Graham's Magazine, Vol. XXXVII, No. 6, December 1850 by Various

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GRAHAM’S MAGAZINE. VOL. XXXVII. December, 1850. NO. 6.

Table of Contents

Fiction, Literature and Other Articles

Of and Concerning the Moon Minnie de la Croix Blanche of Bourbon Chateaubriand and His Career Thistle-Down The Comus of Milton Pedro de Padilh Ruffed Grouse Shooting Review of New Books Editor’s Table

Poetry, Music, and Fashion

To Miss Martha Griffith Picture of Childhood To a Celebrated Singer Lines to a Bird To J. F. H. To a Summer Haunt The Death of Wordsworth The Grave’s Pale Roses On San Francisco’s Splendid Bay The Quiet Arbor I Think of Thee Le Follet Come Touch the Harp, My Gentle One Le Moniteur de la Mode

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

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[Illustration: THE MARINER’S BEACON.

Painted by W. Brown and Engraved expressly for Graham's Magazine by H. Smith]

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GRAHAM’S MAGAZINE.

VOL. XXXVII. PHILADELPHIA, December, 1850. NO. 6.

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OF AND CONCERNING THE MOON.

BY CALVIN W. PHILLEO.

The devil’s in the moon for mischief. _Don Juan._

Gentle Reader, we are lunatic!

Nay, do not be startled! Because we use the pronoun _we_, we do not mean to pronounce _you_ insane. _We_ is of the first person, and we would be the last person to venture a doubt of your perfect sanity. It would be libellous to do so, and we abhor lawsuits—in which we have other than a professional interest. We use a plural pronoun, but only because it is more fashionable and dignified so to do. We intend thereby to make a singular announcement merely. Therefore, don’t think it strange. Be not surprised, or yet offended. Nobody but _ourself_ is included in the declaration.

Let us explain further. We fear lest we be misunderstood. We pray, therefore, do not imagine these presents to be a round-robin, signed by the denizens of Bedlam. Neither, being disabused of this notion, will you, if we are to be believed, count us as crazy, because we avow ourself to be lunatic. We are (saving the grammar, and the hastily expressed opinion of an irritable maiden aunt,) _compos mentis_. We wish not further to break down the old rule of the Common Law, that no man shall be permitted by his own plea to stultify himself. Of course, if we should be indicted for murder to-morrow, however innocent we might be of the charge, we should acknowledge the homicide, and plead insanity, monomania, or at any rate somnambulism, but only for the reasons that we should wish to be certain of an acquittal, and that we dread to do any thing which might subject us to the charge of eccentricity, and a departure from well established usages. But under ordinary circumstances we should resent the issuing of a commission _de lunatico inquiriendo_, as tetchily as the summoning of a coroner’s jury in our particular behalf. We sign our contracts without the intervention or advice of an overseer, and we should be vehemently opposed to a rule of the Court of Probate appointing a conservator over us. Neither Dr. Bell, nor yet Dr. Woodward, has ever had us under his especial charge—our head was never shaven but once, and then we were out of it, to be sure, hard sick with the yellow fever at Havana. Our waistcoats are crooked and curved as becometh our shape and the fashion, are conveniently provided with arm-holes, and the material, generally, is buff cashmere or white Marseilles. We possess a four-bladed pen-knife, given to us by a member of Congress, just before election, as a token of esteem, and this we usually carry in our trowsers pocket and use unrestrictedly and without offense, albeit the same has a whittling blade and we are Yankee bred. We have on our dressing-table two pairs of excellent Sheffield razors, and shave therewith daily, as a gentleman should; and it is upon these occasions only that we make mouths and grimaces at ourself in the glass, or rave and stump. We sleep in the third story, but the windows of our dormitory are not grated or barred, and are often left open o’nights. We need not tell our landlady when we intend a sudden and brief absence, lest, perchance, before our return, the ponds be dredged for our body, our drawers searched for lost dying letters and commissions, incoherently written, or that the newspapers record a mysterious disappearance, and insert, on our behalf, a premature obituary notice, illustrated by misquotations from Shakspeare and the Scriptures. We have never supposed ourself to be the inventor of perpetual motion, or of a practically useful rotary steam-engine. We lay no claim to the British crown; do not confound our identity with that of King David, or Lord Wellington, or Napoleon Bonaparte, uncle or nephew; have no particular _penchant_ for red chalk, beads, belts, bits of looking-glass, scrap-tin, or feathers; never adorn ourselves with wreaths of straw, and are caught _sans culotte_, only when having been out late over night, our privacy, to our unspeakable confusion, is suddenly invaded by the unconscious chamber-maid, as we are leisurely dressing for a late breakfast, and sadly ruminating on the folly of protracted festivities and the mutability of the temper of landladies—our friends don’t expect us to whoop at the table, and if, perchance, we handle the carving-knife, they exhibit no more of nervous agitation and alarm, than is the natural result, under the circumstances, of a well-grounded opinion that gravy shows better on platters than on plaits. Indeed, we have never had any provocation to go crazy—we never inherited any thing, not even an eccentric tendency. We have never lost a fortune for the best of all reasons. We have never been concerned in land or city lot speculations. We have never drawn a prize in a lottery; have never had an attack of the _delirium tremens_, nor have we been crossed in hopeless love. We have neither much learning or great care; have never had a _coup de soleil_, or a blow on the head, or a brain fever. Our caput is sound as a nut, thank God; and thick withal, as becomes a respectable citizen and burgess.

In fine, we are not mad, most gentle reader, in any sense of the term; on the contrary, with all modesty, we fully believe ourself to be a very sane, very good-natured, very staid, very commonplace, most inveterate old bachelor, sleeping nightly on the third floor, and dining daily at the public table of a very quiet inn, as we before hinted.

But, that the moon exercises an influence over our imagination, we cannot deny; and this, saith that learned lexicographer, Dr. John Walker, it is to be lunatic.

There are some people in and of the world, so stolid, so matter-of-fact, so very commonplace, so unimaginative, so void of all sense of the beautiful, so much of the earth, earthy, as to look upon the moon—nay, though—as never to look upon the moon, except by accident, or to judge of the prospect of the weather—as to consider the moon then, to amend our phrase, only as the earth’s satellite, a lesser light, a mere useful appendage to our mundane sphere, made only to regulate the time of high water at Greenwich, to save the corporation too great expense for gas, and to obviate a larger consumption of oil in lanterns and carriage-lamps; in fine, a thing of mere Paine-ful necessity. Such people value the heavenly bodies as children do pennies, according to their relative brightness; and so, in comparison with the sun, estimate the moon lightly, and the stars as of small account. They are more unsusceptible to gentle influences than the brutes.

We’d rather be a dog, and bay the moon, Than such a _rum’un_.

Gentle reader, it may be that you are lunatic yourself! Most fervently hoping that this be so—in fine, taking it for granted—our presumption, for an obvious reason, grows apace—we shall seek to hold communion with you of the moon. Not, however, touching on those tedious topics which engage the attention of mere astronomers and philosophers. We leave the pursuit of such shadows to the shade of Sir William Herschel, now probably resident on its private estate in Uranus, to Professor Nichols, and to Tom Dick, and—that is to say, to that man of big figures and small means, the Rev. Thomas Dick.

And wherefore not? Who but these musty ones cares to know that the moon revolves around the earth once in every twenty-eight days, and so many odd hours and minutes. Satisfied are we to expect her coming each fourth week, and to count the hours and minutes of secondary importance.

If, gentle reader, on some delicious summer night, when the full moon is shining down upon the smiling earth, flooding it with glorious light, gilding the crests of the lake waves, silvering the leaves of the forest, casting a varying, many-colored mantle, sown with pearls, over the fields of waving grain, nodding, rustling, whispering to the coquettish zephyr like a group of silk-clad dames, if, “on such a night as this,” you care to remember that the fleecy clouds the moon seems to kiss, are nearer to you by some 239,999 miles, why, then, you are no lunatic, and not the man or woman we took you to be. Pray read no further; you are too wise to waste time on such nonsense. Light your greasy solar lamp. Shut your blinds. Draw your curtains. Take down some useful book, and compose yourself for a nap. Light reading, especially of moonlight, is not your vocation.

These stupid _savans_ have broached some queer theories about our favorite, though, dear reader. _Our_ favorite, we say, for we know that by this time we have shaken ourselves rid of all people who remain sensible of a moonlight night. They—the philosophers, or some of them—malign her terribly—they abuse her. Like old-fashioned doctors, in a case of fever, they sturdily refuse to allow her a drop of water; and cruel as Surajah Dowlah, to the English prisoners at Calcutta, assign her a place void of an atmosphere. Truly an arid conceit.

Can it be that, like a leaky cistern, the moon holds no water? Let us consider a moment.

If this be true, then certainly there can be no sea-views or sea-bathing in the moon. No cataracts, no cascades, no mineral springs. Of course, no watering-places and summer hotels. Flirtations are, of necessity, scarce, we must suppose; especially when we consider that the moon itself has no moon; that midshipmen are found only in maritime states, and that a fascinating foreigner must always come from beyond a sea. Runaway matches are things of rare occurrence, and there must be fewer provocations to matrimony generally than in this world. Old maids must, of course, be plentiful, though they can have no tears to shed over disappointed hopes. There may come a time when there will be only _the_ Man in the Moon.

Turtles and soft-shelled crabs, oysters and canvas-back ducks cannot thrive in such a place. The race of aldermen must be extinct; and yet these same wiseacres of astronomers claim to have discovered cities in the moon! Cities without aldermen or oyster-saloons! What absurdity!

But, then, if this theory be correct, the country cannot be cursed with cotton manufactories, steam-engines, or foundries. The agitation of the tariff question must be dry business. The climate cannot be adapted to slave labor. The Lunars must be democrats to a man.

They drive, we presume, in open carriages. Umbrellas, over-shoes, bathing-tubs, wash-hand-basins, teapots, mops, lather-brushes, squirt-guns, and a variety of such matters, too numerous to mention, familiar and useful to us of the earth, are never enumerated in the catalogue of a Lunarian auctioneer. The ladies never clean house there. New coats and dazzling beavers are safe from the pelting of the pitiless shower, rained down from third-story windows by awkward Irish girls. How do they mix their grog? They take their spirits neat, we presume, the only neat thing they can take—fourth proof, every drop; and this is probably the origin of the term, _taking a lunar_, to which seamen are so much addicted. Fever-and-ague must be unknown in the moon. Dropsy an unheard of disease. Drowning a casualty never recorded in the bills of mortality. Damp sheets are things not to be dreaded; and so with a thousand ills with which water floods us of the earth. Skating cannot be a fashionable amusement, and natatory exercises, such as are practiced at Cape May, would, we presume, be unutterably shocking to the withered old maids of the chaste planet. Moreover, Priesnitz must regard the moon as a place singularly unwholesome, and yet quite unfit for the establishment of a hydropathic hospital, and it must present a most unpromising field of labor to the American Baptist Board of Foreign Missions.

Howbeit, we don’t believe all that we hear of the want of water in the moon. Tender-hearted reader, dry your eyes; we are confident that we used to hear our grandfather talk of a wet moon. To his opinion we seriously incline.

But whether the moon be a desert or an ocean, what care we? When she shines the dew falls on us. Let that suffice.

And what if there be no air around the moon? The Lunars breathe pure ether, then—and so do we, “of a shiny night!”

Inasmuch as our affection is for, and our subject is the moon itself, we shall have little to say of the inhabitants thereof. For all that we know they are a dirty set, as the philosophers would fain make us believe. Perhaps there may be none to speak of. In the ancient legends of Mother Goose, it is recorded, that the Man in the Moon (as if there were but one) made a descent upon the earth, about meridian one day. The hour would seem to indicate that his residence in the planet is for somewhat the same purpose as that which induces the presence of a light-house keeper at his lonely post. He comes down at noon, undoubtedly, as being the most convenient season, for at night he could not well be spared. Having spent the morning in preparing for his nightly illumination, and entertaining a laudable desire for earthly geographical information, he seizes this opportunity to visit this world, and forthwith inquires his most direct route to Norwich. We wonder which route was recommended to him—whether by the way of Hartford and the Willimantic Railroad, by steamboat direct, or by Jersey Island Railroad and Greenport Ferry.

Why it should have been a coincidence so remarkable as to be worthy of record on the pages of history, that a gentleman in Australia, on this day, scalded his mouth with a “hasty plate” of brose of moderate temperature, we have never been able to divine.

But the sun has thrown more light upon the moon, and the theory of its being inhabited, than any other luminary. The sun, we say—but not the real sun, nor the True Sun, but the sun which “shines for all”—The New York Sun—the Sun of Moses Y. Beach—and Son. In certain numbers of that useful newspaper, of the volume of 1834, if we recollect aright, we shall find that Mr. Locke has given us the key to many things which before were mysteries. The good people of that time, when they read the narrative of the extraordinary discoveries of Sir John Herschel and his learned companions, at the Cape of Good Hope, became firmly convinced that the Man in the Moon was no fabulous personage; but that he really existed, and a good many more of the same sort with him, to say nothing of women, children, and quadrupeds—all intelligent creatures, knowing more than the Man in the Moon was generally and proverbially supposed to know; students, probably—for each creature had a shade over his or her eyes, but one of Nature’s providing, showing that the moon is not, probably, a good market for green silk and pasteboard.

And speaking of green silk, in this connection, reminds us of green cheese. But, psha! _that_ idea is exploded. If we proceed in this strain, noticing and commenting upon every wild vagary of those romancing fellows, the astronomers, somebody may accuse us of wishing to make light of the moon, the which is the furthest thing on earth from our intention.

Didst ever read Locke’s Moon Hoax? We were a school-boy at Albany when it was first published, and we recollect well how gravely the old master of a certain school in North Pearl street—the boys used to call him the Centre of Gravity—announced his full belief in its authenticity, and advised the class in Algebra to look over the calculations. And how an old lady of our acquaintance wrote an article on the wonders of modern science, and the probabilities of a railroad to the moon in the course of a generation or two, which the editor of the Evening Journal wouldn’t publish; whereat the old lady denounced him to us savagely. We have never been able ever since to think of Mr. Weed, except as a man radically opposed to internal improvements—externally projected. What a demand there was for telescopes and Extra Suns! What crowds of people there were for two or three nights on Capitol Hill, gaping at the full moon, as if they expected to discover one of Mr. Locke’s hooded sheep grazing on the rays which shot from her broad, round disc.

There is one theory of these wise ones that seems to concern us mundane fellows a little more nearly. It is said that the moon, owing to her less size and small distance from the earth, has but little comparative attractive power, and that a body projected but a short distance from the surface of the moon would stand as fair a chance for a sublunary fall, as for a return to its original sphere. And now we recollect, in this place, that although we have a well authenticated account of the Man in the Moon’s coming down to the earth, there is no record of his return. Perhaps the Lunars have a motto—_Facilis descensis Terrae, etc._ The adventurer aforesaid may be carrying on the chandlery business in Norwich this day, or perhaps traveling in company with the Wandering Jew, seeking for “the jumping-off place.” Who knows but that all the moon-faced people we encounter are descendants of this great descender. Or, dear brother lunatic, it may be that _we_ may claim a celestial ancestry in his person, and that the idiosyncrasy which distinguishes us from common mortals, is the result of an instinctive longing for the bright former home of our common progenitor. But to return; despite the facility with which, as this theory seems to indicate, our foreign relations may come to us on a lasting visit, this notion of the looseness and levity of matters and things on the moon’s surface is unpleasantly suggestive. We remember ugly stories of big, odd-looking stones, found newly half-buried in the ground, the origin of which folks formerly ascribed to meteors, and such like flash gentry, and latterly to our favorite. While lying on one’s back in a cool arbor, apostrophizing the Queen of Night, one does not like to feel the least uneasiness, lest she, by way of reply, pitch half a ton of granite through the frail, vine-covered roof. We always had a notion that the blessed St. Stephen died a very horrid death. The fable of the Boys and the Frogs has always excited our warmest sympathies for the unoffending and persecuted reptiles. We have pitied even the merited fate of the Giant of Gath. Besides, a general belief in this theory would not be apt to cause an increase in the number of green-houses and sky-lights; and a cousin of ours, a very worthy young woman, has just married a glazier.

A true lunatic, as we have hinted, is not content with thinking of the moon as a mere planet, convenient for the light it sheds, and the facilities it affords to sailors in finding their longitude. He wishes to personify, to deify; to speak to her, to think of her as a sentient being, celestial, divine, to be sure, but with a human heart; rejoicing, sorrowing with the mortals she looks down upon. Will any blockhead prate of the unreasonableness of such unphilosophical wishes? Has not the moon a face, eyes, nose, mouth, clothed with unearthly beauty, like and yet unlike that of the Sphinx? How many generations of men like us have gazed upon those calm, changeless features! That cold, chaste, pitying face returned the wondering stare of Adam and Eve their first night in Eden. It shone upon the lifeless corpse of Abel. It looked sorrowfully down upon the last night of the antediluvian world, and in its next revolution saw itself everywhere reflected in the waters that covered the whole earth. Its rays have gilded the pinnacles which for ages have rested beneath the stagnant, bitter waters of the Dead Sea, and have trembled amidst the leaves and flowers of the hanging gardens of Nineveh and Babylon. The Chaldean shepherds used to gaze upon it as we do now, and held therewith an intercourse, intimate, mysterious, above our comprehension. It paled with fear and dread when Troy burned. The white temples of Athens, in the time of Pericles, glowed in the light of that very moon, upon which we of this later day may look at will. The streets of Rome were made brilliant by the same moon which to-night shines upon gas-lighted Broadway. It has seen the Temple of Solomon and its magnificent successor in all their glory. It saw England a savage waste, Germany and Gaul ere Cæsar’s legions were born. It knew and visited the wide extent of the New World before the foundations of Genoa were laid, but kept the secret safe. The moon saw London a humble village on the banks of the unstoried Thames; Paris, while yet the island in the Seine, contained all the metropolis of France; New York, no upstart in this connection, in the time of the puissant Peter Stuyvesant. Her face has not changed since the dear friend, over whose grave the grass has grown these twenty years, looked last upon it.

The sun’s face is not familiar. Few are the times we look steadily at it, and then it is disguised; the memory of it is associated with smoked glass, eclipses and strange phenomena. The stars, as individuals, are too small, too much alike, for us to feel acquainted with. But the moon—why, her face, each feature of it, is as familiar as the face of our dearest friend and next door neighbor; and as it looks to us to-night, so have all mankind seen it since the foundations of the earth were laid. It is the same broad, pure, serene, changeless face; always smiling the same thoughtful, pitying smile. The world has changed beneath, but as she looked to Adam, so looks the moon to us, this glorious August night; and were the innumerable dead to rise to-night, that face would be the sole familiar object to greet the eyes of the astonished host.

And while we speak—this moment—how strange, how diverse the scenes she looks down upon and illuminates. As she slowly ascends our heavens, the early rising Moslem in Hindostan sees her pale face in the western sky, as in his morning devotions he bows his head toward Mecca and the tomb of his prophet. The western sides of the eternal pyramids glow in her brilliant light, as they have been wont to do for thousands of years. She is riding above the heads of wild Arabs, traversing in the cooler night, the sparkling, heated sands of the Great Desert. The fountain springs of the Niger and the Nile she spies out, and in them sees her image. The jungles of unknown Ethiopia are illuminated by her presence. The waves of the Mediterranean sparkle in her light, as they dash against the shores of Holy Palestine, of classic Greece, of storied Italy, and of hoary, ancient Egypt. She looks steadily down into the crater of Vesuvius. The ice-clad summit of Mont Blanc stands ghost-like, and catches first the silvery radiance of her beams. All Europe lies in deep sleep and varied beauty beneath her. All over the broad Atlantic the white sails of a thousand ships are glittering in her rays. On she comes, over Columbus’ track, and the New World, from where Sir John Franklin lies imbedded in northern ice to the stormy Horn, hails her coming—not as but a few hundred years since. Now the steeples of New York, Havana, and Rio catch the silvery light. On, on she rides. In an hour the Father of Waters will be glowing beneath her vertical rays. A few hours more she will shine upon the snow-tops of the Rocky Mountains, and the western shores of our vast territory, and the eyes of our distant, gold-seeking friends, and our bold seamen on the wide Pacific, will be brightened by her presence. And then she will bid us good-night, and speed her way above the countless islands, coral-reefs, and tranquil waters of that far spreading sea, to spy out the secrets of jealous Japan and curious China.

Having proved that the moon is a person, it becomes important to ascertain its sex. Our minds are made up on this point. The poets have always spoken of her as a lady. But it is no more than fair to notice some of the objections which have been urged against the probability of this hypothesis.

It is well known that the fair sex, to a woman, are admirers of the moon; and, as ladies generally are not prone to speak in praise of beauties of their own sex, it has been supposed, therefore, that she cannot be of the feminine gender.

This instance is, however, the exception to the general rule, we suppose.

Some ill-natured person has endeavored to explain this fondness of ladies for the moon, by reminding us of the popular notion that the moon has a man in it. A most scandalous, malicious, and impertinent suggestion.

As an offset to the arguments adduced by those who take the masculine side of the question, other cynical, crusty old bachelors have cited the lines of Addison—

Soon as the Evening’s shades prevail The Moon takes up the wondrous tale, And nightly to the listening Earth Repeats the story of her birth—

and ask triumphantly, who but a feminine could talk all night, and every night, and never tire withal. But as the context shows that all the stars and planets, some of whom are indubitably of the sterner sex, are alike infected with this _cacoethes loquendi_, this seems not to settle the question, unless it be satisfactorily shown, that only the males of the planetary system are obliged to wait “their turn,” to “confirm the tidings” spoken of.

Meanwhile we shall believe the poets.

The moon, then, is a lady, and a beauty. But loveliness, to be appreciated, should bear the stamp of rank. Many beautiful women grow up unadmired and unsought, because their parentage is obscure, and their station humble; while pert, vulgar faces pass for handsome, only because their possessors have also wealth and rank. A gilded frame makes a good picture in the eyes of nearly all the world.

Now the moon is not only a beauty, but she is somebody—one of the higher classes. She moves in an elevated sphere; is of aristocratic, nay, of royal blood. We have said enough. Each fair republican reader is propitiated, and for the ears of their fat papas we will whisper, “She is enormously rich, ’tis said”—by the poets. These gentlemen, whose imaginations, after all, are not one half so lively as those of Wall-street brokers, will tell you that the moon is all silver; that her rays are silver, and that they silver every thing they rest upon. However, this last assertion must not be construed literally by people who cannot bear disappointment very well. If some such sanguine person should leave a bogus dollar in the moonlight over night, expecting by these means to make it good coin and legal tender, he would be chagrined in the morning, unless somebody had been cheated into stealing the base metal, to find it a bogus dollar still. A dead gold-fish, exposed of a warm summer night to the same influence, will be sadly “changed,” as the housewifes express it, to be sure; but the transmutation will not be from gold to silver.

The ancestry and origin of the moon, though admitted to be highly respectable, are not so well known as some fastidious people might desire; and, as is usual where there is some mystery and uncertainty, there have been various and contradictory stories told by the divers persons who have undertaken to give us information on these points.

Moses tells us very briefly and positively, that she is twin sister of the sun, and that her birth-day was the 3d of January, in the year 0001. Since that time, with the sun for a partner, she has been constantly dancing attendance on the earth, ruling the night, while her brother, like the Grand Vizier of Algiers, has regulated the affairs of the Day. Once only have the twain rested from their labors. At the request of Joshua, who got somewhat belated in a skirmish with the Five Kings, some years ago, the sun stood still over Gibeon, while his sister reclined in the valley of Ajalon and fanned herself. We cannot tell certainly whether the moon has ever been able to recover from this delay, and catch up to the place in which she would have been if the detention had not happened. But an ingenious and learned Hibernian philosopher has very plausibly suggested, that she is still behind her time, and that this is the reason why she does not rise earlier of dark nights, for the illumination of which she was so evidently intended.

But the Mosaic account of the moon’s origin and early life is esteemed to be the more prosaic; and the poets, who have taken great pains to look into these matters, give greater credence to the Pagan historians.

She then, the heathens say, was the daughter of Hyperion and Thea, and the sister of the sun and of Aurora—not Aurora Borealis; she came of a northern family, and is but distantly related. The moon, like some other children we have heard of, was born of one of her aunts; so that if she had been sent to call her father to Thea, she could very properly have addressed him as Uncle Hy. Her sister, Aurora, it seems, was also her cousin-german, and with equal propriety she might have called her brother, “my dear sun,” or “Cousin Sol,” as the humor seized her.

The moon has ever been a favorite with lovers; albeit she herself is a maiden averse to matrimony. Like some dear, good old maids we wot of, she is no hindrance to flirtations, never stands in the way of love declarations, and has assisted at some runaway matches. She smiles pleasantly on the extravagances of enamored young people, winks at their follies, and knows, but never tells their secrets. We firmly believe that she has heard more than half the solemn vows which lovers have uttered since the world began, and has witnessed a large majority of first kisses. Had it not been for the delicious attractive power with which her rays are pregnant, many are, and have been, the married pairs that never would have been drawn together. Bashful youths gather courage from moonlight. Cold natures are fired by its subtle, latent heat. Proud hearts are fused by it into one. Ascetic resolves melt in the focus of the moon’s rays as easily as lead in a poacher’s ladle.

The moon has a peculiar fascination for dogs, too. Her influence upon the canine race is no less potent than that which she exercises over the feelings of human lovers. All the world over

“The waking dogs bark at the silent moon.”

But for this we should have been a married gentleman of large fortune. The moon and a Newfoundland puppy did us an ill-turn once upon a time.

In our early youth, while a sophomore at college, we attended the obsequies of Euclid, for which devout act, taken in connection with divers previous doings, not pleasant to the Faculty, we received sentence of suspension, and forthwith retired, like Sir William Temple, into the country. Our retreat was the residence of an extremely worthy and learned, but somewhat prosy clergyman; who, having been ousted from his pastoral charge of the discontented souls in his parish, occupied his time and gained a living by the culture of corn, potatoes, tame oats and wild young gentlemen. Near by lived a retired ship-chandler, happy in the possession of a solid fortune, an ethereal daughter, a white villa and a black Newfoundland dog. How well we remember the lovely Matilda. She was very fair, with bright brown hair that hung, every afternoon, in ringlets over her neck and shoulders; her blue eyes were of the color of the sky; her form was sylph-like; her teeth were pearls; her lips were rubies; and—so forth. Moreover, her age tallied with ours almost exactly—that is to say, she was eighteen, and we a quarter past; and her fortune, in expectation, was three times as many thousands. We will not stop now to relate how romantically we became acquainted with this very lovely young person—how extremely wet and grateful she was, and how exceedingly muddy and gratified we were—how profuse were her father’s thanks and perspiration, as he met us at the garden-gate, after a severe run down the gravel-walk; how urgent were his invitations to make ourself at home in future at his house—how we aided the lovely and very damp Matilda to gain the door—how belligerent were the manifestations of the Newfoundland dog, as we met him on our return to the street; how charming the gentle Matilda appeared the next morning; how slowly, after that, we progressed in Greek, and how rapidly in romantic experiences; how gracious was the old gentleman; how excessively sly was his wit—for that was before our father died insolvent, to the great astonishment and chagrin of all his creditors, and just as everybody else said they always knew he would. All this has nothing to do with the moon’s influence on the dog. The latter never took kindly to us. Our appearance at our first interview with him seemed to impress him unfavorably. He always behaved as if he thought we had usurped his prerogative, in rescuing his young mistress from a muddy-watery grave. He eyed us askance; he appeared to believe our gentlemanly clothing a disguise over the damp and discolored raiment which had invested our limbs at the time we first encountered him, and manifested an evident and almost irrepressible longing to strip us of our assumed garb. In consequence of which he was doomed to close confinement, every night, in a kennel beneath the back piazza.

The fair Matilda was coquettish. Her father’s evident preference for us was annoying. It was not the rule as laid down in novels. She seemed willing enough to love us, at times, but she did not like to have the current of her true love run smooth. Her father’s will was in the way, because it did not cross the path between her and us. Still, the aquatic exploit was _comme il faut_. Our reputation for wildness and deviltry at college was agreeable. Our dark locks, swarthy complexion, Byronic shirt collar and scholastic disgrace were all but irresistible. She could see we were desperately in love, and that was the mischief. Her sweet consent could not be gained. An acknowledgment of love, or a kiss, could not be ravished from her pretty lips.

In this conjuncture we invoked the Moon.

It was a most glorious August night. We sat in the back piazza, a perfect heaven of a place, embowered in a clump of locusts, and shaded by a wilderness of vines and flowering shrubs. As far as the eye could see, from between the whispering boughs, extended the magnificent valley of the Connecticut, stretching far away to the south; the course of the beautiful river in its midst plainly marked, here by a broad ribbon of glittering silver, and yonder by the long, slender line of mist, through which the distant landscape shone more heavenly and in softer light than the smiling country all around, where fields and villages, groves and steeples, straight highways and meandering brooks showed us plainly in the rich moonlight as if the noonday sun were shining. The air was soft, and not too warm, heavily laden with the perfume of flowers. From the village green, ever an anon, rose and swelled faint, sweet strains of music. The band was practicing for September training. We always thought the bugle had something to do with the catastrophe.

Matilda reclined upon a sofa which had been wheeled out from the parlor, and with her hand, half buried in curls, supporting her head, her face turned toward the light, and her white, graceful figure disposed with careless ease—_and_ strict propriety, dear reader—upon the luxurious couch, she seemed like a creature from another and a heavenly world. The moon’s spell was upon her. We seized the opportunity and her hand. With all the eloquence of an ardent, eighteen-year-old sophomore we told her that we loved her. We swore by the bright moon above us—we vowed that cruel parents and tremendous obstacles, existing only in imagination, should never part us. We begged for one sweet avowal of love, one word of hope. We raved of suicide, and swore that her refusal should be a sentence of death to us. Matilda was touched, her hand trembled in ours, it sought but faintly to be withdrawn. Her eyelids drooped, then raised, then drooped again; her bosom heaved, her mouth quivered, her lips began to frame one short, sweet, low-whispered word—when Bruin—yes, that was the accursed animal’s name—from his kennel just beneath the place where we sat—but we can’t describe the unearthly yell. All the damned spirits in Hades, in full chorus, could never send from their hoarse throats such an infernal sound as did that big, black dog vomit forth upon the still night air, complaining to the moon. The spell was broken. Matilda withdrew her hand—laughed in our face, sprang to the balustrade, laughed again and called “Bruin”—threw the vile beast some cake—bade us good-night and vanished; and the next morning she was more distant, cold and provoking than ever.

The dog died a few days afterward in strong convulsions—upon which event Matilda conceived a strong aversion to us, which continued until we went back to college. The last we knew of her she was married to an eminent hardware merchant, and was the mother of two fine children.

The moon exercises a strong and mysterious influence upon other matters than lovers’ hearts and dogs’ voices. ’Tis said she is more benevolently inclined in her youthful weeks than when, having grown round and full, she has passed the “turn of life” and begins to wane. So, we have heard, it is with other belles.

Many a gallant ship has foundered at sea, with hosts of brave hearts on board, not because she was

“Built i’ the eclipse and rigged with curses dark,”

but for the sound reason that her rotten timbers and unsound planks were cut in the moon’s waning weeks. By the by, who ever saw a ship that was not rigged with curses, and navigated, too, for that matter? What is there about salt water that predisposes one to swear so? No wonder that the sea is “deep blue!” If all the oaths that sailors ever swore fell overboard, the ocean must be fourth proof “liquid d—nation” by this time! Rum is dove’s milk in comparison.

No farmer of the old school plants his corn, cuts his hay, or, especially, kills his pork in the moon’s wane. Therefore swine in his pen are safe for a fortnight after “the full o’ the moon,” lest, perchance, when the summer heats shall have come again, and six stout, hungry “men folks” assemble round his board, waiting with moist brows and watering lips, impatient for the wonted unctuous noon-day meal, the mighty slab of “strange flesh” which, erewhile, was with difficulty forced into the capacious pot, be found, upon the raising of the lid, shrunken, withered, boiled away, curtailed of its fair proportions; all that remains a little “nub,” scarce half enough for one of the voracious, disappointed crew.

At such a time, sore is the mortification of the farmer’s buxom wife. Thrifty she means to be, but never stingy. She blusheth as she deposits on the table a huge pewter platter, covered, apparently, with naught but turnips, potatoes and other “garden sauce.” She answereth deprecatingly to her husband’s wondering inquiry, if she has “forgotten the pork.” Forgotten it! no! nor ever will! The ghost of the vanished meat now stareth her in the face! Fork in hand, she wipeth her flushed brow with her plump, bare arm, and pointeth to the pile of smoking potatoes, beneath which is buried the shrivelled abortion of a meal. She telleth, while her husband makes a Barmecidical show of carving the bit, how that “pork killed in the old o’ the moon is sure to shrink in the pot.” She glanceth furtively around the board, to see whether any churlish or waggish hind smiles skeptically or disdainfully, or winketh at his neighbor. She calleth hastily to Jane to bring the cider-pitcher, forgotten in the trouble, and hurrieth away to the kitchen to pack up an unusually munificent and toothsome afternoon’s luncheon. There we leave her, and invoke in her behalf the sympathy of Mr. Gliddon. Who so well as he knoweth the embarrassments and disappointments which sometimes follow the taking off the cover?

An inexperienced housewife, sometimes, will, for once, adventure upon soap-making “in the old of the moon.” Albeit such an attempt is but an unavailing expenditure of grease and patience. The incredulous tyro is forced to remember sadly the precepts, _receipts_, and warnings of her wiser and less philosophical mother. She repenteth her folly in apron of tow-cloth and ashes. Satan seemeth, indeed, to be the father of all lyes. Death is in the potash. The carefully preserved contents of the soap-grease barrel disdain an alliance with such bedevilled trash. The potash, in its turn, has lost its Russian-like appetite for grease, and turns up its nose at the odorous drippings and unctuous pot-scum. The vexed young matron mingles her sweat and tears with the boiling, steaming, ill savored, ill assorted mass, which does, indeed, seem to “bubble, bubble, toil and trouble,” in a bewitched caldron. All is in vain. Crying wont help it. Coaxing wont do. Stirring is unavailable. For once agitation is ineffectual. Invocation is useless. The soft soap wont come. Human nature gives way. The compost heap receives the ingredients which were intended for the soap barrel.

Gentle reader, didst ever go on a sleigh-ride in the full of the January moon? We speak not now of one of your city rides, half the way over almost naked pavements, to some suburban hotel—but a regular-built, old-fashioned country sleigh-ride, with a supper and ball at the end of it. No? Can we depict such a scene to you? With many doubts and fears we undertake the work—a pleasant task if it can be well accomplished.

Imagine then, a small, New England, country village; one of those that are formed by a cluster of white houses about a shaded square, and rows of similar dwellings on each side of a long, wide street, lined with elms and buttonwoods. The time is seven o’clock; the round full moon has risen above the distant eastern hills—all over the square, and adown the broad street stretches an expanse of dazzling snow. The sleigh paths are yet almost as purely white as the untrodden snow on either side. Save where the steel-shod runners have left gleaming stripes, and the shadows of the snow banks fall, these tracks are hardly distinguishable. The deep snow fell only last night, and the roofs of the houses, the fences, and the dark fir trees in the front-door yards are yet covered with heavy, glittering, sparkling burdens. The houses on the east side cast long shadows across the street. Those on the other side glow in the moonbeams only less white than the snow itself. Columns of pale, gray smoke ascend from every chimney, straight and steadily, until they mingle with the dark blue sky. One chimney alone emits a rushing crowd of fiery sparks; and all around the low, wide portal of the rude shed it overtops, a ruddy gleam shines out upon troops of men and startled horses, and casts a fierce glare upon the trampled snow around. Then the cheerful ring of hammer and anvil is heard. The sturdy smiths work half the night at such a time, for smooth-shod horses are not the nags for a sleigh ride.

