and all the sky shone clear and warm.

"Let _me_ begin," said my wife as she took her old seat under
the sheltering pine. "You can't have anything to say, Charlie, in
comparison with me."

There was a short preliminary pause, and then she began.


CHAPTER XII.


"Well, after you wouldn't take me to Europe, you know--"

"You naughty girl!"

"No interruptions, sir. After you _couldn't_ take me to Europe I
felt very much hurt and wounded, and ready to catch at any straw of
suspicion. I ran away from you that night and left you in the parlor,
hoping that you would call me back, and yet longing to hide myself
from you too. You understand?"

"Yes, let us not dwell on that."

"Well, I believe I never thought once of Fanny Meyrick's going to
Europe too until she joined us on the road that day--you remember?--at
the washerwoman's gate."

"Yes; and do _you_ remember how Fidget and I barked at her with all
our hearts?"

"I was piqued then at the air of ownership Fanny seemed to assume in
you. She had just come to Lenox, I knew; she could know nothing of our
intimacy, our relations; and this seemed like the renewal of something
old--something that had been going on before. Had she any claim on
you? I wondered. And then, too, you were so provokingly reticent about
her whenever her name had been mentioned before."

"Was I? What a fool I was! But, Bessie dear, I could not say to even
you, then, that I believed Fanny Meyrick was in--cared a great deal
for me."

"I understand," said Bessie nodding. "We'll skip that, and take it for
granted. But you see _I_ couldn't take anything for granted but
just what I saw that day; and the little memorandum-book and Fanny's
reminiscences nearly killed me. I don't know how I sat through it all.
I tried to avoid you all the rest of the day. I wanted to think, and
to find out the truth from Fanny."

"I should think you _did_ avoid me pretty successfully, leaving me
to dine coldly at the hotel, and then driving all the afternoon till
train-time."

"It was in talking to Fanny that afternoon that I discovered how she
felt toward you. She has no concealment about her, not any, and
I could read her heart plainly enough. But then she hinted at her
father's treatment of you; thought he had discouraged you, rebuffed
you, and reasoned so that I fairly thought there might be truth in it,
_remembering it was before you knew me."_

"Listen one minute, Bessie, till I explain that. It's my belief,
and always was, that that shrewd old fellow, Henry Meyrick, saw very
clearly how matters were all along--saw how the impetuous Miss Fanny
was--"

"_Falling in love_: don't pause for a 'more tenderer word,' Charlie.
Sam Weller couldn't find any."

"Well, falling in love, if you _will_ say it--and that it was
decidedly a difficult situation for me. I remember so well that night
on the piazza, when Fanny clung about me like a mermaid, he bade her
sharply go and change her dripping garments, and what Fanny calls
'a decidedly queer' expression came into his face. He could not say
anything, poor old chap! and he always behaved with great courtesy to
me. I am sure he divined that I was a most unimpassioned actor in that
high-comedy plunge into the Hudson."

"Very well: I believe it, I'm sure, but, you see, how could I know
then what was or was not true? Then it was that I resolved to give you
leave--or rather give her leave to try. I had written my note in the
morning, saying _no_ finally to the Europe plan, and I scrawled across
it, in lead-pencil, while Fanny stood at her horse's head, those ugly
words, you remember?"

"Yes," I said: "'Go to Europe with Fanny Meyrick, and come up to
Lenox, both of you, when you return.'"

"Then, after that, my one idea was to get away from Lenox. The place
was hateful to me, and you were writing those pathetic letters
about being married, and state-rooms, and all. It only made me more
wretched, for I thought you were the more urgent now that you had been
lacking before. I hurried aunt off to Philadelphia, and in New York
she hurried me. She would not wait, though I did want to, and I was
so disappointed at the hotel! But I thought there was a fate in it
to give Fanny Meyrick her chance, poor thing! and so I wrote that
good-bye note without an address."

"But I found you, for all, thanks to Dr. R----!"

"Yes, and when you came that night I was so happy. I put away all
fear: I had to remind myself, actually, all the time, of what I
owed to Fanny, until you told me you had changed your passage to
the Algeria, and that gave me strength to be angry. Oh, my dear,
I'm afraid you'll have a very bad wife. Of course the minute you had
sailed I began to be horribly jealous, and then I got a letter by the
pilot that made me worse."

"But," said I, "you got my letters from the other side. Didn't that
assure you that you might have faith in me?"

"But I would not receive them. Aunt Sloman has them all, done up
and labeled for you, doubtless. She, it seems--had you talked her
over?--thought I ought to have gone with you, and fretted because she
was keeping me. Then I couldn't bear it another day. It was just after
you had sailed, and I had cut out the ship-list to send you; and I had
worked myself up to believe you would go back to Fanny Meyrick if
you had the chance. I told Aunt Sloman that it was all over between
us--that you might continue to write to me, but I begged that she
would keep all your letters in a box until I should ask her for them."

"But I wrote letters to her, too, asking what had become of you."

"She went to Minnesota, you know, early in February."

"And why didn't you go with her?"

"She scolded me dreadfully because I would not. But she was so well,
and she had her maid and a pleasant party of Philadelphia friends; and
I--well, I didn't want to put all those hundreds of miles between me
and the sea."

"And was Shaker Village so near, then, to the sea?"

"Oh, Charlie," hiding her face on my shoulder, "that was cowardice in
me. You know I meant to keep the cottage open and live there. It
was the saddest place in all the world, but still I wanted to be
there--alone. But I found I could not be alone; and the last
people who came drove me nearly wild--those R----s, Fanny Meyrick's
friends--and they talked about her and about you, so that I could bear
it no longer. I wanted to hide myself from all the world. I knew I
could be quiet at the Shaker village. I had often driven over there
with Aunt Sloman: indeed, Sophia--that's the one you saw--is a great
friend of Aunt Maria's."

"So the lady-abbess confessed, did she?" I asked with some curiosity.

"Yes: she said you were rudely inquisitive; but she excused you as
unfamiliar with Shaker ways."

"And were you really at Watervliet?"

"Yes, but don't be in a hurry: we'll come to that presently. Sophia
gave me a pretty little room opening out of hers, and they all treated
me with great kindness, if they _did_ call me Eliza."

"And did you," I asked with some impatience, remembering Hiram's
description--"did you sew beads on velvet and plait straw for mats?"

"Nonsense! I did whatever I pleased. I was parlor-boarder, as they
say in the schools. But I did learn something, sir, from that dear old
sister Martha. You saw _her_?"

"The motherly body who invited me in?"

"Yes: isn't she a dear? I took lessons from her in all sorts of
cookery: you shall see, Charlie, I've profited by being a Shakeress."

"Yes, my darling, but did you--you didn't go to church?"

"Only once," she said, with a shiver that made her all the dearer,
"and they preached such dreary stuff that I told Sophia I would never
go again."

"But did you really wear that dress I saw you in?"

"For that once only. You see, I was at Watervliet when you came. If
you had only gone straight there, dear goose! instead of dodging in
the road, you would have found me. I had grown a little tired of the
monotony of the village, and was glad to join the party starting for
Niskayuna, it was such a glorious drive across the mountain. I longed
for you all the time."

"Pretty little Shakeress! But why did they put us on such a false
track?"

"Oh, we had expected to reach home that night, but one of the horses
was lame, and we did not start as soon as we had planned. We came
back on Saturday afternoon--Saturday afternoon, and this is Monday
morning!", leaning back dreamily, and looking across the blue distance
to the far-off hills. "Then I got your card, and they told me about
you, and I knew, for all the message, that you'd be back on Sunday
morning. But how could I tell then that Fanny Meyrick would not be
with you?"

"Bessie!" and my hand tightened on hers.

"Oh, Charlie, you don't know what it is to be jealous. Of course I
did know that--no, I didn't, either, though I must have been _sure_
underneath that day. For it was more in fun than anything else, after
I knew you were in the meeting-house--"

"How did you know?"

"I saw you drive up--you and Hiram and Mrs. Hiram."

"You didn't think, then, that it was Mrs. Charles?"

"So I stole into Sophia's room, and put on one of her dresses. She is
tall too, but it did not fit very well."

"I should think not," I answered, looking down admiringly at her.

"In fact," laughing, "I took quite a time pinning myself into it and
getting the neckerchief folded prim. I waited till after the sermon,
and then I knew by the singing that it was the last hymn, so I darted
in. I don't know what they thought--that I was suddenly converted, I
suppose, and they would probably have given thanks over me as a brand
snatched from the burning. Did I do the dance well? I didn't want to
put them out."

"My darling, it was a dreadful masquerade. Did you want to punish me
to the end?"

"I was punished myself, Charlie, when you fell. Oh dear! don't let's
talk about the dreadful thing any more. But I think you would have
forgiven Elder Nebson if you had seen how tenderly he lifted you into
the wagon. There, now: where are we going to live in New York, and
what have we got to live on besides my little income?"

"Income! I had forgotten you had any."

"Ask Judge Hubbard if I haven't. You'll see."

"But, my dear," said I gravely, drawing forth the packet from my
breast, "I, too, have my story to tell. I cannot call it a confession,
either; rather it is the story of somebody else--Hallo! who's broken
the seal?" For on shipboard I had beguiled the time by writing a sort
of journal to accompany Fanny's letter, and had placed all together in
a thick white envelope, addressing it, in legal parlance, "To whom it
may concern."

"_I_ did," said Bessie faintly, burying her face on my arm. "It fell
out of your pocket when they carried you up stairs; and I read it,
every word, twice over, before you came to yourself."

"You little witch! And I thought you were marrying me out of pure
faith in me, and not of sight or knowledge."

"It was faith, the highest faith," said Bessie proudly, and looking
into my eyes with her old saucy dash, "to know, to feel sure, that
that sealed paper concerned nobody but me."

And so she has ever since maintained.

SARAH C. HALLOWELL.




A STRANGE LAND AND A PECULIAR PEOPLE.


A nodule of amygdaloid, a coarse pebble enveloped in a whitish
semi-crystalline paste, lies on the table before me. I know that a
blow of the hammer will reveal the beauties of its crystal interior,
but I do not crush it. It is more to me as it is--more than a letter
plucked from the stone pages of time. Coarse and plain, it is an index
to a chapter of life. In the occupations of a busy existence we forget
how much we owe to the sweet emotional nature which, by mere chance
association, retains the dearer part of the past fixed in memory, just
as the graceful volutes of a fossil shell are preserved in the coarse
matrix of a stony paste. In this way the nodule connects itself with
my emotional life, and recalls the incidents of this sketch.

We were journeying over the mountains in the autumn of 1869. Our camp
was pitched in a valley of the ascending ridges of the Cumberland
range, on the south-east border of Kentucky. At this point the
interior valley forms the letter J, the road following the bend, and
ascending at the foot of the perpendicular.

It is nearly an hour since sunset, but the twilight still lingers in
softened radiance, mellowing the mountain-scenery. The camp-wagons
are drawn up on a low pebbly shelf at the foot of the hills, and the
kindled fire has set a great carbuncle in the standing pool. A spring
branch oozes out of the rocky turf, and flows down to meet a shallow
river fretting over shoals. The road we have followed hangs like
a rope-ladder from the top of the hills, sagging down in the
irregularities till it reaches the river-bed, where it flies apart in
strands of sand. The twilight leans upon the opposite ridge, painting
its undulations in inconceivably delicate shades of subdued color.
Although the night is coming on, the clear-obscure of that dusk, like
a limpid pool, reveals all beneath. A road ascending the southern hill
cuts through a loamy crust a yellow line, which creeps upward, winding
in and out, till nothing is seen of it but a break in the trees set
clear against the sky. No art of engineer wrought these graceful
bends: it is a wild mountain-pass, followed by the unwieldy buffalo in
search of pasturage. Beyond, the mountain rises again precipitously, a
ragged tree clinging here and there to the craggy shelves. Around and
through the foliage, like a ribbon, the road winds to the top. A blue
vapor covers it and the hills melting softly in the distance. At the
base of the hills a little river winds and bends to the west through
a low fertile bottom, the stem of the J, which is perhaps a mile in
width. It turns again, its course marked by a growth of low water-oaks
and beeches, following the irregular fold in the hills which has been
described.

Leaning against the bluffs hard by the camp is a low white cottage,
with its paddock and pinfold, and the cattle are coming up, with bells
toning irregularly as they feed and loiter on the way. The supper-horn
sends forth a hoarse but mellow fugue in swells and cadences from the
farm-house. Over all this sweet rural scene of mountain, valley, river
and farm, and over the picturesque camp, with stock, tent and wagons,
now brightened by the grace of a young girl, the twilight lingers like
love over a home. As I listen and look a soft voice from the carriage
at my side says, "Is the ground damp? May I get out?"

I turn to my little prisoner, and as the mingled lights cross her
features I see that her wide, dark-gray eyes are swimming in tears.
"Why, what is it?" I ask.

"Nothing: everything is so sweet and tranquil. I was wondering if our
new home would be like this--not the hills and valleys, you know, but
so quiet and homelike."

So homelike! With that vague yearning, we, like so many Southerners
of the period, were wagoning from old homesteads, a thousand miles of
travel, to a resting-place.

"It will be like home if you are there," I think as I assist her to
alight--the burden daily growing lighter in my arms and heavier on my
heart--but I say nothing.

Pretty soon she is at her usual relaxation, looking for shells, ivy
berries and roots of wild vines to adorn that never-attainable home.
The kindly, generous twilight, so unlike the swift shrift of the
Florida levels, still lingers; and presently, amid bits of syenite,
volcanic tuff and scoria, she has found this nodule of amygdaloid.
It differs from the fossil shells and alluvial pebbles she is used to
find, and she is curious about it.

I tell the story of the watershed of the Ohio as well as I can--how
it was the delta of a great river, fed by the surfage of a continent
lying south--eastwardly in the Atlantic; of the luxuriant vegetation
that sprang up as in the cypress-swamps of her old home in Louisiana,
passing, layer by layer, into peat, to be baked and pressed into
bituminous coal, that slops over the flared edges of the basin
in Pennsylvania, like sugar in the kettles, and is then burnt to
anthracite. I promise her that in some dawn on the culminating peak,
when the hills below loom up, their tops just visible like islands in
a sea of dusk, I will show her a natural photograph of that old-world
delta, with the fog breaking on the lower cliffs like the surf of a
ghostly sea. She listens as to a fairy tale, and then I tell her of
the stellar crystals concealed in the rough crust of the amygdaloid.
She puts it away, and says I shall break it for her when we get home.
We have traveled a long way, by different paths, since then, but it
has never been broken--never will be broken now.

In addition to the geological and botanical curiosities the mountains
afford, my companion had been moved alternately to tears and smiles by
the scenes and people we met--their quaint speech and patient poverty.
We passed eleven deserted homesteads in one day. Sometimes a lean cur
yelped forlorn welcome: at one a poor cow lowed at the broken paddock
and dairy. We passed a poor man with five little children--the eldest
ten or twelve, the youngest four or five--their little stock on a
small donkey, footing their way over the hills across Tennessee into
Georgia. It was so pitiful to see the poor little babes-in-the-wood on
that forlorn journey; and yet they were so brave, and the poor fellow
cheered them and praised them, as well he might. Another miserable
picture was at the white cottage near our camp. The lawn showed
evidences of an old taste in rare flowers and vines, now choked with
weeds. I knocked, and a slovenly negress opened the door and revealed
the sordid interior--an unspread bed; a foul table, sickly with the
smell of half-eaten food and unwashed dishes; the central figure a
poor, helpless old man sitting on a stool, I asked the negress for
her master: she answered rudely that she had no master, and would have
slammed the door in my face. Why tell the story of a life surrounded
by taste and womanly adornments, followed by a childless, wifeless old
age? The poor, wizened old creature was rotting in life on that
low stool among his former dependants, their support and scorn. The
Emancipation Proclamation did not reach him. But one power could break
his bonds and restore the fallen son and the buried wife--the great
liberator, Death.

The natives of this region are characterized by marked peculiarities
of the anatomical frame. The elongation of the bones, the contour
of the facial angle, the relative proportion or disproportion of the
extremities, the loose muscular attachment of the ligatures, and the
harsh features were exemplified in the notable instance of the late
President Lincoln. A like individuality appears in their idiom. It
lacks the Doric breadth of the Virginian of the other slope, and is
equally removed from the soft vowels and liquid intonation of the
southern plain. It has verbal and phraseological peculiarities of its
own. Bantering a Tennessee wife on her choice, she replied with a toss
and a sparkle, "I-uns couldn't get shet of un less'n I-uns married
un." "Have you'uns seed any stray shoats?" asked a passer:
"I-uns's uses about here." "Critter" means an animal--"cretur,"
a fellow-creature. "Longsweet-'nin'" and "short sweet'nin'" are
respectively syrup and sugar. The use of the indefinite substantive
pronoun _un_ (the French _on_), modified by the personals, used
demonstratively, and of "done" and "gwine" as auxiliaries, is peculiar
to the mountains, as well on the Wabash and Alleghany, I am told, as
in Tennessee. The practice of dipping--by which is meant not baptism,
but chewing snuff--prevails to a like extent.

In farming they believe in the influence of the moon on all
vegetation, and in pork-butchering and curing the same luminary is
consulted. Leguminous plants must be set out in the light of the
moon--tuberous, including potatoes, in the dark of that satellite. It
is supposed to _govern_ the weather by its dip, not _indicate_ it by
its appearance. The cup or crescent atilt is a wet moon--i.e., the
month will be rainy. A change of the moon forebodes a change of the
weather, and no meteorological statistics can shake their confidence
in the superstition. They, of course, believe in the water-wizard
and his forked wand; and their faith is extended to the discovery
of mineral veins. While writing this I see the statement in a public
journal that Richard Flannery of Cumberland county (Kentucky) uses an
oval ball, of some material known only to himself, which he suspends
between the forks of a short switch. As he walks, holding this
extended, the indicator announces the metal by arbitrary vibrations.
As his investigations are said to be attended with success, possibly
the oval ball is highly magnetized, or contains a lode-stone whose
delicate suspension is affected by the current magnetism, metallic
veins being usually a magnetic centre. Any mass of soft iron in the
position of the dipping-needle is sensibly magnetic, and a solution
of continuity is thus indicated by the vibrations of the delicately
poised instrument. Flaws in iron are detected with absolute certainty
by this method. More probably, however, the whole procedure is pure,
unadulterated humbug. In all such cases the failures are unrecorded,
while the successes are noted, wondered at and published. By shooting
arrows all day, even a blind man may hit the mark sometimes.

During this journey it was a habit with me to relate to my invalid
companion any fact or incident of the day's travel. She came to expect
this, and would add incidents and observations of her own. In this
way I was led to compile the following little narrative of feminine
constancy and courage during the late war.

It begins with two boys and a girl, generically divided into brother
and sister and their companion, living on the divide-range of
mountains between Kentucky and Tennessee. The people raised hogs,
which were fattened on the mast of the range, while a few weeks'
feeding on corn and slops in the fall gave the meat the desired
firmness and flavor. They cultivated a few acres of corn, tobacco
and potatoes, and had a kitchen-garden for "short sass" and "long
sass"--leguminous and tuberous plants. Apples are called "sour sass."
The chief local currency was red-fox scalps, for which the State
of Kentucky paid a reward: the people did not think of raising such
vermin for the peltry, as the shrewder speculator of a New England
State did. They sold venison and bear-meat at five cents a pound
to the lame trader at Jimtown, who wagoned it as far as Columbia,
Kentucky, and sold it for seventy-five cents. They went to the log
church in the woods on Sundays, and believed that Christ was God in
the flesh, with other old doctrines now rapidly becoming heretical
in the enlightened churches of the East. Living contentedly in this
simple way, neither rich nor poor, the lads grew up, nutting, fishing,
hunting together, and the companion naturally looked forward to the
day when he would sell enough peltry and meat to buy a huge watch like
a silver biscuit, such as the schoolmaster wore, make a clearing and
cabin in the wild hills, and buy his one suit of store clothes, in
which to wed the pretty sister of his friend.

Then came the war. Although it divided the two friends, the old
kindness kept their difference from flaming forth in the vendetta
fashion peculiar to the region. It was a great deal that these two
young fellows did not believe that military morality required them to
shoot each other on sight. Yet, on reconsideration, I will not be
so sure of their opinion on this point. Perhaps they thought that,
morally and patriotically, they ought to do this, and were conscious
of weakness and failure of duty in omitting to do it. Perhaps the old
good-will survived for the girl's sake; and if so, I do not think the
Union was the worse preserved on that account.

The young lover went into the ranks of Wolford's regiment of loyal
mountaineers, and rose--slowly at first, more rapidly as his square
sense and upright character became known.

The girl, in her retirement, heard of her lover's advancement with
pride and fear. She distrusted her worth, and found the hard menial
duties of life more irksome than before. Not that she shrank from
labor, but she feared its unfitting her for the refinement required by
her lover's new social position. She had few examples to teach her
the small proprieties of small minds, but a native delicacy helped her
more than she was conscious of. She read her Bible a great deal, and
used to wonder if Mary and "the other Mary" were ladies. She thought
Peter was probably an East Tennesseean, or like one, for when he
denied his Lord they said he did not talk like the others. It seemed
hard that to say "we-uns" and "you-uns," as she habitually did, though
she tried not, and to use the simple phrases of her childhood, should
be thought coarse or wrong. Such matters were puzzles to her which she
could not solve. She got an old thumbed Butler's _Grammar_ and tried
hard to correct the vocables of her truant tongue. I am afraid she
made poor progress. She had a way of defying that intolerable tyrant,
the nominative singular, and put all her verbs in the plural, under an
impression, not without example, that it was elegant language. She had
enough hard work to do, poor girl! to have been quit of these mental
troubles. Her brother was away, her parents were old, and all the
irksome duties of farm-house and garden fell upon her. She had to hunt
the wild shoats on the range, and to herd them; to drive up the cows,
and milk them; to churn and make the butter and cheese. She tapped
the sugar trees and watched the kettles, and made the maple syrup and
sugar; she tended the poultry, ploughed and hoed the corn field and
garden, besides doing the house-work. Her old parents could help but
little, for the "rheumatiz," which attacks age in the mountains, had
cramped and knotted their limbs, and they were fit for nothing except
in fine dry weather. Surely, life was hard with her, without
her anxieties about her lover's constancy and her own defects.
Letter-writing was a labor not to be thought of. She tried it, and got
as far as "I am quite well, and I hope these few lines will find you
the same," and there stopped. She ascribed the difficulty to her own
mental and clerical defects, but I think it lay quite as much in the
nature of the relation. How was she to express confidence when she
distrusted? how express distrust when her maidenly promptings told her
it was an indelicate solicitation? She could say Brindle had gone dry
and the blind mare had foaled, or that crops were good; but what was
that to say when her heart was thirsting and drying up? She blotted
the paper and her eyes and her hands, but she could not write a line.
She was a sensible girl, and gave it up, leaving her love to grow its
own growth. The tree had been planted in good ground, and watered: it
must grow of itself.

By and by military operations brought her lover into the old
neighborhood. I cannot say he put on no affectations with his new
rank, that he did not air his shoulder-straps a taste too much; but
the manly nature was too loyal to sin from mere vanity. He seemed
natural, easy, pleased with her, and urged a speedy wedding.

We may guess how the Lassie--we must give her a name, and that will
do--worshiped her King Cophetua in shoulder-straps. Had he not stooped
from his well-won, honorable height, the serene azure of his blue
uniform, to sue for her? In all the humility of her pure loving heart
she poured out her thankfulness to the Giver of all good for this
supreme blessing of his love.

In the midst of this peace and content her brother appeared with a
flag of truce. He was hailed as a prosperous prodigal, for he too
was a lad of metal, but he brought one with him that made poor Lassie
start and tremble. It was a lady, young and beautiful, clad in deep
mourning. Although sad and retiring, there was that dangerous charm
about her which men are lured by, and which women dread--a subtle
influence of look and gesture and tone that sets the pulses mad. She
was going for the remains of her husband, and told a pathetic story,
but only too well. She used always the same language, cried at the
same places, and seemed altogether too perfect in her part for it
to be entirely natural. So, at least, Lassie thought, even while
reproaching herself for being hard on a sister in affliction. Yet she
could not escape the bitterness of the thought that the widow, Mrs.
G----, was "a real lady"--that ideal rival she had been so long
dreading in her lover's absence; and now that he had come, the rival
had also come.

Her brother dropped a hint or two about the lady: Mrs. G---- had the
"shads," "vodles" of bank-stock and niggers, and she paid well for
small service. If King Cophetua could get leave to escort her to
head-quarters, Mrs. G---- would foot the bills and do the handsome
thing. It was hard such a woman should have to go on such a sad
business alone.

What could his sister say? She had herself put off the wedding a
month: she wanted to get her ample store of butter, eggs and
poultry to the trader at Jimtown, or, better still, to the brigade
head-quarters at Bean's Station. With her own earnings she could then
buy such simple muslins for her wedding-dress as became her and would
not shame her lover. She wished she had married him, as he had urged,
in her old calico gown. If he had asked her now, if he had pressed a
little, she would have yielded; but he did not. He seemed to accept
the proprieties and woman's will as unalterable. In fact, he did
follow Mrs. G----'s motions with only too lively an admiration.
Perhaps he did not know himself what his feelings were--what this new
fever in his pulses meant. Besides the calm, holy connubial love there
is a wild animal passion that tears through moral creeds and laws.
Once, Lassie saw her brother give him a half-angry stare, that passed
into a laugh of cool scorn. "Take care of Mrs. G----," he said to King
Cophetua. "You will get bit there if you don't look out."

How the sister would have pressed that warning had she dared! Innocent
as her lover might be, she believed that Mrs. G---- saw the growing
passion and encouraged it. But there was nothing to take hold of.
There was nothing bold, forward or inviting in her manner. If a lady
has long lashes, must she never droop them lest she be charged with
coquetry? May not a flush spring as naturally from shy reserve as from
immodesty?

Lassie's lover did take charge of this dangerous siren to escort her
to the head-quarters at Louisville. But just before starting he came
to Lassie with a certain eagerness, as one who is going into battle
might, and assured her, again and again, of his faith. Did he do this
to assure her or himself? I think the last.

How weary the month was! She occupied herself as well as she could
with her sales and purchases, making a very good trade. The brigade
had been at Bean's Station long enough to eat up all the delicacies to
be found there, so that the little maid, who was a sharp marketer, got
fabulous prices. She made up her simple wedding furniture, gave her
mother a new gown and underwear, and pleased her old father with a
handsome jean suit, the labor of her own nimble fingers. All that
belonged to her would appear well on that day, as became them and her.

At any other time she would have followed up that thrifty market at
Bean's Station. She would have huckstered around the neighborhood, and
made a little income while it lasted; but now she had no heart for it.
Her lover's leave was out, yet his regimental associates knew nothing
about him.

A week after the day set for her marriage her brother came again with
the flag of truce. He too was vexed--not so much at Cophetua's absence
as at not meeting the widow, whom he had been sent to escort to the
Confederate lines. But he treated his sister's jealous suspicions
with a dash of scorn: "There was nothing of that kind, but if Cophetua
would fool with a loaded gun, he must expect to be hurt. If ever there
was a hair-trigger, it was Mrs. G----."

"Who is she?" asked his sister eagerly. "Tell me: you say there is
something strange, dangerous about her, and I can see it. Who is she?"

"Humph!" said her brother. "She is a lady, and that is enough. If she
is dangerous, keep out of her way."

This only deepened the mystery. But she had no time to think. Her
brother left in the morning. In the afternoon the colonel of her
lover's regiment came to see her with a very grave face. The young
man had been arrested for dealing with the enemy, harboring spies and
furnishing information of the disposition and number of the Federal
forces. "If we could get at the true story of his connection with that
woman," said the colonel, "I am satisfied he has only been indiscreet,
not treacherous. He is one of my best, most trusted officers, and his
arrest is a blot on the regiment. If he will tell anybody, he will
tell you. Can you go to Louisville at once?"

Yes, at once. The traveling-dress, made up for so different an
occasion, was donned, and under escort she went, by a hundred miles of
horseback ride, to the nearest railway station. There was no tarrying
by the way: the colonel's influence provided relays. On the evening of
the third day she was with her lover.