In the village houses lights are rapidly flitting from chamber to chamber, and if we pass along the side paths we shall hear gay laughs, and merry screams, and the sounds of hurried preparation. At each door stands a gayly adorned sleigh, a perfect nest of bear-skins and buffalo-robes. The impatient horses stamp and chafe, and the merry sound of sleigh-bells chimes in with the ring of the blacksmith’s anvil. Around the piazzas of the hotel a crowd of the villagers is assembled. The boys and loafers are in a state of extreme excitement. Hark! A whoop—a hurrah from the stable-yard in the rear!—a sharp, clear crack of a whip! Hi! hi! Then a plunging and trampling. Another hurrah, and a fierce jangling of a hundred varied toned bells! Around the corner it comes! The boys and loafers shout again—six horses, rearing, pitching, plunging, rush with a wide sweep from out the lane, dragging after them a huge, open, omnibus sleigh. As the great ark ranges in front of the hotel, and its mad team subsides into comparative quiet, forth issue from the thronged piazzas crowds of village belles and beaux. Can it be that so many may find room aboard the sleigh, capacious as it is? Leave that to the Genius who presides over expeditions of this sort. In a sleigh, large or small, there is always room for one more. In the meantime the doors of the private dwellings have been opened, and from each emerges a beshawled, bemuffed, behooded, and overshod damsel—or two or three perhaps. Their happy beaux, clad in overcoats of pilot-cloth, in seal-skin caps, red worsted leggings, and buckskin gloves, escort them to the sleighs. The procession is formed in front of the hotel. Twenty sleighs, besides the teeming omnibus. The last in the line is a crockery crate, mounted upon a rude pair of runners and hitched behind a tandem team. The leader is a three-year old colt, wild and but half broken, and now, crazy with the noise, he is kicking and plunging like mad. In the crate stands the dare-devil of the village; a rich, handsome, graceless, good-natured scamp—the darling of the girls, the marvel of the boys, the terror of the piously disposed, and the favorite of all. He prefers to ride alone. Now all is ready—the band strikes up—the driver of the omnibus stands erect and tightens his reins—crack, goes the long whiplash—the horses plunge and start, the snow creaks, the bells jingle, the boys and loafers hurrah, the beaux laugh as the girls scream, and away flies the long caravan, like an express train, down the broad street, thundering, cracking, screaming, laughing. They turn the corner, all but the daredevil and his crockery crate, _they_ are upset in a snow-drift, but before the army of boys and loafers can reach the scene of the mishap, all is right side up again, and the last seen of dare-devil he is driving by the whole train, his frantic leader touching the snow only once in a rod.

Two hours afterward six reeking horses drag the omnibus up to the hotel piazzas again—a string of sleighs come in behind—one by one the stragglers arrive. Dare-devil and his team are among the missing, and on inquiry are reported as seen last, the one kissing the landlady at a tavern ten miles away, and the other engrossing the attention, and calling into active exercise all the strength and agility of the landlord and his negro hostler.

In the meantime twenty miles of snow path have been scoured over by the merry, frost-covered throng disembarking on the steps. Thousands of merry speeches have been said—a whole jest-book full of funny stories have been told. Every pretty hand in the company has been squeezed. Every pretty cheek has been kissed, and, we doubt not, almost every pretty lip. At least nine flirtations have been commenced. The moon has drawn together three pairs of twin hearts, and set them throbbing in unison—and one little question has been put and answered, very satisfactorily to the absorbed couple in yonder sleigh, which is arriving late, closely pursued by the shouting dare-devil and his prancing team.

All night the glaring windows of the ball-room shake and rattle. The inspiring music, to which they keep time, the sound of the dancers’ feet, the merry ringing of lamps, and the buzz of conversation are heard by the sleepy watchers in the bar-room below, who while away the hours, except when disturbed by eruptions of the beaux from above, in quest of confectionary and lemonade, or perhaps stronger beverages, by playing checkers, drinking flip, smoking cigars, and endlessly discussing the points and merits of divers horses of the neighborhood.

The pale moon lights home the revelers, just in time to save her sister Aurora the trouble.

The young May moon has been justly celebrated by the poets, and many have supposed, that at this season the hearts of lovers are more susceptible than at any other time. Truly the moonlight of May is very beautiful and love inspiring—but the August and September moon is the time of times—when the air is clear and warm, without cloud or chill, and rich and faint with the odors of the ripe fruits—when the corn and grain and all that grows from the earth’s bosom are at full height and verging toward maturity—when other leaves than those of tall trees rustle in the night wind—when the katy-did and cricket hold cheerful conversation, and fill the air with noisy clamor, near akin to silence—when the nights have grown longer and cooler than in the fierce mid-summer—when the moon seems larger and fuller than its wont, and its light has a deeper tone—then is the time to enjoy, in perfection, moonlight nights and lunatic fancies. Nights we say—not evenings. In the evenings one sees company and receives calls, takes wearying walks, hears commonplace remarks about the beauty of the weather and the prospects of the crops, eats ice-creams, drinks sherry-cobblers, or, it may be, smokes cigars and reads the evening newspaper. It is a border ground, upon which the people of the work-day world make forays. But “the small hours,” far in “the stilly night,” from twelve to three, contain the true romance of moonlight. The dull world is asleep, there is a new heaven and a new earth, peopled only by fairies, lunatics, ghosts and poets. Bright heavenly hours! Methinks in praise of them we could “mark out a measure of verse.”

They may tell of the sunlight’s brilliant dyes When the day in the Orient breaks; Of the splendid glare which dazzles the eyes As his noontide course he takes; They may talk of the gorgeous hues that glow In the western sky at eve, When, in gaudy pomp and with gilded show, Of the world he takes his leave.

They may praise the Aurora’s wayward gleam, As far up the northern sky The ruddy flashes fitfully stream, Then suddenly fade and die; And flash anew, and again sink low, Like the love of a fickle swain; While the shadows flicker over the snow That covers the wintry plain.

The poets sing of the twilight hour, The twilight hour of eve; And teach that it hath a magic power To soothe the hearts that grieve; That lovers prefer this gentle time— To courting it gives such a zest— And, as for themselves, for the stringing of rhyme That the twilight hour’s the best.

There are some who delight in a starlight night, And some like a chandelier; And others a grate-full of anthracite, Or of hickory burning clear, And some the religious light that is shed Adown in a church’s aisle— And some will turn out from a nice, warm bed To gaze on a burning pile.

But the light that we love far better than all Is the light of the golden moon At the sweet, short hour “ayont the twal,” Just past the summer night’s noon. Oh! then ’tis sweet to roam alone, Or to sit in the shaded bower! No enchantment, we ween, on earth is known Like the magic of such an hour.

’Tis sweet when the night by the moon is graced To wander with her we love; Or to sit with our arm around her waist, While we coax from her hand the glove; And to teaze in a whisper for one sweet kiss Till we gain the darling boon! Oh! for making love ne’er a time like this— By the light of the August moon.

“And so on,” as Elia says, “one might proceed in this strain forever.”

Give to us, then, the moonlit nights of fragrant August and mature September. There is a body to them, a delicate aroma withal—the intoxication is heavenly, such as nectar might produce. Then it is that heaven seems descended to the earth, and fairy land restored. Then it is, that, if we find ourselves alone with one of the other sex, by the soft light, we are prone to imagine her to be our better self, our other moiety, the twin soul for which we have longed in our dreams, and—hence the propriety of a proper selection of moonlight company, judiciously made, before sunset. Then it is that we like to talk but little, and only in whispers and low tones. Then it is that our souls grow large, and we cannot believe ourselves mortal. Deep ardent longings seize us for something we know not what. Tears, neither of sadness or joy, spring to our eyes. Delicious, incomprehensible emotions agitate our hearts. Strange things seem easy of credence, and to see a troop of fairies dancing on the green lawn, or the placid ghost of a dear friend, half hidden in the shade of yonder vine, would startle us but little, and would seem all in keeping. Then we grow poetical—romantic—at peace with all the world—then chilly—then—ah! poor human nature!—then sleepy! and when, six hours after, we rise, at the third call, to a late cold breakfast, eggs, rolls and coffee seem to us of great importance, and occupy the whole attention of a soul, which, but lately, held the whole world in its embrace and felt a void the while.

Gentle reader—while we write the pale, exhausted moon is setting behind the distant ridge of Talcott mountain. The tall tower of Montevideo stands like a lonely, belated giant, in full relief against the silver-gray western sky. Our hair is damp with dew—our numb and weary fingers can hardly retain the blunt pencil with which we have indited the preceding extravagances. There is a faint, ruddy glow in the east—we hear the neigh of Aurora’s steeds. Good night then, dear, lunatic reader. May the morn find you sane—the night mad again—and long may it be ere the soft light of the full moon shall rest upon the green sod of your grave, and glow, reflected from the marble of your monument.

* * * * *

TO MISS MARTHA GRIFFITH.

BY G. D. P.

Beautiful girl, I have wandered far, Toward the rising sun and the evening star, I have roamed ’mid the Northern wastes of snow, And strayed where the soft magnolias blow, But I never gazed on a face as bright As thine, sweet spirit of young delight.

Beautiful girl, thou art bright and fair As an angel-shape in the moonlight air, No shadow rests on thy brow of snow Save that of thy tresses drooping low, Love’s own dear light is wandering oft O’er thy gentle lip of carmine soft, Thy lovely cheek, where the rich, red glow Of the warm blood melts through the virgin snow, Is sweetly blending in one rich dye The woven beauties of earth and sky; Truth, holy truth in its freshness dwells Deep, deep in thy dark eyes’ shaded wells, And fancies wild from their clear depths gleam, Like shadows of stars from a trembling stream, And thy thoughts are a dream of Eden’s bowers, And thy words are garlands of flowers, bright flowers.

Beautiful girl, I have seen thee move A floating creature of joy and love, As light as a mist on the sunrise gale, Or the buoyant sway of a bridal veil, Till I almost looked to see thee rise Like a soaring thought to the free blue skies, Or melt away in the thin blue air, Like a vision of fancy painted there. Thy low sweet voice, as it thrills around, Seems less a sound than a dream of sound; Softly and wildly its clear notes swell Like the spirit-tones of a silver bell, And the lips whence the fairy music flows Is to fancy’s eye like a speaking rose.

Beautiful, beautiful girl, thou art A vision of joy to the throbbing heart, A star sent down from a world of bliss And all undimmed by the shades of this; A rainbow pictured by love’s own sun On the clouds of being, beautiful one.

Beautiful girl, ’tis a weary year Since thy sweet voice fell on my ravished ear. ’Tis a long, long year of light and gloom Since I gazed on thy young cheek’s lovely bloom— Yet thy gentle tones of music still Through the holiest depths of memory thrill Like tones of a fount, or breeze, or bird, In the long gone years of childhood heard. And oft in my dark and lonely moods, When a demon-wing o’er my spirit broods, Thine image seems on my soul to break Like the sweet young moon o’er a gloomy lake, Filling its depths as the shadows flee, With beauty and love and melody.

Beautiful girl, thou art far away, And I know not where thy steps now stray; But oh! ’tis sweet, it is very sweet, In the fairy realms of dreams to greet Thy cheek of roses, thy brow of pearl, And thy voice of music, beautiful girl.

* * * * *

PICTURE OF CHILDHOOD.

BY WM. ALEXANDER.

Forth issuing from a craggy mountain’s side, A stream is seen. Anon, with gilded prow And silvery oars, a bark appears to glide, Bearing a happy infant, on whose brow, Pictured are Joy and Wonder. Onward still Over the widening stream’s wild waves, eke, skims It merrily. The tiny steersman hymns His roundelay of Joy, or at his will, Plucks the gay flowers of early morn, Which diamond dew-drops, silver-like, adorn— Unmindful that such pleasures fade away, That youth, and love, and beauty soon decay— Life is a launch—we voyage to the grave, We venture on, unthoughtful of the whelming wave.

* * * * *

MINNIE DE LA CROIX:

OR THE CROWN OF JEWELS.

BY ANGELE DE V. HULL.

(_Concluded from page 304._)

“Lord bless us, my children! what a noise,” cried Mr. de la Croix on the morrow as he entered the store-room. “I am deaf! give me some claret and water some of you! I am thirsty enough to swallow bottle and all. I have had lamps fastened to every other tree in the avenue and every column around the piazza.”

Minnie brought him the iced wine and ran off to work again. She was beating eggs for a mayonnaise, and directing the servant behind her in chopping celery and chicken for salad.

Lisa was standing on a table pouring from an immense bowl a stream of icing over a pyramid of cake that stood in a salver on the floor. Rose was frothing eggs for something else, Kate was churning syllabub, and Blanche was pounding almonds.

Mr. de la Croix stopped his ears and called out as loudly as he could, “Halt! order! I want to talk. Where are those great china bowls to be placed, and the pride of Rose’s existence, the diamond-cut wonder—the crystal one? No one can carry them among you here, and I must tell Sampson to do it.”

“The two first on the piazza, the glass one in the middle of the table,” answered Lisa, looking up from her task. “I only hope Sampson will not serve them like Philistines, with the exertion.”

“Do you think there is too much strength under those woolly locks of his, Lisa, or do you fear a superfluity of grace in his ‘fantastic toe?’” said Kate.

“I know that his ‘fantastic toe,’ as you are pleased to dignify it, kicked over a pan of milk an hour ago, when I sent him to the dairy, and these tricks have not certainly power to make angels smile.”

“Samp want to white hisself for to-night,” said his wife, showing her ivory as she looked at him. “Miss Lisa never scold him for it, but you may know I did, Miss Kate. What he do such ladicalous things for?”

“He could not help it, Aunt Winny,” said Minnie as she turned her dish of well frothed eggs to prove her skill. “Now here is a magnificent float for your ‘island.’ You know I always said that you should make your favorite dish for my wedding-supper, and this is an occasion quite as important. Here is the sugar, sand and every thing you want.”

“Thank’ee, Miss Minnie. I’ll make it splendid, you may know that. But dis an’t no wedding-supper, my child, and it musn’t be so grand a floatin’ island as the bride’s. Ah! didn’t I make two for Miss Kate and Miss Blanche if dey wos married in de mornin’. I nussed you all—fine gals you is! Dey an’t such young ladies for miles round, and please God! I may live to see you all happy and lovin’ your pardners as _them_ do. My old mistress herself would love to see ’em so.”

And Winny left the room majestically—a pan on her head and one in each hand, six little nigs at her heels, each dismissed with a lump of sugar as they went along in a straight line to the kitchen.

“Winny grows eloquent, as she gets older,” said Lisa. “If every body believed her, we would all be like Miranda with every creature’s best. I wonder what she will say when she sees us all dressed to-night.”

Winny was not the only one delighted with her young mistresses as they made their appearance in the hall, one after another, and surveyed the beautifully decorated walls of the several apartments opened for the occasion. Festoons of cedar were hung around and above, and beneath each were large bouquets of fresh flowers, arranged in perfect taste. The orchestra hung in scarlet cloth, was wreathed in roses and evergreens, and surrounded by lamps placed so as to illuminate these fairy bowers independent of the glittering row of lights for the musicians. Stands of exotics occupied one side of the hall, the fair and tender buds throwing out a thousand perfumes on the air, yet even these were not more fragrant than the flowers of the season that hung around, the delicate maiden’s-blush and the pale tea-rose. Long after the chilly autumn winds have made us close our casements and doors, these sweet sisters are blooming in the gardens without, and from Mr. de la Croix’s thick and extended hedges he had found a harvest for his daughter’s ball.

Nothing could be more brilliant than the _tout ensemble_ of garden, house and avenue. Every nook and corner had its light, every room its comfort, and before the guests began to assemble Lisa had satisfied herself that the arrangements for their enjoyment were indeed complete. Her queenly form well became the blue tarlatan with its moss-roses in bunches of half opened buds. Her hair was simply twisted, and in satin-like bands over her ears.

Blanche and Kate floated about in their pure white, their elegance conspicuous from their simplicity, while Rose and Minnie, like twin roses, were radiant with beauty. The excitement had deepened the color on their cheeks and brightened their eyes into stars. Who wonders then at the father’s pride as he looked at his crown of jewels this night? Who wonders that the guests loved their pleasant smiles, and treasured their gentle welcomes? No one was neglected by them, not one in the whole crowd felt forgotten or slighted, and the hours flew by as though Time had laid his hour-glass in the green bowers and slept at its side.

“Minnie, Minnie!” whispered Blanche, “you talk too heedlessly. Be more quiet, my dear girl.”

“Ah, do not scold me to-night,” cried she, as she leant half panting for breath upon her partner’s arm. “Is it not a shame to scold me now?” And she raised her bright eyes to his with a look that dazzled him.

“It is a shame ever to do so,” replied he earnestly. “Surely Mrs. Stuart you are not so cruel?”

“Only prudent, Mr. Milton, that is all; remember this is my little sister’s ‘first appearance.’”

“You mean that she is one of the unsophisticated,” said he laughing. “And by far more bewitching in consequence,” was added in a whisper.

Blanche smiled and shook her head at him, but they whirled off in a waltz before she could reply, so she returned to her station by Kate, who was talking in a very old-fashioned kind of way to—her husband.

“Paul and I were thinking the same,” said Kate, as she placed her arm within hers. “Minnie is _tant soit peu_ inclined to flirtation, and we must warn her before it becomes a passion.”

“A passion, Kate!” said her husband smiling.

“Yes; a passion for admiration—for change, and a sickly love of flattery that is beneath a girl like our Minnie. How I do hope she will preserve that perfect freedom from all affectation that is one of her greatest charms.”

Paul made no answer, but as the quadrille broke up, went forward to the object of this enconium as she accepted her partner’s offer of a quiet promenade after her dance.

“Minnie,” said he, “you have not danced with me this evening.”

“Because you have not asked me,” replied she, putting her arm through his with an affectionate smile. “I have felt myself quite neglected by you and Kenneth, I assure you.”

“I was just coming to claim you, Minnie,” said Mr. Stuart, who had heard her last remark. “But since I am supplanted this time, we are engaged for the next.”

She nodded to him and passed on to a group of young girls who were talking gayly, and joined them. One, a fair-haired blonde with a pair of melting blue orbs, accosted her with a congratulatory remark upon the entire success of her fête.

“We are all delighted with every thing—with you and with ourselves, par parentheses. But why does not your father dance, Minnie?”

“Go and ask him,” said she laughing. “I have not seen him dance since I was a little girl.”

“Well, he shall dance with me then,” exclaimed the pretty questioner, “and I am going to invite him for the very next quadrille.” And off she tripped to find Mr. de la Croix.

“Dance with you, my sweet young lady,” cried he. “And what will all these gay and handsome fellows say to my usurping their place?”

“That I show very good taste in my selection of a cavalier,” was the reply. “You _must_ dance with me Mr. de la Croix because—I have said that you must.”

“The little maid would have her will,” quoted he, much amused. “So come, my little conqueror, I could not refuse, even if an old man’s bygone steps are shocking to polka lovers and sliding graces.”

“I have gained a victory,” said Miss Ashton, as he led her to a place among the dancers. “See, Minnie! I have chosen my own partner, in spite of ceremony and etiquette.”

“Age has its privileges,” observed Mr. de la Croix, with a courtly bow, “and this is one of its most pleasant advantages. I had never been so honored but for my silver-streaked head.”

“Ah, Mr. de la Croix!” said his young companion archly, “your youth has only to return to put us to the test. I’m sure you could tell us of bright eyes that followed you wistfully in days of yore.”

“Little flatterer!” exclaimed he, as the music struck up. “My age again has helped me to this.”

But the gay girl bounded forward, and he watched her graceful movements with so much pleasure that he almost forgot his own part.

Minnie was opposite too, and seemed so delighted at seeing her father dance, that he quite enjoyed an amusement that had been for so many years discarded, as one too frivolous for a _père de famille_.

Mr. Selby had to follow his example, as Minnie declared it his duty to do so, and thus her “first party” was a perfect triumph, as not only the younger but the older heads were giddy with their exertions to amuse and be amused. It was nearly daylight before Sampson had finished his task of putting out the lights, and the hall, like all other banquet halls, deserted. There were no heavy hearts carried away, though many perhaps were lost to merciful finders, and Minnie laid her young head on her pillow with a feeling of consciousness that her debut had been one of unusual and brilliant success.

And so it proved, for during the season that followed, no party of pleasure—no crowded ball was complete without her presence. She was a perpetual sunbeam, shedding light by her winning smile and sweet temper. Her sisters accompanied her by turns, and watched her flying steps with affectionate pride; but Kate’s fears were partly verified, and her young sister too fond of admiration to escape that love of sway over the hearts of the many that seemed to live but in her glances. In vain they warned—in vain they lectured, Minnie had been too long careless of advice to heed it now in this whirlpool of constant gayety. Still artless, still unaffected, she dispensed her smiles too lavishly, and fanned the flame her varied charms had kindled, where she might have spared her victims many a pang, had she heeded the voice of reason.

“Would you have me cross to people?” said she to Kate.

“No, Minnie; but seemingly less pleased with their attentions. Did not Mr. Douglas have reason to complain that you had encouraged him, when you refused his offer last week?”

“Who told you that?” asked Minnie, crimsoning to the temples. “Who told you that, Kate?”

“Himself, and I could not but feel for his disappointment,” said Kate earnestly. “I have seen you look pleased at his assiduities—so pleased, that I could not wonder at the reproach he made you.”

“I granted him no more than I did to others,” said the girl tearfully.

“But you have a way, Minnie, of accepting homage that is flattering to those who offer it.”

“_I_ am flattered, and return only what I receive.”

“But you do not, my dear sister. What they offer is too often sincere; they, then, according to your mode of reasoning, have a right to expect the same. Harry Lamfear left here in consequence of your refusal, for, as he said, he could not bear to meet you wherever he went, and I own that I thought you were partial to him from a promise I heard you make, to wear no bouquets but his for one month.”

“You are making mountains of mole-hills,” said Minnie, blushing again. “I never dreamed that such a promise was equivalent to ‘Certainly, sir! go and order the furniture.’ I did like Harry Lamfear exceedingly, but love was no part of the liking. I told him more than once—more than twice, since I must defend myself, that it was useless for him to expect any thing more than friendship from me. I could not refuse to speak to him—it will not do to insult a man because he wants to marry you, will it?”

“Decidedly no; but then you should have refused to dance with him more than once in the evening—you should have denied yourself on more occasions than one, when he called. I saw you one morning get up from the sofa, where you were suffering actually with a headache, and dress your hair as becomingly as you knew how, with a morning-cap that was really a charming set-off to your piquante style, and go in the parlor to receive him. You told him of your indisposition of course, and his inference was, that there must have been something _more_ than friendship to rouse you in the midst of pain, to the exertion of entertaining him. Did it look like indifference?”

“I was wrong there, sister,” said Minnie, rising and seating herself beside her. “Tell me what I must do.”

“Be kind and courteous to all, my little pink-cheek, and do not listen with such a ready ear to the honied words that make you giddy. Do not every week or month select one on whom to bestow your favors, but treat all alike indifferently until you really find your own feelings enlisted. Then I need not advise, your own delicacy, your own natural modesty will make you every thing you ought to be. But for heaven’s sake do not give people the idea, that you are caught like a candle-fly by every glare, and wear a battered down heart after your first winter is over.”

“Oh, Kate, how matter-of-fact you are! Why didn’t you say ‘pretty moth,’ and ‘withered heart?’ You shock me with your every day-isms.”

“You have very fastidious ears, Minnie, and I am not jesting. There is one thing more to be said and I have done. Beware of trifling with young Freeman. He will not suffer himself to be led like his predecessors if he is serious. And if he is, as I think, merely playing your game of _flirting_, he will make you regret ever having seen him. I do not like him—I cannot look at him without a feeling of uneasiness.”

“How foolish!” cried Minnie, laughing, “and how ungrateful! he is always praising my charming sister Mrs. Linden.”

“Yes, so as to tell you immediately afterward how much you resemble her,” said Kate gravely. “I am not old, Minnie, but I am sorrowed, and feel no longer young. Let what I have said this morning be of some benefit to you, for your own sake, if not for mine. I must watch and warn you, heedless as you are to all counsel, and in so doing I make a sacrifice that costs me something, for I might be conversing pleasantly on other subjects, and feel secure that my sister Minnie does not think me harsh and disagreeable,” and her eyes filled with tears.

“How unjust!” cried Minnie, throwing her arms around Kate’s neck, and kissing her affectionately. “How very unjust! Do I not know how to value your advice, Kate—am I so heartless in your eyes? Heedless I am indeed, but not heartless, and I will try and remember what you have said, that I may act upon it.”

And so she did until it was forgotten, and young Freeman’s devotion became once more a triumph to the unreflecting Minnie. Her sisters rejoiced as the end of the season drew nigh, as the entire summer would be undisturbed by these constant amusements. They would once more live in quiet after the gay and to them tiresome winter, passed in following their young charge from place to place, and in the meantime a change might come over the “spirit of her dream.”

It was at the opera that Minnie sat once more, while Mme. —— enchanted and fascinated her audience. Her bright eyes were fixed upon the sweet singer, and she did not perceive the door of her box opened to admit a gentleman, who took his seat and gazed in silence at the lovely form before him. Ever and anon he turned to Mr. Stuart, who stood behind with a smile of pleasurable surprise upon his fine open countenance, and watched with some impatience the close of the second act of “Jerusalem,” in spite of his love of music and the beauty of this particular opera.

But the curtain fell, and Minnie turned to speak her delight to her brother. She started as she recognized Harry Selby!

He could not but be flattered at the expression of pleasure upon that speaking countenance, and the fluttering of the little hand, which, for a moment, rested in his; while Minnie read in those dark eloquent eyes a story that sent the tell-tale blush to her cheek, and forced her into a silence that provoked and embarrassed her.

But Rose came to her aid, and poured inquiries into his _not_ over attentive ear. When did he arrive—when did he sail? Where was his uncle?

“I arrived this morning—I sailed three weeks ago from Liverpool to New York, and lost not a minute in coming south, and left my uncle at home.”

“You are a perfect telegraph,” said Minnie, recovering her speech. “Your friends must feel highly flattered at your haste to reach them.”

“Ah!” exclaimed he, fixing his eyes upon her, “I felt that I could not trust myself to remain absent any longer! I had so much to learn! so much to lose!”

Minnie turned to the stage and lifted her opera-glass, while Rose smiled in spite of herself. Here was a lover _comme il y’en a peu_. And as she contemplated his handsome countenance expressive of high and noble qualities, his attractive manner and pleasant flow of words, she felt that Minnie was a conqueror indeed.

“Come and dine with us to-morrow, Harry,” whispered she, as he handed her in the carriage. “And bring your uncle with you. Tell him I have a japonica in full bloom and he must see it.”

“Ah, Rose!” was the reply, “you are an angel! You do not mock the ear with promises—you mean to keep them.”

And they drove off at a rapid pace, leaving him to rejoice over the beauty and fascination of his youthful love, while she leaned back and wondered at the beating of that hitherto quiet heart—the strange but pleasurable emotion that seemed gushing from its depths.

“How remarkably he has improved!” exclaimed she, turning to her sister. “How proud his uncle must be.”

“Proud indeed!” replied Rose. “And Harry’s worth does not consist in his good looks, he has a well-regulated, intelligent mind, a noble heart, and that rare pride that scorns an unworthy thought. I saw him constantly when I was in Paris, and I am certain that he will fully justify the opinion I formed of him.”

The carriage stopped at Mrs. Bliss’s door for Kenneth and Blanche, and Mr. Selby came out to meet his favorite. Minnie parried his questions as well as she could, but Rose’s congratulations upon his nephew’s arrival and appearance satisfied him, and he accepted her invitation to dinner with unmistakeable pleasure. He had intended to take them by storm, but now Lisa would have warning, and be able to fuss over them as they deserved, and he bade them “good night” with a hearty shake of the hand.

Down the pleasant avenue wandered two graceful forms a few weeks after this, the gentle tones of a young girl’s voice mingling with the deeper, more tender ones of a youth, who was gazing earnestly on her deepening cheek.

“I need not have told you, Minnie, for you knew it that night at the opera,” said he pleadingly. “You could not but see that I loved you as few love—that in spite of time and space your image had remained within my heart, its fondest remembrance. Tell me, Minnie,” and he paused as they reached a vine-covered bower, and led her to a seat beneath its shade, “tell me honestly, did you not read all this ere now?”

She trembled—her lot now was to be cast, her fate determined, and there seemed a spell upon her, for she could not speak; but there was no shade upon that fair smooth brow, no anger in those softened looks, and Harry, like many a one before him, dared to interpret for himself what her own lips at length were able to affirm.

And now to them the world seemed a paradise indeed, and life one long summer day, o’er which no cloud could ever come, to shadow their sunny hopes. The blue sky seemed clearer above their heads—the flowers were brighter, and the fair earth fairer still. Happiness was theirs, for they were all to one another, and as the hours passed unheeded, and the gleaming stars burst forth into the quiet heavens, they raised their eyes and likened their love to the quenchless beauty of its countless lamps.

Alas, poor dreamers! ye are granted this one momentary perfection of bliss! Ye can linger for once over this dawn of promised light—for once ye are convinced of its duration. But the sky must darken, the lamps must go out—the flowers must perish—the hopes must wither! There is but one hope—one home of happiness—the home that is not to be won without its pains, its fierce and mighty struggles, its chastenings, that purify and fit the soul for the presence of Him who promised it to the pure of heart.

Poor Minnie had to wake from her dream of love, but not yet—not until she was once more in the giddy round of engagements for the spring. It was at Mrs. Bliss’s last soirée that she was seen flying about like a vision of light, while Harry Selby watched her every glance. He had a right to be proud of her, for she was his own—his promised one, and proud he was. But a shade passed over his face as he beheld her extending to another the same smiles she gave to him; exerting for another the same fascinations that bound him captive from the hour he first beheld her. He did not intend, dear reader, that Minnie should give up all for him; he did not expect her to be less gay or less fond of dancing, but he could see no difference now between her conduct to those around her, and to him alone. He had a right to more than they, but although Minnie’s engagement was generally known, she allowed her lover to be pitied or jested with upon the danger of marrying a flirt, who cared more for admiration than for the love he bore her.

I am no advocate for the exactions or fastidiousness of the stronger sex, exactions that in all cases become that conjugal tyranny that drives us with broken hearts to an early and welcome tomb. I cannot uphold that constant recurrence to the difference of duties and deportment that marked the single and the married woman. The ceremony that binds in a few moments, cannot change the disposition of eighteen or twenty years—cannot blanch the dark braids of the bride into a matron’s sober locks; and yet there are few husband’s in the world who do not frown and wonder, if before the honey-moon is half over, he sees in his young wife the same ways and manners of the unfettered creature he had sworn so perfect, that her faults, _if_ faults she could have, were virtues. He had vowed that his life was a curse without her, that he asked only her love in return for his passionate devotion. But no sooner is she won, no sooner is she the wife who has bound herself to him “for better, for worse,” than he expects, God help her! the sacrifice of every thought she has to his prejudices, and never dreams how often she has been shocked at faults and habits that tore from her eyes the veil her own youth and inexperience had helped to weave.

But Harry Selby was not as a lover more exacting than was natural and proper, and he had imbibed some of Kate’s opinions concerning young Freeman, knowing too, more than she did, to justify his aversion. His devotion to Minnie de la Croix was not at first sincere, for his object was merely to triumph over others, and win a wager he had already made to do so. But her indifference to all his protestations enraged him, and her subsequent betrothal had made him jealous, and proved how madly he had learned to love her. He swore that he would force her to dismiss his rival, and Minnie’s acceptance of his attentions allowed him to dream of success in spite of her coldness to his suit, and laughing answers to his serious questions. He was well aware of his powers; he was one of the most attractive of his sex, witty, entertaining, and having that peculiar expression of high respect in his manner, that is particularly pleasing to women. Many would have given up, with more success than he could boast of, but he had vowed to revenge himself on Harry Selby, and his friends had heard him; so around poor Minnie a web was forming which her own thoughtlessness but helped to strengthen. She was convinced that Mr. Freeman fully comprehended her sentiments, and thus excused herself for carrying him in her train, unwilling to give up one who added so much to her amusement, and the splendor of her triumphs. In the midst of a merry argument upon the rights of two waltzers that stood before her, Harry approached.

“Will you dance with me?” he asked, and offering his arm to her. “I have waited patiently until now, you were so surrounded!”

“Why, do you not see these two importunate creatures teasing my life out? They want me to waltz, when I am tired to death and want to rest,” replied she, with a toss of the head that became her amazingly.

“But I ask you to dance,” said Harry, earnestly. “It is not so fatiguing, and I am but too happy to remain here until the quadrilles recommence.”

At this moment the band began a waltz, a sweet, bird-like clarionet pouring out its enchanting sounds, and the young girl bounded from her seat.

“Come, Mr. Freeman, I cannot resist that!” cried she laughing. “I must surely have been bitten by a tarantula.”

Harry drew back, and an expression of pain and anger crossed his face as he watched Minnie and her partner, who glanced at him with a look of haughty triumph.

A hand was laid upon his arm, and Kate Linden stood beside him. “As much as I dislike _him_, Harry, I must put Minnie in the wrong. For God’s sake, let there be no quarrels between men—I will speak to Minnie. She loves you dearly, but—”

“She loves adulation more,” said he bitterly. “Would to God I were not so madly fond!”

But the dance ended and Minnie returned to her place, with brightened eyes and flushed cheeks. Sending her companion for an ice, she turned to Harry.

“Now I will dance with you, patient creature, if you will wait a little longer.”

“You are very kind,” said he, more bitterly than before.

She started and looked at him, but laughed lightly as she said—

“You are very particular in commending my goodness, but you do not seem pleased.”

“No, Minnie; for I am too unhappy to conceal it,” was his reply. “I had thought you loved me better.”

“And since I did confess that love,” said she haughtily, and coloring deeply, “by what right do you doubt it?”

“Ask others beside myself, Minnie; ask all the world here, if this very hour you have not given me cause to think myself weighed in the balance with another?”

“You are jealous then. I had not deemed your breast capable of harboring so base a passion,” said she scornfully. “My actions are yet uncontrolled, and I must beg leave to decline any dictation of terms from your lips.”

He turned pale with suffering, but remembered her youth, and calmly met her eye.

“You do me injustice, Minnie; I had no such intention I assure you.”

At this moment Mr. Freeman handed her a plate of frozen strawberries, and a smile flitted over his features as he remarked their own. It was evident to him—there had been a dispute and he chose the opportunity. Quietly approaching the musicians, he gave them an order, and they began a mazourka then much in vogue. Harry’s head was turned away, and Minnie gave him a hurried glance as a most melodious voice was entreating her to dance.

“Ah!” said Mr. Freeman, smiling and gazing at her, “is it forbidden already?”

“I do not understand,” replied she in some confusion; but when Harry looked up she was gliding over the floor again, after reminding him of his own invitation. He rushed from the room, and making his adieus to Mrs. Bliss, drove rapidly home. It was not easy to imagine his state of mind, but Kate followed her sister until the mazourka ended, to warn her of a coming storm. Taking her arm, she bowed coldly to Mr. Freeman, who bit his lip and fell back among a group of gentlemen, some of whom had heard his wager and now laughed at his defeat.

“Defeat,” echoed he. “I have driven _il caro_ off in despair, and a few words more will settle all between the charming Minnie and myself. Not that I care particularly for her, but rejoice in the downfall of Mr. Harry Selby.”

“_Nous verrons_,” said a young man, who surveyed him with a look of disgust. “Miss de la Croix may like to flirt, but she loves Mr. Selby more. And I for one doubt your success.”