It was as the colonel had supposed: the woman had got her lover in her
toils, and he had been imprudent. He had every reason for believing
that her story of her husband's remains was false. She was a dealer in
contraband goods: this much he knew. Other officers, of higher rank,
knew as much, and corresponded with her. If they chose to wink at it,
was he, a subordinate, to interfere? She had trusted him, depended on
him, and he had a feeling that it would be disloyal to her confidence
to betray her, to pry into what she concealed, and expose what his
superiors seemed to know. But after she was gone the story leaked out:
she was not only a smuggler, but a very dangerous spy. Some one must
be the scapegoat, and who so fit as the poor, friendless Tennesseean
who had escorted her to head-quarters and acted for her in personal
matters?

That was his story, but what a poor story to tell to a court-martial!
What was she to do? Poor, simple child of the woods! what did she know
of the wheels within wheels, and the rings of political influence
by which a superior authority was to be invoked? She knew nothing of
these things, and there was no one to tell her. She thought of but one
plan: her brother could find that woman. She would seek her out--she
would appeal to her.

We need not follow her on that return journey and her visit to the
Confederate camp. Fortunately, the Confederates were nearer than
she supposed. She came upon their pickets, and was taken into the
commanding officer's presence. Her brother was sent for, and when he
came she told him she was looking for his friend, Mrs. G----.

"Looking for her!" said her brother. "Why, that is what we moved out
this way for! She is in camp now. We brought her and her luggage in
last night."

She eagerly entreated to be taken to her, and was carried to a
pavilion, or marquee, a little apart from the officers' quarters.
Mrs. G---- came in richly but simply dressed, attended by a portly,
handsome, but rather dull-looking officer.

"Why, Lassie!" said Mrs. G---- in surprise. "So you have come to see
me? Here are the remains of my poor dear," she added with a little
laugh, presenting the gentleman. "Do you think he is worth all the
trouble I took to get him?"

"Ha! much pleased! Devilish proper girl!" said the man with a stupid
blush, justifying the stolidity of his good looks.

"But where is your _preux chevalier_, Captain Cophetua? I declare, I
almost fell in love with him myself. Frank here is quite jealous."

"Oh, Mrs. G----," broke out the poor girl, "you have killed him! They
are going to try him and hang him for helping you to spy."

"Nonsense!" said the lady with a little start. "The poor fellow did
nothing but what, as a gentleman, he was compelled to do. But how can
I help you?"

"Save him," said Lassie. "You have your wealth, your wit, your
husband: I have but him!" and she sank down in tears.

"Stupid," said the lady, turning sharply on her husband, "tell me what
to do? Don't you see we must not let them hang the poor fellow?"

"Of course not," said the big man dryly. "Just countermand the order
of execution. No doubt the Yankees will obey: I would."

"Of course you would: a precious life you would lead if you did not,"
said his wife, who evidently commanded that squad. "Never mind: there
is more sense in what you said than I expected of you--Jane," to the
smart maid who attended on her, "pen, ink, paper and my portfolio."

Opening the last, she took out a bundle of letters, and, running them
rapidly over as a gambler does his cards, she selected one. "This,"
she said to Lassie, "is a note from General ----. It is written
without the slightest suspicion of my character as a spy; but you will
see it involves him far more dangerously than your friend. He cannot
well explain it away. Keep the letter. I will write to him that you
have it to deliver over in return for his kind assistance in effecting
the release of your friend. Don't fear: I ask him to do nothing he
ought not to do without asking, and you give him a letter that would
be misconstrued if it fell into other hands."

Armed with these instructions and the letters, Lassie returned home,
passed on to Louisville, and delivered her message. The general
promptly interfered, thanking her for calling his attention to the
matter. His influence, and a more exact understanding of the means and
appliances of the artful widow in obtaining information, effected her
lover's acquittal and restoration to his former position.

"I owe her my life and good name," said the tall Tennesseean, taking
Baby No. 2 from her arms. "I-uns ain't wuth such a gal."

"No," say I drily. "What did you take him for?" to her. Then I get the
answer before quoted. But my companion, with a truer perception, went
quietly up and kissed her Tennessee sister, a little to the surprise
of both, I think, but they seemed touched by the silent little tribute
more than by any words.

I have spoken of the character of the hostilities in that "debatable
land." War is a bad thing always, but when it gets into a simple
neighborhood, and teaches the right and duty of killing one's
friends and relatives, it becomes demoniac. Down about Knoxville they
practiced a better method. There it was the old game of "Beggar
your Neighbor," and they denounced and "confiscated" each other
industriously. Up in the poor hills they could only kill and burn,
and rob the stable and smoke-house. We were shown the scene of one
of these neighborhood vengeances. It is a low house at the side of
a ravine, down whose steep slope the beech forest steps persistently
erect, as if distrusting gravitation. Thirty Confederates had gathered
in that house at a country-side frolic, and the fiddle sang deep in
the night. The mountain girls are very pretty, having dark, opalescent
eyes, with a touch of gold in them at a side glance, slight, rather
too fragile figures, and the singular purity of complexion peculiar to
high lands.

The moon went down, and the music of the dance, the shuffle of feet on
the puncheon floor, died away into that deep murmurous chant, the hymn
of Nature in the forest. The falling water, sleeping in the dam or
toiling all day at the mill, gurgles like the tinkling of castanets.
Every vine and little leaf is a harp-string; every tiny blade of grass
flutes its singly inaudible treble; the rustling leaves, chirping
cricket, piping batrachian, the tuneful hum of insects that sleep
by day and wake by night, mingle and flow in the general harmony of
sound. The reeds and weeds and trunks of trees, like the great and
lesser pipes of an organ, thunder a low bass. The melancholy hoot
of the owl and the mellow complaint of the whippoorwill join in the
solemn diapason of the forest, filling the solitudes with grand,
stately marches. There are no sounds of Nature or art so true in
harmony as this ceaseless murmur of the American woods. So accordant
is it with the solemn majesty of form and color that the observer
fails to separate and distinguish it as an isolated part in the grand
order of Nature. He has felt an indescribable awe in the presence of
serene night and unbounded shadow, but to divide and distinguish
its constituent causes were as vain as in the contour and color of a
single tree to note the varied influence of rock, soil and river.

Over the little farm-house in the ravine in the fall of 1863 there
fell with the sinking moon these solemn dirges of the great dark
woods. The stars brightened their crowns till _Via Lactea_ shone a
highway of silver dust or as the shadow of that primeval river rolling
across the blue champaign of heaven. The depths of repose that follow
the enjoyment of the young irrigated their limbs, filling the sensuous
nerves and arteries with a delicious narcotism--a deep, quiet,
healthful sleep, lulled by the chant of the serene mother-forest.

Hush! A light step, like a blown leaf: the loose wooden latch rises at
the touch of a familiar hand; familiar feet, that have trodden every
inch of that poor log floor, lead the way; and then all at once, like
a bundle of Chinese crackers, intermingled with shrieks and groans and
deep, vehement curses, the rapid reports of pistols fill the chambers.
The beds, the floors, the walls, the doors are splashed with blood,
and the chambers are cumbered with dead and dying men in dreadful
agony. Happy those who passed quietly from the sweet sleep of Nature
to the deeper sleep of death! Of thirty young men in the flush of
youth, not one escaped. Six Federal scouts had threaded their way
since sunset from the Federal lines to do this horrible work. Oh,
Captain Jack, swart warrior of the Modocs! must we hang you for
defending your lava-bed home in your own treacherous native way, when
we, to preserve an arbitrary political relation, murder sleeping men
in their beds?

Let me close with an incident of that great game of war in which the
watershed of the Ohio was the gambler's last stake.

The Confederacy was a failure in '62, held together by external
pressure of hostile armies. It converted civil office into bomb-proofs
for the unworthy by exempting State and Federal officials; it
discouraged agriculture by levying on the corn and bacon of the small
farmers, while the cotton and sugar of the rich planter were jealously
protected; it discouraged enlistment by exempting from military
service every man who owned twenty negroes, one hundred head of
cattle, five hundred sheep--in brief, all who could afford to serve;
it discouraged trade by monopolies and tariffs. But for the ubiquitous
Jew it would have died in 1862-'63, as a man dies from stagnation of
the blood. It was the rich man's war and the poor man's fight.

This suicidal policy had its effect. Cut off from all markets, the
farmer planted only for family use. At the close of the war the people
of Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas had to be fed by the government.
The farmers in 1864 refused to feed the Southern army. Seventy
thousand men deserted east of the Mississippi between October 1, 1864,
and February 3, 1865. They were not recalled: the government could not
feed them. The Confederacy was starved out by its own people--rather
by its own hideous misgovernment, for the people were loyal to the
cause.

One fact was apparent as early as 1863: the South would not feed the
armies--the North must. That plan, so far as the Atlantic coast States
were involved, was foiled at Gettysburg. The only resource left was in
the West, the watershed of the Ohio, which Sherman was wrenching out
of General Johnston's fingers. In a military point of view, the great
Confederate strategist was right: he was conducting the campaign on
the principle Lee so admirably adopted in Virginia. But President
Davis had more than a military question to solve. If he could not
seize the granaries of the watershed, the Confederacy would die of
inanition.

That was what caused the change of commanders in Georgia, and the
desperate invasion that blew to pieces at Nashville; and it introduces
a little scouting incident upon which the event of that campaign
may have partially turned. General Hood was in camp at Jonesborough:
Forrest and Wheeler were detached to destroy Sherman's single thread
of supplies. Prisoners pretended to have been on half rations, and the
sanguine opinion at head-quarters was that Sherman was on the grand
retreat. That able strategist had disappeared, enveloping himself in
impenetrable vidette swarms of cavalry. He had pocketed one hundred
thousand men in the Georgia hills, and no one could find them; at
least, General Hood could not.

But others were not sanguine about Sherman's falling back. General
Jackson selected a major, a trusted scout, with twenty-five men, with
instructions to find Sherman. Again and again the scout and his little
band tried to pierce that impenetrable cloud, and could not. Then he
tried another plan. He snapped up a Federal squad, clothed a select
part of his little band in their uniform, and sent the others back
with the prisoners. Then he plunged boldly into the cloud, a squad
of Federals, bummers, pioneers. Does the reader reflect upon the
fine fibre of the material requisite for such an exploit? It is not
strength, courage or tactical cunning that is most wanted, but that
most difficult art, to be able to put off your own nature and put on
another's--to play a part, not as the actor, who struts his hour in
tinsel and mouths his speeches as no mortal man ever walked or talked
in real life, but as one who stakes his life upon a word, an accent;
requiring subtlety of analytic sense and quickness of thought.
Polyglot as was the speech of the Federal forces, suspicion, started
by that test, would run rapidly to results. Then there was the danger
of collision with the regiment whose uniform they had assumed. Swift,
constant motion was required. They swept to the head of the column,
and, to be brief, the first Federal pontoon thrown across the
Chattahoochee was laid with the assistance of these spies. The leader
threw himself on the bank and counted the regiments by their insignia
as they passed, until he saw the linen duster and the glittering staff
of the great commander himself as they clattered over the bridge. Then
to Campbellton, hard by, where their horses were rendezvoused, and
whip and spur to Jonesborough.

A council of war was sitting when the scout arrived. He was hurried
into its presence, and told his story with laconic, military
precision. Sherman's whole force was across the Chattahoochee and
marching on Jonesborough, twenty miles away.

"I have sure information to the contrary," said the commanding
general, singularly deceived by a strong conviction, enforced by
scouts who depended on rumor for authority. "It is some feint to cover
the general movement."

"I counted the flags, guidons, regimental insignia--such force
of cavalry, artillery, infantry," giving the numbers. "I saw and
recognized General Sherman," said the scout briefly.

His report was not, even then, credited, but, as a precaution, a
brigade of cavalry, with his battalion in the van, was sent out to
beat up the enemy. A short distance beyond Flint River they struck
the Federal line, which attacked at once, without feeling--a sure
indication of strength. The battalion was hurled back on the brigade,
the brigade rushed across Flint River, and back into the infantry
line, now throwing up tardy entrenchments at Jonesborough. The rest
is historical. It was but one of the rash throws of the dice for
that great stake, the watershed of the Ohio, and helps to show the
principles of military action by which it was lost.

WILL WALLACE HARNEY.




SIMILITUDE.


  FROM GOETHE.

  On every mountain-crest
        Is rest:
  In every vale beneath,
        No breath
  Stirs in the quietude:
  The little birds are silent in the wood.
        Soon, patient, weary breast,
        Thou too wilt rest.

EMMA LAZAROS.




OUR HOME IN THE TYROL.


CHAPTER XI.


One great feature of the Hof has hitherto been passed over in
silence--the other lodgers; for, truth to say, there happened to be a
large family of tourists, who, following in the wake of their parents
and grandparents before them, strenuously adhered year after year to
the peaceful old Hof as their summer residence. _Schwalben_ by name,
they had English and American cousins, the swallows and martins: they
pursued a yearly routine of spending the winter months with other
connexions in Algeria or the Levant, then, dividing into groups,
returned to their various mountain or pastoral homes in cooler, more
verdant lands. Thus, on the second Wednesday in the month of May one
family always arrived at the old castle of Neuhaus, giving a sentiment
to the forsaken ruin which it could not otherwise possess, and about
the same week a number of their cousins and distant connexions took up
their quarters at the Hof.

[Illustration: SCHLOSS SCHWALBEN.]

The swallows in the Tyrol pass for holy birds. There is a tradition
that their forefathers helped the Lord Almighty to build the
firmament, but how and in what manner popular tradition does not tell
us. Being blessed by God and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the simple
peasant often leaves his doors and windows open to attract such
valued inmates, seeing that peace and happiness enter with them, and
lightning never strikes the roof where swallows build. Should they
forsake a house in the course of the summer, it is a sign of coining
misfortune. He who kills a swallow will lose father or mother.

A firm belief in the goodness of the swallows made Kathi honor and
welcome the familiar visitants. "They were no greedy guests," she
said, "for they always arrived when the bins of meal and winter
provisions were empty, and in the autumn, as soon as they were filled
again, they were off without bite or bit."

Many an old deserted room in the high-pitched roof was given over to
these inoffensive, man-loving birds. Hundreds of nests, some in good
condition, others deserted and out of repair, clung to old beams,
rafters and wainscots. A steady sound of fluttering and juvenile
chirping issued through the closed doors, contrasting with the silence
of the long stone corridor, whilst parent birds whirled gracefully in
and out through the dusty open windows, or poised themselves on the
warm shingles of the roof. The grandest, most comfortable quarters
were afforded in a large unused chamber occupying the front gable;
and, curiously enough, either in reality or fancy, we could not help
observing that whilst the various members of the community lived
fraternally together, there still seemed to be a distinction between
the swallows who dwelt in these spacious quarters and those who lived
in humbler lodgings behind. You might imagine that the dwellers in
front had become rich through trade, for they suffered no more from
the perpetual booming of the great house-clock above their heads, or
from the ever-moving pendulum which pulsated like a living thing in
their midst, than a manufacturer from the constant sound of his busy
steam-engines and rattling machinery. This swallow domain soon became
known as Castle Clock-Tower, and the chief inmates as the Herr and
Frau von Schwalbe and family, whilst, oddly enough, if it was our
daily pleasure to watch them, they showed an equal curiosity and
interest in us.

I do not know whether they considered that the fly-papers in our
sitting-room might be thwarting the designs of Providence on their
behalf, but we had hardly begun using them for the destruction of the
flies, when Herr von Schwalbe flew down from his castle through the
open window, apparently sent as a deputy to remonstrate with us on
this reckless waste of their legitimate game. He fluttered about,
glancing at the dead bodies strewn on the floor; then, taking his post
on the top of a picture hanging on the wall, remained several hours,
drawing his own deductions, but always too timid to raise a complaint.
In vain we tried to encourage him, to induce him to leave his lofty
position: the lonely visitant remained timidly stationary, so that
night came on before he ventured his flight.

Although Herr von Schwalbe might not approve of our unscrupulous
destruction of flies, he must have reported us a well-meaning family,
seeing that his wife ever afterward treated us with the greatest
confidence. She was an elegant lady, with the most approved Grecian
bend. She gave a kettle-drum once to her friends and relations at the
unseasonable hour of four o'clock in the morning, but in all other
cases observed her character of a wise, prudent little matron. Day
by day she conducted her happy family to a horizontal pole suitably
fastened to the upper gallery, where she cultivated their intellects,
and, assisted by her devoted husband, gave them flying and singing
lessons, each vocal attempt being rewarded by a liberal supply of
flies.

We likewise became interested in a couple of redstarts, who, waxing
bold, would tap at the casement, bidding us come and admire their
young in the nest under the portico. This was during our first visit:
on our second we found some dire misfortune had befallen the mother,
the children and the nest. The Hofbauer feared some servant must
have destroyed them. The poor little father remained attached to the
melancholy spot, and, refusing to be comforted because his dear ones
were not, flew round perpetually with a worm in his bill. In his
despair he would drop it untouched with piteous laments, until, as if
his small instinct had become crazed, he would go in search of a fresh
dainty morsel, and the sad scene was enacted over again. Poor forlorn
bird! Like the swallows, the redstarts are dedicated to the Virgin:
such high patronage, however, in this case availed nothing.

Neither did Anton's crossbill, which dwelt in the stube, have a much
happier fate. Although its master was very fond of it and tended it
well, it had, like others of its race, to live in a very small prison
suspended but a short way from the centre of the dark paneled ceiling.
Thus, in the winter between our two visits it died, suffocated by the
hot air of the overheated, ill-ventilated stube. Many poor pet birds
of this species are thus killed, the victims of ignorance; for when
a crossbill becomes sickly from its dark, hot, confined quarters, the
peasant does not wish to cure it, believing that this holy bird, which
tried to free the Lord from the cross, so sympathizes with redeemed
humanity that whenever illness or epidemic threatens the household the
devoted creature itself immediately takes the disease and dies, the
family escaping unharmed.

It would be wearisome to enumerate all the different features and
dispositions of the farm-yard inhabitants. Let us rather pass on to
Moro. Perhaps it was no pleasant surprise to some of us when the Hof
bauer having made the purchase of a house-dog, it proved to be none
other than a large, handsome rusty-black hound which had once sprung
out of a house near a crossing of the new railway, trying to attack
my father, who had to defend himself with his stick against the
disagreeable customer, until a voice from the house made the dog
instantly and quietly shrink away. The Hofbauer expressed his regret.
He, knowing nothing of the circumstances, had bought the animal out
of good-nature, as his master, an Italian and the overseer of the
railway, removing to a great distance, was forced to part with it. He
was anything but a savage dog, proving, on the contrary, easily cowed;
so that the fact of his ever having made such a sally soon surprised
us. Whether he missed the occupation of looking after the work-people
and guarding the line, or whether he only understood dialectical
Italian, certain it is that he proved a most inert, taciturn dog. He
would wander about for weeks in listless despondency, doing nothing
for his living, and showing no intelligence except in the way of
hiding bones. Although really young, his extreme slowness and apathy
conveyed the idea of an old dog. He crept sluggishly along in search
of some sunny nook where he might snooze in his melancholy. Now, it
fell to Moidel's duty to feed this silent, heavy dog, whereupon he,
rising gradually out of his secret woes, became her constant docile
companion, following her seriously and silently like a shadow, and
looking gravely mortified when she refused his attendance at church.
He disliked the least approach to a liberty, and, showing no interest
in what passed around him, was regarded by the family rather as a
pensioner than an active, useful member of the community.

With E----'s arrival, however, a strange though gradual change came
over Moro. He seemed from the first to perceive the strong sympathy
which she possessed for all dumb creatures; and had he been the
spellbound mortal of the fairy tale the transformation could hardly
have been more remarkable. As he felt he was no longer unappreciated
or misunderstood, he began to divide his attentions between Moidel
and his new friend. He became lively and active, condescending to
take walks in any direction but Bruneck--a place which, for some
inscrutable reason, he persistently avoided. He took to opening his
huge mouth and uttering a sonorous bark; unfurled his tail, which,
losing its stiffness, wagged incessantly; whilst, developing his
liveliness still more, he actually took to committing flying leaps
over a five-barred gate, and running wildly backward and forward in
the most ludicrous manner in front of the house whenever he perceived
his favorite E---- or some of her friends watching him.

Autumn had stepped in with the month of September. The harvest
was carried, and, according to an old custom, the village held a
thanksgiving service before the sowing of the seed-corn began; and,
whilst all were generous to their relations, none showed greater
hospitality than the worthy Hofbauer, who expected not only all his
own connexions, but also those of his dead wife, to share in the
annual jubilee.

Arduous were now the labors of the womankind preparatory to the feast.
Nanni No. I and Nanni No. 2 of the establishment might be met carrying
pounds and pounds of fresh meat into the cellar. In the stube sat
Kathi, seated on one of the wooden settees which surrounded the room,
her good old face bent silently over a paste board placed on one of
the square tables at which the large family took their meals. This was
more convenient than in the _gewoelbe_, or huge pantry, which was
half buried in provender: besides, Kathi thought, it struck damp.
But Moidel might be found there, with a quiet smile on her dear ruddy
face, whilst her healthy bare brown arm moved backward and forward
with marvelous agility in the beating of eggs. Let us step into the
gewoelbe, Kathi's domain proper. It is a marvelous place. Look at the
gayly-painted chests of the lowest decorative style of art, choking
with flour and buckwheat-meal; look at the racks full of heavy, flinty
household bread; at the pyramid of oblong bladder-like pastry, called
_krapfen_, which covers the table; at the smoked tongues, pig-cheeks,
feet and bologna sausage hanging from the ceiling. Light and air are
admitted by a large open window, but the atmosphere is so impregnated
with the odor of cummin (the favorite spice of the Tyrol, found in
bread, in dishes of vegetables, in puddings and pastry) that any sense
of great freshness is excluded. Rudely-made presses contain lint and
linen for accidents or sprains, whilst endless lotions and remedies
are carefully preserved in a long range of little drawers--cloves,
ginger, dried hyssop, fennel, anis and sage, all excellent remedies
for keeping the cold out of the stomach, to say nothing of a discreet
bottle of schnapps for the same purpose. There is many another herb,
dried by the careful Kathi between the two Lady Days, Mary's ascension
and Mary's birthday, which may usefully be employed for man or
beast--mullein, a very amulet against every kind of cough and
sore-throat; plantain, wormwood, red and white mugwort; nor are the
scrapings of hartshorn bought from a mountain huntsman forgotten. At
this moment, however, no one is dreaming for an instant of being ill:
that might happen after, but must not precede the feast.

Kathi and Moidel, experienced cooks and housewives, work steadily on,
without feeling the least anxiety for the success of their stupendous
efforts. They are only amazed that we should be surprised at the
quantity of their work--that they can remain, in fact, so cool in
the midst of their hundred and one boilings, singeings, choppings
and fryings. Kathi certainly wipes the perspiration off her brow, but
Moidel cannot even allow herself leisure for the act. The dinner
would not be in time if they stopped to enter the chapel, even for
Rosenkranz. So all the womankind repeat their Hail Marys hurrying
backward and forward. Then Moidel retires to snatch a few hours
of rest, wakes with a start, and is again alert at midnight, when,
attended, rather than aided, by two maids in waking stupefaction,
the baking, boiling and steaming receive a continuous impetus, Kathi
reappearing at four for the last triumphant efforts.

In good time the Hofbauer and Anton are equipped in their gala attire
for church, Moidel and the maids, in spite of their nocturnal labors,
following them briskly; so that they have not only said their prayers
and endeavored to understand the sermon, but actually joined in a
procession before the guests arrive. The sweet notes of a processional
hymn still float on the silent, balmy air as the sound of advancing
wheels is heard. Then several one-horse gigs are seen approaching, and
the geese hiss drowsily at the happy-faced _bauers_ and _bauerins_,
and their flocks of healthy, chubby children stuffed in before and
behind; and so they drive carefully into the large yard, where Onkel
Johann, acting as hostler, proudly though bashfully receives them.

There is a sober gayety and rejoicing about the elders, a suppressed
merriment about the youngsters. They do not expect much waiting upon
before the feast. They know that a strong but silent friendship exists
between them all and their host--that they are ready to help each
other in any possible emergency without making a fuss about it. So the
Hofbauer can walk back leisurely from church, and Kathi can attend to
her onerous duties in the kitchen, without a single visitor feeling
slighted.

Soon the crowd of simple guests is seated at table in the large
sitting-room, which we have vacated for the occasion. The Hofbauer
stands at a side-table and carves, and Anton in his long white apron
and bib waits as serving-man. Onkel Johann, however, sits at table.
The aunt and Moidel are busy dishing below: they will have their share
of good things when they go to the return feasts. Of pickings
and leavings there are none: it would be an insult to send away a
half-emptied plate; and for the same reason no dish is left untouched,
though it is a banquet that might even satiate a work-house. Soup,
sausage, roast veal, baked apples and stewed prunes; stewed liver,
fried liver, millet pudding; boiled beef with horseradish and
beet-root; hung beef; cabbage dished with tongue and pork; noodles;
and then a second soup to wash down what has gone before, but
followed by more substantial in the form of liver-cake, in which that
ingredient has been baked with bread-crumbs, eggs, onions and raisins.
Then come batter dumplings, one sort of _knoedel_ sprinkled with
poppy-seeds, roast beef with salad, and finally coffee.

There is little talking; only a clatter of plates, dishes, knives and
forks as the honest guests deliberately but persistently vanquish each
stage of the feast.

After coffee, "the mother's own sister" is called aside by Kathi, in
order that she, for her own and the dear dead Hofbauerin's sake
(of whom, bless her! in Kathi's eyes she is the very image), may be
privately presented to us, the foreign Herrschaft. A comely, compact
little figure, with delicate features, small hands and feet, and a
pair of dove-like eyes.

Wishing to be polite, she says it is _gar curios_ that any of the
Herrschaft should understand German. Immediately she fears this
implies ignorance on our part, and adds an apology: "But certainly
such Herrschaft who are so up in things of heaven and earth would know
German."

Then she waits with a sense of relief for one of us to speak. At this
moment, however, a bevy of bright, cheerful little peasant-girls,
who have been hovering in the distance, taking courage, approach and
cluster in a ring around her. She shows by her face that she fears
this is a liberty, but is nevertheless relieved by their supporting
her. We ask their names, and she goes off into a string of Madels,
Lisies, Nannies, who all smile spontaneously, and have not only to set
her right as to their ages, but, to their infinite astonishment, as to
their relationship to herself.

"Why, mother, I am your daughter!" says one little girl reproachfully.
"Why, aunt, my mother is dead, you know!" adds another, pulling at her
sleeve and whispering this correction. Then the whole group burst into
a shy titter.

The good soul stands calmly this battery of juvenile reproaches: "Ho,
are not you all my children? Have I not brought you all through the
measles, knitted the stockings for all your feet, until I taught you
to knit for yourselves? Souls and bodies, you are all dear to me: I
treat you all alike."

She looks so lovingly on them that they are not quite sure whether
they have done right or wrong in correcting her. So they stand a dumb,
admiring circle, whilst she adds:

"If the Herrschaft ever could get as far as Pfalzen, where I and the
children live, they would find no great big house like the Hof, but
plenty of small, snug farms amidst corn-fields, in any one of which
the Hof-Herrschaft would be made welcome, but more especially in mine.
It is not so very far. See from the window! There, over Sankt Joergen
and over the woods rises our tall spire with two other spires; only
these are quite a long way from each other, though they are all
mixed-like at a distance, just as I mix up the young people. The
Herrschaft will not forget the name--Pfalzen?"

Having brought out this invitation with a great effort, she now
plunges into a sea of fears as to the liberty she has taken. So one of
the Herrschaft, rashly coming to her assistance, assured her it would
be impossible for her at least to forget the name of Pfalzen. Somebody
had told her of a certain tailor of Pfalzen who, within memory of man,
returning from a wedding at Percha, and having passed St. George on
his homeward way at eight o'clock of the evening, suddenly saw the
road divide before him. This made him stop in astonishment, and before
he could decide which way to take it had grown dark. Then he became
sore afraid, especially when he espied a group of ladies dressed
in white, who came up to him, and, addressing him in playful tones,
encompassed and stopped him. He, however, could not stand this, and
speaking in a loud tone he reproached them, for, though they were
ladies, he soon saw by their rude looks that they meant him mischief.
Then they began abusing and tormenting him, until he laid himself down
on the ground with his face to the earth. Now the spell seemed broken,
for, though the spiteful women remained, they were restrained from
hurting him; and with the first sound of the morning Angelus these
white ladies, who were nothing but tormenting spirits, fled, and he,
rising up, went on his way home.

"Herr Je!" said the gentle little woman, "could it have been the Hof
Moidel who told you _that_? Or could you have heard it at Percha?
or by the fire some winter evening? But you have never been in these
parts in winter. The tailor, you see, must have found the wedding-wine
too strong."

"Barbara the sewing-woman--" began a young voice, which immediately
collapsed, the speaker retreating with great impetuosity behind her
mother or aunt, whichever it might be.

Then each little member of the maidenly circle looked very odd, and
their good relative uttered hurriedly but mildly, "Oh, it's nothing.
How could you, Lisi? Behave yourselves, children!"

However, an explanation of the sewing-woman Barbara being pleaded for
on our part, the good woman nervously continued: "It is only a foolish
story. Only that the sewing-woman Barbara was sweet on Weaver Thomas,
and he could not abide her. 'I would rather,' he told her, 'be a beast
in the stall than be your wedded husband.' The sewing-woman said he
should rue the day he thus insulted her. And sure enough, from that
time he could neither eat nor drink, growing poor and thin in the
body. Everybody said, 'Sewing-woman Barbara has struck him with the
evil eye.' I am not sure but that his teeth chattered, which they say
is a sign. A miller urged him to have the letters I.N.R.I. stitched
into his clothes (it is a wonderful preservative on corn-bins and
stable doors against the evil eye), but Weaver Thomas replied he was
sick of stitching. Yet what is to become of the man? Not a drop of
wine does he touch now but it flies to his head--not a kreuzer of his
hard-earned money does he put into his pocket but it oozes away like
water. Ah, it is an ugly story! I wish there were no such fearsome,
boggy things. The world would be better without them."

By this time a fat lad had ventured up, and stood gaping behind the
maidens. He was not of Pfalzen, but the girls spoke to him as a cousin
of the house. In spite of their encouragement, he merely gaped and
stared, without answering a word. The pleasures of the table had, in
fact, brought him into a state of speechless discomfort. It was not of
wine that he had partaken, though it had freely circulated, to judge
by the great empty gallon bottles, but he had stuck loyally to the
principles laid down and acted on by his elders, of doing full justice
to the dishes. Feeling now, therefore, exceedingly the worse for his
praiseworthy exertions, he remained leaning disconsolately with his
back against the wall long after the church-bells had struck up a
merry clang, vigorously calling the Hofbauer, his men-servants and
maid-servants and the strangers who were within his gates, to church.
Good Kathi, however, whilst clearing away the empty glasses, looked
compassionately upon him as on one of her fattening chickens in danger
of pip, and patiently inveigled him to a cozy nook down stairs, where
his heavy breathing and steady snorts kept time to her monotonous
dish-washing. On he slept during prayers, during the hour spent at the
Blauen Bock, when the Hofbauer treated the priest and his guests on
this auspicious thanksgiving-day. He woke up, however, to do his duty
like a man "with a mouthful of supper" whilst the horses were being
put into the gigs. Then, in a state of heavy, speechless resignation,
he was conveyed to his seat between a bauer and his wife, which,
though a tight fit in the morning, had strangely become tighter, and
where, circumstances thus pinning his arms to his side, and with his
aching head upon his breast in the most uncomfortable of attitudes,
the poor fat boy was jolted away in the twilight.

The other relations, all weightier mortals, more or less, than when
they arrived, were packed and squeezed into their creaking vehicles;
the very small vacuums remaining on or under the seats, to say nothing
of broad laps, being filled with krapfen. You would indeed have
supposed that the Hof were one great patent krapfen manufactory,
with the sole right of making, baking by steam and selling these
indigestible, leathery, yet brittle puffs so dear to the Tyrolese
palate, had not the figures of men, women and children, humble guests
at more modest dwellings, been seen filing along the highway or
crossing the moorland slopes, each bearing a light but bulging bundle
of krapfen tied up in a gay blue, crimson or yellow handkerchief.

It was indeed a krapfen dispensation. A piled-up offering stood in the
little oratory employed as a store-room by us; the cock crowed and
the hens clucked for their share of the Herrschaft's krapfen under
the parlor windows in the early morning; the men- and maid-servants
hurried buoyantly into town to sell their krapfen perquisites to less
favored mortals; the pedestrian bricklayer and carpenter, respectable
men with money stored away in their broad belts--portions of that
great army of Tyrolese who, possessing neither trade nor manufactures
in their native land, are forced in an ant-like manner to stray into
Bavaria and Austria until they can return laden with their
winter store, since the mere fattening of cattle cannot support a
nation,--these respectable but footsore men, wending their way from
Steiermark, were received with a hearty welcome and krapfen; and the
wandering family, who were not at all respectable, but were treated
with some distrust and more commiseration--the traveling tinker,
his dark-eyed, dark-skinned wife and saucy, grimy children, who were
barred and bolted with their barrow, their rags and their kettles in
the barn that night as in a traveler's rest--ate with marvelous relish
their bountiful-gleanings of this great krapfen harvest.


       *       *       *       *       *


CHAPTER XII.


Cold rain and mist have now set in. The landscape, which has from the
first possessed a peculiar charm for us, is often blotted from view.
The varied, undivided yet most individual range of dolomites which
rises on the edge of the eastern horizon, instead of melting under
the soft influences of warm sunshine and quivering air into glowing
crimson, purple, palpitating mountains--which only with advancing
night turn into gray, motionless pinnacles and battlements of the
great dolomitic land that stretches beyond--now remain, whenever
visible, cold, hard masses of snow, like rigid nuns of some ascetic
order.

It is time to be gone. And Fanni, the sturdy, devoted attendant
specially engaged to wait upon us during the last season, is wild to
accompany us to Italy--comfortable Italy, where the washing water
does not freeze in winter, and where maize _polenta_ is as cheap and
plentiful as the brown buckwheat _plenten_ of Tyrol. She has a good
stock of clothes: she wants no wages, only her journey paid. Surely we
will take her? We give her no hopes, merely promising that if we come
another year and she be then out of place, we will gladly employ her.
This is a drop of comfort, and she rushes down stairs to convey at
least this bit of good news to Kathi.

A few minutes later we find the two women, joined by Moidel, standing;
against the cellar door, which is kept closely shut, that the smell
emitted by a vat of sauerkraut may not offend the fastidious nostrils
of the gentry. Kathi has a sprig of rosemary behind her ear, and her
bare arms wrapped up in her blue apron, always in her case a sign of
ease and relaxation. She is saying, "Ja, ja, very worrying. Such side
ways to get hold of the place!"

"And Munichers too!" adds Moidel--"so pushing, so clamorous!"

The sight of some brown veils and gentlemen's hats above the garden
wall leads to the following explanation from Fanni: "Herr Je, just
when the Fraeulein was speaking of coming back next year, and I was
thinking to myself how I would help the Kathi to scrub and clean
beforehand, there were four strange Herrschaft below, who would insist
on seeing the Hofbauer. And he all in a _Schwitz_! However, he came
out of the stube very slowly, wiping his forehead, and waited to hear
their errand. But when they said they had come to secure part of the
house from Martini day, and all the rooms not wanted by the Hofbauer
from Ascension, he had to wipe his forehead again before he answered.
And then he spoke just like a Herr Curat: 'This is no lodging-house,
where any one can be quartered, my Herrschaft. Nor believe that
those who occupy my spare rooms are casual visitors. Oh no! They are
_particular friends_ of mine. This old place stands at their disposal:
I wish them to be free to come or to stay away, but I desire no
other faces here.' And then," continues Fanni, "out they slunk, quite
sheepish, for the Hofbauer looked so tall."

"_Freilich_" added Kathi, "it is not once nor twice, but ever since
our Herrschaft have had an awning of their own on the balcony, and
the miller's mule has stood with a lady's saddle at the entrance--ever
since the Hofbauer had the plasterer, and let the joiner make some
wardrobes and bedsteads this spring, that barefaced strangers have
hankered to get the place."

We have to calm Kathi, bidding her remember that we once came as
strangers and asked to be taken in.

Well, so the Herrschaft might. There must be a beginning to all good
friendships. But it is not for people to thrust themselves in when
they see the house inhabited, entering even the bed-rooms, and
stripping the currant bushes without once saying, "With your leave."
Why, the _Grossmutterli_ had told her as a child that even the empress
Maria Theresa--who took a vast fancy to Edelsheim, and passed some
nights there--when she walked up the village by herself, and stopped
before the Grossmutterli, who was ranging her milk-pans on the bench
to dry,--even the stately empress said, "My good woman, you live in
an uncommonly handsome house--a schloss, in fact. But I won't give you
the trouble to show me the inside. Let me rather go into the orchard,
for I see a young apple tree there marvelously full of fruit."
Grossmutterli never showed herself disturbed. She pressed down the
latch, led the empress to the tree--it's standing yet, but is almost
worn out--and Maria Theresa said it was a perfect show: there was not
a tree at her castle of Schoenbrunn that bore so well; and she gave the
Grossmutterli a shining half thaler, which she never parted with.

The next day, Sunday, Kathi stood before us at noon with tears in her
eyes. The Jakobi, she said, had not only sent down for the cow's
crown and ornaments to go on Tuesday, but word as well that beautiful
Nageli, the queen cow, knocking her head against a rock, had broken
one horn off. "There's a pretty go!" she continued. "I wish it would
bud again. How she will take on! I know her ways: she is greedy of
praise. I should not wonder if the vexation dries her milk, for
she knows she can never wear a crown again. And Zottel, she's to be
queen--a sleek, comely cow, but never used to a crown. However, Jakobi
sends word we need not fear her disgracing herself, for he is training
her up and down with a milking-stool on her head. Cows are more like
mortals than brute beasts. See the way the two that have stayed at the
Hof behave when the rest come back. They make the stall purgatory to
them through their spite or jealousy. But they grow more good-tempered
after a time."

The glittering crown of which poor Nageli's unfortunate accident had
deprived her was now produced from its box for us to see--a barbaric
structure, in spite of the Christian symbols attached. It was two
feet high, a foot and a half wide--all gold wire, tinsel, artificial
flowers, tassels, fringes of colored worsted, and surrounded by a halo
of spun glass gay as a slice of the rainbow. There was a medallion of
the Virgin and Child, and another of Saint Anthony, tutelar saint
of the Hofbauer's father, himself and his son--patron, too, of the
chapel, and a great helper in the recovery of lost calves and sheep,
as well as of household goods. A red velvet gold-fringed pendant in
the form of a heart, handsomely embroidered with the cross and sacred
initials I.H.S., was suspended to all this grandeur. The great
massive cow- and ox-bells, some tulip-shaped, while others were of the
ordinary form, appeared better adapted for a belfry than the neck of
cattle, and the gay leather collars, embroidered with bright worsteds,
had likewise sacred symbols; thus displaying, when worn at the annual
procession, both the pride and piety of the bauer.

The wreaths made at the Olm for the chief oxen, of clustering berries,
leaves and ribbons, hung, as visible though withered trophies of
each triumphant descent, amongst the rakes, flails and other farm
implements in the lower hall; whilst great closets safely hid not
only the bells and the rest of the substantial properties now to be
despatched to the Olm, but other brazen pomps and vanities of an age
gradually becoming obsolete--the heavy harness, for instance, used for
the bridal horse when the Hofbauer was married--antiquities suitable
for a national museum. The good aunt and Moidel, amused by our
interest and astonishment, attired the latter the same evening, for
our gratification, in her mother's wedding-dress. Strong indeed must
be the bride who can bear so heavy a burden, nor would any but
a Tyrolese girl desire thus to be attired for the altar: a cloth
petticoat ten yards wide, laid in narrow, regular folds like an
enormous unopened fan; a heavy square-cut boddice of dark-green
velvet, handsomely worked, and not meeting in front, in order to
reveal a smart silk stomacher beneath; full white linen sleeves,
trimmed at the elbow with broad somewhat coarse Bohemian lace; and a
square collar, with a ruffle of the same to match. The cloth dress is,
however, completely concealed, except a few inches at the bottom, by
the huge apron, which is on all occasions considered an indispensable
addition, no Tyrolese woman feeling modest without it. The dainty
white knitted cotton stockings, with the large fancy clocks and the
low-cut, boat-shaped leather slippers, with rosettes, are clearly
visible. The hair is drawn tightly back _a la Chinoise_, and made into
a knot, which is surmounted by a little green-and-red cushion, like a
bunch of strawberries encircled in their leaves.

Thus Moidel first appeared, followed by Kathi, bidding her walk slow
and not laugh, for a bride who did so could never be a seemly matron.
Her niece, consequently suppressing her merriment, again disappeared.
She returned, however, having replaced the queer little cushion by
a large black beaver hat, and with a leather belt adorned with tin,
copper and glass ornaments fastened round her waist, to which was
attached a richly-ornamented knife-and-fork case, hanging down at her
side. Thus she was supposed to have returned from church, these being
the insignia of the wife. And Kathi, seeing our interest increase
rather than diminish, at her intimation Anton speedily appeared
attired in his father's long wedding-coat, an enormous broad-brimmed,
flapping felt hat of a green canary shade on his head, and displaying
prominently a large bouquet of artificial flowers on his left arm,
upon the summit of which the initials of the bride and bridegroom
quivered in long tinsel sprays.

Looking at this handsome young brother and sister standing side by
side in bridal array, we could not help wondering privately whether
a certain good and pretty young Madel, whose brother possessed
neighboring acres and fat mountain-pastures, came into Anton's head at
that moment as a Madel whom it would be a right and a pleasant thing
to go to church with, he and she in similar or perhaps more modern
costumes; and whether our comely Moidel thought it no sin to let her
heart flutter off into a little romance of its own under that bridal
stomacher. Still, even should our pseudo bride and bridegroom each
indulge in a rapid day-dream, it must quickly come to an end, seeing
that they have speedily to put off their fancy attire and attend that
night to the flax-dressing.

Oh, the constant care and trouble which the little flax-plant
occasions! In August it had been cut and hung to dry in small bundles
on stakes. It had thus been left out several weeks. Then in September
it had been carried to the barn and the seed beaten out like corn and
stowed away, the empty little husks being given to the hens and the
voracious pig. The stalks--_hairs_, as Anton called them--were again
carried to the field, and spread this time on the ground, neither too
thick nor too thin, so that sun and moon could shine through them, and
alternate rain and sun could rot them. The sooner the stalks decay and
the fibres are loosened, the sooner the "hairs" can be carried to the
kiln. This busy time had now come.

In many places an oblong-shaped brick pit, half under ground, but
often at the top, is used. The people of Edelsheim, however, stuck
by preference to a deserted stone hut belonging to the parish, which,
standing alone, could not, when used as a kiln, set fire to other
houses. The night between Sunday and Monday was the time appointed
for the Hof flax to be dried; so Moidel, Anton and the two Nannis--the
_grossdirn_ and the _kleindirn_ in household parlance--carried it
down to the hut, where old Traudl, a village crone and the parochial
"hair-dryer," had already made the vast oven red hot with a load of
wood. Moidel and the servant-girls acting as the flax-dressers, the
_grummelfuhr_ spread the flax on planks in the furnace-like room, and
returned home with cheerful steps. Through the dead hours of the night
a silent watcher sat at the closed hut door. It was no other than
Moro: he had, as usual, attended Moidel to the spot and noticed
the proceedings. This she remembered clearly afterward, when in the
morning, returning to her labors, he greeted her half reproachfully
yet full of affection, as much as to say he had been quietly
rectifying any short-comings on her part. All that day, whilst the
industrious _grummelfuhr_ hackled and received good cheer in the form
of krapfen, for hackling is hard work, Moro attended in the character
of a kind but strict overseer. Let us hope that when the fairies
sat spinning in the stube in the twilight between last Christmas and
Epiphany they amply rewarded Moro with an unlimited supply of magic
bones, for did he not to the best of his ability help to make the flax
"white as chalk, soft as silk and long as the ship's sail"?

A mild excitement reigned in the Hof about the return of the cattle,
and it was confided to us that Jakob greatly hoped that we should
still be at Edelsheim to witness the triumphal entry. The bitter cold
and rain, however, whilst it made it a necessity for us to leave,
impeded the downward journey from the Eder Olm, which was still
further retarded by Zottel, the new queen, not taking as cleverly to
her dignity as Jakob had in the first instance fondly imagined.

Thus, there was nothing for it but to fix the day of departure,
besides having in readiness the parting gifts and surprises intended
for each member of the worthy family. Such farewell occupations had,
however, been long in progress, for it required great management,
labor and forethought to hit on the right thing, and have it
ready, with only the resources of a very small town. The handsome
chromo-lithographs had been smuggled to the stationer's, and framed
for the embellishment of the great sitting-room; the snuff-box for the
Hofbauer the pipe and beer-mug for Onkel Johann, the satin kerchiefs
for Kathi and Moidel, were all ready and ticketed; so were the
neckties and tobacco-pouches for Anton and Jakob, when a bright idea
struck E----. She would subscribe for the illustrated _Alpenfreund_,
to afford reading in the stube in the long snowy winter evenings.
There was no time to be lost: the next day we were leaving; so, the
rain having ceased, we started for the town to pay the subscription.

We knew that it was two o'clock as we crossed the fields, by the bell
of the Capuchin monastery tolling for vespers: at the same moment the
metallic, rattling sound of cattle-bells mixing with the ringing,
and the sight of the peasants leaving their work and running in
the direction of the high-road, told us that a herd of cattle was
returning from the mountains. Other bells immediately became audible
in the contrary direction, the tinkling and rattling continued, and
just as we reached the shrine the two triumphant processions met. The
one approaching from the west was headed by a very queen of Sheba.
What a golden heart-shaped bell clanged from her proud neck! What a
tall, beautiful crown, shining like a great sun in a bed of crimson
ribbons, blazed on her head! Her little princess-calf, adorned with
streamers, followed close at her regal heels: her courtiers attended
in regular order in their purple and fine linen, or, in other words,
their grand red-and-orange collars and their ponderous bells. When the
queen saw the advancing herd she turned round her ample forehead and
gave a significant low, bidding her attendants imitate her. And
then, whilst the senners and herdsmen looked evidently fearful of
an encounter between the two factions, she steadily but defiantly
maintained the middle of the road, forcing by her lofty airs the other
queen, who was young and inexperienced, to slink ignominiously into
the ditch; so that after the proud conquering herd had swept on, she
was with difficulty brought into the road and induced to proceed
at the head of her literally _cowed_ followers. It was but an
illustration of what may often be seen in society, when some proud,
overbearing chaperone at the head of her party sweeps past some
pretty, shy young woman.

The high-road was reported to be wonderfully lively with cattle
this afternoon; consequently we came upon Onkel Johann, that most
experienced man in the stall, seated by another judge of cattle on a
wall, wearing their very longest white aprons and bibs, so that they
almost touched the ground. You could tell the Hansel's keen relish of
the spectacle by his mustering courage to urge our staying, since the
great Jagdhaus herd belonging to the Sterniwitz (landlord of the Star)
was approaching. We therefore lingered, and thus saw the beautiful
herd. It had suffered from no cruel phantom this year. There were
senners and herdsmen in their holiday costumes, with flowers and
ribbons in their hats; there were leiterwagen returning with the
chests of clothes and the now empty meal-sacks; but more than this,
there were four pretty little lads, each leading the bonniest,
cleanest little calf ever seen. What, however, made Onkel Johann rub
his hands with glee and give a big chuckle was the sight of a great
black ox, wearing, instead of the usual verdant wreath round its neck,
a real cow's crown. It was as ludicrous in his eyes as the sight of
some sober gentleman in a Parisian bonnet would be in ours. Such jokes
seemed rife amongst the senners, for later on another black ox, in a
fresh but smaller herd, tramped along with a rosette of scarlet ribbon
on its head. The herdsman, seeing us smile, adjusted the ends as
carefully as a lady's maid would put the last finishing-touches to
the toilet of her mistress. That was the final stroke to Hansel's
hilarity.

That night the presents were given amidst endless expressions of
surprise and affectionate gratitude, which were brought to a climax by
E--'s kind mother presenting Kathi with a pair of china vases adorned
with carefully painted clusters of flowers. They brought great tears
of admiration into the good soul's eyes. She vowed she would treasure
them as long as she lived, and then they should be Moidel's. As
soon as our plots were revealed, we found that counterplots had been
carried on by the Hof family. Thus, Jakob had managed a clandestine
journey from the Olm to Bruneck, and met Anton there, where they had
both been photographed expressly for the Herrschaft, occasioning Anton
to blush up to the roots of his hair when he, with a smile on his
slightly pathetic face, presented each of us, as he said, with "a
very humble _Andenken_". Thus, too, a great many flowers with which to
laden us had been carefully tended through this inclement season. The
next morning, carrying away flowers and good wishes, and filled with
thoughts of mingled pleasure and pain, we bade adieu to the quaint,
quiet pastoral Hof, to arrive at nightfall in the fortified Italian
city of Verona.

MARGARET HOWITT




UNSAID.


  For days and weeks upon the lip has hung
    A precious something for an absent ear--
  Some tender confidence but lately sprung,
    Some dear confession that but one must hear.

  The heart repeats it over day by day,
    And fancies how and when the words will fall--
  What answering smile upon the face will play,
    What tender light will linger over all.

  But eager eyes that watch for one alone
    May grow reluctant; for the open gate
  Lets in, with him, perchance a guest unknown,
    On whom slow words of courtesy must wait.

  Or when the presence waited for has come,
    It may be dull or cold, too sad or light:
  A look that shows the heart away from home
    Can often put the dearest words to flight.

  Perhaps the time of meeting, or the form,
    May chill or wither what we've longed to say:
  What fits the sunshine will not fit the storm--
    What blends with twilight, jars with noon of day.

  Again, when all things seem our wish to serve,
    Full opportunity may strike us dumb--
  May sink our precious thoughts in deep reserve,
    And to the surface bid the lightest come.

  And often ere our friend is out of sight,
    We start: the thing can scarce be credited--
  We have been silent, or our words been trite,
    And here's the dearest thing of all _unsaid_!

CHARLOTTE F. BATES.




LAURENTINUM.


If anybody ever could have enjoyed living in heathen times, it
must have been Pliny the Younger. A friend of ours calls him the
gentlemanly letter writer, and so he was. He wrote letters which must
have been treats to his correspondents. It is well that some of his
notes did not require answers, for, as the letters of "the parties of
the second part" are irretrievably lost, the annoyance one feels over
a one-sided record is somewhat abated. Only the imperial replies are
preserved. But, as we have said, Caius Plinius Caecilius Secundus
(nephew to the ponderously fat and still more ponderously learned C.
Plinius Secundus, who, like Leibnitz in latter times, sat, wrote, was
read to, slept, and ate in his arm-chair for days together) must
have enjoyed living. If he had not had so gentle a disposition and so
loving a recollection of his uncle, we might have fancied him terribly
bored by that worthy; for the elder Pliny was a _heluo miraculorum_,
believing in and jotting down everything he heard, saw or read, like
the immortal Mr. Pickwick. A book or a reader was ever at his elbow--a
tablet or parchment ever within reach. And all this was undertaken
or done for his nephew's advantage. There could have been but little
pleasure in having such a guardian, though the nephew's easy, loving
temper and delicate constitution caused him to be petted a good deal.
A lucky dyspepsia (the Romans must have had the dyspepsia from eating
the messes their Greek cooks put upon their tables) spared him from
continuous attendance upon his uncle's studies. Then, too, Pliny was
under his uncle's charge only for a few years, for Pliny the Elder
lost his life in the famous eruption of Vesuvius. He was lord high
admiral of the Mediterranean west of Italy; and of course when the
eruption was reported at Misenum, at the admiralty-house, he must
needs view it. It was too remarkable a thing not to have a high place
in his _Natural History_. He ordered out his light galley. The rest we
all know--how the admiral was as brave as he was fat, and seeing the
danger in which so many friends with whom he had often supped were
put, attempted to help some of them. So, because of the widow Rectina
and his good friend Pomponianus, he came to his sad death.

It was not so very great a loss to his nephew, now turned of
eighteen--a likely youth, of course well connected, and now his
uncle's heir. Caius Pliny went through the steps of the civil service
with credit to himself, though his advancement was checked during
Domitian's reign. He was indeed a consul, but then many consuls were
appointed during the year. But it was much more prudent for him to
keep quiet. He had a good practice--for this, though not strictly
accurate, is the nearest term by which to designate his legal
employment--and, to take a leap beyond the time we are speaking of, he
was about twenty-five years afterward governor of Bithynia, whence he
wrote his famous letter to the emperor Trajan about the Christians
in his province. Of this letter much has been said, but we think
that Pliny has not always been rightly judged about it. He was too
conservative a man to be a persecutor, but was not much above or
beyond his own time. And he wrote of the Christians as being a
_religio illicita_--an illegal assembly of heretics--as regarded
the state religion, which it was his duty to defend. It was wrong
to persecute the Christians--wrong on general principles, wrong on
particular axioms. But, alas! it has taken nearly seventeen more
centuries of fiercer persecutors than Pliny proved to be to learn this
little fact. All this is, as he would have said, _obiter_--by the way.
It has, however, a good deal to do indirectly with his good living;
for, as we were saying, C.P.C. Secundus lived very well indeed--not
extravagantly, but comfortably.

Now, to live well or comfortably, it is needful to have something
wherewith to live thus comfortably. The start which C.P. Secundus
gave C.P.C. Secundus lifted him up into a successful lawyer, a sort of
public orator. As heir to his uncle's estate, and as coheir to estates
of deceased friends, and as a public man, he amassed considerable
property. He could undoubtedly--and we undoubtingly believe he did--do
this with scrupulous honesty. His fees, salaries and legacies he took
pains to earn. Legacies he claimed as they were left him, though he
stooped to no fawning to obtain them, and in at least one instance
returned the property to the natural (though he says undeserving)
heir. If so, let us give him due credit for generosity. Certainly, he
was not selfish or illiberal. He assisted his friends with money and
influence, as well as advice, and he gave to his native town, Comum,
a public library, besides an endowment of three hundred thousand
sesterces ($12,000) yearly for ever to maintain children born of free
parents. How long this endowment lasted we cannot say, but it must, at
any rate, have disappeared in the dilapidations caused three hundred
and fifty years afterward by the Gothic invaders of Italy. Then he had
two villas at least, besides his town-house, with slaves, attendants
and following to match. This will suffice to show that he had the
wherewithal. But could he enjoy it? He was a literary man: his uncle
had settled that for him. He was an oratorical light in the Senate.
His letters show that he was a gentleman, whose delicacy of feeling
was as fine as the lauded courtesies of modern times. As proof that
he was a gentleman, and that he knew how to distinguish a good from a
poor dinner, and as proof, too, of the good advice he was wont to give
away as freely as good money, we will put in his letter to Avitus upon
occasion of a dinner he had just attended:

"_Cains Pliny to his own Avitus, greeting_: It would take too long,
and do no good, to tell you how, though not on familiar terms, I came
to dine with a man who piques himself upon his elegant and correct,
though sordid and profuse, entertainments. They are so in this: he
placed before the select few some rare delicacies--before the rest he
put indifferent or little food. Even of the wine there were but three
sorts, and these, besides, in little flagons--evidently not that you
should choose" but to prevent your choosing--one sort for himself and
us, another for his poorer friends, a third for his and our freedmen.
A neighbor on the same couch asked me what I thought of it: Did I
approve? 'No.' 'Then what is your rule?' 'I put the same things before
all my guests, for I ask them to sup, not to grade them in my esteem:
I equalize in all things those I invite to my table.' 'Even the
freedmen?' 'Yes, for then they are my guests, and not freedmen.' He
replied,' It must cost you a good deal.' 'Very little.' 'How so?'
'Thus: I drink then what my freedmen drink, not they my wines.' And
truly, if you will but restrain your taste a little, it is not hard to
join in drinking with the many at your table. To be sure, fastidious
taste must be repressed, and, as it were, brought under control,
if you spare that expense in which one consults rather his own
gratification than the feelings of others. But why all this? I write,
so that the luxury of some under the specious guise of economy may
not impose upon you as a well-disposed youth. And so, out of pure
good-will to you, I draw instances from my experience to advise or
warn you. There is nothing to be more carefully avoided than that
upstart society compounded of meanness and luxury, for these twain,
bad enough apart, are abominable when joined together. Vale!"