“Had I but one quarter of an hour alone with her, she would no longer dream of him. She loves me now, and I will prove it yet.”

Some one touched him as he walked away, and Paul Linden beckoned him to another room.

“My sister’s name is not to be sullied by such lips as yours, Mr. Freeman. I hold you accountable for what I have heard to-night, and trust you to prepare yourself to be made so.”

They passed into the street, and angry words rose between them, but when once more Minnie’s name was pronounced, Paul passed his hand across the face of the speaker and left him.

Poor Kate! little knew she the “business” that detained him the next day, and when at length Blanche came to her with a white face and trembling lips to prepare her for the dreadful news, she seemed unable to understand until it had been repeated—that her own husband was dangerously, though not mortally wounded, in a duel with Mr. Freeman.

With a loud shriek she became insensible, and thus they lifted her into the carriage, while the rest followed. Paul had been conveyed to her aunt’s, and there lay weak and fainting from pain and loss of blood. The ball had been extracted, and his poor Kate was told to be calm! lest her agony prove fatal to the one she loved beyond all earthly things. Calm! when her heart was torn and bleeding, when there was perhaps no chance of his recovery! But woman-like, she strove against her misery and bent down to kiss him, half fainting as she gazed at his pale face. He turned to her with such a look of love!

“Do not blame me, Kate, I would have died to spare you a moment’s unhappiness, as careless as this may seem of your feelings,” murmured he.

“Hush, Paul! for God’s sake hush!” cried she clasping his hand. “Do I not know your love for me? Do not speak my own husband—be assured that I would never blame you. But for my own happiness be careful and follow the doctor’s advice—be quiet.”

He fell asleep with his hand in hers, and she sat beside him motionless as a statue, the big tears falling over her face the while. She knew how much she had at stake, she knew by what a mere thread that precious life was hung, but she nerved herself to restrain her wretchedness, to keep silent her torturing fears, and tried to hope. Poor Minnie! throwing herself upon her knees she entreated her forgiveness for the pain she had caused—the tempest of grief her fault had raised. Kate gently put her head against her breast.

“My poor Minnie! my darling! who could refuse your forgiveness? God knows you are suffering sufficiently now—but oh! if _he_ should die!” Her composure gave way out of her husband’s presence, and her convulsive sobs seemed too much for her strength. They gathered around her frightened and weeping, beseeching her to cease, lest her cries reached Paul himself. A composing draught at length relieved her, and this was her last indulgence of her sorrow while a prey to such anguish as in vain assailed her. From that day her fortitude never forsook her, and neither loss of sleep or appetite were able to affect her. Minnie shared her vigils—both were mere shadows of their former selves, both watching with pale faces and sunken eyes the patient sufferer. Minnie left the room only when Harry Selby’s watch came round. She had not seen him since the fatal evening, nor mentioned his name after writing him when the meeting took place. It was a touching letter, and Harry bowed his head over it with a burst of manly grief. It ran thus:

“I write to say that you are free—you cannot but wish it, after what has passed. You cannot but hate one so apparently void of all feeling—so wickedly frivolous. Forgive me for the pain I cause you, God knows I am in need of pity! Should the worst happen, I will be guilty of my brother’s blood, a thought that maddens me. Farewell, I will always pray for your happiness.

“MINNIE DE LA CROIX.”

And she drooped day by day, with a weight of iron on her soul. Her sister’s sorrow—Paul’s suffering, and the separation from her young heart’s treasure were cankers, to eat away its hopes, and wither its freshness. Her father, too—how much he had changed, how gray he had become! How sad her sisters were, how gravely Kenneth spoke! The thought of their now deserted home, of its once happy aspect. She thought of its cheerful, merry-hearted inmates, and the light voices that were now so low and sad. She remembered her mother and the last blessing, the prayer that they might be forever united—she remembered the dead infant and Kate’s return—poor Kate! that she should be the only sufferer! Gladly would she have laid down her now darkened life for her sister—gladly would she have sunk into the tomb, to hide her bursting, breaking heart!

One night she sat at the head of Paul Linden’s bed after entreating Kate to go once around her aunt’s garden and breathe the sweet spring air. Her face was buried in her hands, and by the deep sighs that shook her frame a portion of that young creature’s misery might be conceived. On the opposite side of the bed sat another, watching her, by the darkened light of the sick room, with a look of deep compassion. He had entered unperceived, and there was a start of surprise as his eyes fell upon the drooped figure. He could never mistake it—he knew the outline of that once loved form—he knew the little hands that were clasped across her knees, and he held his breath least even that should rouse her. Involuntarily he held out his arms, but at a movement from the invalid she sprung to his side, and her companion bent down to raise him as he asked for some water. Minnie held the glass to his lips, and replaced it on the table without raising her eyes to his face, for she thought it was Kenneth; when she turned to seat herself her eyes fell upon the figure of him she loved! The blood forsook her cheeks, and with a low smothered cry she covered her face once more. When she looked again he was still there, and his hand was held out beseechingly toward her. Slowly she gave him hers, it was no bond of renewed faith, she thought merely that he offered her forgiveness, and he seemed now further from her than ever, as she remembered this and looked at the wounded man upon the bed. Sick at heart she sunk back upon her chair and buried her head in the clothes. The silence around them was painful now in the extreme, and Paul’s heavy breathing fell like a reproach upon her tortured heart. Years seemed to pass, and when Blanche came in to take her place, she breathed a prayer of thankfulness for the relief a change afforded.

She hurried from the room out into the garden to give vent to her wretchedness. She had then seen him again—seen him, she resolved for the last time. She had suffered too much for the last half hour to dare it again, and she dwelt upon the remembrance of his loved features as if to impress them more deeply yet upon her heart. Alas! how wildly she clung to him, now that she had bid him a last farewell! how intense grew the love she had lavished upon him with a woman’s bounty! She returned no more that night to her brother’s chamber, for she knew who watched beside him, but the lowly vigil she kept within her own was an eternity of grief.

Toward daylight Lisa entered with a face of joy. Clasping Minnie in her arms, she burst into tears as she spoke.

“Minnie, my poor child! he is saved! saved at last!”

She sunk upon the floor in a swoon, and during Paul’s convalescence, another of the household lay at death’s door. Day after day her fearful ravings smote their heavy hearts, and a gloom seemed hanging like a vast pall over them. Father, brothers and sisters, grew pale and thin; but there sat one beside that bed who seemed to grow old as he looked upon the distorted countenance of his Minnie. His poor blighted flower!

The physicians did not despair, but they did not bid them hope, and so a week passed—a week that dragged by like a lengthened chain that overpowered them. Then there came a gleam of light—

And Minnie opened her eyes once more to life. Who can tell their joy—their prayers of thankfulness as at length she knew them all? At the door now, sat her lover, not daring to enter lest his presence prove fatal, but as the tones of her sweet feeble voice reached him, he leaned against the wall for support. Rose wept silently at his side, and pressed his hand as he called on Minnie’s name——they might yet be happy!

Minnie’s first coherent inquiry was for Paul Linden, and the news of his recovery was the first and surest step to her own. He came to see her as soon as he heard it, and tenderly kissing that pale thin cheek, remained sitting by her with his hand in hers.

“Will you forgive me, Paul?” she asked, her eyes filling with tears.

“Dear child,” replied he tenderly, “did you imagine all this time that I could ever do aught but love you? So do not speak of forgiveness again, we are all too happy at your recovery to think of any thing but joy.”

How gratefully Minnie listened to all this, and how much she prized the affection each in their turn was striving to prove! She had awakened from a dream of horror to a new existence. She had grown wiser—the trial had purified her, and if at times her thoughts would turn to the _happy hours_ of the past—to the blessing _his_ love had seemed, she struggled against the regret that stung so sharply, and bowed her head to the justice of her punishment. It never occurred to her, poor penitent! that Harry could love her still, she thought her own conduct fully justified his accepting the freedom she had offered him, and heavy as the stroke came—deeply as it was felt, Minnie looked upon it as her due, and bound herself to suffer in silence—to battle with her troubles.

One morning her father carried her out into the garden, and seated her under a climbing jessamine that covered a bower at the side of the house. Few would have recognized the once gay and blooming girl in the delicate creature that leaned back exhausted in the chair—few could have realized the active little sprite, the idol of the ball-room, in this languid, helpless figure; but to her father and sisters there was something sweeter than ever in their suffering Minnie. A placid smile overspread her features at the sight of the sweet flowers that bloomed around her, and she held out her hand toward a cluster of fragrant Lady Banks that grew near.

“I can tell you a secret of the loveliest bouquet you ever saw, Minnie,” said Rose, gathering the bunch of tiny roses for her sister. “A bouquet that was sent an hour ago by a friend of yours and mine. It is the eighth received to-day, and I reserved this one as a _bonne bouche_, after all the rest. Now I am going to get it while you sit here, and papa will watch you until I get back.”

Her father looked tenderly at his poor bird, and stooped to kiss her. She smiled so gratefully in return, that the tears sprung to his eyes.

“We will go home soon, father,” said she, holding his hand; “we will go back to the old homestead. I pine for my native air like a caged bird, and long to be there again.”

He assented with a look of joy, for it was the first time she had mentioned her home, and he fancied she was stronger as she spoke.

Rose came running back with the bouquet, and the sick girl bent forward to receive it. Rare exotics and simple flowers lay lovingly together, and round the edge were rows of double violets—sweet flowers of spring that gladdened her heart. How many times she had sought them in the thickly bordered beds at home! How often she had kissed them with childish delight, when the fresh perfume had come like a message to tell her the spring had breathed upon them. And now they whispered of the old place and its past joys—of the time that had elapsed since she had been there, and the warm tears fell upon the leaves like shining drops of dew.

“And who sent this bouquet, Rose?” asked she, as her father walked toward the house. “Who sent it?”

“One who loves you dearly, Minnie, and who longs to see you,” replied she. “Will you let me bring him here, dear sister?”

“Him!” murmured the girl, as the color stole slowly over her cheek. “_Him_, Rose!”

A rustling among the leaves was heard—Rose fled, and once more Harry Selby and Minnie were alone! She gazed at him for a moment, and burst into tears.

“Harry! why are you here, for God’s sake!” she cried, as he knelt beside her and wound his arm around the fragile form he had so longed to see.

“Why am I here, Minnie?” said he reproachfully. “Can you ask me? Is it not to tell you once more how dear you are to me—how wretched I have been?”

“You love me still, then?” she said feebly, and fixing her eyes upon him. “I am not worthy of your love, Harry; I have deserved to lose it.”

“Minnie! Minnie! say not so! Whom could I ever love as I love you? Whose memory has followed me through long years but yours—what torture have I not endured since last we met?”

A look of gladness beamed from those beautiful eyes, and she clasped her hands together. “My God!” she whispered, “he loves me then in spite of all!” and she bowed her head upon her knees. “Loves me! after all that I have caused him and others to suffer.”

“And have you not suffered likewise, my own Minnie? How little you knew me, if you supposed for an instant that I could ever be happy without you!”

She learned to know him, reader; she learned to feel how deeply he loved her, how noble and just he could be, and the next day he bore her into the carriage that was to take them to Oakwood, and took his seat opposite to her, that he too might watch her through the drive.

It was a gala day that—father and sisters, husbands and the lover, his happy uncle and Mr. and Mrs. Bliss followed Minnie to instal her with new honors in her old home. Winny and Sampson headed the procession that came to meet them, and mingled their tears with the rest. Paul had become a hero to them, Minnie a greater pet than ever, and they both accepted the ovation as kindly as it was meant. After dinner, as Minnie sat playing with her beautiful fan, Harry took it gently from her hand.

“There is a secret in this fan, Minnie, unknown to any but myself. Shall I unfold it for you?”

She assented, and touching a spring in the little mirror at the side of the fan, he held it up to her. It disclosed a small, but perfect miniature of himself!

She gave an exclamation of surprise. “Why, Harry! your own dear self! Now I know who gave me this fan—now I guess the sender of this exquisite gift. To think how often I have used it, too, without knowing its real value.”

He smiled and pressed the soft hand he held. “And do you not think me a vain fellow, Minnie, mine, for having my own self, set into a frame like this? See on the other side, dearest, what I dared to do?”

It flew open there and a ring fell out, a tiny bouquet of the brightest diamonds upon it, and an opal in the centre that changed its hue at every motion of the hand. Harry placed the circle upon that taper finger, and held captive the hand that owned it.

“Now, Minnie! I loved you so dearly that I vowed to strive and win the very privilege I have taken, of placing this ring upon your hand myself. I will not let you go until you now tell me when I may put another where this now is, that will bind us closer yet. Tell me, Minnie, and make my happiness complete.”

And I suppose that Minnie told him, reader, for the last time I was at Oakwood there was the happiest bond assembled that earth can show. Kate, my poor Kate! was the delighted mother of another girl called Minnie, while a little Paul that ran about had a decided resemblance to Harry Selby, the proudest man alive. Blanche was beginning to look matronly with her three treasures, and Rose was wandering down the avenue with another nephew of Mr. Selby’s. Lisa, my queen-bee, was herself still—I could not say more for her, and Mr. de la Croix sat at the hall door watching his children and grand-children with a happy look. “They have suffered enough,” said he to me; “but my crown of jewels, my friend, is brighter than ever, after the breath of adversity for a while dimmed its lustre. Kate and Minnie, poor girls! have been in the storm, and felt its violence, but the rest shared their sorrow until it became their own. It was for the best, as all things are, and God in his mercy chastened them without sending Death among us again. They often recur to it, and while Minnie deplores her fault, Kate weeps at the remembrance of her dead child with a gentle sorrow, that allows her to contemplate its happy fate with a Christian’s view of the two worlds. It is not perhaps my part to praise them, but take them all in all, I do not think you will find a more cheerful, willing, and dutiful band than mine. They have been and are still, my crown of jewels.”

* * * * *

TO A CELEBRATED SINGER.

BY R. H. STODDARD.

Oft have I dreamed of music rare and fine, The wedded melody of lute and voice, Divinest strains that made my soul rejoice, And woke its inner harmonies divine. And where Sicilia smooths the ruffled seas, And Tempe hollows all its purple vales, Thrice have I heard the noble nightingales, All night entranced beneath the bloomy trees; But music, nightingales, and all that Thought Conceives of song is naught To thy rich voice, which echoes in my brain, And fills my longing heart with a melodious pain!

A thousand lamps were lit—I saw them not— Nor all the thousands round me like a sea, Life, Death and Time, and all things were forgot; I only thought of thee! Meanwhile the music rose sublime and strong, But sunk beneath thy voice which rose alone, Above its crumbled fragments to thy throne, Above the clouds of Song. Henceforth let Music seal her lips, and be The silent Ministrant of Poesy; For not the delicate reed that Pan did play To partial Midas at the match of old, Nor yet Apollo’s lyre, with chords of gold, That more than won the crown he lost that day; Nor even the Orphean lute, that half set free— Oh why not all?—the lost Eurydice— Were fit to join with thee; Much less our instruments of meaner sound, That track thee slowly o’er enchanted ground, Unfit to lift the train thy music leaves, Or glean around its sheaves!

I strive to disentangle in my mind Thy many-knotted threads of softest song, Whose memory haunts me like a voiceless wind, Whose silence does it wrong. No single tone thereof, no perfect sound Lingers, but dim remembrance of the whole; A sound which was a Soul, The Soul of sound diffused an atmosphere around! So soft, so sweet, so mellow, rich and deep, So like a heavenly soul’s ambrosial breath, It would not wake, but only deepen Sleep Into diviner Death! Softer and sweeter than the jealous flute, Whose soft, sweet voice grew harsh before its own, It stole in mockery its every tone, And left it lone and mute; It flowed like liquid pearl through golden cells, It jangled like a string of golden bells, It trembled like a wind in golden strings, It dropped and rolled away in golden rings; Then it divided and became a shout, That Echo chased about, However wild and fleet, Until it trod upon its heels with flying feet! At last it sunk and sunk from deep to deep, Below the thinnest word, And sunk till naught was heard, But charméd Silence sighing in its sleep!

Powerless and mute beneath thy mighty spell, My heart was lost within itself and thee, As when a pearl is melted in its shell, And sunken in the sea! I sunk, and sunk beneath thy song, but still I thirsted after more, the more I sank; A flower that drooped with all the dew it drank, But still upheld its cup for Heaven to fill; My inmost soul was drunk with melody, Which thou didst pour around, To crown the feast of sound, And lift to every lip, but chief to me, Whose spirit uncontrolled, Drained all the fiery wine and clutched its cup of gold!

Would I could only hear thee once again, But once again, and pine into the air, And fade away with all this hopeless pain, This hope divine, and this divine despair! If we were only Voices, if our minds Were only voices, what a life were ours! My soul would woo thee in the vernal winds, And thine would answer me in summer showers, At morn and even, when the east and west Were bathed in floods of purple poured from Heaven, We would delay the Morn upon its nest, And fold the wings of Even! All day we’d fly with azure wings unfurled, And gird a belt of Song about the world; All night we’d teach the winds of night a tune, While charméd oceans slept beneath a yellow moon! And when a-weary grown of earthly sport, We’d wind our devious flight from star to star, Till we beheld the palaces afar, Where Music holds her court. Entered, and beckoned up the aisles of sound, Where starry Melodies are marshaled round, We’d kneel before her throne with eager dread, And when she kissed us, melt in trances deep, While angels bore us to her bridal bed, And sung our souls asleep!

Oh, Queen of Song! as peerless as thou art, As worthy as thou art to wear thy crown, Thou hast a deeper claim to thy renown, And a diviner music in thy heart; Simplicity and Goodness walk with thee, Beneath the wings of watchful Seraphim; And Love is wed to whitest Chastity, And Pity sings its hymn. Nor is thy goodness passive in its end, But ever-active as the sun and rain— Unselfish, lavish of its golden gain— Not Want alone, but a whole nation’s—Friend! This is thy glory, this thy noblest fame; And when thy glory fades, and fame departs, This will perpetuate a deathless name, Where names are deathless—deep in loving hearts!

* * * * *

BLANCHE OF BOURBON.

A TALE OF THE FOURTEENTH CENTURY.

BY WALTER BROOKE.

CHAPTER I.

In the year 1351, the highest nobles of Castile had left their cities, castles, and commands, and met together in the ancient city of Valladolid, the residence of the dowager of King Alphonso; for in this city were to be celebrated the nuptials of Don Pedro, King of Spain, and the beautiful Lady Blanche of Bourbon.

The plaza of the queen dowager’s Alcazar was filled with an immense crowd of knights, citizens, and attendants, through whom the heralds with difficulty forced a passage for the procession which now approached from the cathedral. Waves of joyous music floated wing-like in the air, as a crowd of gallant knights, headed by Don Fadrique de Castilla, entered the square. Not in the stern panoply of war were they clad, for the plumes and gorgeous robes of festival fluttered gayly as the spirited horses bounded and curvetted under the unusual restraint of their slow procession-pace. After these came the trumpeters and other musicians, and these in turn were followed by a band of older knights, the glory of Castile, the pride of chivalry. They were conducted by the dignified and noble Alburquerque, high chancellor of Castile, celebrated not more for his valor than for the purity of his heart, and the power of his intellect.

The cheering of the multitude announced the king. Mounted on a proud and milk-white steed; robed in cloth of gold, which, as it waved in the air, displayed the ermine lining; athletic and graceful in form, and fair in countenance, Don Pedro slowly moved amid the throng. The courteous smile which should have answered the warm greeting of his people bent not his lip; surrounded by devoted subjects, wedded to a beautiful and lovely queen, he yet wore a gloomy frown. But as he passed, his moody demeanor was forgotten, and the cheering hushed to a gentle murmur as peace lulled the storm on Galilee, for who could rudely greet such a surpassing beauty: “The queen! the queen!” Not the dark and gorgeous beauty of the Spaniard, but the peaceful and angelic sweetness of the north dwelt in Blanche’s lovely face; not the glowing life of passion, but the gentler spirit of love inspired her smile. Graciously to the murmuring crowd she bowed the head just circled with the regal diadem. No pride, no elation crossed her features; joy and hope were the queen and the bride of her spirit, and not a thought of doubt or sorrow contested their empire. Her palfrey was led by Pedro’s brothers, Don Enrique and Don Tella, and her two noble knights and champions, Juan de la Creda, and Nunez de Prado closely followed her.

The Queen Dowager of Castile, attended by the Infante of Arragon, seemed, as she gazed around, to be transported to the days of her own youth and triumph, and watched her new daughter with a joyous solicitude, which, however, sometimes gave way to the mournful thoughts which her own sad experience induced.

At last the crowd were passed, and the cavalcade entered the court-yard of the Alcazar. As the young queen passed beneath the gloomy entrance-arch, some unbidden foreboding of evil made her shudder. Was that gloomy court the image of the coming life for which she had sacrificed the joyous light of day? Tears sprung to her eyes as she saw the king dismount, and leave her knights to assist her from the saddle; but she mastered her emotion, and was conducted by the queen dowager and her own ladies to her apartments.

In the evening the banqueting and reception-halls of the Alcazar were gorgeously ornamented and illuminated in preparation for the festival which was to follow the queen’s reception of the court and the nobility of Castile, who had assembled to do her honor. Groups were collected by the windows and recesses, and about the floor, discussing in low and guarded words, Pedro’s singular inattention to his royal bride. Many a lady’s bright eyes flashed the indignation which she dared not utter, when she thought or spoke of Pedro’s coolness.

“Know you not, Señor Inigo,” said an old noble, in confidential conversation with the knight of Estuniga, “that he hath left his love at Toledo?”

“Can it be?”

“’Tis true; and were it not for Alburquerque, he would not have been here this day. Heaven avert all future sorrow from our gracious queen.”

“Hist!” said the knight, “the young Padilla nears us.”

This tall and powerful knight, Garcia de Padilla, cast inquisitive glances at them and other groups as he paced alone about the hall. More than once his dark countenance wore a deeper shade as some chance word reached his ear.

At this juncture the doors of the reception chamber were thrown open, and the king and queen were seen standing beneath the canopy of a double throne, which stood on a low dais at the upper end of the room. Beside the queen stood the Bishop of Burgos in his robes of state, Don Fadrique de Castilla, the Viscount Narbonne, and several noble French and Spanish ladies. Don Pedro was attended by the Archbishop of Toledo, Don Juan, of Arragon, his mother, and the Queen Dowager of Arragon.

Pedro’s mood was more gay than it had been during the day, and Blanche again looked beautiful and happy by his side. “Noble lord,” she said to Alburquerque, who, as chancellor, was the first one presented, “we have known thee well through the mirror of other men’s praises, and hope to know thee better as worthy of our own. Brave knight,” she playfully observed to Esjuniga, “we may yet claim the courage of him who bears thy motto, ‘Faithful to death.’ Could I own thy dignity, Lady Inez, I might more fitly grace a throne. Thy dancing eyes, sweet maiden of Sandoval, recall the valley of home.” Thus, with gracious and courteous words she received the homage of her new subjects, and won the love and admiration of the throng.

The ceremony of the presentation over, Pedro and Blanche led the stately dance of the day; but Pedro’s brow was again clouded, and after the dance he did not approach the queen. Blanche, accompanied by the queen dowager and the beautiful lady of Estuniga, promenaded the rooms, noticing and sympathizing with the conversation and amusements of the various groups of ladies and cavaliers. In the meantime Pedro retired to a recess, and beckoned Garcia de Padilla to him. After a short interview, the king hastily crossed the reception chamber, and taking advantage of a favorable moment, withdrew by a private door. Garcia mingled with his friends and gayly bore his part in jest and dance; but at last he also quietly left the hall. Their absence was at first unobserved by all but Blanche, whose self-possession almost fled at the discovery, but she bore the desertion without an outward change of manner.

“A word with your highness, without delay,” whispered Alburquerque to the dowager, as he passed through a door which led to her boudoir.

“If my sweet queen, Blanche, will accept the escort of my sister of Arragon in my place, I may crave the liberty of an hour’s retirement. The light and gayety distract my older brain,” said the dowager; and accepting Blanche’s kindly spoken accord, she followed the chancellor.

CHAPTER II.

Padilla, when he left the Hall, joined the king in his antechamber, and the two made various hurried preparations for a sudden journey.

“Are the horses ready?” asked Pedro, quickly, as his groom appeared.

“They are ready, sire.”

“And the guard, Fernando?”

“In their saddles, sire.”

“Garcia, we will take a hasty meal ere starting,” said Pedro, leading the way to a small dining-hall which opened on the court.

Scarcely were they seated at a table by the window, when Garcia sprung to his feet, and pointed to the opposite corridor where the dowager and the chancellor were seen moving toward them.

“They turn to the left, Garcia; they do not seek us. How soon shall we reach Madrigala?”

“By four o’clock, if the night holds clear, and we meet with no obstruction.”

“When saidst thou did Maria arrive at Montalban?”

“The third day back, sire.”

As Padilla spoke, a moment’s debate with the guard was followed by the appearance of Alburquerque, who conducted the queen dowager into the room. Overcome by emotion, she knelt speechless at her son’s feet, while tears streamed from her eyes. Pedro, in spite of his surprise, rose and received her with the greatest courtesy, but for some moments she was unable to speak. When at last she told him that she knew of his intention to desert his queen for a former love, he affected extreme astonishment, and disclaimed all such intention.

“Pedro!” she exclaimed, stung still more deeply by his duplicity, “think not I am so easily deceived. If thou seek’st not to join Maria de Padilla, why does her brother accompany thee? Why does thy courier precede thee to Montalban, where Maria now is? Pedro, how canst thou so easily desert thy queen? Bethink thee, thy court is with thee; the French nobles are still here; Blanche’s friends are around her; the ambassador of the French king is in yon hall. What may not be the consequences of such imprudence? Can such an insult be slightly passed?”

Pedro, though very much surprised at the accuracy of her information, was still unshaken, and replied.

“Sweet mother! thou mistakest me entirely. My courier went to say that I should not go to Montalban. I am suddenly called from festal joys to meet a traitorous band who have ventured within two days’ march of this fair city and thy home. Come, Garcia, we must to horse. Señor Alburquerque, I leave my mother in thy charge. Disabuse her of her singular fears.”

The indignant chancellor vouchsafed no reply to such unmitigated falsehood, but led the weeping and disconsolate dowager to her apartments.

Blanche retired early from the feast, and on joining her new mother, her first question was for Pedro. The information which had been acquired by Alburquerque was too precise and certain to admit of doubt; and as the scouts whom he had sent to observe the king’s course, had confirmed it by reporting him as being far on the road to Montalban, it had been decided, perhaps unwisely, to inform Blanche at once. The queen dowager, whose guest Blanche had been since her entrance into Spain, loved her as if she were indeed her daughter, and felt almost as if the relationship were reversed, and Pedro’s course had been the insult of some fickle gallant to her own child.

Blanche had struggled with the auguries of ill which had beset her since she entered the Alcazar as a queen and bride; and her gentle nature, unused to such harsh strivings, had almost sunk beneath the accumulation of coolness and absence on the part of Pedro, who should have shared with her the rejoicings of the time. But when at last the queen dowager, with every care and delicacy which affection could suggest, displayed the unvarnished truth, she was unable to control her feelings longer. “Gone! gone from me!” she exclaimed, in bitter anguish; “how could he leave the love which chained him here! Burst not, my heart, before thy flood of grief! Oh life! Oh love! Oh worthless crown! your dignity is flown! Idle and hollow. Fierce Tagarote! to plunge thy sharp beak in my life-blood! Oh Heaven! give strength!” Trembling and exhausted she sunk into the arms of the dowager, who placed her on a couch, and covered her hands with tears and passionate kisses. “Oh mother! has he indeed gone!”

“My child, be calm. God is with us. To-morrow we shall know all.”

“To-morrow! to-morrow! how like an evil genius does it promise ill. To-morrow will have its own grief. Tell me all to-night. Tell me his—his—Ah! he is my husband yet. Never will I be false to love and honor. Pedro—” The revulsion of her feelings was more than she could bear, and she fell back insensible.

Through the dark hours which preceded morning the mother watched her with the utmost care; and as the bright dawn streamed through the lattice, the chilled blood bounded once again with the full speed of life, as if it sought the light. Sense and memory returned, both chained forever to the fearful past.

Great was the anger and indignation of the Viscount Narbonne, and the other French lords, when the news of Pedro’s flight was known throughout the city. Those who the day before had rejoiced in the brilliant fortune of the idolized lady of Bourbon, now cursed the hour in which she entered Spain. The Spanish nobles of the court, themselves felt degraded and insulted, and sullenly retired from the city. The chancellor, a politic old statesman, used every effort in his power to allay the fury of the Frenchmen, but in vain. They endeavored to persuade Blanche to return with them; but no entreaty could prevail upon her to remove—and they crossed the Pyrenees without her. Alone in her new country, a wife, homeless and husbandless; a queen, sceptreless and powerless, she did not despair. Duty was the main star of her faith in life, and no consideration of personal ease or even insult could induce her to swerve from the fulfillment of its dictates. Confident in the power of love and virtue, she aimed to bring her erring lord to his allegiance.

The chancellor, disgraced by his master, retired to his fortress near Portugal, whither he was shortly followed by Don Enrique and Don Fadrique, the half-brothers of the king. The three, fully aware of the energy and resolution of Pedro, not only made good preparation for defense, but organized a formidable rebellion, which had for its object the enthronement of Don Enrique.

CHAPTER III.

For a time Pedro’s movements were as erratic as his stormy temper. Insurrection here, robbers there, required his attention; but at last he sought a season of repose at the Alcazar of Seville.

He reclined, one sunny afternoon, in the verandah of the palace, while Maria de Padilla had left him for an hour to enjoy her accustomed siesta. He seemed thoughtful and uneasy; Blanche’s image seemed to contend with Maria’s in his thoughts, and conscience was not entirely at rest. His mood was interrupted by the entrance of a tall and graceful knight, who, with a low obeisance, delivered to him a small missive, and then abruptly retired. Pedro tore open the sealed silk covering, and opening the letter, read the following words:

“MY KING AND HUSBAND,—Were I not _thy wife_, I should not strive to call thee back. The wild and fickle falcon might rejoice in freedom. But now it is my duty, as it is my happiness, to be with thee in peace and storm, and therefore, by the right our God hath vested in me, do I claim that thou allow me to rejoin thee. What love can live without that heavenly union in the soul which makes us one? What sensual pleasure can bring peace to the o’er-tasked and troubled life of royalty. The sympathy of heart with heart, alone can feed the cravings of the spirit, and bring a joy which Heaven sanctions. Pedro, for thy own sake as for mine, I pray that thou be with me soon.

“BLANCHE.”

The trembling hand, the variable brow, but slightly indicated the tempest of the soul. Vague and uncertain were his musings and intentions as Maria entered the verandah. Smiling, she took the letter from his hand, which mechanically yielded it to hers; but her smile fled as she read it, and saw the expression of his face. She handed the letter back, but threw her arms around the irresolute lover.

“And thou wouldst leave me, Pedro,” she said, in a low, deep tone, so plaintive in its modulation, that the tears almost reached his eyes, unused though they were to such a visitation. “Thou wouldst leave me,” she repeated; “but canst thou forget? Oh! not to the hours of dalliance, not to the day when words of love thrilled to our hearts with unearthly power, do I call thy memory now; but to those darker hours when adversity broke in a thousand waves; when death awaited his victim, and hope seemed shrouded in the pall of despair. Whose sympathy consoled thee then? Whose hand wrestled through many fearful trials with the dark destroyer? Whose heart grew cold with thine beneath that awful pall?

“Pedro!” she exclaimed with a wild energy, while the mournful shadow of her eyes gave place to a brighter glow, for even that appeal was ineffectual. “Pedro! if thou wilt go, go freely; but remember that her heart has not yet learned as mine has, to find its life in thine. If I had ever proved myself less than a part of thee, thy true and real wife, thou mightest now hesitate; but canst thou say that I have ever let my own hopes, fears, or projects be apart from thine? My life is thine. Wilt thou tear me from thy heart? ’Tis thy own eye thou blindest, and thy own tongue thou pluckest out.”

She stood before him, stately and magnificent; he quailed before the fearful majesty which crowned that brow with regal power; the kindling fire which dwelt in those dark, glowing orbs beneath, seemed to gleam with supernatural light upon the very inmost motives of his soul.

“Go, go! if thou no longer lovest me I would not have thee near; but my image will be with thee as the mistletoe upon the oak. Thou canst not leave or kill it, till thy own life fails; ’twill rise at every hour of thy life in judgment on the heart which dared not keep the holiest treasure man can win.”

His eyes met hers with a clear firm gaze. “It is over,” he said. “When honor hath two calls love shall be the arbiter.”

CHAPTER IV.

Alburquerque being now banished from the court, Henestrosa, the uncle of Maria, became his successor, and he and Maria’s brother, Garcia de Padilla, became the confidants and advisers of the love-bound monarch. Fortunately Maria’s love was not so selfish as their ambition, and her empire over Pedro, that of a powerful intellect and an enthusiastic spirit, was often used for the behests of gentleness and mercy.

Pedro felt but too keenly his anomalous position. His secret marriage with Maria, to whom his honor and his love alike constrained him to be just; his unprincipled conduct towards Blanche; the loss of old and attached friends; the evident displeasure of his subjects, and the machinations of those whom he had so suddenly disgraced, filled his mind with many fearful struggles. Too unprincipled to be capable of sacrifice or concession, his endeavor was to reconcile all parties without compromising himself.

While in this fevered state, and uncertain of his future course, he ordered Henestrosa to remove Queen Blanche to Toledo, and confine her in the Alcazar. The citizens, at first suspicious of Henestrosa from his relationship to Maria de Padilla, at last concluded, with questionable justice, that the unfortunate circumstances which environed Blanche were owing chiefly to his influence; and rising in sudden insurrection on his arrival forced him to allow the queen the choice of her asylum. She chose the church of St. Mary. But the citizens, fascinated by the grace and dignity of Blanche and emboldened by their success, forced the chancellor to retire, and themselves assuming the office of her protection, escorted her with all respect and pomp to the Alcazar.

Established in the ancient palace of Toledo, and faithfully guarded by her loving subjects, she was soon joined by several of the noblest cavaliers of Castile. Don Enrique, Don Fadrique and the ex-chancellor had collected an army, with which they had advanced to Cuidad Roderigo. Hearing of Blanche’s arrival at Toledo, Don Fadrique with a large body of cavalry joined her protectors, and swore fealty to her cause. He was soon followed by his companions, and the trio made Toledo for the time the head-quarters of their army. Pedro fired with resentment, ordered his forces against them, with the double intention of vanquishing the rebels and regaining possession of his queen.

The preparations for the expected siege absorbed nearly all the attention of the conspirators, and they had no leisure to observe the uneasiness of Blanche. She now began to perceive that they had hidden from her their real object, which was the dethronement of the king. At last, unable to bear longer the pain of even appearing by silence to acquiesce in their designs against her husband, she sent for Don Fadrique and disclaimed all connection with their schemes of rebellion. No arguments could change her determination, and the stern warrior was forced to yield to the resolution of the gentle lady. It was now too late to leave the city, for Pedro’s troops encircled the walls, and Blanche, anxious for the protection of her subjects, while unwilling to countenance any attempt to dethrone Pedro, did not wish to place herself in his power until assured of his good intentions.

The day of battle was for her a day of trial. Though she prayed for the success of the king’s forces, she feared that success for them would place her in the power of him who had attempted to imprison her in the very palace she now occupied. Sometimes she could hear the noise and shouting of the combatants, and for several hours she awaited with the greatest anxiety the messengers who should announce defeat or victory. Her suspense was ended by Don Fadrique himself, who at the head of a guard of knights rode suddenly into the palace court and besought her to fly immediately with him to a place of safety before Pedro’s troops entered the city. But she had resolved to be no longer a tacit partner with those who were Pedro’s enemies. In this she was inexorable, and Fadrique went alone.