Now, gentle reader, yourself being judge, we submit to your honor
that here are good sense, delicate taste and refinement combined.
Two things also must be noted: First, we are glad to find that the
well-disposed youth to whom we were introduced in Mr. Adams's _Latin
Grammar_ some twenty-odd years ago turns out to be this kindly young
man in whom C.P.C. Secundus, Jr., takes such an interest: we are sure
he is a deserving young man, and will turn out a brilliant diner-out;
only it would have been more ingenuous in Mr. Adams to have told us
plainly that it was Avitus whose character was being formed by the
famous C.P.C. Secundus, generally known as Pliny the Younger; and then
we might have profited by the tuition. Again, the freedman was not one
in the sense in which we use the term, but one who was emancipated
and a member (not always a menial member) of his patron's family. The
African as a slave had just begun to be a common servant in wealthy
households, but the _libertus_ was often of better blood than many a
citizen. You will remember that Horace was the son of such a
freedman. So again we hold it proven that Pliny knew how to enjoy
his opportunities of good living--opportunities acquired partly
by inheritance, partly by his ability and deserts. He had a
well-balanced, self-poised character, and so could trust himself
_temperare gulce_--to eat, drink and enjoy life temperately. He was
tested in the troublous times of Domitian. By living quietly, by
adroitly parrying pointed and dangerous questions, by avoiding public
life, he managed to pass through a very difficult reign; for it was a
difficult time under an emperor who spared not even flies: certainly
it was the only way in which he ever battled with Beelzebub. Now
we hold that had C.P.C. Secundus been anything beyond an amateur
epicure--if he had been a _gourmand_--he would have fatally said or
done something that would have prevented his ever writing any more
letters to friends or to General Trajanus. To be a well-balanced eater
is, _cceteris paribus_, to be a well-balanced man. Perhaps Pliny was
too fastidious to be a proper epicure even--too fastidious in other
directions, we mean. And he had learned some habits from his early
training which would interfere materially with habitual attention to
the pleasures of the table. But we protest we did not intend, even
as a first object, to bring up the table as the main proof of Pliny's
enjoyment of the good things of this life. We wanted to show you,
courteous reader, something of how he lived, and it is necessary to
learn his habits in order to decide whether he enjoyed the things
which Providence had given him. He had learned of his uncle the bad
habit of reading or of being read to at meal-times. He did not indulge
in it, he says, when he had company, but only when his family was
present. His protestation does not avail him: this plea rather
aggravated the rudeness. For, however formal etiquette may be laid
aside in the bosom of his family, a _paterfamilias_ is none the less
bound to observe the laws of courtesy. But it yet leads us to notice
that C.P.C. loved his wife and children. His wife was the daughter of
one Fabatus, who would most undoubtedly have been long since forgotten
but that his son-in-law wrote him model letters, sometimes on
business, sometimes on his health, sometimes about visits that had
been delayed--generally complimentary, always short, always implying
high reverence for the father of a well-loved wife. But he carried the
family passion for reading to excess. One of his regrets is that his
favorite reader is consumptive, and, despite a season in Egypt for his
health, was still suffering. So he sends him to the country-seat of
a friend, to see if the country air and good nursing will not restore
him. It was an accomplishment to read well that added to the value of
a slave, and Pliny prized his "boy" accordingly. This is but a slight
indication of the excess to which he carried his love for reading and
scribbling. If he could not read, he must scribble; so he scribbled
when out hunting! If he had been fishing with a book in his hand, that
had been excusable. But we do not believe that the Romans took
kindly to fishing as a sport. They bred their fish in private
fish-ponds--_piscinae_--and they had a revolting habit of fattening
their fish. Old Izaak would have abhorred the very thought of casting
a line for such prey: sickening thoughts of cannibalism would have
filled him with horror. But C.P.C. consented to hunt one day, so he
writes to Tacitus. Did he ride after the dogs, spear in hand, to kill
the fierce wild-boar? Not he. He; sat down by the nets with tablets
on his knee, under the quiet shade, and meditated and enjoyed the
solitude, and scribbled to his heart's content. Here a doubt arises.
Let us whisper it: Did he inherit the avuncular tendency to obesity?
We have seen no hint of this, and of course it would not enter into
his correspondence; but it is possible. At all events, our natural
conclusion is, that he was too literary to be merely a _bon vivant_.
No, he was a shrewd reader of human nature, a man of rare taste, of
strong sense, and fond of an equable life. He had means, and often,
if not always, the proper leisure to live well. And by living well we
mean, not that he indulged in a greedy enjoyment of the good things of
this life, nor yet in a profuse and gaudy display, but that, being a
heathen, he lived as an upright heathen lawyer, magistrate, statesman
and millionaire should live.

It was needful for him, then, having the wherewithal, and being a
refined and well-balanced man, to have the place where to live well.
Did he have this? Yes: he had two villas--one a summer residence
near the mountains, and a winter one sixteen miles from Rome, near
Laurentum. This was the villa of Laurentinum. It was fitted up with
every then known comfort and convenience which a man of wealth,
pleasure and taste could want and thoroughly enjoy. As he was fond of
showing his winter-house, we may go back just seventeen hundred and
eighty years and introduce you as his friend Gallus. It is so long
since that Pliny would not detect you, and we shall have the benefit
of his own guidance in the intricacies of his spacious villa. We will
take his advice, and instead of traveling in the clumsy _rheda_ over
the sandy road, we will ride out on horseback. The views along the
road are pretty--now in a woody skirt, now by meadows in which the
sheep and cattle find a later pasturage than higher up the country;
so, by a winding path, we come upon a roomy and hospitable villa. This
is Laurentinum, near Laurentum. We come before the _atrium_: a slave
announces us, and the courteous master welcomes us on the steps of
a _porch_ shaped like the letter D, with pleasant transparent mica
windows, and roofed over as a protection against showers. Thence he
ushers us into a cheerful entrance-hall: "Let me show you my winter
retreat. Your room is in rather a distant part of my little villa,
and it is nearly time to bathe. Let me conduct you." We see that our
friend is rather proud of his home, and so he ought to be, for we
find it a snug retreat for a vacation. Now let us see when and how he
enjoys himself after his labors in either of the courts. Let us
follow him out of the hall into the dining-room, which has a pleasant
southern outlook upon the sea. The murmuring waves echo in it. It
has innumerable doors, and windows reaching to the floor, and is as
pleasant as the banquet-room of the Americus Club-house. You look out
upon, as it were, triple seas: so too from the atrium, the portico and
the hall you can look over woods, hills or the sea. Through the hall
again, into an ample chamber, then out to a smaller one, which lets in
the rising sunlight on the one side and the purple glow of sunset on
the other. Here, too, is a partial view of the sea. These rooms are
protected from all but fair-weather winds. The great dining-room is
the pleasant--weather room. Then next beyond is the apsidal
chamber, which admits continuous sunshine through its many windows.
Book-presses stand against the partition wall, to hold the books in
constant use. "My uncle, good Gallus, taught me not to lose an hour.
Behind this is the dormitory, properly tempered according to the
season: farther on are the servants' and freedmen's apartments. But
here is your room. After the bath we will see the rest. The bath is
here between these cool dressing-rooms: you must need it after your
dusty ride, my Gallus.

"My friend Spurenna lives pleasantly. I spent a few days with him not
long ago. Early in the morning he takes a stroll of three miles. If he
has visitors, he chats with them on some improving subject--if not, he
reads. Then with books and conversation he fills up the interval till
it is time to ride, when, with his wife and a friend or two--perhaps
myself--he takes a drive of seven or eight miles. Till it is time to
bathe he amuses us with his graceful lyrics, in Greek as well as in
Latin. He bathes about two or three o'clock, and then suns himself;
for by bathing and rubbing and sunning he fights off the ills of
advancing years. Then a lunch. Then dinner, which is served on antique
solid silver. Have you enjoyed your bath, my Gallus? The tank is large
enough, certainly, for one to swim in. Now, as we pass back, see how
conveniently the bathing-house, heater and perfuming-rooms adjoin.
Here are my fish-ponds: the poor things can look out upon the sea if
they choose. And now my tennis-court, quite a warm place late in the
afternoon. Here is a turret with two sunny rooms under it: that one
yonder is a pleasant sunlit supper-room, with views of sea and beaches
and villas. Yonder is the villa once owned by Hortensius, Cicero's
great rival, you remember. It is not in good repair, and is rather
old-fashioned too. A third turret has under it a large larder and
store-room, and a spacious bed-chamber. In that sunny room, again, you
can escape the crash of the surges, which only penetrates here as a
gentle murmur. In truth, good Gallus, where there are so many wintry
changes on a coast like this, I like to be able to change too.
High winds and storms on a seashore compel us to have protected
dining-rooms. This one we are now in looks out upon my garden and the
shaded alley round it. We will dine early, and in the front triclinium
this pleasant evening.... In the country here we have not all the
delicacies that the city commands, but by the aid of Ostia and yonder
village we manage tolerably.... Some wine? Falernian, that my good
uncle bought forty years ago. The wax on the jar is stiff with age.
There is nothing I delight in more than in gathering my wife and
children around me, as you see. And I make you a member of my
household at once by not laying aside my rule. My reader is hoarse
to-day, or I would have some interesting extracts out of my uncle's
notebook read. Some grapes? They are late October vines. We can look
out of those side windows upon the white-sailed galleys that go by.
My uncle was admiral of the western fleet, you know, and though I have
only been a civil officer, yet I have a sort of love for the sea; and
this is one thing that makes Laurentinum so dear to me. Have you
dined so simply? Your ride has not given you the appetite it gives me.
Fatigue is your true appetizer, and if that fails I cannot hope that
these autumn figs will tempt you."

Our host runs on thus at a great rate, and is evidently bent on
showing us the rest of his comfortable villa before the daylight fails
us:

"So you would see the retreat I claim as my own den? Let us pass back
into the box-alley. The box does not grow well unless sheltered from
the winds and the beating sunshine; so the gaps in the hedge I fill
up with rosemary. You see that the inside of the alley is formed by
vines. The shadowy, tender lawn under them is a pleasant place to walk
on barefoot. The fig and mulberry are the only trees that grow well
here. The garden is backed by two sunny rooms again, and behind that
is the kitchen garden. And here is the long covered way near the
public work. It has twice as many windows opening out as it has
opposite opening into my garden, and on blowing as well as windless
days the shutters are ever open. In front is my colonnade, fringed
with violets. Here is my basking-walk. You see how it shelters one,
too, from the African winds. It cuts off the wind from the other side
in winter. It has advantages both for winter and summer: according to
the season and the shade, you can enjoy the sea-view or can get the
cool of the garden and alley. Then those open windows always keep the
air astir. This summer-like place is my special delight, for I planned
it myself."

And indeed, my pseudo Gallus, let me remark that, being myself a
native of the Mediterranean, I can enter better than you can into the
childish delight that our friend Caius Plinius expresses. It is a joy
which is not to be found in the nature of the American to sleep in the
tropic heats of a July sun. Winter is abhorrent to the nature of every
Levanter. To bask upon the shore of the Mediterranean, with the calm
lazy sea at your feet and the winds cut off from your back, is the
only decent way of hibernating. But this is in your ear as we pass
along, and you will have to repress the smile on your lips or change
it into a sign of courteous pleasure, or he will detect the impostor.

Now then: "Here is my sun-chamber. It looks out on the colonnade, the
sea and the sunshine. It leads into the covered walk by this window,
and into my bed-chamber by this door. But hither. Seaward there is
a letter cabinet on the division wall. It is entered from the
bed-chamber, and can be separated effectually by these curtains and
this transparent door. You see it has only a lounge and a couple of
arm-chairs. At your feet is the sea, behind you the house, over head
the woods: windows look out on either side. My bed-room is convenient,
and yet I am far from the babble of the household. Not the trampling
of the waves, no sounds of storm, no flash of lightning, even daylight
cannot penetrate here unless the shutters are opened. It is so
secret and quiet and hidden because it is in the corridor between the
bed-room walls and the garden wall, and so every sound is deadened. A
small oven is added to the bed-chamber, which by this narrow opening
admits heat when required. There lie the antechamber and the bed-room,
which get the sun all the day long. What do you think of my den, my
Gallus? When I betake myself to this retreat I seem to have left my
home behind me; and especially in the Saturnalia I delight in it. When
the rest of the house is given up to the license of noisy festivals,
no noises can disturb my reveries, no clamors interfere with my
studies."

Let us express our admiration of so well-appointed an abode with
cautious terms, and let us say that we might wonder if any one could
help longing for such a home. Let us be careful that we do not betray
ourselves by asking after modern improvements, as you, O Mask, might
do, but you are not house-hunting to-day.

"Yes, this is comfortable and delightful, but it has one drawback.
There is no spring in the whole enclosure; but we try to make up for
it by wells, or rather fountains. But along this wonderful shore you
have only to dig a little and there oozes out at once--I cannot call
it water, a humor rather, which is unsophisticated brine, on account
of the sea so near by, I suppose. Those forests supply us with wood:
Ostia supplies us with everything else that cannot be got in yonder
village. You see how I live and enjoy myself, and you must be a very
ingrained cit indeed if you do not instantly decide to settle down
amongst us. There is a little farm not far off: let me negotiate it
for you."

It is time for us to vanish, for he will next propose to buy the
Hortensian villa from the improvident prodigal who holds it, and
will make you settle down here in spite of yourself, and so make a
respectable heathen out of you; for of course you have not the courage
to whisper in his ear that you are a Christian: his oven is not yet
cooled down.

But now own, as we are back in the nineteenth century without a
single hair singed, does not C.P.C. Secundus live well as a man who
is upright, just, loving his family, honoring and serving the
emperor, attending to his own business and enjoying his vacations in a
gentlemanly way, though he will become a heathen persecutor before he
dies?

A.A.B.




A PRINCESS OF THULE.

BY WILLIAM BLACK, AUTHOR OF "THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF A PHAETON."


CHAPTER XVI.

EXCHANGES.


Just as Frank Lavender went down stairs to meet Ingram, a letter which
had been forwarded from London was brought to Sheila. It bore the
Lewis postmark, and she guessed it was from Duncan, for she had told
Mairi to ask the tall keeper to write, and she knew he would hasten
to obey her request at any sacrifice of comfort to himself. Sheila
sat down to read the letter in a happy frame of mind. She had every
confidence that all her troubles were about to be removed now that her
good friend Ingram had come to her husband; and here was a message to
her from her home that seemed, even before she read it, to beg of her
to come thither light-hearted and joyous. This was what she read:

  "BORVABOST, THE ISLAND OF LEWS,
  "_the third Aug_., 18----.

"HONORED MRS. LAVENDER,--It waz Mairi waz sayin that you will want me
to write to you, bit I am not good at the writen whatever, and it was
2 years since I was writen to Amerika, to John Ferkason that kept the
tea-shop in Stornoway, and was trooned in coming home the verra last
year before this. It waz Mairi will say you will like a letter as well
as any one that waz goin to Amerika, for the news and the things, and
you will be as far away from us as if you waz living in Amerika or
Glaska. But there is not much news, for the lads they hev all pulled
up the boats, and they are away to Wick, and Sandy McDougal that waz
living by Loch Langavat, he will be going too, for he was up at the
sheilings when Mrs. Paterson's lasses waz there with the cows, and
it waz Jeanie the youngest and him made it up, and he haz twenty-five
pounds in the bank, which is a good thing too mirover for the young
couple. It was many a one waz sayin when the cows and the sheep waz
come home from the sheilings that never afore waz Miss Sheila away
from Loch Roag when the cattle would be swimmin across the loch to the
island; and I will say to many of them verra well you will wait and
you will see Miss Sheila back again in the Lews, and it wazna allwas
you would lif away from your own home where you was born and the
people will know you from the one year to the next. John McNicol of
Habost he will be verra bad three months or two months ago, and we waz
thinkin he will die, and him with a wife and five bairns too, and four
cows and a cart, but the doctor took a great dale of blood from him,
and he is now verra well whatever, though wakely on the legs. It would
hev been a bad thing if Mr. McNicol waz dead, for he will be verra
good at pentin a door, and he haz between fifteen pounds and ten
pounds in the bank at Stornoway, and four cows too and a cart, and he
is a ferra religious man, and has great skill o' the psalm-tunes, and
he toesna get trunk now more as twice or as three times in the two
weeks. It was his dochter Betsy, a verra fine lass, that waz come to
Borvabost, and it waz the talk among many that Alister-nan-Each he waz
thinkin of makin up to her, but there will be a great laugh all over
the island, and she will be verra angry and say she will not have him
no if his house had a door of silfer to it for she will have no one
that toesna go to the Caithness fishins wi the other lads. It waz blew
verra hard here the last night or two or three. There is a great deal
of salmon in the rivers; and Mr. Mackenzie he will be going across to
Grimersta, the day after to-morrow, or the next day before that, and
the English gentlemen have been there more as two or three weeks,
and they will be getting verra good sport whatever. Mairi she will be
writen a letter to you to-morrow, Miss Sheila, and she will be telling
you all the news of the house. Mairi waz sayin she will be goin to
London when the harvest was got in, and Scarlett will say to her that
no one will let her land on the island again if she toesna bring you
back with her to the island and to your own house. If it waz not too
much trouble, Miss Sheila, it would be a proud day for Scarlett if you
waz send me a line or two lines to say if you will be coming to the
Lews this summer or before the winter is over whatever. I remain,
Honored Mrs. Lavender, your obedient servant,

"DUNCAN MACDONALD."

"This summer or winter," said Sheila to herself, with a happy light
on her face: "why not now?" Why should she not go down stairs to the
coffee-room of the hotel and place this invitation in the hand of her
husband and his friend? Would not its garrulous simplicity recall to
both of them the island they used to find so pleasant? Would not they
suddenly resolve to leave behind them London and its ways and people,
even this monotonous sea out there, and speed away northwardly till
they came in sight of the great and rolling Minch, with its majestic
breadth of sky and its pale blue islands lying far away at the
horizon? Then the happy landing at Stornoway--her father and Duncan
and Mairi all on the quay--the rapid drive over to Loch Roag, and the
first glimpse of the rocky bays and clear water and white sand about
Borva and Borvabost! And Sheila would once more--having cast aside
this cumbrous attire that she had to change so often, and having
got out that neat and simple costume that was so good for walking or
driving or sailing--be proud to wait upon her guests, and help Mairi
in her household ways, and have a pretty table ready for the gentlemen
when they returned from the shooting.

Her husband came up the hotel stairs and entered the room. She rose to
meet him, with the open letter in her hand.

"Sheila," he said (and the light slowly died away from her face), "I
have something to ask of you."

She knew by the sound of his voice that she had nothing to hope: it
was not the first time she had been disappointed, and yet this time it
seemed especially bitter somehow. The awakening from these illusions
was sudden.

She did not answer, so he said in the same measured voice, "I have to
ask that you will have henceforth no communication with Mr. Ingram: I
do not wish him to come to the house."

She stood for a moment, apparently not understanding the meaning of
what he said. Then, when the full force of this decision and request
came upon her, a quick color sprang to her face, the cause of which,
if it had been revealed to him in words, would have considerably
astonished her husband. But that moment of doubt, of surprise and
of inward indignation was soon over. She cast down her eyes and said
meekly, "Very well, dear."

It was now his turn to be astonished, and mortified as well. He could
not have believed it possible that she should so calmly acquiesce in
the dismissal of one of her dearest friends. He had expected a more or
less angry protest, if not a distinct refusal, which would have given
him an opportunity for displaying the injuries he conceived himself
to have suffered at their hands. Why had she not come to himself? This
man Ingram was presuming on his ancient friendship, and on the part
he had taken in forwarding the marriage up in Borva. He had always,
moreover, been somewhat too much of the schoolmaster, with his severe
judgments, his sententious fashion of criticising and warning people,
and his readiness to prove the whole world wrong in order to show
himself to be right. All these and many other things Lavender meant
to say to Sheila so soon as she had protested against his forbidding
Ingram to come any more to the house. But there was no protest. Sheila
did not even seem surprised. She went back to her seat by the window,
folded up Duncan's letter and put it in her pocket; and then she
turned to look at the sea.

Lavender regarded her for a moment, apparently doubting whether he
should himself prosecute the subject: then he turned and left the
room.

Sheila did not cry or otherwise seek to compassionate and console
herself. Her husband had told her to do a certain thing, and she
would do it. Perhaps she had been imprudent in having confided in Mr.
Ingram, and if so, it was right that she should be punished. But the
regret and pain that lay deep in her heart were that Ingram should
have suffered through her, and that she had no opportunity of telling
him that, though they might not see each other, she would never
forget her friendship for him, or cease to be grateful to him for his
unceasing and generous kindness to her.

Next morning Lavender was summoned to London by a telegram which
announced that his aunt was seriously ill. He and Sheila got ready at
once, left by a forenoon train, had some brief luncheon at home, and
then went down to see the old lady in Kensington Gore. During their
journey Lavender had been rather more courteous and kindly toward
Sheila than was his wont. Was he pleased that she had so readily
obeyed him in this matter of giving up about the only friend she had
in London? or was he moved by some visitation of compunction? Sheila
tried to show that she was grateful for his kindness, but there was
that between them which could not be removed by chance phrases or
attentions.

Mrs. Lavender was in her own room. Paterson brought word that she
wanted to see Sheila first and alone; so Lavender sat down in the
gloomy drawing-room by the window, and watched the people riding and
driving past, and the sunshine on the dusty green trees in the Park.

"Is Frank Lavender below?" said the thin old woman, who was propped
up in bed, with some scarlet garment around her that made her resemble
more than ever the cockatoo of which Sheila had thought on first
seeing her. "Yes," said Sheila. "I want to see you alone: I can't bear
him dawdling about a room, and staring at things, and saying nothing.
Does he speak to you?"

Sheila did not wish to enter into any controversy about the habits
of her husband, so she said, "I hope you will see him before he goes,
Mrs. Lavender. He is very anxious to know how you are, and I am glad
to find you looking so well. You do not look like an invalid at all."

"Oh, I'm not going to die yet," said the little dried old woman with
the harsh voice, the staring eyes and the tightly-twisted gray hair.
"I hope you didn't come to read the Bible to me: you wouldn't find one
about in any case, I should think. If you like to sit down and read
the sayings of the emperor Marcus Antoninus, I should enjoy that;
but I suppose you are too busy thinking what dress you'll wear at my
funeral."

"Indeed, I was thinking of no such thing," said Sheila indignantly,
but feeling all the same that the hard, glittering, expressionless
eyes were watching her.

"Do you think I believe you?" said Mrs. Lavender. "Bah! I hope I
am able to recognize the facts of life. If you were to die this
afternoon, I should get a black silk trimmed with crape the moment I
got on my feet again, and go to your funeral in the ordinary way. I
hope you will pay me the same respect. Do you think I am afraid to
speak of these things?"

"Why should you speak of them?" said Sheila despairingly.

"Because it does you good to contemplate the worst that can befall
you, and if it does not happen you may rejoice. And it will happen.
I know I shall be lying in this bed, with half a dozen of you round
about trying to cry, and wondering which will have the courage to turn
and go out of the room first. Then there will be the funeral day, and
Paterson will be careful about the blinds, and go about the house on
her tiptoes, as if I were likely to hear! Then there will be a pretty
service up in the cemetery, and a man who never saw me will speak of
his dear sister departed; and then you'll all go home and have your
dinner. Am I afraid of it?"

"Why should you talk like that?" said Sheila piteously. "You are not
going to die. You distress yourself and others by thinking of these
horrible things."

"My dear child, there is nothing horrible in nature. Everything is
part of the universal system which you should recognize and accept. If
you had but trained yourself now, by the study of philosophical works,
to know how helpless you are to alter the facts of life, and how it is
the best wisdom to be prepared for the worst, you would find nothing
horrible in thinking of your own funeral. You are not looking well."

Sheila was startled by the suddenness of the announcement: "Perhaps I
am a little tired with the traveling we have done to-day."

"Is Frank Lavender kind to you?" What was she to say with those two
eyes scanning her face? "It is too soon to expect him to be anything
else," she said with an effort at a smile.

"Ah! So you are beginning to talk in that way? I thought you were full
of sentimental notions of life when you came to London. It is not a
good place for nurturing such things."

"It is not," said Sheila, surprised into a sigh.

"Come nearer. Don't be afraid I shall bite you. I am not so ferocious
as I look."

Sheila rose and went closer to the bedside, and the old woman
stretched out a lean and withered hand to her: "If I thought that that
silly fellow wasn't behaving well to you--"

"I will not listen to you," said Sheila, suddenly withdrawing her
hand, while a quick color leapt to her face--"I will not listen to you
if you speak of my husband in that way."

"I will speak of him any way I like. Don't get into a rage. I have
known Frank Lavender a good deal longer than you have. What I was
going to say is this--that if I thought that he was not behaving well
to you, I would play him a trick. I would leave my money, which is all
he has got to live on, to you; and when I died he would find himself
dependent on you for every farthing he wanted to spend."

And the old woman laughed, with very little of the weakness of an
invalid in the look of her face. But Sheila, when she had mastered
her surprise and resolved not be angry, said calmly, "Whatever I have,
whatever I might have, that belongs to my husband, not to me."

"Now you speak like a sensible girl," said Mrs. Lavender. "That is the
misfortune of a wife, that she cannot keep her own money to herself.
But there are means by which the law may be defeated, my dear. I have
been thinking it over--I have been speaking of it to Mr. Ingram; for
I have suspected for some time that my nephew, Mr. Frank, was not
behaving himself."

"Mrs. Lavender," said Sheila, with a face too proud and indignant
for tears, "you do not understand me. No one has the right to imagine
anything against my husband and to seek to punish him through me. And
when I said that everything I have belongs to him, I was not thinking
of the law--no--but only this: that everything I have, or might have,
would belong to him, as I myself belong to him of my own free will and
gift; and I would have no money or anything else that was not entirely
his."

"You are a fool."

"Perhaps," said Sheila, struggling to repress her tears.

"What if I were to leave every farthing of my property to a hospital?
Where would Frank Lavender be then?"

"He could earn his own living without any such help," said Sheila
proudly; for she had never yet given up the hope that her husband
would fulfill the fair promise of an earlier time, and win great
renown for himself in striving to please her, as he had many a time
vowed he would do.

"He has taken great care to conceal his powers in that way," said the
old woman with a sneer.

"And if he has, whose fault is it?" the girl said warmly. "Who has
kept him in idleness but yourself? And now you blame him for it. I
wish he had never had any of your money--I wish he were never to have
any more of it."

And then Sheila stopped, with a terrible dread falling over her. What
had she not said? The pride of her race had carried her so far, and
she had given expression to all the tumult of her heart; but had
she not betrayed her duty as a wife, and grievously compromised the
interests of her husband? And yet the indignation in her bosom was
too strong to admit of her retracting those fatal phrases and begging
forgiveness. She stood for a moment irresolute, and she knew that
the invalid was regarding her curiously, as though she were some wild
animal, and not an ordinary resident in Bayswater.

"You are a little mad, but you are a good girl, and I want to
be friends with you. You have in you the spirit of a dozen Frank
Lavenders."

"You will never make friends with me by speaking ill of my husband,"
said Sheila with the same proud and indignant look.

"Not when he ill uses you?" "He does not ill use me. What has Mr.
Ingram been saying to you?"

The sudden question would certainly have brought about a disclosure if
any were to have been made; but Mrs. Lavender assured Sheila that
Mr. Ingram had told her nothing, that she had been forming her own
conclusions, and that she still doubted that they were right.

"Now sit down and read to me. You will find Marcus Antoninus on the
top of those books."

"Frank is in the drawing-room," observed Sheila mildly.

"He can wait," said the old woman sharply.

"Yes, but you cannot expect me to keep him waiting," with a smile
which did not conceal her very definite purpose.

"Then ring, and bid him come up. You will soon get rid of those absurd
sentiments."

Sheila rang the bell, and sent Mrs. Paterson down for Lavender, but
she did not betake herself to Marcus Antoninus. She waited a few
minutes, and then her husband made his appearance, whereupon she sat
down and left to him the agreeable duty of talking with this toothless
old heathen about funerals and lingering death.

"Well, Aunt Lavender, I am sorry to hear you have been ill, but I
suppose you are getting all right again, to judge by your looks."

"I am not nearly as ill as you expected."

"I wonder you did not say 'hoped,'" remarked Lavender carelessly.
"You are always attributing the most charitable feelings to your
fellow-creatures."

"Frank Lavender," said the old lady, who was a little pleased by this
bit of flattery, "if you came here to make yourself impertinent and
disagreeable, you can go down stairs again. Your wife and I get on
very well without you."

"I am glad to hear it," he said: "I suppose you have been telling her
what is the matter with you."

"I have not. I don't know. I have had a pain in the head and two fits,
and I dare say the next will carry me off. The doctors won't tell me
anything about it, so I suppose it is serious."