Scarcely had Fadrique passed the gate of the city, when a guard of Pedro’s knights rode rapidly to the Alcazar. As the iron hoofs of their steeds resounded in the court-yard, the heart of Blanche quailed before the gloomy picture of her future. The gentle strength with which she had borne the uncertainty of the hours of battle gave way, and for a time she lay on her couch in an agony of tears, but mustering all her fortitude, she prepared to meet the envoy of King Pedro.

The singular dignity and grace which had shone prëeminent in the brilliant court of Charles, were with her now, though blended with a quiet sadness, which by adding a softer element, enhanced her beauty. Her grief had pictured a dark and fierce janitor, and great was her surprise when the noble and generous knight of Estuniga approached, and bent the knee in homage. He was so deeply affected as to be unable to utter a word, and the dignified composure with which Blanche had armed herself, fled at the unexpected rencontre. At last the knight spoke, though in a low and broken voice—

“My liege, I come to redeem the claim you did once make upon my motto, ‘Faithful to death,’ and you shall never find it dishonored. Though I am ordered to be your governor, you are henceforth my guest.”

“Oh, noble knight! thy presence came as light in the storm. Where we had pictured the sharp flash and the rude thunder, came the gentle air of peace. May Heaven visit thee with the reward we cannot give.”

“Nay, speak not so, my honored liege. It will be necessary for your safety, that you appear as my prisoner till we leave these walls.”

“As thou wilt, Señor Inigo, I trust all to thee.”

CHAPTER V.

It was a bright and glorious day. The sun shone in an unclouded sky, and lighted brilliantly a deep and lovely valley of the Tagus, some two days to the westward of Toledo. A gallant cortege had just halted on the mountain’s brow to gaze at leisure on the beautiful vale which lay outspread beneath. To the left the Tagus foamed through a gorge, and then meandered through the more level ground till it was hidden among the mountains which again approached its banks a few miles on its course. In the centre of the valley on the bank of the river, rose the towers of a stately castle, which lay embowered in thick groves of evergreen. It was evidently not intended for defense against a serious force, and had the appearance of a winter retreat from the cold and nipping air of safer military positions.

“Behold thy new home,” said Estuniga to his queen, who gazed in admiration on the landscape. As they slowly descended the mountain many a scene of wild and remarkable beauty met their gaze.

In the castle of Estuniga Blanche led a life of peace for a time, and obtained the title of “the good” from her exemplary charity and beneficence. The Lady Leonora de Estuniga, generous and hospitable as her lord, bestowed every care, and performed every office which could minister to the happiness of her idolized guest. Still she was not happy: she yearned for that sweet communion of wife with husband, than which there is no greater joy, and often resolved to present herself to Pedro and claim her rights by the wiles of love and eloquence. But Estuniga knew his master better than to permit her to place herself so rashly in his power. He hoped that Pedro’s romantic love for Maria would fade from his heart; he knew not that a deeper tie than that of romance bound them, that the peculiar and spiritual sympathies of character which mark the true marriage, linked them irrevocably together.

He never relaxed the guarded discipline which was required to prevent surprise, and his scouts daily traversed the country on the look-out for enemies and information. One day they reported that a dozen knights, bearing the banner of the Maestro of St. Jago, approached the castle. Estuniga knowing not whether they came as friends or foes—as foes they had last met—and with some anxiety for his royal guest awaited their mission. At the castle gates Don Fadrique de Castilla, the Maestro of St. Jago, announced himself a friend to the King and to Estuniga, and accordingly he and his friends were received with honor.

Fadrique soon explained the cause of his presence on the Tagus. After his defeat at Toledo, he suspended all hostile proceedings, and meeting the king before St. Catherines, and proffering his allegiance, he was freely pardoned for all past offences and was promised favor for the future. Soon after this he received a command from Pedro, and acting in his service took for him the fortress of Jumilla. He was now journeying from his commandery to Seville at the earnest invitation of the king.

Queen Blanche graced the evening feast with her presence, and in truth two such noble ladies as the queen and Leonora were rarely seen. The stronger lineaments and more splendid presence of the hostess enhanced the delicate and graceful beauty of her guest, and themselves received advantage from the contrast. The maestro took occasion to renew the offer of the services which Blanche had refused when he fought against the royal power. After a consultation with her host, she decided to make the maestro her advocate with Pedro, and gave him full power to arrange the renewal of the nuptials which had been so suddenly and harshly suspended. Fadrique was eloquent and resolute, and she hoped much from those qualities, and from Pedro’s former attachment for him. Hopeful and expectant she saw him depart upon his mission, and consecrated it with many a silent prayer.

CHAPTER VI.

The Moorish Alcazar of Seville was situated on the banks of the Guadalquiver, and its bowers were renowned as the most delightful in Spain; yet they did not always resound to tones of joy and gladness. Sometimes Pedro’s violent temper displayed itself there, and the arching groves were silent witnesses of the fatal words of death. Oftener, however, they were graced by the presence of the king and Maria, and her gentle lute breathed a harmony which sometimes found a response in Pedro’s stormy spirit. At such moments he was singularly fascinating and graceful, and all that had in youth been gentle, seemed to flow into his maturer manners.

The king and Maria reclined upon a flowery bank which sloped down to the river, and Maria, touching her lute, attempted to dissipate the portentous gloom of Pedro’s sadness, and at first with a proud and lofty voice, and afterwards in a sweet and harmonious manner, sung these verses.

Wild and fierce the Guadalquiver Down the mountain gorges crashes, ’Gainst opposing rocks that tower In its current, boldly dashes, While its white spray like the banner Of a hostile army flashes. Wildly speeds the Guadalquiver, Proudly rushing Guadalquiver.

But in bright Sevilla’s gardens, Flowing down their peaceful way, ’Neath the trees whose drooping branches Kiss the ripplets as they sway, Guadalquiver’s waters murmur Tones of joy and peace alway. Gently flows the Guadalquiver, Softly murmuring Guadalquiver.

“Ah, my dearest lady, dost thou not see the peace which thou so sweetly singest of, can never be a prince’s.”

“Pedro, it may be thine.”

“Never.”

“Hast thou no pride to give up, no enemies to forgive? Need thy life-stream dash forever blindly amid the rocks? The valley is below; burst through the barriers that keep thee from its peaceful current.”

“It cannot be. Even now my enemies prepare a new struggle. Even to-night my hollow friend, my real enemy, my brother Fadrique sleeps within these walls. But never, never shall he—”

“Pedro, what mean’st thou?”

“That Fadrique dies.”

“Oh God!”

A page, interrupting them, announced Don Fadrique’s herald.

“Bid Reboledo and Don Juan of Arragon meet me in my closet. Go.”

“Pedro!”

“To-morrow, to-morrow, gentle Maria,” said the king, as he hastily strode away.

Diego Perez de Reboledo, and his friend the infanté, speedily attended the summons of Pedro.

“Don Fadrique has arrived,” said the king, in a careless tone.

“I have seen him, sire,” was the reply of Don Juan. “Know you that he is the envoy of Blanche of Bourbon?”

“Ha! is it so?” continued Pedro. “Señor Diego, there is a deep grudge between you and him; and I know that he is plotting against my crown. And even thou, Don Juan, losest no love toward him.”

“What is your meaning, sire?” said Reboledo with a sarcastic smile. “You may speak plainly here.”

“I would not have him leave these walls. Thou knowest the proverb, ‘Teach the falcon while he is thine.’”

“Nay, then; he shall be severely taught, an’ it be your will,” said Reboledo.

“Plainly, he must be dispatched, Señor Diego, and I trust to thee to have it done. As for the act, my guards will not be wanting.”

After some slight arrangements, made as coolly as if for a festival, the prince and Reboledo left the king to his own thoughts, which certainly were far from agreeable. Distrust is the inevitable poison of those who themselves break trust, and Pedro dared not leave the performance of the deed to his accomplices.

They might have some secret cause of hatred toward himself, and might save his intended victim for the furtherance of their own schemes.

CHAPTER VII.

Maria’s chambers overlooked the groves and bowers of the garden, beyond which flowed the river, while the dim and distant sierra formed the horizon. It was morning, and she sat by the balcony instructing her dark-eyed, graceful daughter in the mournful but harmonious music of the time. Her attitude was very listless, and her dark lids rose not from the eyes which seemed too sad for tears. Soon she gave up her task but watched the child, as in the exuberance of youthful spirit she danced before her.

“Alas, my daughter!” she murmured, “what fate is thine. Born to a royal heritage, thy uncertain fortune may sink beneath the wave which bears a rival to its haven. Yet—yet I dare not ask the boon which is my right before the world, as it is here. If I should claim the crown, he would not give it till he had murdered Blanche.”

It was too true. With Pedro life was nothing in the scales of interest or impulse. And dearly as he loved Maria, he was too conscious of the policy which was necessary in his situation, to dare to proclaim her queen and her children heirs to the throne, while Blanche was yet alive.

Don Fadrique who had known Maria in Toledo, was announced by her page and was admitted to her presence. Kneeling, he kissed the hand of the Padilla whose beauty he remembered, and which he found still as remarkable as ever, but of a darker, yet a gentler cast.

“Welcome, Don Fadrique, to this our calmer home,” she said, and pointed to a seat near that from which she had arisen.

“Your grace, the true divinity of these fair bowers, I trust may ever find in them a home of peace.”

“The serpent’s sting is everywhere, my lord, and even here Death contends with Life.” She intended the words, and the look which accompanied them, for a warning, (a clearer one she dared not make,) but he understood her not.

The maestro, charmed with the beauty of the Alcazar and the loveliness of Maria, ceased to wonder at Pedro’s fascination, and felt but little hope from any mediation in the cause of Blanche. But his word was passed to the queen, and his honor, even without that pledge, impelled him to its fulfillment.

An hour had passed most agreeably, when the king sent Garcia de Padilla to request his presence in a private interview. As they walked through the rooms, and as he observed that few persons were to be seen, and that all the doors were guarded, a suspicion of the truth crossed his mind; but his resolute and generous nature repelled it. The king was in an inner apartment beyond the presence-chamber, called the “chamber of iron,” whose doors were guarded by several mace-bearers.

Fadrique had only time to notice that Garcia and he were the only guests, when the door of “the chamber” was opened by Reboledo, who called to Fadrique to go into the king. Gently freeing his sword arm from his mantel, he entered, and was followed by Reboledo and the mace-bearers.

“Seize the maestro!” said Pedro, in a stern voice to the guards.

“Should a king play the traitor?” said Fadrique in a lofty tone, as he drew his sword and placed his back to the wall. “We are of Castile, my lord; her sons must be worthy of their heritage even in death.”

“Villains!” exclaimed Reboledo to the guards, who hesitated to attack the gallant Fadrique, “do you not hear his grace’s order to kill the maestro?”

In a few moments, though not without a brave defense, the Maestro of St. Jago was no more.

CHAPTER VIII.

When the news of Fadrique’s death reached the castle of Estuniga, a profound grief visited its inmates. This last act of perfidious cruelty destroyed all the hopes that Blanche had founded upon Pedro’s better nature. To invite Fadrique to the capital, and then to meet him with death, was so infamous that she no longer even wished for a reunion with her husband. Her heart now told her that the throne of Spain was not the home for her, and she once more yearned for the land she had forsaken for a fate like hers, and a husband such as Pedro.

At this time Estuniga and the Lady Leonora were seriously disquieted, in consequence of a command which Pedro had sent to the knight, to treat his queenly guest as he himself had treated Fadrique, in other words, to put her to death. To execute such a command was for him impossible. Every principle and every feeling of his nature revolted from the slightest injustice, much more from a deed as fiendish as this. He sent back an indignant refusal, and saw the necessity of some energetic movement in order to secure Blanche’s safety.

Hearing that Alburquerque was at or near Toledo, still unpardoned by the king, he resolved to meet him, and with him concert, if possible, some feasible scheme for the escape of the queen. Leaving Blanche in care of his lady, to whom he gave command of the castle in his absence, he set forth with a promise to return within six days. Blanche knew not of the king’s message, nor of the purpose of the knight’s sudden journey.

But unfortunately Pedro’s distrustful and uneasy spirit could not rely on Estuniga’s fealty, and long ere his evil messenger had returned to Seville, he ordered Reboledo to add another to his list of crimes, and sent him with a force of troops to take Queen Blanche and murder her. This remorseless satellite, whose life reflected his master’s, was not apt to fail in the distasteful task.

On the second morning after the departure of the Knight of Estuniga, a goodly train was at the castle gate, and their herald claimed admittance for the troop. The Lady Leonora’s lieutenant, an aged warrior, who had been knighted by her father, recognized the pennon of Reboledo and advised her not to admit them, until she knew the object of the cold-blooded Diego. Accordingly he went down to the wicket, but soon returned to inform her that the purpose of the visit was to gain possession of the queen. Further information he could not gain, but Reboledo’s character and her well-founded suspicion that he had been an instrument of Fadrique’s death induced her to refuse admittance, and if he attacked the castle to defend it if possible until the return of her lord.

To her old knight, Roberto, she gave the necessary authority over all the force within the walls. Fortunately Estuniga had left the castle in the best state of defense of which it was capable, and though not adapted to a regular siege, could, it was thought, be defended against the light force of Reboledo.

Lady Leonora and the queen were not kept long in suspense, for Reboledo soon prepared for the attack. He had ascertained that the knight was absent, and not knowing when he might return, resolved to accomplish his purpose without delay. Roberto had divided his force between the only two points which were assailable by the enemy, the draw and the postern. The best marksmen were stationed at the draw, while above the postern he soon had a supply of melted lead and pitch, which were almost the only weapons there available. Several slight attacks were made during the morning, more for the purpose of ascertaining the force of the defenders than with the expectation of penetrating into the castle.

At noon Roberto observed preparations which satisfied him that the struggle was about to commence in earnest. A furious assault was made upon the draw, and while flights of arrows passed between the besiegers and the besieged, a band of sturdy axe-men endeavored to get at the drawbridge for the purpose of cutting it down. The vigilance of Roberto’s bow-men prevented their success, and they were repeatedly forced to retire. In the meantime, Reboledo supposing that the principal force was diverted from the postern, attacked that part of the castle. Having during the morning ascertained the means of defense in that quarter, he had hastily constructed a large shield capable of protecting several men from the arrows, lead, and pitch. Under the shield several axe-men advanced to the charge, while a party of bow-men strove to prevent the besieged from molesting them. Roberto was not so easily entrapped, and the assailants after a fruitless battering at the postern gate, were driven back with the loss of several men and their shield. The attack in front was now continued with nearly the entire force with but little better success. A number of the enemy were wounded, and several were killed, while but a few of Roberto’s men were injured.

In the wane of the afternoon another shield was constructed, and Reboledo, incensed to a fiendish bitterness by the unexpected vigor of the defense, after a desperate assault succeeded in injuring the postern gate ere being again driven off. A new attack was at once commenced in order to complete the work, and was supported by a heavy force of bow-men and mailed soldiers. In a few minutes the gate was open, and a fierce hand-to-hand fight took place in the archway. Roberto headed the defenders, who forced the assailants to give way, till Reboledo himself entered the vaulted passage, and with his herculean strength bore down all opposition. Roberto fell while gallantly stemming the torrent of success, and his men after a brave defense were overwhelmed. The castle was soon entirely in the power of the assailants, and Reboledo at once made all the necessary dispositions for defense, in case it should prove necessary.

After ordering the butler to furnish supper in the dining-hall, he sent the seneschal to deliver to the ladies a courteous and knightly invitation to appear at the evening repast.

During the siege the Lady Leonora had informed Blanche of Pedro’s intention and of the cause of Estuniga’s absence. Shocked at the fate which seemed to impend over her, and confident that Reboledo was the tool of the king, she at first resolved to refuse her presence in the hall; but her hostess showed the futility of the refusal, and the necessity of appearing to be friendly to the victor. They were indeed completely in his power, for though they had contrived to send two messengers away at the moment of defeat, there was no chance for them to escape. Leonora’s policy was to endeavor to retain Diego in his present position till her messengers should have apprised Estuniga of the aspect of affairs and he could recover the castle and the prisoners.

“Fair ladies,” said Reboledo, as the queen and her hostess entered the hall, “I am well aware that in ordinary courtesy I should have been the guest at this table, and therefore beg that you may so consider me.”

The Lady Leonora, though incensed at the covert sarcasm of this speech, true to her policy, answered it with a polite courtesy which surprised both her “guest” and the queen. No further reference was made to the events of the day, and Reboledo, who was in manners an accomplished cavalier, entertained the ladies with such gossip as was interesting and customary. Their own seneschal was in the hall but did not approach the table, and they observed that the two pages who attended them were strangers. As they were about to leave the table, the knight turned to the Lady Blanche, whom he had addressed by the title of “your grace,” and inquired when she would be ready to rejoin her royal consort. Surprised at such an unexpected question, she did not reply for a moment, but promised to answer him in the morning, “for,” she added, “I am not well to-night, and cannot say but I may be too ill to go to-morrow.”

Apparently satisfied with the answer, he gracefully escorted the ladies to the door.

“I am ill, Lady Leonora, very ill,” said Blanche, breathing shortly and throwing herself upon a couch.

“Oh! a consuming fire flies through my veins. Give me some drink. How I thirst!”

The Lady Leonora, though skilled in the leech-craft of the time, was utterly at a loss, and what to do for Blanche she did not know. There was no leech or friar in the castle. For a few minutes she gave her wine and water to assuage her raging thirst, and bathed her burning temples.

Suddenly Blanche raised herself to a sitting position, and while her face was convulsed with agony, exclaimed—

“Beware Leonora, I am poisoned by——”

This world and all its sorrows had passed away from her, and her pure spirit, freed from the material fetters of this earthly life, had reached its eyrie, basked in the pure light, far above the storm and darkness of the valley.

* * * * *

LINES TO A BIRD,

WHICH SUNG AT MY WINDOW ONE MORNING IN LONDON.

BY THOMAS BUCHANAN READ.

Whence comest thou, oh wandering soul of song? Round the celestial gates hast thou been winging, And hearkening to the angels all night long To brighten earth with somewhat of their singing?

Thou child of sunshine, spirit of the flowers! Nature, through thee, with loving tongue rejoices, Until these walls dissolve themselves to bowers, And all the air is full of woodland voices.

The winds that slumbered in the fields of dew, Float round me now with music on their pinions, Such as I heard while yet my years were few, By native streams, in boyhood’s lost dominions.

And with the breath of morning on my brow, I hear the accents of the few who love me; Sing on full heart! I am no exile now— This is no foreign sky that smiles above me.

I hear the happy sounds of household glee, The heart’s own music, floating here to bless me, And little ones who smiled upon my knee Now clap the dimpled hands that would caress me.

Oh! music sweeter than the sweetest chime Of magic bells by fairies set a-swinging; I am no pilgrim in a foreign clime, With these blest visions ever round me clinging.

I hear a voice no melody can reach; Dear lips, speak on in your accustomed measure, And teach my heart what you so well can teach, How only love is earth’s enduring pleasure.

Oh! music sweeter than the Arcadian’s tune, Wooing the dryads from the woodlands haunted; Or than beneath the mellow harvest moon, Trembles at midnight over lakes enchanted!

Oh! sweeter than the herald of the morn, The clarion lark, that wakes the drowsy peasant, Is this which thrills my breast, so else forlorn, And with the Past and distant fills the Present.

Thus, with the music ringing in my heart, I may awhile forget an exile’s sorrow, And, armed with courage, rise—and so depart; But what sweet bird shall sing to me to-morrow?

* * * * *

CHATEAUBRIAND AND HIS CAREER.

BY FAYETTE ROBINSON.

François Auguste, Vicomte de Chateaubriand, was born in 1768, in the midst of that epoch which produced so many great men, Napoleon, Soult, Wellington and Walter Scott. Educated at the castle of Combourg near Saint-Malo, beyond all doubt as he wandered over the arid lands and desolate shores of Armorica, young Chateaubriand felt the development in his soul of that inclination and solitude which never abandoned him even in the turmoil of business and amid the gravest political affairs. Intended originally for the church, it was subsequently purposed to devote him to the army; he began at Dol and terminated at Rennes, an arduous course of study, which though it left his intense sensitiveness and that creative imagination which are the chief characteristics of his mind unaltered, enabled him to publish serious works on critical history, at an age when persons usually possess but vague notions of life and the principles which regulate the organization of society. In 1787, for the first time, young Chateaubriand went to Paris. He was at that time a second lieutenant in the regiment of Navarre, but so as to be enabled to ride in the king’s coaches, an honor to which from his old nobility, he was entitled, the rank of captain was necessary, he obtained by a fiction, not unusual at that time, the brevet of captain of cavalry; notwithstanding this however, he continued to do duty in the regiment of foot to which he belonged. The magnificence of the court of Versailles could not at all satisfy the vague desire, which, though he did not then understand its nature, tormented his soul. Adventure was a condition of his being; his life could not be objectless, and with delight he hailed the commencement of a career. One day as he looked over a map of the New World, he was struck with the possibility of discovering a passage to the northern Pole. From that hour sleep and repose were gone. Like Columbus, he went from door to door, to solicit means to realize the idea which animated him, and was compelled to submit to the ridicule of some, and the indifference of others. This idea, which then was esteemed insoluble, but a short time after was realized. It may be, had the government of Louis XVI, paid any attention to a question which had great significance in the points of view of commerce, politics and science, that passage, now known as McKenzie’s, would have borne the name Chateaubriand. Let this however, be as it may, the young second lieutenant, by ridicule and discouragement, resolved to accomplish his gigantic project without assistance, and in the spring of 1791, set out for America, with no other baggage than a letter of introduction to Washington. Yet imbued with the ideas of the old world, Chateaubriand had imagined the President of the United States, a king, surrounded by a brilliant court, with guards and chamberlains, crowding the portals of a palace of marble and gold. How great must his surprise have been, when he knocked at the door of a modest dwelling, which, in France, would have been esteemed scarcely fit for a private gentleman, and when a female opened the door, and without parade let him into the presence of one who had created a nation and declined a crown.

Washington received him with cordiality and kindness, but terrified beyond doubt at the dangers to which he was about to expose himself, attempted to dissuade the young adventurer from his enterprise. Chateaubriand, however, would not be persuaded, and soon after hired a guide and really began his journey, fancying that he had merely to go straight to the Pole, as he had gone from Saint Malo to Paris. He reached the limit of civilization, in what was then considered a short time, and with indescribable joy found himself amid the dark and mysterious forests of the new world, where it seemed _to him_, no human foot had ever been planted before. He thus describes his sensations, when his soul first became replete with astonishment and amazement at the magnificence of the scene.

“I wandered from tree to tree, now turning to the right and then to the left, saying to myself, here there are no beaten paths, no restricted dwelling places; presidents, kings and oligarchies, have no power here. By way of exhibiting my freedom from all control, I committed countless wild pranks, which made the steady Dutchman, who was my guide, fancy me a fool.”

The young lieutenant, however, looked anxiously for one of those Indian villages, in which the children of nature, the men of the soil, might certainly be found. His first essay, however, by no means impressed him favorably in relation to the true Native Americans. After a journey of several days, he saw in the depth of a forest, compared with which, all France was but a park, a wigwam from which strange sounds issued, and which in that place must have astonished him indeed. He listened with attention, and heard a well known “_chant populaire_” of France, with an accompaniment wrung from a violin, which certainly, Stradivarius never made. The wanderer entered the hut, and amid a bevy of Indians, who danced as if Saint Vitus had touched them, he saw an old man of diminutive stature, with his hair “_à l’oisseau royal_,” with a green coat, a coarse vest, cut however, _à l’agonie_ de Louis XV., ruffles and wristbands of coarse cotton, busy in teaching a dozen Iroquois to dance the cotillion and _minuet de la cour_. The teacher’s name was Violet, and strange to say, he was the progenitor of that individual of the same name, made so famous by the late Captain Marryatt. Violet had been a servant of the Count Rochambeau, and had been induced to establish himself on one of the little lakes in New York, amid the Iroquois.—French nature and human nature are however, different entirely, and the _valet de chambre_ had begun to civilize North American Indians, from the _point du départ de la danse_.

The young adventurer in a short time left his countryman and resumed his journey through the wilderness. He soon met with Indians far less civilised than the Corypheans of Violet. He was kindly received by various tribes which he visited, and participated in their councils and their wars. At this period of his career, he collected the variety of information, which was ultimately fused into Atala, René and the Natchez. It cannot but be regretted, that Chateaubriand never chanced to grasp the thread of that tradition, which connected the Natchez with the Aztecs, of whom beyond all doubt they were an abrasion. Had he done so, the light his meditative mind would have thrown on the traditions of that mysterious people, of whom now no remnant exists, and the memory of whom is forgotten, can scarcely be calculated. His poetical meditations did not, however, prevent him from keeping in view the original idea which had brought him to America, and he became more and more resolved to penetrate to the icy Pole. One day though, by a strange fancy, a fragment of a French paper, containing an account of the flight of Louis XVI, his arrest at Varennes, and the formation of the Army of Condé, beyond the Rhine, reached him. As he read this strange intelligence, the Breton gentleman, fancied that he heard the cry of honor calling him to defend that king for whom he had sworn to live and die. He then hastened, to cross the sea again, and within a few months, was a simple volunteer in the ranks of the royal and catholic army. It is well, here, to mention, that though Chateaubriand sought for the North Pole, he had from the lakes of New York, gone southward, and that the fragment of newspaper, which, in all probability, changed the tenor of his whole career, reached him in the depth of the lagoons of Florida. It is very certain that though his voyage to America, produced Atala and the Natches, he would not have occupied a high position among the great discoverers.

Having been wounded by the explosion of a shell, at Thionville, after undergoing the greatest vicissitudes, he contrived to reach England. The danger from which he had escaped on the Rhine, was, however, replaced only by penury, and the suffering of exile. In that country while expecting death, his physicians having told him, that he could live, under no possibility, more than two or three years, he wrote and published the “_Essai historique, politique et moral, sur les révolutions anciennes et modernes considérées dans leurs rapports avec_ _la révolution Française_.” This is one of the strangest books ever published, the author succeeding in the most incomprehensible manner in drawing a parallel between Pisistratus and _Robespierre_, _Marat_ and Harmodius, _J. J. Rousseau_ and Heraclitus, Hanno and Fox, and Barca and Pitt, and finally discovering in Miltiades the type of Dumouriez.

Having on the 18th Brumaire returned to France, Chateaubriand became with Fontanes, his friend, a companion in exile, one of the proprietors of the _Mercure_, in which paper he published Atala, (so far back as this does the French _feuilleton_ date.) The freshness of the ideas, the grandeur of sentiment, and exquisitely simple style of this book, were novel indeed, at a time when all things were innoculated with the pretence of the Directorate. The success of this prose-poem aptly prepared the public for the immense sensation subsequently created by _le genie du Christianisme_. It may safely be said that no work was ever better timed. The iron grasp of Napoleon had strangled all popular movements, order had succeeded anarchy, temples again were open for prayer, and ruined altars were rebuilt. All the world, weary of the fruitless worship of the personification of abstract and transcendental qualities and virtues, felt an innate longing for a less sterile and more poetical faith. Society hastened to resume that old creed, which had been the source of all the civilization which existed, not it may be true, because of conviction, but because the disgusting orgies at the feet of the statue of the so-called goddess of reason, had offended not only all sentiment but all decency. Never probably before were the fasts and feasts of Christianity so rigidly observed, and all France, by a rigid observance of Lent, sought to atone for and wipe out all remembrance of the reign of terror. With that wonderful sagacity which made Napoleon great in cabinet as he was on the battle-field, he did not neglect Chateaubriand’s book, and rewarded the author by the appointment of Secretary of Embassy to Rome, where the Cardinal Fesch was the French representative. Then, in the eternal city, amid the ruins of the coliseum, yet filled with the spirits of the ancient martyrs, the Christian poet formed a conception of the angelical Cymodocré and Eudoxe, and determined to visit the cradle of Christianity, the triumph and contests of which he resolved to celebrate, and to gather inspiration in the “city of desolation” by contemplating that one sepulchre which when time shall be no more will yield nothing to the great, grand judge.

Soon after his return from Rome, the Vicomte de Chateaubriand, who continued to maintain as high a position as ever in the favor of Napoleon, was appointed plenipotentiary to the Valois. Just then a rumor, circulated beyond doubt by the partisans of the exiled dynasty, acquired some influence on the popular mind, many hoping and others fearing that the emperor was prepared to follow the example of Monk, and sought to replace the Bourbons on the throne of Saint Louis and Henri IV. Chateaubriand, perhaps more than any one else, under the influence of the chivalric ideas which always characterised him, flattered himself that this dream would soon be realised. At once, however, all Paris was amazed by the news that the Duke d’Enghien, the last of the Condés, had been shot at midnight, in the ditch of the castle of Vincennes. Thus Napoleon replied to the imprudent suggestions of the royalists. The reason of this terrible tragedy is even now unknown, the only man who possibly could have explained it, the emperor, having borne the secret with him to the grave. The whole party then known as the emigration, was however terrified, and under the influence of a generous indignation, on the very day that he heard the news Chateaubriand resigned his appointment. Independence was then a crime, but far from being offended, Napoleon conceived a yet more exalted esteem for Chateaubriand. Prayers, promises, every possible inducement were used in vain to retain him in the imperial service. Chateaubriand hurried the preparations for his pilgrimage and crossed the Alps. On his previous visit he had not studied closely enough the Italian, and after a careful tour the vicomte sailed for Greece. In the wilds of America, the poet had shaken himself free of all old-world ideas as he would from a burden which oppressed him, that his soul in vigor, and unrestrained, might hear every accent of the poetry of a young nature. In Greece, however, his conduct was precisely the reverse. He was in the holy land of poetry and art, and he sought to conjure up by the powerful magic of memory, the mighty dead who for almost twenty centuries have slumbered in unknown graves. Thrice, according to ancient usage, he made the echos of Thermopylæ resound with the name of Leonidas, and in his pious wanderings across the ruins of Athens, he would ascend some fallen tribune, from which perhaps the voice of Demosthenes might have been heard moving the popular mind as the wind agitates the sea, and calling forth a new generation of warriors by the magic of the names of “those who died at Marathon.” If ever a man was instinct with the feeling of universal love, if ever any one idolized nature it was Chateaubriand, the piety of whom, however, was too intense to permit him ever to mistake the apparent for the great first cause. In the words of one of our own writers “he was filled with devotion to God and sympathized with all humanity.” Those now desolate regions he soon left, and the enthusiast went to seek in the dwelling-places of the once “people of God,” those spots over which Christ had passed during his pilgrimage from Bethlehem to the “place of the skull,” amid hordes of savage Bedweens and robber Arabs, he crossed the summits of Mount Liban and the waters of the sea of death. He prayed on the Mount of Olives, moistened his lip in the cool wave of the Jordan, and brought a portion of its waters, which, preserved with all the care of a pious superstition was subsequently used at the baptism of the Duke of Bordeaux. He finally knelt at the very tomb of Christ, the venerable guardians of which clasped on his heel the spur of Godfry de Bouillon, and made him a “Knight of the Holy Sepulchre.” The city of Alexandria and the capital of the Ptolemies were also visited by him, and ascending the Nile as far as Cairo, he sat at the foot of the pyramids, and gave himself up to meditation amid the Memphian ruins. He then re-embarked, and after undergoing imminent danger from shipwreck, landed at Tunis. Neglecting the living city, he visited that Carthage which twice became the rival of Rome, in war in the days of Hannibal, and in religion when St. Cyprian lived. From Africa Chateaubriand passed to Spain, that land of war and love, and as he wandered through the dilapidated halls of the Alhambra, and recalled Pelayo, Charlemagne and Boabdil, he formed the conception of the tender and chivalric legend of “THE LAST ABENCERRAGES.”

On his return to Spain, in 1807, Chateaubriand, who had not yet ceased to feel an interest in Spain, published an analysis of Laborde’s book on that country. This book excited great curiosity, some of the pages containing allusions to which a malicious public gave a point. Napoleon was weak enough to take offense at a fancied parallel between himself and Nero; and after having stripped him of his ownership of the _Mercure_, went so far as to threaten to have him shot down in the Tuileries.

The independence of Chateaubriand is well known, and the despotism of Napoleon found an untiring enemy in him. All were, however, surprised to find in his _Itinerary from Paris to Jerusalem_, frequent eulogies of the imperial glory. The public was not aware of the fact, that a few days before its appearance, the publisher was notified that it would be suppressed unless praises of the emperor were inserted. Chateaubriand long protested against this edict, and yielded only to the prayers of the bookseller, who informed him that the suppression of the work would be his ruin. He had, however, something in reserve to gratify his self-respect, speaking only of the military glory, not of the statesman-like qualities of Napoleon.

Subsequently, in his peaceful hermitage of _la vallée aux loups_, Chateaubriand finished the great work, the plan of which he had conceived at Rome, and which he had meditated on during the whole of his pilgrimage in Greece, Judea, and Africa. _The Martyrs_ at last appeared, and were all the pamphlets and books of every size which it called forth collected, a hall large as the Alexandrine Library would not suffice to contain them. It was a daring act, indeed, to personify, in a prose-poem, all the mysterious powers of Christianity. It was a poetical novel, the old gods of Greece and Rome playing a conspicuous part. In the introduction of the Pagan divinities, instead of Beelzebub and the powers of darkness, does this book greatly differ in general conception from the strange old book of the Puritan Bunyan. The genius of Christianity, however, demonstrates that there was inherent in Christianity, not less poetry than existed in the Heathen Olympus, and that the mysteries of Christianity opened as rich a field to the poet as did the Hesiodic theogony.

This was a great discovery in France, where at that time the Paradise Lost, and Klopstock’s great poem, were almost unknown. The attack and defense of this poem consequently created much excitement, and the reputation of Chateaubriand rapidly expanded. In 1811, a chair in the Academy having, by the death of Joseph Chenier, become vacant, public opinion designated Chateaubriand as the person most qualified to fill it. It is well known that custom requires the new member to eulogize his predecessor. Chateaubriand, however, in politics differed entirely from Chenier, and unwilling to submit to the usage, had prepared to attack him. The emperor having heard of his intention, forbade him to pronounce his address, seeing that this could not but be a dangerous precedent at a time when the judges of Louis XIV. occupied all the principal offices of state. From that time the emperor and Chateaubriand were irreconcilable.

During the hundred days Chateaubriand accompanied Louis XVIII. to Ghent, and after the restoration, was elevated to the dignity of a peer of France. At this crisis his opinions were ultra royalist. In his last work, _de la Monarchie selon la Charte_, he dared to define clearly the position of the king, according to the charter; he lost favor, Louis XVIII. being too shrewd to break with the liberal party. The order dismissing him is very significative, viz., “The Vicomte de Chateaubriand having in a printed book expressed doubt in relation to our personal will, made known in the decree of the 5th of September, the said Vicomte will, from to-day, cease to be one of our ministers of state.”

It is now scarcely worth while to follow Chateaubriand through all the phases of his political life. Dismissed and subsequently restored to royal favor, he was ambassador at both Berlin and London. He was also plenipotentiary at the Congress at Verona, again dismissed, and sent as minister to Rome. He again resigned on the coming into power of the ministry of Polignac, and even then foresaw the fall of the throne he had been so anxious to make secure. Having undergone proscription and exile, he had nothing more to undergo except imprisonment. He was yet doomed to taste of prison-fare, and it was reserved for the government of Louis Philippe to arraign the author of _The Martyrs_ before the Court of Assizes.

Subsequent to the restoration, besides various political pamphlets, Chateaubriand published many works of a purely literary character. The first of these was _The Natchez_. The manuscript of this book, forgotten with many other similar things by the author, had been left at an inn in London, on the occasion of his return from emigration after the 18th Brumaire. Twenty years after it was strangely recovered in a cottage at an obscure village. The honesty of persons to whom he had confided it was the source of one of the happiest hours of the life of Chateaubriand, and secured to the world one of the _chef-d’œuvres_ of romance. Next came Moses, the Essay on English Poetry, the translation of Milton, the Congress of Verona, and the Life of _Ranée_. The life of Chateaubriand, it will be seen, was eventful as the age in which he lived. Like Dante, Tasso, Cervantes, Camaeus, and Milton, persecution of every kind was heaped on him.

For many years he lived in an almost impenetrable retirement. Caring little for the convulsions of the world, or for courtly intrigues, he has consecrated his time to the publication of his _Memoires d’Outre Tombe_, the recent publication of which has suggested this notice.

This remarkable book he thus prefaces: “I have met almost all the men who, in my own days, have been conspicuous in my own or foreign countries—Washington and Napoleon, Louis XVIII. and Popes Alexander, Pius VII., and Gregory XVI., Fox, Pitt, Sheridan, Londonderry, Capo d’Istrias, Malesherbes, and Mirabeau, Nelson, Bolivar, Mehemet, the Pacha of Egypt, Suffren, Bougainville, Lapeyrouse, Moreau, and others. I was one of a triumverate which has no parallel in the history of the world; three poets of different views and interests having been almost at the same time ministers of foreign affairs—I, in France, Canning, in England, and Martinez de la Rosa, in Spain, I have lived through the uneventful years of my youth, the teeming era of the republic, the proud days of Buonaparte, and the reign of legitimacy. I have sailed over the seas of the Old and New World, and stood on the soils of four quarters of the globe. I have slept in the Indian wigwam, Arab tent, and Huron hut; amid the ruins of Athens, Jerusalem, Memphis, Carthage, and Grenada, with the Greek, Turk, and Moor, amid forests, and amid deserted cities. I have worn a bear-skin cap, and the Mameluke caftan; I have undergone hunger and thirst, and as an ambassador, covered with golden embroidery, and stars, and insignia of chivalry, have sat at the board of kings, princesses and ladies, and then have again become impoverished, and have languished in prison.”

For a long time the health of Chateaubriand had been the source of much uneasiness to his friends, but on his return from a trip to Dieppe, in 1847, the symptoms became absolutely alarming. He had resolved to visit Italy, but was attacked with pneumonia, in Paris, and died July 4, 1848, after an illness of five days. The body of the poet was taken to Saint Malo, his birth-place, and on a rocky promontory, where the waves of the Atlantic ceaselessly beat, one who was restless as they, found a final repose. Full of tender love for his childhood’s home, he himself selected his burial place, as the bird which perchance has girded the earth, returns to the nest whence it first winged its flight—to die.

* * * * *

TO J. F. H.

BY JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL.

Nine years have slipped like hourglass-sand From life’s fast-emptying globe away, Since last, dear friend, I clasped your hand, And lingered on the impoverished land, Watching the steamer down the bay.

I held the keepsake which you gave, Until the dim smoke-pennon curled O’er the vague rim ’tween sky and wave, And closed the distance like a grave, Leaving me to the outer world;

The old worn world of hurry and heat, The young, fresh world of thought and scope; While you, where silent surges fleet Tow’rd far sky-beaches still and sweet, Sunk wavering down the ocean-slope;

Come back our ancient walks to tread, Old haunts of lost or scattered friends, Amid the Muses’ factories red, Where song, and smoke, and laughter sped The nights to proctor-haunted ends.

Our old familiars are not laid, Though snapped our wands and sunk our books, They beckon, not to be gainsaid, Where, round broad meads which mowers wade, Smooth Charles his steel-blue sickle crooks;

Where, as the cloudbergs eastward blow, From glow to gloom the hill-side shifts Its lakes of rye that surge and flow, Its plumps of orchard-trees arow, Its snowy white-weed’s summer drifts.

Or let us to Nantasket, there To wander idly as we list, Whether, on rocky hillocks bare, Sharp cedar-points, like breakers, tear The trailing fringes of gray mist,

Or whether, under skies clear-blown, The heightening surfs with foamy din, Their breeze-caught forelocks backward blown Against old Neptune’s yellow zone, Curl slow, and plunge forever in.

For years thrice three, wise Horace said, A poem rare let silence bind; And love may ripen in the shade, Like ours, for nine long seasons laid In crypts and arches of the mind.

That right Falernian friendship old Will we, to grace our feast, call up, And freely pour the juice of gold, That keeps life’s pulses warm and bold, Till Death shall break the empty cup.

* * * * *

TO A SUMMER HAUNT.

BY HENRY T. TUCKERMAN.

When cradled on thy placid breast, In hushed content I loved to muse, Too full the heart, too sweet the rest For thought and speech to interfuse.

But now, when thou art shrined afar, Like Nature’s chosen urn of peace, Remembrance, like the evening star, Begins a vigil ne’er to cease.

Each mossy rock, each fairy isle, Inlets with thickets overhung, The cloud’s rose-tint or fleecy pile, And Echo’s wildly-frolic tongue;

The light and shade that o’er thee play, The ripple of thy moonlit wave, The long, calm, dreamy summer day, The very stones thy waters lave;

The converse frank, the harmless jest, The reverie without a sigh, The hammock’s undulating rest, With fond companions seated by;

Yet linger, as if near thee still, I heard, upon the fitful breeze, The locust and the whippoorwill, Or rustle of the swaying trees.

Hills rise in graceful curves around, Here dark with tangled forest shade, There yellow with the harvest-ground, Or emerald with the open glade;

Primeval chestnuts line the strand, And hemlocks every mountain side, While, by each passing zephyr fanned, Azalin flowers kiss the tide.

We nestle in the gliding barge, And turn from yon o’erarching sky, To watch, along the bosky marge, Its image in thy waters nigh.

Or, gently darting to and fro, The insects on their face explore, With speckled minnows poised below, And tortoise on the pebbly floor.

Or turn the prow to some lone bay Where thick the floating leaves are spread; How bright and queen-like the array Of lilies in their crystal bed!

Like chalices for beauty’s lip Their snowy cones half open lie, The dew-drops of the morn to sip, But close to day’s intrusive eye.

And in their pure and stately grace, Their shrinking from the noontide glare, The charm they yield their dwelling-place, How like the noblest of the fair!

To thy serene and balmy air, Above life’s vain and common things, Should gentle spirits oft repair, And fondly plume their drooping wings.

O let me thence, in fancy, bear The dreams of youth by thee renewed; And hallow the domain of care With visions born in solitude!

* * * * *

[Illustration: Drawn by G. Harvey, Engraved by J. Smillie

_Catskill Mountain House _

From an original picture painted for Graham.]

* * * * *

THISTLE-DOWN.

OR ROSALIE SHERWOOD’S DEBUT.

BY CAROLINE CHESEBRO’.

As, one by one, thy hopes depart Be resolute and calm. · · · · · · Oh fear not in a world like this, And thou shalt know ere long— Know how sublime a thing it is To suffer and be strong. LONGFELLOW.

CHAPTER I.

Poor young creature, how perfectly wretched she looks as she sits in the bow-window, watching the fairy-like thistle-seed as it goes floating away up in the still air.

There is nothing like these clear September nights after sunset, for a reverie. If it is a calm evening, and an intense light fills the sky and glorifies it, and you sit where you can see the new moon, with the magnificent evening star beneath it, you must be a stupid affair indeed, if you cannot then dream the most _heavenly_ dreams!

But Rosalie Sherwood is in no dreaming mood this lovely Sabbath night. Her heart is crushed in such an utter hopelessness of grief as leaves no room in it for hopes, her brain is too acutely sensitive just now for visions. The thistle-down in beautiful procession moves gently on and up before her eyes, and as she watches, the frail things assume a new interest to her; she feels a human sympathy with them—like the viewless winds they come, from whence she knows not—and go, whither none can tell. They are homeless and alone, and she is like them, but she is not, as they, purposeless!

If you could look into her mind now, you would see how she has nerved it up to a great determination—how, that mastering visions and hopes once cherished, she has gone forward now to a bleak and barren path, and stands there very resolute, yet, in the first moment of the resolve, miserable; no—she has not yet grown strong in the suffering—she cannot _this_ night stand up beneath the burden, to bear it with a smile of triumph.

Rosalie Sherwood was an only child: the infant of an humble friend Mrs. Melville had known from her own girlhood. She, poor creature, had neither _lived_ nor _died_ a sinner,

“But, as love’s wild prayer dissolved in air, Her woman’s heart gave way!—— And—the sin forgiven by Christ in heaven, By man is cursed alway!”

On her death-bed Cecily Sherwood gave her unrecognized, nameless child, to the care of one who promised, in the sincerity of her compassion, to be a mother to the unfortunate infant. And during the eighteen years of that girl’s life, from the hour of her mother’s death, to the day when she was left without hope in the world, Rosalie _had_ found a parent in the rigid but always just and kind, Mary Melville.

This widow lady had one son; he was four years old when her husband died, which was the very year that the little Rosalie was brought to Melville House. The boy’s father had been considered a man of large wealth, but when his affairs were settled after his decease, it was found that the debts of the estate being paid, little more than a competency remained for the widow. But the lady was fitted, by a life of self-discipline, even in her luxurious home, to calmly meet this emergency. With the remnant of a great fortune she retired to an humble residence, where in quiet retirement she gave her time to managing the household affairs, and to superintending the home-education of her children.

Her son Duncan, and the young Rosalie had grown up together—until the girl’s twelfth birth-day constant playmates and pupils in the same academy. No one, not even the busiest busy-body had ever been able to detect the slightest partiality in Mrs. Melville’s treatment of her children. And indeed it had been quite impossible that she should ever regard a child so winningly beautiful as Rosalie, with other than the tenderest affection. Under a light or careless rein, the child had been a difficult one to manage, for there was a light like fire oft-times in her eyes that told of strong will, and deep passions; and besides, her striking appearance had won sufficient admiration to have completely spoiled her, if a guardian the most vigilant, as well as most discerning, had not been ever at hand to speak the right word and do the right thing with her.

Mrs. Melville was a thoroughly religious woman, and deeply conscious of the responsibility she incurred in adopting the infant. She could not quiet her conscience with the reflection that she had done a wonderfully good thing in giving Rosalie a home and education—the deep pity she felt for the unfortunate child led her to exercise an uncommon care, that all tendency to evil should be eradicated in the heart of the brilliant girl while she was yet young—that a deep sense of right should be impressed on her tender mind. And her labor of love met with a return which might well have made the mother proud.

There had been no officious voice to whisper to Rosalie Sherwood the story of that doubtful position which she occupied in the world. She was an orphan, the adopted child of the lady whom she so devoutly loved, with all a daughter’s tenderness, this she knew, and it was all she knew—and Mrs. Melville was resolved that she should never know more.

* * * * *

The son of the widow had been educated for the ministry. He was now twenty-two years old, and was soon to be admitted to the priesthood. This was following out his own wish, and the dearest hope of his mother’s heart—and it seemed to all who knew the young man as though the Head of the Church had set His seal upon Duncan from his boyhood. He was so mild and so forbearing—so discreet and generous, and never deaf to _any_ call of charity. Meek and holy of heart, was the thought of whosoever looked on his placid, youthful face. Yet he had besides his gentleness, that, without which his spirit might have subsided into puerile weakness, a firmness of purpose and a strict sense of right, like that which marked his mother among women. Duncan Melville’s abilities were of a high order, perhaps not of the highest—though, if his ambition would only equal his powers, they would surely seem so. His voice was of a sweet, persuasive tone, that was fitted to _win_ souls to Christ, yet it could ring like a clarion when the grandeur of the themes he touched fired his own soul. He had moreover an earnest, impressive manner, even in private conversation, which characterized all his words and deeds. With the warmest hopes and deepest interest they who knew the difficulties and trials of the profession he had chosen looked on this young man.

* * * * *

Duncan and his adopted sister had long known the nature of the tie which bound them members of one family, and they never called themselves brother and sister after the youth came home, a graduate from college. For, from the time when absence empowered him to look, as a stranger would on Rosalie, from that time he saw her elegant, and accomplished, and bewitching as she was, and other than fraternal affection was in his heart for her.

And Rosalie, too, loved him—just as Duncan, had he spoken his passion and his hope, would have prayed her to love him. She had long ago made him the standard of all manly excellence, and when he came back after three years of absence, she was not inclined to revoke her early decision—therefore was she prepared to read the language of Duncan’s eyes, and she consecrated her heart to him.

During the years which followed his return from college, till he was prepared for ordination as a priest, he did not once _speak_ to her of his love, which was growing all the while stronger and deeper, as the river-course, that, flowing to the ocean, receives every day fresh impetus and force from the many tiny springs that commingle with it. Duncan Melville never thought of wedding with another than Rosalie Sherwood.

It was, as I said, near the time appointed for his ordination, when he felt for the first time, as though he had _a right_ to speak openly with her of all his hopes. He asked her then, what in soul-language he had long before asked, a question which she had as emphatically, in like language, answered—to be the partner of his life for weal or for wo.

He had tried to calmly consider Rosalie’s character, as a Christian minister should consider the character of her whom he would make the sharer of his peculiar lot, and setting every preference aside, Duncan felt that she was fitted to assist and to bear, with him. She was truthful as the day, strong-minded and generous, humane and charitable, and though no professor of religion, a woman full of reverence and veneration. He knew that it was only a fear that she should not _adorn_ the Christian name that kept her back from the altar of the church, and he loved her for that spirit of humility, knowing that she was “on the Lord’s side,” and that grace ere long would be given her to proclaim it in the doing _all_ His commandments.

It was certainly with a joyful and confident heart, after he had _spoken_ with Rosalie, that Duncan sought his mother yesterday, to speak with her of the _whole_ of that bright future which opened now before him.

How then was he overcome with surprise and grief, when Mrs. Melville told him that it was a union to which she could _never_ consent! Then, for the first time in his life, the astonished young man heard of that stain which was on the name poor Rosalie bore. He heard the story to an end, and then with a decision and energy that would have settled the matter with almost any other person, he declared:

“Yet, mother—I will not give her up.”

“It could not be expected that you would fulfill the engagement; Rosalie herself would not allow it, if she knew the truth of the matter.”

“But she need not know it—there is no existing necessity. Is it not enough that she is good and precious _to me_? She is a noble woman, whose life has been, thanks to your guidance, beautiful and lofty.”

“God knows I have striven to do my duty by her—but I know not what I should have done, if I had thought you would ever wish to change your relations with her, Duncan.”

“The world has not her equal! It is cruel, it is wrong, mother, in you to oppose.”

“She _is_ a lovely woman—she has well availed herself of the advantages given her—but, my son, there are myriads like her.”

“No, not one! Tell me, you will never breathe a word of this to her?”

“Never!”

“Oh, thank you! thank you! Mother, you could not wish another daughter?”

“But for that I have told you, Duncan, I could not wish another.”

“Then I say you must not work this great injustice on her and me. Rosalie loves me, she has promised to be mine. You will break my heart.”

“You are deluded and strangely excited, my son, or you never would speak so to me,” said the mother, persisting in that firmness with which the physician resorts to a desperate remedy for a desperate disease. Then she spoke to him of all the relations in life he might yet be called upon to assume, of the misery which very possibly might follow, though now unforeseen, in after days—hours passed on, and the conference was not ended until with a crushed heart and trembling voice Duncan arose abruptly, while his mother yet spoke, and he said,

“If the conclusion to which you have urged me is right in God’s sight, He will give me, He will give Rosalie, too, strength to abide by it. But I can never speak to her of this, and I must find another home than yours and hers. You must speak _for_ me, mother—and oh let me charge you, do it gently. Do not tell her _all_. Let her think what she will—believe, as she must, that I am a wretch past pardon, but do not blight her peace by telling _all_.”

“I promise you, Duncan,” was the answer, spoken through many tears, and the young man did not wait to hear more.

An hour after he was on the way from the village, that he might spend the coming Sabbath in another town.

And after he was gone the mother sought her younger, her dearly-loved child. Rosalie heard that familiar step on the stairway—she had seen Duncan hurrying away from the house, and she knew the conference was over: but she had no fear for its result. So she hushed the glad, tumultuous beating of her heart, and tried to veil the brightness of her eyes, as she heard the gentle tapping at her door that announced the mother coming.

As for Mrs. Melville—_her_ heart quite failed her when she went into the pleasant room and sat down close by Rosalie. Despite all the strengthening thoughts of duty she had taken with her as a support in that interview, she was now at a sore loss, for it was a bitter grief to her kind heart that she must even for a day make those young creatures unhappy. How then could she endure to take away their life’s best joy, their richest hope? It was a hard thing—and many moments passed before she could nerve that strong spirit to utter the first word; and Rosalie, anxious, and impatient too, but unsuspecting, at last exclaimed—

“What can it be that so much troubles you, mother?”

Then Mary Melville spoke, but in a voice so soft and sad, and so faint with emotion, that it seemed not at all _her_ voice—she said,

“I want you to consider that what I say to you, dear child, has given me more pain even to think of, than I have ever felt before. Duncan has told me of your engagement to marry with him. And it has been my duty, my most sorrowful duty, oh believe me! to tell him that such a tie can never unite you. He can never be your husband, you can never be his wife.”

She paused, exhausted by her emotion—she could not utter another syllable. Rosalie who had watched her with a fixed astonishment as she listened to the words, was the first to speak again, and she tried to say calmly,

“Of course you have a reason for saying so. It is but just that I should know it.”

“It cannot _be_ known. If I had ever in my life deceived you, Rosalie, you might doubt me now when I assure you, that an impediment which cannot be named, exists to the marriage. Have I not been a mother to you always?” she asked appealingly, imploringly, “I love you as I love Duncan—and it cuts me to the heart to grieve you.”

“Has Duncan given you an answer?”

“Yes, Rosalie.”

“And it?”

“He has trusted to his mother,” she said, almost proudly.

“Rather than me,” quickly interrupted Rosalie.

“Rather than do that which is wrong; which might prove the misery of you both hereafter, my child.”

“Where is he? Why does he not come himself to tell me this? If the thing is really true, _his_ lips should have spoken it and not another’s.”

“He could not do it. I believe his heart is broken. Oh, Rosalie, do not look so upon me. Is it not enough that I bitterly regret, that I shall always deplore having not foreseen the result of your companionship. Say only that you do believe I have striven to do the best for you always, so far as I knew how.”

“Heaven knows that I believe it, mother. When will Duncan come home again?”

“Monday, not before.”

* * * * *

When Monday morning came, on the desk in Rosalie’s room this letter was found.

“I cannot leave you forever, Duncan, I cannot go from your protecting care, mother, without saying all that is in my heart. I have no strength to look on you, my brother, again—mother, the union I had thought between _us_ life-lasting, is broken. I cannot any longer be your daughter. I would have done so, I would have remained in any capacity, as a slave even, in your service, for I was bound by gratitude for all you have done for me, to be with you always, at least, so long as you should wish. If you had unveiled the mystery, and suffered me to stand before you, recognizing myself as _you_ knew me, I would have stayed—I would have been to you, Duncan, as in childhood, a proud, yet humble sister, rejoicing in your triumphs—and a sharer in your sorrows. I would have put fetters on my heart, and calmed my voice, and veiled my eyes, the spirit dwelling in me should have been henceforth a stranger to you. I would have borne to see another made your wife—but in a mistaken kindness you put this utterly beyond my power. Too much has been required—and, I am found—wanting! If even the most miserable fate that can befall an innocent woman, if the curse of illegitimacy were upon me, I could bear that thought even, and acknowledge _the_ justice and wisdom that did not consider me fit to associate with those, whose birth is recognized by a parent’s pride and fondness. But—I must be cognizant of the relation, whatever it is, that I bear you. I cannot, I will not consent to appear nominally your daughter, when you scorn to receive me as such.

“Mother—in my dead mother’s name I thank you for the generous love you have ever shown me—for the generous care with which you have attended to the development of the talents God gave me. For I am fitted thus to labor for myself. I thank you for that watchful providence that has made me what I am, a woman self-reliant, and strong in spirit. I thank you for it all, from a heart that has learned only to love and honor you in the past eighteen years. And I call down the blessing of the Infinite God upon you, as I depart. Hereafter, always it will be the endeavor of my life to live worthily of you—to be all that you have in your charity capacitated me to be. Duncan, you will not forget me—I do not ask it. But, pray for me, and live up to the fullness of your heart and your intellect. There is a happy future for you. I have no word of counsel, no feeble utterance of encouragement to leave you—you will not need such from _me_. God bless and strengthen you in every good word and work—it shall be the constant hope of the sister who _loves_ you. Mother, fare you well.”

This letter was written on that Sabbath-eve, on which our story opens—written in a perfect passion, yes, of grief, and of despair. The anger that Rosalie may at first have felt, gave way to the wildest sorrow now, but her resolution was taken, and her heart was really strung to bear the resolution out.

After her sudden and most unlooked-for disappearance, the mother and son sought long, and I cannot tell, you must imagine how anxiously, for the young girl. But their search was in vain, and at last, as time passed on, she became to the villagers as one who had never been. But never by the widow was Rosalie forgotten. And oh! there was in the world one heart at least that sorrowed with a constant sorrow, that hoped with a constant hope for her.

He had lost her—and Duncan sought for no other love among women. When all his searching for Rosalie was proved to be unavailing, the minister applied himself with constant industry to his profession—he forgot ease and comfort, and personal enjoyment, in the works of his calling. And verily, he met here with his reward, for as he was a blessing to the people of his parish, in turn they almost adored him. He was a spiritual physician, whom God empowered to heal many a wounded, stricken heart; but there was a cross of suffering, that he bore himself, which could not _be_ removed: It was his glory, that he bore it with martyr-like patience; that he never uttered a reproachful word to her, through whom he bore it. As years passed away, the gifted preacher’s impassioned eloquence and stirring words, bowed many a proud and impenitent soul, with another love than that which he wished to inspire, but he still sought not among any companionship, or close friendship; they said at last, considering his life spent in the most rigid performance of duty, that “he was too high church to marry;” that he did not believe such union consonant with the duties of a minister of the cross!—But, the mother knew better than this; _she_ knew a name that was never spoken now, in Rosalie’s old home, that was dearer than life to the heart of her son—and desolate and lonely as she was, she never _dared_ ask him to give to her a daughter—to take unto himself a wife!

CHAPTER II.

In a splendid old cathedral, a solemn ceremonial was going forward on the morning of a holy festival. A bishop was to be consecrated.

A mighty crowd assembled in this edifice to witness the ceremony, and the mother of Duncan Melville was there, the happiest soul in all that great company, for it was her son on whom the high honor was to be laid!

How beautiful was the pale, holy countenance of the minister, who in the early strength of his manhood, was accounted worthy to fill that great office, for which he was about to be set apart! He was a man “acquainted with grief;” you had known it by that resigned, submissive expression of his face: you had known that the passions of mortals had been all subdued in him, by the holy light of his tranquil eyes. Duncan _had_ toiled—he _had_ borne a burden.

A thousand felt it, looking on the noble front, where religion undefiled, and peace, and holy love, and charity, had left for themselves unmistakable witnesses: and more than all, one being felt it, that had not looked upon that man for years. Not since the lines of care and grief had marked the face and form of Duncan Melville. There was a reason for the passionate sobs of one heart, crushed anew in this solemn hour—there was a pathos, such as no other voice could give, to the prayers that went up to God that day, from one woman’s heart in the great congregation, for _him_. Poor, loving, still-beloved Rosalie! she was there—there, her proud, magnificent figure, bent humbly from the very commencement till the close of the ceremonial—there, her beautiful eyes filled with tears of love, and grief, and despair, and pride—there, crushed as the humblest flower—that glorious beauty.

And the good man at the altar for whom the prayers and the praise ascended, thought of her in that hour! Yes, in that very hour, he remembered how one would have looked on him that day, could she have come, his wife, to witness how his brethren and the people loved and honored him. He thought of her, and as he knelt at the altar, even then he prayed for her. But, not as numbers thought upon the name of Rosalie Sherwood that day; for she also, was soon to appear before a throng, and there were a myriad hearts that throbbed with expectancy, and waited impatiently for the hour to come when they should look upon her!

Bishop Melville sat in his study at noonday, for a few moments, alone. He was glancing over the sermon that he was to deliver that afternoon, when his mother, his proud, happy mother came into the room quietly, laid a sealed note upon the table, and instantly withdrew, for she saw how he was occupied.

When he had finished his reading, the bishop opened the note and read—could it have been with careless eyes?

“DUNCAN,—I have knelt to-day in the house of the Lord, and witnessed your triumph. Ten years ago when I went desolate and wretched from your house, I might have prophesied your destiny.

“Come to-night and behold _my_ triumph—at—the Opera House!

“Your sister,

“ROSALIE.”

Do you think that as he read that summons he hesitated as to whether he should obey it? If his bishopric had been sacrificed therefor, he would have gone—if disgrace and danger had attended his footsteps, he would have sought her at the bidding!—The love which had been strengthening in ten long years of loneliness and bereavement, was not now to stop, to question, or to fear.

“Accompany me dear mother, this evening—I have made an engagement for you,” he said as he went, she hanging on his arm, to the cathedral for afternoon service.

“Willingly my son,” was the instant answer: and Duncan kept her to her word.

But it was with wondering, with surprise, that she did not attempt to conceal, and with questions which were satisfied with no definite reply, that Mrs. Melville found herself standing with her son in an obscure corner of the Opera-House, that night. Soon all her expressions of astonishment were hushed, but by another cause than the mysterious inattention of her son—a queenly woman appeared upon the stage, she lifted her voice and sobbed the mournful wail, which opens the first scene in —— ——. For years, there had not been such a sensation created among the frequenters of that place as now, by the appearance of this stranger. The wild, singular style of her beauty, made an impression, that was heightened by every movement of her graceful figure, every tone of her rich, melodious voice.—She seemed, for the time, the very embodiment of the sorrow, to which she gave expression, and the effect was a complete triumph.

Mary Melville and her son gazed upon the debutant, they had no look no word for each other; for they recognized in her voice, the tones of a grief, of which long ago they heard the prelude, and every note found its echo in the bishop’s inmost heart.

“Come away! let us go home! Duncan, this is no place for us, for _you_; it is disgrace to be here,” was the passionate plea of the mother, when at last, Rosalie disappeared, and other forms stood in her place.

“We will stay and save her,” was the answer spoken with tears and trembling, by the man for whom, in many a quiet home, prayers in that hour ascended. “She is mine _now_, and no earthly consideration or power shall divide us!”

And looking steadfastly for a moment in her son’s face, the lady turned away sighing and tearful, for she knew that she must yield then, and she had fears for the future.

A half hour passed, and the star of the night re-appeared—resplendent in beauty, and triumphing in hope—again her marvelous voice was raised, not with the wail of sorrow—not with the bitter cry of despair that was hopeless, but glad, and gay, angelic in its joy.

Again the mother’s eyes were turned on him beside her—and a light was on that pale forehead, a smile on that calm face, a gladness in those eyes, which she had not seen there for long years,—and though she could not wonder as she looked with a mother’s love upon the one, who stood the admiration of all eyes, crowned with the glory-crown of perfection in her art; she could not with Duncan, hope. For, alas! her woman heart knew too well, the ordeal through which the daughter of her care and love must have passed, before she came into _that_ presence, where she stood now—who could tell if still the mistress of herself, and of her destiny, pure and undefiled?

* * * * *

That night and the following day, there were many who sought admittance to the parlors of Rosalie Sherwood; they would lay the homage of their trifling hearts at her feet. But all these sought in vain—and why was this? Because such admiring tribute was not what the noble woman sought, and because, ere she had risen in the morning, a letter written in the solitude of night, was handed her, which barred and bolted her door against the curious world.

“Rosalie! Rosalie! look back through the ten years that are gone, I am answering your letter of long ago, with words—I have a thousand times answered them in my heart, till the thoughts which have been crowded there filled it almost to breaking. We have met, met at last, you and I. But, did you call that a triumph, when you stood in God’s house, and saw them lay their consecrating hands upon me? Heaven forgive me, I was thinking of _you_ then—and thinking too, that if this honor was in any way to be thought a reward, the needful part of it was wanting—you were not there! Yet, you _were_ there, you have written me—ah, but not _Rosalie my wife_, the woman I loved better than _all_ on earth, the _acknowledged_ woman, whose memory I had borne about with me till it was a needful part of my existence. You were by when the people came to see me consecrated:—and I obeyed _your_ call, I saw you, when the people anointed you with the tears of their admiration and praise. If you read my heart at all that day, you knew how I had suffered, that I had grown old in the sorrow; was I mistaken to-night, in the thought that you too were not unmindful of the past—that you were not _satisfied_ with the popular applause? that you also, have been lonely, and wept and sorrowed?

“There is but one barrier now in the wide world that shall interpose between us, Rosalie—your own will. If I was ever anything to you, I beseech you think calmly before you answer, and do not let your ‘triumph’ to-night, blind you to the fact, which you once recognized—which can make us happy _yet_.—I trust you as in our younger days; nothing, nothing but your own words, could convince me that you are not worthy to take the highest place among the ladies of this land:—give me only your heart—and let the remembrance that I have been faithful to you through all the past, plead for me, if your pride should rise up to condemn me. Let me come and plead _with_ you, for I know not what I write.”

The answer returned to this letter was as follows:

“I learned long ago the bar that prevented our union—it is in existence still, Duncan. Your mother only, shall decide, if it be insurmountable. I have never, for a moment, doubted your faithfulness, and it has been to me an unspeakable comfort, in the days when I was alone, and toiling for a support, to know that none had supplanted me in your affections. In the temptations, and struggles, and hardships I have known, it has kept me above and beyond the world—and if the last night’s triumph proves to be but the opening to a new life for me on earth, the recollection of what you are, and that you care for me, will prove a rock of defense, and a strong-hold of hope, always. Severed from, or united with you, I am yours forever.”

Seven days after, there was a marriage in the little church of that remote village, where Duncan Melville and Rosalie Sherwood, passed their childhood. Side by side they stood now, once again, where the baptismal service had long since been read for them, and the mother of the bishop gave the bride away!—“_Honi soit qui mal y pense!_”

* * * * *

THE DEATH OF WORDSWORTH.

BY WILLIAM SYDNEY THAYER.

When the beloved guide, with whom we oft Have wandered over meadow, hill and dale, Have had sweet converse, and who bore aloft Our minds attentive to some pleasing tale, Whose words of wisdom often could avail To cheer us on our weariest pilgrimage, Bending with years, passes beyond the pale Of earthly life, what crowding thoughts engage Our hearts, which seek in vain the staff-supported sage!

Wordsworth is dead! and yet not wholly sad The feelings which our sorrowing bosoms thrill; Death was his gain, for here his spirit had Not space enough to wander at its will, Filling its fruitful treasury until Men might be blest with its rich overflow; As when the sinking sun behind the hill, Growing more broad as it doth westward go, Scatters its golden dust upon the world below.

To him Creation all her stores unrolled, To him unveiled the glories of her face; To him ’twas given her mysteries to behold, Her countless forms of grandeur and of grace— The blue-eyed violet in its hiding-place, The drowsy locust, singing at high noon, From the elm-bough, her shrill, unvarying lays, Till listening Nature seems almost to swoon— The humblest sights and sounds chimed with his spirit’s tune.

Throughout the universe he ever saw A mighty, interfusing Presence shine, Controlling all things by its sovereign law; He saw the secret bands, so strong and fine, That link the insect to a source divine. And gazing up, like one of those rapt seers, Whose souls have visioned out God’s vast design, Entranced in adorations, hopes and fears, Yielded himself to thoughts that “lie too deep for tears.”

And o’er the human soul with quiet eye He deeply brooded, and its wonders knew; The subtle powers that underneath it lie, From their unfathomed haunts his magic drew— Displayed its tranquil beauty to our view, Unstirred by passions blowing strong and wild, And, in his thought, our marvelous being grew, To a strange harmony, serene and mild, Which blent in union sweet the old man and the child.

Blest be the Priest, whose consecrating hands Wreathed a new glory round the true and right, Baptized by whom, the humblest duty stands, Appareled in a clear, celestial light; Blest be the Prophet, who has turned our sight, From the drear Present’s sinful turbulence, To his ideal world, that island bright In Time’s dim ocean, where men pitch their tents, And walk before the Lord in fearless innocence.

I see the Poet in his peaceful home, The home of mountain, forest, and of lake, While closing round him Death’s cool shadows come, And the calm hopes of Heaven within him wake, Glowing with sunset, Grasmere’s waters take To their still bosom, sky, and rock, and wood; Nature stands trembling, grieved that she must break Union with him, who shared her quietude, The dearest worshiper that near her altar stood.

But thou diest not, O Wordsworth! who hast found, And called from sleep our holier sympathies, Strewing with deathless flowers Life’s barren ground, And lighting up our pathway to the skies— Translator of great Nature’s mysteries! Linked with herself, thou livest evermore, And we, united by thy teachings wise, Shall tread a lovelier earth than heretofore, Shall sail on smoother seas, along a sunnier shore.

* * * * *

THE COMUS OF MILTON.

BY REV. J. N. DANFORTH.

GENIUS, in whatever age of the world it has appeared, has commanded the respect and homage of mankind. MIND, in every stage of development, and in every altitude of attainment, must be an object of profound interest to mind. When, therefore, a mind of so high an order as that of JOHN MILTON, appears before men, the fact constitutes an era in the history of intellect and imagination, and all the productions of such a mind are scanned and studied with a diligence proportioned to the dignity and fame of the author. The principal monument or statue in honor of the departed, of course attracts the most profound contemplation, but around it the genius of the artist may have wrought some beautiful adjunct figures, worthy of their share of admiration. Thus, while the Paradise Lost stands in superior beauty and grandeur, a fitting monument of the transcendent mind of the author, there are minor productions of the same imagination, which are finely conceived, and exquisitely wrought. Among these may be mentioned COMUS, a “Mask,” or Dialogue composed in dramatic form with no particular attention to rules or probabilities, and therefore affording the imagination of the poet considerable freedom in the exercise of its pencil. This was one of the earliest productions of the muse of Milton, one in the progress of which he tried the strength of those pinions, which were destined to bear him beyond this ‘visible diurnal sphere,’ into those spiritual and sublime regions, till then unknown to the adventurous flight of the poet. Johnson, in his Lives of the Poets, declares this to be “the greatest of his juvenile performances, in which may very plainly be discovered the dawn or twilight of Paradise Lost.” The characters are six only in number, the Attendant Spirit, Comus and his crew, a Virgin Lady, her two brothers, and Sabrina, a nymph.—The scene is a wild-wood, and the poem opens with a long soliloquy from the attendant spirit, followed by the entrance of the wizard Comus, and the strange, unearthly beings of monstrous forms, now encountered by the lady, who has lost her way in the woods, and who is subjected to the severe trial of their foul incantations. The two brothers set forth in pursuit of their lost sister, and succeed in finding her, happy that she has survived unharmed, all the arts of the wicked and the seductive.