"Nonsense!" cried Lavender. "Serious! To look at you, one would say
you never had been ill in your life."

"Don't tell stories, Frank Lavender. I know I look like a corpse, but
I don't mind it, for I avoid the looking-glass and keep the spectacle
for my friends. I expect the next fit will kill me."

"I'll tell you what it is, Aunt Lavender: if you would only get up and
come with us for a drive in the Park, you would find there was nothing
of an invalid about you; and we should take you home to a quiet dinner
at Notting Hill, and Sheila would sing to you all the evening,
and to-morrow you would receive the doctors in state in your
drawing-rooms, and tell them you were going for a month to Malvern."

"Your husband has a fine imagination, my dear," said Mrs. Lavender to
Sheila. "It is a pity he puts it to no use. Now I shall let both of
you go. Three breathing in this room are too many for the cubic feet
of air it contains. Frank, bring over those scales and put them on the
table, and send Paterson to me as you go out."

And so they went down stairs and out of the house. Just as they stood
on the steps, looking for a hansom, a young lad came forward and shook
hands with Lavender, glancing rather nervously at Sheila.

"Well, Mosenberg," said Lavender, "you've come back from Leipsic at
last? We got your card when we came home this morning from Brighton.
Let me introduce you to my wife."

The boy looked at the beautiful face before him with something of
distant wonder and reverence in his regard. Sheila had heard of
the lad before--of the Mendelssohn that was to be--and liked his
appearance at first sight. He was a rather handsome boy of fourteen or
fifteen, of the fair Jew type, with large, dark, expressive eyes, and
long, wavy, light-brown hair. He spoke English fluently and well: his
slight German accent was, indeed, scarcely so distinct as Sheila's
Highland one, the chief peculiarity of his speaking being a preference
for short sentences, as if he were afraid to adventure upon elaborate
English. He had not addressed a dozen sentences to Sheila before she
had begun to have a liking for the lad, perhaps on account of his soft
and musical voice, perhaps on account of the respectful and almost
wondering admiration that dwelt in his eyes. He spoke to her as if she
were some saint, who had but to smile to charm and bewilder the humble
worshiper at her shrine.

"I was intending to call upon Mrs. Lavender, madame," he said. "I
heard that she was ill. Perhaps you can tell me if she is better."

"She seems to be very well to-day, and in very good spirits," Sheila
answered.

"Then I will not go in. Did you propose to take a walk in the Park,
madame?"

Lavender inwardly laughed at the magnificent audacity of the lad, and,
seeing that Sheila hesitated, humored him by saying, "Well, we were
thinking of calling on one or two people before going home to dinner.
But I haven't seen you for a long time, Mosenberg, and I want you to
tell me how you succeeded at the Conservatoire. If you like to walk
with us for a bit, we can give you something to eat at seven."

"That would be very pleasant for me," said the boy, blushing somewhat,
"if it does not incommode you, madame."

"Oh no: I hope you will come," said Sheila most heartily; and so they
set out for a walk through Kensington Gardens northward.

Precious little did Lavender learn about Leipsic during that walk. The
boy devoted himself wholly to Sheila. He had heard frequently of her,
and he knew of her coming from the wild and romantic Hebrides; and he
began to tell her of all the experiments that composers had made in
representing the sound of seas and storms and winds howling through
caverns washed by the waves. Lavender liked music well enough, and
could himself play and sing a little, but this enthusiasm rather bored
him. He wanted to know if the yellow wine was still as cool and clear
as ever down in the twilight of Auerbach's cellar, what burlesques
had lately been played at the theatre, and whether such and such a
beer-garden was still to the fore; whereas he heard only analyses
of overtures, and descriptions of the uses of particular musical
instruments, and a wild rhapsody about moonlit seas, the sweetness of
French horns, the King of Thule, and a dozen other matters.

"Mosenberg," he said, "before you go calling on people you ought to
visit an English tailor. People will think you belong to a German
band."

"I have been to a tailor," said the lad with a frank laugh. "My
parents, madame, wish me to be quite English: that is why I am sent
to live in London, while they are in Frankfort. I stay with some very
good friends of mine, who are very musical, and they are not annoyed
by my practicing, as other people would be."

"I hope you will sing something to us this evening," said Sheila.

"I will sing and play for you all the evening," he said lightly,
"until you are tired. But you must tell me when you are tired, for who
can tell how much music will be enough? Sometimes two or three songs
are more than enough to make people wish you away."

"You need have no fear of tiring me," said Sheila. "But when you are
tired I will sing for you."

"Yes, of course you sing, madame," he said, casting down his eyes: "I
knew that when I saw you."

Sheila had got a sweetheart, and Lavender saw it and smiled
good-naturedly. The awe and reverence with which this lad regarded the
beautiful woman beside him were something new and odd in Kensington
Gardens. Yet it was the way of those boys. He had himself had his
imaginative fits of worship, in which some very ordinary young woman,
who ate a good breakfast and spent an hour and a half in arranging her
hair before going out, was regarded as some beautiful goddess fresh
risen from the sea or descended from the clouds. Young Mosenberg was
just at the proper age for these foolish dreams. He would sing songs
to Sheila, and reveal to her in that way a passion of which he dared
not otherwise speak. He would compose pieces of music for her, and
dedicate them to her, and spend half his quarterly allowance in having
them printed. He would grow to consider him, Lavender, a heartless
brute, and cherish dark notions of poisoning him, but for the pain it
might cause to her.

"I don't remember whether you smoke, Mosenberg," Lavender said after
dinner.

"Yes--a cigarette sometimes," said the lad; "but if Mrs. Lavender is
going away perhaps she will let me go into the drawing-room with her.
There is that sonata of Muzio Clementi, madame, which I will try to
remember for you if you please."

"All right," said Lavender: "you'll find me in the next room on the
left when you get tired of your music and want a cigar. I think you
used to beat me at chess, didn't you?"

"I do not know. We will try once more to-night."

Then Sheila and he went into the drawing-room by themselves, and while
she took a seat near the brightly-lit fire-place, he opened the piano
at once and sat down. He turned up his cuffs, he took a look at the
pedals, he threw back his head, shaking his long brown hair; and
then, with a crash like thunder, his two hands struck the keys. He had
forgotten all about that sonata: it was a fantasia of his own, based
on the airs in _Der Freischuetz_, that he played; and as he played
Sheila's poor little piano suffered somewhat. Never before had it been
so battered about, and she wished the small chamber were a great hall,
to temper the voluminous noise of this opening passage. But presently
the music softened. The white, lithe fingers ran lightly over the
keys, so that the notes seemed to ripple out like the prattling of a
stream, and then again some stately and majestic air or some joyous
burst of song would break upon this light accompaniment, and lead up
to another roar and rumble of noise. It was a very fine performance,
doubtless, but what Sheila remarked most was the enthusiasm of the
lad. She was to see more of that.

"Now," he said, "that is nothing. It is to get one's fingers
accustomed to the keys you play anything that is loud and rapid. But
if you please, madame, shall I sing you something?"

"Yes, do," said Sheila.

"I will sing for you a little German song which I believe Jenny Lind
used to sing, but I never heard her sing. You know German?"

"Very little indeed."

"This is only the cry of some one who is far away about his
sweetheart. It is very simple, both in the words and the music."

And he began to sing, in a voice so rich, so tender and expressive
that Sheila sat amazed and bewildered to hear him. Where had this boy
caught such a trick of passion, or was it really a trick that threw
into his voice all the pathos of a strong man's love and grief? He had
a powerful baritone, of unusual compass and rare sweetness; but it
was not the finely-trained art of his singing, but the passionate
abandonment of it, that thrilled Sheila, and indeed brought tears to
her eyes. How had this mere lad learned all the yearning and despair
of love, that he sang,

            Dir bebt die Brust,
            Dir schlaegt dies Herz,
            Du meine Lust!
            O du, mein Schmerz!
  Nur an den Winden, den Sternen der Hoeh,
  Muss ich verkuenden mein suesses Weh!--

as though his heart were breaking? When he had finished he paused for
a moment or two before leaving the piano, and then he came over to
where Sheila sat. She fancied there was a strange look on his face, as
of one who had been really experiencing the wild emotions of which he
sang; but he said, in his ordinary careful way of speaking, "Madame,
I am sorry I cannot translate the words for you into English. They
are too simple; and they have, what is common in many German songs, a
mingling of the pleasure and the sadness of being in love that would
not read natural perhaps in English. When he says to her that she is
his greatest delight and also his greatest grief, it is quite right in
the German, but not in the English."

"But where have you learned all these things?" she said to him,
talking to him as if he were a mere child, and looking without fear
into his handsome boyish face and fine eyes. "Sit down and tell me.
That is the song of some one whose sweetheart is far away, you said.
But you sang it as if you yourself had some sweetheart far away."

"So I have, madame," he said, seriously: "when I sing the song, I
think of her then, so that I almost cry for her."

"And who is she?" said Sheila gently. "Is she very far away?"

"I do not know," said the lad absently. "I do not know who she is.
Sometimes I think she is a beautiful woman away at St. Petersburg,
singing in the opera-house there. Or I think she has sailed away in a
ship from me."

"But you do not sing about any particular person?" said Sheila, with
an innocent wonder appearing in her eyes.

"Oh no, not at all," said the boy; and then he added, with some
suddenness, "Do you think, madame, any fine songs like that, or any
fine words that go to the heart of people, are written about any one
person? Oh no! The man has a great desire in him to say something
beautiful or sad, and he says it--not to one person, but to all the
world; and all the world takes it from him as a gift. Sometimes, yes,
he will think of one woman, or he will dedicate the music to her, or
he will compose it for her wedding, but the feeling in his heart is
greater than any that he has for her. Can you believe, madame, that
Mendelssohn wrote the Hochzeitm--the Wedding March--for any one
wedding? No. It was all the marriage joy of all the world he put into
his music, and every one knows that. And you hear it at this wedding,
at that wedding, but you know it belongs to something far away and
more beautiful than the marriage of any one bride with her sweetheart.
And if you will pardon me, madame, for speaking about myself, it is
about some one I I never knew, who is far more beautiful and precious
to me than any one I ever knew, that I try to think when I sing these
sad songs, and then I think of her far away, and not likely ever to
see me again."

"But some day you will find that you have met her in real life,"
Sheila said. "And you will find her far more beautiful and kind to you
than anything you dreamed about; and you will try to write your best
music to give to her. And then, if you should be unhappy, you will
find how much worse is the real unhappiness about one you love than
the sentiment of a song you can lay aside at any moment."

The lad looked at her. "What can you know about unhappiness, madame?"
he said with a frank and gentle simplicity that she liked.

"I?" said Sheila. "When people get married and begin to experience the
cares of the world, they must expect to be unhappy sometimes."

"But not you," he said with some touch of protest in his voice, as
if it were impossible the world should deal harshly with so young and
beautiful and tender a creature. "You can have nothing but enjoyment
around you. Every one must try to please you. You need only condescend
to speak to people, and they are grateful to you for a great favor.
Perhaps, madame, you think I am impertinent?"

He stopped and blushed, while Sheila, herself with a little touch of
color, answered him that she hoped he would always speak to her quite
frankly, and then suggested that he might sing once more for her.

"Very well," he said as he sat down to the piano: "this is not
any more a sad song. It is about a young lady who will not let
her sweetheart kiss her, except on conditions. You shall hear the
conditions, and what he says."

Sheila began to wonder whether this innocent-eyed lad had been
imposing on her. The song was acted as well as sung. It consisted
chiefly of a dialogue between the two lovers; and the boy, with a
wonderful ease and grace and skill, mimicked the shy coquetries of
the girl, her fits of petulance and dictation, and the pathetic
remonstrances of her companion, his humble entreaties and his final
sullenness, which is only conquered by her sudden and ample consent.
"What a rare faculty of artistic representation this precocious boy
must have," she thought, "if he really exhibits all those moods and
whims and tricks of manner without having himself been in the position
of the despairing and imploring lover!"

"You were not thinking of the beautiful lady in St. Petersburg when
you were singing just now," Sheila said on his coming back to her.

"Oh no," he said carelessly: "that is nothing. You have not to imagine
anything. These people, you see them on every stage in the comedies
and farces."

"But that might happen in actual life," said Sheila, still not quite
sure about him. "Do you know that many people would think you must
have yourself been teased in that way, or you could not imitate it so
naturally?"

"I! Oh no, madame," he said seriously: "I should not act that way if I
were in love with a woman. If I found her a comedy-actress, liking
to make her amusement out of our relations, I should say to her,
'Good-evening, mademoiselle: we have both made a little mistake.'"

"But you might be so much in love with her that you could not leave
her without being very miserable."

"I might be very much in love with her, yes; but I would rather go
away and be miserable than be humiliated by such a girl. Why do you
smile, madame? Do you think I am vain, or that I am too young to
know anything about that? Perhaps both are true, but one cannot help
thinking."

"Well," said Sheila, with a grandly maternal air of sympathy and
interest, "you must always remember this--that you have something
more important to attend to than merely looking out for a beautiful
sweetheart. That is the fancy of a foolish girl. You have your
profession, and you must become great and famous in that; and then
some day, when you meet this beautiful woman and ask her to be your
wife, she will be bound to do that, and you will confer honor on her
as well as secure happiness to yourself. Now, if you were to fall in
love with some coquettish girl like her you were singing about, you
would have no more ambition to become famous, you would lose all
interest in everything except her, and she would be able to make you
miserable by a single word. When you have made a name for yourself,
and got a good many more years, you will be better able to bear
anything that happens to you in your love or in your marriage."

"You are very kind to take so much trouble," said young Mosenberg,
looking up with big, grateful eyes. "Perhaps, madame, if you are not
very busy during the day, you will let me call in sometimes, and if
there is no one here I will tell you about what I am doing, and play
for you or sing for you, if you please."

"In the afternoons I am always free," she said.

"Do you never go out?" he asked.

"Not often. My husband is at his studio most of the day."

The boy looked at her, hesitated for a moment, and then, with a sudden
rush of color to his face, "You should not stay so much in the house.
Will you sometimes go for a little walk with me, madame, to Kensington
Gardens, if you are not busy in the afternoon?"

"Oh, certainly," said Sheila, without a moment's embarrassment. "Do
you live near them?"

"No: I live in Sloane street, but the underground railway brings me
here in a very short time."

That mention of Sloane street gave a twinge to Sheila's heart. Ought
she to have been so ready to accept offers of new friendship just as
her old friend had been banished from her?

"In Sloane street? Do you know Mr. Ingram?"

"Oh yes, very well. Do you?"

"He is one of my oldest friends," said Sheila bravely: she would not
acknowledge that their intimacy was a thing of the past.

"He is a very good friend to me--I know that," said young Mosenberg,
with a laugh. "He hired a piano merely because I used to go into his
rooms at night; and now he makes me play over all my most difficult
music when I go in, and he sits and smokes a pipe and pretends to like
it. I do not think he does, but I have got to do it all the same; and
then afterward I sing for him some songs that I know he likes. Madame,
I think I can surprise you."

He went suddenly to the piano and began to sing, in a very quiet way,

  Oh soft be thy slumbers by Tigh-na-linne's waters:
  Thy late-wake was sung by MacDiarmid's fair daughters;
  But far in Lochaber the true heart was weeping
  Whose hopes are entombed in the grave where thou'rt sleeping.

It was the lament of the young girl whose lover had been separated
from her by false reports, and who died before he could get back to
Lochaber when the deception was discovered. And the wild, sad air that
the girl is supposed to sing seemed so strange with those new chords
that this boy-musician gave it that Sheila sat and listened to it as
though it were the sound of the seas about Borva coming to her with a
new voice and finding her altered and a stranger.

"I know nearly all of those Highland songs that Mr. Ingram has got,"
said the lad.

"I did not know he had any," Sheila said.

"Sometimes he tries to sing one himself," said the boy with a smile,
"but he does not sing very well, and he gets vexed with himself in
fun, and flings things about the room. But you will sing some of those
songs, madame, and let me hear how they are sung in the North?"

"Some time," said Sheila. "I would rather listen just now to all you
can tell me about Mr. Ingram--he is such a very old friend of mine,
and I do not know how he lives."

The lad speedily discovered that there was at least one way of keeping
his new and beautiful friend profoundly interested; and indeed he went
on talking until Lavender came into the room in evening dress. It
was eleven o'clock, and young Mosenberg started up with a thousand
apologies and hopes that he had not detained Mrs. Lavender. No, Mrs.
Lavender was not going out: her husband was going round for an hour
to a ball that Mrs. Kavanagh was giving, but she preferred to stay at
home.

"May I call upon you to-morrow afternoon, madame?" said the boy as he
was leaving.

"I shall be very glad if you will," Sheila answered.

And as he went along the pavement young Mosenberg observed to his
companion that Mrs. Lavender did not seem to have gone out much,
and that it was very good of her to have promised to go with him
occasionally into Kensington Gardens.

"Oh, has she?" said Lavender.

"Yes," said the lad with some surprise.

"You are lucky to be able to get her to leave the house," her husband
said: "I can't."

Perhaps he had not tried so much as the words seemed to imply.




CHAPTER XVII.

GUESSES.


"Mr. Ingram," cried young Mosenberg, bursting into the room of his
friend, "do you know that I have seen your princess from the island
of the Atlantic? Yes, I met her yesterday, and I went up to the house,
and I dined there and spent all the evening there."

Ingram was not surprised, nor, apparently, much interested. He was
cutting open the leaves of a quarterly review, and a freshly-filled
pipe lay on the table beside him. A fire had been lit, for the
evenings were getting chill occasionally; the shutters were shut;
there was some whisky on the table; so that this small apartment
seemed to have its share of bachelors' comforts.

"Well," said Ingram quietly, "did you play for her?"

"Yes."

"And sing for her too?"

"Yes."

"Did you play and sing your very best for her?"

"Yes, I did. But I have not told you half yet. This afternoon I went
up, and she went out for a walk with me; and we went down through
Kensington Gardens, and all round by the Serpentine--"

"Did she go into that parade of people?" said Ingram, looking up with
some surprise.

"No," said the lad, looking rather crestfallen, for he would have
liked to show off Sheila to some of his friends, "she would not go:
she preferred to watch the small boats on the Serpentine; and she was
very kind, too, in speaking to the children, and helping them with
their boats, although some people stared at her. And what is more than
all these things, to-morrow night she comes with me to a concert in
the St. James's Hall--yes."

"You are very fortunate," said Ingram with a smile, for he was well
pleased to hear that Sheila had taken a fancy to the boy, and was
likely to find his society amusing. "But you have not told me yet what
you think of her."

"What I think of her?" said the lad, pausing in a bewildered way, as
if he could find no words to express his opinion of Sheila. And then
he said, suddenly, "I think she is like the Mother of God."

"You irreverent young rascal!" said Ingram, lighting his pipe, "how
dare you say such a thing?"

"I mean in the pictures--in the tall pictures you see in some
churches abroad, far up in a half-darkness. She has the same sweet,
compassionate look, and her eyes are sometimes a little sad; and when
she speaks to you, you think you have known her for a long time, and
that she wishes to be very kind to you. But she is not a princess
at all, as you told me. I expected to find her grand, haughty,
willful--yes; but she is much too friendly for that; and when she
laughs you see she could not sweep about a room and stare at people.
But if she was angry or proud, perhaps then--"

"See you don't make her angry, then," said Ingram. "Now go and play
over all you were practicing in the morning. No! stop a bit. Sit down
and tell me something more about your experiences of Shei--of Mrs.
Lavender."

Young Mosenberg laughed and sat down: "Do you know, Mr. Ingram, that
the same thing occurred the night before last? I was about to sing
some more, or I was asking Mrs. Lavender to sing some more--I forget
which--but she said to me, 'Not just now. I wish you to sit down and
tell me all you know about Mr. Ingram.'"

"And she no sooner honors you with her confidence than you carry it to
every one?" said Ingram, somewhat fearful of the boy's tongue.

"Oh, as to that," said the lad, delighted to see that his friend was a
little embarrassed--"As to that, I believe she is in love with you."

"Mosenberg," said Ingram with a flash of anger in the dark eyes, "if
you were half a dozen years older I would thrash the life out of you.
Do you think that is a pretty sort of joke to make about a woman?
Don't you know the mischief your gabbling tongue might make? for
how is every one to know that you are talking merely impertinent
nonsense?"

"Oh," said the boy audaciously, "I did not mean anything of the kind
you see in comedies or in operas, breaking up marriages and causing
duels? Oh no. I think she is in love with you as I am in love with
her; and I am, ever since yesterday."

"Well, I will say this for you," remarked Ingram slowly, "that you
are the cheekiest young beggar I have the pleasure to know. You are
in love with her, are you? A lady admits you to her house, is
particularly kind to you, talks to you in confidence, and then you go
and tell people that you are in love with her!"

"I did not tell people," said Mosenberg, flushing under the severity
of the reproof: "I told you only, and I thought you would understand
what I meant. I should have told Lavender himself just as soon--yes;
only he would not care."

"How do you know?"

"Bah!" said the boy impatiently. "Cannot one see it? You have a pretty
wife--much prettier than any one you would see at a ball at Mrs.
Kavanagh's--and you leave her at home, and you go to the ball to amuse
yourself."

This boy, Ingram perceived, was getting to see too clearly how matters
stood. He bade him go and play some music, having first admonished him
gravely about the necessity of keeping some watch and ward over his
tongue. Then the pipe was re-lit, and a fury of sound arose at the
other end of the room.

So Lavender, forgetful of the true-hearted girl who loved him,
forgetful of his own generous instincts, forgetful of the future
that his fine abilities promised, was still dangling after this alien
woman, and Sheila was left at home, with her troubles and piteous
yearnings and fancies as her only companions? Once upon a time Ingram
could have gone straight up to him and admonished him, and driven him
to amend his ways. But now that was impossible.

What was still possible? One wild project occurred to him for a
moment, but he laughed at it and dismissed it. It was that he should
go boldly to Mrs. Lorraine herself, ask her plainly if she knew what
cruel injury she was doing to this young wife, and force her to turn
Lavender adrift. But what enterprise of the days of old romance could
be compared with this mad proposal? To ride up to a castle, blow
a trumpet, and announce that unless a certain lady were released
forthwith death and destruction would begin,--all that was simple
enough, easy and according to rule; but to go into a lady's
drawing-room without an introduction, and request her to stop a
certain flirtation,--that was a much more awful undertaking. But
Ingram could not altogether dismiss this notion from his head.
Mosenberg went on playing--no longer his practicing-pieces, but all
manner of airs which he knew Ingram liked--while the small sallow man
with the brown beard lay in his easy-chair and smoked his pipe, and
gazed attentively at his toes on the fender.

"You know Mrs. Kavanagh and her daughter, don't you, Mosenberg?" he
said during an interval in the music.

"Not much," said the boy. "They were in England only a little while
before I went to Leipsic."

"I should like to know them."

"That is very easy. Mr. Lavender will introduce you to them: Mrs.
Lavender said he went there very much."

"What would they do, do you think, if I went up and asked to see
them?"

"The servant would ask if it was about beer or coals that you called."

A man will do much for a woman who is his friend, but to be suspected
of being a brewer's traveler, to have to push one's way into a strange
drawing-room, to have to confront the awful stare of the inmates, and
then to have to deliver a message which they will probably consider as
the very extreme of audacious and meddling impertinence! The prospect
was not pleasant, and yet Ingram, as he sat and thought over it that
evening, finally resolved to encounter all these dangers and wounds.
He could help Sheila in no other way. He was banished from her house.
Perhaps he might induce this American girl to release her captive and
give Lavender back to his own wife. What were a few twinges of one's
self-respect, or risks of a humiliating failure, compared with the
possibility of befriending Sheila in some small way?

Next morning he went early in to Whitehall, and about one o'clock in
the forenoon started off for Holland Park. He wore a tall hat, a black
frock-coat and yellow kid gloves. He went in a hansom, so that the
person who opened the door should know that he was not a brewer's
traveler. In this wise he reached Mrs. Kavanagh's house, which
Lavender had frequently pointed out to him in passing, about half-past
one, and with some internal tremors, but much outward calmness, went
up the broad stone steps.

A small boy in buttons opened the door.

"Is Mrs. Lorraine at home?"

"Yes, sir," said the boy.

It was the simplest thing in the world. In a couple of seconds he
found himself in a big drawing-room, and the youth had taken his card
up stairs. Ingram was not very sure whether his success, so far, was
due to the hansom, or to his tall hat, or to a silver-headed cane
which his grandfather had brought home from India. However, here he
was in the house, just like the hero of one of those fine old farces
of our youth, who jumps from the street into a strange drawing-room,
flirts with the maid, hides behind a screen, confronts the master, and
marries his daughter, all in half an hour, the most exacting unities
of time and place being faithfully observed.

Presently the door was opened, and a young lady, pale and calm and
sweet of face, approached him, and not only bowed to him, but held out
her hand.

"I have much pleasure in making your acquaintance, Mr. Ingram,"
she said, gently and somewhat slowly. "Mr. Lavender has frequently
promised to bring you to see us, for he has spoken to us so much about
you that we had begun to think we already knew you. Will you come with
me up stairs, that I may introduce you to mamma?"

Ingram had come prepared to state harsh truths bluntly, and was ready
to meet any sort of anger or opposition with a perfect frankness
of intention. But he certainly had not come prepared to find the
smart-tongued and fascinating American widow, of whom he had heard so
much, a quiet, self-possessed and gracious young lady, of singularly
winning manners and clear and resolutely honest eyes. Had Lavender
been quite accurate, or even conscientious, in his garrulous talk
about Mrs. Lorraine?

"If you will excuse me," said Ingram, with a smile that had less of
embarrassment about it than he could have expected, "I would rather
speak to you for a few minutes first. The fact is, I have come on a
self-imposed errand; and that must be my apology for--for thrusting
myself--"

"I am sure no apology is needed," said the girl. "We have always been
expecting to see you. Will you sit down?"

He put his hat and his cane on the table, and as he did so he recorded
a mental resolution not to be led away by the apparent innocence and
sweetness of this woman. What a fool he had been, to expect her to
appear in the guise of some forward and giggling coquette, as if
Frank Lavender, with all his faults, could have suffered anything like
coarseness of manners! But was this woman any the less dangerous that
she was refined and courteous, and had the speech and bearing of a
gentlewoman?

"Mrs. Lorraine," he said, lowering his eyebrows somewhat, "I may as
well be frank with you. I have come upon an unpleasant errand--an
affair, indeed, which ought to be no business of mine; but sometimes,
when you care a little for some one, you don't mind running the
risk of being treated as an intermeddler. You know that I know Mrs.
Lavender. She is an old friend of mine. She was almost a child when I
knew her first, and I still have a sort of notion that she is a child,
and that I should look after her, and so--and so--"

She sat quite still. There was no surprise, no alarm, no anger when
Sheila's name was mentioned. She was merely attentive, but now, seeing
that he hesitated, she said, "I do not know what you have to say, but
if it is serious may not I ask mamma to join us?"

"If you please, no. I would rather speak with you alone, as this
matter concerns yourself only. Well, the fact is, I have seen for some
time back that Mrs. Lavender is very unhappy. She is left alone; she
knows no one in London; perhaps she does not care to join much in
those social amusements that her husband enjoys. I say this poor girl
is an old friend of mine: I cannot help trying to do something to make
her less wretched; and so I have ventured to come to you to see if you
could not assist me. Mr. Lavender comes very much to your house, and
Sheila is left all by herself; and doubtless she begins to fancy that
her husband is neglectful, perhaps indifferent to her, and may get
to imagine things that are quite wrong, you know, and that could be
explained away by a little kindness on your part."

Was this, then, the fashion in which Jonah had gone up to curse the
wickedness of Nineveh? As he had spoken he had been aware that those
sincere, somewhat matter--of-fact and far from unfriendly eyes that
were fixed on him had undergone no change whatever. Here was no vile
creature who would start up with a guilty conscience to repel the
remotest hint of an accusation; and indeed, quite unconsciously to
himself, he had been led on to ask for her help. Not that he feared
her. Not that he could not have said the harshest things to her which
there was any reason for saying. But somehow there seemed to be no
occasion for the utterance of any cruel truths.

The wonder of it was, too, that instead of being wounded, indignant
and angry, as he had expected her to be, she betrayed a very friendly
interest in Sheila, as though she herself had nothing whatever to do
with the matter.