Sabrina, the “goddess of the silver lake,” is invoked, and rises out of the “cool, translucent wave,” chiefly to confer a crowning grace upon the scene and afford further opportunity for the exercise of the imaginative powers of the poet. There can be said to be little plan, or intention of plan or plot about the piece. But whatever may be wanting in beauty or ingenuity of design, is amply compensated by the sterling value of the thoughts, the exquisite character of the imagery, the richness of the coloring, and the purity of the tone of sentiment. Many a “household word” is here recognized. Many a stem, from which we plucked flowers for our herbarium, grew here. Beautiful gems, that have been set here and there in the bosom of congenial prose, or, like current coin, from hand to hand, that have circulated from mouth to mouth, in elegant society, were formed in this mine. Those “thousand liveried angels” that lackey a pure and gentle spirit, the “airy tongues, that syllable men’s names,” that “charming, divine philosophy,” which is “musical as Apollo’s lute,” the vision of those serene and celestial regions, that glow “above the smoke and stir of this dim spot, which men call earth,” the view of a sable cloud, turning its “silver lining on the night,” these, and many kindred images and sentiments of beauty, have their original expression in the Comus, as others do in other works of the immortal poet, who sought not merely to weave splendid visions of the imagination, but to embalm sublime truths for the nourishment of humanity in all ages, and to vindicate the ways of God to man.

Here, too, we find some of those sententious generics of history or geography, of fable or fancy; those classic touches; those suggestive single words, which instantly bring up before the mind, a train of ideas, or a treasure of knowledge connected with the past.

These habits of thought and composition are fully developed in Paradise Lost. “The poetry of Milton,” says an eminent critic, “differs from that of Dante, as the hieroglyphics of Egypt, differ from the picture-writing of Mexico. The images which Dante employs speak for themselves; they stand simply for what they are. Those of Milton have a signification which is often discernible only, to the initiated. Their value depends less on what they directly represent, than on what they remotely suggest.” Numerous instances of this might be adduced. It has been called electrifying the mind through a conductor. The mind of the reader must in some good measure co-operate with that of the author. We must be ready to fill up the outline which he sketches; to respond with our melody to the key-note, which he strikes. There must be some music in the soul that is to appreciate the genius of Milton. Addison never earned a purer glory, than when he set forth his merits as by a charmed pen. Those words of enchantment—those forms of beauty created by the imagination of the poet, deeply impressed a congenial mind.

The Comus is constructed on the plan of the Italian _masque_, and belongs to that class of poems, which do not depend for their interest on any complication of plot or conflicts of intense passion, on dramatic unities or strange developments; startling scenes and horrible catastrophes. The poem rather claims and commands our admiration for the Doric simplicity of its structure, than for any gay and glittering forms of poetic architecture. Though dramatic in its plan, the Mask—while it has the simplest form of the drama—is essentially lyric, especially in the carol of the Water Nymph and the song of the attendant spirit, which constitutes a kind of delicious epilogue to the piece, and concludes with a beautiful moral lesson:

Mortals, that would follow me, Love Virtue; she alone is free: She can teach you how to climb Higher than the sphery chime; Or if Virtue feeble were, Heaven itself would stoop to her.

Indeed, the whole design and execution of the poem is evidential of that purity of mind, that chasteness of the imagination, so nobly distinguishing all the productions of this first of poets.

There is no reason why Shakspeare should not have maintained the same elevated tone of morality and purity in his immortal works, but that he was destitute of those religious principles, which purify the heart, and, indeed, clarify all the powers of the mind. The polluting habits of his early life, so closely connected with the stage, when it was in its deepest debasement, contributed to this malformation of his moral character. Let it not be said it was rather the “fault of the age” than of the individual. Milton was of that age. There was little more than a generation between them. But the poet was not ensnared either with the conspicuous examples of vice before him or around him. In the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, he shone as a light of superior brilliancy, entering upon the responsibilities and trials of life, with a heart full of love for freedom, and of hatred of tyrants, just at that illustrious period of the world, when the genius of Liberty had set her foot on these North American shores.

All republicans have a special interest in studying the genius and character of Milton. He took no pleasure as did the great dramatic poet, in exalting the prerogatives, or setting forth the splendors of royalty. For this he was calumniated by his enemies, and even Johnson, the inveterate old tory, joins in the censure of the politician and civilian, while he praises the poet in such language as this: “He seems to have been well acquainted with his own genius, and to know what it was that nature had bestowed upon him, more bountifully than upon others; the power of displaying the vast, illuminating the splendid, enforcing the awful, darkening the gloomy, and aggravating the dreadful.” He could not stoop to trifle among kings and queens, or attempt to make them conspicuous by his eulogies or representations. He rose to the sublimities of supernal worlds. “He sent his faculties out upon discovery, into worlds where only imagination can travel, and delighted to form new modes of existence and furnish sentiment and action to superior beings, to trace the counsels of hell, or accompany the choirs of heaven.”

His communion with the pure, the spiritual, the invisible, strengthened the principles of conduct he had adopted in his anticipation of the judgment of posterity, and especially in his consciousness of being “in his great Taskmaster’s eye.”

In Comus, his youthful imagination luxuriates amid the freshness of its own beautiful creations, amid the wealth which was destined to enrich the world. Upon the ground of a pure moral sentiment the flowers of poesy are distributed in the most free and graceful manner. There is no pandering to the baser passions of the human heart; no prostitution of the charms of his muse to the purposes of a secret, sinful gratification on the part of his readers; no seductive attempt to “impair the strength of better thoughts,” or to weaken the sanctions of that immutable law, which binds together virtue and happiness, vice and misery. His amaranthine wreath maybe wet with the “dew of heaven,” such as descended on his own Paradise, but is never stained with tears such as innocence weeps, when corrupted by guilt. “His diadem of beauty,” is set with gems of the purest water, and most sparkling colors. The “Lady,” who is wandering in the recesses of the forest, apprehensive perhaps, of being assailed by prowling foes, appeals in fervent language:

Oh welcome, pure-eyed Faith; whitehanded Hope, Thou hovering angel, girt with golden wings! And thou, unblemished form of Chastity! I see ye visibly——

The high lesson breathed through many a glowing line of this exquisite poem, is the dignity of virtue, the conservative power of innocence, the majesty of woman, even in her weakness, that weakness itself becoming strength, when blended with a purity, before which the eye of profligacy quails with very shame at the suggestions of a guilty heart. In the picture of Comus, the fabled son of Bacchus and Circe, and the assailant of the virtuous lady, drawn by the attendant spirit, there is a powerful argument for temperance, a virtue so warmly applauded and so little practiced among men. Comus,

—To every thirsty wanderer By sly enticement gives his baneful cup, With many murmurs mixed, whose pleasing poison The visage quite transforms of him that drinks, And the inglorious likeness of a beast Fixes instead, unmoulding reason’s mintage Charactered in the face.—

The imagination of Milton delighted to portray the moral virtues, often grouping them in fine proportions and expressive relations. They appear in the midst of exquisite poetry, gorgeous imagery, and all manner of glowing thoughts, like beautiful forms of statuary revealing themselves amidst the luxuriant vines and verdant foliage of a summer garden.

The scene in the palace between the Virgin Lady and Comus affords occasion for the utterance of noble sentiments in language worthy of them. She is supposed to sit in the enchanted chair, her eye resting upon the dainties of a delicious feast, her ear greeted with strains of the softest music, all the senses, in fine, addressed in the most tempting manner, when the Enchanter with his wand appears before her, and proffers his glass—the true “Circean cup,” which, being tasted, first intoxicates, then ruins. It is the intoxication of pleasure in all its forms and fascinations. This may be called a fable, but it stands for truth and reality too sadly and fatally experienced by the children of humanity.

The Enchanter opens his assault: “If I but wave this wand, your nerves are all chained up in alabaster.” The lady nobly replies:

Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind With all thy charms, although this corporeal rind Thou hast immanacled, while Heaven sees good.

The contest proceeds, and it is one between Truth and Falsehood, Light and Darkness, Principle and Profligacy, the Powers Supreme, and the Infernal Crew. The germ of one portion of Paradise Lost is here. Those conflicts between mighty opposing Powers, which constitute so much of the sublime interest of that great EPIC, are here typified and foreshadowed. Some poets would have invested this incantation of virgin purity with the “armor of tears,” the resistless eloquence of entreaty, disarming the sturdiest foe. But no such tender, melting scenes seem to have been embraced within the design of the poet. His heroine belongs to a severer order of the chaste sisterhood. There is a sternness in her purity, before which even the Enchanter with his wand is compelled to cower. He plies her with his enchantments, presses her with arguments worthy of the father of lies, with sophistry becoming the most subtle and accomplished deceiver, with flattery that would turn an ordinary brain. To all this she replies with all the energy of indignant virtue: “False traitor,” and charges home the guilt of his incantations, spurning the offer of all his delicacies and luxuries:

—None But such as are good men can give good things, And that which is not good, is not delicious To a well-governed and wise appetite.

Comus affects to despise the philosophy that is taught from the cynic tub of Diogenes, and ranges over all Nature for proof that men were intended to revel on her bounties, to “live while they live;” in fact to do what those Epicurean philosophers taught, who said, “Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die.” Nay, he dares to asperse the purity, and insult the majesty of Beauty itself:

Beauty is nature’s coin, must not be hoarded, But must be current; and the good thereof Consists in mutual and partaken bliss—

Now does the Lady rebuke him with all the true natural authority of virtue for obtruding his false rules “pranked in reason’s garb,” and in the true spirit of Satan bolting out his practical heresies with a fluency quite beyond the capabilities of the tongue of Virtue. It is true that in this interview there appears to be, so far as the Virgin Lady is concerned, a singular union of the romantic and the sensible, indeed such a preponderance of the latter as would have been quite inconsistent with the style and spirit of the drama, as authenticated by the masters of the histrionic art. Nevertheless, so great a genius as Milton had a right to choose in what form he would embody—through what channel he would pour the exalted sentiments and burning thoughts which it is the prerogative of genius to supply. If it pleased him to set before us naked creations of loveliness, or solitary symbols of vice and deformity, rather in the style of the statuary than of the painter of scenes, then let us be thankful for the gift, and honor the memory of the giver. Comus is rebuked by the Lady in such language as this:

Nature Means her provision only to the good, That live according to her sober laws, And holy dictate of spare temperance: If every just man that now pines with want, Had but a moderate and beseeming share Of that which lewdly-pampered luxury Now heaps upon some face with vast excess, Nature’s full blessings would be well dispensed In unsuperfluous even proportion, And she no whit encumbered with her store.

That strain continues until the guilty wizard stands abashed, like Satan before the immaculate angel of the covenant, feeling how awful virtue is: Comus confesses his fears of self-condemnation. He felt “her words set off by some superior power,” and in spite of his professed exemption from mortal ills, acknowledges “a cold shuddering dew dips me all o’er.” Still he resolves to dissemble, and as he is proceeding with his speech, in rush the brothers of the lady to the rescue, and scatter all things around them.

The attendant Spirit again appears on the stage, to exercise her guardian offices, and speaks at length. All the speakers are imbued with classical knowledge, and abound in classical allusions. This is just Miltonic. They are learned in Latin and Greek. And why should Milton consult the verisimilitudes of the stage? In the compass of thirteen lines of a song by the attendant Spirit, there are several classical or fabulous names, among them Neptune, Nereus, Triton, Glaucus, Thetis, Parthenope. How finely does he interweave them with the thread of his song, even, by his poetic art, imparting to them a portion of the melody that is vocal in his verse. He seems capable of setting to music the whole catalogue of the Pantheon, the Stoa, the Academy, and the Temples, whose sublime and impressive architecture itself suggests an analogy to poetry of a high order. Then the Nereids, the Dryads, the Fauns will always be poetical in an humbler sense, so long as the woods and the waters shall be grateful to the senses or pleasing to the imagination. Even the horrid Satyrs are welcomed among his guests.

This poem is full of MUSIC, reminding us as well of the beautiful bond—_the indissoluble vinculum_—that unites the sister arts, as of the author’s passion for the science and the symphonies of sweet sounds. A good recitation of his Ode on the Nativity is equal to a grand overture on the organ. HE was an EPIC all over. To quote from this very Comus, he could originate “strains that might create a soul under the ribs of death.” If he did not absolutely invent the exquisite epithet “rosy bosomed hours,” (it being derived from the _Rododatetylos Eos_, “rosy-fingered Aurora” of Homer,) he interwove it most gracefully in his song, as he did all thoughts, images, and words which he deemed worthy of adaptation into the magic structure of his works. They were so many living, many-colored stones in that glorious temple of poesy, (be it reverentially spoken,) “not made with hands,” but elaborated and elevated to its towering height by those marvelous intellectual powers which are as much the gift of God as inspiration itself, and far more identified with the MAN than inspiration possibly could be. Oh, how solemn the spectacle, to contemplate such a genius with his eye fixed, like that of an ancient prophet, in a vision of spiritual worlds, peopled, not with the ordinary phantoms of an earthly imagination, but with beings of immortal mould and unmeasured power; his ear open to catch the “ninefold harmony” of the celestial orders, as they sing and praise the glorious Creator; his march above the ordinary walks of humanity; his very soul taking wings, and like the eagle soaring “with no middle flight,” but passing “the flaming bounds of time and space,” and ascending from sphere to sphere until he reaches the throne of the Eternal, there to hold high communion with the Invisible God, and the august and awful associations that surround him, whom “No eye hath seen nor can see, to whom be honor and power everlasting.”

* * * * *

THE GRAVE’S PALE ROSES.

BY C. F. ORNE.

On the couch of her suffering, meekly, Like a lily so wan and pale, She lay in her trance-like slumber, A slumber for bliss or bale.

_He_ sat and watched beside her, To whom her young life was dear, From his eyes the sad dew of sorrow Fell silently, tear by tear.

The hours passed unseen and unheeded Till the dawning grew bright in the skies, Then her white lids, with languid unclosing, Revealed the soft light of her eyes.

She pressed the last kiss on his forehead, And murmured in music so low, “On my grave plant the pale blooming roses That only a summer-life know.”

She slept: and they laid her with weeping, In the greenwood so solemn and still: He placed on her grave the pale roses Whose life bears no winter wind’s chill.

As he knelt there what bathed his wan forehead, So gently the rose-petals moved? The sigh of the breeze that swept o’er them, Or the spirit of her he had loved?

When spring came again to the greenwood, Ah—a flowerless sod was there!— The _new wife_ wore the pale blooming roses In the wreaths of her raven hair.

* * * * *

ON SAN FRANCISCO’S SPLENDID BAY.

BY THOMAS G. SPEAR.

On San Francisco’s splendid bay The weary hours I while away, And think me of the days, no more, I passed upon a dearer shore. When time began to stretch the chain Of which a few worn links remain, To tell me that at fate’s command, While years on years are rolling by, They, too, must strew life’s desert strand, Like leaves when Autumn’s blast is nigh.

Where azure hills o’erlook the seas, I sit me down and feel the breeze Fresh from the billows, wild and nigh, Borne through a bright and boundless sky, And musing gaze the landscape o’er From rolling height to sandy shore, And hail the beautiful and grand, Blent with the softest light and shade, In Freedom’s gold-encumbered land, The seat of empire and of trade.

O’er Yerba Buena’s lonely isle I watch the morning’s rosy smile; And while it gilds the wave and mast, From Contia Costa’s summit cast, I think of those it woke before It touched this mountain-sloping shore. In that far off and hallowed home Beyond the Allegheny’s sky, Where breaks the white Atlantic foam, And all life’s dear affections lie!

Ah me! what of these mountain scenes, O’er which the blue sky sweetly beams! This land of wild romantic charms That man’s imperial wish embalms; This clime of gold, whose sound to greet, Swift hither rush the world’s life-fleet. What of these treasures wrung by toil, Their might, their magic, and their lure, Without one sweet domestic smile, In which the heart may feel secure.

* * * * *

THE QUIET ARBOR.

BY W. H. C. HOSMER.

“Hence let me haste into the midwood shade, And on the dark green grass, beside the brink Of haunted stream, that by the roots of oak Rolls o’er the rocky channel, lie at large.”

When study pales my visage, and I feel Oppressive languor chaining heart and brain, Away from toil and books I often steal, Exploring haunts where Quiet holdeth reign. I love the wild, the picturesque—and when Her nest of moss the roving linnet weaves, And the low thorn is beautiful with flowers, I seek my favorite glen, While warm winds wanton with the twinkling leaves, And pass in pleasant idleness the hours.

Where a dark arbor, by the mingling boughs Of two gigantic hemlock-trees, is made, I rest my limbs, and with wild shout arouse The ruffed-grouse from her cover in the shade; The tapping flicker does not keep aloof, But plies his noisy bill above my head, To greet my coming, while the summer heat Falls on the verdant roof That canopies my green, luxurious bed, With the fresh odors of the forest sweet.

I lie and listen to the lulling tones Of the clear brook that works its winding way, Far down through brush, and over mossy stones, The green marge wetting with its silver spray; The path is steep and perilous that leads To the cold flushing waters—and few dare Descend to quaff refreshment from their flow; For thick, entangling weeds, In the loose soil seem matted to ensnare The foot of him who ventureth below.

In the rich bottom of the dale, a grove Of sylvan giants woos the roving eye; The topmost limbs wave not their leaves above The shrubby brow of the declivity. Sometimes in musing indolence I stand, And drink in rapture from the peaceful scene, Or call up old rememberings from sleep; Then pluck with careless hand The ripe, red berries of the winter-green, That blush like rubies on the verdant steep.

I watch the wild bees from my cool retreat Hum tunefully around the blue harebell, Before they enter to extract the sweet That lieth hidden in each fragrant cell. The small ground-squirrels leave their dwellings dark In the black, slaty soil, and gambol oft On an old oak with star-moss overgrown, And reft of branch and bark; While the fierce hawk forsakes his realm aloft, And settles on the blasted pine, his throne.

Where the broad banks slope gently downward, grow The sassafras and other fragrant trees; And the bright lilies of the wave below, Give nods of recognition to the breeze. In mild accordance with the quiet scene, Beat tranquilly the pulses of my heart; While Fancy populates the place with fays, In robes of dazzling sheen, Who dance to merry music, and depart, While other fairy visions cheat the gaze.

Around the sapling, like a verdant belt, The claspers of the honeysuckle twine; The Dryades of Argos never dwelt Within a bower more beautiful than mine. The humming-bird is near me on the wing, And the warm breeze with dulcet tone is stealing Through the green plumage of the hemlocks old— A spiritual thing; While butterflies round marshy spots are wheeling, Clad in their dazzling liveries of gold.

The dusky lord of knife and hatchet roves Near my wild haunt of loveliness no more; He saw, amid his old ancestral groves, Throng pale invaders from a foreign shore— Then heard the sylvan monarchs, one by one, With all their leafy diadems laid low, And sought an undiscoverable lair Toward the dim, setting sun, With empty quiver and a broken bow, And gloomy brow contorted by despair.

The game he hunted craftily is gone, And meadow-grass conceals his ancient trail; The flock is feeding where his camp-fire shone, And rang his whoop of triumph on the gale. His implements of battle and the chase, Are often found near my romantic bower, For the rich scene about it is allied To legends of his race; And mournful traces of his day of power Make classic grove, and glade, and river-side.

Frost, washing rain-drops, and the plough lay bare The rude graves of his sires on hill and plain, Exposing their white secrets to the air, And the rough foot-fall of the whistling swain; When Autumn robes the forest in a dress Of many colors, he returns no more, To pay due homage to ancestral dust, From distant wilderness; The wave no longer flushes with his oar, And crusted is his tomahawk with rust.

His woodland language cannot wholly die While swift Ganèsus, with a voice of glee, Between bright, flowery banks is rolling by To mix his waters with the Genesee. These tall old hemlocks tell of other days, When the red warrior rested in their shade, The painted ruler of the scene around; And the far hills that raise Their wooded tops, by Summer lovely made, In marks of ancient Indian rule abound.

When the life-stream is frozen in my veins, And hollow are my features with decay, I fondly hope my cold and stiff remains May not be hidden from the light of day, In the dank yard where hundreds hide their dead; For I would rather have a pleasant grave Beneath the roofing of my arbor green, With wild-grass over-spread; While far below sing bird and gurgling wave, Through the dense, rustling thicket, dimly seen.

* * * * *

PEDRO DE PADILH.

BY J. M. LEGARE.

(_Continued from page 310._)

SPAIN, AND TERCERA. } AD. 1583. }

Capt. Wolfang Carlo and Don Hilo de Ladron, seated on the side of the mountain above Angra, watched the sea brighten along the opposite horizon and the white tents of the Spanish camp slowly emerge from the mists in the valley to the right.

“There’ll be hard fighting yonder before the commandant gives in,” the captain said, nodding toward Nostre Dame de Loup, “and nobody will find time to look after us for some weeks to come.”

“We must make our peace with the marquis before it is over,” Hilo returned indifferently.

“My plan,” the captain continued, “is to search along the western coast, and wherever we find a boat put off in it for St. George. One of the Portuguese told me the place wasn’t more than half a dozen leagues off at most.”

“And what would you do there, brave captain?” the Spaniard asked with a sneer. “Don’t comfort yourself that the marquis would let your bull’s-neck out of his noose, because you merely deserted the commandant and benefited himself in nothing. But your friendship for me mustn’t keep you in Tercera. Perhaps the best thing after all you can do, would be to go and be hanged; it will come about one of these days.”

“Not before I throttle you,” the ex-serjeant muttered, with a scowl at the back of his careless comrade’s head.

“Joke away,” he added sulkily, aloud. “You’ve a great chance of catching the count up here, while there’s a boat to be got, haven’t you.”

“Look you, captain,” Hilo said, raising himself on his elbow. “There isn’t a boat on this coast, nor has there been for these three weeks. These rascally Portuguese have been carrying away their families and goods in every thing that could float, to be out of harm’s way until the fighting is fairly over. I know it is so, for I overheard one of them tell the count night before last; he had been along shore to find out. So the viceroy is still in trap, and if you’ve a mind, you may come along and find where he’s hidden; or if you like it better, swim over the strait, or walk down to the marquis’ quarters: you’ve several acquaintances made in Madrid, you know, who will be pleased to meet you, captain.”

At this reference Wolfang regained enough of his good humor to show his tusks in a grin.

“Your friends ain’t too many down there, either,” he rejoined. “If I’m to go with you, let’s hear how the count is to be caught.”

“Why, my bold captain, we wont catch him at present, it might be inconvenient for you and I alone to fight a regiment of even Portuguese. But we will find out his hiding-place, and with the information buy our heads from Santa Cruz. Or, who knows, we may set a snare for him and take him off his guard; there may be some reward offered for him, too. What do you say, will you share the doubloons, or swim over to St. George’s?”

“I’ll follow,” Carlo cried, rising and tightening his belt: the mention of doubloons sounding in his ears with the proverbial music of the trumpet to a war-horse. He pulled his grizzly moustache and loosened his hanger. Hilo laughed.

“Come along,” he said. “You’re the sweetest-tempered gentleman of my acquaintance when gold is to be got by it.”

There was no path apparent, and the ascent was easiest up the bed of a wild gorge they presently discovered. As height after height was surmounted, the circle of their horizon widened: St. George and Pico were visible in the blue field of the ocean to the right, and over a wooded promontory the hazy outline of more distant Graciosa. Below lay Angra, and closer to the left the entrenched village of Nostre Dame de Loup.

So long as the thickets abounded, there was no likelihood of the fugitives attracting attention from below, but when _el duro_ was gained, where the bare surface of rocks lay open to view from all sides, the adventurers turned back a space, and following a depression in the chain of mountain-tops, lost sight of the ocean, and overlooked instead numerous farms scattered through the little valleys of the highlands of Tercera. The Portuguese owners had gone off with their effects, but the grain left in the partially harvested fields supplied abundant rations. Here the deserters fixed their head-quarters while conducting their search for the count, returning nightly with the caution requisite where the sudden falling in with any party would have proved perilous. The military operations on the coast, however, kept the foreign powers occupied for the present, and no natives were to be met with, although several country-houses belonging to members of the viceroy’s court, were sacked by the outlaws of what few valuables remained. In the course of a week, it was evident Torrevedros was secreting himself in some other quarter, the semi-circle of mountains having been traversed in all directions and found to terminate in steep precipices looking inward, leaving the only points of egress opposite Angra.

One morning Hilo and the captain resolved to descend far enough to turn the heel of the promontory and reascend on the farther side; a strong easterly wind lifted the fogs from the lowlands adjacent the sea, and enveloped the entire height of the mountain, for which reason, their knowledge of the geography of the country being very imperfect, the pair, before recognizing any landmarks, were close upon the road leading to the camp of the commander from the capital. Both caught the sound of hoofs instantly, and crouched in a thicket while a half-dozen troopers galloped by, headed by a knight with his visor up.

“Santiago!” Hilo said, rising to his feet when the tramp had died away in the direction of the French camp. “We may spare ourselves the trouble of finding the count; nothing will save our heads where that man is.”

“Who?” the captain asked.

“Don Augustine Inique—may the devil confound him! I thought him safe in Spain with that whining daughter of his.”

Wolfang’s face, not usually expressive, was a blank for some minutes, then slowly relaxed into a broad grin. The captain’s grin, as I have said elsewhere, boded no good.

“Hark ’e,” he whispered, “what hinders your getting hold of your fortune, if the knight dies: say, falls off his horse, or has his casque riddled by a bullet in battle—or _now_?”

“Ha!” Hilo answered quickly.

“Give me your arquebus, it carries a truer ball than mine,” he added moodily after an interval.

The captain did as he said, and the other tried it to his shoulder irresolutely twice or thrice.

“Climbing unsteadies my hand,” he exclaimed with an oath.

Upon which the captain cried. “Double the debt you owe me, and the work will be done.”

It might have been two hours after this, that Señor Inique riding slowly by the spot, lurched violently over his steed’s neck, which he grasped to save himself from falling, at the instant his men-at-arms were startled by the loud report of a carbine. All was consternation, two of the company running to support the maître-de-camp, while the others dashed into the thick mist to the right: the latter presently returned however with no tidings of the assassins, and the party conveyed the insensible knight to Angra, where Padilh was awaiting his arrival.

Don Pedro turned pale at the recital. “God forbid!” he said repeatedly, half aloud to himself, while musing gloomily by the side of his friend.

Meanwhile Carlo and De Ladron creeping noiselessly along parallel with the road, the better to baffle pursuit, came suddenly on the crouching figure of a man who was endeavoring to hide himself under a bush. Wolfang took him promptly by the throat, but before any violence could be done him, Hilo said:

“Stop, the fellow is a Moor. Look at his black face and turban.”

“What of that?” returned the captain. “He must have seen what happened just now, and Moor or Christian he mustn’t have liberty to use his tongue again.”

The prisoner during this whispered conference, looked from one to the other, his oriental eyes dilated with fear, but making no effort to release his throat; he had evidently watched the approach of the fugitives in the hope they would pass by without noticing him. At the last words he eagerly stretched his mouth open with a wildly supplicating gesture.

“Santiago!” both exclaimed in a breath. The Moor’s tongue was shrunk to half the natural size, and it appeared evident he could not speak a word.

“He is worth his weight in silver,” Hilo said, looking at him narrowly. “I have heard the count had a mute slave, and I remember once seeing this man with him in the Portuguese camp. Let’s carry the fellow higher up the mountain and compel him to show us where his master is.”

The Moor’s turban served to bind his arms, and the three reascending the mountain a space, halted on the farther side of Angra, which town they passed so close as to hear the sound of trumpets from the market-place. The slave confessed by signs, he had come in search of food for Torrevedros, who, deserted by his courtiers, was hiding among the rocks.

“If that is the case,” Hilo remarked in French to the captain, “we may capture him ourselves.”

“And pocket all the doubloons the marquis will offer,” the captain added greedily.

The same motive for obedience which had drawn the acknowledgment of the viceroy’s destitution, a choice between that and a dagger stroke, induced the Moor to guide them in the direction of his master’s lodging, no doubt in the secret hope of wearying out his heavier-clad companions, and giving them the slip when opportunity offered. Up and down steeps they toiled most of the morning; the mist had disappeared and the sun beat fiercely on the rocks of the _duro_. The phlegmatic Wolfang followed with plodding endurance, as he would for a piece of gold to the world’s end, but Hilo’s impatience at last boiled over.

“Infidel dog!” he cried. “I will leave your carcass on this peak if you fail to lead us straight to the viceroy.”

At this the mute paused, whimpered, cast a terrified look at Hilo’s unpromising countenance, and ended by turning off abruptly from the course they were about to pursue.

A few yards farther, the captain, who was in advance, cried out:

“Hey! Yonder goes one of those Portuguese rascals. Hallo, you sir, come here or I will fetch you with a bullet.”

Whereupon the peasant came down the narrow path he was ascending hastily, without demur.

“I am a poor working-man,” he whined out deprecatingly, “and have nothing to do with fighting, señor. For the love of charity, give me something, for my children to eat, who are dying of hunger.”

“I will give you what will keep you from ever being hungry,” Hilo answered curtly, “if you don’t show us where your viceroy is hid.”

“I take all the saints to witness, I have not seen the viceroy this month or more,” the fellow exclaimed, falling on his knees.

“What is that you are rolling in your mouth?” Carlo demanded, seizing him suddenly by the jaws and forcing a ducat out. The captain’s interest was aroused, and he thoroughly searched the clothing of the Portuguese despite his lamentations.

“You may be worse off,” the captain rejoined after his fruitless trouble, “if you trouble us any more about your whelps.”

And Hilo crying impatiently, “One is enough to guide us; leave the idiot alone,” they crossed a ravine which De Ladron recognized as one they had before visited, and confirmed a suspicion of the Moor’s duplicity. Turning upon him in a fury he uttered:

“Heathen dog, your deceit will end here with your life,” and struck a blow which the other escaped by throwing himself on his back.

The mute’s mouth worked spasmodically in his seeming efforts to enunciate, and he eagerly directed their attention to the path they had just descended. Hilo caught his meaning.

“Watch him well,” he exclaimed, and bounded up the steep hill side.

The peasant was found after a short search, standing at the narrow entrance of a cavern.

“Here, my good man,” the Spaniard said, showing him a gold piece. “It goes against our conscience to take any thing from a poor fellow like you.”

At this gracious speech the Portuguese came forward with alacrity, and Hilo eyed him keenly.

“In the king’s name I arrest you, Count de Torrevedros!” he cried on a sudden, seizing the viceroy as he spoke.

The cowardly governor made no resistance, but looking toward his slave whom the captain had by this time driven unwillingly to the spot.

“Wretch!” he exclaimed, “you have betrayed your master, and I would kill you if I had a sword.”

“We owe him a grudge ourselves,” Carlo muttered, and passing his short blade through the Moor’s body, threw it upon the rocks.

“Spare my life, señores!” the alarmed count cried, trembling and falling on his face. “I will give you double the sum offered for me by your marquis—double the sum—”

“Get up, Viceroy of Tercera,” Hilo answered, contemptuously touching him with his foot.

“Show us where your gold is, and you may go,” Wolfang eagerly put in. But the other put him aside.

“Bargain with Santa Cruz for your own head, I choose not to risk mine for a few extra ducats,” he said to his avaricious companion, while securing Torrevedros. And grumbling after his usual fashion, the Captain was obliged to submit.

* * * * *

The Commandant de Chaste, in the little village of Nostre Dame de Loup, saw nothing before him but ruin of one sort or another. Partly out of friendship, and partly to save Hilo, by a comprehensive treaty, the two maîtres-de-camp, had urged upon the marquis, the policy of securing a peaceful surrender on the part of the French general, rather than drive to despair, the handful of gentlemen remaining in the illy-fortified town. Once a secret messenger carried a note, in which, under cover of solicitude for his safety, in the event of falling into the power of Santa-Cruz, a surrender was proposed, but met with so little favor from the dauntless old knight, their ambassador found no inconvenience in keeping in mind the caustic answer.

“We must see him in person,” Don Pedro said.—And the next morning the maîtres-de-camp rode over together, under a flag of truce.

The gaunt visages of the cavaliers in the commandant’s ante-room, showed the strait to which they were reduced, but they had lost nothing of their native courtesy, and were all armed from head to heel, ready to repel an assault at a moment’s warning. De Chaste himself laid aside his helmet in honor to his guests, who lost no time in disclosing their errand, when the others had withdrawn. It had been agreed beforehand, that Padilh should relate the leading features of their story in order to afford a basis for the consequent urgency of the surrender they came to propose. The commandant heard the knight through in grave silence: at the end he mused awhile and said:

“His name served him in good stead once, for with any other he would have been hanged at my yard-arm for mutiny. It may not be known to you, messires, the wife of the elder De Ladron, was my sister.”

“Ha!” Inique ejaculated, with a sudden red spot in either sallow cheek.

But the calm voice of the old knight, promptly reassured him.

“You are endeavoring to retrieve the past, monseigneur, and I am no intermeddler. When you have cleared your conscience, M. de Padilh here, and I, will talk over the disposition of our unfortunate nephew. For the rest I submit to the necessity of the case and the counsel of my companions in arms, and to-morrow will send an envoy to settle conditions of surrender.” With which success, the Spanish cavaliers were well satisfied.

It was an unlucky choice on the part of the commandant in keeping his promise, to appoint Du Vict, the same whose blunt speech formerly increased the viceroy’s enmity to the French. That hotheaded cavalier proposed terms of advantage, where there was cause to be thankful for the reception of any terms at all.

“Tell your commandant I will send him answer by fifteen hundred fighting men,” Santa-Cruz cried in a rage, and instantly gave orders for the march of his infantry.

At this crisis, when the marquis refused to halt an hour, a courier was dispatched in haste by Padilh to warn the French of their danger, and the unhappy general, heart-broken at his disasters, and deserted by all but a remnant of his army, struggled no longer against his fate. A cavalier of milder temper was promptly dispatched to accede to any honorable capitulation, and meeting the Spanish vanguard half way from Angra, concluded a treaty by which a free passage was provided to France, and every gentleman suffered to retain his sword.

Inique himself, rode back with the ambassador to console the gray-haired soldier, and it was while returning from Dame de Loup, his assassination occurred. Had he delayed an hour, the deadly spot might have been safely passed, for within that period De Chaste marched out of his intrenchments, and into the Spanish camp, accompanied by his handful of Frenchmen.

Two purposes now occupied the attention of Santa-Cruz; discovering the assassin of his maître-de-camp, and securing the person of the late viceroy of the island, for each of which services, he offered a reward of five hundred ducats, and a free-conduct to the parties if desired. There was no lack of competitors for the latter prize, and one of these exploring detachments, headed by a corporal, penetrated to the mouth of the cavern at which the Moor lay, not many hours after the capture of his master.

The mute had enough vitality remaining, to motion he had things of consequence to relate, and a French deserter recognizing the count’s slave, restored his strength temporarily, by a draught from his flask.

“We must take the infidel down to Angra, my men,” the corporal said, after putting his ear close to the mouth of the Moor. “By St. Boniface! we came out to fish for minnows, and catch silverfish.”

After nightfall of the same day, with their customary _insouciance_, the captors of Terrevedros conducted that unhappy nobleman, bareheaded, his wrists bound behind him, and in a peasant’s dress, into the presence of the vindictive marquis, who loaded him with epithets of contempt, and threats of a speedy end. Extremity of danger occasionally exalts a coward into a hero for the time being, and the only words spoken by the count, were uttered with a dignity which astonished the Spanish cavaliers present.

“I am content to die,” he said calmly, “since at least, I have retained strength enough to prefer doing homage to the devil, than to that perfidious tyrant, the king of Spain.”

“He has signed his own death warrant, as you are all witnesses, Señores,” the marquis cried, scarce restraining his anger to words. “Let him be put in chains until a day is appointed for the traitor’s execution.”

Thus, within the walls of Angra, were gathered, in partial ignorance of such propinquity, the chief personages of this history; and there leaving them, the narrative transfers itself from the Azores to Spain, to a castle opposite a keep, in brief, where the fancy of faithful Sir Pedro was wont to stray nightly.