"You have undertaken a very difficult task, Mr. Ingram," she said with
a smile. "I don't think there are many married ladies in London who
have a friend who would do as much for them. And, to tell you the
truth, both my mamma and myself have come to the same conclusion as
yourself about Mr. Lavender. It is really too bad, the way in which
he allows that pretty young thing to remain at home, for I suppose she
would go more into society if he were to coax her and persuade her. We
have done what we could in sending her invitations, in calling on her,
and in begging Mr. Lavender to bring her with him. But he has always
some excuse for her, so that we never see her. And yet I am sure he
does not mean to give her pain; for he is very proud of her, and madly
extravagant wherever she is concerned; and sometimes he takes sudden
fits of trying to please her and be kind to her that are quite odd in
their way. Can you tell me what we should do?"

Ingram looked at her for a moment, and said gravely and slowly,
"Before we talk any more about that I must clear my conscience. I
perceive that I have done you a wrong. I came here prepared to accuse
you of drawing away Mr. Lavender from his wife, of seeking amusement,
and perhaps some social distinction, by keeping him continually
dangling after you; and I meant to reproach you, or even threaten you,
until you promised never to see him again."

A quick flush, partly of shame and partly of annoyance, sprang to Mrs.
Lorraine's fair and pale face; but she answered calmly, "It is perhaps
as well that you did not tell me this a few minutes ago. May I ask
what has led you to change your opinion of me, if it has changed?"

"Of course it has changed," he said, promptly and emphatically. "I
can see that I did you a great injury, and I apologize for it, and
beg your forgiveness. But when you ask me what has led me to change
my opinion, what am I to say? Your manner, perhaps, more than what you
have said has convinced me that I was wrong."

"Perhaps you are again mistaken," she said coldly: "you get rapidly to
conclusions."

"The reproof is just," he said. "You are quite right. I have made a
blunder: there is no mistake about it."

"But do you think it was fair," she said with some spirit--"do you
think it was fair to believe all this harm about a woman you had never
seen? Now, listen. A hundred times I have begged Mr. Lavender to be
more attentive to his wife--not in these words, of course, but as
directly as I could. Mamma has given parties, made arrangements for
visits, drives and all sorts of things, to tempt Mrs. Lavender to come
to us, and all in vain. Of course you can't thrust yourself on any one
like that. Though mamma and myself like Mrs. Lavender very well, it
is asking too much that we should encounter the humiliation of
intermeddling."

Here she stopped suddenly, with the least show of embarrassment. Then
she said frankly, "You are an old friend of hers. It is very good of
you to have risked so much for the sake of that girl. There are very
few gentlemen whom one meets who would do as much."

Ingram could say nothing, and was a little impatient with himself. Was
he to be first reproved, and then treated with an indulgent kindness,
by a mere girl?

"Mamma," said Mrs. Lorraine, as an elderly lady entered the room,
"let me introduce to you Mr. Ingram, whom you must already know. He
proposes we should join in some conspiracy to inveigle Mrs. Lavender
into society, and make the poor little thing amuse herself."

"Little!" said Mrs. Kavanagh with a smile: "she is a good deal
taller than you are, my dear. But I am afraid, Mr. Ingram, you have
undertaken a hopeless task. Will you stay to luncheon and talk it over
with us?"

"I hope you will," said Mrs. Lorraine; and naturally enough he
consented.

Luncheon was just ready. As they were going into the room on the
opposite side of the hall, the younger lady said to Ingram in a quiet
undertone, but with much indifference of manner, "You know, if you
think I ought to give up Mr. Lavender's acquaintance altogether, I
will do so at once. But perhaps that will not be necessary."

So this was the house in which Sheila's husband spent so much of his
time, and these were the two ladies of whom so much had been said and
surmised? There were three of Lavender's pictures on the walls of
the dining-room, and as Ingram inadvertently glanced at them, Mrs.
Lorraine said to him, "Don't you think it is a pity Mr. Lavender
should continue drawing those imaginative sketches of heads? I do not
think, myself, that he does himself justice in that way. Some bits of
landscape, now, that I have seen seemed to me to have quite a definite
character about them, and promised far more than anything else of his
I have seen."

"That is precisely what I think," said Ingram, partly amused and
partly annoyed to find that this girl, with her clear gray eyes, her
soft and musical voice and her singular delicacy of manner, had an
evil trick of saying the very things he would himself have said, and
leaving him with nothing but a helpless "Yes."

"I think he ought to have given up his club when he married. Most
English gentlemen do that when they marry, do they not?" said Mrs.
Kavanagh.

"Some," said Ingram. "But a good deal of nonsense is talked about the
influence of clubs in that way. It is really absurd to suppose
that the size or the shape of a building can alter a man's moral
character."

"It does, though," said Mrs. Lorraine confidently. "I can tell
directly if a gentleman has been accustomed to spend his time in
clubs. When he is surprised or angry or impatient you can perceive
blanks in his conversation which in a club, I suppose, would be filled
up. Don't you know poor old Colonel Hannen's way of talking, mamma?
This old gentleman, Mr. Ingram, is very fond of speaking to you about
political liberty and the rights of conscience; and he generally
becomes so confused that he gets vexed with himself, and makes odd
pauses, as if he were invariably addressing himself in very
rude language indeed. Sometimes you would think he was like a
railway-engine, going blindly and helplessly on through a thick and
choking mist; and you can see that if there were no ladies present he
would let off a few crackers--fog-signals, as it were--just to bring
himself up a bit, and let people know where he was. Then he will go
on again, talking away until you fancy yourself in a tunnel, with a
throbbing noise in your ears and all the daylight shut out, and you
perhaps getting to wish that on the whole you were dead."

"Cecilia!"

"I beg your pardon, mamma," said the younger lady with a quiet smile
"you look so surprised that Mr. Ingram will give me credit for not
often erring in that way. You look as though a hare had turned and
attacked you."

"That would give most people a fright," said Ingram with a laugh. He
was rapidly forgetting the object of his mission. The almost childish
softness of voice of this girl, and the perfect composure with which
she uttered little sayings that showed considerable sharpness of
observation and a keen enjoyment of the grotesque, had an odd sort
of fascination for him. He totally forgot that Lavender had been
fascinated by it too. If he had been reminded of the fact at
this moment he would have said that the _boy_ had, as usual, got
sentimental about a pretty pair of big gray eyes and a fine profile,
while he, Ingram, was possessed by nothing but a purely intellectual
admiration of certain fine qualities of wit, sincerity of speech and
womanly shrewdness.

Luncheon, indeed, was over before any mention was made of the
Lavenders; and when they returned to that subject it appeared to
Ingram that their relations had in the mean time got to be very
friendly, and that they were really discussing this matter as if they
formed a little family conclave.

"I have told Mr. Ingram, mamma," Mrs. Lorraine said, "that so far as I
am concerned I will do whatever he thinks I ought to do. Mr. Lavender
has been a friend of ours for some time, and of course he cannot
be treated with rudeness or incivility; but if we are wounding the
feelings of any one by asking him to come here--and he certainly
visited us pretty often--why, it would be easy to lessen the number of
his calls. Is that what we should do, Mr. Ingram? You would not have
us quarrel with him?"

"Especially," said Mrs. Kavanagh with a smile, "that there is no
certainty he will spend more of his time with his wife merely because
he spends less of it here. And yet I fancy he is a very good-natured
man."

"He _is_ very good-natured," said Ingram with decision. "I have known
him for years, and I know that he is exceedingly unselfish, and that
he would do a ridiculously generous thing to serve a friend, and that
a better-intentioned fellow does not breathe in the world. But he is
at times, I admit, very thoughtless and inconsiderate."

"That sort of good-nature," said Mrs. Lorraine in her gentlest voice,
"is very good in its way, but rather uncertain. So long as it shines
in one direction, it is all right and quite trustworthy, for you
want a hard brush to brush sunlight off a wall. But when the sunlight
shifts, you know--"

"The wall is left in the cold. Well," said Ingram, "I am afraid it
is impossible for me to dictate to you what you ought to do. I do not
wish to draw you into any interference between husband and wife,
or even to let Mr. Lavender know that you think he is not treating
Shei--Mrs. Lavender--properly. But if you were to hint to him that
he ought to pay some attention to her--that he should not be going
everywhere as if he were a young bachelor in chambers; if you would
discourage his coming to see you without bringing her also, and so
forth--surely he would see what you mean. Perhaps I ask too much of
you, but I had intended to ask more. The fact is, Mrs. Kavanagh, I had
done your daughter the injustice of supposing--"

"I thought we had agreed to say no more about that," said Mrs.
Lorraine quickly, and Ingram was silent.

Half an hour thereafter he was walking back through Holland Park,
through the warm light of an autumn afternoon. The place seemed much
changed since he had seen it a couple of hours before. The double
curve of big houses had a more friendly and hospitable look: the very
air seemed to be more genial and comfortable since he had driven up
here in the hansom.

Perhaps Mr. Ingram was at this moment a little more perturbed, pleased
and bewildered than he would have liked to confess. He had discovered
a great deal in these two hours, been much surprised and fascinated,
and had come away fairly stupefied with the result of his mission.
He had indeed been successful: Lavender would now find a different
welcome awaiting him in the house in which he had been spending nearly
all his time, to the neglect of his wife. But the fact is, that as
Edward Ingram went rapidly over in his own mind everything that had
occurred since his entrance into that house, as he anxiously recalled
the remarks made to him, the tone and looks accompanying them, and his
own replies, it was not of Lavender's affairs alone that he thought.
He confessed to himself frankly that he had never yet met any woman
who had so surprised him into admiration on their first meeting.

Yet what had she said? Nothing very particular. Was it the bright
intelligence of the gray eyes, that seemed to see everything he meant
with an instant quickness, and that seemed to agree with him even
before he spoke? He reflected, now that he was in the open air, that
he must have persecuted these two women dreadfully. In getting away
from Lavender's affairs they had touched on pictures, books and what
not--on the young poet who was playing Alfred de Musset in England;
on the great philosopher who had gone into the House to confuse and
bewilder the country gentlemen there; on all sorts of topics, indeed,
except those which, as Ingram had anticipated, such a creature as Mrs.
Lorraine would naturally have found interesting. And he had to
confess to himself that he had lectured his two helpless victims most
unmercifully. He was quite conscious that he sometimes laid down the
law in an authoritative and even sententious manner. On first going
into the house certain things said by Mrs. Lorraine had almost
surprised him into a mood of mere acquiescence; but after luncheon he
had assumed his ordinary manner of tutor in general to the universe,
and had informed those two women, in a distinct fashion, what their
opinions ought to be on half the social conundrums of the day.

He now reflected, with much compunction, that this was highly
improper. He ought to have asked about flower-shows, and inquired
whether the princess of Wales was looking well of late. Some reference
to the last Parisian comedy might have introduced a disquisition
on the new grays and greens of the French milliners, with a passing
mention made of the price paid for a pair of ponies by a certain
marquise unattached. He had not spoken of one of these things:
perhaps he could not if he had tried. He remembered, with an awful
consciousness of guilt, that he had actually discoursed of woman
suffrage, of the public conscience of New York, of the extirpation of
the Indians, and a dozen different things, not only taking no heed
of any opinions that his audience of two might hold, but insisting
on their accepting his opinions as the expression of absolute and
incontrovertible truth.

He became more and more dissatisfied with himself. If he could only go
back now, he would be much more wary, more submissive and complaisant,
more anxious to please. What right had he to abuse the courtesy
and hospitality of these two strangers, and lecture them on the
Constitution of their own country? He was annoyed beyond expression
that they had listened to him with so much patience.

And yet he could not have seriously offended them, for they had
earnestly besought him to dine with them on the following Tuesday
evening, to meet an American judge; and when he had consented Mrs.
Lorraine had written down on a card the date and hour, lest he should
forget. He had that card in his pocket: surely he could not have
offended them? If he had pursued this series of questions, he might
have gone on to ask himself why he should be so anxious not to have
offended these two new friends. He was not ordinarily very sensitive
to the opinions that might be formed of him--more especially by
persons living out of his own sphere, with whom he was not likely to
associate. He did not, indeed, as a general rule, suffer himself to
be perturbed about anything; and yet, as he went along the busy
thoroughfare at this moment, he was conscious that rarely in his life
had he been so ill at ease.

Something now occurred that startled him out of his reverie. Communing
with himself, he was staring blankly ahead, taking little note of
the people whom he saw. But somehow, in a vague and dreamlike way, he
seemed to become aware that there was some one in front of him--a
long way ahead as yet--whom he knew. He was still thinking of Mrs.
Lorraine, and unconsciously postponing the examination of this
approaching figure, or rather pair of figures, when, with a sudden
start, he found Sheila's sad and earnest eyes fixed upon him. He woke
up as from a dream. He saw that young Mosenberg was with her, and
naturally the boy would have approached Ingram, and stopped and
spoken. But Ingram paid no attention to him. He was, with a quick pang
at his heart, regarding Sheila, with the knowledge that on her rested
the cruel decision as to whether she should come forward to him or
not. He was not aware that her husband had forbidden her to have any
communication with him; yet he had guessed as much, partly from his
knowledge of Lavender's impatient disposition, and partly from the
glance he caught of her eyes when he woke up from his trance.

Young Mosenberg turned with surprise to his companion. She was passing
on: he did not even see that she had bowed to Ingram, with a face
flushed with shame and pain and with eyes cast down. Ingram, too, was
passing on, without even shaking hands with her or uttering a word.
Mosenberg was too bewildered to attempt any protest: he merely
followed Sheila, with a conviction that something desperate had
occurred, and that he would best consult her feelings by making no
reference to it.

But that one look that the girl had directed to her old friend before
she bowed and passed on had filled him with dismay and despair. It
was somehow like the piteous look of a wounded animal, incapable
of expressing its pain. All thoughts and fancies of his own little
vexations or embarrassments were instantly banished from him: he could
only see before him those sad and piteous eyes, full of kindness
to him, he thought, and of grief that she should be debarred from
speaking to him, and of resignation to her own lot.

Gwdyr House did not get much work out of him that day. He sat in a
small room in a back part of the building, looking out on a lonely
little square, silent and ruddy with the reflected light of the
sunset.

"A hundred Mrs. Kavanaghs," he was thinking to himself bitterly
enough, "will not save my poor Sheila. She will die of a broken heart.
I can see it in her face. And it is I who have done it--from first to
last it is I who have done it; and now I can do nothing to help her."

That became the burden and refrain of all his reflections. It was he
who had done this frightful thing. It was he who had taken away the
young Highland girl, his good Sheila, from her home, and ruined her
life and broken her heart. And he could do nothing to help her!




CHAPTER XVIII.


SHEILA'S STRATAGEM.


"We met Mr. Ingram to-day," said young Mosenberg ingenuously.

He was dining with Lavender, not at home, but at a club in St. James's
street; and either his curiosity was too great, or he had forgotten
altogether Ingram's warnings to him that he should hold his tongue.

"Oh, did you?" said Lavender, showing no great interest. "Waiter, some
French mustard. What did Ingram say to you?"

The question was asked with much apparent indifference, and the
boy stared. "Well," he said at length, "I suppose there is some
misunderstanding between Mrs. Lavender and Mr. Ingram, for they both
saw each other, and they both passed on without speaking: I was very
sorry--yes. I thought they were friends--I thought Mr. Ingram knew
Mrs. Lavender even before you did; but they did not speak to each
other, not one word."

Lavender was in one sense pleased to hear this. He liked to hear that
his wife was obedient to him. But, he said to himself with a sharp
twinge of conscience, she was carrying her obedience too far. He had
never meant that she should not even speak to her old friend. He would
show Sheila that he was not unreasonable. He would talk to her about
it as soon as he got home, and in as kindly a way as was possible.

Mosenberg did not play billiards, but they remained late in the
billiard-room, Lavender playing pool, and getting out of it rather
successfully. He could not speak to Sheila that night, but next
morning, before going out, he did.

"Sheila," he said, "Mosenberg told me last night that you met Mr.
Ingram and did not speak to him. Now, I didn't mean anything like
that. You must not think me unreasonable. All I want is, that he shall
not interfere with our affairs and try to raise some unpleasantness
between you and me, such as might arise from the interference of even
the kindest of friends. When you meet him outside or at any one's
house, I hope you will speak to him just as usual."

Sheila replied calmly, "If I am not allowed to receive Mr. Ingram
here, I cannot treat him as a friend elsewhere. I would rather not
have friends whom I can only speak to in the streets."

"Very well," said Lavender, wincing under the rebuke, but fancying
that she would soon repent her of this resolve. In the mean time, if
she would have it so, she should have it so.

So that was an end of this question of Mr. Ingram's interference for
the present. But very soon--in a couple of days, indeed--Lavender
perceived the change that had been wrought in the house in Holland
Park to which he had been accustomed to resort.

"Cecilia," Mrs. Kavanagh had said on Ingram's leaving, "you must not
be rude to Mr. Lavender." She knew the perfect independence of that
gentle young lady, and was rather afraid it might carry her too far.

"Of course I shall not be, mamma," Mrs. Lorraine had said. "Did
you ever hear of such a courageous act as that man coming up to two
strangers and challenging them, all on behalf of a girl married to
some one else? You know that was the meaning of his visit. He thought
I was flirting with Mr. Lavender and keeping him from his wife. I
wonder how many men there are in London who would have walked twenty
yards to help in such a matter?'

"My dear, he may have been in love with that pretty young lady before
she was married."

"Oh no," said the clear-eyed daughter quietly, but quite confidently.
"He would not be so ready to show his interest in her if that were so.
Either he would be modest, and ashamed of his rejection, or vain, and
attempt to make a mystery about it."

"Perhaps you are right," said the mother: she seldom found her
daughter wrong on such points.

"I am sure I am right, mamma. He talks about her as fondly and
frequently and openly as a man might talk about his own daughter.
Besides, you can see that he is talking honestly. The man couldn't
deceive a child if he were to try. You see everything in his face."

"You seem to have been much interested in him," said Mrs. Kavanagh,
with no appearance of sarcasm.

"Well, I don't think I meet such men often, and that is the truth. Do
you?" This was carrying the war into the enemy's country.

"I like him very well," said Mrs. Kavanagh. "I think he is honest. I
do not think he dresses very carefully; and he is perhaps too intent
on convincing you that his opinions are right." "Well, for my part,"
said her daughter, with just the least tinge of warmth in her manner,
"I confess I like a man who has opinions, and who is not afraid to say
so. I don't find many who have. And for his dressing, one gets rather
tired of men who come to you every evening to impress you with
the excellence of their tailor. As if women were to be captured by
millinery! Don't we know the value of linen and woolen fabrics?"

"My dear child, you are throwing away your vexation on some one whom
I don't know. It isn't Mr. Lavender?" "Oh dear, no! He is not so
silly as that: he dresses well, but there is perfect freedom about
his dress. He is too much of an artist to sacrifice himself to his
clothes."

"I am glad you have a good word for him at last. I think you have been
rather hard on him since Mr. Ingram called; and that is the reason I
asked you to be careful."

She was quite careful, but as explicit as good manners would allow.
Mrs. Lorraine was most particular in asking about Mrs. Lavender, and
in expressing her regret that they so seldom saw her.

"She has been brought up in the country, you know," said Lavender with
a smile; "and there the daughters of a house are taught a number of
domestic duties that they would consider it a sin to neglect. She
would be unhappy if you caused her to neglect them: she would take her
pleasure with a bad conscience."

"But she cannot be occupied with them all day."

"My dear Mrs. Lorraine, how often have we discussed the question! And
you know you have me at a disadvantage, for how can I describe to
you what those mysterious duties are? I only know that she is pretty
nearly always busy with something or other; and in the evening, of
course, she is generally too tired to think of going out anywhere."

"Oh, but you must try to get her out. Next Tuesday, now, Judge ---- is
going to dine with us, and you know how amusing he is. If you have
no other engagement, couldn't you bring Mrs. Lavender to dine with us
on that evening?"

Now, on former occasions something of the same sort of invitation
had frequently been given, and it was generally answered by Lavender
giving an excuse for his wife, and promising to come himself. What was
his astonishment to find Mrs. Lorraine plainly and most courteously
intimating that the invitation was addressed distinctly to Mr. and
Mrs. Lavender as a couple! When he regretted that Mrs. Lavender could
not come, she said quietly, "Oh, I am so sorry! You would have met an
old friend of yours here, as well as the judge--Mr. Ingram."

Lavender made no further sign of surprise or curiosity than to lift
his eyebrows and say, "Indeed!"

But when he left the house certain dark suspicions were troubling his
mind. Nothing had been said as to the manner in which Ingram had made
the acquaintance of Mrs. Kavanagh and her daughter, but there was that
in Mrs. Lorraine's manner which convinced Lavender that something
had happened. Had Ingram carried his interference to the extent
of complaining to them? Had he overcome a repugnance which he had
repeatedly admitted, and thrust himself upon these two people for
this very purpose of making him, Lavender, odious and contemptible?
Lavender's cheeks burned as he thought of this possibility. Mrs.
Lorraine had been most courteous to him, but the longer he dwelt on
these vague surmises the deeper grew his consciousness that he had
been turned out of the place, morally if not physically. What was that
excess of courtesy but a cloak? If she had meant less, she would have
been more careless; and all through the interview he had remarked
that, instead of the free warfare of talk that generally went on
between them, Mrs. Lorraine was most formally polite and apparently
watchful of her words.

He went home in a passion, which was all the more consuming that it
could not be vented on any one. As Sheila had not spoken to Ingram--as
she had even nerved herself to wound him by passing him without notice
in the street--she could not be held responsible; and yet he wished
that he could have upbraided some one for this mischief that had been
done. Should he go straight down to Ingram's lodgings and have it
out with him? At first he was strongly inclined to do so, but wiser
counsels prevailed. Ingram had a keen and ready tongue, and a way of
saying things that made them rankle afterward in the memory. Besides,
he would go into court with a defective case. He could say nothing
unless Ingram admitted that he had tried to poison the mind of Mrs.
Lorraine against him; and of course if there was a quarrel, who would
be so foolish as to make such an admission? Ingram would laugh at
him, would refuse to admit or deny, would increase his anger without
affording him an opportunity of revenging himself.

Sheila could see that her husband was troubled, but could not divine
the cause, and had long ago given up any habit of inquiry. He ate his
dinner almost in silence, and then said he had to make a call on a
friend, and that he would perhaps drop in to the club on his way home,
so that she was not to sit up for him. She was not surprised or hurt
at the announcement. She was accustomed to spend her evenings alone.
She fetched down his cigar-case, put it in his top-coat pocket and
brought him the coat. Then he kissed her and went out.

But this evening, at least, she had; abundant occupation, and that
of a sufficiently pleasant kind. For some little time she had been
harboring in her mind a dark and mysterious plot, and she was glad
of an opportunity to think it out and arrange its details. Mairi was
coming to London, and she had carefully concealed the fact from her
husband. A little surprise of a dramatic sort was to be prepared for
him--with what result, who could tell? All of a sudden Lavender was
to be precipitated into the island of Lewis as nearly as that could be
imitated in a house at Notting Hill.

This was Sheila's scheme, and on these lonely evenings she could sit
by herself with much satisfaction and ponder over the little points
of it and its possible success. Mairi was coming to London under the
escort of a worthy Glasgow fishmonger whom Mr. Mackenzie knew. She
would arrive after Lavender had left for his studio. Then she and
Sheila would set to work to transform the smoking-room, that was
sometimes called a library, into something resembling the quaint
little drawing-room in Sheila's home. Mairi was bringing up a quantity
of heather gathered fresh from the rocks beside the White Water; she
was bringing up some peacocks' feathers, too, for the mantelpiece, and
two or three big shells; and, best of all, she was to put in her trunk
a real and veritable lump of peat, well dried and easy to light. Then
you must know that Sheila had already sketched out the meal that was
to be placed on the table so soon as the room had been done up in
Highland fashion and this peat lit so as to send its fragrant smoke
abroad. A large salmon was to make its appearance first of all. There
would be bottles of beer on the table; also one of those odd bottles
of Norwegian make, filled with whisky. And when Lavender went
with wonder into this small room, when he smelt the fragrant
peat-smoke--and every one knows how powerful the sense of smell is in
recalling bygone associations--when he saw the smoking salmon and the
bottled beer and the whisky, and when he suddenly found Mairi coming
into the room and saying to him, in her sweet Highland fashion, "And
are you ferry well, sir?"--would not his heart warm to the old
ways and kindly homeliness of the house in Borva, and would not some
glimpse of the happy and half-forgotten time that was now so sadly and
strangely remote cause him to break down that barrier between himself
and Sheila that this artificial life in the South had placed there?

So the child dreamed, and was happy in dreaming of it. Sometimes
she grew afraid of her project: she had not had much experience in
deception, and the mere concealment of Mairi's coming was a hard thing
to bear. But surely her husband would take this trick in good part.
It was only, after all, a joke. To put a little barbaric splendor of
decoration into the little smoking-room, to have a scent of peat-smoke
in the air, and to have a timid, sweet-voiced, pretty Highland girl
suddenly make her appearance, with an odor of the sea about her, as
it were, and a look of fresh breezes in the color of her cheeks,--what
mortal man could find fault with this innocent jest? Sheila's moments
of doubt were succeeded by long hours of joyous confidence, in which a
happy light shone on her face. She went through the house with a brisk
step; she sang to herself as she went; she was kinder than ever to
the small children who came into the square every forenoon, and
whose acquaintance she had very speedily made; she gave each of her
crossing-sweepers threepence instead of twopence in passing.
The servants had never seen her in such good spirits; she was
exceptionally generous in presenting them with articles of attire;
they might have had half the week in holidays if Mr. Lavender had not
to be attended to. A small gentleman of three years of age lived next
door, and his acquaintance also she had made by means of his nurse. At
this time his stock of toys, which Sheila had kept carefully renewed,
became so big that he might, with proper management, have set up a
stall in the Lowther Arcade. Just before she left Lewis her father had
called her to him, and said, "Sheila, I wass wanting to tell you about
something. It is not every one that will care to hef his money given
away to poor folk, and it wass many a time I said to myself that when
you were married maybe your husband would think you were giving too
much money to the poor folk, as you wass doing in Borva. And it iss
this fifty pounds I hef got for you, Sheila, in ten banknotes, and you
will take them with you for your own money, that you will not hef any
trouble about giving things to people. And when the fifty pounds
will be done, I will send you another fifty pounds; and it will be no
difference to me whatever. And if there is any one in Borva you would
be for sending money to, there is your own money; for there is many a
one would take the money from Sheila Mackenzie that would not be for
taking it from an English stranger in London. And when you will send
it to them, you will send it to me; and I will tek it to them, and
will tell them that this money is from my Sheila, and from no one else
whatever."

This was all the dowry that Sheila carried with her to the South.
Mackenzie would willingly have given her half his money, if she would
have taken it or if her husband had desired it; but the old King of
Borva had profound and far-reaching schemes in his head about the
small fortune he might otherwise have accorded to his daughter. This
wealth, such as it was, was to be a magnet to draw this young English
gentleman back to the Hebrides. It was all very well for Mr. Lavender
to have plenty of money at present: he might not always have it. Then
the time would come for Mackenzie to say, "Look here, young man: I can
support myself easily and comfortably by my farming and fishing.
The money I have saved is at your disposal so long as you consent
to remain in Lewis--in Stornoway if you please, elsewhere if you
please--only in Lewis. And while you are painting pictures, and making
as much money as you can that way, you can have plenty of fishing and
shooting and amusement; and my guns and boats and rods are all at your
service." Mr. Mackenzie considered that no man could resist such an
offer.

Sheila, of course, told her husband of the sum of money she owned, and
for a longtime it was a standing joke between them. He addressed her
with much respect, and was careful to inform her of the fluctuations
of the moneymarket. Sometimes he borrowed a sovereign of her, and
never without giving her an I O U, which was faithfully reclaimed. But
by and by she perceived that he grew less and less to like the mention
of this money. Perhaps it resembled too closely the savings which the
overcautious folks about Borvabost would not entrust to a bank, but
kept hid about their huts in the heel of a stocking. At all events,
Sheila saw that her husband did not like her to go to this fund for
her charities; and so the fifty pounds that her father had given her
lasted a long time. During this period of jubilation, in which she
looked forward to touching her husband's heart by an innocent little
stratagem, more frequent appeals were made to the drawer in which
the treasure was locked up, so that in the end her private dowry was
reduced to thirty pounds.

If Ingram could have but taken part in this plan of hers! The only
regret that was mingled with her anticipations of a happier future
concerned this faithful friend of hers, who seemed to have been cut
off from them for ever. And it soon became apparent to her that her
husband, so far from inclining to forget the misunderstanding that
had arisen between Ingram and himself, seemed to feel increased
resentment, insomuch that she was most careful to avoid mentioning his
name.