It may be assumed a rule in authorship, that no reader is to be introduced into a heroine’s sick room; that obliging personage should always be met at the street-door as a lover might, by the physician, who good-naturedly preserves his romance by disclosing none of the disagreeables up stairs.—But much may be made of a convalescent. The open windows inhale the blessed air of heaven, to replace the nauseous smell of drugs, and where the tumbler with a spoon in it, flanked by a labelled phial or two, stood on the table, somebody has set a bouquet of rosebuds and verbena, and a glass plate of cool grapes: moreover every one smiles now, the doctor ceases to shake that solemn head of his, and fears no longer, waylaying and cross questioning on the stair, and you, yourself, lie still in a state of placid pleasure, and watch the preparations for your comfort, with the sole member of your physical system inclined to be active.

So, it was Doña Viola lay after the subjugation of the fever which had begun to show its delirious power in Don Pedro’s presence, and before the knight reached Lisbon, was extorting from the girl’s innocent lips, exclamations, equally of denunciation and passionate love for the graceless Hilo.

What would become of us in sickness, ladies, deprived of your attendance?—what would become of yourselves, if it did not come natural to you all from the finest lady downward, termagant and gentle alike, to smooth pillows, decant medicine, and perform numberless offices in no respect agreeable, but with the most exquisite gentleness and devotion.

Doña Hermosa, (may her memory be kept green!) suffered no one to overhear poor Viola’s ravings, but the solemn parish physician, (notwithstanding whom, she recovered,) and a trusty maid-servant; and when the crisis had passed, prepared with her own hands, delicacies of every kind found in her recipe book. Viola showed her sense of such unaccustomed petting, poor child, by tasting every thing and smiling feebly, and Doña Hermosa, woman-like, felt her charge every day, growing more into her heart, by reason of her very helplessness and docility. After a little, the elder lady laid herself out to rival Scheherazade, and told the invalid all sorts of pleasant stories to while away the time, varied with readings from the half dozen books constituting the knight’s library: she left nothing undone, which might remove the indefinably sad expression about her young guest’s mouth, and coax her thoughts into some other channel than that in which they seemed commonly to run. And I am of opinion if any diversion of the sort had been practicable at the time, the occupation to which these ladies devoted part of one week, rummaging the stores of curiosities, first in the castle and afterward in Don Pedro’s lesser keep, would have served the desired purpose. During this period, Señora Padilh showed Señorita Inique her wedding dress, (of course,) and afterward the very doublet in which Don Pedro had adorned himself with unusual finery, at the same auspicious era. She drew the arras aside and exhibited it, hanging a little apart from its more homely fellows, with much pride, thinking all the time what the dear old knight was that moment doing, and whether he had looked at it often, and with the same happy associations she now did, when he was at home: and when Viola walked on, her interest in the knight’s wardrobe being naturally limited, she stroked the velvet softly with one white hand, and looking quickly around, raised the sleeve to her lips twice at least.

It was a silly action, of course, for a lady of her time of life—she was nearly thirty now—but who of us has not done more foolish things with less cause?—and there is something, so altogether winning and admirable in the untutored fealty of the sex for ours, when allowed to appear, that I can’t help despising the man who makes the pretty weaknesses of a wife or sweetheart, a target for his shallow wit.

The wife of our knight was so occupied with her thoughts, that she did not at first observe Viola, who had retired to the embrasure of a window, and by the position of her head—she stood with her face directed to a landscape without, but cognizant of nothing out of her own brain—was quietly weeping.

A milk-and-water heroine, always melancholy, and shedding a profusion of tears to evince sensibility, is the reasonable abhorrence of every sensible reader. But Doña Viola was not of this kind, as the countess well knew. That kind soul reproached herself secretly for broaching a subject likely to recall unhappy recollections in the breast of her charge, and said something to that effect, while drawing an arm caressingly around her.

“You do yourself injustice, dear lady Hermosa,” Viola said after an interval, “nothing we have seen or said, has earned me any pain. You know my past history,” she added, “and what a ban has been laid upon my future, by recent events, and should not wonder much at my yielding to grief whenever your attention is withdrawn.”

“You must endeavor, poor little dove, to let your wounds heal, and forget the author of them,” the countess answered compassionately, scarcely knowing what to say.

Doña Viola looked at her friend with a faint smile.

“Did I mention him frequently in my delirium?” she asked rather abruptly.

“Why yes,” Doña Hermosa replied, hesitatingly.

“Dear cousin,” Viola cried quickly, “be assured of this; Señor de Ladron is nothing to me: not a particle of the affection, I blush now to have entertained for him, remains. You see, I speak quite calmly of it; I could not have done so prior to the fever, which has apparently revolutionized my mind, but in truth, only made the climax of an unhappy passion, after which, comes this quiet.”

“Heaven be praised!” the countess exclaimed, with a sense of great relief.

“Yes, the saints are my witness, I loved him not obstinately but dutifully, and until immediately preceding the return of Don Augustino to Madrid, when the wickedness of the steps he took to annul our betrothment, first came to my knowledge, (and crazed me, I believe,) I had always believed him faithful to the letter, if not to the spirit, of our ill-advised contract: for he never once made an appeal, which self-respect would have compelled me to acquiesce in, had I loved him thrice as much. The most I did, was to suspect his coolness, but I easily found excuse for that, as any woman would, and for many painful scenes which I thought time and marriage would remedy. I purposed being a good wife to him.”

“Angels of mercy!” her friend broke in. “Did you receive no notes, no messages from him, insisting upon the contract being annulled!”

“None,” Viola answered. “Whatever I may have said to Don Pedro and yourself, in delirium, the truth is, as I have just related it.”

“Then, there has been very, very wicked work.” Hermosa exclaimed, with extraordinary vehemence for so placid a disposition.

“Oh that I were a man—a knight. Oh, that Don Pedro, or even Señor Inique, were here to ferret out this mystery!” With which wild words, to show how much she was a woman, and how dependent on the absent hero, she fell upon the neck of her disturbed protegée, and the two wept in great harmony together.

The doubts and difficulties which perplexed these two innocent heads from this hour, and led to innumerable discussions and secret conclaves, harassed chiefly by the impression left after each debate, of subtle enmity having been at work, although why and through whose agency, they could not even conjecture. Doña Hermosa told what little she had heard of Hilo’s passion for a French ambassador’s daughter, and so accounted for his wish to break his former engagement; but all the rest remained in the dark. If Viola had received no notice of Hilo’s desire to release himself from a distasteful union, the person or persons who suppressed his letters may have used her name in such a manner as to irritate him into the extraordinary steps he had taken to be rid of an intolerable because obstinate burden, and the same miscreants had doubtless unbarred the shutter to Captain Carlo and assisted that worthy’s escape; but this was all sheer conjecture. Indeed it could not be so, for all were long proved servants except a lad she employed as a page out of respect for the old nurse who had reared her from infancy, and for the few past years had been employed in taking charge of her poor brother with Don Augustino.

While such speculations engaged their thoughts, a letter arrived from the knight by a returned caravel, announcing the safe landing of the Spanish army and strait of the French, deserted by the Portuguese, and stating the confession made by Inique on shipboard. Doña Hermosa communicated this strange intelligence to Don Augustino’s daughter, and the two, as might be predicated always of two women in like circumstances, cried over it together, and then discussed the event in all its bearings. Viola also cried a good deal in private, for despite her disavowal of love for Hilo, she found it difficult to convert a lately affianced husband into a brother on such short notice; but in the course of a day or two her reflections took another shape. Was it not better to love him as a brother who indeed would never, she knew now, have been any thing else to her even without this obstacle? But how did she know she still had a living brother; between two such fiery tempers, what collision might not take place through ignorance on the one side and rashness on the other? Oh, she must hasten to interpose, to effect a reconciliation if any misunderstanding existed, to earn some consideration, too, from her brother, by undeceiving him as to her former apparent immodesty; and moreover this mystery, so closely touching her honor, must be probed. She came down to breakfast the third morning with her mind fully made up, and before the meal was over astonished her hostess by soliciting her protection in a voyage to Tercera. At first the countess strongly opposed the design, but in the end, of course, entered into it with her whole heart. What arguments Viola used are not worth recapitulating here; they were not very strong or philosophical, but were enunciated with much self-deceptive sophistry and based on affection, which is all that is requisite in feminine debates as a general thing.

The household was put in complete order and turned over with the estate to the care of a trusty major-domo, and an old cavalier, a relative of the countess, who had been summoned to attend, was pressed into service after a feeble remonstrance; he had been a great beau in his day and could not find it in his heart to long oppose the will of a lady; and dispatched to charter a vessel in which to accompany them to the Azores. The friends, attended by a detachment of the Hermandad for protection along the road, followed close at his heels, and were soon after out of sight of the shores of Spain, and as incredulous of surviving the miseries of the voyage as any ladies of the present day.

Somewhere about this time, an old woman saying aves as fast as her trembling fingers could slip the beads, in the cabin of a crazy ship flying before a furious gale straight for the rocky shores of Graciosa, might have given the needful clue to this labyrinth of conjecture: so might, if he had possessed the capacity, the poor wretch who sat watching her in greater awe than the tempest excited, from the crib in which he lay bound, and who had wondered time and again in his imbecile way, what it was she mumbled to herself when hobbling up and down the cabin floor in fair weather, her chin elevated in the air. She never cared for his overhearing, a glance was enough at any moment to make him cower and blink in fear of the crutch which, during Señor Inique’s absence, not seldom corrected his waywardness. This vessel with others, had been driven from her moorings off Praya, and parting company became unmanageable: one afternoon the peaks of Graciosa suddenly appeared through a rift in the surging mist around, in terrible proximity, and coasting the island a few leagues, by daybreak the next morning the ship struck and immediately after took its final plunge. They had fallen into a gap of the rock-bound shores, and in the comparatively quiet sea, contrived, like St. Paul’s companions, to reach shore on whatever came to hand. The crew congratulated themselves on every soul being saved but the captain, who was below deck when the wreck went down; it was supposed he had descended to secure treasure of some sort, but the crone who listened to their talk while they all dried themselves about a fire, knew better; for at the first alarm, while clambering up the cabin stairs, she encountered the captain in wild haste to save his patron’s son. She tore herself loose from his clutch and had seen neither of them again.

“Who’s sorry, who’s sorry, eh?” she mumbled repeatedly to herself, wagging her scheming old head with a wicked leer. But she shed abundance of crocodile tears a day or two later when relating the sad event to the Countess Padilh and Doña Viola, whose vessel compelled them to touch at Graciosa to repair some little damages suffered during the gale. Other tears were shed upon the occasion, but fewer than would have followed a like announcement ten days back to Viola, whose mind was too much engrossed by the object of her mission to grieve much over a death which seemed a providence.

* * * * *

While the two ladies were preparing to continue their voyage, strange disclosures had followed the condemnation of the Viceroy of Tercera in the Spanish camp.

Despite their recklessness, Hilo and Carlo had judged it best to show themselves as little as possible where they were likely to meet with importunate acquaintances; their plan was to convey the prisoner after night-fall to Angra, and beg a prompt payment of the reward and a free conduct. The better to elude observation they had smeared their cheeks with the thick juice of berries used by the natives to protect the skin from the sun, and wore the loose frock and silver ear-rings of Portuguese peasants, in which costume they had conducted their search for the unfortunate count. The presence of the French troops greatly increased the risk of recognition, but with night and this disguise the adventurers considered no great risk would be run: Santa Cruz was proverbially headstrong and impetuous, and once a free conduct was granted would not easily be led to retract it.

“That Moorish dog would have known us in these clothes if nobody else,” Wolfang said, well satisfied with their success, outside the walls of Angra. “But by this time the ravens are picking his bones on the peak, as I’m a living man.”

Whereas the Moor was at that moment lying in a tent not ten yards from the speaker, in care of a corporal, and attended by Padilh, a few cavaliers, and a notary in act of writing. So little life remained in the poor wretch that his usually husky and uncertain speech consequent on a maimed tongue, was scarcely audible, but he related his story between gasps with fierce eagerness, and the scribe read aloud as he wrote to confirm the statement. The deposition, after a short reference to the count’s condition, took this form.

“I made them believe I was dumb by showing them my withered tongue to save its being cut out. I am accustomed to make myself understood as much by gestures of the hand as word of mouth, because speaking is attended with great effort, and found no difficulty in carrying out the deception. I would have cried out once when stabbed, but the reproaches of the viceroy my master for betraying him, although it was at the last extremity to save my life, gave me resolution to shut my teeth and fall as if dead. I loved him much, he was good to me; I wished to revenge him. Perhaps if they had thought I could speak at times, they would have been at more pains to see if I was dead. When they caught me I was trying to escape by crawling from bush to bush, under cover of the thick fog the high wind had driven up the mountain. I had come to get food for my master, as we were almost famished, and hearing the trampling of horses hid myself till they should pass. At the same time two men, dressed like Portuguese islanders but speaking Spanish, came close to where I was and crouched down also. I could not go away or even stir for more than an hour, for fear of being killed; for the last comers remained where they were after the Spaniards had gone by, and talked of killing some one of the party on their return. One was short and thick-set, the other slender and younger; the former offered to assassinate the individual referred to, for something I could not understand, which the other agreed to; the younger saw that the charge of the arquebuss was all right and handed him the piece. When the company came back from the direction of Dame de Loup, the first named shot the cavalier in advance, and I saw him fall forward. I knew him to be a maître-de-camp then, for his baton dropped to the ground. I made off in the confusion, the assassins having first done so, but from not knowing the ground well they made a circuit and came upon me a few paces off. This time they saw and seized me as I have related.”

Padilh asked a few questions regarding the personal appearance of the pretended peasants, more especially of the one designated as slender, but the answers received were not at all conclusive.

“See that all his wants are supplied,” the maître-de-camp said, after musing a space in silence.

“He must be kept alive,” he added to the gentlemen with him, on their way to the quarters of the marquis; “we may need him to confront the assassins should they venture in with their prisoner.”

“The surest way of securing your purpose,” an old knight suggested, “would be to promise him safety and the reward offered for the information he has given: a hint that something may be done to save his master might add to his desire of living. If you consent, Sir Pedro, I will return and try the effect on the poor devil.”

“It is well thought of,” Padilh answered. “Do so without delay. I doubt if these men will put themselves in our power after all, but it is best to be prepared to receive them.”

Don Pedro’s doubt was terminated immediately after entering the city, for in turning a corner they suddenly encountered a party with lights and a prisoner.

“It is the Count de Torrevedros,” the officer in command answered to the maître-de-camp’s inquiry.

“Is it possible,” the knight returned, regarding sorrowfully the mean figure shown by the torches the soldiers held aloft for the purpose.

“He speaks the truth—I am that unfortunate man,” the count said dejectedly.

Upon which Padilh exclaimed—“It would be a shame to knighthood to see the representative of any king stand bare-headed,” and placed his own bonnet on the viceroy’s head.

“Give me your word as a knight and nobleman that you will not attempt to escape Señor Count,” he added immediately.

“It would be so vain to think of it, that I pledge my honor willingly, sir,” the count rejoined, “if it gives you any satisfaction.”

“Unbind his arms,” the maître-de-camp said, turning to the officer, “I will be responsible. See that he wants no comfort, and let his expenses be set to my cost. A viceroy in such condition has had his share of misfortune already.”

With which injunction spoken aside the knight hastened on.

“If that is not your Cid returned to life,” the count said slightly smiling, “it can only be Don Pedro de Padilh.”

“You are right,” the officer replied, unloosening his cord, “he is the very mirror of Spanish chivalry.”

Meantime, the maître-de-camp, followed by his suite, rapidly neared the quarters of the marquis. From a swift walk they fell into a run.

“We must make haste or the vultures will have flown,” he said, and not without reason, for at the moment they arrived in front of the house occupied by the Spanish commander, two men were in the act of coming out. The stream of light from the rooms behind showed at once that one was taller and more slender than the other, and that both wore peasant’s frocks, and the stouter of the couple at the instant jingled the contents of a bag in his hand, and said something with a laugh to his comrade.

“In the name of the King of Spain,” Don Pedro cried advancing, “I arrest you for murder. Draw your swords gentlemen and close in.”

“Curse the luck!” Wolfang unguardedly exclaimed, grinding his teeth with rage; “another half hour and we would have been safe.”

“Hold your tongue, fool!” Hilo said sharply.

“Who dares oppose a free conduct of the commander-in-chief, Marquis of Santa Cruz,” he demanded aloud, showing a bit of paper.

“I—maître-de-camp of the marquis,” Padilh rejoined, “and until his further pleasure is known, you will remain my prisoners.” And without staying for more words the knight passed through a private door and straight to the rooms of Santa Cruz.

That nobleman was stepping out upon a balcony to learn the cause of the disturbance below, but turned back on seeing Don Pedro.

“What brawl is this at my door?” he asked in no pleasant tone.

“I have taken it upon myself to disregard the passport of your excellency, and arrest the men you dismissed a moment ago.”

“Ha!” interrupted Santa Cruz, frowning. “And why, sir?”

“I suspect them to be the assassins of my colleague,” the knight returned; “I have proof to that effect by which you can judge if I have done more than my duty, señor.”

“Speak on,” the other said, and Padilh at once gave a brief narrative of the events within his knowledge.

At the end, the marquis said: “I was hasty in thinking you over zealous. These fellows must be brought face to face with their accuser, and to make that sure, their examination shall be immediate. Send quickly for the Moor you speak of—but how is it that you are without a cap, Don Pedro?”

“I met the viceroy bare-headed,” the knight answered, with honest bluntness.

At which Santa Cruz, something nettled, exclaimed:

“By the three kings! You will teach us presently to be worthy our spurs!”

The captors of the unfortunate viceroy returned to the presence of the marquis with no good grace.

“Answer no questions,” Hilo muttered to the captain, “and they can prove nothing.”

But both were startled by the appearance of a witness they believed beyond the power of lifting a finger, and leagues away. Hilo uttered a savage oath of surprise, and Wolfang stood staring at the former mute, with his villainous mouth agape. Both heard the deposition read through and affirmed, without interfering or replying a syllable to any questions asked. The captain’s animal spirits had quite deserted him, and sullenness gave his face strong resemblance to a bull’s, while his fellow prisoner’s sharp features suited the cat-like activity of his eyes.

“The evidence is complete enough,” the marquis exclaimed finally; “and, by Heaven, gentlemen, these villains shall swing within twenty-four hours. Off with their sorry disguises, and let us see if they will persist in their insolence still.”

But Hilo, without waiting for the enforcement of the order, threw his peasant’s frock from him.

“If you call yourself Don Pedro de Padilh,” he cried to the knight, “take this gall to your pride. All Spain shall know before I die whose uncle you are, and that you brought your own blood to this strait; I swear it here before all the saints, and can prove my words.”

“I beg you, sir, to make no account of my relationship,” Padilh said smiling to Santa Cruz. “In good season, gentlemen, you will understand this innuendo.”

“I am not to be led astray by such a fellow’s lies,” the marquis replied, with a contemptuous laugh. “We have had enough of their company, señores, and leave them to you, Padilh, to have cared for. Only see that escape is made impossible.”

“Stop!” Hilo exclaimed; “one word, my lord marquis, before I go. Knights and gentlemen here present, bear witness I hold in my hand the written parole of free conduct of this man—a thing no knight ever violated before. Santa Cruz I tear your worthless paper to atoms, thus, and proclaim you an infamous liar—a liar!” he reiterated, at the highest pitch of his voice, and stamping with impotent fury.

The marquis, a man of unbridled passions, lost all command of himself at this insolent speech; his stiff beard bristled from excess of rage, like a boar’s back, and his sword was in his hand in an instant. But a number of cavaliers placed themselves simultaneously between, and Padilh grasped his sword-arm.

“My lord—my lord, you forget yourself and justice!” he uttered, in that steady voice which asserted the true superiority of the man, and caused the blood to return to the face of the great captain. He looked at Don Pedro savagely a moment; but before dismissing his court he had recovered sufficient equanimity to pay a compliment to the latter, who was absent seeing to the disposal of the prisoners.

“No knight is more worthy the name,” he added with a grim smile, “although he is somewhat rough and unguarded in performance of his duty, at times.”

The day following the marquis and his maître-de-camp met in secret council. The former heard with surprise the history of De Ladron.

“The wretch has put a climax to his crimes in this last,” he cried, “and please Heaven it shall be also the last he commits.”

“I think,” the ample-hearted knight answered, “he would not have done such a wickedness knowingly. It is hard to believe so young a man could have so far fallen in villainy as to assassinate his own father, recognizing him as such. Doubtless the papers placed in De Haye’s hands never reached their destination. That unhappy gentleman fell in the first battle beyond Praya.”

“Possibly,” Santa Cruz replied, thoughtfully, “and out of love to Inique I reverse my sentence, and postpone the day of execution until after that faithful cavalier draws his last breath; a period not far distant, his surgeon tells me.”

“So near,” Padilh replied, “that I think, my lord, M. de Chaste, you and I, to whom only the secret of his life is known, should remain custodians of his honor, and preserve his name from vulgar censure after death.”

“I give my hand to the compact cheerfully,” the other responded, and Don Pedro repaired at once to the quarters of the French commandant to enlist his neutrality.

“You will comprehend M. de Chaste,” he said, among other things, to that weather-beaten pattern of chivalry, “by what knightly motives I have been impelled to shun no duty incumbent on my office. And had he been my own nephew, wicked as he is, I would not have screened him from the full weight of justice he deserves. Our strenuous aim now should be to save Inique the knowledge of his son’s fate, and if possible, of even his vicinity to himself.”

This was not easy to do where no visiter to Inique’s bedside saw any reason for withholding the most important news, and in the course of a few days the dying soldier knew the worst and mastered it, and quietly desired Padilh to obtain permission for a last interview with his—his son. The word stuck in his throat.

The knight replied—“As soon as your recovery is advanced, or failing that, when you feel death drawing on, I will oppose nothing to your wish, Inique. But for the present spare yourself so agitating an encounter.”

“Don Pedro,” the wounded maître-de-camp answered, smiling faintly, “I wish to make my peace with the boy and acknowledge my sins, but you well understand where my most affectionate thoughts rest.”

To which Padilh assented gravely. He was thinking at the moment in what manner the tidings of the dispersion of the fleet at Praya, could be suppressed without equivocation.

“I will be compelled to confess the truth at last,” the honest gentleman said despairingly when alone, and still weighing the even balance of duty in his mind. “But it sadly perplexes a mortal intellect, Heaven knows, to distinguish between what is due one’s friend and one’s soul.”

Indeed, the last words spoken that evening by Don Augustino were to this effect: “Send a courier to Praya and let the boy be brought here immediately. I _must_ see him once more, and I haven’t many hours to live.”

But succor came unexpectedly to the upright knight, the succeeding morning.

It was his custom to pace a quay, looking seaward every dawn, in anxious hope of the appearance of the missing ship, the others having already made harbor at Praya and elsewhere; and for the first time he saw a sail on the northwestern horizon. Some hours later Padilh himself, boarded the vessel and was surprised beyond measure to find his countess and her protegée on board. His gratification, however, was even greater, and so he told her, on hearing the somewhat vague account of the object of this voyage.

“It was a madcap enterprise,” he said, smiling, “but the end is undoubtedly good; I would have sent for Doña Viola, if there had been the least probability of her arriving in time.”

A speech which greatly reassured Doña Hermosa, who had been considering during the voyage, what good reason she could offer her lord, for sanctioning the expedition, and had found with dismay there would be none forthcoming. As ladies generally do they had laid their hearts together in the first instance, instead of their heads, and mistook sentiment for conviction, after their usual fashion.

With a more disturbed mind, the knight listened to the recital of the shipwreck, and subsequently cross questioned the old woman accompanying them, who made no favorable impression. “I don't like her,” he told his countess; “she sheds too many crocodile tears, over a disaster, which to only one person concerned, can appear in any other light, than a cessation of pain. I have cautioned her to keep out of sight for the present, as the knowledge would assuredly kill Don Augustino.”

It was necessary to break the news of her father’s situation, and its antecedents to poor Viola, who by imagining the occurrence of all manner of evils during the few past weeks, had arrived at a state of mind not entirely unprepared for any thing, and the two ladies mingled their tears freely together, while Don Pedro returned to prepare his associate for the meeting. Little preparation was needed in this quarter, the dying man’s thoughts being occupied by a single object. Who of us can fix a bound to the justice of Heaven, and blasphemously call all beyond it harsh exercise of omnipotent power. It seems to me even retribution, that this soldier who had prided himself above all things, on his honor and the world’s applause, should die without one scrip of either, if what was conceded in acknowledgement of his tardy confession be excepted, and from compassion had, step by step, arrived at such a state of infatuation for the witness of his passionate pride at St. Quentin, that natural affection for his own offspring seemed almost wholly stifled, and the ignominious fate of his accredited son, gave occasion to scarce any emotion. People are apt to attribute such perverseness to want of sanity, much as a coroner’s jury gives in a like verdict in cases of suicide; yet Inique was as collected as you or I, and his weakness merely physical. The man’s nature had received a wrench in youth, and the tree retained the twist, only shifting the direction of its growth as it worked around. If he had lived long enough, he might have been more penitent or less, nearer a saint or more openly a sinner. How many mercies, and how many lies, our lives will example at the last great day, none of us living can compute.

The soldier was, therefore, not much agitated by the sobs of his daughter, but without agitation, life was fast ebbing now, and in accordance with his promise, Padilh brought Hilo from his prison for a final interview. That young gentleman had been whiling away the time at dice, and left the captain in no good humor at the interruption to his run of luck.

“Why am I brought here?” he asked after a supercilious glance around. “Is avenging an injury so uncommon? If this man had not withheld my dues he would not have received his own as you see.”

“Wretched young man,” the dying maître-de-camp said feebly, rather than sternly, “I had hoped to learn in the haste of the trial, some error had been made, and that it was not from your hand this ball came.”

“It was not from my hand,” Hilo interrupted.

“Heaven be praised, for as all here can witness you are my son and not De Ladron’s.”

At these words, Hilo started and turned pale, but his face was instantly flushed with passion.

“It is a base lie—a lie,” he exclaimed through his teeth, scowling around. “It is a shallow trick to cheat me out of my inheritance at the last gasp.”

“Brother!” sobbed out Viola, deprecatingly.

“Sir—son,” Inique cried, “I cannot disprove your bitter words by leaving you a fortune of my own; for the real son of De Ladron, whom I made an idiot, is the heir of the estate I hold. Forgive what actual wrong I have done you as a parent, remembering how soon the end of us both must be.”

Before he ceased speaking, a figure, coming no one knew whence, in the consternation of the moment, hobbled between, and cast a baneful look on Inique from a pair of ferret eyes sparkling with rage and malice. Her rage was so great that she mouthed and champed with her old toothless jaws, before a word could be emitted. The wounded knight sat bolt upright in bed, gazing at her wildly.

“Where is my boy—speak woman, speak?” he cried, with a sudden return of strength and voice.

“Food for fishes—ah ha! food for fishes!” She mumbled out, pointing with her crooked finger mockingly.

“Oh, heaven be merciful! he is dying—Hermosa—Don Pedro—help!” Viola exclaimed, receiving the cavalier’s weight in her quickly opened arms.

“Yes, yes, he’s dying at last,” the crone screamed “I killed him—me and my son. He’s cheated us both, but we’ve paid him back, and I’ve got money enough saved up to keep you in pocket money, my pretty game-chick.”

“Hag!” Hilo ejaculated, shaking loose the old woman’s clutch on his sleeve.

“Hey now,” she retorted, threatening him with her finger, “mind what I say. I’ve gold enough for both, without that swindler’s there. I wanted you to have that too. I would have been an honest girl, but for him, and he owed you a living; so I put you in place of your namesake, when a baby. I’ve been caring for you ever since. I wouldn’t let you marry who you wanted, because I wanted you to marry somebody richer than your French countess.”

“She devil—I spit on you,” her son broke in furiously.

“Is this my reward?” she shrieked, “mind, I have gold which you’ll never handle—you might if you were dutiful.”

And mutually vilifying each other, the mother and her offspring, were carried out from the ante-chamber by the guards of the latter.

Reader, the footlights begin to burn dim—one of the chief personages of this story, without so much will left of all his willfulness, to put his blind arms about his daughter, and confess his short-comings, and without a tatter hanging about him of former arrogance, lies expiring—the orchestra plays a dirge—the drop scene comes slowly down—all is over.

One act more, and a short one closes the drama.

Captain Wolfang Carlo, it may be borne in mind, had retained about his person, the papers taken from De Haye’s doublet, and from time to time, as opportunity offered, spelled out the meaning in private.—He was not inclined to think them of much value, and felt only a lazy curiosity in regard to the contents, but a reference to his comrade, he had met with during his last perusal, joined to the expressions let fall by Padilh, at the examination before the marquis, excited intolerable suspicions in his avaricious soul. What! after months and years of watching and following about like a dog; to find himself swindled and his debtor an impostor and penniless. He must see. And the captain eagerly embraced the rare interval of privacy afforded by the absence of De Ladron with Inique, to find in the MS. in his possession some warrant for his doubts. As the honest free soldier read laboriously, the veins in his forehead and cheeks swelled and purpled; he churned his tusks like any other savage boar, and finally threw himself on the stone floor, howling and beating the flags with his clenched fists. This frenzy was in full vigor, when Hilo entered, unguardedly and in no amiable mood.

“Get up, Flemish hog!” he cried imperiously, applying his foot to the other’s ribs.

He did get up; with a yell heard by the guard through the thick wall.

In the time it took to unbar and unclose the door, Wolfang had added one more to his list of crimes, and the wretched old woman, who had been placed in the same cell at her own stipulation, was discovered vainly endeavoring to break the hold of the former on her son’s throat.

Come children; cries the great exhibiter of vanity-fair, let us shut up the box and the puppets, for our play is played out.

* * * * *

I THINK OF THEE.

BY GEO. D. PRENTICE.

I think of thee when eve’s last blush Falls mournfully on heart and eye; Of thee when morn’s first glories gush In gold and crimson o’er the sky; My thoughts are thine ’mid toil and strife, Thine when from all life’s perils free— Ay, thine—forever thine—my life Is but a living thought of thee.

I think of thee ’mid spring’s sweet flowers, And in the summer’s brighter glow, Of thee in autumn’s purple bowers, And gloomy winter’s waste of snow; My thoughts are thine when joys depart, And thine when all life’s sorrows flee— Ay, thine—forever thine—my heart Is but a throbbing thought of thee.

* * * * *

RUFFED GROUSE SHOOTING.

BY HENRY WILLIAM HERBERT, AUTHOR OF FRANK FORESTER’S “FIELD SPORTS,” “FISH AND FISHING,” ETC.

[Illustration: THE RUFFED GROUSE. (_Tetrao Umbellus._)]

The beautiful bird which is depicted above, is that known as the Partridge, in New Jersey, and all the States east and north of the Delaware, and as the Pheasant everywhere to the westward of that fine stream; and by these provincial vulgarisms it is like to be known and designated, until sportsmen will take the trouble of acquiring a little knowledge of their own trade, and will cease to regard naturalists as mere theorizing bookmen, and scientific names and distinctions as supererogatory humbug. The distinction between the Grouse and other birds of the gallinaceous order, is that the former are invariably, the latter never, feathered below the knee. This distinction never fails, and is very easily noted; although, in different species of the genus, the extent of the feathering differs. In the Ruffed Grouse the soft fleecy feathering of the leg is sparse, and descends only to the middle of the shank. In the Pinnated Grouse, Prairie Hen of the West, and Grouse of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, the legs are feathered the whole way down the shank, to the insertion of the toes; and the same is the case of the Canada Grouse, or Spruce Partridge of the remote Eastern States. In all those species of Grouse, which are known as Ptarmigan, dwellers of the extreme north, or in the northern temperature of iced mountain-tops, the feathering continues the whole length of the toes quite to the insertion of the claws—this I merely mention _par parenthese_, as there is but one of the Ptarmigans likely to fall within reach of the sportsman; namely, the Willow-Grouse, or Red-Necked Partridge of the extreme parts of Maine, and the Easternmost British provinces, and thence so far as to the Arctic Circle.

These distinctions are easily borne in mind, nor will be found all-sufficient to the discriminating woodsman, who desires to be able to call things by their right names, and to give a reason for doing so.

The _true_ Pheasant is a native of Asia originally, though it has been naturalized in Europe, since a very early period, and is now abundant in France and England. No species of this bird, which is distinguished by a pointed tail, above half a yard in length, and by its splendidly gorgeous coloring, little inferior in intensity to that of the Peacock, has ever been found, or is believed to exist in any portion of the Western hemisphere; although those singular and showy birds, the _Curaçoas_ of South America, have some relation to it.

The same is true of the _real_ Partridge; although the Quail of this continent would seem to be its equivalent; being as it were a connecting link between the European Quail, and the Partridge of Europe.

The Ruffed Grouse ranges over a very wide portion of the United States and British provinces, from the 51st degree of north latitude to the Atlantic sea-board, although it is much more scarce in the Southern States than in the midland and northern regions. It is remarkable also that it varies exceedingly in color; those to the northward being comparatively dull and gray, to those of Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and more genial regions.

The distinctive feature, whence this bird derives his title of _Ruffed_ Grouse, is the tuft or tippet of jet-black feathers, glossed with metallic hues, which are shown more or less distinctly in each of the figures in the woodcut at the head of this paper, but the most decidedly in the cock-bird, represented as standing on a fallen log, in the act of drumming, with these ruffs elevated, and his tail erected and expanded after the manner of a Turkey or Peacock, in the season of his amorous phantasies.

This drumming, a sound sufficiently familiar to all ears accustomed to the sights and noises of the forest, is no less than the call of the male bird to his harem of attendant wives; for the Ruffed Grouse, unlike our pretty, constant, and domestic Quail, selects himself no one fond partner, whom to cheer with his loved notes, to comfort and amuse during the breeding season, but rejoices like a veritable grand Signor in a multiplicity of fair sultanas, whom so soon as they betake themselves to the cares of maternity, he abandons, like a _roué_ as he is, and passes the remainder of the season, until the broods disperse in the autumn, in company with small packs of his own faithless sex, reveling and enjoying himself on the mountain sides, in his loved pines and hemlocks, while his forgotten loves brood patient over the hopes of the coming season.

“This drumming,” says Wilson, in his eloquent and animated page, “is most common in spring, and is the call of the cock to a favorite female. It is produced in the following manner: the bird, standing on an old prostrate log, generally in a retired situation, lowers his wings, erects his expanded tail, contracts his throat, elevates the two tufts of feathers on the neck, and inflates his whole body something in the manner of a Turkey cock strutting and wheeling about in great stateliness. After a few manœuvres of this kind, he begins to strike his stiffened wings in short and quick strokes, which become more and more rapid until they run into each other, resembling the rumbling sound of very distant thunder dying away gradually on the ear. After a few minutes’ pause, this is again repeated, and in a calm day may be heard nearly a mile off. This is most common in the morning and evening, though I have heard them drumming at all hours of the day.”

It is singular, that so exact an authority as Wilson has proved himself to be, should fall into the strange error of speaking of this singular amorous sound as a call to a _single_ female; and elsewhere of the _Pheasant_, as he erroneously calls it, paining; when it is notorious to all who have closely observed the habits of this bird, that it is polygamous. Such, I believe, will be found the case with all those gallinaceous birds which have on especial summons, or peculiar display of attitudes, airs, and splendors by which to attract the females; as may be observed of the common Game-cock, the Turkey, the Peacock, and the European Pheasant; no one of which takes to himself an especial and chosen partner, but disports himself in his wanton seraglio.

On many occasions, during this particular season, I have stolen up to within a few yards of the log, whereon the Ruffed Grouse was so busily employed in summoning his dames and demoiselles around him, that he had no ears or eyes for my approach, which at any other period he would have discovered long before, and whirred away tumultuous on terrified and sounding pinions. I have lain concealed, for an hour at a time, watching with intense gratification the beautiful and animated gestures of the cock, now strutting and drumming on his log, proud as an eastern despot, now descending to caress and dally with his numerous Roxolanas, and then reascending to his post of pride, to send his resonant call far through the haunted echoes of the umbrageous pine-woods. On one such chance, I saw no less than seven hen birds gathered around a single male, all in turn expectant of his looked-for attentions, and all gratified by a share of his notice. If this be not Polygamy, I should like to receive the Grand Turk’s opinion on the subject, as I confess myself, if it be any thing less, in a state of absolute benightedness.