She was soon to meet him, however. Lavender was resolved that he would
not appear to have retired from the field merely because Ingram had
entered it. He would go to this dinner on the Tuesday evening, and
Sheila would accompany him. First, he asked her. Much as she would
have preferred not visiting these particular people, she cheerfully
acquiesced: she was not going to be churlish or inconsiderate on the
very eve of her dramatic _coup_. Then he went to Mrs. Lorraine and
said he had persuaded Sheila to come with him; and the young American
lady and her mamma were good enough to say how glad they were she had
come to this decision. They appeared to take it for granted that it
was Sheila alone who had declined former invitations.

"Mr. Ingram will be there on Tuesday evening," said Lavender to his
wife.

"I was not aware he knew them," said Sheila, remembering, indeed, how
scrupulously Ingram had refused to know them.

"He has made their acquaintance for his own purposes, doubtless," said
Lavender. "I suppose he will appear in a frock-coat, with a bright
blue tie, and he will say 'Sir' to the waiters when he does not
understand them."

"I thought you said Mr. Ingram belonged to a very good family," said
Sheila quietly.

"That is so. But each man is responsible for his own manners; and as
all the society he sees consists of a cat and some wooden pipes in a
couple of dingy rooms in Sloane street, you can't expect him not to
make an ass of himself."

"I have never seen him make himself ridiculous: I do not think it
possible," said Sheila, with a certain precision of speech which
Lavender had got to know meant much. "But that is a matter for
himself. Perhaps you will tell me what I am to do when I meet him at
Mrs. Kavanagh's house."

"Of course you must meet him as you would any one else you know.
If you don't wish to speak to him, you need not do so. Saying
'Good-evening' costs nothing."

"If he takes me into dinner?" she asked calmly.

"Then you must talk to him as you would to any stranger," he said
impatiently. "Ask him if he has been to the opera, and he won't know
there is no opera going on. Tell him that town is very full, and he
won't know that everybody has left. Say you may meet him again at Mrs.
Kavanagh's, and you'll see that he doesn't know they mean to start for
the Tyrol in a fortnight. I think you and I must also be settling soon
where we mean to go. I don't think we could do better than go to the
Tyrol."

She did not answer. It was clear that he had given up all intention of
going up to Lewis, for that year at least. But she would not beg him
to alter his decision just yet. Mairi was coming, and that experiment
of the enchanted room had still to be tried.

As they drove round to Mrs. Kavanagh's house on that Tuesday evening,
she thought, with much bitterness of heart, of the possibility of her
having to meet Mr. Ingram in the fashion her husband had suggested.
Would it not be better, if he did take her in to dinner, to throw
herself entirely on his mercy, and ask him not to talk to her at all?
She would address herself, when there was a chance, to her neighbor on
the other side: if she remained silent altogether, no great harm would
be done.

When she went into the drawing-room her first glance round was
for him, and he was the first person whom she saw; for, instead of
withdrawing into a corner to make one neighbor the victim of his
shyness, or concealing his embarrassment in studying the photographic
albums, Mr. Ingram was coolly standing on the hearth-rug, with both
hands in his trousers pockets, while he was engaged in giving the
American judge a great deal of authoritative information about
America. The judge was a tall, fair, stout, good-natured man, fond
of joking and a good dinner, and he was content at this moment to sit
quietly in an easy-chair, with a pleasant smile on his face, and be
lectured about his own country by this sallow little man, whom he took
to be a professor of modern history at some college or other.

Ingram, as soon as he found that Sheila was in the room, relieved her
from any doubt as to his intentions. He merely came forward, shook
hands with her, and said, "How do you do, Mrs. Lavender?" and went
back to the judge. She might have been an acquaintance of yesterday or
a friend of twenty years' standing: no one could tell by his manner.
As for Sheila, she parted with his hand reluctantly. She tried to
look, too, what she dared not say; but whatever of regret and kindness
and assurance of friendship was in her eyes he did not see. He
scarcely glanced at her face: he went off at once, and plunged again
into the Cincinnati Convention.

Mrs. Kavanagh and Mrs. Lorraine were exceedingly and almost
obtrusively kind to her, but she scarcely heard what they said to her.
It seemed so strange and so sad to her that her old friend should be
standing near her, and she so far removed from him that she dared not
go and speak to him. She could not understand it sometimes: everything
around her seemed to get confused, until she felt as if she were
sinking in a great sea, and could utter but one despairing cry as she
saw the light disappear above her head. When they went in to dinner
she saw that Mr. Ingram's seat was on Mrs. Lorraine's right hand, and,
although she could hear him speak, as he was almost right opposite to
her, it seemed to her that his voice sounded as if it were far
away. The man who had taken her in was a tall, brown-whiskered and
faultlessly-dressed person who never spoke, so that she was allowed to
sit and listen to the conversation between Mrs. Lorraine and Ingram.
They appeared to be on excellent terms. You would have fancied
they had known each other for years. And as Sheila sat and saw how
preoccupied and pleased with his companion Mr. Ingram was, perhaps now
and again the bitter question arose to her mind whether this woman,
who had taken away her husband, was seeking to take away her friend
also. Sheila knew nothing of all that had happened within these past
few days. She knew only that she was alone, without either husband or
friend, and it seemed to her that this pale American girl had taken
both away from her.

Ingram was in one of his happiest moods, and was seeking to prove to
Mrs. Lorraine that this present dinner-party ought to be an especially
pleasant one. Everybody was going away somewhere, and of course she
must know that the expectation of traveling was much more delightful
than the reality of it. What could surpass the sense of freedom, of
power, of hope enjoyed by the happy folks who sat down to an open
atlas and began to sketch out routes for their coming holidays? Where
was he going? Oh, he was going to the North. Had Mrs. Lorraine never
seen Edinburgh Castle rising out of a gray fog, like the ghost of some
great building belonging to the times of Arthurian romance? Had she
never seen the northern twilights, and the awful gloom and wild colors
of Loch Coruisk and the Skye hills? There was no holiday-making so
healthy, so free from restraint, as that among the far Highland hills
and glens, where the clear mountain-air, scented with miles and miles
of heather, seemed to produce a sort of intoxication of good spirits
within one. Then the yachting round the wonderful islands of the
West--the rapid runs of a bright forenoon, the shooting of the wild
sea-birds, the scrambled dinners in the small cabin, the still nights
in the small harbors, with a scent of sea-weed abroad, and the white
stars shining down on the trembling water. Yes, he was going yachting
this autumn: in about a fortnight he hoped to start. His friend was at
present away up Loch Boisdale, in South Uist, and he did not know how
to get there except by going to Skye, and taking his chance of some
boat going over. Where would they go then? He did not know. Wherever
his friend liked. It would be enough for him if they kept always
moving about, seeing the strange sights of the sea and the air and the
lonely shores of those northern islands. Perhaps they might even try
to reach St. Kilda--

"Oh, Mr. Ingram, won't you go and see my papa?"

The cry that suddenly reached him was like the cry of a broken heart.
He started as from a trance, and found Sheila regarding him with a
piteous appeal in her face: she had been listening intently to all he
had said.

"Oh yes, Sheila," he said kindly, and quite forgetting that he was
speaking to her before strangers: "of course I must go and see your
papa if we are any way near the Lewis. Perhaps you may be there then?"

"No," said Sheila, looking down.

"Won't you go to the Highlands this autumn?" Mrs. Lorraine asked in a
friendly way.

"No," said Sheila in a measured voice as she looked her enemy fair in
the face: "I think we are going to the Tyrol."

If the child had only known what occurred to Mrs. Lorraine's mind
at this moment! Not a triumphant sense of Lavender's infatuation, as
Sheila probably fancied, but a very definite resolution that if Frank
Lavender went to the Tyrol, it was not with either her or her mother
he should go.

"Mrs. Lavender's father is an old friend of mine," said Ingram, loud
enough for all to hear; "and, hospitable as all Highlanders are, I
have never met his equal in that way, and I have tried his patience a
good many times. What do you think, Mrs. Lorraine, of a man who would
give up his best gun to you, even though you couldn't shoot a bit, and
he particularly proud of his shooting? And so if you lived with him
for a month or six months--each day the best of everything for you,
the second best for your friend, the worst for himself. Wasn't it so,
Lavender?"

It was a direct challenge sent across the table, and Sheila's heart
beat quick lest her husband should say something ungracious.

"Yes, certainly," said Lavender with a readiness that pleased Sheila.
"I, at least, have no right to complain of his hospitality."

"Your papa is a very handsome man," said Mrs. Lorraine to Sheila,
bringing the conversation back to their own end of the table. "I have
seen few finer heads than that drawing you have. Mr. Lavender did
that, did he not? Why has he never done one of you?"

"He is too busy, I think, just now," Sheila said, perhaps not knowing
that from Mrs. Lorraine's waist-belt at that moment depended a fan
which might have given evidence as to the extreme scarcity of time
under which Lavender was supposed to labor.

"He has a splendid head," said Ingram. "Did you know that he is called
the King of Borva up there?"

"I have heard of him being called the King of Thule," said Mrs.
Lorraine, turning with a smile to Sheila, "and of his daughter being
styled a princess. Do you know the ballad of the King of Thule in
_Faust_, Mrs. Lavender?'"

"In the opera?--yes," said Sheila.

"Will you sing it for us after dinner?"

"If you like."

The promise was fulfilled, in a fashion. The notion that Mr. Ingram
was about to go away up to Lewis, to the people who knew her and to
her father's house, with no possible answer to the questions which
would certainly be showered upon him as to why she had not come also,
troubled Sheila deeply. The ladies went into the drawing-room, and
Mrs. Lorraine got out the song. Sheila sat down to the piano, thinking
far more of that small stone house at Borva than of the King of
Thule's castle overlooking the sea; and yet somehow the first lines of
the song, though she knew them well enough, sent a pang to her
heart as she glanced at them. She touched the first notes of the
accompaniment, and she looked at the words again:

  Over the sea, in Thule of old,
  Reigned a king who was true-hearted,
  Who, in remembrance of one departed--

A mist came over her eyes. Was she the one who had departed, leaving
the old king in his desolate house by the sea, where he could only
think of her as he sat in his solitary chamber, with the night-winds
howling round the shore outside? When her birthday had come round
she knew that he must have silently drank to her, though not out of a
beaker of gold. And now, when mere friends and acquaintances were free
to speed away to the North, and get a welcome from the folks in Borva,
and listen to the Atlantic waves dashing lightly in among the rocks,
her hope of getting thither had almost died out. Among such people as
landed on Stornoway quay from the big Clansman her father would seek
one face, and seek it in vain. And Duncan and Scarlett, and even John
the Piper--all the well-remembered folks who lived far away across the
Minch--they would ask why Miss Sheila was never coming back.

Mrs. Lorraine had been standing aside from the piano. Noticing that
Sheila had played the introduction to the song twice over in an
undetermined manner, she came forward a step or two and pretended to
be looking at the music. Tears were running down Sheila's face. Mrs.
Lorraine put her hand on the girl's shoulder, and sheltered her from
observation, and said aloud, "You have it in a different key, have
you not? Pray don't sing it. Sing something else. Do you know any of
Gounod's sacred songs? Let me see if we can find anything for you in
this volume."

They were a long time finding anything in that volume. When they did
find it, behold! it was one of Mrs. Lorraine's songs, and that young
lady said if Mrs. Lavender would only allow herself to be superseded
for a few minutes--And so Sheila walked, with her head down, to
the conservatory, which was at the other end of the piano; and Mrs.
Lorraine not only sung this French song, but sang every one of the
verses; and at the end of it she had quite forgotten that Sheila had
promised to sing.

"You are very sensitive," she said to Sheila, coming into the
conservatory.

"I am very stupid," Sheila said with her face burning. "But it is a
long time since I will see the Highlands--and Mr. Ingram was talking
of the places I know--and--and so--"

"I understand well enough," said Mrs. Lorraine tenderly, as if Sheila
were a mere child in her hands. "But you must not get your eyes red.
You have to sing some of those Highland songs for us yet, when the
gentlemen come in. Come up to my room and I will make your eyes all
right. Oh, do not be afraid! I shall not bring you down like Lady
Leveret. Did you ever see anything like that woman's face to-night? It
reminds me of the window of an oil-and-color shop. I wonder she does
not catch flies with her cheeks."

So all the people, Sheila learned that night, were going away from
London, and soon she and her husband would join in the general
stampede of the very last dwellers in town. But Mairi? What was to
become of her after that little plot had been played out? Sheila
could not leave Mairi to see London by herself: she had been enjoying
beforehand the delight of taking the young girl about and watching the
wonder of her eyes. Nor could she fairly postpone Mairi's visit, and
Mairi was coming up in another couple of days.

On the morning on which the visitor from the far Hebrides was to make
her appearance in London, Sheila felt conscious of a great hypocrisy
in bidding good-bye to her husband. On some excuse or other she had
had breakfast ordered early, and he found himself ready at half-past
nine to go out for the day.

"Frank," she said, "will you come in to lunch at two?"

"Why?" he asked: he did not often have luncheon at home.

"I will go into the Park with you in the afternoon if you like," she
said: all the scene had been diligently rehearsed on one side, before.

Lavender was a little surprised, but he was in an amiable mood.

"All right!" he said. "Have something with olives in it. Two, sharp."

With that he went out, and Sheila, with a wild commotion at her heart,
saw him walk away through the square. She was afraid Mairi might
have arrived before he left. And, indeed, he had not gone above a few
minutes when a four-wheeler drove up, and an elderly man got out and
waited for the timid-faced girl inside to alight. With a rush like
that of a startled deer, Sheila was down the stairs, along the hall
and on the pavement; and it was, "Oh, Mairi! and have you come at
last? And are you very well? And how are all the people in Borva? And
Mr. M'Alpine, how are you? and will you come into the house?"

Certainly, that was a strange sight for a decorous London square--the
mistress of a house, a young girl with bare head, coming out on the
pavement to shake hands in a frantic fashion with a young maid-servant
and an elderly man whose clothes had been pretty well tanned by
sunlight and sea-water! And Sheila would herself help to carry Mairi's
luggage in. And she would take no denial from Mr. M'Alpine, whose
luggage was also carried in. And she would herself pay the cabman, as
strangers did not know about these things, Sheila's knowledge being
exhibited by her hastily giving the man five shillings for driving
from Euston Station. And there was breakfast waiting for them both as
soon as Mairi could get her face washed; and would Mr. M'Alpine have
a glass of whisky after the night's traveling?--and it was very
good whisky whatever, as it had come all the way from Stornoway. Mr.
M'Alpine was nothing loath.

"And wass you pretty well, Miss Sheila?" said Mairi, looking timidly
and hastily up, and forgetting altogether that Sheila had another name
now. "It will be a great thing for me to go back to sa Lewis, and
tell them I wass seeing you, and you wass looking so well. And I will
be thinking I wass neffer coming to any one I knew any more; and it is
a great fright I hef had since we came away from sa Lewis; and I wass
thinking we would neffer find you among all sa people and so far away
across sa sea and sa land. Eh--!" The girl stopped in astonishment.
Her eyes had wandered up to a portrait on the walls; and here, in
this very room, after she had traveled over all this great distance,
apparently leaving behind her everything but the memory of her home,
was Mr. Mackenzie himself, looking at her from under his shaggy
eyebrows.

"You must have seen that picture in Borva, Mairi," Sheila said. "Now
come with me, like a good girl, and get yourself ready for breakfast.
Do you know, Mairi, it does my heart good to hear you talk again? I
don't think I shall be able to let you go back to the Lewis."

"But you hef changed ferry much in your way of speaking, Miss--Mrs.
Lavender," said Mairi with an effort. "You will speak just like sa
English now."

"The English don't say so," replied Sheila with a smile, leading the
way up stairs.

Mr. M'Alpine had his business to attend to, but, being a sensible man,
he took advantage of the profuse breakfast placed before him. Mairi
was a little too frightened and nervous and happy to eat much, but Mr.
M'Alpine was an old traveler, not to be put out by the mere meeting of
two girls. He listened in a grave and complacent manner to the rapid
questions and answers of Mairi and her hostess, but he himself was
too busy to join in the conversation much. At the end of breakfast he
accepted, after a little pressing, half a glass of whisky; and then,
much comforted and in a thoroughly good-humor with himself and the
world, got his luggage out again and went on his way toward a certain
inn in High Holborn.

"Ay, and where does the queen live, Miss Sheila?" said Mairi. She had
been looking at the furniture in Sheila's house, and wondering if the
queen lived in a place still more beautiful than this.

"A long way from here."

"And it iss no wonder," said Mairi, "she will neffer hef been in sa
Lewis. I wass neffer thinking the world wass so big, and it wass many
a time since me and Mr. M'Alpine hef come away from Styornoway I wass
thinking it wass too far for me effer to get back again. But it is
many a one will say to me, before I hef left the Lewis, that I wass
not to come home unless you wass coming too, and I wass to bring you
back with me, Miss Sheila. And where is Bras, Miss Sheila?"

"You will see him by and by. He is out in the garden now." She said
"gyarden" without knowing it.

"And will he understood the Gaelic yet?"

"Oh yes," Sheila said. "And he is sure to remember you."

There was no mistake about that. When Mairi went into the back garden
the demonstrations of delight on the part of the great deerhound were
as pronounced as his dignity and gravity would allow. And Mairi fairly
fell upon his neck and kissed him, and addressed to him a hundred
endearing phrases in Gaelic, every word of which it was quite obvious
that the dog understood. London was already beginning to be less
terrible to her. She had met and talked with Sheila. Here was Bras.
A portrait of the King of Borva was hung up inside, and all round the
rooms were articles which she had known in the North, before Sheila
had married and brought them away into this strange land.

"You have never asked after my husband, Mairi," said Sheila, thinking
she would confuse the girl.

But Mairi was not confused. Probably she had been fancying that Mr.
Lavender was down at the shore, or had gone out fishing, or something
of that sort, and would return soon enough. It was Sheila, not he,
whom she was concerned about. Indeed, Mairi had caught up a little of
that jealousy of Lavender which was rife among the Borva folks. They
would speak no ill of Mr. Lavender. The young gentleman whom Miss
Sheila had chosen had by that very fact a claim upon their respect.
Mr. Mackenzie's son-in-law was a person of importance. And yet in
their secret hearts they bore a grudge against him. What right had
he to come away up to the North and carry off the very pride of the
island? Were English girls not good enough for him, that he must needs
come up and take away Sheila Mackenzie, and keep her there in the
South so that her friends and acquaintances saw no more of her? Before
the marriage Mairi had a great liking and admiration for Mr. Lavender.
She was so pleased to see Miss Sheila pleased that she approved of
the young man, and thanked him in her heart for making her cousin and
mistress so obviously happy. Perhaps, indeed, Mairi managed to fall
in love with him a little bit herself, merely by force of example and
through sympathy with Sheila; and she was rapidly forming very good
opinions of the English race and their ways and their looks. But
when Lavender took away Sheila from Borva a change came over Mairi's
sentiments. She gradually fell in with the current opinions of the
island--that it was a great pity Sheila had not married young Mr.
Maclntyre of Sutherland, or some one who would have allowed her to
remain among her own people. Mairi began to think that the English,
though they were handsome and good-natured and free with their money,
were on the whole a selfish race, inconsiderate and forgetful of
promises. She began to dislike the English, and wished they would stay
in their own country, and not interfere with other people.

"I hope he is very well," said Mairi dutifully: she could at least say
that honestly.

"You will see him at two o'clock. He is coming in to luncheon; and he
does not know you are here, and you are to be a great surprise to him,
Mairi. And there is to be a greater surprise still; for we are going
to make one of the rooms into the drawing-room at home; and you must
open your boxes, and bring me down the heather and the peat, Mairi,
and the two bottles; and then, you know, when the salmon is on the
table, and the whisky and the beer, and Bras lying on the hearth-rug,
and the peat-smoke all through the room, then you will come in and
shake hands with him, and he will think he is in Borva again."

Mairi was a little puzzled. She did not understand the intention of
this strange thing. But she went and fetched the materials she had
brought with her from Lewis, and Sheila and she set to work.

It was a pleasant enough occupation for this bright forenoon, and
Sheila, as she heard Mairi's sweet Highland speech, and as she
brought from all parts of the house the curiosities sent her from
the Hebrides, would almost have fancied she was superintending a
"cleaning" of that museum-like little drawing-room at Borva. Skins of
foxes, seals and deer, stuffed eagles and strange fishes, masses of
coral and wonderful carvings in wood brought from abroad, shells of
every size from every clime,--all these were brought together
into Frank Lavender's smoking-room. The ordinary ornaments of the
mantelpiece gave way to fanciful arrangements of peacocks' feathers.
Fresh-blown ling and the beautiful spikes of the bell-heather formed
the staple of the decorations, and Mairi had brought enough to adorn
an assembly-room.

"That is like the Lewis people," Sheila said with a laugh: she had
not been in as happy a mood for many a day. "I asked you to bring one
peat, and of course you brought two. Tell the truth, Mairi: could you
have forced yourself to bring one peat?"

"I wass thinking it was safer to bring sa two," replied Mairi,
blushing all over the fair and pretty face.

And indeed, there being two peats, Sheila thought she might as well
try an experiment with one. She crumbled down some pieces, put them
on a plate, lit them, and placed the plate outside the open window,
on the sill. Presently a new, sweet, half-forgotten fragrance came
floating in, and Sheila almost forgot the success of the experiment in
the half-delighted, half-sad reminiscences called up by the scent
of the peat. Mairi failed to see how any one could willfully smoke
a house--any one, that is to say, who did not save the smoke for his
thatch. And who was so particular as Sheila had been about having the
clothes come in from the washing dried so that they should not retain
this very odor that seemed now to delight her?

At last the room was finished, and Sheila contemplated it with much
satisfaction. The table was laid, and on the white cloth stood the
bottles most familiar to Borva. The peat-smoke still lingered in the
air: she could not have wished anything to be better.

Then she went off to look after the luncheon, and Mairi was permitted
to go down and explore the mysteries of the kitchen. The servants
were not accustomed to this interference and oversight, and might have
resented it, only that Sheila had proved a very good mistress to them,
and had shown, too, that she would have her own way when she wanted
it. Suddenly, as Sheila was explaining to Mairi the use of some
particular piece of mechanism, she heard a sound that made her heart
jump. It was now but half-past one, and yet that was surely her
husband's foot in the hall. For a moment she was too bewildered to
know what to do. She heard him go straight into the very room she had
been decorating, the door of which she had left open. Then, as she
went up stairs, with her heart still beating fast, the first thing
that met her eye was a tartan shawl belonging to Mairi that had been
accidentally left in the passage. Her husband must have seen it.

"Sheila, what nonsense is this?" he said.

He was evidently in a hurry, and yet she could not answer: her heart
was throbbing too quickly.

"Look here," he said: "I wish you'd give up this grotto-making till
to-morrow. Mrs. Kavanagh, Mrs. Lorraine and Lord Arthur Redmond are
coming here to luncheon at two. I suppose you can get something decent
for them. What is the matter? What is the meaning of all this?"

And then his eyes rested on the tartan shawl, which he had really not
noticed before.

"Who is in the house?" he said. "Have you asked some washerwoman to
lunch?"

Sheila managed at last to say, "It is Mairi come from Stornoway. I was
thinking you would be surprised to see her when you came in."

"And these preparations are for her?"

Sheila said nothing: there was that in the tone of her husband's voice
which was gradually bringing her to herself, and giving her quite
sufficient firmness.

"And now that this girl has come up, I suppose you mean to introduce
her to all your friends; and I suppose you expect those people who are
coming in half an hour to sit down at table with a kitchen-maid?"

"Mairi," said Sheila, standing quite erect, but with her eyes cast
down, "is my cousin."

"Your cousin! Don't be ridiculous, Sheila. You know very well that
Mairi is nothing more or less than a scullery-maid; and I suppose you
mean to take her out of the kitchen and introduce her to people, and
expect her to sit down at table with them. Is not that so?" She did
not answer, and he went on impatiently: "Why was I not told that this
girl was coming to stay at my house? Surely I have some right to know
what guests you invite, that I may be able at least to ask my friends
not to come near the house while they are in it."

"That I did not tell you before--yes, that was a pity," said Sheila,
sadly and calmly. "But it will be no trouble to you. When Mrs.
Lorraine comes up at two o'clock there will be luncheon for her
and for her friends. She will not have to sit down with any of my
relations or with me, for if they are not fit to meet her, I am not;
and it is not any great matter that I do not meet her at two o'clock."

There was no passion of any sort in the measured and sad voice, nor
in the somewhat pale face and downcast eyes. Perhaps it was this
composure that deceived Frank Lavender: at all events, he turned and
walked out of the house, satisfied that he would not have to introduce
this Highland cousin to his friends, and just as certain that Sheila
would repent of her resolve and appear in the dining-room as usual.

Sheila went down stairs to the kitchen, where Mairi still stood
awaiting her. She gave orders to one of the servants about having
luncheon laid in the dining-room at two, and then she bade Mairi
follow her up stairs.

"Mairi," she said, when they were alone, "I want you to put your
things in your trunk at once--in five minutes if you can: I shall be
waiting for you."

"Miss Sheila!" cried the girl, looking up to her friend's face with a
sudden fright seizing her heart, "what is the matter with you? You are
going to die!"

"There is nothing the matter, Mairi. I am going away."

She uttered the words placidly, but there was a pained look about the
lips that could not be concealed, and her face, unknown to herself,
had the whiteness of despair in it.

"Going away!" said Mairi, in a bewildered way. "Where are you going,
Miss Sheila?"

"I will tell you by and by. Get your trunk ready, Mairi. You are
keeping me waiting."

Then she called for a servant, who was sent for a cab; and by the time
the vehicle appeared Mairi was ready to get into it, and her trunk was
put on the top. Then, clad in the rough blue dress that she used to
wear in Borva, and with no appearance of haste or fear in the calm and
death-like face, Sheila came out from her husband's house and found
herself alone in the world. There were two little girls, the daughters
of a neighbor, passing by at the time: she patted them on the head and
bade them good-morning. Could she recollect, five minutes thereafter,
having seen them? There was a strange and distant look in her eyes.

She got into the cab and sat down by Mairi, and then took the girl's
hand. "I am sorry to take you away, Mairi," she said; but she was
apparently not thinking of Mairi, nor of the house she was leaving,
nor yet of the vehicle in which she was so strangely placed. Was she
thinking of a certain wild and wet day in the far Hebrides, when a
young bride stood on the decks of a great vessel and saw the home of
her childhood and the friends of her youth fade back into the desolate
waste of the sea? Perhaps there may have been some unconscious
influence in this picture to direct her movements at this moment, for
of definite resolves she had none. When Mairi told her that the cabman
wanted to know whither he was to drive, she merely answered, "Oh yes,
Mairi, we will go to the station;" and Mairi added, addressing the
man, "It was the Euston Station." Then they drove away.

"Are you going home?" said the young girl, looking up with a strange
foreboding and sinking of the heart to the pale face and distant
eyes--"Are you going home, Miss Sheila?"

"Oh yes, we are going home, Mairi," was the answer she got, but the
tone in which it was uttered filled her mind with doubt, and something
like despair.

[TO BE CONTINUED.]


       *       *       *       *       *




THE LAST OF THE IDYLLS.


            "Ended at last
  Those wondrous dreams, so beautifully told!
    It seems that I have through enchantment passed,
  And lived and loved in that fair court of old.

            "Yes, yes, I know--
  The old Greek idylls about which you rave,
    Theocritus and his melodious flow
  Of verse, and all that Moschus sang o'er Bion's grave.

            "You've shown me oft
  How far superior all that _they_ have said--
    That Tennyson has learned to soar aloft
  By seeking inspiration from the greater dead.

            "And yet in me
  A pulse is never stirred by what _they_ sing:
    The reason I know not, unless it be
  _Their_ idylls are not _Idylls of the King_.

            "You smile: no doubt
  You think I've never learned to criticise.
    Perhaps so, yet I _feel_ that which I speak about.
  And Enim is the last! Well, no more sighs;

            "For spring is here:
  I have no time to waste in dreamings vain.
    _After our marriage_--nay, you need not sneer--
  We will read all the idylls through again."

            "So shall it be
  So long as lives the love which poets sing.
    The harp is still, yet is begun for thee
  A lifelong dream--the idyll of _thy_ king."

F.F. ELMS.