The Ruffed Grouse begins her nest very early in May, and lays from eight to fifteen brownish-white, unspotted eggs, nearly the size of those of a pullet. With the exact period of this bird’s incubation I am not acquainted; the young birds run the instant they clip the shell; obey the cluck of the mother, as chickens that of the hen; and are tended by her with extreme care and solicitude. In case of her being surprised with her young about her, she resorts to all the artifices practiced by the Quail, and even by the comparatively dull and stolid Woodcock, to draw away the intruder from the vicinity, feigning lameness and incapacity to fly, until she shall have lured away the pursuer far from the hiding-place of her fledglings. Then she shall whirr away on resonant and powerful pinions, up, up above the tops of the tall pines and hemlocks, and thence skate homeward noiseless on balanced wings, where she will find them close ensconced among the sheltering fern-tufts, or the matted winter-greens and whortleberry bushes, viewless to the most prying eye, and undiscoverable, save to the nose of the unerring spaniel. But once returned, you shall see them emerge, chirping feebly at the soft maternal cluck, and hurrying to enshroud them under the shelter of her guardian wing, and nestle, happy younglings, among the downy plumage of her maternal breast. Curses upon the sacrilegious hand that would interrupt that sweet and tender scene by the sharp click of the murderous trigger; yet there be brutes, in the guise of men, who scruple not to butcher the drumming cock, taken at fatal disadvantage, amid his admiring harem; scruple not to slaughter the brooding mother above her miserable younglings—but to such we cry avaunt! to such we deny the name of sportsmen, nay, but of Christians, or of men! Get ye behind us, murderous pot-hunters!

The young broods grow rapidly; and by the time they have reached the size of the Quail, fly well and strongly on the wing. By the middle, or latter end of August, they are three parts grown, and fully feathered, with the exception of the tail, which is not yet complete, and retains a pointed form. The blundering legislation of this country in general, on the subject of the game-laws, has, in this instance, to my ideas, exceeded itself; for during the months of September and October, when the broods are still united under the care of the mother, the birds lying well to the setter, and when flushed scattering themselves singly here and there among low undergrowth or bushes, and rarely or never taking to the tree, we are prohibited from shooting this bold, hardy, rambling, and shy bird; this, at a later season, wild hunter of inaccessible rock-ledges, impenetrable rhododendron brakes, and deep sequestered hemlock-swamps; this, the most uncomatable and self-protecting bird of all the varieties of American game; the only variety, perhaps, which never can by any means, fair or unfair, be exterminated from among us, so long us the rock-ribbed mountains tower toward the skies, and the forests clothe them with foliage never sere.

At this period they would afford rare sport, as at all other seasons they afford none; and are, moreover, in far the best condition for the table, as the old birds are apt to be dry, unless hung up for several weeks before being cooked, which can, of course, only be done in winter, when the coldness of the weather prevents their becoming tainted, without absolutely freezing them.

In my opinion, therefore, this, the only bird of American game, which might well exist apart from almost all protection, is now so protected as to be almost rendered impossible to the gun of the fair sportsman; while for others, the tamest, the most easily killed, and the most rapidly decreasing of all our winged tribes, as the Woodcock, for example, the mock protection afforded to them is but another word for the license to slaughter them half-fledged and half-grown, while the second brood is yet in the black-down, and unable to exist without the parent’s care.

I would myself desire to see the legitimate season for Ruffed Grouse-shooting made to commence with the first day of September, the young birds by that time, and in truth much earlier, being quite fit for the gun, and to cease on the fifteenth of December, or at Christmas at the latest, before the snows of winter admit of their being snared and trapped by thousands.

Toward the middle of October, the old hens drive off the broods, or the young birds now perfectly mature, stray from them of their own accord; and thenceforth they are found sometimes in little companies of two, three, or four, but far more often singly, in wild, difficult upland woods, through which they love to ramble deviously for miles, as they are led in search of their favorite food, or sometimes, as it would seem, by mere whim. On one occasion, many years since, when I was but a young sportsman on this side the Atlantic, I remember footing a small party of five birds, in a light snow, for above ten miles among the Wawayanda mountains, in Orange County, New York, without getting up to them; although it was easily seen by their hurried and agitated tracks that for a great part of the distance, they were within hearing of me, and were running from my pursuit. I had no dogs with me. Had I been out with setters, the Grouse would have trailed them for miles, and unquestionably risen at last out of shot. With spaniels, or curs, trained to run in upon them, and pursue, yelping loudly, as the mode is in the backwoods where men do not shoot but gun, they would have taken to the trees, and would have sat close to the trunk with their bodies erect, and their necks elongated, and might have been killed easily, the only difficulty being that of perceiving them, a difficulty far more considerable than would be imagined to an unpracticed eye. To shoot birds sitting, however, whether on trees or on the ground, is not sport for a sportsman; the only case where it is ever _allowable_, is to the woodsman on a tramp through the primitive and boundless forest, where his camp-kettle must be filled by the contents of his bag, and where to throw away a chance is, perhaps, in the end to go supperless to bed. In such a case, while canoeing it last Autumn “with a goodly companye” up the northern rivers that debouche into Lake Huron, we shot many, while portaging around cataracts or rapids on the Severn; and on one occasion a gentlemen of the party shot three birds, out of one small pine-tree, without any of them moving or appearing alarmed at the gun-shots. This has often been related as a constant and ordinary habit of the bird; and from that occurrence, I am induced to believe that when the bird is in its natural solitudes, unacquainted with man and his murderous weapons, such may be the case; in the settlements, however, it might have been when they were rare and sparse, this is the habit of the Ruffed Grouse no longer. I have never in my life, save in the instance mentioned, observed any thing of the kind; on the contrary, I have ever found them the wildest, the most wary, and, unless by some mere chance, the least approachable of all wild birds.

During the latter autumn, they eschew flat, bushy tracts, and even swamps with heavy thicket, their instinct probably telling them that in such covert they are liable to be taken napping. If, however, one have the fortune to find them in such tracts, he is likely to have sport over setters; and in no other sort of ground do I deem that possible, as the law now stands. Once, many years since, sporting in the heavy thorn-brakes around Pine Brook, in New Jersey, I found them with a friend in low underwood, and we had great sport, bagging eight brace of Ruffed Grouse over points, in addition to some eighteen or twenty brace of Quail.

In general, however, they frequent either open groves of tall, thrifty timber, with a carpet of wintergreens, cranberries and whortleberries, which constitute their favorite food; or the steep mountain-ledges, under the interlaced branches of tall evergreen trees, among brakes of mountain rhododendron, or, as it is commonly called, though erroneously, laurel. In both these species of ground, all being clear below, the birds can hear and see the sportsman long before he can approach them, and take wing, for the most part, entirely out of gun-shot range. If, however, they are surprised unawares, they have a singular tact of dodging behind the first bush, or massive trunk, and flying off in a right line, keeping the obstacle directly between the sportsman and themselves, so as to frustrate all his efforts to obtain a shot; this I have seen done so often as to satisfy me that it is the result, not of chance, but of a deliberate instinct.

The Ruffed Grouse rises, at first, when surprised, with a heavy whirring and laborious flutter, and if taken at that moment within range, is easily shot; he rises for the most part a little higher than the head of a tall man, and goes away swift and strong nearly in a horizontal line. If struck behind, he will carry away a heavy load of shot, and he has a trick of flying until his breath leaves him in the air, and then falls dead before he strikes the ground. Occasionally he towers up with the wind, and then setting his wings, skates down before it at a prodigious rate, without moving a feather; and if you get a shot at him, gentle reader, under such circumstances, crossing you at long range, be sure that you shoot two, or by ’r lady three feet ahead of him, or you may cut off his extreme tail-feathers, but of a surety kill him you shall not.

The Ruffed Grouse usually flies in a perfectly right line, so that if you flush one without getting a shot, and can preserve his line exactly, you may find him, if he have not treed, which it is ten to one he has; wherefore I advise you not to follow him. The exception to this right line of flight, is when the ground is broken into ridges with parallel ravines, in which case the bird, on crossing a ridge at right angles, will rarely cross the ravine also, but will dive up or down, as the covert may invite.

When birds lie in narrow ravines, filled with good covert, by throwing the guns forward on the brow of the ridges a hundred yards ahead of the dogs, which must be left behind with a person to hunt and restrain them, and letting the sportsmen carefully keep that distance in advance, going very gingerly and silently, sport may be had; and so I think only—especially over slow, mute, cocking spaniels, for as the birds, after running before the dogs, will be likely to take wing abreast of, or perhaps even behind the unexpected shooter, who has thus stolen a march on them, and as they rarely, if ever, cross the ridges, but fly straight along the gorge, they so afford fair shots.

For my own part, I do not consider it worth the while, as the law now stands, to go out in pursuit of Ruffed Grouse with dogs, where you expect to find no other species of game; for, in the first place, they ramble so widely, that there is no certainty of finding them within ten miles of the spot where you may have seen them daily for a month; and, secondly, if you do find them, there is no certainty of having sport with them, but rather a probability of reverse. As an adjunct to other kinds of shooting they are excellent, but as sole objects of pursuit, I think, worthless. I have often blundered on them by chance while hunting for other game; but when I have gone out expressly in pursuit of them, I have never had even tolerable sport.

If the law were altered, and September shooting permitted, the case would be altered also; and in many regions of our country, as the Kaatskill Mountains, and some parts of Columbia and Saratoga counties, in New York; the Pocono Mountains, and the Blue Ridge, generally, in Pennsylvania; and many districts of Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island, rare sport might be had. For September shooting, No. 8 shot will be found sufficient; but after that, No. 7; and very late in the season, Eley’s wire cartridges will be found the most effective.

This widely extended bird is too well known to require any peculiar description; and I shall content myself with observing, in aid of my portraiture of the Ruffed Grouse, that the upper part of its head and hind neck are reddish-brown, the back rich chestnut, mottled with heart-shaped spots of white, edged with black. The tail is bright reddish-yellow, barred and speckled with black, and bordered by a broad, black belt between two narrow white bands, one at the extremity of the tail. The iris of the eye hazel, bill brown, feet brownish gray. Loral band cream color. Throat and fore neck, brownish-yellow. Upper ruff-feathers barred with brown. Wings brownish-red, streaked with black. Breast and abdomen cream colored, closely barred above, and laterally spotted below, with dark chocolate. Length 18 inches, spread of wings 2 feet. The Ruffed Grouse is a capital bird on the table. The breast white meat, back and thighs brown. It should be roasted quickly, eaten with bread sauce and fried crumbs, and washed down with sherry or red wine.

* * * * *

REVIEW OF NEW BOOKS.

_Astræa; The Balance of Delusions. A Poem Delivered before the Phi Beta Kappa Society of Yale College, Aug 14, 1850. By Oliver Wendall Holmes. Boston: Ticknor, Reed & Fields. 1 vol. 16mo._

Few college poems have attained, at the period of their delivery, so fluttering a fame as did this last product of Dr. Holmes’s forgetive and flashing brain; and it is now published “by request of the Society,” and demand of the public. Though it has not the geniality of “Urania,” nor its sustained sweetness and subtility of sentiment, it is the greatest of the author’s long poems in decision and depth both of feeling and satire, and exhibits, perhaps, more than his usual command of the powers and delicacies of expression. The verse is a study for all heroic rhymers, being fully equal to all the purposes of wit, fancy, imagination and passion, and combining the utmost finish in separate lines with a bounding movement in the whole. The poem is a succession of beautiful pictures, grave and mirthful, each of which symbolizes some powerful thought or tender feeling, and some of which are hardly matched in our poetry for brilliancy of effect. The satire is less frolicksome than usual; here and there, indeed, its sting draws blood; and the whole poem is conceived and executed in a sterner and more earnest spirit than is common with Dr. Holmes.

The opening paragraphs contain a most beautiful and delicate tribute to the author’s father, who was educated at Yale. The following lines refer, we suppose, to Dr. Stiles, the president of the college at the time the elder Holmes was a student, and contain an exquisite picture of the filial relations of master and pupil:

How the great MASTER, reverend, solemn, wise, Fixed on his face those calm, majestic eyes, Full of grave meaning, where a child might read The Hebraist’s patience and the Pilgrim’s creed. But warm with flashes of parental fire That drew the stripling to his second sire; How kindness ripened, till the youth might dare Take the low seat beside his sacred chair, While the gray scholar, bending o’er the young, _Spelled the square types of Abraham’s ancient tongue_, Or with mild rapture stooped devoutly o’er His small coarse leaf, alive with curious lore; Tales of grim judges, at whose awful beck Flashed the broad blade across a royal neck, Or learned dreams of Israel’s long lost child Found in the wanderer of the western wild.

The revival of nature at the approach of spring has been often described by poets, but the following passage prints the scenes fresh and bright on the heart and imagination, as if it had never before found its painter. The reader cannot fail to notice the nice propriety of the descriptive epithets, and the combination of the naturalist’s minute observation with the poet’s suggestive imagination, in the whole representation:

Winter is past; the heart of Nature warms Beneath the wrecks of unresisted storms; _Doubtful at first, suspected more than seen_, The southern slopes are fringed with tender green; On sheltered banks, beneath the dripping eaves, Spring’s earliest nurslings spread their glowing leaves, Bright with the hues from wider pictures won, White, azure, golden—drift, or sky, or sun;— The snowdrop, bearing on her _patient breast_ The frozen trophy torn from winter’s crest; The violet, gazing on the arch of blue Till her own iris wears its deepened hue; The spendthrift crocus, bursting through the mould Naked and shivering with his cup of gold. Swelled with new life, the darkening elm on high Prints her thick buds against the spotted sky; On all her boughs the stately chestnut cleaves The gummy shroud that wraps her embryo leaves; The house-fly, stealing from his narrow grave, _Drugged with the opiate that November gave_, From shaded chinks of lichen-crusted walls, In languid curves, the gliding serpent crawls; The bog’s green harper, thawing from his sleep, Twangs a hoarse note and tries a shortened leap; On floating rails that face the softening noons _The still shy turtles range their dark platoons_, Or toiling, aimless, o’er the mellowing fields, Trail through the grass their tessellated shields.

_At last young April, ever frail and fair,_ _Wooed by her playmate with the golden hair,_ _Chased to the margin of receding floods_ _O’er the soft meadows starred with opening buds,_ _In tears and blushes sighs herself away,_ _And hides her cheek beneath the flowers of May._

Then the proud tulip lights her beacon blaze, Her clustering curls the hyacinth displays, O’er her tall blades the crested fleur-de-lis, _Like blue-eyed Pallas_, towers erect and free; With yellower flames the lengthened sunshine glows, _And love lays bare the passion-breathing rose_; Queen of the lake, along its reedy verge The rival lily hastens to emerge, Her snowy shoulders glistening as she strips _Till morn is sultan of her parted lips_.

We have not space for what follows in celebration of the birds, though we cannot resist the temptation to extract four intoxicating couplets:

The thrush, poor wanderer, drooping meekly down, Clad in his remnant of autumnal brown; The oriole, drifting like a flake of fire Rent by the whirlwind from a blazing spire. The robin, jerking his spasmodic throat, Repeats, _staccato_, his peremptory note; The _crack-brained_ bobolink courts his crazy mate, Poised on a bulrush _tipsy_ with his weight.

The satirical part of the poem is introduced with a few lines on the danger of meddling with popular delusions and foibles; and after speaking of the “earthquake of a nation’s hiss,” he concludes with this saucy salutation to the newspapers:

And oh, remember the indignant press; Honey is bitter to its fond caress, But the black venom that its hate lets fall Would shame to sweetness the hyena’s gall.

The gem of this portion of the poem is the representation of the Moral Bully, a picture worthy of Pope or Young:

Yon whey-faced brother, who delights to wear A weedy flux of ill-conditioned hair, Seems of the sort that in a crowded place One elbows freely into smallest space; A timid creature, lax of knee and hip, Whom small disturbance whitens round the lip; One of those harmless, spectacled machines, Ignored by waiters when they call for greens, Whom schoolboys question it their walk transcends The last advices of maternal friends, _Whom John, obedient to his master’s sign_, _Conduct laborious, up to ninety-nine_, While Peter, glistening with luxurious scorn, Husks his white ivories like an ear of corn; Dark in the brow and bilious in the cheek, Whose yellowish linen flowers but once a week, Conspicuous, annual, in their threadbare suits, And the laced high-lows which they call their boots. Well may’st thou _shun_ that dingy front severe, But him, O stranger, him thou canst not _fear_!

Be slow to judge, and slower to despise, Man of broad shoulders and heroic size! The tiger, writhing from the boa’s rings, Drops at the fountain where the cobra stings. In that lean phantom, whose extended glove Points to the text of universal love, Behold the master that can tame thee down To crouch, the vassal of his Sunday frown; His velvet throat against thy corded wrist, His loosened tongue against thy doubled fist!

The MORAL BULLY, though he never swears, Nor kicks intruders down his entry stairs, Though meekness plants his backward sloping hat, And non-resistance ties his white cravat, Though his black broadcloath glories to be seen In the same plight with Shylock’s gaberdine, Hugs the same passion to his narrow breast, That heaves the cuirass on the trooper’s chest. — Heaven keep us all! Is every rascal clown, Whose arm is stronger, free to knock us down? Has every scarecrow, whose cachetic soul Seems fresh from Bedlam, airing on parole, Who, though he carries but a doubtful trace Of angel visits on his hungry face, From lack of marrow or the coins to pay, Has dodged some vices in a shabby way, The right to stick us with his cut-throat terms, _And bait his homilies with his brother worms_?

If generous fortune give me leave to choose My saucy neighbors barefoot or in shoes, I leave the hero blustering while he dares On platforms furnished with posterior stairs, Till prudence drives him to his “earnest” legs With large bequest of disappointed eggs, And take the brawler whose unstudied dress Becomes him better, and protects him less; Give me the bullying of the scoundrel crew, If swaggering virtue wont insult me too!

Leaving, with this impersonation, “The noisy tribe in panta-loons or -lets,” the poet drives directly at the august cities of Boston and New York, and ruthlessly smashes all the literary crockery in those two emporiums of letters. Here is his gird at the modern Athens:

The pseudo-critic-editorial race Owns no allegiance but the law of place; Each to his region sticks through thick and thin, Stiff as a beetle spiked upon a pin. Plant him in Boston, and his sheet he fills With all the slipslop of his threefold hills, Talks as if nature kept her choicest smiles Within his radius of a dozen miles, And nations waited till his next Review Had made it plain what Providence must do. Would you believe him, water is not damp Except in buckets with the Hingham stamp, And Heaven should build the walls of Paradise Of Quincy granite lined with Wenham ice.

Now this would give “wondrous great contentment” to the denizens of Manhattan, did not the satirist pounce down upon them with even more ironical fury. We have only space for the conclusion, and would particularly emphasize the hit at the scholars. It must be borne in mind that the poem was originally delivered at Yale College, the head-quarters of Websterism in spelling.

When our first Soldiers’ swords of honor gild The stately mansions that her tradesmen build; When our first Statesmen take the Broadway track, Our first Historians following at their back; When our first Painters, dying, leave behind On her proud walls the shadows of their mind; When our first Poets flock from farthest scenes To take in hand her pictured Magazines; _When our first Scholars are content to dwell_ _Where their own printers teach them how to spell_; When world-known Science crowds toward her gates, Then shall the children of our hundred States Hail her a true METROPOLIS of men, The nation’s centre. Then, and not till then!

No one can read this poem without wishing, with more earnestness than the wish originally came from the throat of Macbeth, that the author would throw “physic to the dogs,” and devote himself exclusively to literature. He is now but an “occasional” poet, though every piece he produces evidences that his mind is a Fortunatus’ purse, from which an endless succession of treasures might be drawn, with little effort on his own part, but with great delight to the public and great profit to his own reputation. His wit, whether expressed in prose or verse, is ever the pointed expression of sound sense, of accurate observation, of searching, subtle thought, and has, therefore, a permanent flavor, sharp and sweet, which improves rather than deteriorates with familiar acquaintance. Every thing he writes, whether he reasons, observes, or creates, is distinguished pre-eminently by vigor—a vigor which goes directly to its object, and always succeeds in mastering and expressing it. We wish he would not only write more poems, but that he would invade the domain of romance, and bring us back a novel. It would certainly be as original as any ever produced by an American, and would exhibit to great advantage his peculiar vein of sentiment—a vein as peculiar as that of Tennyson, and capable of being embodied in character with more perfection than he has yet succeeded in expressing it in couplets.

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_Pictorial Field Book of the Revolution. By Benson J. Lossing. New York: Harper & Brothers. No. 7._

We again call attention to this delightful serial work, containing illustrations, by pen and pencil, of the history, scenery, biography, relics, and traditions of the Revolution. It is elegantly and compactly printed, is full of exquisite wood engravings, and is well written. The author combines the habits of an antiquary with the brain of an enthusiast; and we are acquainted with no other work of American history which gives the same kind of information.

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_Five Years of a Hunter’s Life in the Far Interior of South Africa. By R. Gordon Cumming. New York: Harper & Brothers. 2 vols. 12mo._

A rare sportsman is Gordon Cumming—none of your followers of snipe and grouse, of fox or stag, but a Cæsar or Napoleon among hunters, a shooter of the giraffe and the rhinoceros, the lion and the elephant, and a great many other wild beasts, which your “even Christian” trembles to behold in their tamed and caged menagerie representatives. Seriously, this book is the most exciting production of the kind we have ever read, and though full of marvels, detailed in a style a little Mendez-Pintoish, is probably substantially true. The author is a kinsman of the Duke of Argyle, (to whom the volumes are dedicated,) is an English officer, and a “Person of Honor;” his statements, we suppose, must be taken as facts, as nobility, like figures, cannot lie, and as the author’s gentle blood did not come to him in a line of descent from William Longbow. Whether, however, Gordon Cumming has drawn a great deal from his imagination or not, his book is an interesting one, and proclaims him a cool, daring, invincible hunter—the greatest since Nimrod. Take away from him a hundred of the elephants he swears he shot, and he will have left enough to make a great reputation. In addition to the hunting scenes, the volumes contain no little information respecting the Hottentots and Bushmen, and some splendid descriptions of African scenery.

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_Leaflets of Memory; an Illuminated Annual for 1851. Edited by Reynell Coates, M. D. Philadelphia: E. H. Butler & Co._

The enterprising publishers of this most beautiful book, deserve the warmest thanks of the public for the exquisite taste displayed in all of their gift books for 1851; but especially for the wealth of elegance which marks the volume before us in all its appointments. To Butler & Co. justly belongs the credit of having rescued the Annuals of the country from that contempt to which they were fast sinking, and placing them side by side with the highest efforts of art in Europe. Nor has the editor failed to do his part nobly. The marks of the severe and elegant taste of Dr. Coates are visible on every page, and his fine mind sends forth its flashes like sparkles from a diamond in his own articles.

The illuminated plates by Sinclair are wonders of art, surpassing in delicacy of execution any that we have seen in this style; and Sartain, in his beautiful mezzotints, seems to have shared the inspiration largely of his co-laborers in this garden of beauty. We shall be amazed, if an immense sale of the Leaflets does not reward the prodigality of Mr. Butler.

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_The Female Poets of America. Edited by Thomas Buchanan Read. Philadelphia: E. H. Butler & Co._

This is a magnificent holyday gift, issued in a style of splendor that Butler alone can be chargeable with. Printed on superb paper, and filled with fine portraits of the leading American female writers, and gorgeous with illuminated plates by Sinclair. Mr. Read, the Editor, who is both poet and painter, has given us a token of remembrance in this fine volume that will live in many libraries and many hearts. It is just the volume to present to a lady of taste for a New Year’s Gift. No reader of “Graham” should fail to look at it.

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_Proverbial Philosophy. By Martin Farquhar Tupper. With Sixteen Illustrations. Philadelphia: E. H. Butler & Co._

Few readers of this Magazine are ignorant of these superior writings of Tupper; but very few, we will venture to say, have ever seen so superb an edition. The letter-press, the illustrations, and binding, are all of the very highest order, and the book is in every way entitled to a permanent place in the drawing-room of the educated and refined. In addition to its numerous superior engravings, the volume is graced by a fine likeness of Tupper, by Richie, which is of itself a treasure to his admirers.

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_The Recent Progress of Astronomy; Especially in the United States. By Elias Loomis. New York: Harper & Brothers. 1 vol. 12mo._

The object of this volume is to exhibit, in a form as popular as the nature of the subject will allow, the most important astronomical discoveries of the last ten years. The chapter on the Discovery of the Planet Neptune, is the clearest account we have seen of that scientific event. The portions on the Recent Additions to our knowledge of Comets, Fixed Stars and Nebulæ, convey a great deal of information in a rigorously systematized form. There are a hundred pages devoted to the progress of Astronomy in the United States, which will be read with much interest, as they enable us to understand the grounds of a remark of the Astronomer Royal of Great Britain, that “the Americans, although late in the field of astronomical enterprise, have now taken up that science with their characteristic energy, and have already shown their ability to instruct their former masters.”

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_Lives of Eminent Literary and Scientific Men of America. By James Wynne, M. D. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1 vol. 12 mo._

This volume contains lives of Franklin, Jonathan Edwards, Fulton, Marshall, Rittenhouse, and Whitney. They are altogether superior to the general run of such biographies, both in style and matter, and we have read with particular pleasure those of Franklin, Edwards, and Fulton. The life of the second of these is little known beyond the boundaries of his sect; and Dr. Wynne’s view of his character is the most correct we have ever seen. The author’s diction is admirably adapted for narrative.

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_The Deerslayer: or the First War-Path. By J. Fenimore Cooper. New York: George P. Putnam. 1 vol. 12mo._

This is the first volume of a reprint of Cooper’s Leather-Stocking Tales, the best works of their Author. It is uniform with the Putnam’s edition of “The Spy,” and “The Pilot.”

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_The Life of Silas Talbot, a Commodore in the Navy of the United States. By Henry T. Tuckerman. New York: J. C. Riker. 1 vol. 16mo._

In this little volume, Mr. Tuckerman appears as the biographer of a revolutionary hero, as a describer of land fights and sea fights, and as a commentator on military and naval character. In this department of literature he seems as much at home as in writing genial essays on poets and social phenomena, and has made a charming book. In narrative, his style, without parting with any of its grace, has an increased energy and rapidity of movement. He lingers less over his matter. The subject of his biography is a grand one, and he has treated it finely, exhibiting judgment, research, and a marked descriptive power.

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[Illustration: Anaïs Toudouze

LE FOLLET Boulevart S^{t}. Martin, 69. _Robes de M^{me}._ Verrier Richard, _r. Richelieu, 73—_ _Chapeaux de M^{lle}._ Grafeton, _r. de la Paix, 24_. _The styles of Goods here represented can be had of Mess^{rs}._ L. J. Levy & C^{o}. _Philadelphia_ _and at_ Stewart’s, _New York_. Graham’s Magazine, 134 Chestnut Street.]

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COME TOUCH THE HARP, MY GENTLE ONE.

BALLAD.

Composed, and Respectfully Dedicated

TO

MRS. A. A. T.

BY

E. K. EATON.

Published by permission of Edward L. Walker, 160 Chestnut Street. _Publisher and Importer of Music and Musical Instruments._

[Illustration]

Come touch the harp, my gentle one! And let the notes be sad and low; Such as may breathe in ev’ry tone— The

[Illustration]

soul, the soul of long ago! That smile of thine is all too bright For aching hearts and lonely years, And dearly as I love its light, To-day I would have tears.

SECOND VERSE

Yet weep not that, my gentle girl, No smile of thine has lost its spell; I so do love thy lightest curl, Oh! more than fondly well.

Then touch the lyre, and let it wile All thoughts of grief and gloom away; While thou art by with smile and spell, I will not weep to-day.

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EDITOR’S TABLE.

CATSKILL MOUNTAIN HOUSE.—The beautiful picture of Catskill Mountain House, and the surrounding scenery, which we give our readers in this number, was painted for the present publisher, in 1846, when we were, or thought we were, richer than we are now. A party of friends were with us on a visit to that delightful spot, in that summer; and among the guests at the house was the painter, Harvey, who, in his studious observation of nature, was filling up a week or two prior to his departure for Europe. Several pictures he had finished, of bits of scenery and nooks about the mountain, all of them marked by that wonderful fidelity to nature in her minute developments—each blade, and each shade of each blade of grass, and leaf elaborated with that patient skill, which distinguishes his pictures. The morning we left, we ordered the picture before the reader; and Smillie has just engraved it in his matchless style. To our own eye, it is one of the sweetest landscapes that we have ever placed before the readers of “Graham;” and we now apprise our friends that it is the first of a series of American views which that artist is now executing for this Magazine.

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DESCRIPTION OF FASHION PLATE.

WALKING DRESSES—_First Figure_.—Bonnet of pink taffeta, covered with puffings and plaits of clear white organdy; the right and the left side of the front are trimmed with three little feathers, fastened in lightly and gracefully.

Dress and _pardessus_ of taffeta, of any color or shade, according to fancy. The dress body is open before, and high in the neck behind. The sleeves are large, of the _pagoda_ style, wider at the lower part than at the top or arm-hole. The body is pointed before and behind. To give style to these bodies, a little strap of tape is fastened to the lower part of the waist, and this strap is attached to the lower part of the back of the corset, in order to make the back of the dress set well, and keep it from puckering.

The skirt is very full, and very long, training a little behind; it is trimmed with seven flounces, each flounce six _centimêtres_[1] wide; and these flounces are placed about five _centimêtres_ apart; the highest flounce is about twenty-five _centimêtres_ from the waist.

The _pardessus_ is sufficiently sloped at the seams to make it fit easily; it is a little pointed in front, and round behind.

The scallops of the flounces are first traced with close runnings of sewing silk, then embroidered in heavy button hole stitch.

The stomacher is of _tulle_: it opens square before, and is trimmed with a _tulle_ quilling, standing up around the neck, with insertion at the lower part of the quilling; the front is composed of five puffings, with insertion between the puffings. The sleeve has one large puffing, with a tight waistband and two ruffles.

_Second Figure._—Bonnet of black lace, bordered on the edge with a _ruche_ of the same, which _ruche_ continues all around the bonnet. This bonnet is trimmed with branches of roses. Mantilla, or little scarf shawl, is of light green taffeta, trimmed with broad silk lace, and embroidered in a rich design with narrow silk braid. This embroidery is worked in black on all light colors, or in a color a little deeper than the shade of the taffeta. Stomacher is made of lace, with insertion.

_Little Girl._—Dress of jaconet muslin, embroidered _à_ _l’Anglaise_. Mittens and stockings of open work silk. Sash _à la president_ around the waist, of taffeta ribbon of the width No. 60. Silk boots and straw hat, with a crown of roses.

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[1] _Centimêtre_, the one-hundredth part of a yard: there is no corresponding word in English. Six _centimêtres_, however, would be about two inches, five _centimêtres_ about an inch and a half, and twenty-five _centimêtres_ about a quarter of a yard.

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EDGAR A. POE.—By the decision of several discreet friends of the lamented Poe, we omit a number of letters and articles, which have been collected in relation to his life and writings. The wounds made by his criticisms are too fresh—the conflicting interests too many, to hope now to do that justice which time and the sober second thought of educated minds will accord to his memory. In the March number, we gave a short sketch of the poet, and hereafter the grateful duty may be more amply fulfilled—without making this Magazine, seemingly, the medium through which to gratify personal hostilities.

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THANKS TO OUR FRIENDS EDITORIAL.

FELLOW-LABORERS:—We address you at the close of the year 1850, with an involuntary wish struggling upward from the heart, for a happy New Year—a glorious baptism of good for 1851. We do this, too, with some misgivings lest we may presume upon your forbearance—but the cordial response you have given to our monthly labors—the encouraging and timely words spoken in our behalf at the outset of the somewhat perilous enterprise of carrying our shattered bark into harbor once more—with all its sails stripped and cordage gone, came over the dark waters cheeringly, stimulating our weak endeavors, and nerving our heart for the tempest or the calm.

With no money—a few friends, and a thousand discouragements thrust upon us by timid well-wishers—and half-hearted comforters—we undertook to carry Graham’s Magazine—with its harvest of money, received in December, January and February, the pick months of the year, scattered—we undertook, we say, to carry this book triumphantly—in the face of the fiercest competition the business has ever known—through the year 1850.

The American Press with a chivalry for a prostrate brother, such as has never been witnessed—with one accord, from the extreme North to the extreme South, raised its voice of encouragement—its cheer for our success—and we now close the volume with an addition of over 10,000 subscribers since July, and with the uttermost liberality in expenditure in the manufacture of Graham’s Magazine, _met_ by the tremendous resources which _you_, gentlemen, by the power of advertising, in liberal notices, have showered upon us. From our heart we thank you! Our experience in the press, daily, weekly, and monthly, for twelve years, has taught us how little the press itself knows of its own power—how few out of it know its giant resources—the wealth it carries on its wings to those who use it wisely. Judge, then, whether we, who have partaken so largely of its benefits from your generosity alone, knowing fully the vast service your kindness has done us, can do less than convey to you our sense of the obligation, with a hope that the day is dawning which will enable us to _attempt_ in some poor sort to repay you. We say _attempt_ to repay, for the reactionary benefit will be ten-fold upon ourself—so that we must by inevitable laws, remain forever your debtor.

GRAHAM.

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[Illustration:

LE MONITEUR DE LA MODE. Journal du Monde Elégant. _Toilettes de la Maison_ Popelin Ducarre. _Modes de_ Mélanie Brun & C^{ie}., _5 rue de la Paix. Fleurs et_ _plumes de_ Perrot & C^{ie}. _Bijoux_ Gillion, _9, Boul^{t}. des Italiens._ _Mouchoirs de_ Chapron & Dubois, _rue de la Paix_. _The styles of goods here represented can be had of_ _Mess._ L. J. Levy & C^{o}., _PHILADELPHIA,_ _and at_ Stewart's, _NEW YORK_.]

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Transcriber’s Notes:

Archaic spellings and hyphenation have been retained as well as some spellings peculiar to Graham’s. Punctuation has been corrected without note. Other errors have been corrected as noted below. For illustrations, some caption text may be missing or incomplete due to condition of the originals used for preparation of the ebook.

page 330, in maratime states ==> in maritime states page 333, litterally by people ==> literally by people page 336, Save were the steel-shod ==> Save where the steel-shod page 338, strayed were the soft ==> strayed where the soft page 344, his hand in her’s ==> his hand in hers page 351, his anamolous position ==> his anomalous position page 351, large body of calvary ==> large body of cavalry page 352, Master of St. Jago ==> Maestro of St. Jago page 357, had began to civilize ==> had begun to civilize page 357, sur ves revolutions anciennes ==> sur les révolutions anciennes page 358, the Duke of Bourdeaux ==> the Duke of Bordeaux page 358, ownership of the _Murcure_, ==> ownership of the _Mercure_, page 363, having not forseen the ==> having not foreseen the page 365, prophecied your destiny ==> prophesied your destiny page 366, side thy stood now, ==> side they stood now, page 372, be got, hav n’t you ==> be got, haven’t you page 372, his grizzley moustache ==> his grizzly moustache page 373, falls of his horse ==> falls off his horse page 375, and cross questiong on ==> and cross questioning on page 381, the foot lights begin to burn ==> the footlights begin to burn page 381, by the abscence of ==> by the absence of page 381, in his posession some ==> in his possession some