       *       *       *       *       *




OUR MONTHLY GOSSIP.


AN EVENING IN CALCUTTA.


About six o'clock every evening the beau monde of Calcutta begins to
take the air on the Course, a very pleasant drive which runs along the
bank of the river. It is usually crowded with carriages, but it must
be confessed that none of them would be likely to excite the envy of
an owner of a fashionable turn-out at home, unless indeed it might be
now and then for the sake of the occupants.

Long before the Course begins to thin it is almost dark, and then,
if the poor lounger is "unattached," and is sharing his buggy with
a friend as unfortunate as himself, the general effect of the scene
before him is the most interesting object for his gaze. The carriages
continue to whirl past, but one sees hardly more of them than their
lamps. The river glides, cold and shining, a long silvery light
under the opposite bank, while trees and masts and rigging relieve
themselves against the golden bars of the distant sky. But the band
ceases to play, and every one goes home to dress.

If the traveler chooses, he may find many an amusing drive in the
native parts of the town. Tall Sikhs, whose hair and beards have
never known scissors or razor, and who stride along with a swagger
and high-caste dignity; effeminate Cingalese; Hindoo clerks, smirking,
conceited and dandified too, according to their own notions; almost
naked palkee-bearers, who nevertheless, if there is the slightest
shower, put up an umbrella to protect their shaven crowns; up-country
girls with rings in their noses and rings on their toes; little
Bengalee beauties; Parsees, Chinese, Greeks, Jews and Armenians, in
every variety of costume, are to be seen bargaining on the quays,
chaffering in the bazaars, loading and unloading the ships, trotting
along under their water-skins, driving their bullock-carts, smoking
their hookahs or squatting in the shade.

We have had the good fortune, thanks to our interest in native
manners and customs, to make the acquaintance of a Hindoo merchant,
a millionaire and a _bon vivant_, on whom his religion sits somewhat
lightly. We might, if we had not been otherwise engaged, have dined
with him this evening. He would have been delighted to receive us,
and would have treated us with abundant hospitality and kindness.
The dinner would have been of a composite character, partly European,
partly native. A sort of rissole of chicken would certainly have been
one of the dishes, and with equal certainty would have met with your
approval: the curry, too, would have satisfied you, even if you had
just come from Madras or Singapore. There would have been knives and
forks for us: our convives would not have made much use of the latter,
and some of the dishes on which they would have exercised their
fingers would hardly have tempted us. The champagne and claret are
excellent, and our host, Hindoo as he is, is not sparing in his
libations; and at the same time he and his countrymen would have been
vociferous in pressing us to eat and drink, filling our glasses the
moment they were empty, and heaping our plates with the choicest
morsels. After all, however, perhaps we have had no great loss in
missing the dinner. We shall enjoy the pleasant drive, and by being
a little late shall escape the not very delightful sound of various
stringed instruments being tuned. Arrived, we leave our horse and
buggy to the care of some most cutthroat-looking individuals, who
crowd round with much noise and gesticulation, wondering who and what
we are, while the noise brings out a sort of majordomo, who recognizes
us as friends of the master, and soon clears a way for us across the
courtyard, takes us up a flight of steps, and ushers us into a
long and tolerably well-lighted room. Our host comes forward with
outstretched hands, and with great cordiality welcomes and presents
us to his friends. We can't understand all he says, for his English
at the best is not always intelligible, and he is now particularly
talkative and jolly: it is evident he has dined. There is a great
noise; every one is talking and laughing; and the talking is loud, for
it has to overcome the sounds made by sundry musicians seated at the
other end of the room, who are striking their tomtoms and singing a
most doleful chant. The baboo bustles about, and makes vacant for us
two sofas, the places of honor. Little marble tables are before them,
on which are placed wine, brandy and soda-water. The other guests
resume their seats along the two sides of the room on our right and
left. There are eight or ten men and two or three ladies; the ladies
very handsomely dressed. Lower down are several young girls in light
drapery, laughing, talking and smoking their hookahs. The fair sex
look rather scared and shyly at the foreigners, but some of the men
are evidently trying to reassure them. Order being at length restored,
our cheroots lighted and our iced brandy-pawnee made ready, the
performance recommences. The corps de ballet are not hired for the
occasion, but form part of the establishment of our friend the baboo.
One of the girls seated near the musician advances slowly, in time
with the music, to within a few feet of one of our sofas, and she
is followed by another, who places herself opposite the other sofa.
Others in the same way prepare to dance before the other guests. They
all stand for a moment in a languid and graceful attitude, the
music strikes up a fresh air, and each nautch-girl assumes the first
position of her dance. She stands with outstretched arm and hand,
quivering them, and allowing her body very slightly to partake of
the same movement. Her feet mark the time of the music, not by being
raised, but by merely pressing the floor with the toes. The action and
movement thus seem to run like a wave through the body, greatest where
it begins in the hand, and gradually diminishing as it dies away in
the foot. With a change of time in the accompaniment the girl drops
her arm, advances a step or two nearer the person before whom she is
dancing, and leans back, supporting her whole weight on one foot, with
the other put forward, and pressing against the floor the border of
her drapery.

In her hands she holds a little scarf, which serves to give a motive
to the action of the arms and head. The movement in this figure, which
admits of great variety, no two performers being at all alike in it,
is somewhat stronger than in the first. The undulation, too, instead
of dying away gradually from its commencement, runs with equal force,
like the line of an S, through the body. Without any pause in the
music the dancer sometimes glides imperceptibly into, sometimes begins
with startling suddenness, the next movement. The general position
remains what it was before, but to describe how its principle of
life and motion seems concentrated below the dancer's waist, and
from thence flows in undulating streams, to flash from or to dull,
according to her organization, the eyes, and to crisp the child-like
feet with which she grasps the carpet, is for me impossible. A Gavarni
might draw what would recall this wonderful pantomime to the brain of
one who had seen it, but nothing but his own imagination could suggest
it to him who had not. One of these girls is a perfect actress:
numberless shades of expression pass over her delicate features, but
the prevailing one is a beseeching, supplicating look. We administer
to her, as the custom is, some rupees in token of our admiration, and
with an arch smile the no longer supplicating damsel passes on.

A vague notion prevails that a nautch is a very naughty and improper
exhibition. My experience is limited, but I must say that in the few I
have seen there was nothing that a _sergent de mile_ at Mabille could
have objected to. Certainly, no one who retains a seat during the
performance of a ballet can say a word on the subject. If the charge
of indelicacy is to be brought against either, it would, I think,
weigh most heavily against the latter. The Indian dance is voluptuous
and graceful, as a dance should be; which is more than can be affirmed
of a ballet of the French school, some of the attitudes of which are
certainly not addressed only to the sense of beauty. But it was now
late, and, although the festivities showed no signs of abatement, we
bade our host adieu and returned home. W.H.S.


NO DANBURY FOR ME.


Not in Danbury. No: life has too many vicissitudes in that Connecticut
borough. It presents too kaleidoscopic an appearance to suit my style.
Family catastrophes succeed each other at a brisker rate than I am
used to. I shouldn't relish being a Danbury man on North street or
South street: indeed, if you urge the thing, not even on East, West or
any other street. I could by no manner of means hope to get reconciled
to the accidents, you know. It is climatic, I suppose--an exhilarating
air. I should be attempting all sorts of impossible feats, my sickly
failures would of course get into the papers, and chagrin, dismay
and general discomfort would be my earthly lot. I am not ambitious to
undertake teaching the family to rock the cradle, fry doughnuts, do
the family ironing and coax our stray hens into the coop, all in one
motion. Nor am I impatient to get up in the moonlight with the idea
buzzing in my brain that burglars have arrived, and after putting
two or three pounds of lead into our best cow, to creep back to bed
feeling badly, like a second Alexander, that there's no more glory.
Really, I haven't enterprise enough for Danbury.

Now, there _are_ men who ought to start off at once and move into that
town. A wide-awake, bustling fellow, who craves excitement, who is
never happy unless whirling around like a bobbin with a ten-per-cent.
semi-annual dividend to earn, who is on hand at all the dog-fights,
Irish funerals, runaway teams, tenement fires, razor-strop matinees,
and public convulsions generally,--such a man, if he went well
recommended, would be likely to find, I imagine, constant employment
in the town of Danbury. He might make arrangements to take his meals
on the jump, and would sleep of course with his hat and boots on.
Browne is mercurial. Browne would be happy in Danbury. Till he died.
For a fortnight, say--one brief, glowing, ecstatic fortnight. Fourteen
giddy days would surely finish him. Imagine Browne (him of the eagle
eye) up in the morning, his face washed, hair combed, breakfast taken
aboard, and everything trim and tight for sailing out into the surging
whirlpool of Danbury locals. We see him fold the substantial Mrs. B.
to his manly bosom and discharge a parent's duty toward the little
Brownes. We see him tear himself from the bosom of his family. It is
affecting, as those things usually are.

Browne gains the street, backing out of his gate as he blows a
superfluous kiss to Miss Tilly Browne, his youngest. He lurches,
just as you may expect, into a stout market-woman laden with eggs and
garden vegetables. She careens wildly, and plunges into a baby-cart
that is pushing by. The darling occupant of fourteen months is
smothered in a raw omelet and frescoed over the eye by bunches
of asparagus. The cries of the sweet little cherub would melt the
stoutest heart. The market-lady caracoles around, and leads Browne
to infer that his conduct is not approved, from her festooning that
gentleman's eyes with heavy lines of crape. Mrs. Browne arrives on the
scene. The baby goes into fits. The fast-assembling crowd cry "Shame!"
and Browne, after trying in vain to apologize, seeks the shelter of a
hack and makes good his escape.

He descends at Main street, just in time to observe the man with the
ladder and paint-pot working his way up along. That genius is smashing
in store fronts and dropping paint liberally on the population.
However, as he does this twice a day regularly through the week, it
does not appear to attract much attention, except from strangers.

The fat gentleman who is in training to remove pieces of orange-peel
from the sidewalk has already begun his labor of love for the day.
He is just getting up and dusting himself as Browne goes by. There is
nothing fresh in this either, so Browne does not stop. He merely nods
and hurries on.

That Danbury youth who gets snarled up so badly when he is sent to
do anything, and who has lived through no end of mustard plaster
and other soothing applications, is standing in a doorway whistling.
Browne conceives it to be a capital idea to waylay this boy and
interview him. But, as if divining Browne's purpose, the young hero
gives a war-whoop and dives down a side alley. Browne will write up
the interview just the same, though.

Browne sees something lively now, something Danburian. A fire company
in lobster-colored shirts turn into Main street, aided and abetted by
a brass band hired by the job to play furiously. Browne admires the
gallant firemen as they step along bravely, winking at the pretty
girls on either side--at the machine which glistens in the sun, and
maintains a lively jingling of bells and brass-work as it joggles over
the pavement. "Ah," thinks Browne, "this is gorgeous!" It is. Browne's
instincts are generally correct.

The man who assists in carrying the bass drum has a sore thumb,
a sensitively sore thumb. Nothing more natural, when Sherman goes
"marching through Georgia," than that this thumb should come in for a
share of attention. The bang it gets sends the acutest pain running up
and down its owner's spine. In a frenzy (in a moment, we may say, of
emotional insanity) he draws a tomahawk and buries it in the head of
the captain of that bass drum. The infuriated musician, supposing it
to be the cornet who has mutinied, at once gets his Smith & Wesson in
range. When the smoke has cleared away three shots are found to have
taken effect--two of them in a span of high-stepping horses attached
to the elegant turnout of old Mrs. P----. That estimable lady is
spilled into the third-story window of an establishment where sits our
old friend Hannah binding shoes. The shock so far upsets poor Hannah's
reason that she turns a blood-curdling somersault out upon an awning,
bounces back, and on her return trip carries away a swinging sign
and a barber's pole. These heavy articles strike on a copper
soda-fountain, which explodes with a fearful noise, and mortally
wounds a colored man uninsured against accident. (Full particulars for
the next twelve months in the insurance journals.) The gallant boys in
red flannel, assuming from the commotion that a fire must be under
way in the neighborhood, set the machine to work in a twinkling. The
leading hoseman in his hurry rams his bouquet into the fire-box, tries
to screw his silver trumpet on the end of the hose, and stands on his
stiff glazed hat to find out what kind of strategy is needed. Then
they proceed to drown out an ice-cream saloon on the wrong side of the
street.

Browne is happy. He climbs a lamppost, and sets to work taking notes
as fast as his pencil can fly. Somebody, mistaking his coat-tail
pockets for the post-office, drops in a set of public documents (it
is the last day of franking), which so interferes with Browne's
equilibrium that he falls over backward into an ash-barrel, after
getting out of which he finds it rests him to write with his pencil in
his teeth. At last order is restored, the thumb is repaired, and the
procession, getting untangled, moves off to the inspiriting strains of
"Ain't you glad," etc.

Browne mixes in two more scenes before lunch. In the afternoon there's
a balloon ascension, where everything goes up but the balloon; and
a croquet-party brim full of eccentricities. Browne picks up half a
dozen juvenile and domestic incidents, hardly worth alluding to, and
goes home, through a series of adventures, to find a tall, raw-boned
horse, a total stranger, walking over his flower-beds and occasionally
looking in at the windows. Browne's skirmishes around the animal (the
whole campaign together) cost him about thirty dollars.

I resign Danbury to Browne. Though there's a capital fellow there whom
I should like to see, I'd rather not go down there and pay taxes.

SARSFIELD YOUNG.


ANOTHER GHOST.


In the August number of this magazine a narrative is given of a
ghostly appearance which haunted a house in a seaside town. The writer
states that she was not an actor in its scenes, nor was it related
to her by one who was. Having more than once heard the story from the
lips of the principal witness of the events, Mrs. M---- of Newport, I
can confirm the correctness of the narrative, in the main. Some of the
particulars, however, having been altered in the transmission, I will
give my version, to the best of my remembrance.

When Mrs. M---- hired the house, which had been for some time vacant,
she found it difficult to procure or keep servants. This in itself is
not uncommon, but in this case there was something more. The servants
complained of being disturbed at night by a woman who walked the
chambers with a white hood upon her head--not a sun-bonnet, as I am
glad to state, which is certainly a more commonplace head-dress. Some
of the neighbors were also asking from time to time who that woman was
who sat at the upper hall window in a white hood. It could not have
been a little boy who was disturbed by the strange woman, for Mrs.
M---- had no son, but one of the daughters when sitting in the upper
hall on a hot evening, and making the remark that it was very warm,
heard the reply from out of the darkness, "I am so cold!"

As in Mrs. Hooper's version, the denoument was brought about by the
aid of a clergyman. Men of this profession have always been considered
the most efficient guardians against the powers of darkness. He,
with the help of Mrs. M----, made the excavation in the cellar which
brought to light the half-consumed skeleton. Here, unfortunately, is a
gap in the evidence. The remains were pronounced by medical authority
to be human, but was that authority reliable? was that doctor skilled
in comparative anatomy? If not, the bones might have been those of a
sheep, buried perchance in the cellar by a provident dog.

The house still stands, or did recently, in Washington street. The
builder was a sea-captain returning after a long absence with plenty
of money, supposed by the townspeople to have been acquired in the
slave-trade or by piracy. There was also a young woman, house-keeper
to this Captain Kidd, who disappeared about the time that he did
himself.

Mrs. M---- was fond of narrating this story, and, having a pretty
talent that way, she had versified it; though I am bound to say that
in plain prose it was much more effective. She was an Englishwoman,
had seen much of the world, and was a person of considerable reading
and cultivation. She had moral and physical courage in an uncommon
degree, and was thoroughly reliable, so that this story is to me as
well authenticated as one can well be at second hand.

I have another incident of the same shadowy and quasi-supernatural
kind to relate, which took place in the same street of that town,
formerly much affected by ghosts and other supernatural appearances.
I say formerly, for what spirit, however perturbed, could revisit the
glimpses of the moon in a modern villa, or abide long within the sound
of the steam-whistle?

Some years ago I was living in Newport in an old-fashioned house, also
built by a retired sea-captain in the early part of the century, but,
unlike the other, there were no tales of terror connected with it
that I ever heard of. At 1 p.m. on a winter's day, in the midst of a
furious snow-storm, as we sat at dinner, we heard a commotion in the
kitchen. Instead of the expected joint, enter a pallid woman: "Oh,
please come out and see Martha!" The lady of the house hastened to
the kitchen, and found Martha, the cook, almost fainting upon a chair.
"What is the matter?" As soon as she could speak she gasped out, "Oh,
that face at the window!" The window of the kitchen looked out upon
the garden, which had a high fence all around it. I at once ran out
to see if any person was there: the ground was covered with a pure and
untrodden surface of snow six or eight inches deep. This was rather
startling, when inside the window a woman was fainting at the sight
of some fearful appearance on the outside. I looked out on the street,
which ran alongside the garden fence, and which was not much of a
thoroughfare. There were no tracks to be seen in the snow. No human
foot had lately been in the garden.

When the woman came to herself, she said that, suddenly looking up,
she saw a female face with an agonized expression looking in at her
from the window. On being asked if it was any one whom she knew, she
replied that the face seemed familiar, but that she could not recall
the name that belonged to it. After reflection she said that it looked
like a daughter of hers whom she had not seen since she was a child.
The girl had been brought up by a lady in another State, and was now a
married woman, living in Vermont.

About a week afterward, Martha received a letter from the lady who
had brought up her daughter, informing her that the young woman had
recently died after a short illness, and that her great anxiety seemed
to be to see her mother before she died. Some time after I wrote to
the town indicated to ascertain the exact time of the young woman's
death. The husband had moved away immediately after the funeral, but
the town clerk replied that a person of the name mentioned had died
there about the time mentioned in my letter. Here came the fatal
gap in the evidence, which always seems to prevent the chain being
perfect. If I could have obtained a certificate of the death having
occurred on the day of the snow-storm, I should have found myself
nearer to a ghost than I ever expect to be again till I become one
myself. S.C. CLARKE.




NOTES.


Treatises on the "language of flowers" should, to be complete, give
a chapter on their political significance. England had her War of the
Roses; and of this contest a mild travesty may possibly be furnished
in a French "Strife of the Flowers". The violet is the Bonapartist
badge, and when, last spring, the emperor died in exile, and his
partisans sought to show some outward token of their fidelity to his
memory and his cause, violets began to bloom profusely in buttonholes
as the half disguised emblem of the outlawed party. But there was one
unexpected result of this demonstration, for in republican Marseilles
the flower-merchants found their trade in violets declining, owing to
the popular distrust of this once favorite and unassuming flower.
It is almost incredible that the third city of France should have so
thrown down the gauntlet to one of the sweetest gifts of Nature. But
if upon the innocent violet is to be heaped the curse of Sedan, then
when Bourbonism lifts its abashed head are lilies to be proscribed in
the Lyons market as violets were darkly suspected in Marseilles? And
if the radicals should make the red poppy their symbol, would it in
turn be scorned by the lovers of the lily? If so, with the numerous
parties, new and old, in France, what flower could a Frenchman wear
or cultivate without danger of being mobbed by the partisans of some
other emblem in politics?

       *       *       *       *       *

Thousands of people who have passed the summer in the country, and
have been accustomed to take long drives, will testify to noticing
one great lack on the highways of our country. This lack is that of
guide-posts. There is no more effectual way of giving a traveler a
vivid impression of the sparsity of settlement in a rural district
than to let him lose his way. Regions which he might otherwise have
fancied to be densely peopled will seem to him strangely depopulated.
In cities, where a hundred people can always be found between any
two streets to tell you your whereabouts, we yet scrupulously post up
signs at every corner; but in the country, where you may travel a mile
before meeting a man or a house, hardly one in five of the junctions
of thoroughfares are marked with guide-boards. This lack is perhaps
more serious in the suburbs of large cities than elsewhere, since in
thinly-settled districts the main road at least is generally easy to
keep. Occasionally the post is a mocker, its painted letters being
suffered to grow so dim with time as not to be decipherable; or
perhaps the board has been carried off by a gale, or else turned the
wrong way by some joker, who relies on the authorities to neglect
the mischief. It would save much time and temper for wayfarers were
guide-boards multiplied fourfold in all parts of the country.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Von Moltke had conquered France, his first care for the future
was to protect Germany, by the seizure of the French frontier
fortresses, from all danger of successful attack in time to come;
yet at Belfort one gap in the line has been left in the keeping of
France--possibly, like the heel of Achilles, the point at which
a hostile shaft may one day wound the German empire. The Berlin
_Boersenzeitung_, which claims that with Metz, Strasburg, Mayence,
Coblentz and Cologne, and with the enlargement of Ulm and Ingoldstadt
and the new line of Bavarian defence, "Germany has a barrier of
fortresses unequaled in the world," yet admits that the project of
establishing a new German fortress near Mulhouse or Huningue, "so as
to take the place of Belfort," has now been abandoned--a fact which
seems to show that there is one little loophole in the defensive armor
of Germany, otherwise invulnerable.

       *       *       *       *       *

"A man may steal the livery of Heaven to serve the devil in." It has
always been a favorite device of Napoleonism to dress itself up in the
garb of popular government, and to appropriate the peculiar phrases
of democracy, with a view to confound the distinction between the
sovereign will of one and the sovereign will of the many. Napoleon
III. enjoyed proclaiming himself the great champion of universal
suffrage, although what his _plebiscites_ really were the caustic
pen of Kinglake has told us. The other day the French imperialists
celebrated at Chiselhurst the fete of the late emperor; and there
Prince Louis had the audacity to say: "Planting myself as an exile
near the tomb of the emperor, I represent his teachings, which may be
summarized in the motto, 'Govern for the people, by the people.'"
The motto was a double plagiarism--a plagiarism in idea from the
republican theory, and a plagiarism in expression from the immortal
phrase, "government of the people, by the people, and for the people,"
pronounced by Lincoln at Gettysburg.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most sensible, manly and independent address made to the shah
during his European tour was, we think, the speech of welcome
delivered by the president of the Swiss Confederation. We may premise
that the shah is the first sovereign who, as such, has become the
guest of Switzerland since the meeting of the Council of Constance in
the fifteenth century. Still, the Swiss people did not show themselves
overcome, but received their guest with a sober and dignified
cordiality--a sail, a dinner without speeches, and a magnificent
illumination of Geneva and the lake providing the entertainment. On
arriving at the railroad station the shah was greeted by the Swiss
president in words which we render literally as follows: "Royal
Majesty: I welcome you in the name of the authorities of the Swiss
Confederation. You do not expect to find here the sumptuous greeting
of the great nations which surround us. We have to show you neither a
standing army nor the splendors of a fleet. You come into the midst of
a people that owes to liberty and to labor the place that it has made
for itself in Europe, and it is in the name of this free people that
the Federal Council offers you hospitality." The severe simplicity of
this address is the more tasteful since its strength and manliness
do not rob it of a tithe of its courtesy, which last quality becomes
indeed all the more striking from the absence of that Oriental
profusion of epithets and compliments which the shah had received at
every previous step in his European travels.




LITERATURE OF THE DAY.


The Intellectual Life. By Philip Gilbert Hamerton. Boston: Roberts
Brothers.

A man of fair culture and a frequenter of cultured society pleads in
these pages the attractions of an intellectual bias or life-training:
he pleads to all accessible classes--to the curate and to the
nobleman, "to a country gentleman who regretted that his son had the
tendencies of a dilettante," "to a lady of high culture who found it
difficult to associate with persons of her own sex," and so on.
Over seventy different addresses are included, each in the form of a
letter, which, though not necessarily ever posted, is really aimed at
a specific person known to the author and distinctively spoken to. The
effort is to reconcile culture with the world of practice and morals,
and answer or forestall the objections of religion or utilitarianism.
Mr. Hamerton talks with great self-possession to the highest class
within ear-shot, and matches a late stricture of Mr. Ruskin's--that
English noblemen exist to shoot little birds--with another on the
influence of railways in sending back the upper ranks to a state of
nomadic barbarism. "Their life," he says, "may be quite accurately
described as a return, on a scale of unprecedented splendor and
comfort, to the life of tribes in that stage of human development
which is known as the period of the chase: they migrate from one
hunting-ground to another as the diminution of the game impels them."
He points out a curious reaction in the spirit of this class: formerly
they loved to lard their speech with Latin and Greek to keep the
ignorant in their places; but now, that cheap education has endowed
the tradesman with Latin and Greek, there is a tendency to feel toward
intellectual culture much as the barons did away back in the Dark
Ages, and to outdazzle by mere show of costly pleasure the class they
can no longer excel in learned polish. After all, the great question
in recommending culture is the question of its effect on morals: if
the effect of poetry and art is weakening to the moral sense, as many
have claimed from Socrates to Augustine, then letters have no ethical
reason for existence. Our author, who has a habit of continually
turning his tapestry to see the aspect of the other side, is very
sensible of a characteristic in people of extreme culture to allow
Nature her most contradictory reactions. This tendency, opposed as
it is to all our ideal conceptions of the intellectual life, is
the merest commonplace of biography. "The most exquisitely delicate
artists in literature and painting have frequently had reactions
of incredible coarseness. Within the Chateaubriand of _Atala_ there
existed an obscene Chateaubriand that would burst forth in talk
that no biographer would repeat. I have heard the same thing of the
sentimental Lamartine. We know that Turner, dreamer of enchanted
landscapes, took the pleasures of a sailor on the spree. A friend said
to me of one of the most exquisite living geniuses, 'You can have no
conception of the coarseness of his tastes: he associates with
the very lowest women, and enjoys their rough brutality.'" To this
specious and damaging objection our author makes the excellent reply,
that in observing whole classes we generally see an advance in morals
go along with an advance in culture. The gentleman of the present day
is superior to his forefather whom Fielding described: he is better
read and better educated, and at the same time more sober and more
chaste. The man of genius does not, then, by his oscillations of
temperament, retard or misdirect the company whose course he points.
It is an interesting question, nevertheless, what are the moral
standards of our apologist for the intellectual life, and what degree
of ethical perfection would satisfy him in a world of various spheres
all regenerated by culture. There is one letter in which he undertakes
to pick out the special virtue which most helps his ideal way of
life, and here, in chanting the praises of disinterestedness, he takes
rather a superior tone toward so homespun a grace as honesty: "The
truth is, that mere honesty, though a most respectable and necessary
virtue, goes a very little way toward the forming of an effective
intellectual character." This refinement of ethics, which leaves the
humdrum commandments away out of sight, is doubtless very fine, but
we cannot be sure that Mr. Hamerton has the same standard for all the
different strata of people whom he addresses. Pretty soon we find him
addressing a young clergyman, who appears to have apprehensions
lest intellectual doubts may come to disturb his satisfaction in
Bible-teaching. To this the author replies with the following
odd encouragement: "It may be observed, however, that the regular
performance of priestly functions is in itself a great help to
permanence in belief by connecting it closely with practical habit, so
that the clergy do really and honestly often retain through life their
hold on early beliefs which as laymen they might have lost." This hint
on the efficacy of continued rowing for stopping a leak in the bottom,
if it be really meant for encouragement, shows an odd principle of
honor, if not of "honesty." When it comes to the large and attractive
class which some persons call "females," Mr. Hamerton abandons with
ready grace his moral colors, and falls at once into the easiest tones
proper to a man of the world. "You must not be didactic with ladies,"
he says; and in the capital story about the mother-in-law he appears
to side with the polite French _gendre_ who said to every proposition,
"Yes, mother dear, you are quite right," and to have much sympathy
with the learned Scotch lawyer who observed that there was not whisky
enough in all Scotland to make him frank with his wife. Mr. Hamerton,
in fact, spoiled son of fortune that he is, cannot keep for a long
time the austerity of tone which belongs to a deliberate apology for
culture: he therefore does what is better in taking the desirableness
of his ideal for granted, and in lifting it out of the sloughs into
which it has fallen in the muddy minds of many sorts of people, by
pleasantly talking and chatting, _en attendant_ that Hercules shall
come down and shoulder on the car of progress.


_Books Received_.


The City of Mocross, and its Famous Physician. By the author of
"Morcroft Hatch," etc. Boston: Henry Hoyt.

Tom Racquet, and his Three Maiden Aunts. By Frank E. Smedley.
Philadelphia: T. B. Peterson & Brothers.

Miriam Rosenbaum: A Story of Jewish Life. By Rev. Dr. Edersheim.
Illustrated. Boston: Henry Hoyt.

Frank Fairleigh. By Frank E. Smedley. Philadelphia: T.B. Peterson &
Brothers.

Jessie's Work: A Story for Girls. Illustrated. Boston: Henry Hoyt.






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